You’ll have to bear with me with this post. I am going to talk about the general sightseeing and everything that is not related to the previous 3 posts.
When I wasn’t doing tours and palaces, I was out in the sun wandering around and sightseeing.
I did a city sightseeing bus tour. It was with Seoul City Bus
The main place I visited was an area known as Gwanghwamun. It is generally considered the centre of downtown of Seoul.
This is where the sightseeing bus picks up and drops off. I decided to base around here since everything is so central to here.
From here I headed to the palaces, the sightseeing bus, Seoul Plaza, King Joseon statue, the Cheong-Gyecheon stream.
The first day I was here I saw a protest against rising food prices from corporations. Another day I saw a gathering of pro American, pro Israeli people. American, Korean, Israeli flags everywhere.
This is the place to gather to get everywhere else you may want to visit in Seoul.
Below are some pictures from this area.
Chenggyecheon is a stream and plaza just by Gwanghwamun. It was restored in 2005 and is the stream and plaza that is there today.
Pre 2005, the stream was still there but was covered by an overpass and very much hidden. The stream is criss-crossed by around 20+ bridges.
The Rhythmic Wall stream is lined with marble and sculptures. This is definitely a must if you go to Seoul. The area is crowded, but peaceful at the same time if you tune in to the waterfall and flowing water.
The plaza itself is a hive of activity and never sleeps. You can see the water and lights here at night. It makes for an impressive view.
When I was there, I noticed that at the base of the purple sculpture is a pond (of sorts) and this then flows down a gulley in the path to the pond (of sorts) before the waterfall. As I love water, I was mesmerised by the stream flowing down the gulley and the mini fountains that feed in to the waterfall.
Below are some pictures from Chenggyecheon.
One of my favourite parts of the trip was a visit to the N Seoul Tower.
The views from the top of the mountain and then the top of the tower were awesome.
It’s hard to describe the views. You get a 360 degree view of Seoul from the tower.
The sightseeing bus took a tough climb up to the stop by the base of the tower. It was chugging along like an old man walking along the street.
The lift to take you to the top of the tower is not fun if you don’t care for shaky lifts. You are told to look up on the ride to the top and the lift shakes as it shows you going through space. It was not for me at all.
At the top, they tell you that on a clear day you can see the mountains of North Korea. The windows around the tower are labelled with cities and the distance from the tower.
Below are some pictures from the tower.
As I was passing through here on the sightseeing bus, the guide said that Itaewon was a specially designated tourist zone of Seoul. After hearing that, I decided that I should come back here and have a look around (that and there was a Dairy Queen here! Who doesn’t love a DQ Blizzard)
I decided to take the Metro out here (35 minutes and 1 change to get here) and have a wander around.
There are a lot of shops here – souvenir and big name brands. You could definitely tell it was geared for tourists.
As I was walking around, I could see on the path there were plaques stating ‘Hello’ from various countries around the world. I though that was pretty cool.
Itaewon is built on a hill so the legs got quite a workout, but along with that some impressive views.
In case you were wondering, I did stop for a Blizzard. It was every bit as good as I could remember too!
When I was in DQ, there were a couple of people in there having an argument and hitting each other. I couldn’t tell if it was a dwarf couple or kids. I was assured they were kids. Annoying nonetheless!
Below are some pictures from Itaewon.
One of the other places I wanted to go was Gangnam after having seen it on the sightseeing bus.
The architecture and shopping looked pretty good (the bus itself not so much as it wasn’t open top).
When I did the tour here, the bus was crammed and the they didn’t do a frequent service so it only got more full. The one spare seat was next to me and this guy got on and practically sat right on me. I moaned about him squashing me and his response was ‘The bus is full’. I got that, but he didn’t have to sit practically on me. He didn’t even buy me dinner! Haha
Right by Gangnam station there is a sign and podium for Gangnam Style, giving you the option to dance it. Ha. Not a chance!
I did buy a decent power bank and fan from here though. There was a market in between the entrances/exits for the Metro. Pretty huge market too. LOTS OF PEOPLE!
Below are some pictures from Gangnam.
South Korea loves food. The only problem I found was that they love seafood more than anything.
There were lots of squid and octopus places that really didn’t sound appealing. They also love noodles.
I couldn’t find anywhere that just sold plain rice either. I was craving some plain rice but I was out of luck.
Luckily I found some chicken places and some western foods like McDonald’s, Subway (mouthwateringly expensive), Burger King that did the trick for me.
One thing I thought was pretty cool was that whenever you had a drink that you had to take away, they gave you a little plastic bag to put it in so you didn’t have to hold the cup and risk spilling the drink inside.
I’m hoping I came back with less weight because I didn’t eat a lot out there.
Below are pictures of some of the foods they served in Seoul.
Public transport in Seoul is very reliable and efficient – but VERY overcrowded.
Whenever there is a seat free, it is a race to get it before anyone else does. The seats are very cosy too. You practically sit on your neighbour (well, you do if you are not of a local size!)
In the heat, the Metro is very welcome as it has air con all throughout. There is also wifi and you never really get any black spots in the tunnels. Very tech savvy!
The Metro also looks after the infirm, elderly, disabled, pregnant. There are set seats for these people near the doors. In each carriage, there are 2 pink seats that are designated for pregnant women. Everybody I saw vacated these when a pregnant woman got on.
One thing I did notice is that everyone queued in an orderly fashion for the metro. There was no pushing and shoving and it was quite pleasant.
The metro also make it easy to know which direction the train is coming from as they play different tones depending on the direction and you will also know if you are at an interchange station as that plays a tone too.
Below are some pictures and videos of the metro.
Interchange Station melody
Left Platform melody
Right Platform melody
You can view the rest of my Seoul pictures here