If you plan on visiting Korea, Seoul is probably at the top of your list and I don’t blame you. With Seoul being the capital of South Korea it only makes sense to make it your first stop.If it is your first time and you only have a short time perhaps 5-6 days in Korea, I recommend focusing on Seoul. If you have more than a week you may want to split your time up and visit another city such as Daegu, Gyeonju or Busan because Korea is more than Seoul. Here are 10 things I recommend to do during your visit to Seoul.
Before we get into it, make sure to purchase travel insurance before you travel! It is super important!
1. Eat Street Food on MyeongDong Street Alley
Myeongdong is a shopping area in South Korea with international clothing stores, K-beauty stores and more. With all that said, what you really want to go to Myegongdong for is the street food. From the fish cakes, egg buns, tall ice creams to tteokbeoki. You have an opportunity to try different foods in this area so make the most of it!
2. Learn about Korean History at Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 and was the largest royal palace out of the five built by the Joseon Dynasty. You can take a free guided tour and bookable tour online of the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. The grounds of Gyeonbokgung are so beautiful and are a great photo opportunity especially if you rent a Hanbok and walk around. Its also a great time to think about the historical background of the palace and learn more about Korean History.You can also see the changing of the guard which happens at specific times so make sure you don’t miss it. You might even be interested in a private tour at the palace.
Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
3. Take a Ferry Across the Han(gang) River
Han River is a popular landmark in Korea. The river has a park called Hangang Park, it is where locals go to enjoy their leisure time. You can have a picnic, bike around the park ,stroll and maybe jump on a river cruise.There are river cruises that happen over the Han river mainly organised by Hangang E-land River Cruises. They have different cruise courses from the Yeouido Ferry Dock.
Address: Yeouido Dock Terminal 2, 290, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Address (Korean): 영등포구 여의동로 290 이랜드크루즈 터미널 2)
The Different Cruises
- The Daytime Cruise
- The River Evening Cruise *
- Hangang River Ferry Lunch Buffet Cruise
- Hangang River Luxury Ferry Dinner Buffet Cruise
* The river evening cruise have different types : the music cruise. the music cruise with fireworks and the moonlight cruise.
4. Visit the N-Seoul Tower
Namsan Tower aka N Tower is an observatory deck in South Korea. Namsan Tower has a viewing observatory as well as shops and restaurants. The highest observation deck is on the 5th floor and gives a 360 panoramic view of Seoul. There are different ways to get the Namsan Tower which are via a walking trail (90min walk with some steepness), via cable cars from the cable car station or the Namsan shuttle bus.
I recommend taking the cable cars or shuttle bus up and then walking back down via the trail for views.Getting cable cars or bus allows you to see Seoul and its very beautiful. Please note there can be long queues for the cable cars so be prepared to wait.
Address: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
5.Be Hip in Hongdae
Hongdae is where a couple of Universities are based such as Hongik University and is a very youthy and hip area. You will find restaurants, clothing areas, bars, clubs and fun activities such as board game cafes. If you want to feel hip and young, Hongdae may just be a great place to wander around and be intrigued.
6. Try on a Hanbok at Buckhon Hanok Village
Buckhon Hanok Village is a great place to experience Korean culture. It it full of alleys and traditional Korean houses called hanoks. Here you can walk around and can learn more about Korea’s history. You can rent a Hanbok and walk around as well visit different restaurants, cafe and hanoks.Buckhon Hanok Village is located around Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine. The Hanok Village it is worth visiting and I would recommend it to be on your list.
Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gahoe-dong, 계동길 37
7. Get Cute with Kakao Characters
Kakao is South Korea’s messenger, social network and e-pay system. Just as Line is Japan messenger platform and Wechat is Chinas messenger and e-pay system. Kakao characters are pretty popular and have stores all over Korea.
The flagship store is located in Hongdae : 162 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
8. Buy Souvenirs at Insadong Market
If you are looking for a place to find souvenirs, Insadong is a great place to start. They have a whole street of shops with different souvenirs. Someone may say “o these are expensive” When were souvenirs ever “cheap ey”?
Address: 62, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Address: 서울특별시 종로구 인사동길 62 (관훈동) 일대
9. Cafe Hop in Gangnam
South Korea is known for its cafe culture which I absolutely love and Gangnam is known for being a luxury and upscale area in Seoul. Put those two things together and you have a boujie cafe! You can find many cafes all over Seoul and many of them are in Gangnam.
10. Spend the Night in a Traditional Hanok/Korean House
I mentioned visiting Buckchon Hanok Village as something you need to do! Now let’s take it a step further and spend the night in a Hanok. A Hanok is a traditional Korean house and there are a few guesthouses offer the opportunity to book to spend some nights there as you would book hotel.A few you can check out are here :
Seoul has so much more to offer but these are a few things you must try in Seoul. From staying in a Hanok to visiting N-Tower you will not get bored of your time in Seoul.
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