Seoul is a well-reputed global metropolis at the forefront of technology, international affairs, finance and commerce. Aside from being the capital and economic centre of South Korea, Seoul is also the country’s cultural and political heart.
The region is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Changdeokgung, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty – over 100 museums, a myriad of high profile sporting stadiums and no less than 16 universities. An interesting and multifaceted city, Seoul features vibrant dining, entertainment and shopping scenes, and is abuzz with things to see and do.
Population: Approx. 10.5 million
Area: 605.28 km2
Time Zone: GMT +9
Languages: Korean (official)
Currency: Korean Won (KRW)
Electricity: 220V 60Hz
Seoul has a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons. Summer is generally hot and humid. The East Asian monsoon hits throughout June and July, bringing heavy rainfall. August is the warmest month of the year, averaging temperatures between 22.4°C to 29.6°C. In contrast winter is cold and much drier. January temperatures average between -5.9°C to 1.5°C. Seoul receives an average of 28 days of snow annually. Spring is an ideal to visit, as temperatures are warm and cherry blossoms bloom in late April. Autumn is also pleasant.
Name: Incheon International Airport (ICN)
Address: 424-47 Gonghang-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
Location: Incheon International Airport is located in Incheon, 48km of west of Seoul.
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Bus: Tickets can be purchased for regular bus services to various destinations around the city.
Train: Trains run between Incheon International Airport and Seoul Station. The express train takes 43 minutes. The commuter train makes stops at major stations between the airport and the city, and takes 53 minutes.
Taxi: Taxi stands are located on the arrival level (1F) at the passenger terminal between platform 4D and 8C. Standard taxi fare from the airport into Seoul is approx. 2,400 KRW.
5 Star Property
The JW Marriott Hotel Seoul is ideally situated for business and leisure travellers, just a short distance from the famous business and entertainment district of Gangnam. Offering scenic river and mountain views, the hotel’s 500 rooms are conveniently equipped with cable TV, high speed wireless internet and voicemail facilities.
5 Star Property
The Park Hyatt Seoul Hotel is conveniently located in the financial district of Gangnam. The hotel offers 24-hour room service, four onsite restaurant and bar areas, with Korean, Japanese, and international cuisine. Guests can relax and unwind with features like an indoor swimming pool, gym, spa and sauna.
4 Star Property
Situated in the heart of Seoul, the Ramada Hotel and Suites are close to city hotspots like Namdaemun market, Myeongdong, Itaewon and Insa-dong. Ideal for business and leisure travellers, the hotel features conference facilities and a business centre, along with high speed internet access, a steam room and currency exchange services.
4 Star Property
Hotel La Casa Seoul is located in the Gangnam district, providing easy access to some of the city’s best dining, shopping and entertainment districts. Rooms are equipped with modern amenities such as iPod docking stations, cable TV and wireless internet access. Business guests can make full use of the hotel’s business centre and facilities.
3 Star Property
The Hotel Victoria Seoul is close to many of the city’s famous highlights. Shopping and dining hotspots like Namdaemun market, Myeongdong, and the Gangnam district are all within easy reach, and onsite facilities such as a business centre and conference rooms make this hotel perfect for travellers mixing business with leisure.
The abundance and diversity of dining options available in Seoul ensures visitors never go hungry. Sidewalk food vendors offer a great opportunity to experience traditional Korean cuisine at its cheapest and most convenient. While a huge variety of cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets serve fares from around the world.
Usually found around subway stations, Seoul’s street food vendors showcase some of the most delicious and authentic food in the city. The Hongdae area is particularly renowned for dishing up popular Korean specialties like kalbi (grilled marinated beef), kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), and bibimbap (a mixed rice dish). Vendors near Doota shopping mall are famous for gopchang (small intestines of ox or pig).
As equally authentic, Bukchon Hanok Village hosts the country’s largest remaining collection of traditional wooden houses, which serve old-fashioned Korean fare. While the unique region of Samcheong-dong indulges visitors in full-course Korean lunches.
Many of Seoul’s shopping districts also offer plenty of tastebud-rewarding experiences. Namdaemun market hosts dozens of food stalls. Itaewon bustles with travellers from around the world, exploring the area’s bars, clubs and restaurants. Myeongdong caters to all budgets and palates with Oriental, Western and European dining options. Insa-dong is abuzz with charming teahouses and cafes.
Seoul is a shopper’s paradise, offering endless opportunities to spend a Won. Featuring everything from high-end international fashion labels to traditional Korean furniture and artworks, the key to shopping in Seoul is to know where to go.
Myeongdong is one of Seoul’s hottest shopping districts, packed with department stores, shopping malls, brand-name stores and no-frills outlets. A one-stop shopping spot the district offers up an incredible array of goods, with something to appeal to all budgets. Most notably, the area is home to two of Seoul’s three major department stores, Shinsegae and Lotte.
The third, the Hyundai Town Shopping Mall, can be found nearby in Itaewon. An eclectic shopping destination, Itaewon features hundreds of smaller retailers, offering everything from furniture and tailored suits to jewellery and Korean pottery.
Big spenders are cater for in Gangnam-gu, a district made famous by South Korean rapper PSY. A bustling shopping and entertainment area, Gangnam-gu is one of Seoul’s wealthiest districts, overflowing with upscale department stores, shops and boutiques. Areas within the district, like Apgujeong-dong and Cheomdang-dong are popular haunts for the country’s rich and famous.
At the forefront of global technology Seoul is a great destination in which to test and buy the latest in computers and computer games. Gamers gather in Gangnam-gu at COEX, Asia’s largest underground shopping mall, to participate in gaming tournaments filmed for local television.
Traditional Korean crafts can be found in Insa-dong, Seoul’s art market, displaying paintings, sculptures and calligraphy; while Namdaemun market features thousands of stores filled with clothing, home wares, fabrics, jewellery, toys, accessories, and appliances. Namdaemun is particularly known for its range of women’s fashion and its ‘optician street’, where designer brand glasses and sunglasses are sold at discounted prices.