Top areas in Seoul
Seoul is one of the world’s great metropolises, second only to Tokyo in terms of population density. One out of every four South Koreans live in the city center, a figure that rises to one out of two if the greater metropolitan area is included. As capital of the 11th-largest economy in the world, Seoul’s financial successes are staggering, but six centuries worth of history are also here to explore.
Sites in Seoul include five royal palaces that served various dynasties throughout the ages. Built in 1405, Changdeok-gung World Heritage Site is the best of these. It’s joined by a host of other historical attractions that include Buddhist temples, royal shrines, and a few world-class museums. The DMZ (de-militarized zone) doesn’t have any hotels of its own, but it’s an ideal daytrip destination from hotels near Seoul. Tourists can also use Seoul as a base for ski outings in Ganwon-do or for sightseeing in the UNESCO World Heritage village, Suwon.
Old and new come together in Seoul’s shopping scene, where traditional markets and ultra-modern shopping malls compete for consumers’ attention. Insadong Market is famous across South Korea, and it specializes in gift shops, art galleries and traditional tea shops. The best up-market shopping is at Myeongdong, where many Western-style hotels are based. Itaewon is also a great area for shopping.
Seoul’s modern advances are clearest in neighborhoods like Gangnam, where upscale dining and entertainment venues attract the city’s affluent and well-connected. This is also where the newest shops and hotels in Seoul are found.
Gateway to the South Korean capital is Seoul – Incheon International Airport, a massive three-terminal facility that sees 30 million passengers every year. It’s located on Yeongjong Island away from the city center, and the A’REX travels between these two in about 30 minutes. Given this distance, short-term travelers opt for the modern airport hotels.
For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Seoul, click on the interactive Seoul map on the left-hand side of the page.