So you’re heading to South Korea, are ya? Well you’ve stopped at the right place. Keep reading for my must-see attractions and things to do in Seoul – South Korea’s super trendy, super hip capital city.
1. GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE & GWANGHWAMUN GATE
Also called the Northern Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395. Before entering, be sure to check out the impressive main gate, Gwanghwamun Gate. This place is closed on Tuesdays. Check admission hours and prices here. Psssst: get free entry to most palaces if you wear a traditional Korean hanbok (both men and women). Many shops rent these out to tourists for a day. It’s a pretty large complex, so give yourself around 1.5 hours to walk through it.
2. GWANGHWAMUN SQUARE
If you saw the previous site, you likely already walked through Gwanghwamun Square. It is the square in front of the main palace gate.
3. CHANGDEOKGUNG PALACE
The UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site of Changdeokgung Palace was built in 1405. This complex has several sites to see, such as the Huwon secret garden and two separate palace buildings. To view the garden, you must join a group tour (no additional cost). This palace is closed Mondays. View admission hours and prices here.
4. BUKCHEON HANOK VILLAGE
Bukcheon Hanok Village is an area of traditional Korean houses, called hanoks. It is conveniently located between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, so you won’t have trouble seeing it on the way. This is an actual neighborhood where people still live, so keep that in mind as you explore and photograph.
5. CHEONGGYECHEON STREAM
Cheonggyecheon Stream is 10 km or 7 mi long, and it starts from Cheonggye Plaza, near Sejong-ro Avenue. It provides a place to take nice, calm stroll to take in the middle of a huge, bustling city.
6. DEOKSUGUNG PALACE
Deoksugung Palace sits at the corner of Seoul’s busiest downtown intersection. It provides an interesting contrast between the old palace and the modern buildings of Seoul. It is closed on Mondays. View admission hours and prices here.
7. NAMDAEMUN MARKET
Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in all of South Korea. Apparently, this place is even open through the middle of the night. Crazy, right!?
8. MYEONGDONG SHOPPING DISTRICT
Myeongdong is a main, modern shopping district of Seoul. Here you can find all your name brands and flashing lights. This is also where I had a very yummy dinner!
Yes, Gangnam like in Gangnam Style. If you didn’t have a Korean friend around to tell you back when that song blew up, Gangnam is actually a neighborhood in South Korea’s capital. It is known for being pricy and stylish. It’s further out from all the other sites I’ve listed.
10. DEMILITERIZED ZONE (DMZ)
I didn’t make it here during my time in Seoul, because this place is closed on Sundays. Until recently, North and South Korea were technically still at war with each other, and this was where peace discussions during the Korean War were held. You can take a tour of the DMZ from Seoul and be able to say you’ve technically been to North Korea.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you been to Seoul? Did I miss any attractions in Seoul? Let me know below, for the next time I visit South Korea!