Seoul is home to some of the most beautiful university campuses in Korea. The highlights of these campuses are their amazing landscaping and architecture; some of them are surrounded by trendy and affordable shopping areas and eateries, some of them are just set in the midst of nature and some of them are famous for drama shootings. Most of the campuses are open for public, so if you happen to be near any one of the following universities make it a sure point to visit them!
1. Kyung Hee University (KHU) is gorgeous in all FOUR seasons
As a student of Kyung Hee University, I am very proud to say, that my campus is considered to be one of the most beautiful university campuses in Seoul. Not just because it houses some of the most amazing buildings of breath-taking architecture, but also because of the beautiful landscaping and the countless cherry blossom trees that adorn the whole area.
From senior citizens to toddlers accompanied by their parents, and even newly wedded couples who come to KHU’s lovely campus for their wedding shoot, people from all walks of life can be seen enjoying the charming atmosphere. Young people can be seen sitting in huge groups in the lawn, enjoying the lovely weather with a picnic. Often times, a huge camera crew and actors and actresses can be seen shooting scenes for a drama or an advertisement. An example of Gothic architecture, the famous Grand Peace Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in Korea, is also KHU’s pride, for it is used by big TV stations such as KBS and MBC to host awards ceremonies.
KHU’s campus is most visited during spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. I think it is one of the best things to enjoy for free in Korea ☺ Bring home some beautiful memories!
Just outside the main entrance, the streets are lined with all kinds of restaurants and shops, so you can either take something on your way in to sit and enjoy the lovely campus while you eat, or you can just relax and enjoy a bite on your way back.
It’s the end of February in Seoul, but the cold is far from over! Here are some shots of the most beautiful snow fall I’ve ever seen, where else but KHU 😀 You must visit the little “Narnia” KHU transforms into if you happen to be around the campus during snowfall!
How to get there: From Hoegi Station (Line 1), take exit 1. Outside the station there is a green shuttle bus #1, take the bus until the last stop which is in front of the main entrance of KHU.
Opening Hours: All year around, but recommended during day time, because then you can enjoy the full beauty if the campus.
#HHWT Tip: For K-pop and K-drama lovers out there, G-Dragon and Daesung from Big Bang and actor Gong Yoo (Lead in the drama Coffee Prince) are Alumni of KHU, amazing isn’t it?! Don’t forget to take a photo with the Song Joong Ki standee near Exit 1 of Hoegi Station! XD
2. Ewha Women’s University (EWU) has an amazing campus and a fashion street nearby to shop till you drop
Known as Korea’s first women’s university, Ewha Women’s University is a popular tourist destination. The beautiful campus is built in 1886 and is one of the educational institutions which survived the Japanese Empire. Many important female public figures have graduated from here included one of Korea’s prime ministers. Even Queen Elizabeth the 2nd paid a visit here when she visited Korea!
As you step out of the Ewha Univ. Station, you will see a street going downhill on your right, which leads to the campus. The street is lined with all kinds of shops and restaurants, but the main shopping area which is named EWU’s Fashion Street is just a left turn from the main entrance.
The Fashion Street is a hot spot for tourists. EWU Fashion Street has a trendy line up of clothe stores for young ladies, shoes, accessories and what-not. The street is also famous for beauty-salons and hairdressers which provide high end services for a reasonable price.
There are also a lot of street food vendors. If you are big on Tteokbokki, the Korean rice caked dipped in hot sauce with fish-cake, give yourself a treat, EWU Tteokbokki* is famous and many people come here to try it out. (*Do note that this is not halal-certified, we advise readers to consume at their own discretion.)
Before you get lost in the shopping at Fashion Street, I think it’s a good idea to visit the EWU campus. It is open for all, and as you enter you will notice many tourists crowding in front of the Ewha Campus Complex (ECC) and taking photos.
The ECC is Korea’s first underground campus building, the post-modern structure of glass and steel is quite impressive, a 6-storey building with two wings, complete with an eco-garden on the roof.
The buildings are like two arms stretching out and are joined by a flight of stairs at the end, which take you up to the other buildings of the campus. The view from the top is quite spectacular; the entire campus is in view. You can walk through the manicured gardens with cobbled walk-ways on the roofs of the either buildings which are big slopes going down to the main entrance again. There is a souvenir shop near the entrance where you can buy all kinds of stationery, household items and clothes with the EWU logo.
How to get there: Ewha University Station (Green Line 2) Exit 2 or 3. Walk down the road to reach EWU’s main entrance.
3. Get a glimpse of history and visit the oldest university – Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)
SungKyunKwan University (SKKU) is Korea’s oldest university established during the Joseon Dynasty in 1398. It has been the center of higher education for centuries and holds a huge historical significance.
The historical drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal was filmed inside the Seoul campus, where some of the traditional buildings from the ancient times are still remain standing. During the Joseon dynasty women were not allowed to study in the university, the drama is based on a novel about one woman who disguises herself as a man to study in the university.
Located in Daehangro, the bustling university area, SKKU’s campus is near the famous Hyewa Station known mainly for its vast number of theatres and musicals. There is a tourist information office 2 minutes straight outside the exit 4, where you can find the schedules all the shows that will be hosted for the day. You can definitely spend an entire day exploring the university and Daehangro, just wandering around and soaking in the youthful vibes of the area!
How to get there: Hyehwa Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 4. Walk for 10 minutes from the Exit.
4. Up your cool factor and visit the most vibrant uni area in town – Hongik University (Hongdae)
Hongik University, Hongdae for short; is one of Seoul’s famous universities. Renowned for its art and architecture schools, the small campus is marked with distinct buildings and sculptures. There is even a Museum of Art inside the campus, which should be interesting for art-lovers. Although in the name of the university, Hongdae is more known for its shopping areas, trendy restaurants, coffee shops, bars and clubs.
I recommend you visit the campus, only if you are particularly interested in the university, and when the weather is nice in spring or summer. It bit far off from the Hongik University Subway station and takes about 20 minutes by walking through the shopping areas to get there. So there is a chance you will get distracted (by all the shops!) before you reach there 😀
How to get there: Take exit 9, Hongik University Station, take a left turn as you get out. You enter the shopping area. Walk straight until you take the second right turn, you will see a street covered with a canopy lined with trees on both sides (and of course lots and lots of shops) walk straight ahead until you reach the end. Take a left turn and its a slighty uphill walk, 2 minutes you will see the main entrance of Hongik University.
The Shopping District
Hongdae is known more for its shopping and partying rather than the actual university campus. All the best brand shops, Korean and foreign, for clothes, cosmetics, shoes, sportswear are in Hongdae. All the delicious street food stalls that you can imagine are in Hongdae. When you get out of Exit 9, take a left turn and that’s where the shopping area begins.
Hongdae’s attraction, besides all the shopping and eating, is the live street performances that go on until late hours in the night. Young people gather and watch aspiring musicians and dancers display their talents. I heard that most of the artists are actually students of Hongik University. It can be a bit noisy at times, since everyone is performing simultaneously a little far from each other but that is the charm of the area.
Another amazing thing about Hongdae is, every Saturday there is an open air flea market where artisans display their handmade creations for sale. The flea market is very special because the sellers are the producers of their artwork, so basically you can buy beautiful handicrafts at reasonable prices. Hongdae is a huge area and it can get a bit rowdy during late hours on weekends in some of these areas so do watch where you are going.
How to get there: Hongik University Station (Line 2) Exit 9
Opening Hours: Most shops and restaurants are open from 10AM to 10PM Some of the brand shops like H&M and UNIQLO close at 9PM
Bonus: Hongdae Halal Highlight
Among one of my recent discoveries, I found a wonderful little Turkish Kebab shop located in Hongdae. With just a menu of chicken and lamb wraps, the restaurant doesn’t seem to be short of customers. For a reasonable price of 4,000 Won you can have a chicken wrap, 5,000 Won the Lamb wrap and the mixed one also at the same price.
The serving size is big, and there are lots of toppings which make it super yummy. There is one item, which is sort of like mashed potato called “Olibhi” (which has no relation with olives by the way xD). Vegetarians too, can enjoy a wrap with this filling.
How to get there: After you get out of Exit 9, Hongik University station, go left and keep walk straight until the end of the lane. The Kebab shop is within eye-shot on the farther side of the street on your left. Its located next to Han’s Deli. The shop is open for 11.30AM to 10 PM every day. But the thing is, sometimes all the kebab is gone even before the restaurant’s closing time, so better to go there early xD
Although this article covers just four university campuses, rest assured there are a lot of more campuses in Korea which are breath-taking beautiful, with brilliant landscaping and architecture. Usually surrounded by affordable shopping areas convenient for students and trendy food-shops to attract them; university campuses give of a vibrant youthful energy. Take the opportunity, spend very little but make some long-lasting memories, visit the closest uni campus next time you are in Korea!