Episode 3: Seoul City Tour

One thing about the SNU Exchange Program I’m absolutely thankful for is that there are so many orientations, activities and events held to welcome us foreign exchange students. In this episode, I go on a Seoul City Tour with my fellow Business majors, hosted by the Seoul National University College of Business!

A large tour bus and professional tour guide was hired for the whole entire day to take us around a variety of tourist attractions in Seoul. This event was optional, and there was a fee of 60,000 Korean won. Since I had only arrived in Seoul for less than a week and was busy settling down, I thought it would be a great idea to get a head start/glimpse of Seoul in order to plan out my adventures in the months ahead. Our first stop was Gyeongbokgung, the main royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty, built in 1395. Of course I’ve heard about this place many times in the past while studying the Korean language and culture, but I was still dazzled and fascinated by its beauty when I saw it in person.

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Upon my visit to Gyeongbokgung, I realized one of the millions of things I love about Korea and Seoul is that the past and present coexist with each other to make up this beautiful city and country. Throughout the city, although Seoul is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most technologically advanced cities, royal palaces and statues from almost a thousand years ago still exist. To think that I’m standing where royal kings and queens once roamed these grounds and ruled the country so long ago — it’s fascinating to me!

Next stop was Bukchon Hanok Village. This is a residential area in Seoul filled with tourists — because the houses are not just regular houses, they’re Korean traditional houses called hanok. Another example of history coexisting with the present in Seoul. I’m so envious of the residents who get to live here… hanoks are truly beautiful. I wonder how the inside looks like? One thing’s for sure, I’m not a big fan of those steep hills.

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We finished visiting the Hanok Village by lunch time, and headed to Insadong for lunch. Insadong is a famous neighborhood in Seoul, known for its shops filled with vintage goods, crafts, and art! Restaurants also had more traditional Korean dishes on the menus. Insadong was not trendy and loud like Myeongdong, it was special because it had a Korean traditional, vintage/older feeling to it. I loved it.

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I think it’s so cool how different neighborhoods in Seoul can give off different feelings and vibes. It’s like they all have different personalities!

Last stop was N Seoul Tower, known to me as Namsan Tower. I’m sure quite a lot of people already know about this hot spot in Seoul! It has been featured in many dramas because of the sensational panoramic view of Seoul that can be seen here. Also, many couples come here to purchase locks and “lock” their love away forever on the lock trees. It’s a perfect place for families, singles, and couples. I thought it was a great way to end our Seoul City Tour.

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