Cultural Things to See in Bangkok

wat po

Visitors to Bangkok craving the authentic Thai experience can find themselves frustrated by the modern-day trappings of this thriving metropolis and leave yearning for more full immersion cultural activities. But little wellsprings of tradition still flourish in and around Bangkok where you can savor the exotic sights, smells, sounds and tastes of this fascinating culture.

Wat Pho

Escape the hustle bustle of modern Bangkok when you step into this space that’s been held sacred for centuries. Lovingly maintained and rebuilt when necessary, the 80,000 square meter complex is aligned to the cardinal points and houses thousands of artworks celebrating Buddhism, culminating with the impressive gold-plated reclining Buddha. The Northern section has always been dedicated to the healing arts is currently home to Thai massage classes with pavilions where students practice their skills on visitors. The southern compound also exudes serenity as home to a working Buddhist monastery complete with resident monks. The entry fee includes a bottle of water you’ll be grateful for in the oppressive heat and humidity — which is why it’s preferable to visit early in the day equipped with shade hats and hand fans.

Rose Garden in Nakhon Pathom

Treat your five senses to the delights of a meticulously landscaped flower garden just a 30 minute drive from Bangkok, making it a perfect daylong escape the frenzy of the city. Covering 75 acres, it’s idyllic for taking gentle strolls, relishing leisurely picnics, taking in traditional shows and shopping. And it’s not just roses in the garden, there are pavilions featuring elephant performances that are fun for all ages and there’s even an exquisite golf course. Guided tours complete with transportation are available, but if you’re traveling with small children it is recommended to hire a taxi cab for the trip.

Khon at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre

Although this classical ‘30s theater occasionally earned its keep as a movie house, it’s now restored to its original glory to offer authentic performances of classical Thai dance, music and theatre. Every Thursday and Friday night, the Hanuman Chakri Royal Courtiers perform traditional reenactments of courtly drama and divine providence. On weekends, the Khon Thai Masked Dance uses high-tech lighting and sound to enhance legendary storylines like Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana epic poem. Open seven days a week, tickets can be purchased online or at the Grand Palace ticket office.

River Cruise on Rice Boat

Glide serenely down the Chao Phraya River through Bangkok on a lovingly restored antique rice barge that doesn’t skimp on the comforts. Romantic cruises include traditional Thai dinners complete with local entertainment and English-speaking guides that help you appreciate, and photograph, the City of Angels’ riverside icons like the impressive Temple of Dawn and the illustrious Royal Barges Boat House. Drift along under remarkable bridges outlined in tiny lights as night falls and the skyline of Bangkok defines itself against the darkness.

Tip! Must Try:

Thong Ta Resort And Spa – Suvarnabhumi Airport

Searching for hotels in Bangkok can be daunting was so many choices, so world-wise travelers look for full-service facilities like this one that offer well organized, convenient airport pickup and delivery service. Recover from jet lag in their hot tub, catch up on your laundry and indulge in the 24/7 room service. Relax in air-conditioned comfort at the bar and restaurant and use the free Wi-Fi or enjoy reading newspapers in their outdoor area on beautiful days. The friendly tour and travel desk can help you arrange car rentals or guided excursions into Bangkok or day trips to fascinating historical sites like Angkor Wat.



The Top Destinations For Beach Holidays In The Philippines

palawan_mimaropa_philippinesThis beautiful group of islands in the South China Sea is without doubt one of the best places in the world to enjoy blue seas and golden sands, and there are destinations to be found across the country depending on the features you’re looking for.  One of the most popular seasons to visit the country is between March and May which is the hot and dry season in the country, while December to February is still pleasant enough and avoids the worst of the monsoon season.  As well as the wonderful beaches, many of these islands also boast some wonderful cultural sites and events that can be enjoyed too.


This is probably one of the most well known beach holiday destinations in the Philippines, having won numerous national and international tourism awards for its stunning beaches.  Boracay is a small island that lies a short distance away from the much larger island of Panay, and has been one of the foremost sites to see tourism development, with numerous water sports being promoted.

Among the events that are held on the island of Boracay, it is one of the most important destinations on the Asian Windsurfing Tour, and also holds a water sports festival every January.  Visitors can enjoy varied activities such as scuba diving, kite boarding and cliff diving, while those looking for a more refined afternoon can enjoy one of the great golf courses available.

El Nido, Palawan

One of the more interesting beach holiday destinations to be enjoyed in the Philippines is the El Nido Marine Reserve Park, which is made up of the northern tip of the island of Palawan along with a number of small offshore islands.  The area itself has been protected because of its populations of birds and rare turtles, and the resorts within the reserve offer a very different type of experience.

The places to stay on El Nido tend to be much more basic than major hotel developments, and are particularly focused on being sustainable and not harming the environment.  However, for those who enjoy amazing beaches, then El Nido has a wealth of beaches around the island that are great places to relax.


An island that lies at the heart of the Philippines is Bohol, and this is wonderfully located as a beach holiday destination because the waters here are almost always calm during the holiday season.  This is because there are various islands around Bohol that take the brunt of the prevailing winds from the Pacific, meaning the beaches here enjoy clear waters and golden sands.

As well as being a beach holiday destination that is growing in popularity, there are also a number of attractions for those looking for some culture and sightseeing too.  The Chocolate Hills are unusual hills that rise from the forested valley floor, yet only grass grows on these hills, and this grass turns brown in the summer giving the hills their name.

Great Santa Cruz Island

One of the islands of the Philippines that enjoys enduring popularity among visitors is Great Santa Cruz Island, and unlike much of the rest of the islands across the country, the beaches here have a distinctive pink hue.  As the island itself is a protected area, those looking to enjoy time on these beaches will have to stay in Zamboanga City which lies a short boat ride away on the significantly larger island of Mindanao.

The distinctive color of the sand is caused by the erosion of the red coral that was until recent years a particularly attractive part of the island’s ecosystem, but illegal mining of this coral has left the majority of the reefs off the island dead or dying.  The island is receiving significant investment as an ecotourism site to bring more people to its wonderful beaches.

The Top Cities To Visit In Vietnam

Ho-Chi-Minh.CityThe image that many people will have of Vietnam is one that is dominated by the country’s portrayal in Hollywood films, but the reality is that the country is far removed from what it was during the Vietnam War.  The country has seen significant development in the infrastructure, and many of the cities now provide a city centre that is often just as developed as a western city.  However, there has always been an air of mystery about Vietnam, and this is still present today drawing visitors from across the world to visit every year, and here are some of the best cities to visit.


The capital city is the second largest in the country, and is a wonderful place to visit as it has a wealth of history and interesting architecture to explore, as well as being one of the most important cities in the country.  The city has seen significant development since the 1990s, and this has seen the thousands of people who would commute by bicycle be largely replaced by people commuting by motorbike.  The shopping in the city is very good, and there are now modern shopping malls along with the quaint Vietnamese markets.

One of the most beautiful sights in the city is the amazing Turtle Tower, which is a three storey building rising on a small outcropping of land in the middle of the Sword Lake in the middle of the city.  The city also has a series of museums and exhibitions that include the gatehouse of the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ which was where prisoners of war were taken during the Vietnam War.

Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon, as the city is still often called in the west, is the largest city in the country and is one of the major tourist cities in Vietnam, attracting millions of visitors every year.  Many of the classic buildings in the French style are still to be found in the city, including the Hotel Majestic and the Notra-Dame Cathedral, and the boulevards of the city centre are still a great place to explore.

The city still holds many memories from the Vietnam War which are remembered in the WarRemnantsMuseum and the Museum of Vietnamese History, and the Cu Chi Tunnels are a network of tunnels running beneath the city which were used by the rebels, and can be explored with a guide.


The coastal city of Hue is one that still holds importance in Vietnam, and is a particularly interesting place to visit due to its range of historic buildings and monuments.  Today the city has a population of around 350,000, and is particularly noted for the prevalence of vegetarianism among its people.

The range of ancient buildings to be found in the city is noted by UNESCO for their importance, and the ImperialCity is a formidable city inside which lies an impressive city.  There is also the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is one of the most impressive buildings in the city, and was built at the start of the seventeenth century.

Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a city on the south coast of Vietnam that has seen a significant growth in tourism over recent years, with wonderful beaches and blue seas that make it a great destination.  The brightly colored fishing boat fleet in the harbor are all traditional boats that look as though they are taken straight from a postcard, while the white sand dunes to the north of the city are stunning.  The growth in tourism has seen the area become particularly popular as a water sport destination, with windsurfing and kite surfing both being popular.

Da Nang

Another of the important trading cities in Vietnam, Da Nang lies on the east coast of the country, and is an important base for visitors as it lies within easy reach of many important sites in the region.  The archaeological site at My Son was firstly noted for its Buddhist architecture, but significant bombing by US forces during the Vietnam War damaged much of the site, and there are still many craters to be seen across the site.  Da Nang is also a short distance away from the remarkably beautiful MarbleMountains, which are small marble and limestone hills rising from the valley floor.  These are home to stunning caves that have been intricately and elaborately decorated.

The Top Adventure Activities To Enjoy In Vietnam

vietnam cruiseAlthough Vietnam has enjoyed a troubled history, it is a country that has flourished in the last two decades since the Communist Party loosened the reins on a market economy at the end of the 1980s.  This wonderful country boasts some truly beautiful natural sights and some amazing history, and is a great place to visit.  There are a wide range of activities that people can enjoy outside of the major cities, and many of the adventure activities have found a new base in the wonderful countryside and waterways of Vietnam.


Kayaking can be enjoyed both in the sea and on the rivers of Vietnam, with the lightweight easily paddled boats being ideal for exploring the coves and isolated bays on the coast.  They are also perfect for paddling on some of the calmer rivers of Vietnam, which allow the kayakers to explore the inlets and tributaries of the larger rivers by themselves or in organized groups.

One of the most popular places in Vietnam to go kayaking is in HalongBay, where the quiet waters provide great conditions for exploring, with lots of different places to explore.  Another popular place to go Kayaking is the mighty MekongRiver, with many organized groups arranging week-long trips along the river.


Another popular activity that visitors to Vietnam can enjoy is trekking, with its stunningly beautiful coastline and wonderful mountain and jungle treks to explore too.  The treks here range from challenging routes to shorter routes that show off some of the best of the scenery in Vietnam.

One of the most popular areas for trekking is the province of Cao Bang in the north-west of Vietnam, which has some wonderful mountain scenery and a number of waterways, with the highlight being superb views of the large Ban Gioc waterfall.  The CucPhuongNational Park is another beautiful location to visit, and trekking here takes visitors through some of the dense tropical forest which many people will associate with the country.

Boat Tours

With so much of Vietnam being more easily accessible to boat than motor vehicle, taking a boat trip around some of the coastline or up one of the many Vietnamese rivers is a very popular activity.  One of the most popular is a trip on one of the small boats up the Mekong Delta, which departs from the important city formerly known as Saigon, which is now called Ho Chi Minh City.  Along with the adventurous river trips, there are also plenty of boat trips around the scenic HalongBay that are also very popular.

Mountain Biking

One of the sports to which Vietnam is particularly suited is mountain biking, with its rolling hills and steep hillsides with plenty of streams and obstacles.  Many of the more established paths offer fun tracks along the valley floor, while those looking for more adventure can hit the hills and enjoy excellent downhill cycling with boardwalk bridges, fords and rides through woodland and in the open.  The climate is usually warm and sunny in season, and there are centers in Dalat, Hanoi and Hue which are all wonderful places to visit.


With such a wonderful coastline it is natural that Vietnam will draw plenty of people looking to dive and to explore the waters of the area.  Most of the sites are considered particularly suited to newer divers and nature lovers, as there are large numbers of smaller fish to be found in the waters near Nha Tran and Con Dao.  A short distance off the east coast of Vietnam is the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, and this is one of the most popular dive sites due to its exceptional coral and biodiversity to be found in these waters.

Top Things To Do In South Korea

The Walled City Of SuwonSouth Korea is a modern country that has truly embraced the technological revolution that has happened over recent decades, and is a nation that has often tried to emulate the success of its neighbor Japan.  The country itself is filled with beautiful sites and interesting places to visit, but most people will make a beeline for the capital of the country, Seoul.  Seoul may be the biggest city in the country by some distance, but it is certainly not the only place worth going to in this wonderful country.

Visit The Walled City Of Suwon

Lying a short distance from the city of Seoul is the amazing walled city of Suwon.  The fortifications themselves were raised during the latter years of the eighteenth century, and make this small city an absolute delight to explore.  These thick walls were originally designed to protect the tomb of King Jeongjo’s father, who had been brutally murdered.  These fortifications run for three and a half miles around the circumference of the city, and with only four gates allowing access to the city, it gives Suwon a very different atmosphere to many other cities.

As the city has grown there are now developments outside the walls of the city too, but the walls have been recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO.  For those who are also interested in sport, football is one of the great passions of the people of Suwon, and the Suwon Samsung Bluewings are among the most successful football teams in the country.

 Explore The Seoraksan National Park

SeoraksanNational Park is one of the most popular natural attractions in South Korea, and thousands of people visit the area every year to enjoy the mountain scenery and the wealth of plant species to be found in the park.  One of the characteristic features of Seoraksan is the exposed rocky ridges and mountains that rise above the forested lower areas.

As well as being especially beautiful, the national park also has a number of important animal species living within its boundaries, including the Asian Black Bear and Musk Deer.  Those with an interest in flowers and plants will also enjoy a visit to the park, which can boast over a thousand individual species of plants.

Get Dirty In The Boryeong Mud Festival

One of the quirkiest festivals to be explored in South Korea is the annual Boryeong Mud Festival, which celebrates the beneficial qualities of mud from the Boryeong Mud Flats.  The festival itself was launched in 1998, and now the festival attracts tens of thousands of people every year.  Attractions for those looking to get dirty include a mud pool and mud slides, and there are also a number of beauty attractions there to supplement the cosmetic purpose of the mud.


Although South Korea has plenty of attractions to draw visitors from around the world, there is no escaping the fact that Seoul is a truly amazing city to visit.  As a city, Seoul has truly embraced commercialism and has a series of large shopping malls offering the latest designer fashion brands and popular goods, while still having plenty of local markets offering a more informal shopping experience.  After a hard day spending money, the city also boasts a number of different historical sites and museums that can provide an interesting change of pace away from the bustling city centre.

zeju Island

The south coast of South Korea is peppered with small islands, but the volcanic isle of JejuIsland is one of the most remarkable destinations in South Korea.  This idyllic retreat is as beautiful as you can get in the country, with a series of stunning waterfalls and rural lakes that are a sight to behold.

The economy of the island was historically made up of the industries related to the sea, and many of the residents made their living by free diving in the cold waters around the island harvesting crustaceans.  The island also boasts a series of coastal hiking trails that are perfect for the more adventurous explorer.

Top Restaurants In Bangkok

Sirocco-Restaurant-in-Thailand-BangkokThe restaurant scene in Bangkok is one of the most varied and interesting in Asia, with cuisines of almost every nation to be found alongside spicy Thai classics and exquisite seafood.  Many people will be familiar with the red and green Thai curries that have gained popularity around the world, and the cuisine in Bangkok offers some of the best Thai dishes.  As well as Thai cuisine the cosmopolitan city also has a number of restaurants run by internationally renowned chefs deliver excellent food from around the world.


Probably the most famous restaurant to be found in Bangkok is the Sirocco, which serves a combination of international and local Thai dishes.  However, the main attraction to visitors to this restaurant is often not the food, but the view and the experience, as it is an open air restaurant at the top of the second highest building in the country.  There is also an open air bar on the rooftop, which makes for a stunning place to spend an evening, enjoying the Bangkok skyline as night falls.

The food in Sirocco is not too bad at all, but the sensational open air views do come at a price when you see the final bill.  The seafood dishes make great use of the amazing fishing around the coast of the city, and the oysters and caviar take pride of place on the menu.

Royal Dragon Restaurant

Another of the Bangkok restaurants that can boast a gimmick is the Royal Dragon Restaurant, which is the former Guinness Book of Records record holder for the largest restaurant with over 5,000 covers.  The restaurant itself combines food with theatre, and there are regular Thai culture shows that can be enjoyed along with the meal.

The food itself is a combination of cuisines from across Asia, and the option to order seafood by weight and to request the manner of cooking is an interesting option.  It is generally best to stick with local cuisine to get the best dishes in the restaurant, but the additional gimmick of waiters on roller skates is a little much for our tastes.

Oasis Lounge

Another restaurant that is quickly developing an excellent reputation for top Thai food is the Oasis Lounge, which is located just a short walk away from the famous Patpong Night Market.  The emphasis at this restaurant is good Thai food at competitive prices, and while it may not have the refinement of the top restaurants charging the top prices, the Thai food on offer here is second to none.  This city centre restaurant is well worth a visit for any visitor to Bangkok.

Vegetarian And Vegan Restaurants

One of the interesting aspects of the dining culture in Bangkok is the sheer number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city, which may have developed because of the popularity of Thailand as an ‘alternative’ holiday destination.  The great produce that is available in the country is certainly reflected in the dishes that appear on the table, but the small places such as the Rasayana Raw Food Café and Bonita are among the must visit places for vegetarians and vegans.

International Cuisine

The sheer number of different cuisines that are vying for a place on your taste buds in Bangkok makes it difficult to summarize all the places, but Italian, German and French cuisines all take their place alongside Asian favorites.  Up market restaurants such as The Reflexions and Napa on 26 both cater for those looking for a tasty and sophisticated flavor of European cuisine.

As with any major city there are also a number of restaurants to be found inside the major hotels, with Le Normandie at the Mandarin Oriental delivering an authentic taste of French cuisine, while Le Square at the Novotel is another top French restaurant in the city.

The Top Places To Visit In Mongolia

Desert_Gobi_MongoliaThe idea of Mongolia as a tourist destination would have been unthinkable until a few years ago, but the last two decades since it rejected Communism has seen a big change in the country.  Lying between Russia to the north and China to the south, Mongolia has some remarkable landscapes and is also the most sparsely populated country in the world.  When most people think about Mongolia the first association they will make is with the twelfth century emperor Ghengis Khan, but there is a lot more to this unspoiled country than just history.

Ulan Bator

Ulan Bator is the capital of Mongolia, and although it is the financial capital of the country with a population of over a million people, it is still very much the cultural and spiritual heart of the country.  The city was originally a Buddhist centre that would move regularly in the nomadic tradition of the Mongolian people, but settled in its current location in 1778.  The industrialization of the city has led to Ulan Bator being an interesting combination of traditional buildings and Mongolian architecture combined with the modern business centre that is similar to other financial centers around the world.

Although the traditional architecture in Mongolia is similar to that found in China, a visit to the WinterPalace in the capital will emphasize its unique traits, and the artistic paintings and details are particularly impressive.  There are also a number of museums tracing the great history of the country and the Mongol Empire under Ghengis Khan to be found in the city.

The Gobi Desert

For those people who crave the chance to visit the most remote parts of the world, a visit to the Gobi desert is one of the most interesting areas of Mongolia to visit.  Despite its formidable landscape, there are a number of features of the Gobi desert that make it worth visiting, and one of these is the Flaming Cliffs.  This site is one of the most important for the discovery of dinosaur fossils that had been preserved here, and is also very beautiful to see at sunset, where the reddish hue of the rock is exposed and lit up by the evening sun.

The Gobi desert is also home to the endangered species of the Bactrian camel, but this two humped camel is now a rare sight for those visiting the area.


This ruined city dates from the heyday of the Mongol Empire, and was often the capital of the empire between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.  The city has been significantly excavated and now has a number of attractions for people interested in the Mongol Empire.  It was here that the fourth emperor Mongke Khan commissioned the great sculpture of a large silver tree which was documented by a French papal envoy to the Mongols in the middle of the thirteenth century.

Today the Erdene Zuu monastery lies very close to the site of Karakorum, and visitors can explore the ruins as well as visit the monastery that was built by salvaging many of the materials from Karakorum.

Lake Khuvsgul

This freshwater lake lies close to the northern border of Mongolia, but is very important as it contains around seventy per cent of the fresh water in the entire country.  This lake is part of a very attractive national park which is home to many animal species of note such as brown bears, ibex and elk.  The ecological significance of the lake makes it of particular interest as it is one of the most pristine ancient lakes, and is over two million years old.

Amarbayasgalant Monastery

The large complex of the Amarbayasgalant Monastery is one of the few remaining monasteries to have survived the purges inflicted by Communist Russia in 1937.  The monastery itself is now nearly three hundred years old, and is placed in an idyllic location at the foot of Mount Buren-Khaan.  Although it is a significant journey to get to this remote spot, the Monastery is certainly in one of the nicest sites in the country.

The Top Natural Sites In Indonesia

Raja Ampat-IndonesiaAlthough many people tend to think of Indonesia as a relatively small country, it is actually the fourth largest in the world with a territory that covers over 17,000 individual islands.  As you would expect in such a large country, there are many different cultures, languages and unique places to visit in Indonesia, and it has a wealth of natural attractions for visitors to the area.  The country still shows traces of colonial times, but the natural spots in the country remain largely untouched, although some places are under threat from the increasing industry of the country.

Bunaken National Park

One of the most interesting and beautiful natural sites in Indonesia is the tropical area in the BunakenNational Park, where hundreds of species of coral and rare fish and marine life can be found.  Within the park there are five islands that are home to around 35,000 people, but the majority of visitors will want to visit the reefs in the waters around the island to view the coral and the marine life.

Unfortunately, the development of a tourist industry based around diving is actually harmful to the sensitive ecosystem in the park, which is now protected by its UNESCO status and has conservation support from the World Wildlife Fund.  Over seventy per cent of the marine life in this part of the Pacific can actually be found in the national park, including the beautiful Emperor Angelfish and the Bluestripe Snapper.

Raja Ampat

Another of the important sea marine parks in Indonesia is to be found in the waters off the Raja Ampat islands, and the coral population here rivals that to be seen in Bunaken.  The islands themselves are made up of four main islands and around 1,500 smaller isles to be found around the area, and because it is very remote the area is still relatively untouched by human visitors.  Because of the remote and isolated nature of the islands, they are generally occupied by lots of small tribes, with the main industry being fishing.

The area is slowly being opened up as a potential dive spot due to its largely untouched quality, and along with a huge variety of fish there are also massive schools of fish to be found in the area.

Gunung Leuser National Park

Along with the amazing sea-based sites that can be visited in Indonesia, there are also some truly amazing areas on land, and the GunungLeuserNational Park is certainly one of these.  It’s location on the mountainous islands of Sumatra make this National Park one of the most important for its population of native species such as the Sumatran Rhinoceros and the Sumatran Elephant.

Although visiting the area is quite difficult due to the steep mountain landscape and isolated location, one of the real highlights is the Bukit Lawang Orangutan Sanctuary.  There are over 5,000 orangutans to be found across the island, and the sanctuary is a great place to get a better look at these reclusive primates.

 Mount Bromo

One of the most interesting natural visitor attractions in Indonesia is actually a live volcano, although eruptions in 2010 and 2011 have been recorded.  As a part of the BromoTenggerNational Park, this active volcano can be reached by a short hike from a nearby mountain, or there are special excursions by jeep to an observation point.  The volcano is constantly monitored by vulcanologists, and there are sometimes warnings against visiting the area.

Komodo National Park

Another of the important natural locations is the KomodoNational Park, which covers three larger islands and twenty six smaller islands.  The main island of Komodo gave its name to the world’s largest lizard, which is the Komodo Dragon.  It is this reason that has led to the area being declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As well as the population of Komodo Dragons to be found on the islands in the park, there are also significant numbers of marine species to be found in the seas around the islands.  This has led to the national park becoming a popular destination for scuba diving, although there is a big emphasis on maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem in this type of tourism.

The Top Historic Sites In Seoul

seoul_south_koreaMany people consider the giant city of Seoul to simply be a large metropolis, but the reality is that it is also an important area in the history of South Korea, and it is well worth exploring the historical sites in the city.  These range from the prehistoric folk that lived in the area millennia ago to the monuments of recent history in the city, and here we include five of the best historic sites in the city of Seoul.

Amsa-Dong Prehistoric Settlement Site

The settlement site at Amsa-Dong was only revealed by flooding of the Han River in 1925, but exploration of the site actually found it to be one of the largest prehistoric settlements found in the region.  The main attraction at Amsa-Dong is the opportunity to explore the re-created dwellings on the site, where the early men and women would have lived in single room huts.  The nine huts on the site circle around a large central area for fire and would have been the communal space for the people living on the site.

Today the site has two halls displaying many of the examples of early earthenware, stone axes and stone arrow heads that were discovered, along with the representations of the traditional huts.

 The Five Grand Palaces Of Seoul

The Joseon dynasty ruled South Korea for many centuries, and one of the most impressive achievements of this dynasty can be enjoyed as a part of a tour of the city of Seoul.  The Five Grand Palaces are all within easy reach from the city centre, and all exhibit some of the traditional Korean architecture and are also wonderfully ornate.  Many people will make a particular effort to visit these sites in the springtime, as all of the palaces also have attractive gardens, and the flowering cherry blossom in the spring make these spaces almost idyllic.

The restoration of the grandest of these palaces, Gyeongbokgung, is one of the most ambitious projects currently underway in Korea, as hundreds of buildings on the site were demolished during the Japanese invasion at the start of the twentieth century.  One of the most impressive buildings to be found in the palace is the Royal Banquet Hall which has been built on a foundation of stone pillars that have been sunk into an artificial lake, and is truly stunning.

The National Folk Museum Of Korea

Within the grounds of the GyeongbokgungPalace lies the National Folk Museum of Korea, and a visit here is certainly worth combining with a visit to the palace.  This museum looks at the history and customs of the people of South Korea, and how the traditions of the country developed and grew.  The museum itself has thousands of exhibits spread through three main buildings, and these cover the development of Korean culture and lifestyle from ancient times through until the beginning of the twentieth century.

The Fortress Wall Of Seoul

There are parts of the old Fortress wall to be found around much of the old city of Seoul, and these areas are among the green natural areas to be found in the city. With some parts of the wall itself dating from the end of the fourteenth century, these historic fortifications were all created during the Joseon dynasty, and the period of construction can often be spotted in the type of stones used in each part of the wall.

Today there are many parts of the fortress wall that are used for hiking and relaxing, and two of the best sites can be found in WaryongPark and NamsanPark, where the historic walls are set in attractive natural areas.

Independence Gate

As a relatively small country that had historically been invaded by China and Japan, the Independence Gate was built at the end of the nineteenth century to celebrate the independence of South Korea.  The design of the independence gate was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and was completed in 1897.  The gate is to be found in the SeodaemunIndependencePark, which also incorporates a number of other attractions such as two important monuments and a museum based in the building of the former Seodaemun Prison.

The Top Cities To Visit In South Korea

seoul_south_koreaThe country of South Korea is one that is often overshadowed by its giant neighbor China and the economic powerhouse of Japan, but when it comes to tourism it is a great country to visit.  The economic boom in South Korea over the last two decades really has been remarkable, and has seen many cities that would previously be considered to be large towns to really flourish into regional hubs.  Because of this growth of cityscapes around old towns, this also means that there are many cities that will see skyscrapers of glass and steel within a stone’s throw from historic classical South Korean architecture.


If there is one city that dominates the country more than any other, Seoul is over five times larger than the second largest city, and is one of the largest cities in the world.  The financial center of the city is truly a sight to behold, with hundreds of skyscrapers making the best use of the space available in this packed city.  As well as being a financial hub, Seoul is also one of the most technologically developed cities in the world, with more fiber-optic broadband connections and 4G mobile internet coverage than any other city in the world.

Despite being the most important economic center in the country, Seoul also has a number of historic sites that are often small pockets of calm in this busy town.  The five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty are truly spectacular, and make for an excellent day trip visiting each one.  A short distance from the city there is also a prehistoric site where ancient dwellings were found after a flood washed away the surrounding soil to expose the area.


Busan is the second city of South Korea, and lying on the banks of the Nakdong River has long been an important trading town in the country.  As the second city Busan has developed a significant financial district, but is also host to cultural events such as the Busan International Film Festival, which is one of the largest in Asia.  Haeundae Beach is one of the nicest places to relax during a sunny day, while the city also has a number of attractive temples such as the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and the Beomeosa Temple.


For those with a keen interest in history, the city of Gyeongju has to be on the itinerary of any visit to South Korea, and will be fascinating even for those without a pressing interest in the subject.  The city was one of the ancient capitals of the kingdom of Silla which dominated the Korean peninsula for centuries.  Many of the sites in the city have been recognized as important cultural sites, and the Bulguska temple complex is a beautiful and fascinating Buddhist temple including some remarkable examples of art and sculpture.


Daegu is one of the most important cities in South Korea, and lying close to the center of the country is at the heart of much that happens in South Korea.  Visitors to the city will certainly want to explore Apsan, which is a wilderness park just a few miles to the south of the city center that has some wonderful trails to explore, and can also boast a number of beautiful Buddhist temples.


One of the most remarkable settlements in the whole of South Korea is the walled city of Suwon, with fortifications of three and a half miles surrounding the city.  These walls were raised in the eighteenth century to protect the tomb of Prince Sado by his son King Jeongjo.  With four gates allowing access in and out of the city, exploring Suwon is a real joy, and all parts of the city are easily reached on foot.  For those looking to explore the culture of the city, Suwon is famous for galbi, which is a type of beef rib that is usually barbecued.