Driving Around Seoul

Seoul Travel Blog

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View of Seoul towards Han River

These are various pictures I took while we were driving around the city, either on the Seoul City Bus Tour or on our trip up to the DMZ. 

Seoul Skies

First and foremost, you can't help but notice that you can hardly see anywhere in Seoul! I wondered if it was fog, pollution, or what.  I thought at night it would clear some and we'd have a better view from our room but no such luck.  You can see almost all my photos look grainy - it's not a bad camera, just really hard to see sometimes.  Apparently, we visited in what they call "hwangsa" or "yellow dust" season.  Combined with obvious pollution, this yellow dust consists of tiny particles of sand from China and Mongolia that blow down through wind storms.

So Korea Parliament Building
  Reports indicate the particles could contain heavy metals and substances from factories in those countries.  Sometimes they have to issue health advisories, warning people to stay indoors during days where the risk is significant.  The season lasts from February to April (figures I hit one of only three months when it happens) and apparently is worsening every year.  I noticed many Korean wearing the dust masks while out on daily walks which I can't say I blame them!

Bridges

One thing I noticed right off was the number of bridges in Seoul.  There are currently 27 bridges that connect various parts of Seoul over the Han River.  At night, the bridges all feature different lighting patterns and techniques, making the city even more gorgeous.

Seongang Bridge
  There is actually a night tour that stops al the major bridges to see the various lights.  I had hoped we were going to have time to do it but we missed out!  Next time! :-)  There is one bridge that should be completed in 2009 which will be incredible once finished.  It's the Incheon Bridge which will connect to the expressway from the Incheon airport which is actually quite a distance from Seoul itself.  We saw the bridge while flying in and I tried to get photos of it while driving but they did not come out.  I read online it's expected to be a toll bridge, stretching over 7 miles!  It will be one of the largest bridges of its type in the world!

Skyscrapers

As Seoul is one of the most populated cities in the world with over 10 million and it's metropolitan population twice that, it's no wonder the city is filled with numerous skyscrapers and high rise living facilities.

KLI 63 Building - was the tallest tower in South Korea
  One of the tallest buildings is the KLI 63 building - observation deck on the 63rd story but only 60 stories are above ground.  This was the tallest building in South Korea from 1985 - 2002 when it was surpassed by the Mok-dong Hyperion I, Tower A.  The KLI 63 tower was the largest tower in all of Asia for a year until the OUB Centre in Singapore was finished.  The first and second basement floors house an aquarium and the main floor has an IMAX theater. 

Shopping Districts & Itaewon

Seoul has some awesome shopping districts and fortunately for my checkbook and credit cards, we did not have time to really explore them.  Although I am slightly disappointed, I really wanted to see more of the culture and visit the palaces.

Welcome to Itaewon!
  I can always go back again to shop if I want! :-) 

We did spend some time in Itaewon both Saturday night after the concert and again on Sunday after the DMZ tour.  Itaewon is a very touristy area complete with many American bars and restaurants.  You can find foods from many cultures including Mexican and Thai, restaurants not normally common in Korea.  Of course there were the American staples like McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Popeyes, Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, and even a Krispy Kreme! LOL. Of course Starbucks were all over and I even saw a few 7-Elevens which was interesting.  On a completely random note, someone once pointed out the absurd sign in a 7-Eleven one day....if they are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day - why is there a sign that says "door must remain unlocked during business hours"??  They never close, when would they need to lock the doors?  Hmmm..just curious!

portia says:
great blog, thanks for sharing!
Posted on: Apr 18, 2008
eejot says:
C'mon Mel, look at the "Welcome to Itaewon!" photo --McD's is above the pink tourist bus ;)

And yeah.. the dust in Seoul can be bad this time of year.. although I don't really notice anymore
Posted on: Apr 18, 2008
mellemel8 says:
um sorry erin, where's picture of a mcdonald's? your trip is not complete without it :P
Posted on: Apr 16, 2008
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View of Seoul towards Han River
View of Seoul towards Han River
So Korea Parliament Building
So Korea Parliament Building
Seongang Bridge
Seongang Bridge
KLI 63 Building - was the tallest …
KLI 63 Building - was the tallest…
Welcome to Itaewon!
Welcome to Itaewon!
Korean guards around the Blue Hou…
Korean guards around the "Blue Ho…
Seoul Highway
Seoul Highway
Typical skyscraper in Seoul
Typical skyscraper in Seoul
Papa Johns in Seoul!
Papa Johns in Seoul!
Itaewon
Itaewon
Papillion store in pet district
Papillion store in pet district
Street in financial district
Street in financial district
National Folk Art Museum entrance
National Folk Art Museum entrance
Starbucks is everywhere....LOL
Starbucks is everywhere....LOL
No idea but I loved it!
No idea but I loved it!
Changing of the guards ceremony - …
Changing of the guards ceremony -…
Concos Dept Store at Seoul Station
Concos Dept Store at Seoul Station
E-Mart - the electronics mart
E-Mart - the electronics mart
IPark Mall
I'Park Mall
Bangwha Bridge
Bangwha Bridge
Faint view of part of the Incheon …
Faint view of part of the Incheon…
Marsh land headed into Incheon air…
Marsh land headed into Incheon ai…
Incheon Airport
Incheon Airport
Original Seoul Station
Original Seoul Station
Sign for bullet train
Sign for bullet train
Gas station in Seoul...notice the …
Gas station in Seoul...notice the…
Being a garlic lover...just had to…
Being a garlic lover...just had t…
Seoul office tower
Seoul office tower
LG Twin Towers
LG Twin Towers
Distant view of KLI 63 and the LG …
Distant view of KLI 63 and the LG…
Trump Tower in Seoul
Trump Tower in Seoul
Seoul City Bus Tour
Seoul City Bus Tour
Condos/Apartments in Seoul
Condos/Apartments in Seoul
Korean War Monument
Korean War Monument
Different view of the Korean War M…
Different view of the Korean War …
Statue in front of the War Memorial
Statue in front of the War Memorial
Entrance to Korean War Museum
Entrance to Korean War Museum
Different angle entrance of the Wa…
Different angle entrance of the W…
Painted wall in Seoul
Painted wall in Seoul
Closer pic of the wall
Closer pic of the wall
Seoul
photo by: chiyeh