Streets lined with white cherry blossom trees, skyscrapers and heritage palaces with the beautiful river Han as the backdrop — the city of Seoul - is still virgin territory for most Indian tourists, who tend to look westwards for summer holidays. But Seoul offers a mix of tradition and modernity that is unique to great Asian cities.
** Places to visit:
Take a two-hour guided walk around this palace built in 1405. Your guide is also a storyteller who will tell you of many things fascinating and mysterious. Stroll around the beautiful secret garden with a pond.
Theatre lovers have to check out the famous non-verbal comic performance, Cook In. This highly energetic performance has the performers banging their utensils around rhythmically as a substitute for dialogue. No language barrier here.
A walk around this stream will leave you refreshed. Traditionally a place where women would wash clothes, this stream has been turned into one of the major tourist attractions of Seoul. You can also feast in one of the numerous restaurants along the stream.
This is your Janpath and Sadar Bazaar rolled in one, giving you an insight into the traditional shopping culture. Popular for its traditional eateries, gim (seaweed), ginseng, dried fish and other local goodies priced reasonably. Buy sea weed and dry sea food here.
The Lotte theme park and the Everland theme park are popular with kids. These places will leave you salivating with the smell of butterscotch-flavoured popcorn. The giant rollercoaster at Everland is a must-try.
Han river cruise:
This ferry ride will give you a view of the entire city. You can munch on a packet of prawn crackers or dry squid while gazing at the sights.
World Cup stadium:
History was created here for Koreans when the country entered the finals of the football World Cup in 2002. This huge stadium is a must-visit for football lovers. They also have a small shop selling T-shirts and football jerseys.
Port City of Busan:
Take the KTX, the bullet train, from Seoul station to get to Busan. The calm Haeundae Beach with the Pacific Ocean in the backdrop is beautiful. The Jagalchi market here will leave you dazed. Do try out the eateries for their fresh seafood — they take it out straight from the aquarium. If you have the stomach for it, try some grilled eel.
When in Korea, do as Koreans do.