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10 Insta-Worthy Spots In Seoul You Won’t Want To Miss (Near Halal Eateries!)


Faruq Senin •  May 30, 2019


(This article is also available in Bahasa Indonesia here!) It's no secret that Seoul is one of our favourite cities! We love its local culture, yummy Korean food, affordable shopping, stunning palaces... we could go on forever. Credit: Giphy But if there's one thing we can't get enough of when travelling - it's finding Instagrammable spots! And lucky for us, Seoul is a haven for picture-perfect spots - from gorgeous bookstores to modern futuristic buildings and even traditional backdrops ? To save you both the time and the trouble of heading to every spot in Seoul for the best shots, here are our top 12 picks that’ll guarantee you a gorgeous social feed at the end of your trip! Plus, we've provided halal or Muslim-friendly food options so you can refuel after your photoshoot ? P.S. Heading to Seoul? Let us do all that planning for you with this 5D4N Muslim-friendly Seoul itinerary!
1. Starfield Library, COEX Mall
If you thought books and libraries are out of trend, you must have not visited Starfield Library. This two-storey library is filled – from top to bottom – with as many as 50,000 books and magazines making a gorgeous backdrop for your pictures. Don’t visit this place just for the 'gram though! Pick out a book or two! If you’re not already a book lover, this is the place that will ignite your love for reading ? Most books are in Korean but there are still a good number of English ones.
Credit: @9upup on Instagram You’d probably have to ride the escalator multiple times to get a picture like this though! To make full use of the natural light passing through the ceiling, head here during sunset! Golden hour indoors could not look any more stunning ?
Credit: @drawendu on InstagramTop picture spots: Escalator along the 13m-tall bookshelves Opening hours: 10am to 10pm Address: 955-9 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea Directions: Take Line 2 (Green) to Samseong Station. Use Exit 6 and follow the signs to Starfield Coex Mall. The library is in the main atrium. Halal restaurants nearby:Yang Good Korean BBQ After making a trip to Starfield, it'll be a waste not to make a stop at Yang Good. Being the only Halal Korean BBQ place in Seoul, this is a must-visit for Muslim travellers to get a taste of authentic Korean BBQ ?
Credit: @zar_zailan on Instagram Choose from either un-marinated lamb to enjoy the tender lamb meat in its full glory, or opt for the marinated lamb to savour juicy lamb rack coated with Korean sweet sauce! If you’re not a meat person, fret not as the restaurant also serves other dishes such as Kimchi Jjigaeand Deonjang Jjigae. Halal Status: Halal meat available, Alcohol is served in establishment Opening Hours: 4pm to 11.30pm, closed on Sunday Address: 15 Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea Contact No: +82 2-567-7060 Directions: From Starfield Library, take the subway Line 2 from Samseong station and alight at Yeoksam station about 2 stops away. Take exit 4 and walk along Teheran-ro 25-gil and make a left turn to Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil. If you're strapped for time but still need a quick meal, then head over to Kervan Turkish Restaurant which is located in Starfield COEX Mall itself. Halal status: Halal-certified Address: B1, Starfield COEX Mall Opening hours: 10.30am - 10pm Contact No: +82 2-556-4767 [P.S. Planning a trip to Seoul and don't know where to stay? We've got a list of 12 affordable accommodations near halal food for you!]
2. Stylenanda Pink Hotel, Myeongdong
Before you harbour any thoughts of staying here, allow us to clarify that this is not an actual hotel ? It’s actually popular Korean fashion brand Stylenanda’s hotel-themed flagship store! The entire building – both the interior and exterior – is dipped in a gorgeous hue of pink. There are a total of 6 floors in the building, and each floor features different items for sale and a myriad of Instagrammable spots!
Credit: @3jakn_32 on Instagram Level One is designed to resemble a hotel lobby, but with an added touch – endless rows of makeup for you to choose from! You can find the super gorgeous bathtub on Level Two. Venture to the other levels for even more shots! After all that photo-taking, take a breather at the rooftop terrace on Level 6. With plush giant pillows around, it’s the perfect place to sit back and chill out with your friends ?
Top picture spots: Bathtub, hotel pool Opening hours: 11am to 11pm Address: 66-2, Chungmuro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul Korea Directions: From Myeongdong station, take exit 6 and walk along Myeongdong 8-gil before turning right into Myeongdong 8-gil. Stylenanda will be on your right. Halal restaurants nearby:Busanjib If you’re wondering where the nearest place to eat is at, Busan-jib is just around the corner! Busan-jib is a halal eatery that’s popular among Muslim travellers. They serve a wide variety of Korean dishes!
Credit: @aisyahnurhani on Instagram Must try dishes include their Korean spicy chicken stew and ginseng chicken ? You can also make your very own Bulgogi lettuce wraps here! Even if you’re not a meat person, this is still the restaurant for you as they serve similarly yummy seafood dishes. Be sure to try their spicy seafood stew and chilli squid. Halal status: Halal ingredients used, alcohol served in establishment Address: 11-4 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea Opening hours: 11am to 10pm daily Contact No: +82 2-777-8660 Directions: From Stylenanda, walk back out to the main road on Myeongdong 8-gil till you find Busanjib on your right. Instagram[P.S. If you're looking for more halal eateries, check out our guide to the 9 halal Korean eateries you can find in Seoul!]
3. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Situated in the heart of Seoul, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the first and largest royal palace built during the Joseon Dynasty. The beauty of this palace lies not just in its long history but also its intricate architecture! There is a small admission fee to enter the palace but it will be waived if you wear a hanbok. Free admission fees and feeling like a Korean royalty for a few hours? We’re all for the hanbok, especially for the perfect shot ?
You don’t have to be particularly worried about the weather affecting your shots here! We visited when it was pouring, and we still managed to take beautiful shots indoors. To capture the stunning details on the ceiling, make your sure photographer bends down!
Top picture spots: In between the pillars, palace entrance Opening hours: November-February (9am to 5pm) March-May (9am to 6pm) June-August (9am to 6.30pm) September-October (9am to 6pm) Closed on Tuesdays Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Directions: Exit 5 at Gyeongbokgung Station or Exit 1 at Anguk Station Muslim-friendly restaurant nearby:Osegyehyang Osegyehyang serves vegetarian fare in a traditional Korean setting. You’d need to take off your shoes and sit on the floor at this eatery, making the experience even more authentic.
One of the dishes we’d recommend is their Fried Dumpling (9,000 KRW). Dumplings are usually filled with meat but this one is made with starch noodles instead. Another dish that’s worth trying is their Grilled Soy Protein Stew (10,000 KRW). This is unlike your usual kimchi stew as the meat is substituted with soy protein and it’s an interesting take on kimchi stew ? Halal status: Vegetarian Address: 14-5 Insadong 12-gil, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: 11.30am – 9pm (Mon – Fri), 11.30am – 4pm, 5pm – 9pm (Sat – Sun) Contact No: +82 2-735-7171 Directions: Take the Subway line 3 from Gyeongbokgung station and alight at Anguk station, just one stop away. Take exit 6 and walk along Insadong-gil. Turn into Insadong 12-gil and you'll reach the restaurant.
4. Bukchon Hanok Village
After all the effort you’ve taken to don the hanbok, it’s almost a shame to take it off right after visiting the palace. The good news is that you don’t have to that (just yet ?). There’s another Instagram-worthy spot near the palace that’s sure to take your breath away. We’re referring to Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional residential area of nobility during the Joseon period!
Credit: @Manon Thore on Instagram The village still stands as a residential area but the interesting, traditional architecture on the wall lures photographers in. The challenge here is climbing the slopes, especially with your hanbok. But trust us, the effort is worth it! There are many alleys in the area and part of the fun is getting lost here☺️
Top picture spots: Gahoe-dong Alley (Harmony) Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul Directions: Exit 1 or 2 at Anguk Station. Walk for about 300m Halal restaurants nearby:Halal Kitchen  If you ever wanted to try authentic halal Korean cuisine prepared by a Korean chef, Halal Kitchen Korea is the perfect place for you! The food here is cooked by a Korean Muslim, Hassan Lee. Here’s your chance to experience Korean dining in a hanok (traditional Korean house)! Make sure to try their samgyetang (Korean ginseng chicken soup) and bugolgi (Korean barbecue) beef while you’re there ?
As Halal Kitchen only serves samgyetang and bulgogi now, we recommend that you arrive early to ensure that your desired dish doesn’t get sold out first. The restaurant also provides a prayer space, so fret not, you can eat to your heart’s content without having to rush to a mosque! Halal Status: Muslim Owned, Prayer facilities in establishment Address: 86-2 Samcheong-ro, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Opening hours: 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 8pm daily, closed on Tuesdays Contact No: +82 2-733-3106 Directions: Halal Kitchen is located in Bukchon Hanok Village itself. Find the Samcheong police office and an E-mart convenience store. After 100m, you’ll see ‘Boy London’ fashion store. Take a right turn and you’ll see the ‘Halal Kitchen’ sign.
5. Common Ground
Filled with quirky and unique designer brands, Common Ground is known as the hipster spot of Seoul. But Korea’s first pop-up store built with shipping containers is popular not just among the young shopaholics – it also tops the list of Instagram lovers. The blue backdrop here will beautifully complement your #ootd shot ?
Credit: @sophia_atalie on Instagram And you don’t have to worry about the throngs of people who visit this place to get the perfect shot. With 200 containers to choose from, there’s bound to be an empty spot that’ll make your shot. Be sure to spend some time roaming the shops here, or just soak up the vibrant atmosphere!
Credit: @hollyuzu on InstagramTop picture spots: Against the blue containers, and/or beneath the fairy lights at night Opening hours: 11am to 10pm Address: 200, Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul Directions: Take Line 2 or Line 7 to Konkuk University Station. Take Exit 6. Halal restaurants nearby:Mumbai Indian Halal Restaurant, Konkuk University After snapping that hipster shot, head over to Mumbai restaurant for some quality Indian food. This eatery specialises in naan and assorted dishes like butter chicken, palak paneer and more. Do note that prices here are on the higher side as compared to other Indian restaurants in the city. Halal status: Halal ingredients used, alcohol served in establishment Address: 7-13 Jayang 4 (sa)-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea Contact No: +82 2-463-0045 Directions: From Common Ground, walk along Achasan-ro to Mumbai restaurant. The restaurant is located near exit 6 of Konkuk University subway station.
6. Ihwa Mural Village
We’ve probably all heard of streets filled with murals but Seoul takes it a notch higher by dedicating an entire neighbourhood to murals! The village underwent a make-over in 2006 as the government wanted to revitalise the old neighbourhood. With the help of local artists, interesting and colourful mural paintings and mosaics decorated the walls of the village and staircases, turning the area into a treasure trove of Instagram-worthy spots.
Credit: @irohani_hohoho on Instagram There’s a fair bit of uphill walking here as the village is located at the top of Naksan Mountain, so do wear comfortable shoes! It’s also respectful to note that the area is home to a largely elderly population who value their privacy and peace, so do keep your volumes down while exploring the area.
Credit: @mmmmariiii0421 on InstagramAddress: 49 Naksan 4-gil, Ihwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Directions: Exit 2 at Hyehwa Station. Walk straight until you reach the Lock Museum. After 50 meters, turn right on to Naksan Gongson-gil street. Walk till you reach Naksan Park. Halal restaurant nearby:Nirosha Indian Restaurant Halal Food All that walking up the hill will probably leave you famished! Head over to Nirosha Indian Restaurant located just a short walk away from Ihwa village. With a mix of Indian and Nepali cuisine, have their naans with a selection of curries and Tandoori Chicken which will surely leave you satisfied.
Credit: @hj.lee_1123 on InstagramHalal status: Halal ingredients used, alcohol served in establishment Address: 43 Dongsung-gil, Ihwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: 11am - 10pm daily Contact No: +82 70-8175-8877 Directions: From Ihwa Mural Village, walk north along Naksan-gil then turn left into Dongsung-gil where you'll find the restaurant.
7. Dongdaemun Design Plaza
With its sleek curves and unique architecture, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the star of popular shopping district Dongdaemun. Designed by famous architect Zaha Hadid, every corner here pretty much makes for an Insta-worthy spot ?
Credit: @bertiweber on Instagram If you're an art enthusiast, you'd be happy to know that the DDP houses a design museum, art hall and history and culture park all in one! Art-related events and art exhibitions are held regularly here so do keep a lookout.
Credit: @beat_ on Instagram It's not just the exterior of the building that's stunning, it's interiors and the spiral staircase, in particular, are worthy spots to spice up you Instagram feed.
Credit: @tttae on Instagram When night falls, make sure you head up to the park to catch a shot with thousands of illuminated light installations resembling roses. Address: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: Sun, Tue - Thur, 10am - 7pm, Fri - Sat, 10am - 9pm Directions: Take the subway line 4, 5 or 2 to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station and take exit 1. Halal restaurant nearby:Kampungku Restaurant Dongdaemun itself doesn't have many halal options except for Indian food so we recommend taking subway line 4 to Myeongdong where you'll find Kampungku Restaurant. It's just 2 stops away! Kampungku serves authentic Korean and Malaysian food. The menu options are mouthwatering and include some of the best both countries have to offer ?
Credit: @muna_miny on InstagramFrom local dishes like Bulgogi, Sweet Crispy Chicken, Korean Fried Chicken, and Kimchi Fried Rice to Asian favourites like nasi lemak, fried rice, tom yam and chicken satay – they definitely have something for everyone! Not to mention that they also have a mart where you can get halal-certified meat and Korean products like seaweed, honey tea, red ginseng and more ☺️ Halal status: Muslim-owned Address: Jong-ro 20-gil, Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: 11am – 10pm daily Contact: (+82) 02-310-9249 Directions: From DDP, take subway line 4 to Myeongdong station. Take exit 2 or 3 and walk along Toegye-ro 20-gil to reach Kampungku. Facebook | Instagram
8. Daeo Bookstore
There's something about old and small bookstores that make it so charming, and Daeo Bookstore is one place you'd fall instantly in love with. Believe it or not, this is the oldest secondhand bookstore in Seoul!
Credit: @seasonlving on Instagram The bookstore's antique shop sign and its blue doors have been well-preserved till this day and many local youngsters come here to get a glimpse of this unique bookstore.
Credit: @from_sihee on Instagram What's more, this bookstore has actually been featured in several TV shows and music videos. There's a cafe on site too so you can have a cup of coffee to recharge! Address: 55 Jahamun-ro 7-gil, Cheongunhyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: 11am - 10pm Directions: Take subway line 3 to Gyeongbokgung station. Take exit 2 and walk along Jahamun-ro, then turn left to Jahamun-ro 9-gil and turn right into Jahamun-ro 7-gil. Muslim-friendly eatery nearby:Soiroum  Just a short walk away from Daeo Bookstore is Soiroum, a vegan cafe. The cosy ambience of the cafe almost instantly pulls you in and not to mention that the dishes here look really great for the 'gram too. Some of the must-try dishes here are the "hamburger" steak, the burger with cheese and the curry.
Credit: @e.um__ on InstagramHalal status: Fully vegan menu, do dine at your own discretion Address: 58-1 Nuha-dong, Nuha-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: 12pm - 9pm, closed on Mondays Contact No: +82 2-586-8088 Directions: From Daeo Bookstore, turn right into Jahamun-ro 9-gil then turn right into Pirundae-ro. Soiroum is along the main road.
9. D Museum
Located in the Hannam-dong district, D Museum is a museum targeted to youths. The museum invites its visitors to experience and interact with art. You're also free to take photos so feel free to snap as many shots as you want!
Credit: @chihiro_04.10 on Instagram The museum presents art in different forms like photos, lights, mirrors and more. Plus, there are murals outside the museum too so make sure you don't miss them.
Credit: @ckim1608 on Instagram Do note that exhibitions change with time and there are some periods without any exhibitions so do check their website for updates. Address: 5-6 Dokseodang-ro 29-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Opening hours: Tue - Sun, 10am - 6pm, Fri - Sat, 10am - 8pm, closed on Mondays Admission fees: KRW12,000 (Adults), KRW5,000 (Youths under 19), KRW3,000 (Child) Contact No: +82 70-5097-0020 Directions: The nearest subway stations to D Museum are Hannam station and Hangangjin station. WebsiteHalal restaurants nearby:Halal eateries at Itaewon If you're feeling hungry after visiting D Museum, you're in luck because it's near to the Itaewon district where many halal eateries are located! Head over to Makan Halal Restaurant for their juicy and crunchy sweet/spicy chicken (dakganjeong) or savour their Korean-style braised chicken stew (dakdoritang).
Credit: @zaini_dhazam on Instagram Alternatively, you can head over to Eid Halal Korean Food for their delicious bulgogi, samgyetang (Korean ginseng chicken) and jjim dak (braised chicken). Hajj Korean Halal Food is another eatery serving authentic Korean dishes which are prepared by a Korean Muslim too, so you know you're in for a great meal ? Makan Halal Korean RestaurantHalal Status: Halal Certified (by Korea Muslim Federation), Mosque nearby Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday – 10.30am to 10pm (Closed on Tuesday) Address: 52, Usadan-ro 10 gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea 140-911 Contact No: +82 2-6012-2231 Facebook | InstagramEid Halal Korean FoodHalal Status: Halal Certified (by Korea Muslim Federation), Mosque nearby Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 11.30am to 9.00pm. Closed on Monday Address: 67, Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Contact No: +82 70-8899-8210 Facebook | InstagramHajj Korean Halal FoodHalal status: Muslim-owned Address: 39 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea Opening hours: 10am – 2pm daily Contact No: +82 2-749-5185 Directions: To get from D Museum to Itaewon, take bus 110A from Hannam Model Apt and alight at Itaewon Fire House. From there, walk up Usadan-ro and Usadan-ro 10-gil where you'll find the Seoul Central Mosque and lots of halal eateries!
10. Seoul Book Depository
Probably one of the newest book places to enter the Instagram scene in Seoul, the Seoul Book Depository is the first public secondhand bookstore in the city. The circular archway in the middle of the bookstore makes looks almost like a tunnel and is a perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos.
Credit: @mushikuido on Instagram While the books here are mostly in Korean, bibliophiles can still take delight in the sheer number of books that are stored here. There’s even a special exhibit dedicated to old textbooks and magazines! ?
Credit: @woneyuan1 on Instagram From magazines from the 1970s and 1980s selling long-outdated gadgets to old elementary school textbooks, the depository is as much a peek into South Korea’s cultural past as it is a shop ? Address: No. 1 Gwacheon-gu, Songpa-gu, Seoul, Korea Opening hours: 10.30am-8.30pm (Tues-Fri), 10am-9pm (Sat-Sun); closed on Mondays, Jan 1st, Korean New Year, and Chuseok holidays Directions: The bookstore is located just minutes away from Jamsillaru subway station exit 1. Halal restaurant nearby:Kervan Turkish Restaurant As there aren't many halal restaurants around this area, we recommend hopping on a train to Samseong station where Starfield COEX Mall is located. Then head over to Kervan Turkish Restaurant to have your meal.
Take your pick from various Turkish breads and pair them with the Mix Steak Kebab which has just the right amount of flavour and tenderness. They also have Indian dishes as well such as naan and butter chicken. Kervan has many outlets throughout Seoul and is pretty popular among locals. P.S. You can also take the subway to Yeoksam station where you'll find Yang Good Halal Korean BBQ! Halal status: Halal-certified Address: B1, Starfield COEX Mall Opening hours: 10.30am - 10pm Contact No: +82 2-556-4767 Directions: Take subway line 2 from Jamsillaru station and alight at Samseong station, 4 stops away. Samseong station is directly connected to Starfield COEX Mall.
BONUS: Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village
Have you ever wished you lived in a fairytale? Then, Songwol-dong will make all your fairytale dreams come true! Although it's located a far out from Seoul's city centre in Incheon, the village is well worth a visit if you want to break away from reality.
Credit: @missuschewy on Instagram With stories of classic fairytales painted on its walls, you can relive your childhood years while posing for that perfect photo.
Credit: @echiwae on Instagram If you're travelling with kids and looking for a day out from Seoul, we recommend heading over to Songwol-dong for a fun-filled time with the family ? Address: Jayugongwonseo-ro 45beon-gil, Songwol-dong 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea Directions: From Seoul city, take subway line 1 all the way to Incheon station. From there, take bus 45 to the village. From charming bookstores to stunning palaces and street art, who knew Seoul is a treasure trove of Insta-worthy spots? Not to mention, you can conveniently head over to halal eateries nearby. So, make sure you visit these places on your next visit to Seoul and don't forget to SHARE this with your #ootd buddies!