I have been to Seoul several times and each time I am there, I find more reasons to like Korea. It helps that I have dealings with Korean counterparts who make me appreciate the country better. I read somewhere that 50 years ago, Korea was a third world country and poverty was rife. I can't help but feel that they are moving ahead of everyone else today.
It is indeed a dynamic and progressive country. The people are diligent and forward looking. Service is top-notch and they give you their undivided attention. You could get a pair of glasses with prescription lens made within 30 minutes. Mail and internet orders are delivered within the same day.
Hotel rooms are spacious and thoughtfully furnished. There is Wifi access everywhere. Public transport is cheap and extremely reliable. Food is available everywhere and there are so many cafes, it makes me wonder how they can stay profitable. Perhaps due to the competitive environment, they are always striving to outdo each other. Whether it is promoting a cafe or cosmetic shop, you will be sure to see some quirky antics that will make you smile.
Here, the florists create eye-catching products to stand out from the rest. These adorable animals are made using spagmoss.
Every single cafe and shop are dressed up to attract the right customers.
Then there is the huge array of food. From tradition Korean desserts and spicy ramen to panini and sandwiches, you are spoilt for choice.
I was most impressed that all the cafes and restaurants I visited issue a beeper which rings when the order is ready for collection.
A lot of thought has gone into the urban planning as well. The Han River running through Seoul provides a welcome respite from the concrete jungle of the city.
It is not surprising to find wide expansive spaces within the bustling city. Many of the modern buildings are built around the traditional wooden houses to preserve the rich Korean heritage.
Clearly they have a high regard for nature when I saw this ailing tree on drip.
Steps away, Ispotted tomatoes growing in a small greenhouse that belongs to the Eco centre. It's hard to imagine vegetables growing in the heart of Seoul.
All over the city, lush gingko trees line the streets. Even though it wasn't fruiting season yet, I was lucky to spot several fresh gingko nuts on the pavement.
I have a weakness for nice architecture and plants. There is no lack of beautiful buildings throughout the city. Seeing them made me very happy.
Whether it is an embassy or religious building, they are all just as eye catching.