SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - South Korea’s dynamic capital boasts an abundance of ultra-modern and historical attractions, decadent eateries, and an unforgettable nightlife.
Increasing numbers of visitors are pouring into this city, which is hosting the 2010 G20 leaders summit in November.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in Seoul.
6 p.m. - Experience the modern and fashionable in the Gangnam district. Have a quick browse in upscale Apgujeong’s Galleria Department Store, and enter Rodeo Street, an area dotted with chic cafes, restaurants, and boutiques.
Grab a refreshing drink from one of the quieter cafes tucked away from the main street near Dosan Park. Handel and Gretel (02-514-3282) serves fragrant coffee, to which you can ask the owner to add a dash of vodka for an interesting twist.
7:30 p.m. - Time to pamper yourself with a gloriously luxurious dinner. Just about anything on the menu at Gourmet Eo (02-3443-0717) will delight the palate, with its authentic Italian pasta and meat dishes. Or sink your teeth into sushi and crab meat soup at Sushi Hyo (02-545-0023), arguably one of the best Japanese restaurants in Korea.
10 p.m. - Add some glitz to your evening at Cafe 74 (www.cafe74.co.kr) where you’ll find a dazzling array of cocktails. The mojitos come highly recommended.
12 a.m. - All energized and ready to lose yourself in ear-bursting, throbbing music? Best not to enter Club Answer (www.clubanswer.co.kr) any sooner than midnight, since you’ll be dancing the night away amidst top DJs and glamorous people.
8 a.m. - Begin the day bright and early at Jongno (Bell Street), one of the oldest thoroughfares in Seoul. Some of the landmarks include Changdeok Palace where kings used to reside, and the president’s official residence, Cheong Wa Dae.
9:30 a.m. - Dongdaemun (Great Eastern Gate) is a haven for treasure-hunters eager to experience real bargain shopping. Clothes, fur shoes, eye-catching accessories - whatever you’re in need of, they have it. When price-haggling wears you out, munch on a crisply sweet, steaming Korean pancake called hoddeok, sold in the endless array of street snack stalls.
11:00 a.m. - Enjoy a late breakfast at Din Tai Fung (www.dintaifung.co.kr) in neighboring area Myeong-dong, Seoul’s financial hub. The xiaolongbao is a must-have. Besides dumplings, they have assortments of noodles and fried rice.
2 p.m. - Head over to Gwanghwamun, a hectic business district, where you can follow the Cheonggye Stream, the result of a massive urban renewal project.
Drink in the lively atmosphere as you wander the areas surrounding Sinchon, Ewha, and Hongik universities. On almost any given day, you can catch sight of exhibitions and street performances. Lunch at Zen Hideaway (www.zenhideaway.com), an Asian restaurant famed for its delectable fusion dishes.
4 p.m. - Once the largest market for art and antiques in the country, Insadong houses stores that draw both foreigners and locals. Here, you can get all of the souvenirish items you need like hanbok, prettily coloured fans, and antique boxes.
If historical culture is your thing, then be sure to see one of the daily calligraphy demonstrations and pansori performances. Revive yourself with a quiet, relaxing Korean teatime complete with honey and malt court cake (kkultarae), and citron tea (yuja cha) at one of the teahouse establishments.
5:30 p.m. - Samcheongdong is characterized by its sea of lovely, tiny boutiques and galleries. Gallery Sun Contemporary (www.suncontemporary.com) often features intriguing works of rising contemporary Korean artists.
For dinner, feast on Indian cuisine at Dal (www.dalindia.com) where the garlic naan and tandoori chicken are big hits. Or for well-cooked traditional Korean fare, grab a cab to Dalgaebi (02-765-2035), which sits next to Deoksu Palace.
8:00 p.m. - Techies should not miss the opportunity to drop by the Yongsan Electronics Market, the largest electronics market in Asia. It comprises over 20 buildings and offers bargains for all kinds of electronics.
9 p.m. - Time to taste Korean liquor, dongdongju or makgeolli, at any of the many pubs in the area. Pair the cool, milky rice wine with Korean pancakes called pajeon.
10:30 am - The perfect leisurely start to your day is with a rich brunch at the Flying Pan Blue (02-793-7974) near the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon.
12 p.m. - N Seoul Tower, also known as Namsan Tower, in Namsan (South Mountain) offers a sprawling, panoramic view of the city’s skyline. Take the Namsan cable car up to the mountain, then walk up to the tower.
2 p.m. - Head to Samseong-dong and try the sweet, succulent bulgogi at Samdae Gwangyang Bulgogi (www.3gyboolgogi.com) which is served with dozens of tasty side dishes.
3:30 p.m. - Take a leisurely stroll by the Han River where crowds of people run, ride bikes, or simply rest on the tempting green grass.
4:30 p.m. - Visit COEX, one of South Korea’s largest convention and exhibition centers. One highlight is the Kimchi Field Museum.