A dynamic city at the centre of Korea’s cultural and economic renaissance over the past generation, Seoul packs in nearly 12 million people within its undulating valleys and peaks. With over 25 million people lying within an hour of the city proper, this megalopolis stands as one of the world’s most intense urban environments, boasting one of the largest subway systems on Earth, and with densely packed districts of business people, artists, and students living, working and playing (quite hard) within close proximity of each other.
Yet, with South Korea’s dramatic opening to the West over the past 20 years, Seoul sticks out as an island of unique creativity in a sea of conformity. At first glance, it can be hard to see this, but a simple 10 minute stroll through the alleyways of Hongdae will confirm the pronouncement in this previous sentence.
Amidst all the modernity of the present era, even in the capital Seoul, the traditions and monuments of the past still loom large among forests of skyscrapers and the snake-like tracks left by countless expressways and overhead trains. Visitors to Seoul will get an overdose of urban grit and charm, mixed in with the Korea of days gone by. Upon your first few hours in this fascinating city, it can be a very intoxicating combination indeed.
Seoul City Guide: A Brief History Of Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a city with a rich and fascinating history that spans over two thousand years. It has undergone many changes and challenges throughout the centuries, from its origins as a small settlement to becoming the bustling metropolis it is today.
The earliest evidence of human settlement in the Seoul area dates back to the Neolithic period, around 8,000 BCE. During the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE – 668 CE), Seoul was a small city known as Wiryeseong and was the capital of the Baekje kingdom. It was strategically located on the Han River and was protected by high walls and fortifications. Despite this, Wiryeseong was invaded and destroyed by the Goguryeo kingdom in 372 CE.
In 918 CE, Gyeon Hwon, a military leader, founded the Goryeo dynasty and established a new capital in Gaegyeong, modern-day Kaesong. However, in 1394, King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon dynasty, moved the capital to Hanyang, present-day Seoul. This marked the beginning of a new era for the city.
Under the Joseon dynasty, Seoul became a cultural and economic center. The construction of significant landmarks, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and the Jongmyo Shrine, helped to establish the city’s cultural identity. The city also became an important hub for international trade and diplomacy, with merchants and diplomats from China and Japan settling in Seoul.
In the late 19th century, Seoul was opened to the world following the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Japan in 1876. This led to an influx of Western influence and modernization, with the construction of new buildings, roads, and infrastructure. However, this also led to increased tensions between Korea and Japan, culminating in Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910.
During Japan’s occupation of Korea, Seoul underwent significant changes. The Japanese colonial government transformed the city, with the construction of new buildings, the destruction of traditional neighborhoods, and the imposition of their language and culture on the Korean people. Despite this, Koreans maintained their cultural identity, and resistance movements against Japanese rule emerged.
After Japan’s defeat in World War II, Korea was liberated, and the country was partitioned into two halves along the 38th parallel. In 1948, the Republic of Korea was established, with Seoul as its capital. However, the country was soon engulfed in the Korean War (1950-1953), resulting in the city being devastated by fighting and bombing.
After the war, Seoul began to rebuild itself, with significant aid from the United States. The city’s infrastructure was modernized, and new high-rise buildings were constructed. However, the country also experienced significant political and social upheaval, including the authoritarian rule of President Park Chung-hee and the pro-democracy movement of the 1980s.
In the 21st century, Seoul has continued to develop and evolve, becoming a global economic powerhouse and cultural destination. The city has undergone significant development, including the construction of new landmarks such as the Lotte World Tower, the Seoul Sky Observatory, and the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Seoul has also become a hub for technology and innovation, with companies such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai headquartered in the city.
Today, Seoul is a bustling and vibrant city, with a unique blend of modern and traditional culture. It is a city that has undergone many changes throughout its history, yet remains firmly rooted in its rich cultural heritage. Visitors to Seoul can explore the city’s ancient palaces and shrines, sample traditional Korean cuisine, and experience the vibrancy of its modern culture.
Seoul Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in South Korea
Although the ravages of the elements and war over the many centuries had wreaked havoc on the temples and palaces that lie within Seoul, they have been restored to nearly mint condition in recent years, making it a breathtaking experience for those that make the effort to visit. At the top of your sightseeing list should be Gyeongbok-gung, which served as the main palace for the emperor of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty, opening in 1395. While it had been razed by the Japanese twice in 1592 and 1910, its present state of restoration still makes it an excellent place to visit, where you can watch the changing of the guard on the hour between 10 am to 3pm, and explore two museums on the palace’s history and Korean folk culture.
Second in importance to Gyeongbok-gung, but no less spectacular is the palace named Changdeok-gung, which was erected in 1405. The restoration of this structure is more complete, and was so eloquently done that it garnered an UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in recent years. As such, guided tours are the only way to tour the complex (except on Thursday, oddly enough), and an admission fee is charged, with it costing 3,000 ₩ to enter here.
Those looking to get in a bit of exercise with their culture hunting should tick off both boxes by climbing Mount Inwang (Inwangsan). On this 336 metre high mountain, there are a number of small Buddhist temples (including one with a gaudy-looking bronze bell), but the true attraction of this mountain, besides the magnificent view from the top, is the presence of Guksadang, a shamanist shrine which is said to house the spirit of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty.
Finally, those looking to find the work of today’s artists in Seoul have several options to explore. In the neighbourhood of Hongdae, there are many art galleries, coffee shops, and handmade furniture shops that showcase the work of Korea’s younger generations. Those who have their artistic proclivities more rooted in the past can be found peddling their traditional potteries, crafts, and clothes in the historical district of Insadong, where one can also find an overabundance of restaurants serving authentic Korean cuisine.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Seoul, Korea
If you have brought your love interest to Seoul with you, purchase a lock and a sharpie at a hardware store on the streets beneath Namsan Mountain in the centre of the city, then make for Seoul Tower. Commanding a breath stealing view of the sea of urban density that has consumed the lowlands below, the grounds of the tower offers fencing where you can write a message proclaiming your love for each other on your lock, after which you can attach it to a space on the fence. Unlike other love lock destinations in the world, the locks are not disturbed, allowing you and your significant other to come back in the future to find the symbol of your commitment still waiting there for you!
Korean and Japanese anime fans should make time to attend a World Comic Convention event. Unlike other festivals in the world, which are only held once per year, these gatherings go off twice a month at the SETIC convention centre. Even if you don’t dress up, it’s worth checking out for the intricate costumes that fans create to honour their favourite heroes/heroines!
Finally, be sure to make time for the Cheonggye Stream, an urban reclamation project of a former freeway that had overrun the stream previously. Situated at the bottom of an urban canyon of concrete, but carpeted with trees, grass and the free-flowing waters of a surprisingly clean river, this attraction combines elements of the natural environment of Korea with the urban colossus of Seoul to create a place of serenity where you would least expect it.
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
Top 101 Things To Do in Seoul, South Korea For Visitors
Seoul, the bustling capital of South Korea, is a city that never sleeps. It is a perfect blend of ancient traditions and modernization. The city is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the country and is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Here are the top 10 things to do in Seoul:
- Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest and most iconic palace in Seoul. Explore its grand halls, beautiful gardens, and witness the impressive Changing of the Guard ceremony.
- Immerse yourself in Korean culture by wandering through the charming streets of Bukchon Hanok Village, where traditional Korean houses (hanok) are preserved.
- Take a leisurely stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream, a 10-kilometer-long urban oasis lined with trees, bridges, and art installations. It’s a perfect spot to relax and escape the city hustle.
- Shop till you drop at Myeongdong, one of Seoul’s busiest shopping districts. It’s known for its endless rows of shops selling cosmetics, fashion, accessories, and street food.
- Experience the vibrant nightlife of Hongdae, a neighborhood famous for its youthful energy, street performances, live music venues, and trendy clubs.
- Dive into the culinary delights of Gwangjang Market, one of Seoul’s oldest traditional markets. Sample a variety of Korean street food like bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) and gimbap (seaweed rice rolls).
- Hike up Namsan Mountain, located in the heart of the city, for stunning panoramic views of Seoul’s skyline. Don’t miss the iconic N Seoul Tower at the summit.
- Delve into Korean history and culture at the National Museum of Korea, home to a vast collection of artifacts, artworks, and cultural relics.
- Marvel at the futuristic architecture of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a cultural complex that hosts fashion shows, exhibitions, and pop-up markets.
- Explore the international atmosphere of Itaewon, known for its diverse food scene, international cuisine, and vibrant nightlife.
- Catch a K-pop concert or visit a K-pop-themed cafe to experience the global phenomenon of Korean pop music firsthand.
- Dive into the world of Korean skincare and cosmetics by visiting renowned beauty stores like Innisfree, Etude House, and Tony Moly.
- Try on a hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, and take stunning photos at rental shops or cultural centers.
- Immerse yourself in traditional Korean arts and crafts in Insadong. Explore galleries, tea houses, and souvenir shops selling calligraphy, paintings, ceramics, and traditional hanji paper crafts.
- Shop ’til you drop at COEX Mall, one of the largest underground shopping malls in Asia. It’s a paradise for fashion enthusiasts, book lovers, and tech-savvy shoppers.
- Indulge in a mouthwatering Korean barbecue feast at a local restaurant. Grill your own meat and enjoy the flavors of galbi (marinated beef short ribs) or samgyeopsal (pork belly).
- Take a day trip to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to learn about the divided Korean peninsula, visit the Joint Security Area, and understand the history of the Korean War.
- Visit N Seoul Tower, an iconic landmark offering panoramic views of Seoul. Leave a lock on the “Locks of Love” fence as a symbol of everlasting love.
- Explore the artistic neighborhood of Samcheong-dong, known for its unique shops, cafes, art galleries, and traditional architecture.
- Relax and rejuvenate at a traditional jjimjilbang, a Korean sauna and spa. Enjoy various saunas, hot baths, and receive a rejuvenating scrub.
- Attend a traditional Korean performance, such as a Nanta show (a non-verbal comedy performance) or a B-Boy dance performance.
- Visit Changdeokgung Palace and explore its Secret Garden, a serene and picturesque retreat tucked away behind the palace. Stroll through the meticulously manicured gardens, adorned with pavilions, ponds, and beautiful flora.
- Discover the trendy Garosugil street in Gangnam, lined with stylish boutiques, trendy cafes, and art galleries. Enjoy shopping for unique fashion items, accessories, and home decor.
- Embark on a thrilling adventure at Everland, South Korea’s largest theme park. Experience exhilarating rides, catch live shows, and explore themed zones like Safari World and European Adventure.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant street art scene of the Ihwa Mural Village. Admire the colorful murals and street installations that bring life and creativity to the neighborhood.
- Take a boat cruise along the Han River and enjoy the stunning views of the city skyline and its iconic bridges. Choose from daytime cruises, sunset cruises, or even special themed cruises.
- Learn to make traditional Korean dishes in a cooking class. Discover the secrets of kimchi-making, learn how to prepare bulgogi (marinated beef), and create delicious side dishes.
- Visit the War Memorial of Korea, a comprehensive museum dedicated to the country’s military history. Explore exhibits showcasing wartime artifacts, aircraft, tanks, and pay tribute to fallen heroes.
- Wander through the peaceful grounds of Bongeunsa Temple, located in the bustling Gangnam district. Experience the tranquility of this Buddhist temple and observe monks going about their daily rituals.
- Explore the lively streets of Hongdae, known for its artistic vibe and youth culture. Discover unique shops, indie art galleries, and enjoy street performances by talented musicians and performers.
- Attend a traditional Korean tea ceremony at a traditional teahouse. Learn about the different types of Korean tea, the art of tea preparation, and the significance of tea in Korean culture.
- Enjoy a traditional Korean music or dance performance at the Korea National Folk Museum. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Korea through captivating performances.
- Delve into Korean history and culture at the National Folk Museum of Korea, located within the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Explore exhibits showcasing traditional crafts, folk art, and daily life in Korea.
- Head to the Lotte World Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and take in breathtaking views of Seoul from the observation deck on the upper floors.
- Test your luck at the COEX Casino, located within the COEX Mall complex. Try your hand at various table games or try your luck at the slot machines.
- Immerse yourself in traditional Korean mask dance performances at the National Theater of Korea. Witness the vibrant colors and energetic movements that bring these traditional folk dances to life.
- Explore the trendy shopping district of Apgujeong Rodeo Street, known for its luxury brand boutiques, designer stores, and stylish cafes. Indulge in high-end shopping and soak in the fashionable atmosphere.
- Dive into the bustling street food scene at Gwangjang Market, where you can sample a wide variety of Korean street delicacies, including bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and mayak gimbap (addictive mini seaweed rice rolls).
- Take a day trip to Suwon, a city just outside of Seoul, and visit the UNESCO-listed Hwaseong Fortress. Explore its impressive walls, gates, and pavilions while learning about its historical significance.
- Explore the underground shopping center at Express Bus Terminal, one of Seoul’s largest shopping complexes. Discover a wide array of fashion items, accessories, electronics, and more.
- Visit the Trickeye Museum, a unique interactive museum where you can immerse yourself in mind-bending optical illusions. Pose for photos that create the illusion of 3D art.
- Participate in a traditional Korean tea ceremony at a traditional teahouse. Learn about the art of tea preparation, appreciate the different flavors and aromas of Korean teas, and experience a moment of tranquility.
- Take a leisurely walk in the picturesque Naksan Park, located on a hill near Daehangno. Enjoy beautiful views of the city, visit the historic Naksan Fortress, and admire the colorful murals that adorn the park’s walls.
- Visit the Korean Film Archive and catch a classic or contemporary Korean film screening. Immerse yourself in the world of Korean cinema and appreciate the country’s rich film culture.
- Explore the vibrant neighborhood of Daehangno, known as the “Street of Culture.” Watch performances at the various theaters, browse through art galleries, and soak up the artistic atmosphere.
- Discover the unique charm of the Seodaemun Prison History Museum, which preserves the memory of Korea’s struggle for independence. Learn about the country’s turbulent history and the sacrifices made by its patriots.
- Take a scenic hike along the Seoul City Wall, a historic fortress wall that once surrounded the city. Enjoy panoramic views of Seoul and explore the ancient gates and watchtowers along the way.
- Explore the lively nightlife scene of Gangnam, known for its trendy clubs, cocktail bars, and upscale lounges. Dance the night away, sip on creative cocktails, and mingle with locals and fellow travelers.
- Learn about traditional Korean pottery and ceramics at the National Museum of Korea’s pottery exhibition. Admire ancient artifacts and delicate craftsmanship that spans centuries of Korean pottery history.
- Dive into the world of traditional Korean music by attending a performance at the National Gugak Center. Experience the mesmerizing sounds of traditional instruments like the gayageum and the janggu drum.
- Visit the vibrant Namdaemun Market, one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Seoul. Shop for clothes, accessories, souvenirs, and indulge in delicious street food.
- Explore the Seoul Museum of History, which showcases the city’s past and its evolution into a modern metropolis. Discover artifacts, models, and interactive exhibits that bring Seoul’s history to life.
- Take a trip to the Seoul Grand Park, a massive recreational area that houses a zoo, a botanical garden, and an amusement park. Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun and outdoor activities.
- Discover traditional Korean handicrafts and artwork at the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History. Learn about the craftsmanship and artistic traditions that have shaped Korea’s cultural identity.
- Immerse yourself in the futuristic atmosphere of Starfield COEX Mall, a sprawling shopping complex that houses luxury brands, trendy boutiques, and a wide variety of dining options.
- Attend a performance at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, a prestigious cultural venue that hosts a range of artistic performances, including classical music concerts, ballet, and theater.
- Visit the traditional Namhansanseong Fortress, located on a mountain in Gwangju. Explore the fortress walls, gates, and pavilions while enjoying scenic views of the surrounding nature.
- Explore the vast collection of contemporary art at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). Admire works by Korean and international artists and attend temporary exhibitions.
- Take a relaxing stroll in Olympic Park, a large public park that hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, admire sculptures, and visit the Olympic Museum.
- Discover the unique exhibits at the Trick Eye Museum where you can have fun with the whole family or a group of friends.
- Take a day trip to the charming city of Incheon, known for its vibrant Chinatown and picturesque Wolmido Island. Explore the colorful streets, try delicious Chinese cuisine, and enjoy amusement park rides.
- Visit the beautiful Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tombs, the final resting place of Joseon Dynasty kings and queens. Walk through the serene park and learn about Korea’s royal history.
- Explore the vibrant neighborhood of Yeouido, known as Seoul’s financial district. Visit Yeouido Park, where you can enjoy picnicking, cycling, and admire the cherry blossoms during spring.
- Take a cultural immersion experience at the Korean Folk Village in Yongin. Explore traditional houses, witness traditional performances, and participate in hands-on activities.
- Visit the fascinating Noryangjin Fish Market, one of Korea’s largest seafood markets. Browse the stalls, choose fresh seafood, and have it cooked on-site for a delicious seafood feast.
- Experience the thrill of the Lotte World Aquarium, home to thousands of marine species. Walk through underwater tunnels, witness feeding sessions, and learn about marine conservation.
- Explore the trendy neighborhood of Mangwon, known for its hip cafes, boutiques, and street art. Enjoy a cup of coffee, browse through unique shops, and soak in the artistic atmosphere.
- Visit the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History to gain a deeper understanding of modern Korean history. Explore interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia displays.
- Experience the traditional Korean performing arts at the Jeongdong Theater. Watch traditional dances, music performances, and theater shows that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Korea.
- Take a bike ride along the Han River. Rent a bike from one of the rental stations and enjoy the scenic paths, riverside parks, and iconic bridges that span the river.
- Discover the historic district of Jongmyo, home to the Jongmyo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ancient Confucian rituals and architecture of this sacred place.
- Enjoy a traditional Korean royal cuisine experience (hanjeongsik) at a traditional restaurant. Indulge in a variety of beautifully presented dishes that were once reserved for the royal court.
- Visit the quaint neighborhood of Seochon, known for its charming alleys, traditional hanok houses, and artistic shops. Explore the narrow streets, visit local galleries, and sip tea at cozy cafes.
- Take a break from the city at Seoul Forest, a large urban park with walking trails, a deer enclosure, and a butterfly garden. Enjoy a picnic, rent a bike, or simply relax in nature.
- Explore the historic neighborhood of Ewha Womans University and its nearby shopping district. Discover trendy boutiques, street food stalls, and immerse yourself in the youthful energy.
- Attend a performance at the National Theater of Korea, a prestigious venue that showcases traditional Korean performing arts, including dance, music, and theater.
- Visit the Seoul Museum of Art, a leading contemporary art museum that exhibits a wide range of local and international artworks. Experience thought-provoking exhibitions and installations.
- Take a day trip to the picturesque Garden of Morning Calm, a beautiful garden with an array of colorful flowers and themed gardens. Enjoy peaceful walks, photography, and seasonal festivals.
- Explore the vibrant neighborhood of Gangnam Station, known for its high-end shopping malls, luxury boutiques, and trendy fashion stores. Experience the glitz and glamour of this fashionable district.
- Discover the quirky and unique products at Common Ground, a shopping complex made up of shipping containers. Shop for independent brands, enjoy delicious food from food trucks, and enjoy the hip atmosphere.
- Take a cultural tour at the National Folk Museum of Korea, where you can learn about the customs, traditions, and daily life of the Korean people throughout history. Explore the exhibits, watch cultural performances, and participate in hands-on activities.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Namdaemun Market, one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Seoul. Explore the bustling stalls selling everything from clothes and accessories to food and household items.
- Discover the unique architecture and cultural exhibitions at the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park. Explore the restored sections of the old city wall, visit the museums, and admire the modern design of the park.
- Enjoy a picnic or a leisurely walk in Seoul Forest, a vast green space in the heart of the city. Explore the various gardens, visit the butterfly house, or rent a bike to explore the scenic trails.
- Take a trip to the lively neighborhood of Daehangno, also known as the “Street of Youth.” Explore the theaters, art galleries, and street performances that contribute to its vibrant cultural scene.
- Visit the Seoul Arts Center, a prestigious complex dedicated to promoting and showcasing various forms of arts and culture. Catch a performance at the Opera House or enjoy an exhibition at the Hangaram Art Museum.
- Explore the bustling streets of Namdaemun, Seoul’s largest traditional market. Browse through the endless array of shops selling clothes, accessories, household goods, and street food.
- Take a leisurely cruise along the Han River aboard a sightseeing boat. Enjoy panoramic views of the city’s landmarks, including the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, while relaxing on the water.
- Explore the trendy neighborhood of Seongsu-dong, known for its hip cafes, design studios, and independent boutiques. Discover unique fashion items, vintage shops, and enjoy the artistic vibes.
- Experience the thrill of an authentic Korean sauna at a jjimjilbang. Relax in various saunas, indulge in spa treatments, and enjoy the communal bathing culture.
- Discover the enchanting beauty of the Seoul Botanic Park, a vast botanical garden that showcases a diverse range of plant species from around the world. Enjoy leisurely walks, workshops, and exhibitions.
- Visit the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), which houses an impressive collection of contemporary artworks from Korean and international artists. Explore the thought-provoking exhibitions and installations.
- Take a walk along the Seoullo 7017, a pedestrian skyway built on a former elevated highway. Enjoy the views of the city, admire the lush greenery, and explore the various cultural spaces and cafes along the way.
- Explore the cultural hub of Insa-dong, famous for its traditional tea houses, antique shops, and art galleries. Find unique souvenirs, traditional crafts, and immerse yourself in Korean arts and culture.
- Visit the Korea Furniture Museum, a unique museum that showcases traditional Korean furniture in a traditional hanok setting. Learn about the history, craftsmanship, and aesthetics of Korean furniture.
- Discover the historical significance of Seodaemun Prison, a former prison that held political prisoners during the Japanese colonial era. Explore the prison cells, exhibits, and gain insight into Korea’s fight for independence.
- Take a stroll through the beautiful Olympic Park, built for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Enjoy the scenic landscapes, visit the Olympic Museum, and appreciate the various sculptures and artworks scattered throughout the park.
- Explore the neighborhood of Yeonnam-dong, known for its charming cafes, art studios, and indie boutiques. Wander through the narrow streets, soak in the creative atmosphere, and discover hidden gems.
- Visit the Museum Kimchikan and learn about the history and cultural significance of kimchi, Korea’s iconic fermented cabbage dish. Explore interactive exhibits, watch demonstrations, and even try making your own kimchi.
- Take a day trip to the beautiful Nami Island, a serene island known for its picturesque landscapes and tree-lined paths. Rent a bike, walk along the scenic trails, and enjoy the natural beauty.
- Finally, immerse yourself in the local culture by attending a traditional performance, such as a pansori (Korean opera) or a traditional dance show. Experience the richness of Korean arts and traditions firsthand.
Seoul is a city full of life and energy. With so many things to see and do, visitors are sure to have an unforgettable experience in this vibrant and dynamic city. The city offers a vibrant mix of history, culture, entertainment, and culinary delights, ensuring that there’s something for every traveler to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring historical sites, shopping in bustling markets, or indulging in delicious street food, Seoul promises an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in the dynamic and captivating city of Seoul.
Underrated Things To Do in Seoul (Not In A Guidebook)
Seoul is a city filled with hidden gems that often go unnoticed in guidebooks. Here are some of the most underrated things to do in Seoul:
- Explore the alleys of Ikseon-dong: This charming neighborhood in the heart of Seoul is filled with traditional hanok houses and narrow alleyways. It’s the perfect place to wander and get lost while discovering small cafes and boutique shops.
- Visit the Seoul Museum of History: While not as well-known as some of Seoul’s other museums, the Seoul Museum of History is a fascinating look at the city’s past. The museum features interactive exhibits and displays that showcase the history and culture of Seoul.
- Walk along the Seoul City Wall: The Seoul City Wall is a 600-year-old fortress that surrounds the city. While parts of the wall have been destroyed over time, several sections have been restored and are open to visitors. Walking along the wall offers stunning views of the city and a unique perspective on Seoul’s history.
- Check out the flea markets: Seoul is home to several vibrant flea markets, including the Dongmyo Market and the Gwangjang Market. These markets offer everything from vintage clothing to traditional Korean snacks and are a great place to experience local culture.
- Visit the Ihwa Mural Village: This colorful neighborhood in Seoul is filled with murals and street art. It’s the perfect place to snap some Instagram-worthy photos and explore the local art scene.
- Take a hike in Bukhansan National Park: While Seoul is known for its urban landscape, the city is also surrounded by mountains and natural beauty. Bukhansan National Park is just a short subway ride from the city center and offers several hiking trails with stunning views of the city.
- Relax in a jjimjilbang: Jjimjilbangs are traditional Korean bathhouses that offer a unique and relaxing experience. They typically have multiple hot tubs, saunas, and even sleeping areas. It’s a great way to unwind after a busy day of exploring the city.
Seoul has plenty of underrated activities that are worth checking out. From exploring traditional neighborhoods to hiking in the surrounding mountains, there’s something for everyone.
What To Eat and Drink in Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide array of delicious and unique dishes that showcase the rich flavors of Korean cuisine. Here are some must-try foods and drinks when visiting Seoul:
- Kimchi: No visit to Seoul is complete without trying kimchi, Korea’s most famous side dish. It’s made of fermented vegetables, typically cabbage or radish, with a spicy and tangy flavor. Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine and is served with almost every meal.
- Bibimbap: A popular Korean rice dish, bibimbap is a bowl of steamed rice topped with various seasoned vegetables, meat (optional), and a fried egg. It’s often served with gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) for added flavor.
- Korean Barbecue (Gogi-gui): Seoul is renowned for its mouthwatering barbecue. Enjoy the experience of grilling your own meat, such as bulgogi (marinated beef) or samgyeopsal (pork belly), at the table. Wrap the grilled meat in lettuce leaves and add your choice of condiments for a burst of flavors.
- Tteokbokki: Tteokbokki is a popular street food dish consisting of chewy rice cakes cooked in a spicy gochujang sauce. It’s often served with fish cakes, boiled eggs, and vegetables. The combination of sweet, spicy, and chewy flavors makes it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
- Korean Fried Chicken: Seoul is famous for its crispy and flavorful fried chicken. Whether you prefer it glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce (yangnyeom) or coated in a soy garlic glaze, Korean fried chicken is a must-try. It pairs perfectly with a glass of cold beer.
- Samgyetang: Samgyetang is a nourishing Korean chicken soup made with a whole chicken stuffed with rice, garlic, and ginseng. It’s simmered for hours until the chicken is tender and the flavors are infused. Samgyetang is particularly popular during the hot summer months as it’s believed to have restorative properties.
- Bingsu: Bingsu is a refreshing dessert consisting of shaved ice topped with various sweet toppings. The most popular variety is patbingsu, which features red bean paste, sweetened condensed milk, and a variety of fruits. It’s a perfect treat to beat the summer heat.
- Makgeolli: Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine with a milky appearance and a slightly sweet and tangy taste. It’s typically served in a bowl and pairs well with savory dishes. Enjoy it in traditional Korean pubs called “makgeolli bars” for an authentic experience.
- Soju: Soju is Korea’s most popular alcoholic beverage. It’s a clear and colorless distilled spirit with a slightly sweet flavor. Soju is enjoyed on its own or mixed with other beverages like beer (known as “somaek”) to create a refreshing cocktail.
- Jajangmyeon: Jajangmyeon is a popular Korean-Chinese noodle dish. It consists of thick noodles topped with a savory black bean sauce, diced pork or seafood, and various vegetables. It’s a satisfying and comforting dish often enjoyed for lunch or dinner.
- Mandu: Mandu are Korean dumplings, usually filled with a mixture of ground meat, vegetables, and seasonings. They can be steamed, boiled, or fried. Mandu is a versatile dish and can be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack, or part of a meal.
- Gamjatang: Gamjatang is a hearty Korean soup made with pork bones and potatoes. The soup is simmered for hours to create a rich and flavorful broth. It’s often served with tender pork meat, vegetables, and spices. Gamjatang is a popular choice during the colder months.
- Haemul Pajeon: Haemul Pajeon is a savory Korean pancake made with a variety of seafood and green onions. It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Haemul Pajeon is a popular dish to share with friends over drinks in Korean-style pubs called “jeonjip.”
- Sundubu-jjigae: Sundubu-jjigae is a spicy soft tofu stew. It’s made with silky tofu, vegetables, seafood or meat, and a spicy broth. Sundubu-jjigae is often served piping hot in a stone pot, and it’s accompanied by a bowl of steamed rice.
- Hoeddeok: Hoeddeok is a sweet Korean pancake filled with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. It’s fried until crispy on the outside, and the melted filling creates a gooey and indulgent treat. Hoeddeok is a popular street food option, especially during the winter months.
- Makgeolli Cocktails: Beyond traditional makgeolli, you’ll find a variety of makgeolli-based cocktails in Seoul. From fruit-infused flavors to modern twists, makgeolli cocktails offer a unique and refreshing drinking experience.
- Sikhye: Sikhye is a traditional Korean rice beverage. It’s a sweet and refreshing drink made by fermenting cooked rice with malt barley. Sikhye has a slightly sweet and malty taste and is often served cold as a dessert drink.
- Gimbap: Gimbap is a Korean-style sushi roll that consists of rice, vegetables, and various fillings such as ham, egg, or kimchi. It’s a popular grab-and-go snack or light meal option.
- Galbi: Galbi, also known as Korean barbecue short ribs, is a beloved dish in Seoul. The marinated beef or pork ribs are grilled to perfection and often served with a variety of side dishes, including kimchi and lettuce wraps.
- Sannakji: Sannakji is a unique dish that features live octopus tentacles. The tentacles are sliced and served raw, creating a chewy and adventurous culinary experience. It’s often enjoyed with a spicy sesame oil dipping sauce.
- Kalguksu: Kalguksu is a comforting noodle soup made with handmade, knife-cut wheat noodles. The broth is typically flavored with chicken or seafood and accompanied by vegetables and sometimes dumplings.
- Chimaek: Chimaek is a popular combination of fried chicken (chi) and beer (maekju). Enjoy crispy fried chicken paired with a cold pint of beer at one of the many fried chicken establishments in Seoul.
- Tteok: Tteok refers to Korean rice cakes that come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors. From chewy cylindrical tteok in spicy sauce (tteokbokki) to sweet and colorful songpyeon (rice cakes filled with sweet ingredients), there’s a wide range of tteok to explore.
- Makgeolli Cocktails: Makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine, can be enjoyed in various cocktail forms. Some popular makgeolli cocktails include fruit-infused versions like strawberry makgeolli or yuja (citrus) makgeolli.
- Ssambap: Ssambap is a fun and interactive way to enjoy a meal. It involves wrapping various ingredients, such as grilled meat, rice, and vegetables, in lettuce or perilla leaves. The combination of flavors and textures is delightful.
These are just a few highlights of the incredible culinary scene in Seoul. Don’t be afraid to explore street food stalls, local markets, and neighborhood eateries to discover even more delightful dishes and flavors that Seoul has to offer.
In addition to these popular dishes, Seoul also offers a variety of street food and snacks that are perfect for exploring the city. Some of the most popular street foods include tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake dish, and hotteok, a sweet pancake filled with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Seoul’s cuisine reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage and is an essential part of experiencing the city’s vibrant culture. With a vast array of delicious traditional Korean dishes and international cuisine, visitors are sure to find something to suit their taste buds in this vibrant city.
Korean Street Food Guide To Seoul
Korean street food is known for its unique blend of flavors, spices, and textures, making it a must-try for any food lover visiting Seoul. From savory dishes to sweet treats, here is a guide to the best Korean street food to try in Seoul.
- Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes): Tteokbokki is a beloved Korean street food made with soft and chewy rice cakes coated in a spicy and sweet chili sauce. It is often served with fish cakes, boiled eggs, and chopped scallions, creating a flavorful and filling snack.
- Japchae (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles): Japchae is a popular Korean dish made with sweet potato noodles, stir-fried with vegetables and meat. The dish is seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil, creating a sweet and savory flavor that melts in your mouth.
- Kimbap (Korean Sushi Roll): Kimbap is a popular Korean street food that looks like sushi but has a unique flavor. The rolls are made with steamed white rice and filled with various ingredients such as carrots, spinach, and pickled radish, making it a healthy and filling snack.
- Hotteok (Sweet Pancakes): Hotteok is a sweet Korean street food that resembles a pancake. It is made with a flour dough, filled with cinnamon, brown sugar, and nuts, then fried until crispy and golden brown. This sweet and savory snack is perfect for cold weather or as a dessert.
- Odeng (Fish Cakes): Odeng is a popular Korean street food made with fish cakes on skewers and boiled in a savory broth. It is often served with a spicy soy sauce and green onions, creating a warm and comforting snack.
- Bungeoppang (Fish-Shaped Bread): Bungeoppang is a sweet Korean street food made by filling a fish-shaped pastry with sweetened red bean paste. It is often served hot and fresh, making it a popular snack during the winter months.
- Gyeran-ppang (Egg Bread): Gyeran-ppang is a savory Korean street food that resembles a muffin. It is made with a sweet pancake batter and a whole egg inside, creating a soft and fluffy texture that pairs perfectly with the crispy outside.
- Jokbal (Pig’s Feet): Jokbal is a traditional Korean dish made by boiling pig’s feet in a soy sauce and spices. The meat is often served with garlic, lettuce, and sliced radish, creating a flavorful and filling meal.
- Twigim (Korean Fried Food): Twigim is a popular Korean street food that consists of various fried foods such as shrimp, vegetables, and squid. It is often served with a side of dipping sauce, creating a crispy and satisfying snack.
- Dakkochi (Grilled Chicken Skewers): Dakkochi is a Korean street food made by grilling chicken skewers coated in a sweet and spicy marinade. It is often served with a side of rice cake, creating a hearty and flavorful meal.
Seoul’s street food scene offers a wide range of flavors and dishes that can satisfy any foodie’s craving. Whether you’re looking for something savory or sweet, Seoul’s street food is a must-try for any traveler visiting this vibrant city.
Top Restaurants In Seoul, Korea
Seoul is a food lover’s paradise with a vibrant culinary scene that offers a mix of traditional Korean cuisine and international flavors. The city is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, offering a range of dishes that are sure to satisfy every taste bud. From Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants to casual street food vendors, Seoul has something for everyone. Here are some of the top restaurants in Seoul that are definitely worth a visit:
- Jungsik: Located in the trendy Gangnam district, Jungsik is a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves modern Korean cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients. The restaurant’s signature dishes include the beef tartare, sea urchin rice, and pork belly.
- Mingles: Another Michelin-starred restaurant, Mingles is known for its innovative and contemporary approach to Korean cuisine. The restaurant offers a tasting menu that includes dishes like Korean beef with mushroom and black garlic, and Jeju Island abalone with gochujang sauce.
- La Yeon: Situated on the 23rd floor of The Shilla Seoul hotel, La Yeon is a fine dining restaurant that offers stunning views of the city. The restaurant specializes in traditional Korean cuisine and serves dishes like hanwoo beef tartare and abalone porridge.
- Gwangjang Market: One of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Seoul, Gwangjang Market is a must-visit for foodies. The market is famous for its street food stalls that serve a variety of dishes like bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and mayak gimbap (miniature rice rolls).
- Myeongdong Kyoja: A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, Myeongdong Kyoja is a restaurant that specializes in kalguksu (knife-cut noodles) and mandu (dumplings). The noodles are handmade daily, and the broth is made from beef and anchovies.
- Hanilkwan: Established in 1939, Hanilkwan is one of the oldest and most famous Korean restaurants in Seoul. The restaurant is known for its hanjeongsik, a traditional Korean meal that consists of rice, soup, and a variety of side dishes.
- Jokbal Street: Jokbal Street, located in the trendy Hongdae neighborhood, is a street lined with restaurants that specialize in jokbal (pig’s feet). The dish is typically served with soy sauce and chili paste and is a popular late-night snack among locals.
- Bukchon Son Mandu: Bukchon Son Mandu is a small family-run restaurant that specializes in mandu (dumplings). The dumplings are made from scratch using high-quality ingredients, and the restaurant offers a variety of fillings like pork and kimchi.
- Kkanbu Chicken: If you’re a fan of fried chicken, then Kkanbu Chicken is a must-visit. The restaurant serves crispy and juicy chicken that is fried to perfection. The chicken is available in a variety of flavors like original, soy garlic, and spicy.
- Noryangjin Fish Market: Noryangjin Fish Market is the largest fish market in Seoul and offers a wide selection of fresh seafood. The market has several restaurants where you can select your seafood and have it prepared on the spot.
Seoul’s food scene is constantly evolving, and there are always new restaurants and food trends to discover. Whether you’re looking for traditional Korean cuisine or international flavors, Seoul has something for everyone.
Tours For Visitors To Seoul, South Korea
There are many tours available for visitors to explore the various attractions and experiences that the city has to offer.
- Traditional Korean Culture Tour: This tour takes you through the Gyeongbokgung Palace, where you can witness the changing of the guard ceremony and the Korean folk village. You can also enjoy a traditional Korean performance, including a dance and music show.
- DMZ Tour: The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) tour is a must-do for anyone visiting Seoul. It is a unique opportunity to visit one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world, where you can see the North Korean border and learn about the history of the Korean War.
- Seoul Night Tour: Seoul is a city that never sleeps, and the Seoul Night Tour is the perfect way to experience the vibrant nightlife of the city. The tour takes you through the streets of Hongdae, Gangnam, and Itaewon, where you can enjoy delicious food, shopping, and live music.
- Nami Island Tour: Nami Island is a small island located in Chuncheon, which is about an hour and a half from Seoul. This tour takes you on a scenic drive through the Korean countryside to Nami Island, where you can enjoy beautiful scenery, rent bicycles, and take a leisurely stroll.
- Korean Cooking Class: Korean cuisine is delicious and unique, and what better way to experience it than by learning how to cook it yourself? A Korean cooking class is a great way to learn about traditional ingredients, techniques, and flavors.
- Seoul Tower Tour: The Seoul Tower is a must-see attraction in Seoul. This tour takes you to the top of the tower, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city, including Namsan Mountain and the Han River.
- Korean Traditional Tea Tour: The Korean Traditional Tea Tour takes you through the beautiful countryside, where you can learn about traditional tea-making techniques and enjoy a cup of Korean tea in a peaceful setting.
- K-Pop and K-Drama Tour: Korean pop culture has taken the world by storm, and this tour takes you through the streets of Gangnam and other popular K-Pop and K-Drama filming locations.
- Bukchon Hanok Village Tour: Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village located in the heart of Seoul. This tour takes you through the narrow alleys and streets of the village, where you can see traditional Korean houses and learn about the history of the area.
- Shopping Tour: Seoul is a shopper’s paradise, and this tour takes you through some of the city’s most popular shopping areas, including Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, and Gangnam. You can shop for Korean cosmetics, fashion, electronics, and more.
With so many tours available, there is something for everyone in Seoul. Whether you want to experience traditional Korean culture, explore the city’s vibrant nightlife, or indulge in Korean cuisine, these tours offer a unique and unforgettable experience.
Independent Walking Tours Of Seoul, Korea
While there are plenty of organized tours available, exploring Seoul on your own is a great way to discover hidden gems, immerse yourself in local culture, and create your own adventure. Here are some tips for an independent walking tour of Seoul:
- Plan Your Route: Before setting out on your walk, plan your route and identify key points of interest you want to see. Use a map or smartphone app to help you navigate the city’s streets and public transport system.
- Start with the Historic District: Begin your walking tour in the historic district of Seoul, where you can explore ancient temples, palaces, and other cultural landmarks. Visit the iconic Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest and most grandiose of the five historic palaces in Seoul. Other notable landmarks include Changdeokgung Palace, the Royal Shrine of Jongmyo, and Bukchon Hanok Village, a well-preserved traditional Korean neighborhood.
- Wander Through the Markets: Seoul is famous for its vibrant markets, selling everything from local street food to souvenirs and clothes. Visit the bustling Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Seoul, where you can sample local street food like bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) and tteokbokki (spicy rice cake). You can also explore the Insadong Antique Market, which is filled with shops selling traditional Korean crafts and souvenirs.
- Check Out the Street Art Scene: Seoul is home to a thriving street art scene, with colorful murals and graffiti decorating the city’s walls. Visit the Ihwa Mural Village, located on the hills of Naksan, where you can see stunning murals and installations created by local artists. Other notable street art districts include Mullae Art Village and Hongdae.
- Experience the Local Food Scene: Seoul is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, so make sure to sample some of the local specialties on your walking tour. Try Korean BBQ, bibimbap, and kimchi, and be sure to visit traditional tea houses for a taste of Korean tea culture.
- End with a View: Finish your walking tour by taking in a panoramic view of the city. Visit Namsan Tower, a popular tourist spot that offers breathtaking views of Seoul’s skyline. You can also hike to the top of Bukhansan Mountain, one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Seoul.
With its rich history, diverse culture, and dynamic street scenes, Seoul is a fascinating destination that rewards exploration on foot. By planning your own walking tour, you can discover hidden gems, engage with the local culture, and create your own unique adventure in this vibrant city.
Distinct Neighbourhoods in Seoul, Korea Worth Visiting
Seoul is also home to a variety of distinct neighborhoods that offer unique sights, sounds, and flavors. Here are some of the most noteworthy neighborhoods in Seoul worth visiting:
- Gangnam: Made famous by the catchy K-pop song “Gangnam Style,” this district is known for its high-end fashion boutiques, trendy bars, and luxurious apartments. Visitors can enjoy strolling along the tree-lined streets and admiring the impressive architecture.
- Hongdae: A favorite among college students and young artists, Hongdae is known for its vibrant nightlife and street performances. This district is home to a plethora of bars, cafes, and clubs, as well as some of the best street food in Seoul.
- Itaewon: Known as Seoul’s international district, Itaewon is a melting pot of cultures, with a diverse array of restaurants and shops that cater to expats and tourists. Visitors can find everything from halal food to vintage clothing stores in this eclectic neighborhood.
- Insadong: This charming neighborhood is filled with traditional Korean teahouses, antique shops, and art galleries. It’s a great place to experience the rich cultural heritage of Korea and shop for souvenirs.
- Bukchon Hanok Village: This historic neighborhood features traditional Korean homes known as hanoks, which have been preserved and restored to their original state. Visitors can wander through the narrow alleys and admire the beautiful architecture of these centuries-old buildings.
- Myeong-dong: One of the busiest shopping districts in Seoul, Myeong-dong is a haven for fashionistas and beauty enthusiasts. Visitors can shop for everything from high-end designer clothes to Korean skincare products, and indulge in delicious street food along the way.
- Samcheong-dong: This upscale neighborhood is known for its beautiful cafes, art galleries, and boutique stores. It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a leisurely afternoon of shopping and dining.
- Yeonnam-dong: A hidden gem in Seoul, Yeonnam-dong is a quieter neighborhood that’s perfect for those who want to escape the crowds. It’s known for its trendy cafes, beautiful parks, and charming alleyways filled with street art.
Seoul Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
Seoul offers a wide range of accommodations for visitors from all over the world. From luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels, there is something for everyone.
Luxury Hotels: For those looking for luxury accommodations, Seoul has plenty to offer. Some of the top luxury hotels in the city include:
- The Shilla Seoul: This iconic hotel features 464 rooms and suites, a world-class spa, and multiple dining options, including a Michelin-starred restaurant.
- Lotte Hotel Seoul: Situated in the heart of the city, this hotel boasts over 1,000 rooms and suites, an indoor ice rink, and a stunning outdoor garden.
- Four Seasons Hotel Seoul: This five-star hotel offers 317 rooms and suites, a fitness center, an indoor pool, and a rooftop bar with views of the city.
Mid-Range Hotels: For those on a mid-range budget, Seoul also offers a wide range of options. Some of the best mid-range hotels in the city include:
- Aloft Seoul Myeongdong: This modern hotel features 223 rooms and suites, a 24-hour fitness center, and a rooftop terrace.
- Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun: This stylish hotel offers 409 rooms and suites, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant.
- Fraser Place Namdaemun: This upscale hotel offers 252 rooms and suites, a fitness center, and a rooftop terrace with views of the city.
Budget-Friendly Accommodations: For budget travelers, Seoul offers many affordable accommodations, including hostels and guesthouses. Some of the best budget-friendly options in the city include:
- Kimchee Downtown Guesthouse: This popular guesthouse offers dorm-style accommodations and private rooms, as well as a communal kitchen and lounge.
- Zzzip Guesthouse: This trendy hostel offers dorm-style accommodations and private rooms, as well as a rooftop terrace and lounge.
- K-Guesthouse Myeongdong 3: This cozy guesthouse offers affordable private rooms, as well as a communal kitchen and lounge.
No matter what your budget or travel style, Seoul has a range of accommodations to fit your needs.
Day Trips From Seoul, Korea
If you’re looking to venture beyond the city limits, there are several amazing day trips that you can take. From natural beauty to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi Province, is just a short train ride from Seoul, making it an easy day trip. The city is famous for its Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the late 18th century. The fortress is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is an impressive example of Korean military architecture.
- Nami Island
Nami Island, also known as Namiseom Island, is a small island located in Chuncheon, about an hour and a half from Seoul. The island is known for its beautiful tree-lined paths, which are especially breathtaking during the fall when the leaves change color. Visitors can also rent bicycles or take a ferry ride around the island.
Everland is a popular theme park located in Yongin, just outside of Seoul. The park has a wide variety of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages, as well as a zoo and botanical garden. During the winter months, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with ice skating and snow sledding.
Jeonju is a historic city located in the southwestern part of South Korea. The city is known for its traditional Korean architecture, including the Jeonju Hanok Village, a collection of traditional Korean houses that have been preserved and restored. Jeonju is also famous for its food, including bibimbap, a rice dish with various vegetables and meat.
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a buffer zone between North and South Korea that runs along the 38th parallel. While not technically a day trip, it’s still a must-see destination for visitors to Seoul. Visitors can take tours of the DMZ, including visits to the Joint Security Area and the Third Tunnel of Aggression, which was built by North Korea to invade South Korea.
- Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park is a beautiful national park located in Gangwon Province, about two and a half hours from Seoul. The park is known for its stunning natural scenery, including towering mountains, crystal-clear streams, and lush forests. The park is also home to several Buddhist temples, including Sinheungsa Temple, which dates back to the 7th century.
Incheon is a city located on the coast of the Yellow Sea, just west of Seoul. The city is home to Incheon International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. Visitors can explore the historic Chinatown, which dates back to the late 19th century, or visit the beautiful Songdo Central Park, a large public park with walking trails and a man-made lake.
Paju is a city located just north of Seoul, near the DMZ. The city is known for its historic sites, including the Imjingak Peace Park and the Dorasan Observatory, which offers stunning views of North Korea. Paju is also home to several shopping destinations, including the Paju Premium Outlets and Heyri Art Valley, a collection of unique galleries and shops.
Seoul Transportation Guide
There are a variety of transportation options available that make it easy to navigate the city and reach your destination quickly and efficiently.
One of the most popular modes of transportation in Seoul is the subway system, which is extensive and covers almost all parts of the city. There are 18 different subway lines, each with a different color, and all of them are operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corporation. The subway is fast, efficient, and affordable, with fares ranging from 1,250 won to 2,150 won depending on the distance traveled. There are also several passes available that offer discounts for frequent riders, including the T-money card, which can be used on all forms of public transportation in Seoul.
Another option for getting around Seoul is the bus system. There are several different types of buses, including local buses, express buses, and airport buses. Local buses are the cheapest option, with fares starting at 1,200 won, but they can be slow and crowded during peak hours. Express buses are faster and more comfortable, but they are also more expensive, with fares starting at 2,400 won. Airport buses are a convenient option for travelers arriving or departing from Incheon International Airport, with fares starting at 10,000 won.
Taxis are also a popular mode of transportation in Seoul, and they are widely available throughout the city. Taxis in Seoul are color-coded, with orange taxis being the most common and cheapest option. Black taxis are more expensive and can be hailed on the street or through a taxi app. Many taxi drivers in Seoul speak English, but it’s a good idea to have your destination written down in Korean just in case.
For those who prefer to travel on two wheels, Seoul also has an extensive network of bike paths and rental services. There are several rental companies throughout the city that offer hourly or daily rentals, with prices ranging from 1,000 won to 4,000 won per hour depending on the type of bike.
Overall, Seoul has a variety of transportation options available that make it easy to get around the city. Whether you prefer to travel by subway, bus, taxi, or bike, there is a convenient and affordable option for everyone. With a little planning and some knowledge of the transportation system, you can explore all that Seoul has to offer without getting lost or breaking the bank.
Seoul 1 Day Travel Itinerary
If you have just one day to explore Seoul, you can make the most of your time with the following itinerary:
Start your day by immersing yourself in the rich history of Seoul at Gyeongbokgung Palace. This grand palace is the largest and most iconic in the city. Take your time to explore its grand halls, beautiful gardens, and learn about the fascinating history of the Joseon Dynasty. Don’t miss the impressive Changing of the Guard ceremony at the main gate, which takes place multiple times a day.
Afterward, make your way to the nearby Bukchon Hanok Village. This charming neighborhood is filled with traditional Korean houses called hanok. Take a leisurely stroll through its narrow alleys, admiring the well-preserved architecture and peaceful atmosphere. You can even enter some of the hanok houses that have been converted into cultural centers, cafes, or boutiques.
As you continue your journey, head to the lively Insadong district. This vibrant cultural hub is known for its art galleries, antique shops, and traditional teahouses. Immerse yourself in the bustling market atmosphere as you browse through a variety of unique crafts, traditional artwork, and souvenirs. Take a moment to relax at one of the traditional teahouses, sipping on a cup of fragrant Korean tea and enjoying the tranquil ambiance.
For lunch, indulge in the culinary delights of Gwangjang Market, one of Seoul’s oldest and largest traditional markets. Dive into a wide array of Korean street food options that will surely satisfy your taste buds. Try the famous bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), or enjoy a plate of freshly made bibimbap (mixed rice dish) packed with flavors and vibrant colors.
In the afternoon, make your way to the bustling district of Myeongdong. This shopping mecca is renowned for its trendy boutiques, international brand stores, and vibrant street food stalls. Explore the endless shopping options for cosmetics, fashion, accessories, and more. Take a break from shopping and indulge in the delicious street food offerings such as hotteok (sweet pancakes) or Korean-style fried chicken.
Afterward, head to Namsan Park and embark on a hike up to N Seoul Tower, the iconic landmark of Seoul. Enjoy the scenic trails, lush greenery, and the stunning panoramic views of the city from the tower’s observation deck. Capture memorable photos and take in the breathtaking skyline as the city lights up.
As evening approaches, venture to the lively neighborhood of Hongdae. Known for its youthful energy, artistic vibe, and vibrant nightlife, Hongdae offers a unique atmosphere that showcases Seoul’s creative side. Explore the quirky shops, watch street performances, and relax at one of the trendy cafes. If you have the evening to spare, you can experience the bustling nightlife scene with an array of bars, clubs, and live music venues.
For dinner, treat yourself to a traditional Korean barbecue experience. Choose from a variety of high-quality meats, such as succulent galbi (marinated beef short ribs) or flavorful samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), and grill them to perfection at your table. Enjoy the interactive dining experience and savor the delicious flavors of Korean barbecue.
After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream. This revitalized urban oasis provides a serene escape in the heart of the city. Enjoy the soothing sound of the flowing water, admire the beautifully illuminated bridges, and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance.
Wrap up your day with a visit to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), an architectural masterpiece that combines modernity with creativity. Take a leisurely walk around the illuminated exterior, marvel at the innovative design, and explore the various shops and exhibitions housed within the DDP. This iconic landmark hosts a range of events, fashion shows, and design exhibitions, showcasing the cutting-edge creativity of Seoul.
As you conclude your day in Seoul, take a moment to reflect on the vibrant experiences and memories you’ve made throughout the city. Whether it’s the rich history of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the charming alleys of Bukchon Hanok Village, the lively markets and shopping districts, or the breathtaking views from N Seoul Tower, Seoul has offered a taste of its diverse offerings in just one day.
Remember, this itinerary provides a condensed experience of Seoul’s highlights, but the city has much more to offer. If you have more time, consider exploring other iconic landmarks such as Changdeokgung Palace or Namdaemun Market, or delve deeper into specific neighborhoods like Itaewon or Garosugil. Seoul is a city that never fails to captivate with its blend of tradition and modernity, making each visit a unique and enriching experience.
Seoul 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is a vibrant metropolis that offers a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. With its rich history, delicious food, bustling markets, and stunning architecture, Seoul has something to offer for everyone. Here’s a suggested 3-4 day itinerary to make the most of your visit to Seoul:
Start your day by immersing yourself in Korean history and culture at Gyeongbokgung Palace. This grand palace, the largest in Seoul, showcases stunning traditional architecture and beautiful gardens. Take your time to explore the palace grounds, and if you’re lucky, you might even witness the mesmerizing changing of the guard ceremony.
Afterward, make your way to Bukchon Hanok Village, a charming neighborhood filled with well-preserved traditional Korean houses known as hanoks. Wander through the narrow alleys and admire the architectural beauty of these houses. You can also visit some of the cultural centers and tea houses to get a deeper insight into Korean traditions.
In the afternoon, head to Insadong, a vibrant neighborhood famous for its arts and crafts. Explore the numerous shops selling traditional Korean crafts, ceramics, and souvenirs. You can also find art galleries displaying both traditional and contemporary Korean artwork. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some delectable street food as you wander through the lively streets.
Next, visit Jogyesa Temple, a serene Buddhist temple located in the heart of the city. Take a moment to appreciate the peaceful atmosphere and the intricate details of the temple’s architecture. If you’re lucky, you might be able to witness a Buddhist ceremony or even participate in a meditation session.
In the evening, head to Myeongdong, a bustling shopping district that comes alive at night. Explore the countless shops, from international brands to local boutiques, and indulge in some retail therapy. Myeongdong is also a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of Korean street food and international cuisine. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and lively street performances as you immerse yourself in the energy of the city.
Begin your day at Namsan Park, a green oasis located in the center of Seoul. Enjoy a leisurely hike or take the cable car to the top of N Seoul Tower, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Don’t forget to leave a love lock on the fence surrounding the tower as a symbol of your visit.
Afterward, make your way to Namdaemun Market, one of Seoul’s oldest and largest traditional markets. This bustling market offers a vibrant mix of shops selling everything from clothing and accessories to fresh produce and household items. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, and be sure to sample some of the delicious street food along the way.
In the afternoon, visit the National Museum of Korea, the country’s largest museum. Explore the extensive collection of artifacts and exhibitions that span Korea’s history and cultural heritage. From ancient relics to contemporary art, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of Korean culture.
Next, head to Hongdae, a trendy neighborhood known for its youthful and artistic vibe. Explore the unique shops, boutique cafes, and vibrant street art. Hongdae is also famous for its nightlife, with numerous clubs and live music venues where you can experience Seoul’s vibrant music scene.
In the evening, indulge in a quintessential Korean dining experience by trying Korean barbecue. Choose from a variety of meats and grill them at your table while enjoying the lively atmosphere of a traditional barbecue restaurant. Savor the delicious flavors and embrace the interactive dining style that Korea is renowned for.
On your third day, consider taking a day trip to Suwon to visit Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This impressive fortress, built in the late 18th century, features strong stone walls, ornate gates, and beautiful pavilions. Take a leisurely walk along the fortress walls and explore the various architectural features. Don’t forget to visit the commanding Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, where you can get a glimpse into the life of the royal family during the Joseon Dynasty.
After returning from Suwon, head to the trendy neighborhood of Gangnam. Walk along the tree-lined streets of Garosugil, known for its stylish boutiques, cafes, and art galleries. This area offers a unique blend of high-end fashion, upscale dining, and trendy establishments. Explore the shops, indulge in some retail therapy, and enjoy a delightful meal at one of the trendy restaurants.
In the afternoon, make your way to Itaewon, a multicultural neighborhood famous for its international flair and diverse culinary scene. Take a stroll down the main street and explore the eclectic mix of shops, ranging from international brands to vintage boutiques. Itaewon is also known for its wide variety of international cuisines, so be sure to try out dishes from around the world.
Day 4 (optional):
If you have an extra day, here are some additional attractions you can explore in Seoul:
- Visit Changdeokgung Palace, another UNESCO World Heritage site, and its enchanting secret garden. Marvel at the harmonious blend of architecture and nature as you explore this serene palace complex.
- Discover the War Memorial of Korea, a museum dedicated to showcasing the history and impact of the Korean War. Explore the extensive collection of military artifacts, exhibits, and outdoor displays.
- Experience the excitement of Lotte World, a massive indoor theme park and shopping complex. Enjoy thrilling rides, watch entertaining shows, and explore the various shops and restaurants.
Remember to check the opening hours of attractions and consider any specific events or festivals taking place during your visit. Customize the itinerary based on your interests and pace, and don’t forget to leave room for spontaneous exploration. Enjoy your trip to Seoul!
Seoul 1 Week Travel Itinerary
If you have a week to spend in Seoul, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, historical sites, and immerse yourself in the rich culture of South Korea. Here’s a suggested 1-week itinerary to make the most of your trip:
Start your journey by delving into the heart of Seoul’s history and culture:
- Begin with a visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest and most iconic palace in Seoul. Explore the intricate architecture, stroll through the palace grounds, and catch the impressive changing of the guard ceremony.
- Head to Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional Korean village with well-preserved hanok houses. Wander through the narrow alleys and experience the charm of old Seoul.
- Visit the nearby Insadong neighborhood, known for its traditional arts and crafts. Explore the unique shops, art galleries, and enjoy a traditional tea experience.
- Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Myeongdong, a popular shopping district. Shop for cosmetics, fashion, and try delicious Korean street food.
Discover the modern side of Seoul and its iconic landmarks:
- Start your day at Namsan Park. Hike to the top or take the cable car to N Seoul Tower for panoramic views of the city.
- Explore Namdaemun Market, one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Seoul. Browse through the bustling stalls and sample local street food.
- Visit the National Museum of Korea and delve into the country’s rich history and cultural heritage.
- Explore the vibrant neighborhood of Hongdae, known for its trendy fashion boutiques, unique cafes, and lively street performances.
- Enjoy a memorable Korean barbecue dinner at one of Seoul’s popular restaurants.
Embark on a day trip to nearby cultural and historical sites:
- Take a day trip to Suwon and visit Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the fortress walls, gates, and pavilions, and visit Hwaseong Haenggung Palace for a glimpse into royal life.
Explore the modern district of Gangnam and surrounding areas:
- Explore the stylish streets of Gangnam, including the tree-lined Garosugil, renowned for its trendy boutiques, cafes, and art galleries.
- Visit COEX Mall, one of Asia’s largest underground shopping malls, and explore the nearby Bongeunsa Temple for a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
- Experience the lively nightlife of Gangnam, with its countless restaurants, bars, and clubs.
Immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture:
- Visit Changdeokgung Palace and its beautiful secret garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a guided tour to learn about the palace’s history and enjoy the serene surroundings.
- Explore the nearby neighborhood of Samcheong-dong, known for its quaint streets, art galleries, and traditional tea houses.
- Attend a traditional Korean performance, such as a Nanta show or a traditional music and dance performance.
Discover the vibrant district of Itaewon and nearby attractions:
- Explore Itaewon, a multicultural neighborhood known for its international flair and diverse culinary scene. Visit the various shops and boutiques catering to a range of international tastes.
- Visit the War Memorial of Korea, a museum that showcases the history and impact of the Korean War. Explore the indoor and outdoor exhibits and learn about Korea’s military history.
Enjoy a memorable dinner at one of the international restaurants in Itaewon, offering cuisines from around the world.Day 7:
Spend your last day exploring hidden gems and experiencing local life:
- Visit the traditional market of Gwangjang Market. Sample a variety of street food and explore the vibrant stalls selling textiles, clothing, and crafts.
- Take a stroll along the picturesque Cheonggyecheon Stream, a modern urban park built on the site of a restored stream. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and escape the bustling city.
- Explore the neighborhood of Dongdaemun, famous for its shopping malls and the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), an architectural masterpiece. Browse through the numerous fashion and fabric markets in the area.
- Indulge in a final night of Korean cuisine by trying a specialty dish like bibimbap or jjajangmyeon at a local restaurant.
- Wrap up your trip with a visit to a traditional Korean spa, or jjimjilbang, for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
This itinerary provides a diverse mix of historical landmarks, cultural experiences, shopping, and local cuisine to give you a comprehensive taste of what Seoul has to offer. Remember to adapt the schedule based on your interests, opening hours of attractions, and any special events taking place during your visit. Enjoy your week in Seoul!
Is Seoul A Safe City To Visit?
Seoul is generally considered a safe city to visit. South Korea has a low crime rate, and Seoul, as its capital, benefits from effective law enforcement and security measures. However, as with any major city, it is always advisable to take certain precautions to ensure your safety:
- Keep an eye on your belongings: Like in any crowded city, be mindful of your personal belongings, such as wallets, purses, and electronic devices. Avoid leaving your belongings unattended in public places.
- Stay aware of your surroundings: Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and public transportation. Stay vigilant and trust your instincts. It’s advisable to avoid poorly lit or deserted areas at night.
- Take precautions against scams: Although uncommon, be cautious of scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging at shops or restaurants, unauthorized tour operators, or individuals offering unsolicited help. Stick to reputable establishments and services.
- Take care of your personal documents: Keep your passport, identification, and other important documents secure. It’s a good idea to make copies and store them separately from the originals.
- Follow local laws and regulations: Familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs to ensure a smooth and trouble-free experience. Respect cultural norms, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and abide by local regulations.
- Use reliable transportation: Public transportation in Seoul, such as the subway and buses, is generally safe and reliable. Taxis are also a common and convenient mode of transportation. If you’re using ride-hailing apps, make sure to verify the driver and the vehicle before getting in.
- Take health and safety precautions: It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies. Stay updated on any travel advisories or health warnings and follow the recommended vaccinations and precautions.
By taking these basic safety precautions, you can enjoy your visit to Seoul with peace of mind.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Seoul?
The best time to visit Seoul largely depends on your personal preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your trip. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons in Seoul to help you make an informed decision:
Spring (March to May): Spring is an excellent time to visit Seoul, especially if you want to witness the mesmerizing cherry blossoms. Typically, late March to early April is the peak season for cherry blossoms, when parks and streets are adorned with beautiful pink and white flowers. The weather during spring is mild, with temperatures ranging from around 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). It’s a lovely time to explore Seoul’s parks, such as Yeouido Park and Seoul Forest, and enjoy outdoor activities.
Summer (June to August): Summers in Seoul are hot and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F). It’s the peak tourist season, as many people take advantage of the school holidays to visit the city. Despite the heat, summer brings vibrant festivals, lively night markets, and outdoor concerts. If you don’t mind the warm weather, you can enjoy activities like Han River cruises, outdoor water parks, and evening strolls in Seoul’s vibrant neighborhoods.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn is considered one of the best times to visit Seoul due to the pleasant weather and stunning fall foliage. The temperature ranges from around 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F), making it ideal for outdoor exploration. The city transforms into a picturesque landscape as the leaves change color, especially in parks like Namsan Park and Bukhansan National Park. Autumn is also a season of festivals, such as the Seoul Lantern Festival and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition.
Winter (December to February): Winters in Seoul are cold and dry, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. However, if you’re a fan of winter activities and festive celebrations, it can be a magical time to visit. The city is adorned with festive decorations, and you can experience traditional markets like the famous Gwangjang Market and the Christmas markets at major shopping districts. Winter sports enthusiasts can head to nearby ski resorts like Yongpyong or Vivaldi Park for skiing or snowboarding.
Each season in Seoul has its own unique appeal, so consider your preferences and the activities you want to engage in when choosing the best time to visit. Whether you prefer the cherry blossoms of spring, the vibrant festivals of summer, the colorful foliage of autumn, or the winter wonderland atmosphere, Seoul has something to offer year-round.
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Seoul?
There are also plenty of incredible destinations to visit after your trip to Seoul that are worth exploring. Here are some top recommendations:
- Jeju Island: Located off the southern coast of South Korea, Jeju Island is a paradise for nature lovers. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes, and stunning waterfalls. It’s a great place to go hiking, biking, or simply relax and soak up the natural beauty.
- Gyeongju: Known as the “museum without walls,” Gyeongju is a city located in the southeastern part of South Korea. It’s home to a number of ancient historical sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bulguksa Temple. Visitors can also explore the Tumuli Park, which is home to hundreds of ancient burial mounds.
- Busan: As mentioned earlier, Busan is a port city located on the southern coast of South Korea. It’s a great place to visit after Seoul, as it offers a different atmosphere and vibe. Visitors can enjoy stunning beaches, delicious seafood, and a vibrant nightlife.
- Sokcho: Located in the northeastern part of South Korea, Sokcho is a beautiful coastal city that offers visitors plenty of natural beauty. The city is home to Seoraksan National Park, which is one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, or simply take in the stunning scenery.
- DMZ: The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip of land that divides North and South Korea. While it’s not technically a destination to visit after Seoul, it’s certainly worth a trip if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Korean War and the division of the two countries.
- Andong: Immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture in Andong, known for its well-preserved hanok villages. Visit the Hahoe Folk Village, participate in a traditional mask dance, and enjoy the tranquility of the countryside.
- Daejeon: As a hub of science and technology, Daejeon offers modern attractions like the Expo Science Park and Daejeon Space Observatory. Discover the fascinating world of science and technology while exploring the city.
- Tongyeong: Located on the southern coast, Tongyeong is a charming coastal town known for its picturesque islands and seafood. Explore the historic Dongpirang Village, take a cable car ride up Mt. Mireuksan, and enjoy the scenic views from the coastal trails.
- Andong: Immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture in Andong, known for its well-preserved hanok villages. Visit the Hahoe Folk Village, participate in a traditional mask dance, and enjoy the tranquility of the countryside.
- Incheon: Just a short distance from Seoul, Incheon offers a blend of modernity and tradition. Explore Incheon’s Chinatown, visit the unique Songdo Central Park, and enjoy the scenic views from Wolmido Island.
- Gwangju: Known as the cultural capital of South Korea, Gwangju offers a vibrant arts scene and historical sites. Explore the vibrant street art in the Mudeungsan Mural Village, visit the 5.18 Memorial Park, and enjoy the local cuisine.
- Daegu: Known as the “City of Energy,” Daegu combines modern attractions with rich cultural heritage. Explore the vibrant shopping district of Dongseongno, visit the historic Seomun Market, and learn about traditional medicine at the Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Museum.
- Jeonju: Experience traditional Korean culture in Jeonju, a city renowned for its hanok village and delicious cuisine. Stroll through the Jeonju Hanok Village, try the famous bibimbap (a mixed rice dish), and visit the Jeonju Hanji Museum to learn about traditional Korean papermaking.
- Ulsan: If you’re interested in industrial history, Ulsan is a fascinating destination. Visit the Hyundai Motor Company’s Ulsan Plant to see the production of cars, explore the Ulsan Museum to learn about the city’s history, and relax on the beautiful beaches along the coastline.
- Suncheon: Discover the natural beauty of Suncheon, home to the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve. Explore the lush wetlands, take a scenic boat ride, and visit the Suncheon Bay Eco-Museum to learn about the importance of preserving this ecological treasure.
- Jinju: Known for its historic fortress and lantern festival, Jinju offers a glimpse into Korea’s past. Explore Jinju Fortress, visit the Jinju National Museum to learn about the city’s history, and experience the enchanting Jinju Lantern Festival held in October.
- Gangneung: Located on the eastern coast, Gangneung is a popular beach destination with beautiful scenery. Enjoy the pristine beaches, visit the UNESCO-listed Gyeongpodae Pavilion, and explore the charming neighborhoods of Jeongdongjin and Anmok.
- Gwangmyeong: Just outside of Seoul, Gwangmyeong is home to the unique Gwangmyeong Cave. Explore this transformed limestone mine that now houses various exhibitions, underground gardens, and cultural performances.
- Suwon: Visit Suwon, the home of Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a tour of the fortress walls, enjoy cultural performances at Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, and learn about traditional Korean martial arts at the Korean Folk Village.
- Pohang: Known for its beautiful beaches and coastal scenery, Pohang offers a relaxing seaside getaway. Explore Homigot Sunrise Square, visit Jukdo Market to sample fresh seafood, and enjoy panoramic views from Yeongildae Beach.
- Yeosu: Experience the coastal charm of Yeosu, a picturesque city known for its harbor and romantic sunsets. Visit the Yeosu Maritime Cable Car, explore Odongdo Island, and take a cruise around the stunning Yeosu coastline.
- Geoje Island: Located off the southeastern coast, Geoje Island is known for its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities. Explore the picturesque coastal cliffs of Haegeumgang, relax on the sandy beaches, and hike through the scenic trails of Oedo Botania.
- Danyang: If you’re a nature enthusiast, Danyang is the perfect destination. Visit the iconic natural landmarks of Danyang, including the breathtaking Guinsa Temple, the stunning Stone Gate of Mancheonha, and the scenic Sainam Rock.
- Gapyeong: Escape the city and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Gapyeong. Visit Nami Island, famous for its tree-lined paths and filming locations from popular Korean dramas. Explore the picturesque Garden of Morning Calm and enjoy outdoor activities at the nearby Petite France.
- Yangyang: If you’re a fan of surfing or outdoor adventures, head to Yangyang. Enjoy the waves at the beautiful beaches of Naksan and Hajodae, hike through Seoraksan National Park, and soak in the soothing waters of the Yangyang Hot Springs.
- Jinhae: Visit Jinhae during the spring to witness the mesmerizing cherry blossoms in full bloom. Explore the picturesque Yeojwacheon Stream, visit the historic Jinhae Naval Port, and take part in the annual Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival.
- Icheon: Discover the traditional crafts and cultural heritage of Icheon. Visit the Icheon Ceramics Village to learn about pottery-making, explore the Seolbong Park and its ancient stone pagodas, and experience a traditional Korean tea ceremony.
- Seoraksan National Park: For nature lovers and avid hikers, a visit to Seoraksan National Park is a must. Trek through scenic trails, admire towering peaks, visit Buddhist temples nestled in the mountains, and enjoy panoramic views from the cable car.
- Yeongju: Explore the historic city of Yeongju, known for its rich cultural heritage. Visit Buseoksa Temple, one of Korea’s most beautiful temples, and explore the ancient Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Tongyeong: Known as the “Naples of Korea,” Tongyeong offers stunning coastal landscapes and cultural attractions. Visit the Tongyeong Cable Car, explore the historic Tongyeong Jungang Market, and take a boat tour of the picturesque islands in the area.
- Muju: Experience the beauty of Muju, a mountainous region famous for its natural landscapes. Explore Deogyusan National Park, go hiking through lush forests, and visit the Taekwondowon, a training center dedicated to the martial art of taekwondo.
- Jecheon: Discover the serene charm of Jecheon, located by the tranquil Uirimji Reservoir. Visit Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex, take a scenic boat ride, and enjoy the annual Jecheon International Music & Film Festival.
- Chuncheon: Known for its picturesque lakes and natural beauty, Chuncheon offers a tranquil escape. Explore Nami Island, take a boat ride on the scenic Chuncheoncheon Stream, and savor Chuncheon’s famous dak-galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken).
- Yeongdong: Explore the beautiful countryside of Yeongdong, famous for its vineyards and wineries. Visit the grape-growing region, indulge in wine tastings, and enjoy the picturesque rural landscapes.
- Jeongseon: Immerse yourself in the traditional rural charm of Jeongseon. Ride the scenic Jeongseon Arirang Railway, visit the Samtan Art Mine, an abandoned mine turned art space, and experience traditional folk performances.
- Mokpo: Discover the coastal beauty of Mokpo, a port city located in the southwestern part of the country. Explore Yudal Mountain, visit the National Maritime Museum, and take a ferry to the scenic islands of Dadohae National Park.
- Jeju Olle Trail: Embark on a memorable hiking journey along the Jeju Olle Trail, a network of walking paths that wind around Jeju Island. Experience breathtaking coastal views, visit picturesque villages, and discover the island’s natural wonders.
- Jeongdongjin: Experience the tranquil beauty of Jeongdongjin, a coastal village known for its scenic sunrise views. Enjoy the serene beaches, visit the Jeongdongjin Time Museum, and relax in seaside cafes.
- Paju: Explore the unique cultural attractions of Paju, a city located near the border with North Korea. Visit the DMZ Peace Trail, explore the Paju Book City, and immerse yourself in the artistic atmosphere of Heyri Art Village.
- Boseong: Journey to Boseong, known for its picturesque green tea fields. Visit the Boseong Green Tea Plantation, learn about tea production, and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed green tea.
- Gyeongju: Step back in time in Gyeongju, the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, visit the Cheomseongdae Observatory, and wander through the historic streets of Gyeongju’s city center.
- Ulsanbawi Rock: Challenge yourself with a hike to the top of Ulsanbawi Rock in Seoraksan National Park. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the East Sea from this iconic landmark.
- Yangpyeong: Escape the city and enjoy the rural charm of Yangpyeong. Visit the Yangpyeong Rail Bike Park, go strawberry picking in the spring, and explore the scenic countryside.
- Ganghwa Island: Discover the historical and cultural heritage of Ganghwa Island, located near Incheon. Visit historic sites like Ganghwa Fortress and Bomunsa Temple, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of this island retreat.
These are just a few of the top destinations to visit after your trip to Seoul. South Korea is a country full of incredible destinations, each with their own unique charm and beauty. No matter where you decide to go, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.
Seoul Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Seoul is a city that embodies the dynamism and innovation of contemporary Asia, while also paying tribute to its rich cultural heritage. Its history, as well as its present-day charms, have positioned it as a top destination for travelers from all over the world. From the city’s palaces and museums to its modern high-rise buildings and bustling streets, Seoul offers a fascinating glimpse into the convergence of the traditional and the contemporary.
For those with a passion for art and culture, Seoul is a treasure trove of museums, galleries, and historic sites. From the Gyeongbokgung Palace to the National Museum of Korea, the city’s cultural offerings are sure to satisfy even the most discerning traveler. Seoul is also famous for its vibrant street life, with colorful markets, bustling shopping districts, and a dizzying array of street food options to explore.
Transportation in Seoul is efficient and reliable, with an extensive subway system and a well-developed bus network that makes getting around the city easy and convenient. Whether you choose to embark on a walking tour of the city’s various neighborhoods or venture further afield on a day trip, Seoul’s transportation options are sure to accommodate your needs.
For those seeking a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle, there are numerous parks and green spaces to enjoy, including the famous Namsan Mountain and the Han River Park. These areas provide a tranquil escape from the fast-paced urban environment, allowing visitors to unwind and soak in the natural beauty of the city.
Overall, Seoul is a city that captivates the imagination with its blend of the ancient and the modern, the traditional and the contemporary. Its diverse offerings make it a destination that is sure to please all who visit, from the most seasoned traveler to the first-time tourist. Whether you’re looking to explore its rich history, indulge in its culinary delights, or simply soak up its vibrant atmosphere, Seoul has something for everyone.
In Seoul, a city of lights and sound, The heart of Korea can be found, From bustling streets to ancient shrines, A world of wonder that always shines.
The sights and smells of street food fair, Aroma of spices filling the air, Kimchi, bibimbap, and more, Flavors to savor forevermore.
From palaces grand to temples old, Stories of history waiting to be told, Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and more, Treasures of culture to explore.
The hustle and bustle of the city life, Glimmers of neon cutting through the night, The energy and pulse of Gangnam’s beat, A vibe that sweeps you off your feet.
The hills and trails of Bukhansan, A nature escape just a short span, The views from above take your breath away, A moment of peace to seize the day.
In Seoul, there’s something for everyone, A city that never ceases to stun, A place that’ll leave you wanting more, A destination to always adore.