Buddhist temples meet designer boutiques - as South Korea's largest city, Seoul certainly has a claim on being one of the financial and cultural epicenters of East Asia. But this city's most compelling trait may be how it continues to embrace its ancient traditions while also becoming a Silicon Valley hub with endless food streets, high-energy nightlife and cutting-edge architecture. When you visit Seoul, you'll see a study in contrasts. To chart your own course through the city, read more in our Seoul travel guide.
Things Not to Miss in Seoul
Seoul is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the east and the Korean Demilitarized Zone to the north, and the Han River cuts the city into two halves while also giving ample opportunity for water sports, boating, cruising. When you travel to Seoul, you won't want to miss the Insadong Tearooms, which serve traditional brews not available anywhere else in Korea. Here are a few more can't-miss stops on your Seoul visit:
• Eating galbi, cooked on a table grill
• Visiting Guinsa, the most popular temple in Seoul
• Admiring the scenery at Sorak National Park
• Marveling at the shrines at Jongmyo
• Visiting ancient palaces turned museums, such as Gyeongbok-gung and Changdeok-gung
When to Visit Seoul
Thanks to the country's mild weather, spring and fall are the best times to visit Korea. Summers can be sweltering, but that may still be the best season for taking the kids to visit Seoul for amusement parks, theaters, zoos, and strolling on the beach.
However, December and January may also be prime times to visit Seoul. One of the most celebrated holidays in Korea is the Solar New Year (January 1), and winter sports abound, such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. The other big national holiday is the Lunar New Year, or Seollal (in late January or February), which lasts for three days; since locals often travel during this period, too, book your flights and hotels about three months ahead of time if you want to travel to Seoul during this season.