After our trip to Japan, we stopped in South Korea for a few days. South Korea had a very different feel from Japan, so it was interesting to see the contrast.
Seoul felt very commercial, especially compared to cities in Japan. There are huge malls everywhere, and many of the sites people recommend seeing are newly built shopping and business centers. The subway system is easy to navigate and filled with people at all times. But, there are still South Korean markets and palaces to see. The two palaces we went to see were Gyongbokgun and Changdeokgung. Both are gorgeous and historical, but to be frank, we were fairly palaced out after spending a week in Japan. The two markets we went to were very different. The first was Namdaemun Market, where they basically things (vs food). You can buy anything from fake purses, to camera parts, to art, to home supplies, etc. The second market we went to was for food (picture above), called Gwangjang Market. There are non-food stalls in this market, but the best reason to go is to eat. There are incredible food stalls and you can try true Korean food and even try soju (like the Korean version of sake).
We also walked around Bukchon Hanok Village, which is a traditional South Korean village with little alleys as streets that you can walk around and see the traditional homes (hanok) that were built during the Joseon Dynasty.
We stayed at the Palace Hotel Seoul. It was really nice, not outrageously expensive, and convenient enough. I think because of the great subway system, anywhere you stay that’s close to the subway is convenient!