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Namdaemun Gate in the middle of Seoul
(photo: Sam Garza)
What's Seoul Like?
Seoul is among the largest cities in the world in terms of both population and area. With over 20,000,000 people residing in the Seoul metropolitan area, the capital of South Korea is truly a modern, cosmopolitan city. Luckily, there is an excellent metro system that allows one to go anywhere in the city within minutes.
Seoul is one of the world's top ten financial centers, and is home to some of the largest technology corporations such as Samsung and LG. The city hosted the 1988 Olympics, the 2002 World Cup, and was designated the 2010 World Design Capital. Seoul is considered to have the best technological infrastructure in the world with near city-wide wireless internet and DMB (mobile TV technology).
The rapid technological change that has occured in South Korea's capital has been deemed the "Miracle on the Han River". Since the vast majority of this change has occured in the last fifteen years, there are still many traditional areas of Seoul that stand in stark contrast to the high-tech exterior. Visitors can still see the ancient palaces of the Joseon Dynasty (late 14th - early 20th Century) as well as visit traditional tea houses and local boutiques.
Region and Population
Seoul is located in the northwest corner of South Korea, not far from the Yellow Sea coast. It is almost exactly between Beijing and Tokyo, with each being about 600 miles away. The large Han River flows through the center of the city, with a total of 27 bridges across this river throughout the city. There are 10.5 million people in the city, making it one of the largest cities in the world.
Even being on a peninsula and near a coast, Seoul still experiences all four seasons in moderation. Summers are warm and humid and winters are cold and snowy. The late summer is monsoon season for Korea, so there is a significant amount of rainfall in July and August.