Korea is one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia with its never-ending list of activities to do. The capital of South Korea ranks 7 just behind of Berlin in the 2015 Sustainable Cities Index by Arcadis, making it the top Asia-Pacific city to live in.
If you’re thinking of visiting Seoul again, our second list of things you should do while in the city is definitely for you!
P.S. Remember to download our HHWT Travel Planner App available on Google Play for Android and Apple App Store for iOS, to plan your next holiday to Seoul! It’ll make your planning go so much smoother 😉
1. Common Ground
Made up of 200 large containers, Common Ground is the first of its kind in Korea. With three floors and 5,300 square metres of space, the fashion and lifestyle mall houses a market, retail shops, food trucks and restaurants.
The place has a young and funky vibe with its industrial look and bright blue painted containers, perfect for your Instagram photos. Shops by up-and-coming new designers attract the fashion conscious who prefer to shop for offbeat items.
Address: 200, Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 11am – 10pm
Directions: Take the subway to Konkuk Station on Line 2 or Line 7, get out via Exit 6 and walk straight for about 250 metres ahead.
2. Kimchikan Museum
Credit: @vinylunicorn on Instagram
Everything and anything you need to know about kimchi can be found here at this museum. Previously known as Kimchi Museum, it was first established in 1986 and has gone through two relocations. In 2015, it was moved for the second time to Insa-dong and renamed Kimchikan Museum. The museum is one of the world’s 11 top food museums listed by CNN!
You can also learn how to make your own kimchi at the museum but you will need to book a slot for the programme four days beforehand.
Address: 35-4 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating hours: 10am – 6pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Closed on Mondays.
Fee: Adults (ages 17 and over): 5,000 won, Children and teens (ages 8-17): 3,000 won, Children (ages 6 & below): 2,000 won
3. Watch a baseball game
Credit: johnnysilvercloud on Flickr
While baseball is a favourite American pastime, the game has found footing in Asia. You may argue that there is nothing like watching a game in New York but rest assured, baseball games in Korea are even more electrifying!
Each player has their own songs and please, when a man (who appears to be coaching the viewers at the front) and the cheerleaders hype up the crowd, do not be a passive viewer sitting down with your hands folded. Join in as they chant, sing and clap!
HHWT Tip: If you are not supporting a specific team, choose to sit with the home team. It is the best way to absorb in the energy from the crowd.
Venue: There are three stadiums; Mokdong, Gokseong and Jamsil.
Duration: Baseball season is from April till October.
Fee: Tickets for adults is from 7,000 won for outfield gen admission to 70,000 for VIP seats.
Website: Check out the game schedule here
4. DMZ Tour
Possibly the most epic thing we have on the list is to step foot into one of the most hostile countries on earth – North Korea. DMZ means ‘demilitarised zone’ and it acts as a buffer zone between the two sides of the Korean peninsula, south and north.
Apart from the scary notion of hostility, the place is free from human disturbance and has become a sanctuary for wildlife. There are observatory decks, tunnels and museums for you to understand more about the history of North and South Korea.
The place is heavily guarded by the military and imposes strict regulations so do be mindful of your actions (which includes no finger pointing at anything!). Listen to the tour guide, stay in your group and you should be fine. Talk about earning your bragging rights to say “I have stepped foot in North Korea and didn’t get shot!”
Operating hours: Timing differs at each tour attraction.
Fee: Prices differ at each tour attractions.
5. Trick Eye Museum
The name says it all – trick your eyes with 2D art pieces at this museum for a 3D effect. Instead of just marvelling at art pieces as we usually do at most galleries, here at the Trick Eye Museum, visitors can have fun and be creative in their photos. The key word here is for you to interact with the art pieces and become a part of the art yourself.
Address: 20, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 9am – 9pm daily (Last admission at 8pm)
Fee: Adults: 15,000 won, Children & Youth with Student ID card (age 18 and under): 12,000 won
6. Namhansanseong Provincial Park
Located just outside of Seoul, the UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for mountain-climbing and hiking. The path leads to a fortress embodying the best art of defence in the region and rich in historical value. It was built and torn down several times in the 17th century in anticipation of an attack by the Sino-Manchu Qing dynasty.
The location is picturesque all year round regardless of season. You will see green forest covering the entire mountain in the summer and in the fall, the mountain is covered in a blanket of red autumn leaves.
Address: 563 Sanseong-ri Joongbu-myeon Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
Directions: Get off at Sanseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 8), Exit No. 2. Take City Bus No. 9, and get off at Namhansanseong bus stop. (Travel Time: 20 Min., Interval of Buses: 20 Min.)
A must-go location in the heart of Seoul is Itaewon, a place where all cultures meet. Here in Itaewon, you will feel like a global citizen as it is the place where expatriates and tourists go. It is located in the middle of Yongsan-gu and nearby to Seoul Station, Myeong-dong, and Namsan Mountain.
It has rows after rows of shops. If you are feeling peckish for international food, head over to Itaewon as you can find many restaurants serving international cuisines from India, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, France and Mexico.
Address: Itaewon, Seoul
Directions: Take subway line 6 and get off at Itaewon Station.
8. Seoul Forest
Be one with nature at this eco-friendly zone that consists of five large parks, namely the Cultural Art Park, Ecological Forest, Nature Experiencing Study Field, Wetlands Ecological Field, and Hanging River Waterside Park. You can rent a bicycle, have a picnic and spend hours just basking in the beautiful scenery at this forest.
Credit: Rene Adamos on Flickr
Rhis huge area of approximately 1.16 million ㎡ is designed to be of the same stature as other famous parks in the world like Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York.
Address: 273, Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: Open all year round
Directions: Seoul Subway Line 2, Ttukseom Station, exit 8 or Bundang Line, Seoul Forest Station, exit 3.
9. Namdaemun Market
This largest Korean traditional market first opened its doors in 1964 and it has everything under the sun. With over 1,000 stalls, retail shops and vendors, you will find items ranging from clothing to handicrafts, accessories and toys, for you to bring home as souvenirs. Street food is also aplenty for those seeking to try local dishes.
Prices are cheap because most shops are selling wholesale. The market can get very busy and crowded so you might be bumping shoulder to shoulder with strangers.
Address: 21, Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: Open daily
Directions: Subway Line 4 to Hoehyeon, Exit 5
10. Seodaemun Prison History Museum
The former prison was built in 1907 and became operational the next year. It was the place where Japanese soldiers tortured and later executed Korean followers of the Independence Movement.
It was later turned into a special museum in 1992 in remembrance of the prison and as a tribute to Korean patriots. There are seven jail cells, a historical exhibition hall, an execution room, watchtowers and a basement jail cell.
Address: 251, Tongil-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 9.30am – 6pm (March – October), 9.30am – 5pm (November – February)
Directions: Take exits 4 or 5 of the Dongnimmun Station on Seoul Subway Line 3
Fee: Adults (over 19): 3,000 won, Youths (13 – 18): 1,500 won, Children (7 – 12): 1,000 won
11. Bulguksa Temple
Credit: @2backpack on Instagram
The Bulguksa Temple is listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1995. The amazing architecture takes you back into history dating as far back as 528, the year which the temple was first erected. It has gone through many changes over the years, particularly restoration works after World War II and the Korean War.
The temple is defined by its two granite pagodas, the Dabotap and Seokgatap, as well as Seokguram, which is a man-made grotto above the temple. It houses many important relics and stands proud as a national treasure.
Address: 385, Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Operating hours: 7am – 6pm daily
Directions: From Gyeongju Train Station, follow Hwarang-ro Street and take Bus No. 10 or 11 (located in front of the post office). Get off at Bulguksa Temple Bus Stop. Travel time is about an hour.
Fee: Adults (ages over 19): 5,000 won, Teenagers (ages 13-18): 3,500 won, Children (ages 7-12): 2,500 won, Children (ages under 7): Free
12. Cheong Wa Dae
The most important address in Korea is the Blue House. The name literally translates to ‘pavilion of blue tiles’, which is the signature markings of the presidential residence. You’ve guessed it, this is the official residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. The complex has an amazing view of Mount Bugaksan.
Cheong Wa Dae houses the Main Office, Yeongbingwan (Guest House), Chunchugwan (Spring and Autumn Pavilion), Nokjiwon (Green grass), the Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) Valley, and the Seven Palaces. Each Saturday, there is a military drill demonstration and parade by the honour guards at 10am. You need to apply for the tour beforehand so make arrangements and visit the residence of the most powerful person in Korea.
Address: 1 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating hours: Tours start at 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm.
Summer season (Jul. 1-Sep. 16): 10am, 11am, 3pm and 4pm. Closed on Sunday, Monday & Holidays.
*Reservation must be made by email minimum 10 days earlier. Please bring along your passport & ID card.
Directions: Take Exit 5 at the Gyeongbokgung Palace Station Line 3. Walk 10 minutes.
13. Children’s Grand Park
The park is a one-stop centre for some family fun activities. It has a zoo, a botanical garden, amusement park facilities and performance events. You can see seals and polar bears at the Marine Animal House and there is also the Small Animal Village and the Parrot Village.
Head to the Music Fountain for colourful water shows and you won’t get scolded for playing with water at the Water Playground. There is also an amusement park with all kinds of rides such as train rides, Viking ship, Jumper-Boat and Bumper Cars. Let your inner child come out to play at the Children’s Grand Park!
Address: 216, Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: The park itself is open from 5am till 11pm but the zoo is open from 10am till 5pm.
Directions: Take the Subway to Children’s Park Station and Exit #1 or to Achasan Station and follow the signboards.
Fee: Park admission is free but there are different costs to different attractions.
14. Leeum Samsung Museum of Art
As one of the biggest Korean brands in the world, it would almost be a sin if Samsung does not have its own legacy in its home city. The art museum displays traditional and modern works by Korean and international artists with fascinating art works on display. The place itself is architecturally stunning as it was designed by world renowned architects Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas.
The place is divided into two. Head into MUSEUM 1 for traditional Korean works of art, such as calligraphy, paintings, ceramic arts, and metal craftwork, while MUSEUM 2 displays modern and contemporary art by both Korean and foreign artists.
Address: 60-16, Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 10:30am – 6pm daily. Closed on Mondays.
Directions: Head to Hangangjin Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 1. Walk straight for 100m in the direction of Itaewon. Go into the first alley to the right, which will be signposted for the museum. Walk up the hill for about 5 minutes.
Fee: Admission fee is subject to change depending on planned exhibitions. However, day pass is 14,000 won for adults.
15. 63 Building
The name is a misnomer as there are only 60 floors operational to public while floor 61 to 63 are strictly off-limits. As Korea’s most recognised building, 63 Building has a spectacular view of the Hangang River, Bugaksan, Namsan and Gwanaksan Mountains.
On the 60th floor, you can visit the world’s tallest art gallery. The building also has an observation deck that gives you a view as far as Incheon when the weather permits. 63 Building also houses 63 Sea World, 63 IMAX theatre and the country’s largest buffet restaurant called “Buffet Pavilion”. The gold building glistens whenever there is light and it is especially a sight to behold during sunrise and sunset.
Address: 50, 63-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 10am – 10pm (Last admission is 9.30pm)
Fee: 13,000 won for adults
Direction: Option 1. Take Subway Line 1 to Daebang Station (Exit 6). Take the free shuttle bus or Bus 62.
Option 2. Take Subway Line 5 to Yeouinaru Station (Exit 4). Take the free shuttle bus located left of the intersection.
Option 3. Take Subway Line 5 to Yeouido Station (Exit 5).
BONUS: Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival
Even though this is not technically in Seoul, we just had to add it into the list! The most romantic time to be in Korea is undoubtedly April when all the cherry blossoms start to bloom. Two million visitors worldwide flock to Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do to view the beautiful pink flowers, making it one of the busiest times in the country. Walking under a canopy of cherry blossoms and stepping on flower petals everywhere is a sight to behold so don’t miss out on this once a year event if you are in Korea during spring.
There are several cherry blossom sites which are Jangboksan Sculpture Park, Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park, Yeojwacheon Stream Cherry Blossom Road, Korea Naval Academy Museum, Jehwangsan Park, Anmin Hill and Gyeonghwa Station, so if you have limited time, do your research and choose the best spot for your cherry blossom experience.
Venue: Jungwon Rotary and downtown area in Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
Date: April 1 – 10
It is simply amazing how much one could do in Seoul. The tourist attractions varies and depending on what you fancy, there is just something for everyone. Bottom line is to manage your time well and squeeze in as many attractions as you can. Don’t forget to check out our first guide on exploring Seoul!