With a population of over 25 million, Seoul is one of Asia’s most important cities, and home to one of the world’s largest metropolitan economies. However, there’s more to Seoul than meets the eye.
In this exclusive extract from Where to Go When, your guide to the most amazing places in the world and the best time of year to visit them, we find out how Seoul is best viewed in November, when the city’s buzzing atmosphere is balanced with tranquil walks and a unique autumnal atmosphere…
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Seoul has soul in November. While the city pulses, the surrounding mountains provide a peaceful retreat, with walking trails and trees ablaze with the colours of autumn.
Seoul is a city of contrasts, where glimmering skyscrapers loom above timeless Buddhist temples and leafy parks. The capital distils the essence of everything that is enchanting about South Korea. Days spent exploring the traditional streets of Bukchon Hanok and art galleries of Leeum Samsung turn into nights necking soju in a rooftop bar, with K-pop providing a thumping soundtrack.
All the while, standing silent guard as the city rushes on, are Seoul’s mighty mountains, their forested slopes a playground for walkers. November is the perfect time to get out in nature – the humid summer has given way to the pleasantly cool autumn weather, and the forested hills erupt in a riot of fiery reds, yellows and ambers. Bukhansan is criss-crossed with gentle forest trails that reward your efforts with incredible views of the metropolis.
Sound too much like hard work? Namsan, in the heart of the city, combines stellar views over the city with the added convenience of a cable car. If you prefer to stay closer to sea level, stroll the riverside boardwalks of Hangang Park, or get lost amid the trees, lakes and flowers of Seoul Forest.
You’ll have worked up an appetite after all that fresh air and Seoul’s celebrated food scene won’t disappoint, especially as November welcomes the Seoul Kimchi Festival, with street stalls serving up bowls of the spicy delicacy. Day or night, mountains or megalopolis, South Korea’s capital is utterly spellbinding.
Pink cherry blossom blankets temples and parks.
The snow-covered temples and palaces are particularly atmospheric.
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