Nearly 10 million people live in Seoul making it a living, breathing metropolis of humanity. Many travelers foolishly travel to Asia to visit Tokyo, Beijing, or Bangkok. In doing so, they completely miss out on Seoul’s beauty, charm, and great nightlife.
If you are flying from the west, jet lag can be a major factor when visiting Seoul. Luckily, there are some tricks of the travel trade to help you get over sleep deprivation. Seoul is a magical city and jet lag should not stop you from enjoying The Land of the Morning Calm.
The Food and Drink
South Korea has some of the best food culture on the plant and it surpasses that of China, Thailand, and Vietnam. The peninsula has amazing traditional recipes served up by restaurants all over. Prices range from low-budget to five-star and everything in between.
After landing in Seoul, there is nothing better than heading into central Seoul and dining on Korean BBQ. While you may have eaten Korean food at a restaurant in your local city, there is nothing that compares to eating Korean BBQ in Seoul. The entire meal is an experience as you grill it at your table. Local Korean beer and soju flow when dining out as well.
Korean culture sees restaurants stay open late and eating dinner is a social event. You may find plenty of people eating dinner after midnight as locals work late and play even later. Restaurants being open late can help you adjust to your new surroundings quickly and overcome jet lag. Rather than crawl into your hotel or hostel bed, force yourself to go out and attempt to get adjusted to local time.
History and Landmarks
The peninsula has a rich history that dates back centuries. South Korea was regularly a target of other nations to conquer and colonise. Japan colonised South Korea and controlled it up to the end of World War II.
Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the best-preserved examples of South Korean history. Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395 as home to the kings of the Joseon dynasty as well as the government. Amazingly, the palace is located in Seoul amongst the city’s skyscrapers. It is a breath of fresh air when exploring Seoul and its great history.
Namsan is another of Seoul’s great landmarks. The mountain rises 262 metres high and overlooks Seoul providing panoramic views. Visitors can ascend the mountain via several paths depending on how strong their fitness is. At the top of Namsan is N Seoul Tower. The tall tower offers you the chance to see Seoul from an even higher vantage point.
Exploring Seoul is one of the best ways to ward off jet lag and sleep deprivation during travel. Staying busy keeps you from focusing on being tired and retiring to your hotel room. Packing a day full of activity can keep you going long and strong without crashing. However, in case you find yourself getting sleepy, Seoul has a plethora of cafes as coffee is a favourite beverage.
Okay, so the DMZ isn’t in Seoul, but it isn’t far away either. What is the DMZ? It is the demilitarised zone that separates South Korea from North Korea. The two countries went to war in 1950 and after three years of death and destruction agreed upon a seize fire. The countries are still technically at war, despite no full-fledged attacks occurring since 1953. There have been incidents and it feels like the peninsula can be a matchbook waiting to go up in flames at times.
You can book tours to the DMZ to experience one of the tensest moments of your life. North Korean soldiers stand on one side and stare into the eyes of South Korean soldiers on the opposite side. A trip to the DMZ is one of the most unique travel experiences you will ever have and afterwards, wonder why conflicts continue to exist in the world as they do.
Jet lag can be a major issue to anyone travelling from North America or Europe to Asia. One of the best things to do to stay awake when you arrive in Seoul is to get outside and enjoy the daylight. It will help keep you awake. In addition, make sure you hydrate with water on the airplane and when you arrive. Overeating and having too much alcohol or caffeine can cause you to crash.
Seoul is a magical city with even more great adventures to discover. From all-night karaoke rooms and bars to night markets and five-star shopping, it is a city that every traveller to Asia should seek out time and again.