Seoul makes list of top 10 cities
Lonely Planet named South Korea’s capital one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017 because “for over a decade Seoul has been striving to become a greener, more attractive and user-friendly metropolis.” It is also the only Asian city to make the list, released on Tuesday.
The world’s largest travel guide publisher praised the city for its Cheonggye Stream development and the more recent Seoullo 7017 project to turn the overpass above Seoul Station into a scenic walkway.
“Following on from successful projects such as the Cheonggyecheon,” it said, “where an aging elevated highway was torn down and replaced with a central park and waterway, the city will unveil in the latter part of 2017 the Seoul Skygarden. This time, the old highway in question - a 938m-long [3,077 feet], 17m-tall overpass next to transport hub Seoul Station - will become the platform on which trees, shrubs and flowers will be planted to create an arboretum of local species.”
Seoullo 7017, often referred to in foreign media as “Seoul Skygarden,” will involve converting an overpass built in 1970 into a pedestrian park by 2017, with 17 new pedestrian roads branching out from the overpass to connect different parts of central Seoul. The overpass park is expected to open next April.
Seoul came in 7th on the list after Bordeaux, Cape Town, Los Angeles, Mexico’s Merida, Macedonia’s Ohrid and Italy’s Pistoia. It was followed by Lisbon, Moscow and Portland, Oregon.
“Across the city, hundreds of imaginative projects were softening Seoul’s concrete and steel edges,” wrote Simon Richmond, a writer at Lonely Planet. “Bold architectural and urban planning projects have marked out this vibrant metropolis of 10 million people as the place to watch when it comes to a crafting a design-conscious, people-centric city for the 21st century.”
Seoul also made the top 10 on the Global Destination Cities Index by MasterCard for the past three years, and was named the No. 3 city for international conferences by Union of International Associations last year, when it was also named by Switch Fly as the city where luxury travelers stay the longest.
Gunnar Garfors, who visited all 198 countries in the world by age 37, also named Seoul as the best travel destination last year.
“I love the contradictions you see in Seoul, the mix of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology, the quirkiness and the correctness, the cool people and the wannabees,” Garfors wrote in Thrillist, a digital platform on food, drink and travel. “Luckily most of them are genuinely nice - they define friendly.”
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]