24 Hours in Seoul

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June might be the best time of year to visit Seoul. The summer’s heat has yet to emerge in full force, trees are lush with leaves, and the city is ready to party.


High-energy and bursting with life, Seoul’s a compelling combination of traditional – gorgeous century-old palaces and temples, a charming deference to the elderly – and the very, very modern – lightning-fast Wi-Fi, edgy architecture, and an app for everything under the sun. Dive into the city’s unique style with stops at the major sites, refuelling at the city’s myriad cafés and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and plan to sleep as little as possible – this is a city that runs 24 hours a day. Expect efficient transport, excellent service, and plenty of welcoming smiles.

Seoulites live on coffee, and the city is home to thousands of trendy cafés. Try industrial chic Anthracite in the studenty Hongdae neighbourhood for a hand-drip coffee with attitude.

Changdeokgung Palace, itself a stunning example of Joseon architecture, also houses enormous ‘secret’ gardens right in the middle of Seoul. Take a tour for a trip back in time to imperial Korea.

Check out the amazing technology being developed in Korea with a tour of T.um, a ‘future museum’. The avatar that tries on clothes for you is particularly impressive.

Stop for lunch at a branch of Bibigo, a chain of health-oriented restaurants serving up varieties of bibimbap: warm, savoury bowls of rice, vegetables, egg, and sauces.

Opened-in-March Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, an outdoor cultural complex designed by architect Zaha Hadid. It’s a marvel of space-age architecture and new construction technologies.

Noryangjin Fish Market, with more than 700 stalls, is paradise for seafood lovers. You can eat your purchases right inside the market at one of the restaurants – best with a dollop of gochujang, or chilli sauce.

The tiny Gyungnidan neighbourhood is an easily walkable area with tiny and trendy restaurants and bars. Golmok Vinyl and Pub is a cosy lounge with DJs spinning records and a hip crowd.

Jet-lagged and can’t sleep? Head to one of Seoul’s 24- hour shopping malls, like Dongdaemun Market, where bleary-eyed masses bargain for clothes and accessories with a trendy Korean edge.

Siloam is a Korean sauna, or jimjilbang, where locals come to relax at any time of day or night. If you’re just off a flight but it’s too early to check into your hotel, this is the perfect place to sweat, shower, and snooze.


Seoul, South Korea
Distance: 7,116 km
Flight Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Frequency: Daily

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