Seoul : The Capital City of South Korea where History and Modernization Meet

Seoul is the capital city of the Republic of Korea, generally known as South Korea. The largest metropolis of the country, Seoul is officially dubbed as the Seoul Special Metropolitan City. Seoul is rich in history and culture but it is also teeming with modernization as seen in its towering structures and economy. On this article, we are going to take a peek at the wonder of Seoul by identifying ten of the best sightseeing destinations which could be found in the city.

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Seoul : The Capital City of South Korea where History and Modernization Meet:table of contents

1. Bukhansan National Park

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The first sightseeing destination in Seoul on our list is the Bukhansan National Park. The name Bukhansan is a Korean word which means mountains north of the Han River. The national park consists of forested areas, granite peaks, and majestic temples. Three main peaks could be found in the park. These include the Baekundae, Insubong, and the Mangnyeongdae. There are also various trails which sightseeing tourists could visit. Upon sightseeing around the park, you will also be witnessing the Bukhansanseong Fortress together with its long defensive wall. It would be interesting to go sightseeing around this park in Seoul.

2. The War Memorial of Korea

The War Memorial of Korea is a memorial center that could be found in Korea. It was constructed for the purpose of preventing another war by presenting lessons from the Korean war and for the reunification. The memorial building consists of six indoor exhibition rooms and an outdoor exhibition center which displays military equipment and war memorabilia. The War Memorial of Korea opened in 1994 on the previous site of the army headquarters in order to memorialize and exhibit the military history of Korea. This is a worth visit when sightseeing in Seoul.

3. Dongdaemun


The Dongdaemun Market, otherwise known as Tongdaemun or simply Dongdaemun, is an expansive commercial district in Seoul that consists of traditional markets and shopping centers. It has been designated as a Special Tourism Zone in 2002 because it is a famous shopping and sightseeing destination in Seoul. The market sells various types of goods but notably fabric and silks, shoes, clothes, and leather goods, among others. There are also food areas which specialize in Korean cuisine. You could even try their Korean snacks such as Sundae and mandu.

4. National Museum of Korea

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The National Museum of Korea is a museum in Seoul that showcases the rich history and art of Korea. Since its foundation in 1945, this flagship museum has become committed to various research and studies in the fields of history, archaeology, and art. The museum has been divided into three floors. Each floor showcases various exhibits which you could witness when sightseeing around the museum. The ground floor contains gardens of indigenous plants, a collection of pagodas, and parks, among others. The first floor consists of the Prehistory and Ancient History Gallery. The second floor contains the Calligraphy and Painting Gallery. The third floor comprises the Sculpture and Crafts Gallery.

5. Hangang Park

After a stressful day of sightseeing around the city of Seoul, you may want to relax and unwind at Hangang Park. This is a series of 12 parks which were built between 1982 and 1986. The parks are as follows: Jamsil Park, Gwangnaru Park, Jamwon Park, Ttukseom Park, Banpo Park, Ichon Park, Yeouido Park, Mangwon Park, Gangseo Park, Nanji Park, Seonyudo Park, and Yanghwa Park. When sightseeing around the park, you will find an environment-friendly space where you could enjoy. Aside from sightseeing, you could also enjoy other activities such as skateboarding, hiking, biking, and swimming.

6. Changdeokgung Palace

The Changdeokgung Palace, or simply Changdeokgung which literally means Prospering Virtue Palace, is a palace that could be found in Seoul. It is one of the structures dubbed as, "Five Grand Palaces," which was built by various kings of the Joseon Dynasty. When sightseeing around the palace, you may want to visit several structures of special interest including the Donwamun Gate, the Geumcheongyo Bridge, the Injeongjeon Hall, the Seonjeongjeon Hall, the Huijeongdang Hall, the Daejojeon Hall, the Juhamnu Pavilion, and the Yeon-gyeongdang Residence. The Changdeokgung Palace was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

7. Seoul Forest

Photo by CJ Nattanai/

The Seoul Forest is another place where you could feel the gush of fresh air when you are in Seoul. This is a large park in Seoul with over 400,000 trees and 100 different animals. The park was once a royal hunting forest. Later on, it became the first water purification plant in the area in 1908. Eventually, it became a golf course and a racecourse. At present, the Seoul Forest has been transformed into an expansive park with a large amount of trees and a lake where sightseeing tourists and locals could breathe in the air offered by the environment.

8. Gyeongbokgung Palace

The Gyeongbokgung Palace, or simply called Gyeongbokgung, is a palace in Seoul which was built in 1395 during the Joseon dynasty. It is the largest of the palaces dubbed as the, "Five Grand Palaces." It served as the house of the Kings of the Joseon dynasty. It also became the home of the government of Joseon. It had a rich history under its helm, having been burned during the Imjin War and destroyed by Imperial Japan in the early 20th century. At present, it has become one of the most beautiful palaces in Seoul after reconstructions. It currently contains the National Folk Museum and the National Palace Museum of Korea.

9. N Seoul Tower

The N Seoul Tower, officially known as the YTN Seoul Tower and commonly known as Seoul Tower or the Namsan Tower, is an observation and communication tower that could be found at the Namsan Mountain in Seoul. It is the second highest point in the city at 236 meters high. Constructed in 1971, the tower is the country's first general radio wave tower. Sightseeing tourists could avail of a ride on the Namsan cable car up to Mount Namsan to be able to walk the tower. There are also a lot of cafes and restaurants at the tower.

10. Bukchon Hanok Village

The Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village that could be found in Seoul. Located between the Changdeok Palace, the Gyeongbok Palace, and the Jongmyo Royal Shrine, the Bukchon Hanok Village consists of many preserved alleys that showcase the 600-year-old urban environment of Seoul. At present, it is used as a traditional culture center and a hanok restaurant. Sightseeing tourists will be able to experience the environment and the ambiance of the Joseon dynasty on this village.

◎ Closing

Being a metropolitan city, Seoul really has a lot of sightseeing destinations to offer: from majestic palaces to colorful structures. Grab your ramyeon and kim chi as you explore the rich and beautiful city of Seoul.