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Best Seoul Selection – September 2004

clock03-28-2010, 11:18 PM
Yorum: #1
Best Seoul Selection – September 2004

OK folks, here it is then, my first ever thread on SkyscraperCity. For those of you who know me personally, I’m hoping to have the long-promised photos from my previous South Korean and North Korean vacations online by the end of the year (it’s taken much longer than anticipated since I foolishly decided on the perfectionist’s option of researching and writing captions for all my snaps before posting them).

I’ve divided these, the best pics (for me) from my recent Seoul vacation, into four general categories: Seoul Skyline, Checking Out Seoul’s History, The Seoul Subway and Out And About In Seoul. I’ve tried to give as much information (hopefully not too much) about the photos in the captions located below each one, as well as links to some other sites containing relevant info for those of you who are interested. Enjoy.

Seoul Skyline

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The Myongdong area of central Seoul, taken from the bar on top of the cable car station next to Seoul Tower on Mount Namsan. Forsaking the tower and hitting this bar instead affords you better photo opportunities of Myongdong and several other areas of the city (i.e. no windows to contend with, although your view of the city is restricted to 180° instead of 360°), and the money saved on admission can be spent on beer as you chill out watching the sun set on the other side of the River Han. Highly recommended.

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Myongdong by night.

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Seoul Tower by day…

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…and by night.

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The Jongno Tower, built in 1999. This is SkyscraperCity, so some of you may be interested to hear it’s 133.5m high with 24 floors and is owned by Samsung Life Insurance. Check out http://joongangdaily.joins.com/20030...092209221.html for more info.

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New high-rises being erected next to Yongsan US Army Base.

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The ML63 Building and the surrounding island area of Yuiddo, otherwise known as ‘Seoul’s Manhattan.’

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Seoul and the River Han at sunset.

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At night Seoul’s skyline is dotted with red neon crucifixes marking the city’s many churches. This one, next to Dondaemun Gate, is probably one of the more interestingly-designed examples.

Checking Out Seoul’s History

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A pagoda in Jongmyo Plaza, the park in front of the Jongmyo Royal Shrine complex.

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A close-up of the pagoda’s choma, the hip (corner) of its roof. Unlike Chinese and Japanese roofs, which have straight lines, traditional Korean roofs curve upwards at the bottom. Also unique to Korean architecture are the vibrant colours of the eaves, which are related to the country’s indigenous religion. Check out http://www.koreainfogate.com/beautyk...e=Choma&src=23 for more info.

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Students on a school trip checking out Yongnyeongjeon in the Jongmyo Royal Shrine complex.

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The picturesque gardens outside Jeongjeong.

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Jeongjeong, the other main building in the Jongmyo Royal Shrine complex. Apparently Jeongjeong is the longest single traditional structure in Korea, and is quite impressive despite its plainness.

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“One for sorrow. Two for joy. Three for a girl. Four for a boy. Five for silver. Six for gold. Seven for a secret never to be told.” You can see six magpies here, although there were actually seven (it was too bright to actually see the image on my digicam’s monitor). There are no magpies in Japan (the word kasasagi entered the Japanese language during the colonial rule of Korea but nobody knows what it means anymore) so it’s strange to see so many in Korea.

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The historical information placards at Seoul’s palaces and temples tell the same story time after time – the place was burned or destroyed by the Japanese. No wonder the Japanese aren’t so popular here (except when they’re spending lots of Won on tourist stuff, of course).

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Part of the Changgyeonggung Palace complex.

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A gate leading into the Changgyeonggung Palace complex.

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Beautiful roof designs in the Changgyeonggung Palace complex.

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Another part of the Changgyeonggung Palace complex.

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Myongjeongjeon, the main hall in the Changgyeonggung Palace complex.

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Myongjeongjeon, with Seoul Tower in the background.

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A close-up of the Myongjeongjeon roof.

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One last shot of roofs before we move on.

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Me trying my hand at some traditional entertainment.

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Living quarters in the Changgyeonggung Palace complex

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Inside the living quarters.

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The statue of Korean patriot Wolnam Lee Sang-Jee in Jongnam Plaza.

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By day Jongmyo Plaza is overrun by the elderly – smoking, drinking, eating ice cream, and playing changgi (similar to Japanese shoji or chess). It’s an interesting contrast to Tokyo’s fashionable Shibuya district where you never see anyone over 30, as here I didn’t see anyone under the age of 60.

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Here’s a group of elderly folk getting into a game of changgi.

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One of the many interesting photo opportunities to be found in Jongmyo Plaza, a man washing his hair in the fountain, much to the bemusement of the other locals.

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Parklife – feeding the sparrows, not the pigeons, though.

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Whilst young Koreans can usually only write Hangul Korean characters well, older Koreans are adept at writing Chinese characters (especially since the Japanese tried to eradicate Korean language during their occupation of 1910-1945). Here, ironically, are examples of Chinese character calligraphy aimed at Japanese tourists visiting Jongmyo Royal Shrine complex.

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More Chinese character calligraphy, this time accompanied by a glowering camera-shy local.

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One of the many sellers who set up their stalls in front of Jongmyo Plaza to cash in on the huge numbers of elderly people. This guy was selling dried snakes for medicinal purposes.

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Koreans aren’t allowed to take advantage of the casinos springing up in Seoul to cater for foreigners, so it’s left to more mundane forms of gambling such as slot machines or these portable rock/scissors/paper machines (possible a legacy of the Japanese Colonial Era as Japanese love janken) to milk the punters.

The Seoul Subway

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The Seoul subway system. Clean, efficient and much cheaper than its Japanese counterparts.

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The mock-rock interior of Seoul Station. Not quite as grandiose as the Pyongyang Metro.

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Subway map and ticket machines for any trainspotters out there.

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Just in case you’re feeling your non-conformist attitude towards platform positioning is bucking society, these helpful footprints will help you become an ideal citizen once more.

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On the last train back to Itaewon.

Out And About In Seoul

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Fountain at the intersection on Namdaemunno.

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Sungnyemun Gate in Namdaemun, which marks the southern boundary of the old city centre.

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Street scene in Namdaemun. The guy on the left’s my favourite.

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A pleasant side street in Namdaemun.

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Girls wearing hanbok, the traditional costume of Korea.

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The statue of Gim Gu on the ascent to Seoul Tower.

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The main pagoda in Tapgol Park.

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My obsession with colourful roofs never ends.

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I saw several stone turtles when I visited Kaesong in North Korea (Check out http://www.peterlanger.com/Countries...KPKAE007BW.htm for examples), so I guess they have some kind of significance in Korean history. This one’s in Tapgol Park.

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As well as stone turtles, Koreans also seem to have a penchant for totem poles.

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And here’s another two.

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Grubby, yet strangely picturesque. A side street off Insadong-gil.

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One of the many bric-a-brac stalls lining the side streets off Insadong-gil.

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A traditional Korean restaurant in the Insadong-gil area.

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And another.

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The backstreets of the Insadong-gil area. Note the containers of fermenting kimchi (Korea’s national dish, made from Chinese cabbage, garlic, chillies and ginger) everywhere. Koreans eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

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The south side of the River Han is the most desirable area to live in and is now overrun with characterless apartment blocks, as you can see from this map of the area around Songnae station.

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A few of the many apartment blocks erected by Korea’s chaebol (Eng: conglomerates, Jap: zaibatsu), such as LG, Samsung and Hyundai. Like Japanese zaibatsu such as Mitsubishi and Hitachi, the chaebol have a diverse range of business interests and have a powerful grip on politics.

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Some more sterile apartment buildings, which gave me the same kind of feeling as their North Korean counterparts, although these are obviously in better condition.

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“I know what you’re thinking punk: You’re thinking “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Now, to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow your head clean orf, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well do ya, punk?”

Me getting into Dirty Harry mode at Lotte World. Because most men aged 18-20 have to do National Service in the ROK Army, most males have had gun handling experience; as a result, you can find firing ranges where you just walk in, pay your money and start shooting. This was my first time to fire a handgun, so naturally I selected the biggest hand cannon available. Fortunately it had a wire running through the top or the recoil (even with both arms locked and braced) would’ve either had me on my back or bust my nose. Unbelievable!

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Known as ‘Hooker Alley’ in local parlance, this is the home of backpacker’s favourite The Hill Top Motel in Itaewon.

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And here it is, The Hill Top Motel itself.

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Pretty basic rooms, but clean and in a perfect location in Itaewon, one of the main nightlife areas. Definitely my Seoul budget accommodation recommendation.

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And with cable TV (including the American Forces Network, with its unintentionally hilarious public service broadcasts about lifting heavy objects, avoiding sunstroke and other common-sense subjects your average kindergarten kid is aware of), you won’t find much better for the price (2,500 Yen/13 Quid a night).

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The only evidence that this is a ‘love hotel’ is the condom machine on the bedroom wall, and the American GIs you see bringing prostitutes back. Very different from Japanese ‘love hotels’ with their themed rooms. Apparently.

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One last pic, an interesting sign I found on the side of an earth-mover. I think it conveys its message rather well.
clock07-07-2012, 05:11 PM
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