A Travellerspoint blog

Sprawling Seoul has so much to see (pt 1)

View from a 123-floor, 555-metre (1,821 ft) supertall skyscraper located in Seoul; Lotte World Tower, which opened to the public on April 11, 2017, is currently the tallest building in South Korea and the 6th tallest building in the world

View from a 123-floor, 555-metre (1,821 ft) supertall skyscraper located in Seoul; Lotte World Tower, which opened to the public on April 11, 2017, is currently the tallest building in South Korea and the 6th tallest building in the world

There are 3 floating islands on the Han River next to the Banpo Bridge; some scenes from the blockbuster movie Avengers: Age of Ultron were shot here

There are 3 floating islands on the Han River next to the Banpo Bridge; some scenes from the blockbuster movie Avengers: Age of Ultron were shot here

Heunginjimun Gate is the east gate of the old city; it was first built in 1398 with the current gate dating from 1869

Heunginjimun Gate is the east gate of the old city; it was first built in 1398 with the current gate dating from 1869

The neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the centerpiece of South Korea's fashion industry; the DDP was one of the main reasons for Seoul's designation as World Design Capital in 2010

The neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the centerpiece of South Korea's fashion industry; the DDP was one of the main reasons for Seoul's designation as World Design Capital in 2010

Seoullo 7017 was a favorite sight of mine since it was transformed from an old, elevated highway into a series of 17 pedestrian walkways; there were many pianos, benches and other areas for people to get above the crowds flowing beneath them

Seoullo 7017 was a favorite sight of mine since it was transformed from an old, elevated highway into a series of 17 pedestrian walkways; there were many pianos, benches and other areas for people to get above the crowds flowing beneath them

Cheonggyecheon Stream is an 11 km long pseudo-bayou flowing from Gwanghwamun to Dongdaemun; in 2005, it was redeveloped from a dirty creek into an ecological park with visitors now walking along a well-lit path and under 22 bridges

Cheonggyecheon Stream is an 11 km long pseudo-bayou flowing from Gwanghwamun to Dongdaemun; in 2005, it was redeveloped from a dirty creek into an ecological park with visitors now walking along a well-lit path and under 22 bridges

The Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the President of South Korea; the house, part of a 62 acre complex, was named for the blue roof tiles

The Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the President of South Korea; the house, part of a 62 acre complex, was named for the blue roof tiles

A 170 year old umbrella pine anchors the large garden in front of the President's reception hall; I had been told I'd receive an audio guide for the tour but I didn't (I was the only non-Korean) so I spent 2 hours listening to the Korean presentation

A 170 year old umbrella pine anchors the large garden in front of the President's reception hall; I had been told I'd receive an audio guide for the tour but I didn't (I was the only non-Korean) so I spent 2 hours listening to the Korean presentation

Sungnyemun Gate, listed as Korean National Treasure 1, served as the southern gate when the city was walled; the busy street is where the old city walls once stood

Sungnyemun Gate, listed as Korean National Treasure 1, served as the southern gate when the city was walled; the busy street is where the old city walls once stood

The Banpo Bridge is the world's longest bridge fountain (1140 m) that set a Guinness World Record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles shooting out 190 tons of water per minute

The Banpo Bridge is the world's longest bridge fountain (1140 m) that set a Guinness World Record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles shooting out 190 tons of water per minute

Thankfully I still have PowerBars so I won't have to eat the hotel breakfast; like in the US, you have to be careful here at crosswalks since cars often run red lights

Thankfully I still have PowerBars so I won't have to eat the hotel breakfast; like in the US, you have to be careful here at crosswalks since cars often run red lights

Massive statue of Sejong the Great dominates 555 meter long Gwanghwamun Square in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace; Sejong the Great was the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty

Massive statue of Sejong the Great dominates 555 meter long Gwanghwamun Square in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace; Sejong the Great was the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty

Unlike Japan, everyone on the subway here is on their phone; friends don’t even speak to each other but are focused on their phone

Unlike Japan, everyone on the subway here is on their phone; friends don’t even speak to each other but are focused on their phone

Half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world; I think shopping is the national pastime here, especially for young people

Half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world; I think shopping is the national pastime here, especially for young people

The old city hall of Seoul was built in 1925 and now houses the library while the new glass building, completed in 2012, houses the office of the mayor and all city functions

The old city hall of Seoul was built in 1925 and now houses the library while the new glass building, completed in 2012, houses the office of the mayor and all city functions

In Korea, the cities were dominated by young people with little evidence of an older generation while in Japan we saw plenty of older people working and remaining active

In Korea, the cities were dominated by young people with little evidence of an older generation while in Japan we saw plenty of older people working and remaining active

This winnowing machine at the National Folk Museum was used for separating grain from chaff; monsoon season in Seoul is June through September (these are also the hottest months)

This winnowing machine at the National Folk Museum was used for separating grain from chaff; monsoon season in Seoul is June through September (these are also the hottest months)

The National Folk Museum of Korea is housed in the space below this replica 5 story pagoda; Korea is known for its very spicy food but I have no first hand experience with it

The National Folk Museum of Korea is housed in the space below this replica 5 story pagoda; Korea is known for its very spicy food but I have no first hand experience with it

The first stop on our walking tour of Seoul was Jogyesa Temple which was all decked out for Buddha's birthday; the older members of our tour group were already pooped and we'd just gotten started

The first stop on our walking tour of Seoul was Jogyesa Temple which was all decked out for Buddha's birthday; the older members of our tour group were already pooped and we'd just gotten started

In the subway stations it was a little disconcerting to see masks to be used in the event of a chemical attack; Seoul now has the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy after Tokyo, New York City and LA

In the subway stations it was a little disconcerting to see masks to be used in the event of a chemical attack; Seoul now has the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy after Tokyo, New York City and LA

My visit coincided with Buddha's birthday so all of the temples were adorned with thousands of colorful lanterns; Seoul received 10  million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism dollars

My visit coincided with Buddha's birthday so all of the temples were adorned with thousands of colorful lanterns; Seoul received 10+ million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism dollars

One of the many cool modern buildings; Seoul reminded me of Hong Kong or West LA with the sea of high rises and traffic congestion

One of the many cool modern buildings; Seoul reminded me of Hong Kong or West LA with the sea of high rises and traffic congestion

The Royal Tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; her tomb is one of several from the 15th and 16th centuries in what is now a small forest in central Seoul

The Royal Tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; her tomb is one of several from the 15th and 16th centuries in what is now a small forest in central Seoul

This statue at Queen Jeonghyeon's burial mound at Seolleung was designed to symbolize strong sovereign power; Korea has thrived despite being surrounded by (and sometimes invaded by) China, Russia and Japan

This statue at Queen Jeonghyeon's burial mound at Seolleung was designed to symbolize strong sovereign power; Korea has thrived despite being surrounded by (and sometimes invaded by) China, Russia and Japan

This red spiked gate marks the entrance to the tomb of King Seongjong who was the ninth ruler of the Josean Dynasty (1457-1494); his burial ground lies in what is now Gangnam, an upscale area of southern Seoul

This red spiked gate marks the entrance to the tomb of King Seongjong who was the ninth ruler of the Josean Dynasty (1457-1494); his burial ground lies in what is now Gangnam, an upscale area of southern Seoul

Signage in Korean wasn't very helpful and, often, there was nothing in English; 2 years of military service is required for young men in South Korea with women serving on a voluntary basis

Signage in Korean wasn't very helpful and, often, there was nothing in English; 2 years of military service is required for young men in South Korea with women serving on a voluntary basis

Olympic Park from Lotte World Tower; South Korean citizens enjoy the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and the most years of tertiary education in the world

Olympic Park from Lotte World Tower; South Korean citizens enjoy the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and the most years of tertiary education in the world

Posted by VagabondCowboy 22:22

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