Top 18 Things to do in Seoul, South Korea

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Interested in temples, culture, tradition, and good food? Visit and check out what are the top things to do in Seoul and find out other interesting things in this city you might stumble upon!

Seoul is the capital of South Korea, is a vast metropolis with so many things to do in Seoul. You might notice dining and shopping as the souls of Seoul at first glance. This metropolis is famous for high-end subways, modern skyscrapers, and unmatched fusion of palaces and street markets, and pop culture and Buddhist temples.

Some of the notable Seoul attractions are a futuristic convention hall with Rooftop Park and curving architecture, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, site of pine trees, and prehistoric locust Jogyesa Temple, and none other than Gyeongbokgung Palace, which had around 7000 rooms.

The bustling market of Seoul is always brimming with individual shops. After wandering around for some time and doing a bit more research, you will observe the rich 2000 years old history of Seoul as a settlement. Here, you will get into the charm of fascinating Korean culture, endless neighborhoods and parks, and mountains.

Here, we will discuss all the secret things and behind-the-scenes insights that only locals know, as well as unique things to do in Seoul. Whether you are a solo traveler, a group of friends and family, or a couple, there is so much to see and things to do in Seoul.

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Read also: Top 15 Places to Visit in South Korea 

Experiences and top things to do in Seoul

wowen in Hanbok Seoul Korea

Walk around Jongno in Hanbok (traditional Korean dress)

When you visit Seoul, do not forget to try the traditional Korean dress, Hanbok, and walk around the streets of Jongno, including Bukchon, Insadong, and Gyeongbokgung. There are several places to hire Hanbok, like Insadong.

However, it is recommended to start just outside Gyeongbokgung station or within the palace complex. According to the time you use it, the cost of the dress varies.

Nevertheless, you can get free entry at many Korean attractions by wearing it.

Streetfood in Seoul Korea

Try the street food

What if you are shopping and suddenly get hunger pangs? Just visit Myeongdong, where you can try some of the best street foods in Seoul. It has many street stalls, cafes, and restaurants.

In some areas, you can find street stalls in large numbers so you can easily sample a variety of food and compare them. There are different street food vendors around this place. You should go there at night time on Friday and Saturday were many vendors try to attract the crowd.

You can try anything you like but do not miss fried tteok (Korean rice cake), meat skewers, odeng (fish cake) on stick or mandu (dumplings).

Namdaemun Market Seoul Korea

Shop at Namdaemun Market

It is probably one of the best places to visit in Seoul to shop and bring back some souvenirs, unlike the traditional ones at Insadong. Namdaemun Market has no lack of best deals, especially when it comes to buying souvenirs in bulk. You can purchase anything from jewelry to fashion and fresh items.

If you are looking for electronics, head to the camera market, especially if you are running a lack of time to explore Yongsan Electronic Market, you can find huge ranges like vintage and new cameras at the best prices. Be sure they are set in English. Go to Hoehyeon station (exit 5) and walk along the Namdemun Market until you get to the main road.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

Hiking at Bukhansan National Park Seoul Korea

Hike Bukhansan National Park

If you love hiking, Bukhansan is the place you should add to your bucket list. Also known as ‘Big Mountain in the North,’ Bukhansan truly lives up to its expectations. It is covered in 6 different districts and is 78.45 km wide and also extends to Gyeonggi-do. Bukhansan National Park is positioned in northern Seoul and still accessible through public transport.

It is a hilly paradise in the busy metropolis. Stretched over 30 sq. miles, the Bukhansan National Park houses forested valleys, huge granite peaks, and miles of hiking trails, and around 100 medieval monks’ cells and Buddhist temples. Bukhansanseong Fortress is a historical Joseon stronghold you should visit.

Do not skip the mountain wall stretched over 5 miles, which runs along the hilly terrain of the park. Built-in 1711, the fortress served as a refuge place for kings during an emergency. The original foundations dated back to 132 AD. It is a natural setting, historical importance and proximity to Seoul are the main reasons behind its Guinness World Records with most visitors per sq. Ft. especially on weekends, and it gets highly crowded.

Read also: Road Trip in South Korea: From Seoul to Busan

Traditional Korean Homestay Seoul Korea

Traditional Korean Homestay

Bukchon is very beautiful and one of the best places to visit in Seoul. If you are thinking of what to do in Seoul, it is recommended to have a short visit to Socheon, at the west of Gyeongbukgung. Like Bukchon and Samcheongdong, Socheon is famous more among local tourists than foreigners.

Hence, it has a lot of charm, and it is more authentic to see in Seoul. It offers delicious street foods at some of the best dingy restaurants. If you are looking for traditional authentic Korean dishes, be sure to visit Socheon. The whole street lined with some of the delicious foods in Seoul

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

Top attractions to visit in Seoul

Seoul attractions cater to all types of nature and adventure lovers, culture vultures, trendy fashionista, and other tourists. Therefore it is not easy to decide where to go in Seoul first. The city is full of cool, unique, and amazing places to go in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul Korea

Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace

Well, this is the star attraction in the list of top things to do in Seoul. Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main palace that belonged to the Joseon Dynasty. Ask any local what to see in Seoul, and they will suggest this royal palace. Built-in 1395, the Gyeongbokgung Palace was restored from 1852 to 1919 as it was almost destroyed by fire.

It is a stunning attraction to explore ancient Korean architecture and culture. The palace complex has two beautiful museums – the National Folk Museum near Bukchon and the National Palace Museum of Korea near Socheon.

The changing of guards at Gwanghwamun’s main entrance is the next Seoul points of interest. It includes the tallest soldiers in the military, giving an authentic performance. This complex is beautiful, and tourists spend at least half the day to explore its vast grounds.

Be sure to carry your power bank along as this place is Instagram-worthy. Also, do not forget to check its official timings to avoid shocks. You can get a free guided tour at 11 am, 3.30 pm, and 1.30 pm, along with audio commentary.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

Read also: Best Cities to Visit in Asia: Top 20 Beautiful and Best Cities to Travel in Asia

Jongmyo Shrine Seoul Korea

UNESCO-listed Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. Jongmyo Shrine is also one of the best places of interest in Seoul. Here, you can learn about ancient traditions from memorial offerings to traditional music.

It is best suited for culture lovers and history fans who love amazing architectural designs. You can explore this site on your own only on Saturdays.

There is a guided tour for other days of the week. The attraction remains closed on Tuesdays. You can join English tours at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

MMCA Seoul Korea

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) is the monolithic museum located just towards the east of Gyeongbukgong Palace. It is one of the best and fun things to do in Seoul. Located in the spot of the Defense Security Command, is new Seoul branch opened in 2013.

The building designed in Madang architecture. It is a vast courtyard where communities can come together and mingle. It is a beautiful place to explore, even though you do not get in.

You can enjoy many exhibitions which are continually changing. Entry is free from 6 to 9 pm or around $4 for the rest of the time.

Bukchon Hanok Village Seoul Korea

Check out the traditional Hanok houses in Bukchon Village

Bukchon Village is the most popular region to capture some beautiful Hanok houses after capturing the restored classic home stays at Samcheong-dong.

You can take a walking tour for three hours or explore the village on your own. If you are thinking of where to stay in Seoul, there are homestays and workshops available in Hanok.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

ogyesa Temple Seoul Korea

Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa Temple is the heart of Zen (Seon) Buddhism, and peaceful heaven in Korea lies in the heart of the bustling metropolis. It is one of the must-see and most accessible temples in Seoul.

Though it is not the quietest place in the city, Jogyesa Temple is the main temple of Jogye order and is quite a busy landmark. It is not just bustling among the visitors, but it also holds lectures, ceremonies, and various Buddhist events.

There is a shopping Mecca in Buddhism just out of the temple. You can buy monk outfits, statues of Buddha, and all kinds of Buddhist trinkets and rosaries. It is one of the best Seoul tourist spots for your spiritual journey.

Changgyeonggun Palace Seoul Korea

Changgyeonggung

Lies within the heart of Seoul, the Changgyeonggung Palace have been a royal palace and secondary residence for the king’s father and queens. It is a summer palace built initially in 1104 during the rule of the Goryeo Dynasty’s King Sukjong.

You can enter for free with the Integrated Ticket of Palaces. It remains closed on Mondays. King Sejong built a new royal palace in 1418 for King Taejong, his father, at this site.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

Gwanghwamun square

Gwanghwamun square

It is a public place in the heart of Seoul, which has statues, museums, eateries, and stunning views of the surroundings.

In February 2004, plans were surfaced to convert it into a pedestrian-only square. The construction started in April 2008, which took 15 months and cost 44.5 bn. Won. Bordered by Sejong-ro Street, the revamped square opened in August 2009.

cheonggyecheon south korea

Cheonggyecheon

It is a 10.9 km long recreational stretch in downtown Seoul. It is a huge urban renewal project on a stream flowed before the economic development before the war period, and it transformed by transportation infrastructure.

Initially, the $900 million projects grabbed more criticism that is public, but it became famous among the tourists and residents when it opened in 2005.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

Gwangjang market stores Seoul Korea

Gwangjang Market

If you want to try delightful and authentic street food, be sure to visit the Gwangjang Market at Jongno-5 ga station (exit 8). If you love to taste authentic Korean food, it is the best place.

You can try the delicious Korean rice roll, kimbap, and delicacies like soondae and jokbal, and bindatteok, bring some cash and an empty stomach. There is so much to try in here.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Seoul. 

Top food to taste in Seoul

Korean cuisine Galbijjim

Galbijjim

Braised short ribs or Galbi-jjim is a Korean steamed dish, which made with short ribs. Beef galbi is also known as gari, so the dish is known as gaijin. It is usually made with pork short ribs or beef.

It was traditionally eaten with namul, songpayeon, taro soup, chicken jjim, and chestnut dumplings.

Korean food Kimbap

Kimbap

It is a Korean dish, which consists of steamed white rice when other ingredients rolled in a dried sheet of laver seaweed and served in small slices.

It is often offered in a packed meal to enjoyed outdoor events and picnics. It is a well-known go-to dish in Korea. It is well known for its portability, and it is a convenient food.

Korean barbecue

Eat Korean BBQ

You can also enjoy Korean barbecue, which refers to the popular method of grilling beef, chicken, or pork. These dishes preferred on charcoal or gas built-in dining tables. Some restaurants in Seoul also have grills with portable stoves to use at the tables.

You must try Bulgogi, which is a popular type of Korean BBQ. The meat marinated with a blend of sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper, traditionally cooked with perforated dome griddles or gridirons.

Gamjatang

Gamjatang

It is a Korean soup, which is spicy and made of neck or spine bones of a pig. It also has cellophane noodles, potatoes, perilla leaves, dried radish greens, green onions, ground sesame seeds, and hot peppers.

The vertebrae are separated from the meat and are boiled to soften the meat at high heat. It would be best to use a chopstick to remove the meat.

Read also: Top 20 Best Beaches in Asia You Must Visit

→ Check out these activities in Seoul

 

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