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Things to Do in Seoul

Seoul is a bustling city where old meets new. The city has palaces, temples and traditional homes that provide you with a glimpse of its storied past. It also has a modern side that caters to all sorts of travelers looking to shop, hang out, dine out, see and experience the latest Kpop trends, and a lot of other interesting things.

Gyeongbokgung Palace The Wandering Juan

These are just some of the things to do in Seoul

Things to Do in Seoul

The ideal time to spend in Seoul is four days, if you could stay longer, better. Four days provides you with enough time to see the city and do a day trip or so. You could easily fill your days with the places of interest below.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace The Wandering Juan

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 and is one of the most beautiful palaces in South Korea. It is a sprawling complex that draws both local and foreign tourists. It has a history that spans several centuries. This complex has been reconstructed and restored over the years to maintain its appearance. The ideal time to visit the palace grounds is during the changing of the guard ceremony. This takes place at around 10am and 2pm, be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the ceremony starts to get a good viewing spot.

Entrance fee: KRW 3000 for a single ticket and KRW 10000 for a combo ticket with other attractions.

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace The Wandering Juan

If you're thinking of visiting another palace, include Changdeokgung in your itinerary. Changdeokgung was the second royal villa built after Gyeongbokgung in the early 1400s. The kings of the Joseon Dynasty lived in this palace throughout their reign. Walk around the palace to see various halls, a centuries old tree and some cultural treasures.

Entrance fee: KRW 3000 for a single ticket, you can buy a combo ticket for KRW 10000 that includes other attractions.

Day Trip to DMZ

things to do in Seoul

North and South Korea used to be one country. The divide between the two countries has lasted for decades. One of the things to do in Seoul is to go on a tour to the demilitarized zone to catch a glimpse of North Korea during your visit. Packages include stops at the Dora Observatory, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, and other places. 

Book here: DMZ Tour

Nami Island

Nami Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations during a trip to Seoul. It's a beautiful and picturesque destination that is an ideal addition to your itinerary regardless of the season. However, the best time to go is during spring for the cherry blossoms or autumn for the vibrant colors of autumn's foliage. 

Book here: Nami Island Tour

Bukhansan National Park

Bukhansan National Park The Wandering Juan

If you are eager to go on a nature trip from the city, one of the things to do in Seoul is a day trip to Bukhansan National Park is the excursion for you. The start of the trail is accessible by public transport. The park itself is huge with many sections such as for those who want to reach the summit or just explore the lower parts. I decided to go for the summit hike since it was possible even for a day trip. The views going up and overlooking the park were spectacular. You could see the different rock formations and the changing colors of the foliage (depending on the season you go). 

You can read more about Bukhansan here: how to go to Bukhansan National Park

Bukchon Traditional Village

Bukchon Traditional Village The Wandering Juan

Catch a glimpse of Seoul's past with a trip to Bukchon. The neighborhood is in the same area as some of the city's ancient palaces such as Gyeongbokgung. Weave in and out of the alleys to see several traditional houses. Some of these houses are now cultural centers, restaurants, guesthouses, and tea houses. The area is also a popular spot to wear hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) and have a photoshoot.

Lotte World

Try the different rides and see the various attractions during a day out in Lotte World. This theme park, as the cliche goes, is for both the young and young at heart. Try the French Revolution, Gyro Drop, The Conquistador, World Monorail, Gyro Swing and several others. You can also dine here during your visit as there are many dining options. 

Book here: Lotte World Day Pass

Namhansanseong Fortress

Namhansanseong Fortress The Wandering Juan

Namhansanseong Fortress The Wandering Juan

Namhansanseong is a UNESCO Heritage Site you might want to visit during your trip around Seoul. The fortress is hundreds of meters above sea level and provides visitors with overlooking views of the city below. You could see restored parts of the wall, pavilions, shrines, halls and others while you explore. You could also watch "guards" train during certain times of the day. I visited during autumn. The day I went had beautiful weather, the cold temperature was just right and the foliage in various shades of yellow, green and red.

You can read more about Namhansanseong here: how to go to Namhansanseong Fortress

Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine The Wandering Juan

If you want to tick off another UNESCO Heritage Site on your list while in Seoul, drop by Jongmyo Shrine. This Joseon epoch shrine was the frequent place of worship of kings and queens. Its construction took place during the same time as the Gyeongbokgung Palace. This was where the Jongmyo Jaerye, a royal memorial service, takes place.

Entrance fee: KRW 1000

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza The Wandering Juan

If you are interested in architecture, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a noteworthy addition to your itinerary. Zaha Hadid and Samoo were the chief designers of this neofuturistic building. 


things to do in Seoul

things to do in Seoul

Hongdae is one of the popular areas in Seoul. This area is a lively and artsy neighborhood with plenty of cafes, restaurants, indie music, bars, street art exhibitions, shops and various forms of entertainment. 


things to do in Seoul The Wandering Juan

things to do in Seoul The Wandering Juan

things to do in Seoul The Wandering Juan

Seoul is a foodie city that offers a variety of delicious Koren food. If you're looking for fast food, there's Lotteria, there's plenty of street food stalls in various parts of Seoul, and local restaurants to try authentic Korean cuisine. Some dishes to try include: samgyeopsal, bulgogi, Korean fried chicken, tteokbokki, and bibimbap just to name a few. 

These are just some of the things to do in Seoul which you can include in your itinerary. The city has plenty to offer all kinds of travelers.

You can read my full guide here: Korea on a budget


Getting around Seoul

Seoul is easy to explore because of the extensive public transportation network. Many subway and bus stops are within walking distance from main neighborhoods and attractions. You can use the Discover Seoul Pass to explore the city. It functions as a transportation card and an entrance ticket.

Buy here: Discover Seoul Pass

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