It feels like we’ll never get tired of Seoul – between the rich history and culture, growing halal food scene, and beautiful scenery there’s so much to do in this Korean capital! No matter how many times you visit, you’ll always find something new to do, and somewhere new to explore.
If you’ve visited Seoul before and want to discover a new part of the city, then you’re definitely going to need our latest 5-day itinerary that will take you to some familiar spots (shopping in Myeongdong anyone?) as well as some hidden gems 😉
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Day 1: Itaewon, Seoul Central Mosque, Myeongdong
Get from Incheon Airport to Seoul (1hr)
- The fastest way to get from Incheon Airport to Seoul itself is by using the AREX train. Make sure to take the Express Train, which is only 43-minutes long and cuts out lots of stops in-between!
- You can even select your seats in advance, and the cushions will give you a comfy space for a quick nap before you reach the city. P.S. Make sure to get your KRW500 deposit back once you reach [Seoul Station]!
Credit: @katerybalchenko on Instagram
- You can purchase a reloadable card such as the T-Money Pass from any metro ticket office, or even from convenience stores. The T-Money Pass can be used on any Seoul metro line, and even for some contactless payments at convenience stores and small shops.
- From [Seoul Station], head on over to your accommodation to drop your bags and freshen up for the first day of your Seoul-searching experience!
Head over to Itaewon, one of Seoul’s most Muslim-friendly neighbourhoods (1.5hrs)
- First up on your exploration of Seoul is definitely paying a visit to Itaewon and the Seoul Central Mosque! This is the only mosque in the city and is the focal point of the Muslim community here. Plus the neighbourhood it’s in – Itaewon – is known as a Muslim-friendly district for its abundant Halal restaurants and eateries set up by Muslim residents and immigrants.
- The Mosque is just a short walk from [Itaewon Station] but do take note that there’s a slight hill! Trust us though, reaching the mosque will be worth the walk. There’s nothing like setting foot in a mosque in a new place to make you feel a sense of relief and belonging to meet the local Muslim community. You can complete your prayers here before moving on to your next destination.
Seoul Central Mosque
Address: 30-39, Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04407, South Korea
Credit: @zulfaabdullah on Instagram
- Once you’ve done your prayers, it’s finally time to eat! The streets around the mosque are full of delicious options, but we think it’s best to start with some local Korean dishes at Makan Halal Restaurant.
Credit: @safiqahsani on Instagram
- The restaurant was set up in 2015 and has remained one of our top recommendations for halal food in Seoul since then! We especially loved the dakdoritang (Korean-style braised chicken stew) and jjajangmyeon (Noodles with black bean sauce and seafood), but the restaurant also serves Korean-style fried chicken, bulgogi (Korean-style barbeque) rice bowls, and so much more.
- Makan also serves dosiraks (Korean lunchboxes) for takeaway, which you can consider buying for the day trips on days 3 or 4!
Halal Status: Halal-certified
Opening hours: 10:30 AM to 10 PM (Wed-Mon), closed on Tuesdays
Prices: Range between KRW8,000 to KRW12,000 for main dishes
Address: 52, Usadan-ro 10 gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea 140-911
It’s time for some shopping! (2-4hrs)
- Once you’ve eaten your fill take the subway from [Itaewon Station] to [Sangsu Station]. You won’t have to change lines for this, as they’re 7 stations apart on the same line (Line 6).
Credit: @amoi_beaufort on Instagram
- From [Sangsu Station] it’s only a short walk to arrive at Hongdae Shopping Street. Standing for the short form of ‘Hongik University’ this university district is full of hip and affordable bargains, trendy cafes, and street performers such as dancers and buskers showing off their talents.
Credit: @vintage.ralph on Instagram
- If you’re the type that lives and breathes only the latest and most unique designs, then Hongdae is definitely for you. If you stay until the evening you can even catch a busker or two belting out melodious covers, or dancing to an energetic K-Pop cover.
- Your shopping adventure isn’t done yet! Once you’ve walked through the streets, you’ll emerge near [Hongik Univ. Station]. Take the train 2 stops towards [Seoul Station] on the Airport Railroad line, and then change to Line 4 and take it another 2 stops towards [Myeongdong Station].
- Myeongdong is easily the biggest shopping district in Seoul and its streets are full of everything from tiny roadside stalls to huge big-name brands and department stores. Whatever you’re looking for, you can definitely find it at Myeongdong.
Credit: @ivyyee on Instagram
- Myeongdong isn’t just known for its shopping, but its food too! There are street carts everywhere, and the smell in the air is just irresistible. Some of the Muslim-friendly options available would be grilled seafood (sometimes topped with cheese), as well as long ice cream cones that will keep you satisfied for the night!
- If you need to complete your prayers while at Myeongdong, head towards Kampungku restaurant which has a prayer room on its premises (more on Kampungku under Day 4 below!)
Halal Status: As none of the stalls in Myeongdong is Halal-certified, we advise that you dine at your own discretion. While stalls that indicate they are vegetarian are unlikely to use any animal by-products, do note that products such as bread or buns may sometimes contain animal-based shortening or lard.
Day 2: Gyeongbokgung, Gwangjang Market, Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Wake up early to catch the guard-changing ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace (1.5hrs)
- For your first full day in Seoul, you definitely have to catch the Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace that happens at 10AM and 2PM (Wed-Mon). There are several palaces in Seoul (all of which are gorgeous) but Gyeongbokgung is the grandest and most famous by far.
- Take the subway to [Gyeongbokgung Station] on Line 3 and follow the signs that will lead you right to the entrance of the palace. There’s a small entrance fee you’ll have to pay, but it’ll be worth it to see the sprawling grounds and spacious buildings that have been preserved for centuries from 1395 till today!
- The entrance fee is KRW3,000 for those aged 19 – 64, and KRW1,500 for those aged 7 – 18. If you’re planning to visit other palaces in Seoul within 3 months, you can even purchase the Combination Ticket for KRW10,000 that will allow 1 pax admission to each of the 5 palaces.
Credit: @ida_aria on Instagram
- There’s always a crowd waiting for the ceremony no matter the season, so arrive around 5 to 10 minutes earlier to make sure you can get a good spot. The ceremony takes roughly 20 minutes, and the attention paid to ensuring a historical accuracy is amazing.
- Once the ceremony has ended, spend an hour or so exploring the grounds of the palace. Don’t worry if you can’t see everything in one shot – it’s a huge place! We recommend visiting the Throne Hall Compound to get a glimpse of the grand complex where King Sejong held sessions with his ministers, and the Gyeonghoeru Pavillion that’s situated on a pond.
- If you want to do your prayers before leaving Gyeongbokgung, head to K-Style Hub which is just a short 15-minute walk from Gyeongbokgung’s Gwanghwamun gate.
K-Style Hub (prayer room)
Prayer facilities provided: Prayer times, Quran, prayer mats, Qibla, Compass, prayer garments, slippers, wudhu area
Opening hours: 9 AM to 8 PM daily
Address: 40 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Da-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Try out some Korean vegan cuisine at Insadong (1hr)
- Just a short walk away from Gyeongbokgung is the Insadong neighbourhood, which is known for its blend of traditional atmosphere and artsy vibes, making it a relatively relaxed space (apart from weekends when street fairs turn it into a bustling hotspot).
Credit: @ashtanga_yoga_korea on Instagram
- Osegye Hyang is a vegan and alcohol-free restaurant tucked away in Insadong’s streets – the perfect spot to try a meat-free twist on some Korean dishes!
- You can even try dishes such as dumplings, hotpots, and cutlets here that are usually not Muslim-friendly, and if you buy a rice set it’ll come with an amazing 5 types of side dishes such as kimchi!
Halal Status: Vegan restaurant (no meat or meat by-products used), and alcohol-free. As this restaurant is not halal-certified, we advise that you dine at your own discretion.
Opening hours: 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 5 PM to 9 PM daily
Prices: Prices range between KRW6,000 to KRW16,000 for main dishes
Address: 14-5, Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Enjoy Seoul’s hipster culture at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (1-1.5hrs)
- After you’ve tasted a bite of traditional Seoul at Osegye Hyang, it’s time to see its present and future at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)! Walk to the nearest station which is [Anguk Station] and take the subway 1 stop down to [Jongno3(sam)-ga Station]. From there, change to Line 5 and take it 2 more stops to [Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station]. From there, you’ll emerge in the underground basement of DDP itself.
- Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, DDP is a crowd favourite amongst young adults for its chic design and sleek architecture. It’s also been featured in some K-Dramas, and was even the most geotagged location in Korea on Instagram in 2015! There’s lots of open space at DDP, making it the perfect place to take a breather and just soak in the easy-going atmosphere.
- Apart from its photogenic backgrounds, DDP also houses several small shops selling unique and quirky items at the Design Lab shops. You can find notebooks, stationery, backpacks, and even some official K-Pop merchandise here.
- The more artistically-inclined can even try to catch a gallery show at DDP’s Design Museum. Make sure to check their website to see what exhibitions are currently on!
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Opening hours: 10 AM to 7PM (hours may vary during holidays)
Address: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Day 3: Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Day Tour in Gyeonggi-do
There are misperceptions that visiting the DMZ can be unsafe or risky, but there are actually many reliable tour companies such as Hana Tour International or Klook that now conduct half- or full-day tours to different key points along the DMZ. Different tours will feature different sights at the DMZ, but we’ve highlighted some of the most frequent and popular ones below!
#HHWT Tip: As the meals provided by the tour may not be Muslim-friendly, request from the tour provider to have the vegetarian option, and ask if you can buy and bring your own meal to eat. If it’s possible, you can stop by Itaewon the previous night to buy some kebabs to bring along!
Learn more about Korean history with a visit to the DMZ
- Start your day tour with a pick-up at a central location in the early morning (between 7.30 AM to 8.30 AM depending on tour provider). Buses may pick up tour groups from individual hotels or somewhere central such as [Seoul Station] so make sure to confirm where your pick-up will be with the tour provider.
- Remember to bring your passport with you, as you may need it for identification at certain points throughout the tour.
Witness the hopes of the Korean people for peace at Imjingak Resort
Credit: @mana_park on Instagram
- Imjingak was built in 1972, with the hope that unification would someday be achieved. The park contains several monuments, structures, and exhibits about the history of the Korean War as well as the situation today.
- Though walking through the park may be sombre, the colourful fixtures such as ribbons tied onto the barbed wire are also a reminder of the hope that has persisted throughout the years.
Peek into a defunct train station at Dorasan Station
Credit: @mikoryu on Instagram
- Dorasan Station is named after the mountain (Dora) it’s situated on. The train line in this station actually runs all the way to Pyeongyang! However, it has not been operational since construction was completed. Visitors can take photos with the train tracks and display signs.
Catch a glimpse of North Korea at the Dora Observatory
Credit: @andreapatino on Instagram
- Not too far away from Dorasan Station is the Dora Observatory, which is situated at the northernmost point along the northern Military Demarcation Line. You can even look at North Korea through the binoculars provided!
Take a walk through the 3rd Tunnel
- The 3rd Tunnel was one of the tunnels discovered in the 1970s by South Korea and is thought to have been dug by North Korea as a potential invasion route during the Korean War. Since then, it has been boarded and blocked up and turned into a tourist attraction.
- Visitors are first shown a short movie on the history of the tunnel, followed by a walk through the dark and narrow passage and back up. The walk is said to be quite physically taxing and very dark (lights will be provided) so this activity may not be suitable for everyone.
End the day with dinner at Myeongdong’s Busan Jib restaurant (1hr)
- Once the tour bus drops you off at [City Hall Station], take the train 1 stop down to [Seoul Station] before transferring to Line 4. Take the train 2 more stops down to [Myeongdong Station] and start walking to your next destination for an amazing dinner of local cuisine!
Credit: @hanif_gary on Instagram
- Busan Jib is a restaurant that uses halal-certified meat and ingredients to prepare authentic Korean dishes. Though alcohol is served in the restaurant (as part of the Korean culture), there is no alcohol used in preparing the food.
Credit: @aisyahnurhani on Instagram
- We recommend trying the Korean Spicy Chicken Stew, Seafood Pancake, and Stir-fried Glass Noodles with Vegetables 😋 If you’re feeling homesick for some Southeast Asian cuisine, they even sell Asam Pedas and Nasi Goreng!
Halal Status: Not halal-certified, but uses only halal-certified meat and ingredients. Alcohol is sold separately in the establishment but is not used in food preparation. As this restaurant is not halal-certified, we advise that you dine at your own discretion.
Opening hours: 10 AM to 10 PM daily
Prices: Main dishes range between KRW8,000 to KRW10,000
Address: 11-4 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
Day 4: Bukhansan
See Seoul from a new perspective at Bukhansan National Park (4-6hrs)
Credit: @worldonshow on Instagram
- Bukhansan National Park is one of Seoul’s national parks and is one of the most popular getaways from the hustle and bustle of the city for locals and visitors alike. The park has a range of hiking trails available that cater to different experience levels, so whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert trekker, you’ll have a great time there!
- Do remember to wear proper and suitable shoes, and bring along a water bottle and light snacks for your trip. As there are no Muslim-friendly eateries within the park, you can stop by Itaewon the day before to buy some kebabs as your snack!
P.S. Bukhansan is popular year-round but especially during the spring and autumn. If you’re not a big fan of crowds, we also recommend attempting a trek during a weekday!
Trail option 1: Bogukmun Course
Credit: @woo_ruk on Instagram
- Bogukmun is one of the easiest courses within the park, and is a 2.4km trail that is estimated to take 1.5hrs to walk (1-way, est. 3hrs total). There is a low slope throughout the trail but it is not considered particularly difficult.
- To get there, take the subway to [Gireum Station] on Line 4 and exit at Exit 3. You can then take bus service 110B to Bukhansan’s National Park Office which is the starting marker of this trail.
- Make sure to enjoy the tranquillity of the streams, flora, and fauna while you’re making your way up to the peak. You might even catch some wild animals such as squirrels running around if you’re lucky!
Trail option 2: Bukhansanseong Course
Credit: @semone.ownhouse on Instagram
- Another popular choice is Bukhansanseong, which is a 3.4km trail that takes roughly 2hrs to walk (1-way, est. 4hrs total). There is a low slope at points throughout the trail but it is considered suitable even for children and elders.
- To get there, take the subway to [Gupabal Station] on Line 3, and transfer to bus service 704 heading towards Bukhansanseong Fortress. Alight at the Bukhansan mountain bus stop and head towards the Bukhansanseong Information Center. From there, ask for directions to the Bukhansanseong Hiking Support Center which is the starting marker of this trail.
- Bukhansanseong leads up to Baegundae Peak, which is the tallest peak in the park! At the start of the trail, you can choose to trek via the Gorge or Nature Trails, which will later merge at Daesomun Gate. Both trails will give you plenty of opportunities to soak in the natural beauty of the park, but if you want to learn a little bit more about the flora and fauna around you can opt for the Nature Trail which has information signboards on the different species.
Head back to central Seoul to recharge in Myeongdong (30 to 45 mins)
- Once you’ve made your way down from the trail, take a bus or train back into central Seoul and head to [Myeongdong Station]. There’s truly no other neighbourhood in Seoul that can provide as much endless entertainment as Myeongdong 🤩
Refuel with a delicious Malaysian-style meal at Kampungku (1hr)
Credit: @galleria_hs on Instagram
- Kampungku is a Muslim-owned restaurant that serves up both Malaysian and Korean fare. The range of dishes here is absolutely mouth-watering, and their Korean-style fried chicken is the perfect meal after a long day of trekking.
- They also serve up Malaysian favourites including Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng, Nasi Ayam, and Nasi Putih with Ayam Percik!
- As an added bonus, there is a prayer room located within the restaurant which makes it the perfect place to do your prayers once you’ve finished your meal and had a brief rest. The prayer room includes prayer mats and prayer garments so you can complete your prayers without worry.
Halal Status: Muslim-owned
Day 5: Eid Halal Korean Food, Seokchon Lake Park, Lotte World Tower, Yang Good BBQ
Start your last day in Seoul right with a meal at Eid Halal Korean Food (1hr)
- Eid Halal Korean Food is one of the few Halal-certified restaurants in the country, and is definitely worth a visit for a genuine taste of halal Korean cuisine that you can’t get anywhere else! It’s also located just a short walk from [Itaewon Station] and Seoul Central Mosque, so you can go complete your prayers once you’ve eaten your fill!
- Try out their samgyetang (Korean-style ginseng chicken soup), bulgogi beef, and galbitang (Beef short rib soup) all of which are served with a generous bowl of rice and an assortment of banchan (side dishes) typical of any Korean restaurant! The banchan are even refillable so you can snack on kimchi, picked vegetables, and more if you aren’t full yet.
Halal Status: Halal-certified
Opening hours: 11:30 AM to 9 PM (Tues-Sun), closed on Mondays
Prices: Ranges from KRW8,000 to KRW12,000 for a main dish
Address: 67, Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Cross the Han River for some tranquillity at the Seokchon Lake Park (1-1.5hrs)
- From [Itaewon Station] take the subway 5 stops down to [Sindang Station] and change to Line 2. Take the subway another 10 stops down to [Jamsil Station] which is 200m from the park.
Credit: @niinoutch on Instagram
- Seokchon Lake Park was originally part of the Han River, but has since been formed into the East and West Lakes with plenty of open spaces for visitors to relax, exercise, and just enjoy the peacefulness of the surroundings.
- You can spend some time just taking in the scenery (from late spring to autumn the trees surrounding the lake are full of beautiful blossoms!) or rent a paddle boat to glide across the water.
Seokchon Lake Park
Opening hours: 24 hours
Address: 47 Jamsil-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Spend the afternoon in the splendour of Lotte World Tower (2-2.5hrs)
Credit: @odinn_uuniqqq on Instagram
- Lotte World Tower is just a short walk away from Seokchon Lake Park, and you could definitely spend the whole day here if you wanted to! There’s everything here from a cinema and aquarium to over a hundred shops selling everything from luxury fashion to cosmetics to local products.
- There’s even a prayer room just for Muslim visitors here on the 6th floor! Just look for the store ‘Agra’ within Avenue L, which is right next door.
Lotte World Tower (prayer room)
Prayer facilities provided: Separate spaces for men and women, Quran, Qibla, prayer rugs, wudhu area. We advise that you bring your own travel garments if necessary.
Opening hours: 10:30 AM to 8 PM daily
Address: Avenue L, 6F, Lotte World Tower, 05551, Olympic-ro 300, Songpa-gu, Seoul(Sincheon-dong 29)
Credit: @myfoodiediaryyy on Instagram
- One of the best sights at the Tower is definitely the Seoul Sky observation deck and gallery, located on the 123rd floor of the tower! This 360-degree experience lets you see Seoul from the clouds, giving you one of the rarest but most beautiful views of the city. Make sure to make a reservation before you visit.
Seoul Sky Observation deck
Opening hours: 10 AM to 10 PM (Sun-Thurs), 10 AM to 11 PM (Fri-Sat), holidays may affect the timings for Fri-Sat
Prices: KRW27,000 for visitors aged 13+ (online and on-site ticketing both available)
End your trip with the perfect K-BBQ at Yang Good BBQ (2hrs)
- For your last meal in Seoul, head back to [Jamsil Station] and take the subway 5 stations down to [Yeoksam Station] which is just a short walk away from your next eatery.
Credit: @ely_htm on Instagram
- Located in the fancy and stylish Gangnam district, Yang Good BBQ is an authentic halal Korean BBQ place, giving you the chance to enjoy deliciously tender and juicy lamb as well as other dishes! The lamb meat alone is definitely enough to fill you up, and you can choose from having it marinated in a Korean sweet sauce, or un-marinated to get that full savoury taste.
Credit: @artyfah on Instagram
- If you’re still hungry after that, refresh your palate with some doenjang-jjigae (Fermented soybean paste soup) or mulnaengmyeon (Cold noodles) that will really hit the spot 😋
Halal Status: Not halal-certified, but uses only halal-certified meat and ingredients. Alcohol is served in the establishment (due to the Korean culture) but is not used in food preparation. As this restaurant is not halal-certified, we advise that you dine at your own discretion.
Opening hours: 4 PM to 12 AM (Mon-Sat), closed on Sundays
Prices: Ranges from KRW11,000 to KRW30,000 per pax on average
Address: 15 Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
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This article was brought to you by Malaysia Airlines and the Korea Tourism Organization.