Founded in 1392 at the start of the Yi Dynasty, Seoul is a sprauling metropolis of over 10 million people and offers a striking contrast between old and new. The shopping district offers modern fashions and high tech electronics. A few subway stops away, palaces provide a glimpse of architecture and customs from a bygone era.
The Kukkiwon is the headquarters for taekwondo standards and promotional requirements. The building opened in 1973 and hosted the 1st World Taekwondo Championships. Although it may not be much to look at on first view, it still hosts important events such as promotion tests, instructor courses, and tournaments. Additionally, the staff is always hospitable to visitors. If not occupied with pressing business, the masters and grandmasters often make time to meet with visiting instructors. There is also a museum that the staff will gladly open upon request, a cafeteria, and store.
Nearby the Kukkiwon are two additional stores, Song Moo Sa and Adidas. Both stores offer taekwondo equipment, books, posters, and more. If the cafeteria is not sufficient, a short walk down the street offers a variety of restaurants and fast food joints.
A look at earlier times.
The largest palace in Seoul with incredible architecture. Following the occupation os Japan in the 1590's, all but 10 of the original buildings were left standing. In the mid-19th Century, Kyungbokkung was refurbished with a far more extensive rennovation in the 1990's.
Seoul's smallest palace, Toksugung is a quiet refuge from the array of surrounding modernerity. Built in the mid 15th Century, this palace served as the main residence during the Japanese occupation of Hideyoshi's army in the 1590's and again from 1897 to 1907 following King Kojong's year of asylum in the Russian legation.
This palace is even more removed from the traffic and noise than Toksugung. Although visitors must join a guided tour, it is well worth it as visitors can spend some time at Piwon, the Secret Garden.
Yes, there is shopping. And lots of it.