Thai Airways International or THAI, the Thai national flag carrier, offers a choice of direct and one-stop flights throughout the day, from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok to Seoul's Incheon International Airport.
In addition to its various tourist attractions and activities, South Korea's capital also happens to be the mecca of Korean pop culture or Hallyu and offers plenty for fans of K-Pop, K-Dramas and K-TV Shows. The city's K-Pop experience program, for example, is designed for foreign tourists to enjoy directly. There are K-Pop dancing and singing classes that can be taken, a tour of a broadcasting theme park and even a Hallyu celebrity makeup class. Hallyu Celebrity Schedules are also available, giving visitors the chance to see their favourite celebrities in person.
Shoppers will want to visit Dongdaemun Market, a large commercial district that offers traditional markets and shopping centres. The country's largest wholesale and retail shopping district, it boasts 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops and 50,000 manufacturers featuring all types of different goods.
Myeong-dong is Seoul's shopping mecca and a must-see for tourists who can explore street stalls, malls and retail outlets, and Namdaemun Market, the country's largest traditional market with more than 10,000 stores lining the streets around the old city wall. Also offering various interesting sights and delicious food to chow down on, this is a popular place for both local and international visitors.
An immediate tax refund system introduced in 2016 now means that foreign tourists can get their refund right away when buying items at non duty free shops. Previously they had to pay the full price including tax and then keep the receipts to file a tax refund at the airport before their departure. The immediate tax refund applies to purchases of less than 200,000 won, with a total value limit of 1,000,000 won per visit. A passport must be shown in order to receive the refund.
Those keen on taking in some history will undoubtedly find themselves visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first royal palace built during the Joseon Dynasty, and ongoing efforts to rebuild and restore buildings destroyed during Japanese occupation are aimed at fully restoring the palace to its original form in the next 20 years. The UNESCO-listed Changdeokgung became the main royal residence after Gyeongbokgung was destroyed during the 16th Century Japanese invasion.
Originally built in 1396, the Seoul City Wall was once a fortress but is today a picturesque way to explore the city. It stretches for 18.6 km at an average height of seven to eight metres.
For more than a touch of traditional charm, the quaint and fascinating neighbourhood of Insa-dong offers restaurants and wooden tea houses, boutique galleries, antique shops, bookstores and street vendors selling traditional snacks. Situated in the centre of Seoul and one of the best places to buy traditional Korean art, products and other souvenirs, Insa-dong is a must-see particularly on Sundays when the streets become traffic free and there are street performances and buskers.
From street level to sky-high must-sees, N Seoul Tower is another popular attraction. The tower's Digital Observatory affords an amazing 360 degree panoramic view over the city and there are LCD screens that recount Seoul's 600 year history.
Seoul, along with Busan – the other of THAI's two destinations in South Korea – are among 49 destinations in 20 countries throughout Asia Pacific served by the Thai flag carrier from its Bangkok hub.
THAI's flights from Bangkok to Seoul and Busan can be booked online at thaiairways.com. As well as being able to book online flights from Thailand, visitors to the website can also search for other travel arrangements such as hotel and resort accommodation, travel insurance and car rental.