Seoul’s chaotic crowds and gray concrete skyline can feel each overwhelming and bland. But the faintest exploration quickly reveals one of Asia’s coolest cities. Seoul offers up a life-time’s worth of discovery and enjoy. It’s a town in which you could consume like a king and party like a university freshman, then recharge in a quiet mountain temple or a 24-hour sauna. It’s a neon-soaking wet megacity that by no means shuts down, a historical city rich in culture and the excessive-tech center of Asia’s gaming and popular culture. If you may locate what you’re seeking out in Seoul, it probably can’t be observed.

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The community surrounding Korea’s main art college is likewise home to the kingdom’s biggest underground tune scene. Hongdae clubs like FF and Freebird characteristic neighborhood, expat and worldwide bands from throughout Northeast Asia, even as bars like Jebi Dabang host small indicates on intimate hollow-in-the-wall stages and in hidden basement areas. Hongdae bands test with the whole lot conceivable—jazz, hardcore, punk, rock, folk, even ska. You’re in all likelihood to find a new preferred band or a whole new sound.

 

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Korean food is an entity in itself, and a walk via the sprawling Gwangjang market presents a difficult-and-rapid introduction. Vendors sell mounds of cabbage kimchi, barrels of pink peppers, bricks of fermented soybean and piles of obvious stingrays. Stalls sell meals, too; Gwangju’s specialty is mung bean pancakes. The beans are ground on a stone mill and fried properly in front of you. You can also strive sundae, a noodle sausage made with pig’s blood, and Ddeokbokki, a dish of rice cakes in pink pepper sauce. It’s a Korean comfort meals type of like mac and cheese, handiest highly spiced and chewy.

Seoul is defined through its mountains, and the city has grown up around them. Namsan is a green retreat within the bodily middle of Seoul and offers awesome perspectives from N Seoul Tower on the top. Bukhansan National Park is a towering mountain range effortlessly placed in the metropolis’s outer limits—you can certainly get there on the subway. Bukhansan has a complex network of honestly marked trails that climb through forested slopes, hovering granite peaks and hidden temples.

In Korea, gaming is an excessive hobby, big business, and a thriving professional game. Seoul’s Yongsan e-Sports Stadium is in the middle of all of it. This huge complicated is the setting for nearby and global suits of League of Legends, StarCraft and a number of different games. Matches take region on stages with large screens, entire with cheering enthusiasts, mascots, and cheerleaders. For e-sports activities fans, this is Woodstock and Mecca mixed. For all people else, it’s an entire world you by no means knew existed.

Seoul becomes the seat of royal power in the course of Korea’s lengthy Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), and the city has several places as evidence. Few of the buildings are original (maximum of Seoul’s in large part timber history became destroyed by way of fires or bombed flat for the duration of the Korean War) however they may be trustworthy reconstructions. Less visited than the primary Palace, Changgyeonggung has beautiful buildings with colorfully painted beams, tiled rooftops and ornate decorations. It additionally has a nonviolent park with a Victorian-style greenhouse.

Seoul’s records have commonly been knocked down and remade in concrete and glass. Exploring the timber houses and narrow streets of Bukchon exhibits what the town would possibly have seemed like 600 years ago. Here artisans make soju and rice wine the old school manner, and conventional wood hook homes have been converted into galleries, cafes, and artsy shops. The neighborhood is a remarkable spoil from Seoul’s countless city rush.