"Gangnam Style" star PSY performs his new single "Gentleman" during his concert in Seoul on April 13, 2013.
Credit: Kim Jae-Hwan

1. You can watch the sun rise and set from the city’s four peaks

(IAN/Flickr Commons)

You can also gaze upon the coolest, most sprawling neon-lit cityscape you’ll ever see.


2. There's such a thing as haute-couture hiking


You can’t go a month without at least one hike. And some Seoul-lites take their hiking gear very seriously.


3. The spicy food will test your stomach of steel (yes, that's a good thing)

(RYAN PICKKEL/Flickr Commons)

Restaurateurs will question your ability to indulge in fiery pepper-laden pickled dishes. Prove them wrong.


4. The internet is so good you can watch television on your smart phone in the subway

(BRENT SCHMIDT/Flickr Commons)

Searing data speeds in Korea, the fastest in the world, mean your phone doubles as a portable television.


5. The booze is cheap, abundant, and a prerequisite for everything

(JAMIE CARTER/Flickr Commons)

Your boss will probably order you to drink liters and liters of soju, a $1.25 bottle of liquor that tastes like vodka. It’s occasionally mixed with beer to concoct a hangover-inducing cocktail called somaek.


6. Did we mention it's really abundant?

(MARK ZASTROW/Flickr Commons)

Jinro soju, the country’s most popular brand, is consumed more than any other liquor label in the world. Vodka comes second.


7. The mountains are endless, and endlessly beautiful

(MINYOUNG CHOI/Flickr Commons)

They’ve captivated Koreans for centuries as the source of folklore and spiritual beliefs. In myth, the Korean people originated on one, as did the former North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il.


8. The karaoke bars are better than your bars

(RINUX/Flickr Commons)

In Korea, it’s called noraebang. Psy and Rain are splashed all over the repertoire.


9. Gangnam style is more than just a dance

(STEVE KOON/Flickr Commons)

Nose jobs and Louis Vuitton handbags are everywhere in this Beverly Hills-style district. More importantly, it’s a place to pay homage to the world’s most famous horse-galloping rapper.


10. Pirates of the Caribbean has its own knock-off

(SEUNG PARK/Flickr Commons)

“Pharaoh’s Fury,” a ride at the Lotte World theme park in Seoul, offers the delights of Disneyland on the other side of the Pacific.


11. This mystery “sculpture” greets you at the Incheon airport

(PANDU POLUAN/Flickr Commons)

Is it a giant, erect penis? Nobody knows.


12. Shamans and séances call all the big shots

(BRIAN MILLER/Flickr Commons)

Ancient spirit work thrives in this high-tech city. Politicians and CEOs regularly consult their shamans, called mudangs, before making tough decisions.


13. The Korean rock scene is awesome

(RECANDPLAY.NET/Flickr Commons)

Forget K-pop. The university district of Hongdae is home to one of Asia’s coolest indie scenes.


14. But the real rock stars are professional video gamers (it's your fantasy coming true)

(CYRUS FARIVAR/Flickr Commons)

Fans go wild for their favorite gamers, who perform against each other at auditoriums and get the 5-star treatment.


15. It's the Republic of Samsung


You can live an entire day on Samsung products without even realizing it.


16. There's a museum dedicated to kimchi

(ECO DALLA LUNA/Flickr Commons)

Yes, there’s a museum for that, with more than 100 varieties of this pungent pickled cabbage.


17. The high-speed rail can take you across the country in a flash

(DOO HO KIM/Flickr Commons)

The rest of the peninsula is reachable within a couple of hours — except, of course, North Korea, which sits behind a minefield.


18. The romantic Cheonggyecheon stream runs through the city center

(RYAN SUH/Flickr Commons)

A popular landmark, this quaint retreat runs for more than three miles.


19. Mega-churches!

(TF-URBAN/Flickr Commons)

Think the Bible Belt is full of them? In Seoul, they’re everywhere, a staple of this nation’s American-influenced history.


20. The cherry blossoms are an amazing sight

(SAM NG/Flickr Commons)

Japan isn’t the only nation with a whitish pink blanket of flowers.


21. Hanok, or traditional-style houses, are makin' a comeback

(REPUBLIC OF KOREA/Flickr Commons)

Seoul has witnessed a revival of these artisanal, energy-friendly homes that go back centuries. You could be living in one.

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