Korea (also called Hanguk in South Korea) is divided into two states: North Korea (aka the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and South Korea (aka Republic of Korea). It has a interesting history where it was mostly isolated and nicknamed “The Hermit Kingdom” due to its policies. However in the late 19th century Japan colonized it which it remained until the end of WWII in 1945. In 1945 it was split between the USA and Russia’s Soviet Union, dividing the country between two rivaling superpowers who couldn’t agree on the country’s independence. The Cold War only worsened this situation, leading to Korea’s continued division with two different political entities.
Seoul is noted for its population density – almost 2 x that of New York and 8 x Rome!
I was staying in Myeongdong, a shopping and entertainment part of town which I would highly recommend. This downtown area was perfect for a young (okay, young-ish!) foodie like myself.
It is very easy to get around Seoul. They have a simple subway (well I am used to London’s tubes!) and lots of street signs are helpfully also written in English language. The subway system is actually the busiest in the world, transporting over 8m people per day.
To kick of my exploration of the city, I decided to do the ultra-touristy but ultra-useful city bus tour. I’m not usually a fan of very touristy things but this is the perfect way to visit multiple sites easily, letting you hop-on and hop-off as many times as you want and picking from a number of different routes, depending on your interest.
|The tower lit up at night|
There are also hundreds of lovelocks all along the tower fences.