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20 Must See Places in Seoul

Seoul, the capital of Korea, is arguably the most popular tourist destination in all of Korea. Packed with countless sights to see and places to visit, such as ancient palaces, traditional markets, and high-end shopping districts, Seoul is a city with so much to offer that you might not know where to start.  This can be a bit overwhelming when you’re running on a tight schedule.

Though I’d planned to split my time between Seoul and somewhere else in Korea, I ended up spending all seven days in Seoul and I’m so glad I did as I was able to slow down and really immerse myself in the city.

So, today I am going to share with you the “20  Must-Visit Places in Seoul, South Korea”.  I have divided the list into three categories: (1) Sight Seeing:  History, Culture and Tradition  (2) Shopping, Nightlife and Food hunt  (3) Theme Park.  Let’s begin.

SIGHT SEEING: HISTORY, CULTURE, AND TRADITION

1. GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE

seoulGyeongbokgung Palace was the first and largest royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty. It is located at the heart of the newly appointed capital of Seoul (then known as Hanyang) and represented the sovereignty of the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbokgung served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty.

Admission Fees:

  • 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.

 Opening Hours:

  • March to October 09:00-18:00 / November to February 09:00-17:00.
  • Closed on Tuesday

How to get there:

  • Exit 5 – Gyeongbokgung Station Line 3

Read My Blog Post :  Walking through Ancient Palaces that Breathes History : Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palace

2. CHANGDEOKGUNG PALACE

throne hallChangdeokgung Palace is also known as Donggwol, the Eastern Palace, because of its location to the east of Gyeongbokgung Palace. For 270 years, the palace was home to the Joseon government and was also the favored residence of many Joseon Dynasty kings. This makes Changdeokgung Palace the longest-serving royal residential palace. Compared to other palaces, Changdeokgung Palace is well-preserved and still has many of its original features.

Admission Fees:

  • Regular Tour (Changdeokgung Palace)
  • Individuals: Adults (ages 19-64) 3,000 won/Children (ages 7-18) 1,500 won
  • Groups (10 or more people): Adults 2,400 won/Children 1,200 won

Huwon Tour (Secret Garden area) (Guided Tour only)

  • Adults (ages 19 and over) 5,000 won/Children (ages 7-18) 2,500 won

 Opening Hours:

  • April–October: 09:00-16:30 / March & November: 09:00-15:30 / December–February: 09:00-15:00

How to get there:

  • Exit 3 – Anguk Station Line 3. Walk straight for 5min. or
  • Exit 7 – Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station Line 1, 3 or 5. Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min.

3. BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE

hanok 25Bukchon Hanok Village is located at Anguk Station between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. The 600-year-old urban village used to be the home to the Yangban (nobility) class and the most influential families during the Joseon era. Exploring the Hanok heritage houses and wandering its narrow streets provide a unique opportunity for the visitor to experience the authentic atmosphere of the Joseon Dynasty era.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

 Opening Hours:

Bukchon Traditional Culture Center

  • Mon-Fri (9:00 – 18:00)
  • Sat-Sun (9:00 – 17:00)

How to get there:

Exit 2 – Anguk Station Line 3. Walk straight for about 300m.

Read My Blog Post : Cultural Immersion at Bukchon Hanok Village in SEOUL

4. N SEOUL TOWER and NAMSAN PARK

N-Seoul-Tower
N Seoul Tower was built in 1969 as Korea’s first integrated transmission tower beaming television and radio broadcasts across the capital. Since opening to the public in 1980, it has become a much-loved Seoul landmark. Seoul Tower offers panoramic views of Seoul and the surrounding areas. The view is so stunning that many consider Seoul Tower the best tower in Asia.

Admission Fees:

  • Observatory: Adult – 9,000 won; children – 7, 000
  • Teddy Bear Museum: 8,000 won
  • Package (Observatory + Teddy Bear Museum): 14,000 won

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday Observatory: 10:00-23:00
  • Friday-Saturday Observatory: 10:00-24:00

How to get there:

  • Take the subway and drop off at Chungmuro Station (Line 3 and 4).
  • Once you go out of Exit 1 at Chungmuro Station, you should see the Daehan Cinema.
  • Look for the bus stop and wait for Bus #5 that goes straight to Namsan Park.
  • Alight at the last bus stop.

Read My Blog Post : Love is in the Air at N Seoul Tower and Namsan Park

5. NAMSANGOL HANOK VILLAGE

??? ??? - ?? ?????? ??. 2007.6.22.This village has five restored traditional Korean houses and a pavilion, a pond and a time capsule, which make it a perfect spot to take a walk.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Opening Hours:

  • Apr-Oct: 09:00-21:00
  • Nov-Mar: 09:00-20:00

How to get there:

  • Subway
    Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 & 4), Exit 3 or 4.
    Walk along the road between zemidong (Chungmuro Media Center) and Maeil Business   Newspaper Building (150m).
  • Bus
    Take bus 104, 105, 140, 263, 507, 604, 421, 7011.
    Get off at Toegyero 3(sam)-ga (National Pension Service).
    Take bus 263, 104, 507, 421, 02 or Seoul City Tour bus.
    Get off in front of at ‘Twegye 3 (sam)-ga (Hanongmaeul, Korea House)

6. ROYAL TOMBS OF THE JOSEON DYNASTY

royal tombThe Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty refers to the 40 tombs of members of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. These tombs are scattered in over 18 locations across South Korea. The royal tombs house 27 generations of the Joseon dynasty’s kings, queens, and posthumously designated rulers. It is rare to see the tombs of an entire dynasty preserved in such good condition.

Admission Fees:

  • Adults: 1000 won, ages 7-18: 500 won. Closed on Mondays

Opening Hours:

  • 06:00-18:30 (March – October), 06:30-17:30 (November – February)

 How to get there:

  • Cheongnyangni Station (Subway Line 1), take bus 202 or 88 for Donggureung;
  • Gangbyeon Station (Subway Line 2), take bus 1, 1-1, or 9-2 for Donggureung

 7. JOGYESA TEMPLE

jogyesaJogyesa Temple does not give off the solemn and traditional air of the other temples located deep in the mountains or offer the seasonal scenery of the mountains and the sea. But because it is located in the middle of the city, the transportation is convenient and is well connected to the surrounding areas. It is good for tourists on a tight schedule.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Opening Hours:

  • 24 hours
  • Daeungjeon and Geungnakjeon 04:00-21:00

How to get there:

  • Jonggak Subway Station
    Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 2.
    Go 70m forward, then cross the street.
    Go 100m more to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.
  • Anguk Subway Station
    Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
    Go 50m forward, then cross the street in front of Dongduk Gallery.
    Go 50m more to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.

8. SAMCHEONGGAK

SamcheonggakReflecting its name (literally the ‘House with Threefold Purity’), Samcheonggak is located in one of the most pristine places in the city and has born witness to standout moments in Korean history. It was the venue for the banquet for the Joint Statement (July 4, 2007) between North and South Korean representatives and has served as a forum for a variety of other political and diplomatic functions. The City of Seoul took over Samcheonggak in 2000 and made it available to the public.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Opening Hours:

  • 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

How to get there:

  • Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 5. 5 min-walk.
  • Gwanghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 1. 10min-walk.
  • Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1.

 9. NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM OF KOREA

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe National Palace Museum of Korea opened in 1992 displaying relics from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Over 20,000 royal relics from Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine are on display.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Opening Hours:

  • 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

How to get there:

  • Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 5. 5 min-walk.
  • Gwanghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 1. 10min-walk.
  • Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1. 

10. THE WAR MEMORIAL OF KOREA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe grounds of the War Memorial of Korea were once the headquarters of the Korean Infantry. Many experts from different fields were consulted numerous times and exhaustive research was done in order to complete the exhibits. This memorial is the largest of its kind in the world.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Opening Hours:

  • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

How to get there:

  • Subway
    Samgakji Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 1, 11 or 12.
    Namyeong Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 1.
  • Bus
    Take Bus 110A, 110B, 740, or 421 and get off at The War Memorial of Korea Bus Stop.
    Take Bus 421, 149, 150, 151, 152, 500, 501, 504, 605, 750B, 751, 752, 502, 506, 507, or 750A and get off Samgakji Station Bus Stop.

11. CHEONG WA DAE (BLUE HOUSE)

CheongwadaeThe signature markings of the Presidential Residence of Cheong Wa Dae are its blue tiles. It is the first thing that catches one’s attention upon entering the premises. The blue tiles and the smooth roof blend beautifully with Mt. Bugaksan in the backdrop.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

 Opening Hours:

  • Tours start at 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, and 15:00
    summer season (Jul. 1-Sep. 16): 10:00, 11:00, 15:00, 16:00
    No tours available on Monday, Sunday, and holiday.
    Saturday tours only available for individuals and families of less than 10 total people

How to get there:

  • Subway
    Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5.
    Go into the Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds and walk approximately 600m toward the East Gate Parking Lot.
    The Cheong Wa Dae Tour Information Booth is in the parking lot.
  • Bus
    Get off at Gyeongbokgung Bus Stop when riding these buses.
    Blue bus: 171, 272, 109, 601, 606
    Green bus: 1020, 7025
    2. Get off at Bubryunsah Temple Bus Stop when riding this bus. Village bus: Jongno 11

12. CHEONGGYECHEON (STREAM)

streamCheonggyecheon is an 11 km long modern stream that runs through downtown Seoul. Created as part of an urban renewal project, Cheonggyecheon is a restoration of the stream that was once there before during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The stream was covered with an elevated highway after the Korean War (1950-1953), as part of the country’s post-war economic development. Then in 2003, the elevated highway was removed to restore the stream to its present form today. The stream starts from Cheonggye Plaza, a popular cultural arts venue, and passes under a total of 22 bridges before flowing into the Hangang (River), with many attractions along its length.

Admission Fees:

  • Free

Opening Hours:

  • Hours: 09:00-18:00 (open all year round)

How to get there:

  • Bus
    From Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1,4), Exit 9 or 9-1
    Take bus 7017 or 7021
    Get off at Cheonggye-1(il)ga, Gwanggyo Bridge Station.
  • Subway
    Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 5

FOOD HUNT, NIGHTLIFE, AND SHOPPING

13. MYEONG-DONG

1006300_img_1Myeong-dong is Seoul’s shopping mecca and is a must-see for tourists, but it is not just a shopping destination; Myeong-dong is also a center of commerce, banking, and culture with a daytime population of 1.5-2 million. For shoppers, there is a mixture of street stalls and retail outlets selling everything from high fashion to casual attire as well as many Korean cosmetics stores offering high-quality products at competitive prices.

How to get here: 

  • Myeongdong Station: Line 4 (Sky-blue line), Exit 5/6/7/8. This exit comes up at Migliore shopping mall in the heart of the Myeongdong shopping district.
  • Euljiro 1 (ij-ga) Station: Line 2 (grass-green line), Exits 5/6. This exit is at a huge road junction slightly further down the road and requires about 5-10 mins of walking to reach the main Myeongdong shopping area.

Read My Blog Post :  Shopping in Seoul

14. ITAEWON

itaewonItaewon is a unique place in Seoul where one can meet people of diverse nationalities and cultures. Itaewon’s best gift to Seoul is its food. This international food street, which runs parallel with the main high street, hosts an array of restaurants representing different world cuisines: Indian, Italian, American, Brazilian, French, and even British. So, if you’ve had your fill of kimchi and bulgogi for the week, you can pop over to Itaewon and give your taste buds a different pleasure.

How to get here: 

  • subway line 6 and get off at Itaewon Station

15. INSA-DONG

ParadeNowhere exudes more local and traditional charm than Insa-dong, a quaint neighborhood in the center of Seoul that transports visitors back to a time when women wore hanbok and men rode horses. With its wooden tea houses, boutique galleries and street vendors selling traditional snacks, a stroll through Insa-dong are mandatory for all visitors, especially on Sundays when the streets become traffic free and come alive with street performances. While the entertainment here is free, Insa-dong is also one of the best places in Seoul to purchase traditional Korean art, products, and other souvenirs, as it is filled with antique shops, art galleries, traditional stationery shops, handicraft shops, pottery and porcelain shops, bookstores, and art supply stores. Insa-dong is also home to many traditional restaurants and teahouses.

How to get there:

  • 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.

16. DONGDAEMUN

dongdaemunDongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the newest and most iconic landmark of the Korean design industry. Located at the center of the Dongdaemun area, the DDP will serve as a key venue for design-related shows and conferences, exhibitions, and other events and gatherings.   Designed by world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, DDP is the world’s largest atypical architecture. The DDP is comprised of five halls: Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market, and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park.

How to get here: 

  • Dongdaemun History & Cultural Park Station: Line 2, Line 4, Line 5,Exit 14
  • Dongdaemun Station: Line 1, Line 4, Exit 8

17. HONGDAE

hongdae3Hongdae is the scene where Korean culture, both pop and indie, manifests, especially at night. More information on planning a Sangam day trip can be soon found at K-stars and their K-style–if the Korean Wave has washed over you, then there’s no better place to tread the path of such tastemakers as Hongdae, the live-wire district of music and art culture.

Opening Hours

  • Every evening till late night

How to get there:

  • Exit 6 – Hongik Univ. Station Line 2

18. COEX MALL

coex-mall-fCOEX Mall is the largest underground shopping center in Asia. It is located in the basement of the Korea World Trade Center, located in Samseong-dong in the Gangnam-gu area of Seoul. The colossal shopping center stretches from Samseong station in the south all the way to Bongeunsa temple in the north and is considered to be the best shopping and entertainment complex in the area.

How to get there:

  • Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 or 6.
    COEX is directly connected to the station.

THEME PARK: FUN AND ADVENTURE

19. LOTTE WORLD

lotte-world-castleLotte World is the perfect spot for entertainment and sightseeing. It is a theme park filled with thrilling rides, an ice rink, different kinds of parades as well as a folk museum, a lake, and much more.

Admission Fees:

  • Day-Pass Ticket
    Adults 48,000 won / Youth 42,000 won / Children 38,000 won / Infants 12,000 won
    Free admission and playing facilities to Adventure and Magic Island (game attractions excluded)
    Free museum entrance (admitted before 7 PM)Day-Pass Ticket (after 16:00)
    Adults 38,000 won / Teenagers 33,000 won / Children 29,000 won / Infants 12,000 won
  • Admission Ticket
    Adults 33,000 won / Teenagers 30,000 won / Children 27,000 wonAdmission Ticket (after 16:00)
    Adults 27,000 won / Teenagers 24,000 won / Children 21,000 wonAdmission Ticket (after 19:00)
    Adults 17,000 won / Teenagers 15,000 won / Children 13,000 won

Opening Hours:

  • 09:30-22:00 (Nighttime admission: 16:00)
    Closing time may vary each day.

How to get there:

  • Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2 & 8), Exit 4.
  • Lotte World is directly connected to the station.

Read My Blog Post : Disneyland Korean Style: LOTTE WORLD – SEOUL

 20. EVERLAND

everlandThe park is home to over 40 heart-pounding rides and attractions. In addition to ‘Safari World’ featuring white tigers, tigers, lions and bears, ‘Lost Valley’ opened in April 2013, letting visitors get up close and personal with the wild safari’s giraffes, elephants and white lions riding on unique amphibious vehicles.

Admission Fees:

  • Ticket box (for foreigners): Walk 20m to the right from the main gate. The ticket box is located behind the information center.Daytime ticket (1 day pass): Adults 40,000 won/Teenagers 34,000 won/Children 31,000 won
    Nighttime ticket (1 day pass): Adults 32,000 won/Teenagers 29,000 won/Children 27,000 won
    Includes free admission to Ho-Am Art Museum for the day.
    Extra charges for coin-operated rides, rentals, animal rides, and special exhibitions.
    Night tickets are not available for online purchase.

Opening Hours:

  • Operating hours vary by month. Please click here to see the operating hours for the desired date of visit

How to get there:

  • Subway
    Jeondae-Everland Station (Yongin Ever Line), Exit 3.
    Take the shuttle bus to Everland. (Operating hours 05:30-23:30)
  • Bus
    1. Sinnonhyeon Station, Gangnam Station, Yangjae Station: Bus 5002
    2. Pangyo, Segok-dong, Suseo Station, Songpa Station, Jamsil Station, Gangbyeon Station: Bus 5700
    3. Sadang Station, Nambu Terminal (Bundang and Gwangju via): Bus 1500-2
    4. Gangbyeon Station, Gangdong Station (via Gwangju): Bus 1113

You may also want to check my blog on:   My First Impressions of SeoulBudget Travel in Seoul , Korean BBQ Experience,15 Must try Street Food in Seoul, 15 Must try food in Seoul

Disclaimer :  All the information above is correct upon published & is subject to change without further notice. Please make an effort to double check.

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