More than a K-pop mecca, the capital of South Korea has everything to offer from historical palaces, quaint districts to vibrant shopping centres. It will be difficult to decide what to do in Seoul since there are endless things to explore and places to see. This blog post will showcase my Top 10 best things to do in Seoul Korea.
1. Shopping in Myeongdong
No trip to Seoul is complete without visiting the most iconic area of the city – Myeongdong. Used to be a residential area, Myeongdong became increasingly commercial after the Korean War and now a hub of commerce, banking and culture.
You can find the latest trend and the most delicious food in Myeongdong and this area is always packed with tourists. It is estimated that more than 1 million visitors pass through the area everyday.
Shopping in Myeongdong is more enjoyable when compared to other areas in Seoul as almost all saleslespeople in Myeongdong speak English well (even Chinese and Japanese). And don’t forget to visit the Stylenanda’s store – Myeongdong branch since it is one of the most Instagrammable places in Seoul. Believe me, after spending 2 hours there, I brought out a receipt of more than 300,000 won and enough photos to post for a week.
2. Eat til you drop
As food plays a major role in Korean culture, it is widely promoted in any kinds of entertainment, especially in dramas. It is common to see someone eating in Korean dramas. However, it will not drive you insane, but become addicted instead.
Seoul offers a diverse food scene to rival any Asian capital city, in which you can find an electric mix of Korean delicacies namely bulgogi (marinated beef barbecue), bibimbap (mixed rice), samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), seolleongtang (ox bone soup), naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles)…
When seeing Korean foods on screen, I didn’t think they would be that delicious. However, it turned out to be wrong. My trip to Seoul ended up eating, eating and eating. I wish I would not be on any diet to eat all the food that I have craved for.
You can see red color in every Korean dish, however it doesn’t mean the food is spicy. And the food will not be delicious if it is not spicy. Believe me, when you order something which is not spicy, it turns out to be salty. Although food vendors offer eye-catching and mouth-watering foods, it will be not hygiene.
If you need any more information related to What to eat in Seoul, kindly see this post. In this post, I also recommend some good restaurant in town.
3. Visit Gyeongbokgung
Standing majestically in the heart of Seoul, Gyeongbokgung is arguably the largest among five grand palaces which date back to the Joseon dynasty. The palace underwent serious damage from a tragic burnt down in the 16th century, all the remaining architects were then restored exactly to what used to stand. After that, Gyeongbokgung became a tourist site which attracts millions of visitors each year.
Visiting the Gyeongbokgung Palace can take at least a half a day since this complex is huge and you can also find the National Palace Museum and National Folk Museum inside. Don’t miss the chance to see the changing of the guards ceremony at the top of every hour at 10am and 3pm.
4. Watch the cherry blossom
Nothing marks the arrival of spring better than the beautiful light pink cherry blossom. Cherry blossoms typically reach full bloom during the first or second week of April and last for two weeks (time may vary). Make sure to see the forecast before planning your trip.
The lovely pink color dominates the city and you can easily find which is available from the most mediocre residential areas to major tourist spots. There are some certain places to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms namely 2 most popular spots Yeouido Park and Seokchon Lake.
However, these two places are packed with people, both the Korean and international tourists. So it is not a good place to admire the dazzling beauty of cherry blossoms. If you wish to do so, I would recommend the cherry blossom trees in Namsangol Hanok. Cherry blossoms under the hanok roofs will be a great combination to pop your Instagram feed.
5. Wearing the traditional Hanbok
Wearing the traditional Hanbok is one of the most favourite experiences to do in Seoul. It is common to see many people in hanbok (mainly tourists), strolling down the streets. And you don’t need to buy a new hanbok as there are tons of hanbok rental shops located around popular sightseeing spots.
These shops offer a wide range of hanbok designs, which are classified into different shapes, colors and purposes. Hanbok rental also comes with some add-on services like hairstyling, makeup and professional photoshoot which is subjected to an extra charge (some shops offer free hairstyling, make sure to ask beforehand).
Deposit and return policies may differ from shopto shop, make sure to check the shop’s website in advance. For instance, it is required to make a deposit of 50,000₩/hanbok and a copy of passport in Oneday Hanbok, while that of 3355 Hanbok Rental is only 20,000₩/hanbok. You can find my recommendations for Hanbok rental store below:
|3355 Hanbok Rental
6. Step back in time at Hanok Bukchon
Nestled in the heart of Seoul, lies one the most picturesque residential areas of Seoul – Hanok Bukchon. The whole area retains its authenticity despite the growing number of tourists and increasing urbanization.
All buildings in Hanok Bukchon date all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty. Over the course of time, those houses are well-preserved and become cultural centers, restaurants, cafes or even guest houses.
Some houses are open to the public which means you can go inside and adventure. Believe me, it seems like stepping back in time until you pass through the door.
7. Admire Seoul’s skyline at Lotte World Tower
Lotte World Tower is a 123-storey skyscraper located in Songpa-gu, Seoul. Incorporating cutting edge technologies with accomplishments of man , this building adds a new horizon over Seoul’s skyline.
Soaring about 555m into the air, the Seoul Sky Observation located at the top floor of Lotte World Tower offers stunning views of the city, whether day or night.
Lotte World Tower is just a few minutes away from Seokchon Lake, so it will be a good idea to visit both places at the same time. Don’t forget to buy admission tickets in advance to save time, visit this link for more info.
8. Climb up Namsan Tower … but not for love locks
K-drama cravers are no stranger to Namsan Tower as it is one of the most appeared places, from the iconic “Boys Over Flowers” to the recent hit “True Beauty”. For that reason, Namsan Tower becomes not just a filming location or tourist attraction, but an embodiment of love.
Making the way up to the top of Namsan Tower is one of the most recommended things to do in Seoul for couples. There is an urban legend that if lovers put a padlock together at Namsan Tower and throw the key away, their love will last forever. It is the reason why you can see thousands of padlocks that come from different shapes, colors and sizes, are hanged around fences, railings and even any available spaces in the viewing deck.
But wait a minute. Are those who follow this legend still together? What year is it now to believe in such “nonsense” things? LOL. I wish me and my money would be tied up together instead. However, I would always recommend picking Namsan Tower in your itinerary as it provides a panoramic view overlooking Seoul.
9. Booze the night out
Listed as the most booziest country in the world, the Koreans pride themself with incredible drinking culture. This culture goes all the way back to the old days when farming played a crucial role in Korean’s economy. Koreans consumpt alcohol during important holidays and seasonal events, in which they honor ancestors and exchange goodwill with relatives, neighbors and friends.
Since Korea’s economy boomed and society developed, the drinking culture started to change which became an important part of everyday activity. No matter what the occasion is, from getting a big contract to breaking up, it will last with “a few drinks”. And Seoul is undoubtedly where you can experience this “amazing culture”.
There is a wide variety of ways to enjoy a night out namely soju tent (pojangmacha), chicken and beer (chimaek), soju bombs (soju and beer)…. If you ask me what to choose , my answer would be chimaek.
10. Take street style photos
Besides New York, London, Paris and Milan, Seoul is an increasingly new hub for fashionable folks. It is easy to spot the latest fashion and makeup trends on the streets of Seoul. I also took this chance to curate my Instagram feed with some Korean inspired looks.
It’s not difficult to find a spot to take street-style photos in Seoul, from the most Instagram-worthy places like DDP or Common Ground to mundane residential areas.
Summary: Top 10 best things to do in Seoul Korea
Seoul travel tips
– If you still don’t know what to do in Seoul, visit https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/. This page will offer you unlimited information about traveling in Korea and Seoul.
– English is not the Korean’s thing so make sure to learn some basic travel phrases and install translation apps.
– Don’t use Google Maps when travelling in Seoul, use Kakao or Naver Maps instead.
Seoul travel vlog
For more information, kindly see my Seoul travel vlog
Summary: Top 10 best things to do in Seoul Korea
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