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Weather & best time to visit

61°
Friday, 31.10.2014
18:00

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Good to know

City map Seoul

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    Good to know

    Seoul – a brief overview

    South Korea’s high-tech capital is one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia. Seoul is modern, cosmopolitan and frenetically energetic, with relentless noise and bustle and an intense drive for progress. Nevertheless, reminders of its six centuries under dynastic rule still remain: immaculately preserved temples, palaces and shrines rub shoulders with gleaming high-rise

    towers and sparkling shopping malls. Two of Seoul’s big attractions are shopping and eating out. You can easily cover both bases by visiting its colourful markets, working up an appetite as you haggle for a lacquerware vase, then feasting on delectable street food.

    Flight and accommodation

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    Top 10 sights in Seoul

    ListMap
    Seoul, Südkorea, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Changdeokgung Palace

    99 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 762 8261
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1830 (Jun-Aug)
    0900-1630 (Nov-Jan)
    Tue-Sun 0900-1800 (Feb-May and Sep-Oct)

    The Palace of Illustrious Virtue was the Joseon kings’ official residence for 270 years. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Seoul’s most popular attractions. Highlights include the throne hall and the Huwon garden.

    N Seoul Tower

    126 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 3455 9277
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sun-Thu 1000-2300
    Fri-Sat 1000-0000

    This slender telecoms tower stands on top of Namsan hill, overlooking downtown Seoul. Its observation platform gives magnificent views across the city and beyond.

    Deoksugung Palace

    99 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 771 9951
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 0900-2100

    This, the appropriately named Palace of Virtuous Longevity, was the last home of the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled for more than 500 years. Its dramatic Changing of the Guards ceremony should not be missed (Tue-Sun 1030, 1400, 1530).

    Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

    60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 2014 6901
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1030-1800

    This impressive modern gallery showcases contemporary art by Korean and international artists, as well as traditional Korean arts and crafts. An outdoor area includes modern sculptures by world-famous artists such as Louise Bourgeois.

    National Palace Museum of Korea

    12 Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 3701 7500
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Fri 0900-1800
    Sat-Sun 0900-1900

    With some 40,000 exhibits, this museum inside the old walled city recounts the more than 500 years of the Joseon royal Dynasty. As well as displays of ceremonial costumes and regalia, exhibits include a replica of the first water clock and a collection of vintage automobiles.

    Jongmyo

    157 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 765 0195
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 0900-1800 (Feb-May and Sep-Oct)
    Wed-Mon 0900-1830 (Jun-Aug)
    Wed-Mon 0900-1730 (Nov-Jan)

    The UNESCO World Heritage site Royal Ancestral Shrine is a Confucian monument dedicated to the 27 Joseon kings and queens. On the first Sunday in May, costumed worshippers bring offerings to the spirits, accompanied by traditional regal music.

    Gansong Museum

    97-1 Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 762 0442
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Various

    This private collection of Korean antiquities includes many of the country’s most priceless treasures, protected against plunder during the Japanese occupation. It’s only open four weeks a year, so expect long queues.

    Biwon


    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Various

    Behind Changdeokgung Palace, the Secret Garden is a gorgeous retreat from the city crush. Walk down shady paths to pavilions and ponds, all lovingly tended.

    Gyeongbokgung

    161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 3700 3900
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 0900-1830 (Jun-Aug)
    Wed-Mon 0900-1800 (Mar-May and Sep-Oct)
    Wed-Mon 0900-1700 (Nov-Feb)

    The first seat of the Joseon Dynasty, this huge palace was built in 1395. It served as the official centre of government, with formal ceremonies held in its magnificent throne room.

    Lotte World Adventure

    240 Olympic-ro Songpa-Gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Tel: (02) 1661 2000
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Thu 0930-2200
    Fri-Sun 0930-2300

    This vast theme park offers a global mix of family entertainment, with dozens of fun and fast rides, from a French Revolution roller coaster to a Jurassic water flume.

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    The quantity of beautiful national parks, remote beaches, islands in the south, and rugged

    mountain peaks make Korea a stunningly diverse country and one that is great for outdoor adventures.

    Geography

    The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a peninsula that shares borders to the north with the demilitarised zone (separating it from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), to the east with the Sea of Japan (East Sea), to the south with the Korea Strait (separating it from Japan), and to the west with the Yellow Sea. There are many islands and bays in the Korea Strait, including the largest, the volcanic island of Jeju-do, which lies off the southwest coast and is also home to South Korea’s highest mountain, Mount Halla, at 1,950m (6,397ft).

    Most of the country consists of hills and mountains with the 30% of flat plain home to the majority of the population and cultivation. Most rivers rise in the mountains to the east, flowing west and south to the Yellow Sea. The Naktong River flows into the Korea Strait near the southern port of Busan, Korea’s second largest city after Seoul. The eastern coast is rocky and steep with mountains rising from the sea.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 48955203

    Population Density (per sq km): 491

    Capital: Seoul.

    Language

    Korean (Hangul), with English widely taught in school and generally understood in major centres.

    Currency

    Won (KRW; symbol ₩). Notes are in denominations of ₩50,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000. Chon means ‘one thousand’. Coins are in denominations of ₩500, 100, 50 and 10.

    Electricity

    220 volts AC, 60Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 0900-1800.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2014-December 2015 period.

    2014

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2014
    Seollal (Lunar New Year): 31. January 2014
    Sam Il Jul (Independence Movement Day): 01. March 2014
    Labour Day: 01. May 2014
    Orininal (Children’s Day): 05. May 2014
    Buddha’s Birthday: 06. May 2014
    Memorial Day: 26. May 2014
    Kwang Bok Jul (Independence Day): 15. August 2014
    Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival): 08. September 2014
    Kae Chun Jul (National Foundation Day): 03. October 2014
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2014

    2015

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2015
    Seollal (Lunar New Year): 19. February 2015
    Sam Il Jul (Independence Movement Day): 01. March 2015
    Labour Day: 01. May 2015
    Orininal (Children’s Day): 05. May 2015
    Buddha’s Birthday: 25. May 2015
    Memorial Day: 25. May 2015
    Kwang Bok Jul (Independence Day): 15. August 2015
    Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival): 27. September 2015
    Kae Chun Jul (National Foundation Day): 03. October 2015
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2015

    Flight and accommodation

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Seoul

    ListMap

    Seoul has a thriving live music scene. Find heaving nightclubs blasting out techno and electronica,

    cool jazz bars, and a host of buzzing bars and cafés populating areas such as Itaewon, Gangnam and Hongdae.

    National Gugak Center

    2364 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-gu
    137-073 Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    This leading performance arts centre hosts first-class traditional Korean music, dance and drumming concerts.

    Once in a Blue Moon

    85-1 Chungdam-dong, Gangnam-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Listen to top local and international artists in this sophisticated jazz club.

    Flight and accommodation

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Seoul

    ListMap

    Seoul has many culinary hotspots – in particular in its spectacular markets.

    One of the most popular upscale districts is on Namsan hill, while for a traditional teahouse experience head to Insadong.

    Korea House

    124-3 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    This city institution serves delicious traditional food, with a touristy but tasteful live show.

    Seokparang

    125 Hongji-dong, Jongno-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Enjoy exquisite Korean cuisine at this delightful 19th-century house and garden.

    Congee House

    31 Myeong-dong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu
    100-860 Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Authentic congee (savoury rice porridge) is the speciality here; try it with abalone or octopus.

    O’Sulloc

    47-1 Myeong-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    This venerable teahouse also concocts sweet treats such as green tea ice cream and tiramisu.

    Jyoti

    3F, 31-4 Nogosan-dong, Mapo-gu
    Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    Superbly spicy Indian and Nepalese food; it’s a bit out of the way but worth the effort.

    Flight and accommodation

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul

    1 April 2014 – 31 May 2015
    Website

    Venue: Jongno, particularly around Jogyesa Temple.

    Over 100,000 lanterns illuminate the streets of Jong-ro in central Seoul to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. Performances and other festivities take place outside Jogyesa Temple in Insa-dong, and a parade of glowing lanterns and floats takes place one evening.

    Traditional Korean Narrative Songs

    1 – 31 August 2014

    Venue: National Theatre of Korea.

    The National Theatre of Korea provides monthly opportunities to experience traditional Korean narrative songs or ‘pansori’. In this traditional art form, sometimes rather misleadingly called ‘Korean Opera’, a narrator may play the parts of all the characters in a story, accompanied by a drummer. Don’t expect to follow the story, but the dramatic effects and the contrasts with Western operatic singing are interesting.

    Hi Seoul Festival

    1 – 5 October 2014
    Website

    Venue: Yeouido Hangang Park and downtown Seoul.

    This annual cultural celebration showcases Seoul’s unique history, tradition and diversity through performing arts. It takes on a different theme each year.

    Icheon Rice Cultural Festival

    30 October – 3 November 2014
    Website

    Venue: Sulbong Park, Incheon.

    This harvest celebration takes place at Icheon, one hour’s bus journey from central Seoul. Activities include rice-cake making and there’s traditional cultural entertainment.

    World Tourism & Food Expo

    1 – 30 April 2015
    Website

    Venue: aT Center, Yangjae-dong.

    Foodies will enjoy this Seoul event showcasing the best traditional and new cuisine from Korea and around the world. Cooks compete in various competitions, there are demonstrations of how popular dishes like bibimbap are prepared and booths offer free tastings.

    Insa-dong Festival

    1 – 31 May 2015

    Venue: Insa-dong, Jongno-gu.

    Over 100 arts, craft and galleries display their most valuable pieces during this popular annual festival in Seoul, while events include a parade, dances, a recreation of a traditional wedding ceremony and various craft demonstrations. It’s also an opportunity to buy arts and antiques at discounted prices.

    Jongmyo Daeje

    1 – 31 May 2015
    Website

    Venue: Jongmyo Jeongjeon Shrine, Jongno-gu.

    This ancestral rite has been performed for over 500 years, earning it an UNESCO World Heritage listing. The spirits of former kings and queens, believed to reside in tablets at Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul, are honoured with elaborate bowing and food-offering rituals from massed ranks in colourful traditional costumes.

    Boryeong Mud Festival

    18 – 27 July 2015
    Website

    Venue: Daecheon Beach, Seocheon-gun, Chungcheongnam-do.

    Two and a half hours south of Seoul, you can wallow in everything from therapeutic mud massage to mud-sliding at this spectacularly dirty and fun festival held each July on Daecheon Beach – the longest on Korea’s West coast. The mud is rich in minerals and said to be good for the skin. Most participants will want to bring a swimsuit they won’t care to ever wear again and plan on being covered in mud from head to toe.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Flight and accommodation

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Seoul

    ListMap

    Seoul enjoys some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, but there are also plenty of cheaper options, such as traditional hanok guesthouses.

    Myeong-dong is the hectic central district, but for somewhere quieter try Bukchan-dong and Samcheong-dong.

    Banyan Tree Club & Spa

    60 Jang Chung Dan-Ro, Jung-Gu
    100-857 Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Seoul’s ultimate in hotel luxury features private spa pools in each suite, and has spectacular views from its rooftop terrace.

    Shilla Seoul

    202, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga
    Jung-gu, Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    With its elegant style, impeccable service and peaceful grounds, the Shilla is a cosy haven.

    Best Western Premier Gangnam

    205-9 Nonhyun-dong
    Gangnam-gu 135-826
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    A dependable business hotel in the heart of lively Gangnam.

    Ibis Ambassador

    Daechi-dong
    Gangnam-gu Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This centrally located modern hotel features a spa and international restaurant.

    K-Pop Residence Chungmuro

    94-1 Inhyeon-dong 1ga, Jung-gu
    100-282 Seoul
    South Korea
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    Its rooms are small but spotless, and with breakfast included this central hotel is good value for money.

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Friday, 31.10.2014 18:00

    cloudy

    temperature


    16°C


    61°F

    wind direction

    north

    wind speed

    0 mph

    humidity

    68%

    7 days forecast

    Saturday

    01.11.2014

    18°C / 13°C

    64°F / 55°F

    Sunday

    02.11.2014

    14°C / 5°C

    57°F / 41°F

    Monday

    03.11.2014

    12°C / 3°C

    54°F / 37°F

    Tuesday

    04.11.2014

    16°C / 5°C

    61°F / 41°F

    Wednesday

    05.11.2014

    16°C / 8°C

    61°F / 46°F

    Thursday

    06.11.2014

    16°C / 8°C

    61°F / 46°F

    Friday

    07.11.2014

    16°C / 6°C

    61°F / 43°F

    Climate & best time to visit South Korea

    Moderate climate with four seasons, making any season a fine time to visit as long as you wear appropriate clothing. The hottest part of the year is during the rainy season between July and August, and the coldest is December to February. Occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods. Spring and autumn are mild and mainly dry and are generally considered the best times to visit.

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    14 °C

    57.2 °F

    -22 °C

    -7.6 °F

    17 °C

    62.6 °F

    -19 °C

    -2.2 °F

    22 °C

    71.6 °F

    -14 °C

    6.8 °F

    29 °C

    84.2 °F

    -4 °C

    24.8 °F

    34 °C

    93.2 °F

    1 °C

    33.8 °F

    37 °C

    98.6 °F

    9 °C

    48.2 °F

    37 °C

    98.6 °F

    12 °C

    53.6 °F

    38 °C

    100.4 °F

    13 °C

    55.4 °F

    35 °C

    95 °F

    3 °C

    37.4 °F

    30 °C

    86 °F

    -5 °C

    23 °F

    25 °C

    77 °F

    -11 °C

    12.2 °F

    17 °C

    62.6 °F

    -23 °C

    -9.4 °F

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    23 mm

    25 mm

    47 mm

    94 mm

    92 mm

    134 mm

    369 mm

    294 mm

    169 mm

    49 mm

    53 mm

    22 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    5 h

    6 h

    6 h

    6 h

    7 h

    6 h

    3 h

    4 h

    5 h

    6 h

    5 h

    4 h

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    66 %

    65 %

    65 %

    63 %

    64 %

    73 %

    82 %

    79 %

    73 %

    68 %

    67 %

    67 %

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    5 °C

    41 °F

    4 °C

    39.2 °F

    4 °C

    39.2 °F

    8 °C

    46.4 °F

    10 °C

    50 °F

    18 °C

    64.4 °F

    21 °C

    69.8 °F

    24 °C

    75.2 °F

    21 °C

    69.8 °F

    18 °C

    64.4 °F

    13 °C

    55.4 °F

    7 °C

    44.6 °F

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ depositdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan14 °C-22 °C0 °C-7 °C66 %23 mm35.2 h
    Feb17 °C-19 °C3 °C-5 °C65 %25 mm36.0 h
    Mar22 °C-14 °C9 °C0 °C65 %47 mm66.4 h
    Apr29 °C-4 °C16 °C6 °C63 %94 mm66.6 h
    May34 °C1 °C23 °C12 °C64 %92 mm77.4 h
    Jun37 °C9 °C26 °C17 °C73 %134 mm96.1 h
    Jul37 °C12 °C28 °C21 °C82 %369 mm143.9 h
    Aug38 °C13 °C29 °C22 °C79 %294 mm104.9 h
    Sep35 °C3 °C25 °C16 °C73 %169 mm75.9 h
    Oct30 °C-5 °C19 °C9 °C68 %49 mm56.7 h
    Nov25 °C-11 °C11 °C2 °C67 %53 mm55.0 h
    Dec17 °C-23 °C3 °C-4 °C67 %22 mm54.6 h
    year38 °C-23 °C16 °C7 °C69 %1370 mm805.7 h

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing code: +82

    Telephone

    Public telephones are not ideal for making international calls, and a number of rip off “phone cards” are available on the street or even the airport itself. Your best and least expensive bet is to use Skype or another voice-over-ip (Voip) service to call home from one of the innumerable internet cafes.

    Mobile Telephone

    Native cellphone service is so good in South Korea that many Koreans do not know the meaning of the term “dropped call,” but international calls and roaming can be prohibitively expensive. You may still have to hire a relevant Korean handset even though your SIM card works. Cellphones can be easily rented at airport kiosks or at offices in Seoul.

    Internet

    Internet is widely available in Korea. The country is one of the highest user of internet in the world; according to the OECD, Korea’s population has the highest number of wireless broadband subscriptions. There are internet cafes around the country in public places such as airports, train stations and bus terminals in Korea. ‘PC bangs’ are rooms full of computers, predominantly started for people to play games. They are cheap and many are open 24 hours a day, with snacks available.

    Flight and accommodation

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    Shopping in Seoul

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Seoul is truly a shoppers’ heaven, particularly for exotic foodie delights (though pet lovers may wish to avoid the dog meat delicacies). Myeong-dong is good for general stores, Insadong has specialist shops – particularly for antiques and furniture – and the city’s traditional markets are major attractions in their own right.

    Markets

    Seoul’s traditional neighbourhood markets are too numerous to list, but a couple of gems worth seeking out are Gwangjang Market, 6-1 Yeji-dong, Jongno-gu, which has everything from fresh produce to tailor-made clothes, and Namdaemun Sijang, by the Great South Gate, which has hundreds of stalls, selling bric-a-brac, seafood snacks and more.

    Shopping Centres

    Shinsegae, in Jung-gu is one of the biggest malls, with top-name designer brands; a couple of others worth checking out are Dongdaemun in Jongno-gu, and Kyungbang Times Square in Yeongdeungpo-gu.

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Shoes must be removed before entering a Korean home. Small gifts are customary; traditional etiquette requires using the right hand for giving and receiving. Seniority should always be respected – don’t eat before the oldest person at the table has started.  Koreans often ask your age and marital status to quickly gauge societal seniority. They can be very reserved, shy and resistant of body contact until they get to know you.

    Never leave chopsticks in your rice, and never beckon anyone with palm up using one finger, as this is the way Koreans call their dogs.

    Writing someone’s name in red is bad as this symbolises death. The number four is considered unlucky and to give gifts in multiples of four is considered taboo; giving seven of an item is considered lucky.

    Traditional costume, or hanbok, is mainly worn on holidays and special occasions. For men it consists of a short jacket and loose trousers, called baji, that are tied at the ankles. Women’s hanboks comprise a wrap-around skirt and a bolero-style jacket and is often called a chima-jeogori.

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know

    Health

    Food & Drink

    Though tap water is potable and thus safe to drink, tourists often avoid it due to taste. Bottled water is available, as is powdered or tinned milk. Korean cuisine is rich and varied and as such, includes all sorts of raw, uncooked, or undercooked meats, seafoods, and delicacies. Use common sense when ordering. Those with health concerns may want to exercise caution and avoid unpasteurised milk and products made from it, such as ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked, fruit peeled. Food from street vendors is usually safe but should be eaten at your own risk.

    Other Risks

    Japanese encephalitis may be transmitted by mosquitoes between June and October in rural areas. A vaccine is available, and travellers are advised to consult their doctor prior to departure. Hepatitis B is highly endemic. Tuberculosis occurs. Rabies may be present. For those at high risk, vaccination should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

    Flight and accommodation

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