Spring in Asia: City Guide Seoul, the complete guide to the best high-tech designs,
glorious food and the Lotus Lantern Festival
There’s no better season to visit Seoul than spring time when Koreans prepare to celebrate the birthday of Buddha (end of April-beginning of May) during the Lotus Lantern Festival. Thousands of lanterns shaped like a lotus flower are lit everywhere in the city and then brought around during the parade to the Jogyesa temple: an ocean of lights and colours not to be missed.
To visit Seoul (pronounced “Saul” by locals) is exciting and frustrating at the same time. The second largest metropolitan area in the world is an unstoppable turmoil of innovation and new constructions: like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, opened in March 2014, with its long curves, it’s without a doubt the most iconic building representing korean design.
New constructions bring unfortunately a lot of traffic: expect long queues if you travel by car or taxi; but don’t ever think to socialize with the taxi driver as no one barely speaks english and all the signs are in korean (in fact, remember to ask your hotel concierge to write down in korean alphabet the address of your destination). Instead, you can observe the local habits: did you know that newlyweds in Korea have to dress with matching outfit during the whole honeymoon? So don’t be surprised if you see them at Incheon International Airport departing for the Philippines, the favourite seaside destination of Koreans.
Seoul treasures thoroughly the symbols of its tradition: the royal palaces, the temples and the museums that testify the rich culture of this country, from the Three Kingdoms of Korea during the 1st century AD to the war against North Korea in 1950.
Koreans are considered “the Italians of Asia”, not just because Italy and Korea are located almost on the same parallel, but also for their incredible simpathy and their glorious food. They’re always ready “to party” and they are very proud of their traditional cuisine famous all over the world, based on rice, meat and vegetables: the renowned kimchi, veggies fermented with seasonings, or the superb bulgogi, marinated grilled beef with onions and garlic.
The Italian Eye chose Seoul as a spring destination and we’re not the only ones: Karl Lagerfeld just debuted his Chanel Cruise Collection 2015/2016. Take a look at the looks inspired by korean tradition.