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September 22, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: There’s Plenty To Do In ‘The Miracle on the Han River’


Last week I asked: What is there to do on Seoul, Korea?

Take a free tour and more.

Gyeongbokgung Palace changing of the guard

Gyeongbokgung Palace changing of the guard

Seoul is the bustling capital city of South Korea and an excellent gateway city to the rest of South Korea and Asia.

The techie, prosperous city has been called “The Miracle on the Han River” due to its transformation from the destruction caused during the Korean War to a thriving city.

These are my favorite things to do in Seoul.

1.     Bus Tour: Get acquainted with the city on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour. The ticket is good for the day and can be purchased on board. There are several routes to choose. Board at 9 a.m. and take it once around deciding what to get to visit. The Downtown-Palace Course is probably best for first-time visitors.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

2.     Best View: For the best view of the city head to N Seoul Tower with a 360 degree city view and 32 LCD screens that relate the 600-year history of Seoul. The revolving restaurant offers excellent views. It is a place for romantics based on the Locks of Love on the nearby fence.

3.     Gyeongbokgung Palace: Built in 1395, was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded. It is located in the heart of the city not far from where the city bus tour starts.  Give yourself at least an hour to stroll around the pavilions and halls within the palace’s spacious walled grounds.

A view during the Eland Cruise

A view during the Eland Cruise

4.     Changing of the guard: In ancient times the royal guards protected the Gwanghwamum Gate.  The 20-minute impressive ceremony is reenacted several times a day with the beating of the giant drums and guards in full regalia.  Every effort has been exerted to keep the ceremony authentic. It is a rare chance to get a glimpse into a traditional event.

5.     Folkloric Museum: Explore 4000 years of Korea history at the National Folkloric Museum. Learn about the Korean way of life throughout the years. The open-air exhibition area includes jangseung spirit posts to which villagers prayed to ward off disaster.  The museum also offers a variety of classes are offered from martial arts to paper crafts.

A cooking class at O’ngo Food Communications

A cooking class at O’ngo Food Communications

6.     Free walking tours: Seoul offers nine free walking tours in seven different areas offering insight into Korean culture and history. Options include tours of the palaces, city walls, gardens, and Hanok Village.

7.     Shopping: Today the word “Gangnam” is associated with a style of music but is an area known for shopping where there is everything from designer items to vintage clothing.  It is a favorite area of the young and fashionsitas.

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

8.     Cruising: The Eland Cruise offers several short cruises on the Hangang River. It is a great way to relax while enjoying the scenery around the river that flows through Seoul. There are themed cruises with music, magic and/or lunch or dinner.

9.     Food: One of the best ways to experience a culture is by taking a cooking class. O’ngo Food Communications offers cooking classes, restaurant tours, and even one on how to experience street food. There are cooking classes for the beginner and professional along with a Halal class.

Third Tunnel of Aggression

Third Tunnel of Aggression

10.   DMZ: The best way to experience the Demilitarized Zone, one the world’s most infamous borders, is on group tour. The guide offers information on the DMZ, the Joint Security Area and the opportunity to enter the Third Tunnel of Aggression said to be one of the ways the North Koreans planned to invade the South.

Trivia Tease™: What happened to the elementary school in Altmar. Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

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