The Peak Tram wends its way up Hong Kong Island

Win a four-night trip for two to Hong Kong

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"I want to show you something," said my guide. "It's very Korean, and a little bit strange. You'll probably think it's silly." We were walking, on an autumn evening that turned crisp after dusk fell on a bright and balmy day, down Isadong-gil. This is a crowded, traffic-free street in the centre of Seoul – or so you assume, until a rogue scooter or van shoots across your path. It leads through a retail gauntlet of high-quality and mostly affordable craft shops to Tapgol Park. Here, 15th-century stone pagodas commemorate the kings of the Joseon dynasty, who united the Korean peninsula after 1392 – which has plenty of resonances in 2012.

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