The Korean Peninsula is located in North-East Asia. It is bordered by the Amnok River (Yalu River) to the northwest, separating Korea from China, and the Duman River (Tumen River) to the northeast which separates Korea from both China and Russia. The country itself is flanked by the Yellow Sea to its west and the East Sea to the east. There are several notable islands that surround the peninsula including Jejudo, Ulleungdo and Dokdo. The Korean peninsula is roughly 1,030 km (612 miles) long and 175 km (105 miles) wide at its narrowest point. Korea's total land area is 100,033 sq km, and it has a population of 49.8 million people (2011). Because of its unique geographical location, Korea is a very valuable piece of land and an international hub of Asia.
Seoul is the capital of Korea with over 600 years of history. It is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economics. Seoul is home to many old historic sites like Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces, and places of traditional culture like Bukchon Hanok Village, Insa-dong, and Namdaemun Market. The shopping and entertainment districts of Myeongdong and Apgujeong, and Asia's largest underground shopping center COEX Mall also draw a large number of tourists every year. The Hangang River, which runs through the center of the city, is also a distinctive landscape of Seoul that offers a myriad of resting areas for citizens.
Experiencing Seoul: The Best of the City
Myeongdong Street may be the epitome of downtown Seoul now, but during the Joseon Dynasty it was a residential neighborhood. Having become a business district since the Japanese Colonial Period, it is now the center of shopping where culture and art and all kinds of brands are concentrated, and there are things to see and things to eat galore making it one of Korea’s most prominent tourist attractions.
Myeongdong is, above all things, a shopping heaven. Along a street about 1km long are a cluster of various large shopping centers including Noon Square, Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, and famous store brands from both Korea and abroad, attracting both fashion-savvy youngsters and middle-aged shoppers alike. Foreign tourists need not to fear, either. With the influence of “K-beauty fever,” Myeongdong Street is packed with various cosmetic road shops. It offers a variety of language services, and it has established itself as a globally-acknowledged Mecca of cosmetic shopping—so much so that now, more and more tourists are coming to Korea simply to shop for cosmetics. There is nothing that the street vendors lined up and down Myeongdong’s main street do not serve. There is everything from Korean beef steak to tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), roasted clams and tropical fruit, foods of a variety and fanciness that surpass the imagination—and their smells—all tempt us.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded.
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace was located at the heart of newly appointed capital of Seoul (then known as Hanyang) and represented the sovereignty of the Joseon Dynasty. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces (the others being Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace), Gyeongbokgung served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty. An effort by the Korean government has been ongoing since 1990 to rebuild and restore the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation. This 40-year restoration project aims to fully restore Gyeongbokgung Palace to its original form in the next twenty years. The palace also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea.
Namsan Seoul Tower
Namsan Seoul Tower was built in 1969 as Korea's first integrated transmission tower beaming television and radio broadcasts across the capital..
Since opening to the public in 1980, it has become a much-loved Seoul landmark. The tower's main attractions include multi-colored digital art projected onto the tower at night, a digital observatory, a roof terrace, the HanCook restaurant, the n.Grill restaurant, and the Haneul (Sky) Restroom. Namsan Seoul Tower's mountain surroundings on Namsan Mountain have made it a popular place to unwind for locals and tourists alike. Seoul has a number of viewing platforms where visitors can enjoy the nighttime cityscape or gaze out onto the Hangang (River) but the tower's Digital Observatory is unique, offering an astonishing 360 degree panorama over the city, and 32 LCD screens recounting the 600-year history of Seoul. That is why the observatory is so popular and such a source of pride. Situated on top of the N Plaza, the Roof Terrace is a spacious wooden viewing deck whose exotic atmosphere makes it very popular with lovers. A recent attraction for courting couples is "Locks of Love," thousands of padlocks attached to the fence by romantic Seoulites symbolizing their undying affection.
Insa-dong, located in the heart of the city, is an important place where old but precious and traditional goods are on display.
Nowhere exudes more local and traditional charm than Insa-dong, a quaint neighborhood in the center of Seoul that transports visitors back to a time when women wore hanbok and men rode horses. With its wooden tea houses, boutique galleries and street vendors selling traditional snacks, a stroll through Insa-dong is mandatory for all visitors, especially on Sundays when the streets become traffic free and come alive with street performances, buskers and throngs of young and old who have come to experience one of Seoul’s most fascinating and creative neighborhoods. While the entertainment here is free, Insa-dong is also one of the best places in Seoul to purchase traditional Korean art, products, and other souvenirs, as it is filled with antique shops, art galleries, traditional stationery shops, handicraft shops, pottery and porcelain shops, bookstores, and art supply stores. Insa-dong is also home to many traditional restaurants and tea houses.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)
DDP selected as one of the "Top 52 Places to Visit in 2015" by the New York Times and was the most Instagram tagged location in Korea in the year 2015
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the newest and most iconic landmark of the Korean design industry. Located at the center of the Dongdaemun area, the DDP will serve as a key venue for design-related shows and conferences, exhibitions, and other events and gatherings. Designed by world renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, DDP is the world’s largest atypical architecture. The DDP is comprised of five halls: Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market, and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. The Art Hall is the primary launch pad for the Korean creative industry. The hall is a key venue for conventions, trade shows, exhibitions, fashion shows, concerts and performances. The Museum Hall brings together Korean design and global trends. The Museum Hall is comprised of five sections: Design Playground, Design Dulle-gil(trail), Design Museum, Design Exhibition Hall, and the Design Rest Area. The Design Lab serves as an incubator for rising Korean and international creative product designers. The Design Market is a multipurpose space that combines culture, experiences and shopping. This hall is open 24 hours a day to provide added convenience to visitors of Dongdaemun Market, the town that never sleeps. The Dongdaemun History & Culture Park is the newest park in downtown Seoul. The park gives a glimpse of how the area was once used as a military training ground during the Joseon dynasty. The park seamlessly extends onto the rooftop of DDP, making it a truly unique park in Korea.
Dongdaemun Market is a large commercial district comprised of traditional markets and shopping centers that covers the entire area around Dongdaemun Gate, a prominent landmark in Korea.
Dongdaemun Market is traditionally famous for its night market, this popular shopping district attracts hordes of shoppers and tourists at all times of day. Like Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market sells a variety of products, but unlike Namdaemun Market, it is open 24-hours a day. The powerful appeal of Dongdaemun Market stems from the fact that you can buy everything you need at a reasonable price, in one convenient location and at anytime. Most major wholesalers and retailers are here along with specialist outlets focusing on the youth market, making Dongdaemun Market the best place to find the latest fashions at bargain prices. Dongdaemun’s famous food alley, Mukja Golmok, is also essential for anyone wanting to check out the latest trends in Korean cuisine.
Cheonggyecheon is a 10.9-kilometre-long (6.8 mi), modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea. The massive urban renewal project is on the site of a stream that flowed before the rapid post-war economic development caused it to be covered by transportation infrastructure.
Created as part of an urban renewal project, Cheonggyecheon is a restoration of the stream that was once there before during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The stream was covered with an elevated highway after the Korean War (1950-1953), as part of the country's post-war economic development. Then in 2003, the elevated highway was removed to restore the stream to its present form today. The stream starts from Cheonggye Plaza, a popular cultural arts venue, and passes under a total of 22 bridges before flowing into the Hangang (River), with many attractions along its length. Cheonggyecheon’s turbulent history is on display at the Cheonggyecheon Museum which opened in September 2005. The museum offers visitors the chance to learn about the many changes the stream has seen, including being buried underground and being restored. The story is told with the help of a scale-model and period photographs. Admission is free.
Seoul City Wall
Excursions Along The Wall. The wall, which follows the ridges of Baegak (Bugaksan), Naksan (Naktasan), Namsan (Mongmyeoksan) and Inwangsan, the four main mountains surrounding the center of Seoul, has been constantly managed since its initial construction in 1396.
The Seoul City Wall was originally built in 1396, surrounding Hanyang (present-day Seoul) during the Joseon Period (1392-1987). The wall stretches for 18.6km along the ranges of Bugaksan (Mt.), Naksan (Mt.), Namsan (Mt.), and Inwangsan(Mt.), and stands at average height of 7~8m. The Seoul City wall consisted of eight gates which were originally built between 1396-1398, but only six remain today. The North, South, East, and West gates of the wall are known as the “Four Great Gates” (Sukjeongmun, Heunginjimun, Sungnyemun, Dongeuimun), while the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southwest gates are known as the “Four Small Gates” (Changuimun, Hyehwamun, Gwanghwamun, Soeuimun).
The National Museum of Korea
The National Museum of Korea is located about 1.5 km away from Yongsan Station. It is the largest museum in Korea and houses precious Korean cultural assets that tell the story of Korea’s fascinating history, from ancient times to the modern era.
In addition to galleries with a wide array of national and international pieces, the National Museum of Korea is the stage for a number of cultural activities related to collection, preservation, research and analysis, social training, academic publications, intercultural exchange programs, concerts, and more. Visitors of all ages get the opportunity to participate in a number of educational events and quality cultural programs. For those who prefer to tour at a leisurely pace, the museum grounds have a number of environmentally friendly spaces and rest areas.
Yeouido Hangang Park
Situated in Yeouido, the heart of politics, media, banking and finance, Yeouido Hangang Park is easily accessible via public transportation. As one of the most popular parks along Hangang River, the park attracts many visitors, residents, and office workers.
The park offers exciting events year-round: the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring, the World Fireworks Festival in the fall, as well as concerts, and marathons. Well-preserved natural areas such as Bamseom and Yeouido Saetgang Tributary provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about nature and ecology. In addition, thanks to the Hangang Renaissance Project, the park is full of new attractions: the Water Light Square, Waterside Fountains, the Waterside Stage, Festival Land, the Piano Waterway, Waterfalls of Light, the Yacht Marina, and more.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Regarded as Seoul’s most representative traditional residential area, Bukchon features a cluster of traditional hanok between Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine. It is also referred to as a ‘street museum in the city center’ as the area is full of historic sites, cultural heritages, and folklore materials.
Bukchon, or “north village” in English, was thus named because it is located on the upper (north) side of Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno. The area consists of Gahoe-dong, Songhyeon-dong, Anguk-dong, Samcheong-dong, Sagan-dong, Gye-dong, Sogyeok-dong, and Jae-dong. Notably, the latter four dong areas have kept their ancient names. At the end of the Joseon period, large area of land were divided into small housing lots due to social and economic reasons; and it is estimated that the current hanok arrangement – in which the houses stand shoulder to shoulder – emerged in the 1930s. Such changes reflected various social phenomena related to the expanding population in the city center. Bukchon’s relics and cultural heritages spanning the Joseon and modern periods tell the history of the area to visitors.
Organizing Committee of PASMISS 2020
Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, 59 Daesagwan-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 04401, Korea