Seoul: Interesting And Little Known Facts About Seoul

by Tsvete Popp
Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Welcome to Seoul!

Seoul, the vibrant capital and largest city of South Korea, offers a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. Nestled in the northwest part of the country along the picturesque Han River, Seoul boasts a rich history and a dynamic cultural scene.

As you explore this bustling metropolis, you’ll encounter remnants of its past as a vital trade hub with China. The Han River, once a bustling trade route, now flows peacefully through the city, symbolizing the unity and harmony of South Korea. Though no longer utilized for navigation due to its location near the border between North and South Korea, the river continues to enchant visitors with its serene beauty.

Officially known as Seoul Special Metropolitan City, this vibrant urban center beckons with its iconic landmarks, mouthwatering cuisine, and friendly locals. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of palaces, delve into traditional markets, and experience the city’s thriving K-pop culture. From the historic sites of Gyeongbokgung Palace to the modern marvels of Gangnam, Seoul offers an unforgettable journey through time and tradition.

Where to Stay in Seoul

As you would expect from a major Asian city, Seoul has no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. As always, I’d suggest you stay somewhere central, to make accessing all the attractions as easy as possible.

Best 3 Luxury Hotels in Seoul:

  • The Shilla Seoul: A prestigious luxury hotel offering elegant accommodations, exceptional service, and a range of top-notch amenities in the heart of Seoul.
  • Lotte Hotel Seoul: A landmark hotel known for its opulent interiors, world-class dining options, and stunning views of the city skyline.
  • Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul: An exquisite retreat featuring luxurious rooms, a serene spa, and panoramic views, providing an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city.

Best Middle-Class Hotels in Seoul:

  • ibis Styles Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong: A stylish and affordable hotel located in the vibrant Myeongdong district, offering comfortable rooms and convenient access to shopping and dining.
  • Fraser Place Central Seoul: A well-appointed hotel with spacious suites, modern amenities, and a central location, perfect for both business and leisure travelers.
  • Hotel28 Myeongdong: A boutique hotel with tastefully designed rooms, personalized service, and a prime location near popular attractions and lively street markets.

Best Hostels in Seoul:

  • Zaza Backpackers: A cozy and budget-friendly hostel in the heart of Hongdae, known for its lively atmosphere, friendly staff, and social events for guests.
  • Kimchee Downtown Guesthouse: A popular hostel offering clean and comfortable dormitory-style rooms, a communal kitchen, and a convenient location near major attractions.
  • Banana Backpackers: A welcoming hostel providing affordable accommodations, a relaxed vibe, and helpful staff, located in the vibrant Insadong neighborhood.

The best places to stay in Seoul are Hongdae, Insadong, Myeongdong and Gangnam. However, my suggestion would be to stay in Hongdae or Insadong. Insadong is located in the heart of Seoul, close to most major attractions, plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and street food options. Hongdae, on the other side, is a bustling university neighborhood which is the best choice if you are searching for a good nightlife and shopping area in Seoul.

Explore a wide range of hotels in Seoul here (

Explore a wide range of hotels in Seoul here (Tripadvisor)

Explore a wide range of hotels in Seoul here (Agoda)

Discover affordable hostels in Seoul here (Hostelworld)

Easily compare prices and book hotels in Seoul here (Hotellook)


Seoul Skyline

The city of Seoul is located in 24km from DMZ and 50 km from the border with North Korea.

The city is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome.

The capital of South Korea is bordered by eight mountains but Seoul itself is relatively flat because it is on the Han River plain. Its average elevation is 38 meters above sea level.

64% of South Korea is covered in forest. The country also has 2.413 km of seaside and nearly 3.000 small uninhabited islands just offshore.

Jogyesa Temple, Seoul

Jogyesa Temple

Ddong Café "Poop Cafe", Seoul

Ddong Café “Poop Cafe”

Bongeunsa Temple, Seoul

Bongeunsa Temple

Starfield Library, COEX Mall, Seoul

Starfield Library, COEX Mall

With a population of over ten million people, Seoul is considered a megacity. With a population of 10.208.302 the National Capital Area of the capital of South Korea is the second largest in the world.

The city has a population density of 44.776 people per square mile.

Seoul is considered a global Asian city and it is the centre of South Korea’s economy, culture, and politics.

The capital of South Korea is divided into 25 administrative divisions called gu. Each gu has its own government and is divided into several neighbourhoods called a dong.

The climate of Seoul is considered both humid subtropical and humid continental. What does it really mean is that the summer is hot and humid and the winter is usually cold and dry.

Changing of the Royal Guard at Deoksugung Palace, Seoul

Changing of the Royal Guard at Deoksugung Palace

#Changing of the Royal Guard at Deoksugung Palace, Seoul

Changing of the Royal Guard at Deoksugung Palace

Seoul Plaza

Seoul Plaza

Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul

Gwanghwamun Square

The city gets an average of 28 days of snow per year and the average temperature during January is -6°. In contrast, the average temperature during the summer months is 29°.

The settlement of the Han River area began around 4000 BC. In the year 18 BC, the kingdom of Baekje founded its capital city Wiryeseong (nowadays Seoul).

During the reign of Joseon Dynasty, the capital of Korea was renamed to “Hanyang” and later “Hanseong”. The present name “Seoul” is believed to have originated from the Korean word for the capital city “Seoraneol”.

Statue of King Sejong, Seoul

Statue of King Sejong

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace

Seoul, South Korea

Because of its very long history, the city is home to a number of historic sites and monuments. The Seoul National Capital Area has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 by King Taejo and is nowadays Seoul’s most popular attraction Gyeongbokgung Palace is also the largest and most striking of the Five Grand Palaces which houses more than 300 buildings, the National Folk Museum, and also the National Palace Museum.

Changdeokgung Palace is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal palaces in South Korea. Construction of Changdeok Palace began in the year 1405, and was completed in 1412. The Palace was burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and reconstructed in 1609 by King Seonjo and King Gwanghaegun.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village

In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize.

In 1910, the Japanese invasion took the regime of Korea and the city of Seoul. For 35 years Seoul was dominated by the Japanese colonial rule. During that time, the city became known as Gyeongseong.

In 1948, Korea was released from Japanese rule in 1945 and Seoul become the main capital again in 1953.

During the Korean War in 1950, North Korean troops occupied the city and almost the entire city was destroyed.

Namsangol Hanok Village, Seoul

Namsangol Hanok Village

Namsangol Hanok Village, Seoul

Namsangol Hanok Village

Gwangjang Market is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in South Korea. It has an area of 42.000 m² and is home to more than 5000 shops and the largest food alley in the capital of South Korea.

Dongdaemun Market in Seoul is the largest wholesale and retail shopping district in Korea! It has more than 30.000 fashion shops and 50.000 manufacturers most of which have 24/7 service.

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace

On March 14, 1951, the United Nations forces took control of Seoul and since then, the city has grown continuously.

After China and Japan, South Korea is the third-largest exporter in Asia and the seventh-largest in the world!

The city has become the headquarters for many international companies like Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia.

The capital city generates over 20% of South Korea’s gross domestic product. South Korea is a relatively small country but it has one of the biggest economies in the world with a GDP of $1.6 trillion, according to the latest ranking by the World Bank.

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace

Bukchon Hanok Village has the largest collection of privately owned Hanoks, or the traditional Korean homes with tiled roofs and stone floors. All 900 Hanoks were built during the reign of Joseon Dynasty.

The longest bridge fountain in the world is located on the Banpo Grand Bridge (1140 m) over the Han River in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

The Best View of Seoul from N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower

South Korea is the world’s leader in IT. It has the fastest average internet connection speed in the world! Its broadband adoption rate is about 28.4 megabits per second, which is way better than the internet connection speed in the United States, Hong Kong or Switzerland. Seoul also has the best 4G availability in the world.

Seoul is the breakdancing capital of the world. South Korea has been home to some of the world’s best break-dancers for years after break-dancing was introduced to the country in the 19’s by American soldiers.

Having some gardens, free showers, and sauna, Incheon International Airport in Seoul is home to one of the world’s best airports.

The Best View of Seoul from N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower

The Best View of Seoul from N Seoul Tower

The Best View of Seoul from N Seoul Tower

Korean BBQ in SeoulGyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

The most crowded flight path on Earth is found in South Korea!

Seoul has 24-hour study rooms as education is one of the most important topics in South Korea. A room can be rented for as little as 5.50€ a day.

Seoul is the Mecca of Cosmetic Surgery and Skincare products! Korean do care how they look, therefore Seoul was reported to have the highest per capita rate of cosmetic surgery in the world!

South Korea is one of the few countries around the world where Google Maps won’t draw borders around and is actually not working! Google Maps is operating even in North Korea but North Korea is probably one of the many reasons why South Korea has a restriction on this Google Service.

Drinking and partying is THE BIG THING in Seoul and the best place to enjoy the nightlife is in Hongdae (the student neighbourhood).

Korean BBQ

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

The Best beauty shops in Seoul

Seoul has one of the best food scenes and cultures in the world! During the last 10 years, Korean food such as kimchi and Korean BBQ became famous across the globe. Nowadays there are 26 Michelin-starred restaurants in Seoul.

South Koreans love kimchi – the spicy cabbage dish was celebrated when scientists showed that kimchi helps prevent bird flu and Newcastle disease.

No tipping rule – Seoul has incredibly good service and you always get some random freebies, but tipping is not common and can be seen even as rude.

The Digital Media City in Seoul (557,00 m²) is home for broadcasting, film production, games, telecom companies, cable channels, online shopping centers, and e-learning rooms.

Seoul is the Mecca for Smart homes too – nowhere in the world, you can find as many apartments with Smart home system as here in Seoul!

The Best beauty shops in SeoulThe Best beauty shops in SeoulThe dogs of Seoul

Seoul Shops

It’s tea Time in Seoul!

Seoul, Street Art

The city of Seoul has the most art openings per square mile!

COEX Mall in Seoul is Asia’s largest underground mall and is home to the most incredible library I’ve ever been to!

You can get the best view of Seoul from the N Seoul Tower which is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul. The tower was built in 1971 and with its 236.7m is the second largest point in Seoul.

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Enjoy the day!

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