From modern skyscrapers and grid-locked traffic to Buddhist temples and palaces, Seoul is a fascinating mix of old and new. A hub of business, culture and finance both within South Korea and internationally, Seoul is also a consumer's retail and culinary paradise. With fashion boutiques and cafes lining every street in bustling Myeong-dong to trendy Apgujeong, a stroll around the city is an experience in itself. It also has one of the world's best subway systems; the easiest way to get around in this densely populated area. For the best view of the city, head to N Seoul Tower on Namsan in the city center.
Amazingly, all this is happening within artillery range of North Korea. Though the situation seems less tense now, in 1994 Kim Il Sung threatened to turn Seoul into a "sea of flames" - and he could have. Seoul is only 25 miles from the most heavily-armed border in the world, but you don't notice much of a military presence around the city. For a first-hand experience, visit the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, just north of Seoul.