A Travellerspoint blog

A fusion of Culture and Innovation

Seoul, South Korea

View Around the World! - Part 2 on Where2FromHere's travel map.

South Korea offers a captivating blend of modernity and tradition, where the cutting edge of technology coexists with the timeless allure of Confucian heritage. The Seoul Capital Area accounts for over 50% of South Korea's total population of 52 million, and a density of about 45,000 people per square mile! There are 31 bridges that connect the south and the north in the city of Seoul over the Han River.


Today's exploration of Seoul's cultural gems, from medieval fortresses to modern museums, has been a testament to the country's unique and multifaceted identity. Following a 90-minute drive from the port, we arrived at a location merely 15 miles away from the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), in the capital city of South Korea, Seoul. During our visit, we explored Seoul Sky, situated in the Lotte World Tower, which ranks as the world's fifth tallest building, standing at 123 stories and 1820 feet in height. The observatory offered an awe-inspiring 360-degree view of the city. Some of the above photos were take from the 120th floor. However, the journey back down proved to be the highlight, featuring an illuminated elevator ride.



Our subsequent destination was the captivating Bongeunsa Temple, a repository of over 3,000 Buddhist scriptures, decorated with vibrant lanterns and featuring a majestic 91-foot-high stone statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha.



Before our next stop, we indulged in some Korean cusine with a luncheon of delicious Korean-style pork barbecue.


After that, we proceeded to the National Museum of Korea, which showcases both traditional and modern Korean art, as well as numerous archaeological artifacts dating from the fifth to the 12th century. We spent some time in the Calligraphy and Painting Gallery, where we gained a deeper understanding of the elegance of traditional Korean paintings and calligraphy, expressed through brushstrokes and colors. We admired a range of exceptional calligraphic works and large Buddhist hanging scrolls used for outdoor rituals.


Leave it to Jeff to find an ancient saddle, armor for the warrier AND for the horse!

Our travel plan was to include a stop at the grand palace grounds, but due to the significant traffic congestion in Seoul, we arrived after it had already closed for the day. Despite this, I was able to take some photographs of the palace's exterior and the locals donning traditional Korean attire known as Hanbok as they exited the palace. Hanbok, which includes a blouse shirt or jacket (jeogori) and a wrap-around skirt (chima) for women, and a jeogori with loose-fitting trousers (baji) for men, is typically worn during festive events, celebrations, and ceremonies in South Korea.


The day was exhausting yet enlightening, reflecting on the nation's history and its strides in enhancing literacy rates, the remarkable advancements exemplified by companies like Hyundai and Samsung, and the deep respect for Buddhism proved to be captivating. Seoul's cleanliness, given its high population density, was commendable. However, the sheer magnitude of the city, coupled with the heavy traffic and the overwhelming number of people, would make the prospect of living there seem quite daunting.

Posted by Where2FromHere 07:33 Archived in South Korea

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