South Korea’s capital and by far its largest city with a metropolitan area home to over half the country’s entire population, Seoul is one of East Asia’s major centres of culture and commerce.

A dichotomic mix of bleeding edge technology and tradition, an incredible work ethic and serene Buddhist temples, utterly unique youth subcultures and conformity, it is a city long popular with Asian tourists that’s gradually being discovered by those from the West.

Bisected by the Han River into the northern historic ‘Gangbuk’ and modern southern ‘Gangnum’ halves, Seoul is further divided into 25 districts, known as gu, each with an area and population comparable to a small city. With these each having their own centre, the whole metropolis has no true core, much like Los Angeles. Thankfully getting around is easy as Seoul enjoys an incredibly comprehensive, modern and genuinely pleasant metro system.

Sites to see include five major palaces, numerous temples and many museums. Food lovers will be spoilt with delectable street food, busy markets and great restaurants while numerous and vast nightlife districts play host to one of the liveliest city scenes in the world. Getting out of town, the surrounding mountains reward hikers with spectacular city views.