These photos were taken during a couple of brief stopovers in Seoul in 2012 and 2013. The full albums are here:
- Seoul Sightseeing (149 photos): Flickr or Google Photos
- Seoul Street Art (148 Photos): Flickr or Google Photos
- Seoul Street Art (article): Artjouer
- Bukchon Hanok Village (29 photos): Flickr
- Seoul Cityscapes (28 Photos): Google Photos
The Han River (한강)
The Han River (or Hangang) is the just to the South of central Seoul. On a pleasant weekend day, it can be a lovely place to hang out and relax. There are grassy areas on the shores for picnicking, pedal boats for rent, long bicycle paths, parks (such as Hangang Park, pictured below) and swimming pools.
In Hangang park, there is a floating amphitheater for live music performances. Tthere was a free jazz concert going on when I was there.
There is a viewing platform in Hangang Park for watching the sunset.
On an overcast day, the area is less lively, but the monochromatic view of the river and city skyline is still interesting.
The Street Art of Hongdae
Hongdae (홍대) is a trendy area with cafes, boutiques and bars. Hongik University, which is known for its art and architecture programmes, is in this district, so the area has a youthful arty feel and there is a lot of graffiti and street art there.
I used my photos of the street art in Hongdae for the video of my song Dubtitution:
You can view more photos here:
- Street art and graffiti in Hongdae, Seoul (Article)
- Street art in Hongdae (Flickr)
- Street art in Hongdae (Google Photos)
I went to Hongdae on Saturday afternoon, and the streets were bustling with tourist and residents checking out the cafés and shops. When I returned to Hongdae the next morning to take photos of the graffiti and street art in the area, the area had a seedy morning-after-the-night before vibe. The last nightlife stragglers were stumbling out of bars asking for smokes, the streets were full of litter, drug deals were going down in the washroom of a a playground and a plastic food display from a vandalized glass cabinet sat on the pavement surrounded by broken glass.
N Seoul Tower and Namsan
You can see N Seoul Tower in the background of this photo.
There is a cable car going up Namsan (Nam Mountain, 남산 ) to N Seoul Tower, but you can also walk up to the top and take in the city views.
When you get to the top, you don’t need to actually enter the tower as the views are quite nice from the hilltop already.
Next to N Seoul Tower there is a large and ever-growing collection of love locks.
I used my photos of the locks there in the video for my song Lock & Love:
When I was at N Seoul Tower, I saw a group of martial arts performers practising for a show.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을), also known as Old Seoul, is a residential neighborhood full of traditional houses, most of which are being used as just that— houses (though some of the buildings have been converted to boutiques, restaurants and guest houses).
At one house, I paid a small entrance fee in order to go to the top floor and get a view of the tiled rooftops of neighborhood.
In the above photo, you can see N Seoul Tower in the background.
Bukchon Hanok Village (29 photos): Flick Album
This is an 9.8 km long urban recreation area around a stream that passes through the heart of downtown Seoul. After the Korean War, the banks of Cheonggyecheon (청계천) became a dilapidated squatter area and then the stream was paved over in the 1970s. As part of an urban renewal project the stream was restored and the area around it was beautified. The project was opened to the public in 2005.
On weekday mornings, commuters walk along the stream to work. After work, people come to exercise or just chill out and dip their toes in the water.
The most famous imperial palace in Seoul is Gyeongbokgung, but there are other smaller palaces around the city if you don’t have a lot of time. I visited Deoksugung(덕수궁), which is located in the heart of the city near the very striking new City Hall building. The palace used to be considerably larger and only a few of the original buildings remain.
Every day, (except for Monday) at 11:00, 2:30 and 4:30, a Changing of the Guard ceremony is held at the palace.
The modernistic new City Hall building is across the road from Deoksugung.
Myeongdong is the main shopping district in the city, but I didn’t take photos there (I was too busy eating and shopping). If you are in the area, Myeongdong Cathedral (명동대성당) is worth a visit. The interior is quite airy and there is an interesting mix of modern art and classical religious iconography.
To see all the photos you can see the full albums online: