If you are looking for a trip that will give you an experience like no other, then Seoul, South Korea is one of the top locations to visit. There are so many things to do in Seoul that you can literally spend an entire month here and still not have enough time to explore Seoul to the fullest. Today, we are going to go over some of the top things to do in Seoul.
For years, travelers have been flocking to Seoul for so many reasons. For starters, the eclectic nature of life here is rather unique. In fact, every traveler must experience this atmosphere at least once in their life time. Not only is there an eclectic nature to life in Seoul, but there is always something happening everywhere you go. This bubbling cosmopolitan city is becoming one of the most popular destinations for travelers from all over the world. After today's article, it will be clear to see why. Let's get started with our list of the top things to do in Seoul, South Korea.
1. Pay a Visit to the Trick Eye Museum
Credit: Trick Eye Museum / Facebook
The Trick Eye Museum is perhaps one of the best examples of the vibrancy that Seoul, South Korea has to offer. If you are an art lover or someone who appreciates the trippy things in life, then the Trick Eye Museum is the place for you.
What makes the Trick Eye Museum unique is the fact that the museum takes a colourful approach to how spectators see art. With the help of augmented reality and 2D / 3D illusions, visitors get to experience exhibits that are truly out of this world. In fact, visitors love visiting the Trick Eye Museum because you actually get to interact with the artwork here. Unlike most art museums, touching the exhibits is something that is very much encouraged.
Finally, it would not be in the nature of Seoul not to include technology as part of their art displays. When you are browsing through the exhibits here, be sure to have your Trick Eye Camera app ready to go. The Trick Eye Camera app gives visitors a unique tool that will help bring the exhibits to life. Not only that, but you can record your reaction to some of the top visits here.
Lastly, when you are in the Trick Eye Museum, you should make it a point to stop by the Ice Museum too. The Ice Museum is a location within the main museum that is truly like no other. It features objects that are made entirely out of ice sculptures. In fact, you will get to experience a whole living room area that is made out of ice. The living room is complete with a sofa, a coffee table, and a television set. Lastly, what we love about this museum is the fact that you can literally come any day you want. The Trick Eye Museum is wonderfully accessible as it is open all year long every single day.
If you are travelling with friends, a large group, or a significant other, then the Trick Eye Museum is the place to go. Skip the museums that require quiet and pensiveness. Instead, swap out that experience for a lively one by visiting the bubbly and downright fun Trick Eye Museum.
2. Stroll Through Bukchon Hanok Village
Credit: Doug Sum Beams
In any location that you visit, it is a must that you take some time to stroll through the streets of that location. When you are strolling through a city's streets, you will get the opportunity to really connect with the atmosphere and culture of that location.
When it comes to Seoul, one of the best things to do in Seoul is to take your time and stroll through the Bukchon Hanok Village. What makes this village unique is the fact that it is home to traditional Henok houses. In fact, many of the houses that are found here date back to the Joseon Dynasty. Not only are these homes steeped in a super rich history, but they are still in use today. Many of these homes are occupied by families who have had these homes passed down year after year.
One of the best things to do in the village is to climb all the way to the top of the hill of this neighborhood. For travel photographers, you are sure to appreciate the beauty that awaits you when you get to the top. At the bottom of the hill, there is a vast landscape of modern buildings. But when you get to the top of the hill you are in for a treat. You get the chance to get a sense of appreciation for the traditional Hanok houses. The layering of the Hanok houses and the modern buildings is a beautiful contrast from the past to the present.
3. Spend the Day at Lotte World
Credit: Jeremy Thompson
The United States might have Disney World, but that does not compare to the beauty that is found in Seoul's Lotte world. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Seoul is to visit the countrywide popular Lotte World. In other words, Seoul's version of Disney World.
Essentially, Lotte World is an amusement park that features both an indoor theme park and outdoor amusement park. what makes Lotte World so wonderful is the fact that there is so much fun to be had here. Much like many of the things to do in Seoul, you will never be at a loss for fun. From epic rides to vibrant entertainment, Lotte World delivers on all aspects.
One of the best ways to experience Lotte World is by going with as many people as you can. This means if you are travelling with a group, You are sure to have plenty of fun here. There is too much fascination that happens here that the only way you can truly enjoy the experience is when you share it with someone else. In true Seoul fashion, Lotte World is one of the best things to do in Seoul. This is in part due to all the vibrancy and entertainment found here.
4. Pay a Visit to Ever Land
Credit: Martin Lewison
If you love going to theme parks, then another one of the best theme parks to visit in Seoul is Ever Land. Ever Land is easily one of the best things to do in Seoul for so many reasons. For starters, the setting here is simply stunning. There is a picturesque western feel that is supported by the beautiful arrangement of greenery and shrubbery. Along with that, there is simply so much to do here. In fact, the rides are split up into five different ride zones and attractions. In each zone, you will find a unique attraction that is all its own.
Along with the atmosphere, there are plenty of rides waiting for you here at Ever Land. In fact, you might want to set aside a whole day in order to get a chance at getting on all the rides. When it comes to the rides, Ever Land has claimed its name to fame due to one particular ride. This ride is the world's steepest wooden roller coaster ride. Don't worry, compared to some of the other rides, besides the steepness, this roller coaster is not as intimidating as the others might be.
When it comes to experiencing Ever Land, visitors all have the same advice. Start your day here by arriving early in the morning, right as the park opens. Then, plan on spending your entire day here until the park closes. The reason for this prompt planning is pretty clear. With so much to do in so much little time, you want to have a chance to experience it all. Paying a visit to Ever Land is certainly one of the best things to do in Seoul.
5. Go Shopping Underground
One of the best things to do in Seoul, South Korea is to experience the underground shopping scene. The world of underground shopping may sound strange to some travelers, but it is, in fact, a very popular thing in Seoul, South Korea. This bustling metropolitan area is home to numerous underground facilities. One such facility is the Myeongdong Underground Shopping Center. This underground mall is a maze of alleys and vendors that is as exciting as it is as mesmerizing. When you are down here, you can expect to find everything from good food to clothing to jewelry. If you love shopping, then this underground shopping mall is the place to go.
Not only does the underground mall have plenty of products to offer. But it is the place to go to if you are a bargain hunter. Whether you are looking to shop or not, the underground mall is one of the best places to practice your haggling skills. If there is one thing you should know in this underground mall, it is that the price is always flexible. Try out your hand at haggling to see if you have a knack for it. Just be prepared, the locals are ready and waiting to negotiate with you.
You could easily spend a whole day getting lost in the world of the underground shopping here. To best explore this environment, be sure to block of a good chunk of your morning or afternoon. This will give you just enough time to go exploring. Just be sure that when you do go out, you practice good safety procedures. Because the underground mall tends to be home to a large number of people in a compact space, you do want to try to keep your eyes open for pickpockets.
6. Visit Changdeokgung Palace
Another one of the best things to do in Seoul is visiting the popular Changdeokgung Palace. What makes the Changdeokgung Palace so popular is the fact that it is exceptionally well preserved. While many of the historic palaces in Seoul have the distinguished label of the oldest or the largest, the Changdeokgung Palace does not. In fact, the Changdeokgung palace currently holds the title for being the most intact palace in Seoul. This is pretty impressive especially considering how old it is.
The Changdeokgung Palace was constructed in 1405. the palace was constructed as an additional homestead for the then King Changdeokgung. Throughout the years, the palace has served a range of purposes. One such purpose was including Korea's principled governing palace. Along with its ability to stay intact, it is also one of the most lived in palaces. Throughout the years, it has been well loved by the many royal families that lived here.
Finally, along with the beauty of the architecture, the Changdeokgung Palace boasts an impeccably beautiful garden. The rear garden of the palace is also known as “The Secret Garden.” When you step foot here, it is easy to see why this Garden was so well hidden. Covering over two thirds of the 110 acre landscape, the Secret Garden has plenty to offer the many visitors who come here. For example, visitors can expect to find beautiful lotus pools, stunning fountains, and gorgeous pavilions. Along with that, there is a range of beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers that bloom here throughout the year. For photography lovers, this is easily one of the best places to come out to and photograph.
For history buffs and architecture enthusiasts, visiting the Changdeokgung Palace is a must. Not only that but when it comes to historical landmarks, the Changdeokgung Palace is easily one of the best things to do in Seoul.
7. Visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
Credit: Travis Wise
You do not have to follow politics to know that the Demilitarized Zone or the DMZ is perhaps one of the most controversial locations on the face of the planet. The Demilitarized Zone is a little under 35 miles north of the city of Seoul. If you find yourself in Seoul, South Korea, then one of the coolest things to do in Seoul is to visit the Demilitarized Zone.
Essentially, the Demilitarized Zone is a border that marks the separation of North Korea from South Korea. The border is approximately 148 miles long with a 2 mile wide swath of land. This swath of land is what divides North Korea from South Korea. This highly lucrative border is the well known meeting point between these two sparring countries.
While the Demilitarized Zone is a heavily guarded location. It also serves to be one of the best things to do in Seoul. Each year, there are thousands of visitors who come to witness this notorious location with their own eyes.
In fact, the Demilitarized Zone is such a hot spot that you can find plenty of tours that will take you here. If you do choose to book a tour to the Demilitarized Zone, then there are some neat experiences you can expect to find. For example, a popular stop on the tour is the rundown city of Panmunjom. This town is snugly situated in the Military Demarcation Line where the Joint Security Area is located. Along with visiting this town, tourists can get the unique opportunity of looking through telescopes. These telescopes allow visitors to observe the propaganda buildings that are situated in the questionable country of North Korea.
Lastly, visitors can expect their tour to take them to Imjingak. Imjingak is the park that also serves as a makeshift museum. Here, visitors can expect to find monuments and relics that highlight important events of the Korean War.
When it comes to booking a tour, several tour groups have services that you can take advantage of. However, one of the most popular tour groups is organized by the company Koridoor. Koridoor offers United Service Organization (USO) tours that will take you to all the hot spots of the Demilitarized Zone. The great thing about booking your tour with this company is the fact that you will have the opportunity to spend half of your day exploring one of the most iconic locations on the globe. Their understanding and knowledge of the area is unmatched. This unique experience is easily one of the best things to do in Seoul.
8. Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace
Another one of the most popular locations to go to is the beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace. If you ask any local, they will tell you that the Gyeongbokgung Palace is easily one of the best things to do in Seoul.
What makes this Palace unique is the fact that it has such a stunning history behind it. The Gyeongbokgung Palace was originally built in the year 1395. When it was built, it was one of the main palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. Along with the history, the Palace has a very inspiring name behind it. The Korean translation of this Palace is the “palace greatly blessed by heaven.”
Although the name of this pace is a very promising title, the history of the palace has not seen such a blessing. In fact, during the 1950’s, the palace was actually destroyed during the Japanese invasions. It wasn't until King Gojong began restoring the palace during the years 1852 to 1919 when he was in power. After King Gojong, the Palace saw misfortune again and was destroyed in another Japanese invasion. However, the palace was fortunate enough to be built back up again.
The grounds of this iconic palace are simply stunning. Because of the beauty that the Gyeongbokgung Palace offers, you will easily need several hours to explore it. One of the best ways to explore the palace is by blocking off a big chunk of your morning and afternoon. While you are at the Gyeongbokgung Palace, there are some events that you can look forward to it. One of the most popular events is the changing of the guard ceremony. This ceremony is held daily at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This ceremony is unique to watch in the fact that is very traditional and well structured.
The only downside to visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace is the fact that you can expect to find plenty of crowds. Because this is a hotspot location, you will want to steer away from visiting on the weekends. This is when crowds are typically at an all time high. Instead, visit during a weekday during the morning hours in order to enjoy the palace with fewer bodies around.
As far as admissions are concerned, entry to the palace is fairly cheap at a little under $3. Along with that, you have the flexibility of visiting the palace every day of the week except for is Tuesdays. Without a doubt, visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the best things to do in Seoul. Especially if you are set on exploring the historical significance of this sprawling city.
9. Explore the Dongdaemun Market
credit: Abigail Becker
Another one of the most popular things to do in Soul is to visit the Dongdaemun Market. This market is fabulous for so many reasons. For starters, it is one of the biggest markets in Seoul, South Korea. The Dongdaemun Market spans 10 blocks. Within these 10 blocks, visitors can expect to find 26 malls. Along with this, there are over 30,000 specialty shops, vendors, and wholesale stores. Before you head out here, it is imperative that you bring along a map. That way, you know where you are going and how to navigate the streets here.
Another one of the best features of the Dongdaemun Market is the fact that it is open 24 hours a day, all day long. In fact, many of the stores open as early as 5 am. For locals who live here, this is an added plus since you can get virtually anything you need at all hours of the day.
Because there is such an eclectic mix of vendors, it is rather easy to get overwhelmed or even lost here. One of the best ways to explorer the Dongdaemun Market is by staying on the main strip, Jangchungdan-ro. This main street runs right through the market and connects almost every store, vendor, and shop together. When you go west of the street, you will find malls that are more marketed toward tourists. The malls here offer a more retail approach that makes it easier to navigate. For shoppers who like a little more structure in their exploration, then this is a prime spot of the market to explore.
If you do get lost here, there are some resources at your disposal. For example, there is a multilingual information desk that will help you get to where you need to go. Along with that, you will find plenty of currency exchange shops. This way you will always have cash on hand to purchase whatever you need.
Because Dongdaemun Market can be quite overwhelming, the best way to experience it is by planning carefully. Many travelers will tell you that the best way to explore this market is by setting aside a whole afternoon or evening for exploration. You do not have to worry about leaving the market to get a bite to eat either. Everything you need to get through your day is right on location. If you ask any traveler or local, the Dongdaemun Market is easily one of the best things to do in Seoul.
10. Visit Bukhansan National Park
In a sprawling city like Seoul, it seems rather unnatural for a national park to have a home here. However one of the best things to do in Seoul is to visit the popular Bukhansan National Park. The Bukhansan National Park is located in the northern part of Seoul. Although it is out of the way, thanks to public transportation, it is quite easy to get to it.
Bukhansan National Park Covers over 30 square miles of land in the northern region of Seoul. Along with this, the park offers visitors an incredibly unique landscape. There are incredibly beautiful granite peaks that are simply stunning. Along with that, there are valleys and hills that are magical in part to the sprawling forests here. You will also find plenty of hiking trails that will allow you to explore the natural park. Not only that, but the many trails will allow you to get in touch with the natural aspect of Seoul.
Along with the sprawling nature, visitors can expect to find over 100 historic Buddhist temples and monks cells here. Among these iconic landmarks, visitors should keep an eye out for the Bukhansan Fortress. The Fortress has a very interesting history behind it. It was built roughly in the year 1711. The purpose of this fortress was for Kings to have a place to hide out when they needed to seek refuge.
On a final note, because it is located next to a sprawling city, it is one of the most frequent locations all year round. Coupled with the fact that it is a rather small area for a national park, this national park has earned one interesting recognition. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the number one park with the most visitors per square feet. Although this record might be impressive, it doesn't mean that you should expect crowd sizes to be large. Especially during the peak seasons when travel to Seoul is at an all time high.
Lastly, you cannot leave the park until you take the beautiful climb to see the city of Seoul sitting below you. You can get to the top of Baegundae peak by taking the Bukhansanseong trail. This rugged trail is a roughly three and a half hour hike. Although it is rigorous, it is certainly worth it. Because of the length of the trail and the rugged terrain, you will want to make sure that you plan your trip properly. Be sure to bring along your proper hiking shoes and your favorite water bottle so that you stay hydrated. When you do get to the top, the view is simply stunning and worth the excursion. Without a doubt, visiting the Bukhansan National Park is easily one of the best things to do in Seoul.
What makes South Korea one of the most unique experiences is the fact that there is always something new to explore here. Along with many Asian countries, South Korea is always at the forefront of new inventions and technology. When you experience South Korea, you will get the opportunity to experience this innovation first hand. Before you head out on your adventure through Soul, be sure to include some of these best things to do in Seoul on your itinerary list.
Related Article: Explore Seoul, South Korea's Heart