Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a great destination that has a lot to offer. Actually it is the best of both worlds. The clean and organized of a western city, but with the charm and atmosphere of an Asian city. Nice cozy streets, palaces, typical Asian markets, gigantic museums and surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. With more than 10 million inhabitants today, it is a large city, where you can easily enjoy yourself for a week. We ourselves stayed here for 9 days and we have closed the city in our hearts.
Today you have to prepare for the trip due to the current covid rules. Regardless of whether you have been vaccinated, you must take a Covid test before departure, and one after arrival. The last test can also be taken at the airport. Furthermore, before departure, just fill in a K-ETA form and you are free to go. This form can be completed online or via the K-ETA app. Fortunately, public transport is very well organized in South Korea, so after arrival you can catch the Metro in the basement of the airport and the journey to the center can begin. You can buy a T-Money card or a single ticket, all in English. For navigation you can use the MAPS.ME app, but most Koreans use the Naver Map.
Given the enormous size of the city, it is very important to determine where you want to spend the night. That is why we indicate our thoughts per district below.
This is the neighborhood where we spent the night and also our favorite neighborhood. Super cozy streets with many restaurants and bars, including many outdoor barbeque restaurants. Also close to the most beautiful palaces and within walking distance of the famous Bukchon Hanok village, and the famous Gwangjang Market. Also several metro stations within walking distance.
This is a very hip neighborhood with a youthful atmosphere. Again many restaurants and bars and a beautiful shopping area with many clothing stores and souvenirs. If you like going out and a fun nightlife, this might just be the neighborhood for you.
This is the neighborhood we heard a lot about before leaving. Many people recommend us to stay here overnight. And to be honest, we were disappointed. Of course there are beautiful houses and nice shopping streets. But it's an expat neighborhood so the real Korea has been lost a bit. Furthermore, it has many Arabic influences such as many kabab shops and shisha lounges. We prefer to see the real korea, so this is not the nicest neighborhood for us.
This is a very nice part of the city for a day of shopping. Many shopping streets with the large department stores, but also nice small boutiques. There is a daily market with typical Korean food, and there are several shopping centers. Just outside the neighborhood you have the beautiful Cheonggycheon stream, a photo-worthy and quiet stream.
Also a nice neighborhood for a day out. Here is the long shopping street "Insadong-gil". Many shops and creative businesses predominate here. There are many delicious restaurants in the side streets. Really nice neighborhood, and close to Gyeongbokgung palace.
This district immediately reminds you of the world famous song "gangnam style". But this area also has a lot to offer. Located south of the Hangang River, this is the financial district. Many huge flats, business people, and the most beautiful sports cars stroll through the streets here. There are also many Malls here, so you can have a great time.
There is of course a lot to experience here in this city, so below our favorite days out in Seoul.
The War Memorial of Korea (War museum):
This was our favorite museum. The complex is huge and versatile. The entire history of Korea's wars is highlighted. From the Japanese war, to the Vietnam war to the 2nd world war. Everything is covered. Many films, war memorabilia, vehicles and far-reaching stories are featured here. Operating hours 09.00 - 18.00. Entrance is free, and you can easily spend half a day here.
National Museum of Korea:
Another impressive museum. it is huge and consists of 3 floors. The National Museum of Korea houses a vast collection of over 420.000 artifacts from ancient times to the modern era in a wide range of topics, including art and culture. Operating hours 10.00 - 18.00. Night openings on Wednesday ans Saturdays until 21.00. Entrance is free.
Bukchon Hanok Village:
A neighborhood with traditional Korean houses. It is important to behave calmly as people live here. The district is close to Gyeongbokgung palace, so it is easy to combine. Beautiful to see so definitely worth a visit. It is not very big by the way, In Jeonju you can see a comparable district which is the largest in the country.
Gwangjang Market was the first permanent market in Korea and continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination today. This is a very nice and large market to try the typical Korean delicacies. You will find it really everything. Actually the best place to eat is a very cozy and typical Korean environment.
Lotte World is our favorite Mall par excellence. Unlike the other Malls, this one was very organized. There are many shops and the large chain stores are also there. Many restaurants and a food corner, as well as an Aquarium and large cinema. But lotte has more to offer, such as the Lotte World Tower. Here you can enjoy a beautiful view of the entire city. In addition, there is Lotte World Magic Island, an indoor and outdoor theme park.
Bukhansan National park:
The view from the Lotte tower is of course beautiful, but we think it couldn't be more beautiful than from the mountain tops around Seoul. Interested, see our other blog about "Bukhansan National Park"
The palaces are also definitely one of the highlights of Seoul, but given the many information regarding a visit, we have also dedicated an entire blog here. See our other blog here as well.
In short, plenty to see in and around Seoul. This city is great as are the very friendly residents. So go on an adventure and keep this city close to your heart, just like us.