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Hotels in Seoul

Located in South Korea's vibrant capital city, Seoul Hotels are set in the midst of night markets, majestic palaces, sparkling K-Pop clubs and elegant public plazas.

Palaces

The grandest of Seoul's palaces is, without a doubt, Gyeongbokgung. Built by the founder of the Joseon dynasty in 1395, the palace served as the main seat of power until 1592 when it was destroyed by Japanese invaders. It wasn't until 1865 that Heungseon Daewongun rebuilt it, although he almost bankrupted the government in doing so. The two must-see sites in Gyeongbokgung are Geunjeongjeon and Gyeonghoeru. The former is the main palace building where kings would be crowned and the latter is a raised pavilion that was the site of lavish state banquets.

Originally a secondary palace, Changdeokgung became the primary palace following the destruction of Gyeongbokgung by the Japanese. A serene place to visit, Changdeokgung is one of Seoul's most impressive structures and features a beautiful surrounding area of woodlands and glades.

Another important historical building in Seoul is Deoksugung, a building that started life as an aristocratic villa before it was upgraded to palace status in 1593. Changgyeonggung, or The Palace of Flourishing Gladness, was first built in the 15th century and, like other palaces in Seoul, was destroyed by the Japanese both in the 16th century and in the 20th century. Of the surviving buildings the main hall, Myeongjeongjeon, is one of the most stunning.

Art and culture

Seoul has a vibrant modern arts scene and the city boasts some fantastic galleries to see both Korean and international work. Seoul Art Space Sindang is an excellent arcade space close to Jungang Market where you'll find work by 40 different up-and-coming artists. If you're looking for more established artists, the Opera Gallery is the premiere venue for cutting-edge works by well-known international artists. Avant-garde work can also be found at the Arko Art Centre, a trendy redbrick complex overlooking Marronnier Park.

Markets

The enormous Dongdaemun Market is an eclectic, sprawling hub where you'll find everything from fashionable handbags to musical instruments. You could easily spend a whole day fighting for bargains here and, as the market is open at night, you could easily spend a whole night here as well. If you'd prefer to do your shopping somewhere a little more sophisticated, D Cube City is a stylish shopping centre in the ex-industrial Guro area of the city. As well as boutique shops you'll also find the D Cube Arts Centre and a concert hall. For books you'll want to head to the Kyobo Bookshop where you'll find a range of English-language books while the Korean Craft and Design Foundation's gallery is the place to go for locally made jewellery and woodwork.

Parks

Away from the shops and markets, Seoul has some beautiful green areas. Seoul Grand Park is a vast space of land and is also the location of Seoul Zoo. Tapgol Park is the site of the Declaration of Independence against the Japanese in 1919 and features a ten-tier stone pagoda. The Olympic Park is an excellent place to enjoy a bike ride and the park includes over 200 sculptures designed by a team of international artists.

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