Gyeongbokgung Palace

625575_3921788214794_1436911079_nAside from being the economic heart of Korea, Seoul boasts many of the nation’s greatest historic sites. History buffs and aficionados will definitely want to visit Gyeongju city in the northern part of Gyeongsang Province for a greater in-depth look at Korea’s history, however Seoul should not be overlooked for its own historical exploits.

Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of Korea’s must see historic sites, and it is easily accessible via subway, bus, or taxi. Gyeongbokgung Palace is just a short walk from the Gyeongbokgung Subway Station or even Gwangwhamun Station. Tickets are a modest 3000 KRW (about 3 USD) and the palace is closed every Tuesday so plan accordingly. I recommend going earlier in the day to make sure you can see everything before closing time which varies between 5:00pm and 6:30pm depending on the season. Near Gyeongbokgung Palace you can also visit the statue of King Sejong, the creator of Hangul (the Korean written language) or just take a stroll around Gwanghwamun Square and its gardens and fountains.

45101_1474847042794_7504989_nGyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 under the Joseon Dynasty. It is the largest of the “Five Grand palaces” built during the Joseon Dynasty and is widely considered to be the most beautiful. It was rebuilt in 1867 after being burned to the ground during the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592. Within the palace walls and behind Gwanghwamun gate you’ll be able to see the grand courtroom, the royal living quarters, as well as multiple reflecting pools and gardens. Be sure to see as much of the palace as possible as there are many wonderful photo opportunities to be had inside the palace. Guided tours are also available in English, Chinese, and Japanese but you’ll have to check the official website for more information

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Whether you are coming to Korea for a short trip or will be staying for much longer, don’t miss out on one of Korea’s most important and historical landmarks. Its location is convenient for an afternoon trip and there are few other places that allow you to experience Korea’s rich history from one of its most prominent and influential dynastic periods on such a grand scale.


Seoul N Tower – Romance in Seoul

While Seoul might not be the first city in the world one thinks of when making a list of romantic capitals around the globe, romance is definitely alive here in Seoul. Seoul N Tower – formerly known as Namsan Tower—is the face of romance here in Seoul. No matter what time of day and no matter what time of year, Seoul N Tower is always full of couples of all ages.

261292_2003416456699_6796970_nUpon arriving at the top of Namsan Mountain and the base of Seoul N Tower,  it is easy to see why this place has become a popular date place for Korean couples and foreign couples alike. Seoul N tower offers one of the best views of Seoul—a 360 degree view of the entire city. It is especially beautiful at night. Just be sure to go when the weather is good and the sky is clear.

Seoul N Tower can be reached via bus or cable car near Myeongdong Station. If the weather is nice enough, you can also walk to the top of Namsan Mountain on a surprisingly quiet path considering that Namsan Mountain lies in the heart of one of Seoul’s busiest and most popular districts. Personally I prefer to take the cable car up and then walk down so that I can appreciate the view and the trees without losing my breath climbing up.

270253_2018077423214_6588962_nLike nearly all major landmarks in cities around the world, Seoul has capitalized on Seoul N Tower’s location and atmosphere, so there is no shortage of things to do while at the top of Namsan Mountain. Here you’ll find multiple coffee shops, gift shops, and even a small but welcoming wine bar. If you take the elevator up to the top you can view Seoul from the observation deck which provides the best view from the tower while grabbing a coffee or writing a post card. There are also multiple restaurants at the top of the tower, Hancook offers Korean food with a very worth-worthwhile buffet, n. GRILL offers a fine French dining experience, and THE PLACE offers a more casual Italian dining experience. Prices are not cheap but then again you are paying for the view and the experience. My personal recommendation is to go to Hancook. The Korean food might not be as delicious as some other restaurants in Seoul but the view can’t be beat and it is more affordable at about 40,000 KRW per person. When considering that this also includes the ticket up to the observation deck it is not a bad deal at all.

268503_2018076703196_7801646_nAt the base of the tower you will also have the opportunity to participate in the “locks of love” tradition. This practice has been popular throughout history and in all different countries. The act requires that a couple, or in some cases friends, purchase two locks and write messages to each other or promises to each other, after which the couple locks the padlocks together and onto a fence or in the case of Seoul N Tower, onto one of the many love lock trees. Although some may deem this kind of gesture to be childish, when standing in a forest of love lock trees one cannot help but be compelled to do the same, especially if you visit the tower with that special someone.

In short, Seoul N Tower is a great place for couples but also a great place to visit for anyone who wants to see Seoul from one of its greatest vantage points. Do not miss out on one of Seoul’s most famous and most beautiful locations. 264025_2003417656729_525333_n