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Book a flight to Seoul with Qatar Airways and visit South Korea's capital city, home to over 11.8 million people. This cultural epicentre of East Asia is constantly evolving, and is becoming an urban oasis of design, culture and history. Seoul is a 24-hour metropolis, from its temples and night markets to museums, galleries and teahouses.
An addictive blend of technology and ancient tradition, scrape the surface and you'll discover there's far more to Seoul than first meets the eye. Fly to Seoul with Qatar Airways and discover for yourself what makes South Korea's capital so fascinating.
The city is divided into 25 sub-districts and there's no true 'centre' – Gangnam and Jongno/Jung-gu are probably where you'll spend most of your time on any trip to Seoul. Seoul is home to five major palaces. Gyeongbok-gung is the grandest Josean Dynasty-era palace in the city, home to the Korean Folk Museum and the Josean Palace Museum. UNESCO World Heritage Site Changdeok-gung, built in 1405 can be accessed via guided tour.
Head for N. Seoul Tower at sunset for stunning views of the city skyline, or stroll around Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple. Founded in AD 794, it offers an escape from the chaotic city centre. It's also well worth visiting Bukchon (North Village), where you can see traditional Korean 'hanok' houses.
Pack a picnic and explore the city's parks. Seoul Forest covers 1.15 million square metres and is the metropolitan government’s answer to Central Park in New York City. Or you could just hire a bike and take in the pretty scenery near Han River Park. If you fancy immersing yourself in Korean culture then there’s no better way of doing it than taking a cooking course at Hansik Experience Centre. Here you can learn how to make the hugely popular dish of Kimchi for yourself.
A day spent exploring the city's temples is a day well spent, particularly if you head for Mount Inwang, where you'll find a temple and the city's most famous shrine set in the hills, with plenty of trails to explore. Arrive in the early morning if you want to soak up the peaceful atmosphere. Hiking is also a popular pastime here, with most trails accessible by public transport. Mount Bukhan is the most popular trail, and can be reached from Dobongsan Station.
When you visit Seoul, you'll see Korean social life often revolves around food. This is evident in the range of restaurants on offer in the city. It's possible to eat very well for an affordable price and as well as Korean food, Japanese sushi and sashimi restaurants in Seoul are usually excellent.
Street food stalls and 24-hour Korean fast-food restaurants offer a great opportunity to sample a wide variety of local cuisine, including ramyeon (Korean instant noodles) and Kimchi (fermented pickled vegetables, hot, spicy and the country’s national dish – you’ll find Kimchi sold everywhere). Korean BBQ restaurants are a popular choice and a great place to mingle with locals. Hanjeongsik, a multicourse Korean banquet, is an all-time favourite, it is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the appetite.
You'll find plenty of international cuisine on offer too, from Asian and Western to Italian, French and American.
Shopping in Seoul is more than just a pastime, it's an art form! The city's markets sell everything from electronics (try Yongsan Electronics Market and Techno Mart) to women's fashion. Namdaemun is the largest traditional street market in Korea and a popular tourist spot. As well as local food and textile goods, you'll find utensils, electronics, local produce and traditional crafts sold at majorly discounted prices here, and it's a popular spot for experiencing the feel of a Korean traditional marketplace.
Also worth exploring is Dongdaemun market, home to the largest clothing supplier, where aspiring young Korean fashion designers make their debut and test their skills. You can find the newest fashion trends, along with the latest fabrics, accessories and clothes at attractive and affordable prices. Most shops here are open all night and crowded by wholesalers and tourists year around.
For cultural souvenirs and art, Insadong market is filled with shops and art galleries. Major Korean brands and international brands can be found at Apgujeong (known as the 'Beverly Hills of Seoul') or Myeongdong. Korean fashion can sometimes be a little 'out-there', especially in areas such as Hongdae, close to the art school, where you'll often find customised and vintage outfits.
Flights to Seoul with Qatar Airways arrive at Incheon International Airport, the country's largest airport, situated on Yeongjong Island.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Seoul please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: South Korean Won (KRW)
Voltage: 220 V 60 Hz
Plugs: Type C / F
International dialing code: +82