Here is how to spend 72 hours in Seoul, a city where rich heritage and cutting-edge tech combine to give you a wow vacation.

Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Spend 72 hours in the city where rich heritage and cutting-edge tech combine to give you a wow vacation.

It’s called Seoul Special City with good reason. The capital of South Korea, its origins date back to 18 BC and the Baekje rulers, and later, the Joseon who made it their capital ‘Hanseong’, building fortifications around it. Although its skyline is one of the most advanced today (think Lotte World Tower, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, COEX, the 63 Building, and so many more!), Seoul still has five well-maintained UNESCO World Heritage Sites in its Capital Area — Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong, and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon dynasty. Be it Korean food, music, beauty, culture, fashion, technology, or art, Seoul is at the forefront, a place where tradition and modernity coexist beautifully.

The 150 meter 4K LED ceiling has to be seen to be believed. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Day 1: Diving into the K-life

Fly into Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, and check in to the Inspire Incheon, a grand resort complex that is only minutes away. Called the Inspire Entertainment Resort, it’s a five-star hotel but also so much more. If you plan well, you could catch a spectacular show at Korea’s first-ever 15,000-seat performance arena.

Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Enjoy the indoor water park that brings in the sunshine through a glass dome. It also boasts largest hotel ballroom in Korea and a banquet hall with all the tech bells and whistles imaginable. Visit the huge outdoor entertainment park with a capacity of 30,000 or go crazy at Korea’s largest foreigner-only casino. If that’s not enough to impress you, there’s a 150-metre digital entertainment street with stunning LED decor, and facilities for shopping and dining.

The change of guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Day 2: Building excitement

Now is a good time to move closer to Seoul’s soul. Immerse yourself in the country’s history at the Four Seasons Seoul, which has picture windows commanding stunning views of the glorious Gyeongbokgung Palace and a lobby built around a large circular fireplace with an ancient bronze map of Korea that details the country’s numerous mountains, villages and rivers. Or pick Josun Palace, Marriott International’s first Luxury Collection property in South Korea, which blends the old and the bold in wonderful ways.

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Lotte tower observatory offers some stunning views of Seoul city. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Start the day at Lotte Tower, where you can visit the Seoul Sky Observatory in South Korea’s tallest building (the fifth tallest in the world). Get a 360-degree birds’ eye view from 500 metres in the air, see exhibitions based on the theme ‘The Pride of Korea’, enjoy a meal at their ‘café above the clouds’.

Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Next, head to the Lotte World Mall and explore the Lotte World Aquarium inside. This water world brings to life the marine ecosystems of the world’s five oceans. Be gobsmacked by its collection of over 55,000 marine animals across its Marine Eco Hall, Amazon River Hall, Penguin Hall, and other exhibits.

You can even go up close with some sea creatures by signing up for feeding sessions or touch experiences in a controlled environment that doesn’t harm them or endanger you. There’s duty-free shopping to be had as well. But if that doesn’t give you enough retail therapy, you can always head to Myeongdong to stock up on some of those famous Korean skin and haircare products.

On a clear day, you can see Kaesong City in North Korea. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Day 3: Seoul-stirring experiences

If excitement is what you seek, then a tour of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) is a must. Often dubbed ‘the most dangerous border in the world’, it’s a sliver of land, a buffer zone between North and South Korea, which have had a history of conflict for the longest time. Do a half-day tour of the DMZ, visiting Imjingak Park, the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, and Dorasan Station.

An old steam locomotive ridden with bullet holes is popularly known as the “I wanna run” train. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

This is a sensitive area with a sad history, but stops like The Bridge of Freedom, a former railroad bridge used by repatriated prisoners of war to return to South Korea after the signing of the Armistice Agreement, stand as a ray of hope to humanity. From the Dora Observatory, you can use binoculars to get a peek into North Korea.

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Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

If you’re not too tired after the morning’s tour, today’s a good day to visit Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang, Korea’s largest automobile theme park. Grab lunch at the huge Kitchen, then head on to learn about how cars are manufactured and how they function. Rediscover the car as more than just a mode of transportation, through exhibits that let you see, hear, and touch various aspects.

Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Looking for some calm at the end of a busy day and a memorable trip? You could also opt for a relaxing therapy at a Korean spa (jjimjilbang). Or take a stroll along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. This is an 11 km long stretch alongside a manmade river right in the centre of Seoul city. It’s lovely in the day but even more stunning at night, as the pathway snakes below street level with beautiful lanterns lighting your way.

The Starfield library. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

LL Tips to light up your Instagram

The towering bookshelf at the Starfield Library in the middle of the COEX Mall.

Sign up for a K-Pop Fan Tour and sight your idols at the KBS building, take pictures and videos in recognizable K-pop-themed zones.

Don’t miss the hexagonal pagoda-style Hyangwonjeong Pavilion backdrop and the ‘Bridge Intoxicated by Fragrance’ at the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Bukchon Hanok Village. Photo by Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

The eminently Instagrammable Bukchon Hanok Village still has traditional Korean houses called ‘hanoks’ which built using Korean red pine wood, earth, and stone during the Joseon Dynasty 600 years ago.

The street food at Hongdae is tasty, filling, and will get you #eatlocal kudos.

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