Now that I live in Cheongju, it’s quite easy to take a 1.5 hour bus ride to Seoul and enjoy the beautiful capital of Korea. Seoul has many beautiful spots and must-see historic places you just have to check out when in town. If you only have a limited amount of time, here’s my go-to itinerary to get the most out of your visit!
Rent a Korean Hanbok Dress
If you’re into dressing up, you should definitely rent a hanbok! You get to choose between uncountable designs for both women and men and get to choose multiple accessories. The bonus: you can enter palaces and temples free of charge when you wear hanbok! Check out my post about where to rent hanbok in Seoul for more details.
Wander Inside Gyeongbokgung Palace
Even though not the only palace in Seoul (the other one is Changdeokgung), I recommend visiting this one if you have to choose between the two. It’s the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty and was built in 1395. It’s a beautiful architectural site and will take your breath away when walking through the many gates. If you’re into even more history, check out the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum within the premises of the complex.
Adults (ages 19-64) 3,000 won / Group 2,400 won (10 or more people) Youths (ages 7-18) 1,500 won / Group 1,200 won (10 or more people) Age 6 and under – FREE. March to October 09:00-18:00 / November to February 09:00-17:00. Closed on Tuesday By Subway Exit 5 – Gyeongbokgung Station Line 3
Walk Around Bukchon Hanok Village
Right around the corner from Gyeongbukgung is the beautiful Hanok Village, which is home to hundreds of traditional houses called ‘hanok’ that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. Many cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses are located here where you get to experience Korean culture at its finest. Event though it’s quite touristy, it’s a must to check out when in town.
Mon~Fri (9:00 ~ 18:00) Sat~Sun (9:00 ~ 17:00) By Subway Exit 2 – Anguk Station Line 3. Walk straight for about 300m.
Spend your Evening in Myeongdong
Myeongdong is a major shopping district in Seoul and a place where you can find Korean knick-knacks and the latest skincare trends. It’s also a hub for delicious restaurants and street foods to try out! Life comes to this street after sunset when the lights are illuminating your way to the most Korean shopping experience.
10am to 10pm everyday By Subway Exit 5, 6, 7, or 8 – Myeongdong Station Line 4
Experience Korean Culture and Crafts in Insadong
If you are looking for unique, often hand-made, souvenirs and crafts, the arts and crafts center of Insadong is going to make your heart beat faster. Among the many items you can purchase there are for example traditional clothing (hanbok), traditional paper (hanji), Korean teas, pottery, and folk crafts. A must-see is also the famous rooftop cafe with hundreds if not thousands of love locks hanging around.
By Subway Exit 6 – Anguk Station Line 3. Walk straight 100m & turn left. Exit 3 – Jonggak Station Line 1. Walk 300m straight, turn left. then 100m straight & veer left into Insa-dong alleyway. Stand High Above the City at Seoul Tower Sunday-Thursday Observatory: 10:00-23:00 Restaurant: 11:00-23:00 Teddy Bear Museum: 10:00-22:00 (Last entry: 21:00) Friday-Saturday Observatory: 10:00-24:00 Restaurants (n.GRILL/Hancook): 11:00-23:00 The place dining: 11:00-24:00 (Last seating: 23:00) Teddy Bear Museum: 10:00-22:00
Get Great Views From Seoul Tower
If you’re looking for a great spot to view the entire city from above, Seoul Tower is one of the best addresses to do so. There are a few gift shops and restaurants but the main selling point are the views. It’s a wonderful site to visit during the day as well as for sunset or at night.
By Subway & Bus Exit 2 – Chungmuro Station Line 3 or 4. Then take Bus 2 (08:00-24:00/5min intervals) or Bus 5 (07:30-23:50/15min intervals) to N Seoul Tower. Exit 4 – Itaewon Station Line 6. Then take Bus 3 (08:00-23:00/10min intervals) to N Seoul Tower. By Subway & Cable Car Exit 3 – Myeongdong Station Line 4. Take the wide road next to 7 Eleven convenience store, then walk straight to the left of Pacific Hotel & keep walking up in the direction of Mt. Namsan where the cable car platform is situated. Fare: Round-trip – 6,300 won / One-way – 4,800 won Cable Car Opening Hours: 10:00~22:30
Check Out a Themed Cafe
In Korea, you just gotta visit at least one of the crazy cafes the country has to offer. If you just travel Seoul, don’t worry, there are plenty of themed cafes to choose from: cat cafes, dog cafes, princess cafes, raccoon cafes, Hello Kitty cafe, and so many more! You can find a comprehensive list of awesome cafes right here.
Try As Much Food As Possible
You might think the spicy taste of Korean food isn’t your cup of tea. However, that’s not all Korean cuisine is! Go out and try as much Korean food you can! You never know if you are actually totally into kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage), kimbap (rice and veggies wrapped in dried seaweed), or cold noodles and, to be honest, who could possibly say no to Korean BBQ? If you’re trying to find some delicious Korean BBQ, look no further.
Go back home with NO REGRETS!
Nothing is worse than coming back home from traveling with regrets! Try as much as you can – even if it’s out of your comfort zone! Traveling is all about getting new experiences and getting a broader understanding of a different culture.
What would you add to the list?