As with what I experienced in Tokyo, the same goes for Seoul – a seemingly overwhelming amount of bright neon signs compete for attention. Though, I don’t remember there being THIS many neon signs in Seoul when I was younger. I tried not to post TOO many photos of these bright signs…it can be a bit dizzying.
[Nikon D3s, 50mm lens]
Along with development in technology, science, culture, etc., comes an influx of building and construction. It seems that though Seoul has been a dense city for a very long time, I felt the growth and density more than ever before during my most recent trip.
Noryangjin Fish Market is a famous market in Seoul. One unique thing about this place is that buyers can purchase their seafood/veggies on the ground floor then take it up to the second floor to have a restaurant cook it for them. People can request restaurants to prepare the seafood in any way they prefer. It’s an interesting experience that locals and tourists alike would appreciate. Vendors call out specials or sales while customers walk by and even then the prices can still be bartered – this makes for a lively market experience worth having.
[Nikon D3s, 50mm lens]
The N Seoul Tower sits atop Namsan, overlooking downtown Seoul and beyond. It reminds me a lot of the Mori Tower in Roppongi, Tokyo. At the N tower, there is a lot to see and do. There’s a cafe, a rotating restaurant, seemingly endless “Love Locks” (more on that later), a small cafe, couple of gift shops, and even a teddy bear museum. There are a few observations decks and a few ways of getting to the tower. Visitors can use the “Namsan Cable Car” to get most of the way up, then walk a few minutes to the tower. There are also buses that will go part way up the mountain as well. Visitors can also walk from the very bottom to the very top – it will take a while but the paths and stairs are wide and safe.
Besides the amazing view of Seoul from the tower, I really enjoyed seeing all the Love Locks. Families, friends, and lovers write messages on locks then lock them to a fence. There are other “Love Locks” locations around the world, including Paris, Vancouver Canada, Moscow, and other cities.
For more information, you can visit http://visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264550
[Nikon D3s, 14-24mm wide angle lens + 50mm lens]
Bukchon is a lovely place where traditional Korean homes line uphill streets. The name means “northern village,” and is often referred to as a Hanok Village (traditional Korean houses). Yes, it’s a real residential area where people actually live. Though the overall aesthetic is traditional in Bukchon, the village is surrounded by modern and new-vintage cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. The eclectic mix of traditional-vintage-modern makes for a wide range of photo opportunities. It’s an interesting place and certainly worth a visit by locals and tourists alike.
Bukchon is noted to be more than 600 years in the making – though a well preserved area, there are upgrades and changes being made frequently to match today’s urban city life. There are many alleyways to discover and photos to take. Visitors can easily manage a self-guided tour. There are guided tours available too but the freedom of going at one’s own pace in Bukchon is priceless…lots of hidden gems. Aside from the unique homes, boutiques, and cafes, there are also museums and schools you can visit to learn more about the area and Korean history in general. If you want more information, I found this website to be helpful: http://bukchon.seoul.go.kr/eng/index.jsp (it’s in English).
[Canon 5d, 28mm lens]