the best day trips from seoul

18 Exciting Day Trips From Seoul

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Seoul is a massive city. Like Tokyo, there is so much to see and do that visiting the city’s top tourist attractions will take you about five days. If this is your first time visiting Seoul, I recommend staying for at least a week, possibly longer if you’re a big fan of K-pop or Korean dramas. A week will allow you to visit the city’s most popular attractions as well as take one or two-day trips.

 

Many people are familiar with Nami Island and the DMZ, but there are many other day trip destinations in South Korea that are less well-known. If you need some inspiration for your Seoul itinerary, here are eighteen of the best day trips from Seoul.

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

1. Nami Island

One of the most popular day trips from Seoul is to Nami Island. It’s a small half-moon-shaped island in the Han River. I mean tiny because the entire island has a circumference of only 5 km (3.1 miles)! The entire island can be explored in less than a half-day.

Nami Island, despite its small size, is one of the most interesting places to visit from Seoul. It has its own flag, currency, passport, and national anthem and is recognized as a micronation. To enter the island, they even issue an “entry visa”!

Nami Island’s popularity stems in large part from the Winter Sonata Korean drama series, which was shot in part on the island. It’s famous for its beautiful walking trails lined with towering pine, gingko, maple, and metasequoia trees. They’re lovely at any time of year, but especially in autumn when the leaves burst with color.

Even though you could visit Nami Island on your own using public transportation, but a guided tour is the best option. You can reserve one through Klook. They have many day tours including Nami Island and other local attractions.

Admission: KRW 16,000

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Nami Island from Seoul is to book a roundtrip shuttle bus.

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

2. The DMZ

The DMZ stands for Demilitarized Zone and is a 4-kilometer-wide strip of land that runs for 250 kilometers along the border between North and South Korea. A tour of the DMZ, like Nami Island, is one of the most popular day trips from Seoul.

I went on a joint JSA/DMZ tour when I visited the DMZ. The term JSA refers to the only section of the DMZ where soldiers from the north and south can stand face to face. I’m not familiar with the current situation, but tours to the JSA have been canceled for the time being.

The most exciting part of the tour was a visit to the JSA, but the DMZ on its own makes for an interesting day trip from Seoul.

It’s even possible to visit the DMZ on your own by metro (details below). Most people, however, take guided tours, which can be booked through Klook.

Here’s how to get there: Take the metro to Imjingang Station and pass through a military checkpoint. In order to proceed, you must be appropriately dressed and have your passport with you.

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

3. Everland

If you want to spend the day at an amusement park in Seoul, there are two options: Everland and Lotte World. Lotte World is in central Seoul, whereas Everland is about an hour away in Yongin.

Everland is South Korea’s largest theme park, with approximately 6 million visitors per year. It is owned by the Samsung group of companies and has five themed zones with rollercoasters and theme park rides.

You can find a variety of Everland transfer and package deals on Klook. Personally, I believe that the Everland full-day excursion with tickets and transfers is the most convenient option.

Admission: KRW 58,000 (adults), KRW 46,000 (children)
Here’s how to get there: The local bus is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to get to Everland from Seoul. Bus 5002 runs from Exit 5 of Gangnam Station all the way to Everland.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

4. Hwaseong Fortress

The Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, about an hour south of Seoul, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed in 1796 to commemorate the remains of a Joseon prince who was sentenced to death in a locked rice chest by his own father.

Despite its chilling history, Hwaseong Fortress is a popular day trip destination for Seoul residents looking to do some light hiking. You can walk along the fortress walls for over 5.5 km (3.4 miles) for a scenic workout and fantastic views of Suwon City. You can also visit a palace and a couple of museums.

I drove to Hwaseong Fortress by car, but you can also book a guided tour through Klook. More pictures and information can be found in my article about Hwaseong Fortress.

Here’s how to get there by subway: Take the subway to Suwon station, exit the station, and make your way across the street to the bus stop. Take bus 5 or 7 to the Jangan Park stop, which is approximately a 10-15 minute ride away. On your right will be Hwaseong Fortress.

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

5. Bukhansan National Park

The only national park in the Seoul metropolitan area is Bhukansan. Its proximity and accessibility make it one of the most popular hiking destinations from Seoul, despite its location just north of the city center.

The park has three main peaks and a variety of hiking trails of varying difficulty. Proceed to one of the park’s information centers to obtain a trail map and plan your hike.

How to get there: Take the subway line 3 to Gupabal Station (line 3, exit 1). Take exit 1 and make a u-turn. The bus stop is approximately 20 meters ahead. Take Bus 34/704/8772 to Bukhansanseong (Fortress) bus stop (about 17 minutes). The stops are all announced in English.

Bukhansan National Park

Copyright by Seoul Metropolitan Government

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

6. Eunpyeong Hanok Village

While Hanok-Dorf Bukchon is the most popular village of this kind, it is not the only hanok village worth visiting. I recently discovered the Eunpyeong Hanok Village (은평한옥마을) in northern Seoul near Bukhansan National Park and fell in love with its distinct charm.

I recommend going slowly and exploring the village alley by alley to appreciate the beauty of the hanok village. Some of the 158 hanok houses are residential, but many also operate shops or cafés. Some houses are open to visitors who want to live in them and experience a hanok stay or participate in various traditional handicrafts. Check out my guide to Eunpyeong Hanok Village for more details.

Here’s how to get there: The hanok village is easily accessible via bus 701, which departs from Seoul Station and heads north. The trip takes 41 minutes with 23 stops and ends right in front of Eunpyeong Hanok Village.

You can also take bus 7723 from bus stop 12112 at Gupabal Station’s exit 4. This ride will take only 7 stops (about 10 minutes) and will stop directly in front of Hanok Village.

Eunpyeong Hanok Village

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

7. Incheon

Many people only know Incheon for its airport, but this port city has enough to offer to make it an interesting day trip destination.

Incheon Chinatown, for example, has a plethora of restaurants serving Korean-Chinese cuisine. It is said to be the origin of jajangmyeon, a popular Korean dish. There’s also a lovely Chinese temple off the main road of Incheon Chinatown that not many people know about. Check out my detailed Incheon Chinatown guide for more details.

Wolmido Island, Songdo Central Park, and Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village are other attractions in Incheon. You can find tours and travel deals in Incheon on Klook.

To get there, take the subway to Incheon station.

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

8. Yongin Korean Folk Village

The Korean Folk Village in Yongin, near Everland, is a living museum. It covers approximately 245 acres of land and contains 260 traditional houses from the late Joseon dynasty.

Real houses were transported from various parts of Korea and restored on-site to recreate a traditional Joseon period village. Daily performances by actors dressed in traditional costumes aid in the recreation of the illusion.

I enjoy visiting folk villages like this because it’s always fascinating to see history recreated in such meticulous detail. The Korean Folk Village is so convincing that it has served as the setting for many Korean films and dramas, including Jewel in the Palace and My Love from the Star.

You can visit the Korean Folk Village on your own or take a guided tour (Option 1 | Option 2).

Admission: 22,000 KRW
Here’s how to Get There: Take Bus 5001-1 from Gangnam Station (Exit 10) to the Korean Folk Village bus stop (1 hr).

Folk Village

Copyright by Seoul Metropolitan Government

 

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

9. Namhansanseong Fortress

Namhansanseong is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) southeast of Seoul. It stretches for about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) and was used as an emergency capital during the Joseon Dynasty.

Namhansanseong has the same allure as Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon. It’s an excellent day trip destination for those looking to do some hiking while visiting a historical site.

Hike along the fortress walls or one of the many trails that wind through the forest. There are temples, shrines, command posts, and fortress gates along the way, as well as spectacular views of the mountains and city.

How to Get There: From Sanseong station (Exit 2), take Bus 9, 9-1, or 52 to Namhansanseong bus stop (15 mins).

Namhansanseong Fortress

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

10. Jeonju Hanok Village

Jeonju is located nearly 200 kilometers south of Seoul. You can get there in under 2 hours by high-speed train, but for a day trip, a private tour may be more convenient (choose the option with Jeonju Hanok Village).

The majority of first-time visitors will most likely visit Hanok-Dorf Bukchon in central Seoul. However, if you want to visit a hanok village outside of the city, Jeonju is a good day trip destination. It has grown in popularity in recent years and is now one of South Korea’s most visited cities.

If you really want to get into character, you should also consider renting a hanbok. Check out my Jeonju itinerary to find out the must-see places.

Here’s how to get there: The KTX high-speed train is one of the quickest ways to Jeonju station. From there, you can then take one of the many buses (12, 60, 79, 109, 119, 142, 508, 513, 536, or 542) to the Jeondong Cathedral (Hanok Village) bus stop (30 mins).

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

11. Hwadam Forest

Hwadam Forest (화담숲) is a stunning botanic garden with a scenic monorail trail located just one hour from Seoul near Gwangju in Gyeonggi Province. It’s great for a day trip from Seoul and a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

Hwadam Forest is a great place to visit all year round, but it’s a must-visit destination for fall foliage in Korea. During this time, the park glows in shades of yellow, orange, and red. It’s truly beautiful scenery.

Here’s how to get there: You can take different buses from Seoul

  • 1113-1 from Gangbyeon Station to Konjiam Bus Terminal (1:30 min)
  • 500-1 from Jamsil Station to Konjiam Bus Terminal (1:30 min)
  • 500-2 from Samseong Station to Konjiam Bus Terminal (1:40 min)

If you’re coming from a different city in Korea, you can take a bus to Gonjiam Terminal (closest), Icheon Bus Terminal, Yongin Bus Terminal or Seongnam Bus Terminal and take another bus from there to Hwadam Forest.

Hwadam Botanic Garden

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

12. Yes Park Icheon Ceramic Village

If you are a fan of ceramics and pottery, the city of Icheon should be on your list. Located just over one hour from the capital, it makes for the perfect day trip from Seoul.

Icheon is known as Korea’s pottery hub. Even back in the days, skilled potters in the competed to create the highest quality works for the royal family.

The city was designated a UNESCO city for “crafts and folk art” in 2010, and opened the Icheon Ceramic Art Village Yes Park in 2018 as a special ceramic art zone.

Visitors can browse pottery, ceramics, woodwork and other crafts in over 300 studios by 500 artists. This makes Yes Park the largest art village in Korea.

Here’s how to get there: You can take different buses from Seoul

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

13. The Independence Hall of Korea

Die Unabhängigkeitshalle Koreas (Independence Hall of Korea) in Cheonan ist ein Muss, um ein tieferes Verständnis der koreanischen Geschichte und Kultur zu erlangen. Sie eignet sich perfekt für einen Tagesausflug von Seoul und anderen Teilen Koreas aus, da sie zentral liegt und mit dem Bus oder KTX gut zu erreichen ist.

Die Fläche der Unabhängigkeitshalle Koreas in Cheonan umfasst 23.424 m² mit Innen- und Außenausstellungen. Es gibt 7 Ausstellungshallen mit ca. 90.000 Objekten, die von Artefakten aus der 5.000-jährigen Geschichte Koreas über den japanischen Imperialismus bis hin zu Aufzeichnungen über die Unabhängigkeitsbewegungen reichen.

Here’s how to get there: Man kann mit dem Bus von Seoul zum Cheonan Bus Terminal fahren. Dies dauert etwas mehr als 1 Stunde. Von dort aus fahren die Busse 382, 390, 392, 400 oder 402 zur Unabhängigkeitshalle.

Independence Hall of Korea

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

14. Sejong National Arboretum

Sejong National Arboretum is South Korea’s first urban arboretum. It opened in October 2020, after eight years of planning and construction.

The arboretum is divided into 24 different themes, including a traditional Korean garden and a bonsai exhibit.

Sejong National Arboretum also boasts the largest greenhouse in Korea with multi-level walkways for visitors to leisurely stroll around.

Here’s how to get there: The closest train station to Sejong is Osong Station. It only takes 50 minutes from Seoul to Osong. From there, board bus B1 and get off at 정부세종청사북측. Transfer onto bus 221 and move 6 stops to 국립세종수목원, the arboretum.

Sejong National Arboretum

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

15. Templestay outside of Seoul

Doing a temple stay in South Korea allows you to experience monastic life and the history and culture of Korean Buddhism at a traditional temple. It’s also a great opportunity for soul-searching and time away from our hectic daily lives to empty your minds, thoughts, and bodies.

With over 25 temples offering temple stay programs in English, the choice is all yours! Some of the best temples for a templstay not too far from Seoul are:

  • Bongsunsa, Gyeonggi-do
  • Jeondeungsa, Incheon
  • Magoksa, Chungcheongnam-do

For more information check out my guide to templestay in Korea.

temple stay in south korea

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

16. Anyang Art Park

While Anyang is quite a small city located just outside of Seoul, it is best known for the picturesque Anyang Art Park. This park is filled with impressive works of art and a stamp tour that you can take during your visit. The best part is that this massive park is completely free to enter!

If you have some more time, pay a visit to Coo Coffee Roasters and the Funique House Museum. Samseongsan Mountain is also in Anyang and has a few hiking trails with some nice views.

How to get to Anyang from Seoul:

You can reach Anyang in about 20 minutes by taking the Mugunghwa No1223 train from Seoul Station.

It is also possible to take the line 1 subway from Yongsan Station to Anyang, or line 4 from Seoul Station and Myeongdong to the Anyang stations of Beomgye, Pyeongcheon, and Indeogwon. A subway ride takes approximately 35-45 minutes and requires the use of your Korean T-Money transportation card.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

17. The Historic City of Gyeongju

Gyeongju is one of my favorite cities in Korea and this “museum without walls” has a lot to offer visitors looking for a historical day trip from Seoul. Bulguksa Temple, Donggung Palace, and the Seokguram Grotto are among the must-see attractions in Gyeongju. Gyeongju also has a great selection of cafes and restaurants.

↠ Read More: The Best Things to Do in Gyeongju

How to get to Gyeongju from Seoul:

The 2-hour KTX train from Seoul or Yongsan Station to Singyeongju Station, Gyeongju’s main train terminal, is your best option. To get to Gyeongju’s center, take a public bus or taxi for about 20 minutes from Singyeongju. The KTX is rather pricey, with prices ranging from $45,000 to $55,000 one way.

There is also the option of taking a bus from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal to the Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal, which takes about 3.5 hours and costs between 20,000 and 25,000 won.

Exciting Day Trips from Seoul

18. Ski Resorts near Seoul

If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding and happen to be in Seoul during the winter, there are many great ski resorts to choose from! Yongpyong Ski Resort, Oak Valley Ski Resort, and High1 are some local favorites.

Skiing in Korea is less expensive than in the United States, and there are usually many equipment rental shops available for those without equipment.

How to get there:

A tour is probably the best option in terms of convenience and cost because packages often include transportation, admission, and equipment.

Check out these 1-day tour packages from Seoul to Yongpyong Ski Resort (3 hours), High1 (3 hours), and Oak Valley Ski Resort (less than 2 hrs from Seoul).

Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort

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