Seoul is a beautiful metropolis to discover. Beautiful communities, exciting activities, and plenty of (clean) street food are just a few of the things you can do in Seoul. The vibrant city has stylish, modern, and cutting-edge technology combined with fascinating history, making it an exciting place to visit.
Admittedly, I was exhausted by the end of each day because my itinerary was very ambitious. Nevertheless,I enjoyed seeing the highlights of Seoul. It should come as no surprise that my travel plans were focused on eating Korean food, exploring markets, and finding cute Korean stationery stores.
If you’re visiting Seoul for the first time, don’t be discouraged by the fact that there are so many things to do in this bustling metropolis. Biking or riding on a hop-on, hop-off bus can be a more practical method of moving about the city than walking.
Before Korea’s capital city becomes too mainstream, check out these places to get a real taste of Seoul.
Namdaemun market is enormous that it needs its own blog post, and for good reason. Namdaemun Market is Korea’s main and oldest market, with over 10,000 vendors and a wealth of street food. From electronics to jewelry and home goods, there are lots of one-of-a-kind products on sale.
If you want to explore the market fully, go in with no specific destination in mind and let the market lead you astray. However, if you can’t or don’t want to get lost, look for one of the English-speaking guides on key intersections throughout the marketplace who will hand you a map detailing all vendor names and locations.
Go on an empty stomach; there are plenty of delicious Korean street foods to be found throughout the market.
Myeongdong is a renowned shopping district in Seoul, Korea that’s especially popular with cosmetics, apparel, and food. You’ll find both Korean and international brands here, as well as mid-to-high end retail stores. If you’re into makeup like me, this place will have all of your favorite famous Korean cosmetic brands!
You are a go-getter if you try to find out when this area is less crowded; it’s never going to happen! In an area of less than one square kilometre, Myeongdong has a daily floating population of over one million. Isn’t that madness?
Of course, there are many food vendors in Myeongdong.
Don’t leave without stopping by Line Friends to take a photo with Brown, the giant bear! He’s so popular that there are Even waiting lines for people hoping to get a picture with him. Don’t be astonished if you see Korean celebrities in this area. I followed the screaming crowd that was gathering near a store’s entrance, I cautiously advanced and snapped a photo of the celebrity. I subsequently showed it to my buddy, who believes that actress Song Hye-Kyo is in it.
You’ll want to visit these unusual activities in Seoul if you’re a fan of K-pop and K-dramas. In Myeongdong, you may get a photoshoot dressed up in a Hanbok for an affordable price!
Tip:The Namdaemun market is a short ten-minute walk from Myeongdong. You could take the metro to either market, but I think walking is better because of how pretty the scenery is.
Once I finished exploring Myeongdong, I went to Garosu-gil in the Sinsadong area. If you’re looking for fashionable places, this is number one on the list–there are captivating stores down every alleyway. Not only does it have designer labels and chic cafes/restaurants, but everyone here is absolutely gorgeous. The women look like they could be walking straight off a modelling shoot!
Insadong is a unique, artsy, and historical area with many alleyways branching off the main road and interesting shops. There are several side streets branching off the main street, including creative stationery manufacturers such as personalized stamps.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Because there are several steep hills to climb, prepare for a rigorous workout. During the Joseon Dynasty, this area was home to Korea’s aristocracy and has magnificent architecture. While some hanoks now have people living in them, the majority of them are used as cultural attractions, restaurants, and teahouses. Prepare to work up a sweat; there are lots of climbs ahead of you.
Changdeokgung is one of four charming palaces situated in Seoul and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although Changdeokgung was constructed as a secondary home in 1405, it served as the primary royal residence after the original palace located in Seoul was destroyed during the 1950s.
PRO TIP: Remember to purchase tickets for entrance into the Palace at least two hours before its closing time; otherwise, they will not permit you entry. This happened to me once; I arrived an hour before it closed but wasn’t allowed access. Even better- go with a guide so that you can learn about this palace’s fascinating history!
Avenue of Youth
The Avenue of Youth is a tiny Myeongdong with shopping shops and Korean cosmetic companies. This street, on the other hand, has a plethora of restaurants that are better than the one I just saw. Although this avenue was not on my itinerary, I found it while searching for a Kyobo shop. Because I didn’t have time to dine inside, I did some window-shopping for food before moving on to the following spot.
Dongdaemun Shopping Town
Dongdaemun is the perfect destination for avid shoppers, as it offers plenty of malls that stay open from 10 am until 5 am! With 26 shopping malls and over 30,000 specialty shops, Dongdaemun is Korea’s largest shopping district. It consists of two main sections: the retail shopping area and the wholesale shopping area. You can find all kinds of products here, ranging from silks and fabrics to clothes and electronics, as well as leather goods, sporting goods, and pet products.
It was immediately time to return to the hotel and collect my belongings before heading to the airport. Fortunately, I had buffer, which helped me compensate for all of the time I wasted taking a wrong subway train.
Other Places to visit near Seoul
For some amazing day trips that won’t break the bank, Bukhansan National Park is perfect. There are lovely hiking trails with terrific views, and if you get tired of hiking, there’s always something to do in neighbouring Busan!