[KOREA] ITINERARY TRAVEL GUIDE – Top Places to Visit in Seoul

Seoul is a huge city with many things to do. It’s certainly an impressive city, with towering skyscrapers, modern architecture and lots of shopping possibilities. In this guide, we’re going to share with you tips to exploring Seoul, the best specific areas, activities you can do, and hopefully, it can help you to plan your daily itinerary in Seoul.

IMG_2629

IMG_3528

Last year on the second week of November 2016, we had an awesome #FoodInLoveKOREA autumn holiday. In 9 days, we explored many destinations in Seoul and also Nami Island. And now, we’re going to share with you the best destinations that you must visit in Seoul. Make sure you read this post until the finish and don’t miss out!

For complete guide and list of 30 things to eat in Seoul, please read [KOREA] FOOD GUIDE – What to Eat in Seoul

Guide to the best destinations to enjoy Autumn in Seoul, please read [KOREA] AUTUMN IN SEOUL – Fall Foliage Destinations and Places to Visit

IMG_4571


1. MYEONGDONG

As one of the biggest shopping districts and most tourist-filled neighborhoods in all of Seoul, Myeongdong is always packed tourist from all over the world. It’s home to lots of restaurants, street food, hotels, beauty stores, trendy fashion, and nightlife. It’s not difficult to get lost in the maze that it is and even more difficult to find something that feels uniquely Korean here after all, and it’s what you came here for! Stay in Myeongdong to be surrounded by shopping and to be satisfied with a lot of delicious foods.

Subway: Myeongdong Station (Line 4) and Euljiro-1-ga Station (Line 2)
What to do: Shopping in a lot of branded fashion and cosmetic stores, eat street foodwatch Nanta Show.
Places to visit:  Myeondong street market.
Recommended Food / Restaurant: LINE Friends Store & CafeMyeongdong Kyoja, Gogung, Gimgane, Yoogane, O’sulloc Tea House, BHC Chicken, Two Two Chicken, Sulbing, Street Foods (Odeng, Steak, Cabbage Omelette, Tteobokki, Gimbap, Grilled Cheese Lobster, 32cm Ice Cream, etc.).

IMG_2620

IMG_2622

IMG_2611

IMG_3521

IMG_2625

IMG_5534

IMG_2576

IMG_3552

IMG_4333

IMG_3362

img_3318

IMG_4528

IMG_4534

IMG_4380

IMG_4107

IMG_4415

IMG_5281

IMG_5542

IMG_4420


2. N SEOUL TOWER

N Seoul Tower is the most iconic landmark of Seoul. The top of the tower is at almost 480m above sea level so it’s a great place to enjoy the entire city of Seoul. To reach the tower, you need to ride the Namsan cable car up the Mt. Namsan, or alternatively, walk to the tower through Namsan Park. Besides the observatory, you shouldn’t miss “Locks of Love” that located at roof terrace, a spacious wooden viewing deck whose exotic atmosphere makes it very popular with lovers. There are thousands of padlocks attached to the fence by romantic couples symbolizing their eternal love.

Subway: Myeongdong Station (Line 4), Exit 3
What to do: Sightseeing
Places to visit:  Namsan Park, Roof Terrace / Locks of Love, N Plaza, Observation Deck

IMG_4120

IMG_5375

IMG_5403

IMG_5389
Love Locks

IMG_5383

IMG_5384

IMG_5386

IMG_5465
Seoul city view from N Seoul Tower observatory

3. INSADONG

Insadong is one part of Seoul where you can find tourists from all over the world of all ages. Stretching just over 700 meters, the small street lines up a repeating mix of tea café, art gallery, crafts store, and souvenir shop. You’ll get a good sense of how much Korean traditions influence contemporary culture here.

Subway: Anguk Station (Line 3) and Jonggak Station (Line 2)
What to do: Shopping and dining
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Korean Tea and Coffee

IMG_3740


4. SAMCHEONGDONG

This is one of our favorite areas in Seoul with its quaint and peaceful atmosphere. Also called ‘Gallery Road’ and this hilly neighborhood is characterized by numerous hipster cafes, restaurants, museum, antique shops, and art galleries, walking around this area is a pleasant experience. You can also find several unique Korean Tea House or Cafe in traditional Korean house.

Subway: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 1
What to do: Shopping and dining
Places to visit: Samcheongdong street, Bukchon Hanok Village.
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Korean Tea and Coffee, Samgyetang, O’sulloc Tea House

IMG_2850
Cafe & restaurants at Samcheongdong

IMG_4970

IMG_2837

IMG_2848

IMG_4926
Aerial view of Samcheongdong
IMG_4929
View to Gyeongbokgung Palace from Samcheongdong / Bukchon Hanok Village

5. BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE

Besides food and shopping scene, local culture is also an interesting attraction in Seoul. Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) is home to hundreds of Hanok or Korean traditional houses, that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. There was a whole neighborhood of hanok houses and up to this date, the houses here are privately owned and most of it are residential houses. It’s a great place to take the photo. Just take a stroll through the traditional hanok and there are many good photo spot here. With hundreds of traditional houses and picturesque alleys, it will give you an opportunity to experience, learn, and immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture.

Subway: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 1 or 2
What to do: Sightseeing
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Bon Juk (Korean Porridge), Bukchon son Mandu.

IMG_2544

IMG_2531

IMG_2524

IMG_4905

IMG_4890


6. GYEONGBOKGUNG / GWANGHWAMUN

With Korea’s top attractions located in this area, you could expect the Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeongbokgung Palace to be crowded with tourists every day. This area is popular and meaningful for locals as well. Gwanghwamun itself is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, in Jongno-gu, Seoul, as a landmark and symbol of Seoul’s long history as the capital city during the Joseon Dynasty.

Subway: Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3), Exit 5 & Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5), Exit 9
What to do: Sightseeing, photo stop at Gyeongbokgung Palace, King Sejong, and General Yi Soon-shin statue, watching Royal Guard changing at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Places to visit: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Square, National Palace Museum of Korea, National Folk Museum of Korea.
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Tosokchon Samgyetang, Mirak Chicken.

IMG_2347

IMG_2340

IMG_2401
Gwanghwamun (The Main and South Gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace)

IMG_2352

IMG_2366
Royal guarcd changing ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace

IMG_2390

IMG_4985

IMG_4987

IMG_4976

IMG_4996

IMG_4992
Statue of King Sejong
IMG_5003
Statue of General Yi Soon-shin
IMG_3595
Gwanghwamun Square
IMG_3598
Gwanghwamun Square

7. SEOUL CITY HALL

In front of the Seoul City Hall is a large oval-shaped lawn called Seoul Plaza. Before it was turned to the current plaza, it was a historic site where the Independence Movement and the pro-democracy movement were held. More recently, the plaza has served as the venue for many events like the “Hi! Seoul Festival,” and various concerts. Not far from Seoul City Hall, there is Deoksugung Palace with beautiful natural landscape and Jeongdong Observatory, the place that you can enjoy a drink while gazing at the magnificent view of Deoksugung Palace.

Subway: City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2)
What to do: Sightseeing, walk on Jeongdong-gil road (Deoksugung Stone Wall Road)
Places to visit: Seoul Plaza, Jeongdong Observatory, Deoksugung Palace.

IMG_2710
Seoul Plaza

IMG_2698

IMG_2712

IMG_2744

IMG_2742
Deoksugung Stone Wall Road
IMG_2754
Aerial view of Deoksugung Palace from Jeongsong Observatory

8. DONGDAEMUN

Dongdaemun is a shopping district filled with many high-rise shopping malls, and some are actually wholesale malls. There are Dongdaemun Market, a traditional market in as a center of the textile industry (both wholesale and retail), and Dongdaemun Shopping Complex, one of Korea’s most well-known markets for clothes, home interior, and marriage supplies. There is also Dongdaemun Design Plaza with a great architecture design that holds various exhibitions, fashion shows, forums, conferences, and other domestic and international events. Alongside the street in Dongdaemun area, there are many street food stalls that offer Korean street food like odeng, tteobokki, croquette, skewers, etc.

Subway: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 4, 5), Exit 1
What to do: Shopping, photo stop and visit the exhibition at Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Places to visit: Dongdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Shopping Complex, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwangjang Market, Pyoung Hwa Clothing Market.
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (whole chicken restaurant), Dongdaemun Grilled Fish Street, Korean street food (odeng, tteobokki, croquette, skewers, etc.)

IMG_3430
Dongdaemun Market

IMG_3432

IMG_3387
Dongdaemun Grilled Fish Street

IMG_3392

IMG_5126
Pyoung Hwa Clothing Market
IMG_5127
Cheonggyecheon Stream in front of Pyoung Hwa Clothing Market

IMG_5131

IMG_5134

IMG_5156
Dongdaemun Design Plaza

IMG_5157

IMG_5161

IMG_5168

IMG_5170

IMG_5174

IMG_5188


9. NAMDAEMUN

Namdaemun is famous for Namdaemun Market, one of the oldest continually running markets in South Korea, and one of the largest retail markets in Seoul. You can find anything such as clothes, souvenirs, snacks, electronics, camera, some wonderful food alleys within the market, and also some great street food.

Subway: Hoehyeon Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 5.
What to do: Shopping and dining
Places to visit: Namdaemun Market
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Gaehwa (Jjangmyeon & Mandu)Street food (Gimbap, Odeng, Mandu, Wang Mandu, etc.), Dragon’s beard candy.

IMG_3942

IMG_3931

IMG_3921
Namdaemun Market

IMG_3949

IMG_3947

IMG_4286

IMG_3977

IMG_4062


10. ITAEWON

Itaewon is a unique place in Seoul where one can meet people of diverse nationalities and cultures,  the most international neighborhood in Korea. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences. Itaewon typically refers to the street full of stores, restaurants, fashion shops specialize in various imported clothes, leather goods, fur goods, handbags, shoes, and antique furniture.

IMG_5080

IMG_5056

IMG_5071

Another one of Itaewon’s many draws is its diverse food culture, which features cuisine from around world. It’s likely an exhibition hall for international foods from Korea, New York, London, India, Thailand, China, Greece, Pakistan, Italy, France, Mexico, Australia, and more. Unique flavors, exotic interiors, and diverse nationalities help to make Itaewon befittingly ‘the global village in Seoul.’

Subway: Itaewon Station (Seoul Subway Line 6)
What to do: Shopping and dining
Recommended Food / Restaurant: LINE Friends Store & Cafe, Softree Ice Cream, a lot of International cuisines

IMG_5017

IMG_5019

IMG_5020

IMG_5049

IMG_5051

IMG_5053

IMG_5074

IMG_5062


11. HONGDAE

Hongdae is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Korea, probably because it has such a unique feel to it compared to the rest of Seoul. Hongdae is located in Western Seoul and it’s known especially for being a university town and known for its youthful and romantic ambiance, underground culture, and freedom of self-expression. There are also a plenty of shopping, restaurants, and street food. Unique cafes, cozy galleries, accessory stores, fashion shops, live cafés and clubs, art markets, and gourmet eateries make this a popular hangout for local youth and a fascinating place to walk around and explore. There are lots of guest houses in this area, so it’s a good place to looks for budget to mid-range accommodation.

Subway: Hongik University Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, Gyeongui-Jungang, AREX), Exit 8 or 9.
What to do: Shopping, dining, nightlife, cultural events, street performance, festival,  Indie band performance (seasonal).
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Saemul Sikdang (New Village Korean BBQ), Chicken and Curry Goon, Me? Steak! (Steak & Beer in a Cup).

IMG_3856

IMG_3869

IMG_3882

IMG_3857

IMG_3858


12. SINSA / GAROSUGIL

Located between Sinsa-dong and Apgujeong, Garosu-gil – which means “tree-lined street” in Korean – is fast becoming the hippest area in Seoul. In Sinsa-dong’s Garosu-gil area, even regular pedestrians look like chic, fashion gurus. Garosu-gil is known as one of Korea’s best shopping locations and it lives up to that reputation. The array of open studios, ateliers, cafés, restaurants, bars, fashion shops, and prop shops blend together for a chic cityscape. Garosu-gil will captivate you if you like to walk, have a cup of tea, take pictures, or just simply look around.

Subway: Sinsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 8 & Apgujeong Station, Exit 5.
What to do: Shopping and dining
Recommended Food / Restaurant: LINE Friends Store & CafeO’sulloc Tea HouseSulbing.

IMG_5087

IMG_5120

IMG_5085

img_5094
Line Friends Cafe & Store flagship in Garosugil

img_5098

img_5115


13. GANGNAM

Stay a whole day in Gangnam and you can see the transformation of the average Korean employee–putting on a smile for the company lunch and then loosing his tie for a drink at night. Gangnam is an important business district with an upmarket shopping area, with stores of global and local luxury brands, and upscale restaurants that serve Korean cuisine with a modern twist.

Subway: Gangnam Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 10 or 11.
What to do: Shopping, walking along Apgujeong Rodeo Street.
Places to visit: COEX Mall, COEX Aquarium,  COEX Convention & Exhibition Center-Korean World Trade Center, Apgujeong Rodeo Street.

IMG_2920
K-Star Road

IMG_2911

IMG_2921

IMG_2924

IMG_2915

IMG_2960
Apguheong Rodeo street

IMG_2967

IMG_2968
COEX Mall

IMG_2971

IMG_2974

IMG_2977

IMG_2978
Gangnam Square

IMG_2985

IMG_2988


14. GWANGJANG MARKET

If you love Korean food, you don’t want to miss eating your way through Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest traditional markets in Seoul. It’s one of the ultimate places to experience traditional Korean street food and culture all under one delicious roof. This is a place in Seoul where you’ll find both tourists and Koreans, all enjoying the same delicious food such as Bibimbap, Gimbap, Ttteobokki, Odeng, Pajeon, etc. There are a couple sections of the market, and when you’re walking around you’ll come across stalls selling clothes, fresh vegetables, snacks, souvenirs, and some random other market goods.

Subway: Jongno 5-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 8 & Euljiro 4-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2 & 5), Exit 4.
What to do: Shopping and dining
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Korean authentic street food (Bibimbap, Gimbap, Ttteobokki, Odeng, Pajeon, Soondae)

IMG_3444

IMG_3479

IMG_3491

IMG_3474

IMG_3495

IMG_4324

IMG_3462

IMG_3476


15. CHEONGGYECHEON STREAM

Cheonggyecheon Stream is a 10.9-kilometre-long, modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul. Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace, allowing visitors to easily visit major tourist sites after a leisure stroll along the stream.

20141030112401

IMG_3486

There is Cheonggye Plaza, an area of 2,500 square meters, located at the starting point of Cheonggyecheon Stream. The plaza also includes a model of Cheonggyecheon that provides visitors with a bird’s-eye view of the formerly restored Cheonggyecheon Stream. At the plaza, there are plaques that provide detailed commentaries on the 22 bridges that span the stream, as well as a number of graceful fountains that add to the ambiance of the area. Cheonggye Plaza never goes to sleep so visitors can enjoy the fantastic display of light and water even at night, and this is also the place where annual Seoul Lantern Festival is held.

Subway:
Cheonggyecheon Stream

  • City Hall, Jonggak, Jongno 3(sam)-ga, Jongno 5(o)-ga, Dongdaemun, Sinseol-dong
  • Stations (Seoul Subway Line 1)
  • City Hall, Euljiro 1(il)-ga, Euljiro 3(sam)-ga, Euljiro 4(sa)-ga, Sindang,
  • Sangwangsimni Stations (Seoul Subway Line 2)
  • Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 3 and 5)
  • Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 4)
  • Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5)

Cheonggye Plaza

  • Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5
  • City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 4

What to do: Sightseeing, walking along Cheonggyecheon Stream, visiting Seoul Lantern Festival.
Places to visit: Cheonggye Plaza

IMG_3601
Cheonggye Plaza

IMG_3679

IMG_3646
Seoul Lantern Festival

IMG_3618


16. NAMSANGOL HANOK VILLAGE

Namsangol Hanok Village located on the north side of Namsan Mountain in the center of the capital. This village has five restored traditional Korean houses, a pavilion, traditional garden, performance art stage, making it a perfect spot for both locals and tourists to take a leisure walk. The good news is, you don’t need a ticket and there’s no admission fee so you can visit Namsangol Hanok Village for free!

Subway: Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 & 4), Exit 3 or 4
What to do: Sightseeing

IMG_4250

IMG_4187

IMG_4195

IMG_4238


17. EWHA WOMANS UNIVERSITY

Ewha Womans University is a prestigious university for female students. The area around the university is full of budget-friendly street food, cafes, restaurants, shops, and stores with beautiful trees lined on the street. Designed with large green space, the campus is surrounded by the pretty natural landscape and this place is just too awesome to pass up. So many tourists visit this place to snap some photos and enjoy the scenery.

Subway: Ewha Womans University Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 2 or 3
What to do: Sightseeing

IMG_4583

IMG_4636

IMG_4591

IMG_4645

IMG_4621

IMG_4626

IMG_4623


18. HANEUL PARK / SEOUL WORLD CUP STADIUM

Around the world cup stadium, there are beautiful surroundings like the plaza, park, and pedestrian with lovely foliage. It’s really good to enjoy the autumn vibes and take a lot of pictures. Haneul Park is situated at World Cup Park’s highest point where visitors can enjoy fantastic views of Seoul and Han river. Haneul Park has 22 lookout points offering breathtaking views of Seoul’s main landmark, including the N Seoul Tower, Bukhansan Mountain, and Hangang River. The best thing to do is explore the park and strolling around to enjoy the silver grass field since it’s very beautiful and dramatic. You’ll feel like drowning in a dreamy land which covered with eulalias and wild flowers in their most natural state.

Subway: World Cup Stadium Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 1
What to do: Sightseeing, Strolling around to enjoy the silver grass field
Places to visit: Seoul World Cup Stadium, Haneul Park

IMG_4724

IMG_4841a
Seoul World Cup Stadium

IMG_4718a

IMG_4834a

IMG_4811a

IMG_4794a

IMG_4792a
Silver grass field at Haneul Park

IMG_4750a

IMG_4777a


19. NAMI ISLAND

Even though it’s located at Gapyeong (outside of Seoul), Nami Island is the mandatory places to visit in Autumn! Located around 90 minutes from Seoul, it is no longer a secret that the famous tourist destination Nami Island is one of the best spots in Korea to enjoy the beautiful nature in every season. Nami Island is one of the famous destinations in South Korea both for local and international tourists. Especially for K-drama lovers, most of you must be familiar with this island since it was being used for the famous television drama series, Winter Sonata.

How to getting here: [KOREA] NAMI ISLAND (NAMISEOM 남이섬 종합휴양지) – Travel Guide.
What to do: Sightseeing, photo stop, dining, ride a bicycle.
Recommended Food / Restaurant: Seomhyanggi (Korean BBQ), Capsule Ice Cream, Coffee, Grilled Sausages.

IMG_3254

IMG_3117

IMG_3264

IMG_3270

IMG_3206


ITINERARY

Okay, that’s the best areas, places, and attractions in Seoul. And now we’ll help you to plan your daily itinerary. Seoul is a massive city with much to see as we mentioned above, and if you don’t like to rush so we suggest you stay 7 nights to afford a nice and leisurely pace (we stayed 8 nights). You also had to set aside an entire day for Nami Island trip as well. But if you do not have a lot of time to stay for 7 nights, actually 4-5 nights will be enough. That should give you enough time to visit all the major sights without having to rush too much. Here it is our recommendation and itinerary example grouped from the most prioritized destination/attraction and the distance between locations that are close together.

A. Gyeongbokgung / Gwanghwamun -> Samcheongdong (+ Bukchon Hanok Village)-> Insadong

B. City Hall -> Hongdae -> Namdaemun

C. Dongdaemun  -> Gwangjang Market -> Itaewon

D. Nami Island -> Myeongdong (Shopping) – We suggest you visit Nami Island on weekdays, to avoid the crowd from a lot of tourist on weekend)

E. Myeongdong (N-Seoul Tower / Nanta Show) + Sinsa/Garosugil -> Gangnam

F. Ewha Womans University -> Seoul World Cup Stadium -> Haneul Park

G. Namsangol Hanok Village -> Cheonggyecheon Stream

IMG_5352

We divided all destinations into 7 groups (A-G) and the first 5 (A-E) is the prioritized itinerary if you only have 5 days in Seoul. In case you have spare more 2 or 3 days, you can visit more places or revisit some destinations. For example, tourists usually visiting Myeongdong (or any markets) more than once, either for shopping or dining. Surely you can change the order of each daily plan, depends on what day and what time you arriving/leaving Seoul.

IMG_5531
Shopping ambiance in Myeongdong
IMG_5249
Nanta Show ticket

For more details attraction and activities to do, please refer to the details above in each area or the separate blog post of the attraction, and for your guidance for what to eat at each location, please refer to [KOREA] FOOD GUIDE – What to Eat in Seoul

IMG_5279

IMG_4064

Well, that’s our sharing about destinations in Seoul and how we plan our daily itinerary. Hopefully, it can help you to prepare and plan your trip to Seoul. If you have any questions, feel free to leave any comments below.. Let’s Travel!

IMG_4020

KOREA ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE:

Korea Travel Series:

===============================

Follow us for latest update and more culinary experience

INSTAGRAM   |   TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to subscribe / follow our blog so you can get an update on your email about our new post.

9 thoughts on “[KOREA] ITINERARY TRAVEL GUIDE – Top Places to Visit in Seoul”

Leave a Reply