"Places to Visit in Seoul" Seoul Travelogue by syetan
Seoul Travel Guide: 3,200 reviews and 8,348 photos
I did the Han River cruise at about 7pm on a freezing cold January 2007 night (global warming my a*se!!). It is well worth it in the evening as the sunsets and the lights appear. I suppose it would have been better in summer but beggars can't be choosers....
The 1988 Seoul Olympic stadium is pretty central but is these days largely left alone, and only the neighbouring baseball stadium is used. They won't let you in but my girlfriend is pretty persuasive. Coming from a family with Olympic history (my dad ran in Tokyo 1964) I always make it a point to visit Olympic stadia. My grandfather was there in 1988 as part of the Asian Amateur Athletic Federation so hey, it's about time I made an appearance. Given the athletic gene skipped my generation, it's as close as I'll ever get to running on track.
The ancient palace that was destroyed by occupying Japanese forces is yet to be 100% restored. It's pretty close to the Blue House, where the present day President lives. The ticket entry gets you into this and another 2 neighbouring museum. Very cold in January...
The Football World Cup Stadium that hosted the opening match of the 2002 World Cup (go Senegal!!!) is not too near the city and is these days used as a market!!! To be fair Seoul FC play there too but apparently no one goes.
Capacity is surprisingly small, about 45000, though it is clear that the atmosphere generated can be very good, given the good design of the stadium. There is a World Cup museum inside, a must see for people like me but only if you're really keen. Next to it is a park that you must visit though-absolutely lovely.
Good location near Itaewon, the War Museum is huge-the 5 hours I spent there on a snow swept day was not enough time. There's an exhibition of big boys toys outside but it was too cold and slippery for me to see.
Inside, it tracks the history of conflicts in Korea in great, if not always 100% objective detail. Let's just say I'd hate to be a Japanese tourist in there. But it is a must see-Korea had long been the ham in a Chinese-Japanese sandwich and conflicts were common with them, but also within Koreans as well (which is quite well documented too). Even today, regionalism is still strong in Korea despite its small size.
The coverage of the Korean War is of course understandably rather myopic, but then again nationalism and history seem to very easily intertwine in Korea. It is strong in the south, imagine what it is like up north....
Namsan Tower gives you a decent overview of Seoul (it's so big with a decent level of air pollution I doubt you'll really get that great a view). I went both during the day and night and I liked the night view better. You can take a cable car to and fro or walk (it's a steep walk but going down is easy).
I quite liked the surrounding area as well, and is worth walking around. Well worth a visit.
syetan's Related Pages
Seoul Travel Guide
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