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10 Top Attractions and Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea

Guards in Gyeongbokgung Palace

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.

Gwanghwamun Gate and Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul
Guards in Gyeongbokgung Palace

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.

Gwanghwamun Square and statue
Girl standing in front of "I heart you" sign in Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul
Don’t let the cloudy weather fool you. It was HOT.

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.

Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea
Changdeokgung Palace tower in Seoul, South Korea

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.

Korean girls walking in Bukcheon Hanok Village in Seoul
Traditional house in Bukcheon Hanok Village in Seoul

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.

Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul in South Korea

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.

Deoksugung Palace rooftops in Seoul South Korea
Monkey statues on rooftop in Deoksugung Palace in Seoul
Deoksugung Palace in Seoul South Korea

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!?

People in Namdaemun Market in Seoul, South Korea

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!

Korean dish in Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea
Korean dish in Myeongdong restaurant, Seoul, South Korea

9. GANGNAM

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.

Gangnam sign in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea
Tall buildings in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea
View of Seoul over river from Gangnam
The view from Gangnam back towards the main city center.

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!

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Planning to travel to Seoul, South Korea? This travel guide to the top attractions in Seoul has got you covered. It even has tips to save money with free entry to temples!
Planning to travel to Seoul, South Korea? This travel guide to the top attractions in Seoul has got you covered. It even has tips to save money with free entry to temples!
Planning to travel to Seoul, South Korea? This travel guide to the top attractions in Seoul has got you covered. It even has tips to save money with free entry to temples!

14 Comments

  • Suvarna Arora
    May 21, 2020 at 10:24 PM

    I have seoul in my list from sometime. So want to wear Hanbok and wander around.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:47 PM

      Wouldn’t that be so cool? I had no idea it was a thing til I got there, so I was a little unprepared ๐Ÿ™

      Reply
  • Erin
    May 20, 2020 at 1:05 PM

    I love your photos! South Korea looks so beautiful. I’ve traveled alot of Asia but have yet to make it there – you’ve inspired me to add it to the top of my list for next destinations in Asia. I would really love to visit Deoksugung Palace.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:45 PM

      All the palaces I visited in Seoul were really pretty! It seemed like a cool city ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Ally Travels
    May 20, 2020 at 11:03 AM

    Your pictures are incredible! Def adding Seoul to my bucketlist.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:45 PM

      Thanks, Ally! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • lavieenmarine
    May 20, 2020 at 10:48 AM

    This looks just so incredible! Your pictures are insane and now I really regret not going to Seoul when I had the chance! Thank you for sharing

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:41 PM

      I went only because I was in nearby Japan, but it surpassed my expectations! I hope you get another chance to visit ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Jordan King
    May 20, 2020 at 10:35 AM

    That’s funny about Gangnam. I didn’t know that! Awesome post though. COVID is killing my vibes. I need to travel to Seoul!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:44 PM

      Hopefully we can all end the pandemic sooner than later ๐Ÿ™

      Reply
  • Patti
    May 20, 2020 at 10:27 AM

    Oh wow, South Korea is beautiful. Reminds me a lot of Taiwan. That sign in Gangnam made me chuckle.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:43 PM

      I found the sign funny as well. Taiwan is still on my list – I have so much of Asia yet to see!

      Reply
  • Tal Bright
    May 20, 2020 at 10:13 AM

    Great post! Haven’t been to Korea yet, but your photos are certainly enticing!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 4:42 PM

      I can only speak for Seoul, but it was a pretty cool city! Hope you get to go someday ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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