Through the newly revitalized Cheonggyecheon, with its fountains and waterfalls, one can see the magnificent restoration of this important water way in downtown Seoul. At the Cheonggyecheon Cultural Center you can see images from Cheonggyecheon’s past and present that are on display. The Cheonggyecheon, or Cheonggye Stream as it is sometimes called, is a natural stream located in the heart of downtown Seoul. It was traditionally dry through the fall and winter, but would run high as the rainy season came in the summer. It was covered with cement in 1958 by Syngman Rhee and later a highway was built above it. In 2003, then mayor of Seoul Lee Myung-bak initiated a project to remove the road and restore the river in an attempt to beautify the downtown area. Cheonggyecheon is a beautiful escape in the heart of the city and is surrounded by various cultural sites and shops on either side. There are also various cultural performances held in this area in the stages and plazas for the benefit of the people.
- How can I get there?
You may get off at the one of the many subway stops near the Cheonggyecheon including: City Hall Station on line number 2, Gwangwhamun Station on Line number 5 and Dongdaemun Stadium Station on line number 4.
Insadong was originally two towns whose names ended in the syllables "In" and "Sa". They were divided by a stream which ran along Insadong's current main street. Insadong began 500 years ago as an area of residence for government officials. The area became a focus of South Korea's artistic and cafe life 60 years ago. It was a popular destination among foreign visitors to South Korea during the 1960s, who called the area "Mary's Alley". It gained in popularity with international tourists during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 2000 the area was renovated, and, after protest, the rapid modernization of the area was halted for two years beginning that year.
Insadong-gil is "well known as a traditional street to both locals and foreigners" and represents the "culture of the past and the present" now. It contains a mixture of historical and modern atmosphere and is a "unique area of Seoul that truly represents the cultural history of the nation." The majority of the traditional buildings originally belonged to merchants and bureaucrats. Some larger residences, built for retired government officials during the Joseon period, can also be seen. Most of these older buildings are now used as restaurants or shops. Among the historically significant buildings located in the area are Unhyeongung mansion, Jogyesa - one of the most significant Korean Buddhist temples and one of Korea's oldest Presbyterian churches. 3. N Seoul Tower
The area is well known for sightseeing, with approximately 100,000 visitors on Sundays reported in 2000. Insadong is also a visiting spot for foreign dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II and the princes of Spain and the Netherlands. It contains 40 percent of the nation's antique shops and art galleries as well as 90 percent of the traditional stationery shops. Particularly noteworthy is Tongmungwan, the oldest bookstore in Seoul, and Kyung-in Art Gallery, the oldest tea house. There are daily calligraphy demonstrations and Pansori performances.
N Seoul Tower, often called Namsan Tower after the name of the mountain it is located on, is the most identifiable landmark in the Seoul City skyline. One can get a glimpse of this impressive structure jutting into the heavens from many places all around Seoul. While looking up at it is impressive, it doesn’t compare to the view from the tower looking down especially when that view is of Seoul all lit up at night.- How can I get there?
You may take a circulating bus (Yellow Namsan circulating bus number 02) at the Chungmuro Station (lines 3 and 4) exit 1 (in front of Daehan Cinema) or at the Dongguk University Station (line 3) exit 6.
4. Shopping Area
Operating hours and intervals
Every 5-8 minutes, from 8:00 a.m. to 12 a.m.
550 KRW for cash and 500 KRW for transportation card.
Dongdaemun Fashion Town
Dongdaemun Fashion Town houses Korea's largest clothing wholesale market, wedding goods market, Gwanghee Market which specializes in fur and leather, flea market, and modern fashion malls such as Doosan Tower, Migliore, and Freya Town. At the modern fashion malls you can enjoy various events such as fashion shows, festivals and hip-hop dance contests in addition to shopping.
Namdaemun and Myeongdong, in addition to being Korea's "shopping heaven," are full of youthful personality and the hustle and bustle of city life. Amidst the surging crowds of Namdaemun Market you'll find an endless number of things to see and buy. Myeongdong, meanwhile, was a symbol of youth and romance during the 1970s. Even now, it's downtown Seoul's most thriving district and a neighborhood rich in culture. If you stroll to the end of Myeongdong-gil, Korea's No. 1 spot for fashion, you'll come to Myeongdong Cathedral, a symbol of Korean Catholicism and the nation's only Gothic-style building.
- How can I get there?
Namdeamun: Subway line 4, Hoehyun Station, exit 5.
Myeongdong: Subway line 4, Myeongdong Station, exit 6.