Seoul – Things to See and Shopping!

Seoul, Korea’s capital city, is a tourist destination home to a host of activities to enjoy, ranging from traditional royal palaces to trendy shopping districts. Seoul has always been an important city of the eastern Asian region. The city has been the capital of Korea for almost 600 years now. The present day Seoul has developed into a busy city with massive developments over the years.                                                                                                        Seoul acts as the hub for political, economic, social, and cultural matters of the country. the city has also developed as a major tourism destination for the Asian. With the popularity of the Korean culture the travelers from the nearby countries have started coming down to Seoul.                                                                                                                   Seoul tourist attractions carry the touch of modernity as well as the legacy of the cultural heritage of the country as well. The city is dotted with loads to explore; the wide range of Seoul attractions to its guests.

Gyeongbokgung Palace – This is a royal palace located in northern Seoul. First constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name of the palace, Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.”

Changdeokgung Palace – This is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond, and a pavilion.It is the only palace designated as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO.

Bukchon Village – Situated between two palaces –Gyeongbokgung to the west and Changdeokgung to the east – this utterly picturesque neighborhood makes it easy to imagine the days of yore in this city. The village is located between two palaces arranged on Sung Confucianism, which was the dominant ideology during the Joseon Dynasty, and has a large concentration of traditional Korean houses against an excellent landscape background. The numerous branch-like alleys have been kept as they always were, dramatically showing the scene of the city with its 600-year history. This neighborhood also has quaint cafés, art galleries, and restaurants.

Shopping – Seoul has many good shopping locations: Insadong, Myeong-dong, Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market and Itaewon. Favourite buys include hand-tailored clothes, sweaters (plain, embroidered or beaded), silks, brocades, handbags, leatherwork, gold jewellery, topaz, amethyst, amber, jade and silver, ginseng, paintings, costume dolls, musical instruments, brassware, lacquerware, wood carvings, baskets, scrolls and screens. Prices are fixed in department stores, but may be negotiated at arcades and markets. Major cities have duty-free shops for foreigners, whereby tourists can make purchase using foreign currency with proof of a valid passport.

Insadong – Insadong is a very busy shopping street located in the middle of the city.  It is full of restaurants, art stores, antique stores, and traditional souvenir shops lined along the main street. Off of the main street, alleys full of galleries, traditional restaurants, traditional teahouses, and cafes abound.                                                                                Insadong was originally two towns whose names ended in the syllables “In” and “Sa”. They were divided by a stream which ran along Insadong’s current main street. Insadong began 500 years ago as an area of residence for government officials. During the early period of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), the place belonged to Gwanin-bang and Gyeonpyeong-bang – bang was the name of an administrative unit during the time- of Hanseong (old name for the capital, Seoul).During the Japanese occupation, the wealthy Korean residents were forced to move and sell their belongings, at which point the site became an area of trading in antiques. After the end of the Korean War, the area became a focus of South Korea’s artistic and cafe life.

Namdaemun Market – This market has existed for over 600 years and counts with thousands of shops.  This is a great place to find inexpensive clothing, fabrics, house ware, accessories, jewelry, food, etc.  It is also surrounded by dozens of multistory buildings full of specialty shops; so the shopping experience here can be a little overwhelming.  This market is always crowded, so, prepare to get bumped around.

For your comfortable stay in Seoul, Fraser Suites Insadong is centrally located in Insadong, Seoul.  Fraser Suites Insadong, Seoul is set in a unique architectural style representing not only South Korea’s indigenous cultural background, but also the subtle influences of imported designs. Insadong and the surrounding area were the residences of Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) officials, extended royal families, and the yangban aristocratic class. Surrounding Insadong are many historic sites dating back hundreds of years including temples, palaces and fortresses. These historical relics open the door to five millennia of Korean heritage. Hence, it is not surprising that Insadong is also widely recognised as Seoul’s world-renowned cultural district. Today, the notable features of Insadong are the countless alleys with over 40% of the nation’s antique stores. Known colloquially as ‘Mary’s Alley’, Insadong is also a favourite shopping spot among visitors to Seoul.
                                                       There are art galleries, antique stores, ceramic shops, bookstores, traditional teahouses and restaurants that line the narrow, winding alleys nearby. Every Sunday the street is blocked off to traffic and opened up to antique stalls, food stalls, street performers, and other kinds of street entertainment.                                                                                         Fraser Suites Insadong Seoul enjoys proximity to most major Seoul hotels and is within an hour of Incheon International Airport.

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