Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a huge metropolis where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets. Notable attractions include futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a convention hall with curving architecture and a rooftop park; Gyeongbokgung Palace, which once had more than 7,000 rooms; and Jogyesa Temple, site of ancient locust and pine trees.
Other highlights include the National Museum of Korea and War Memorial of Korea, dedicated to the country’s history and art, plus Lotte World, a massive amusement park located next to supertall skyscraper Lotte World Tower. Neighborhoods range from the ritzy shopping district of Gangnam and trendy, nightlife-centric Hongdae to expat-oriented Itaewon and villagelike Insa-dong, full of Korean barbecue joints, tearooms, and noodle shops. Dividing them is the Han River, lined with parks and promenades. Just outside town, N Seoul Tower, atop Namsan Mountain, offers panoramic views, while 836m Bukhan Mountain is a popular hiking spot.