The high-energy, high-decibel capital city is a jampacked home to 10 million people, but, everywhere, boys will be boys.

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High-tech mingles with traditional in South Korea, from ancient temples to burgeoning telecommunications industries. And in Seoul, the high-energy and high-decibel capital city that’s a jampacked home to 10 million people, young Buddhist monks don 3-D glasses to watch TV monitors at a museum.

The boys aren’t really monks. But they are part of a Buddhist renaissance in South Korea that inspired their families to send their children — heads shaved, bodies draped in pint-size robes — to temples for a month in celebration of Buddha’s birthday.

Ancient religious teachings must compete for the boys’ attention with the lure of an outing to the grandly named SK Telecom Ubiquitous Museum ( for short), a showcase for one of South Korea’s powerhouse tech companies.

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At the museum, see a house of a future where a smartphone controls everything. Play tech games. Watch a conventional movie turned into 3-D. Or create and dress an avatar of yourself — in high fashion, not monks’ robes.

Kristin R. Jackson is the editor of The Seattle Times’ NWTraveler section. Contact her at

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