Laying right smack in the middle of Korea is it’s grand capital, Seoul. With its extensive network of public transportation that is color coded (with destinations in English/Mandarin) to aid travelers during their use, traveling within Seoul has never been easier and more convenient even for non-korean speaking tourist.
So if you do plan to visit Seoul, here’s our Travel blog‘s top recommendations of things to do in Seoul
Food glorious food. And by that, it just means Korean BBQ. You definitely have to at least have a meal of Korean BBQ with Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi stew). You can easily find restaurants that serve quality meat from as low as $20/pax. Unhealthy as it seems, but we found ourselves craving for it night after night and especially during winter on cold nights. Picture that piece of succulent meat accompanied with a glass of beer, best feeling ever! And it’d be even better if you can find a store that has a selection of Jeju Black Pork in their menu, cos the Jeju Black Pork changes everything (I kid you not). I cant even find the words to describe it, but it is really really REALLY tender, succulent and juicy and “oh so yummy”.
2. Live Octopus + Noryanjin Fish Market
If BBQ is not your thing and you are looking for something more exotic, how about Korea’s acclaimed live octopus dish? And if you plan to do that, there’s no place better to get it than at Noryanjin fish Market. Read in detail about Live Octopus and Noryanjin Fish Market
3. Myeong dong
Myeong dong is a heaven on Earth for vainpots like me, where the streets are lined with endless beauty stores with posters of the latest K-pop stars endorsing their products, flashing LEDs and loud K-pop music that makes the streets come alive in the evening. Girls go crazy there with facial masks going at $1 a piece. For guys that think girls are vain and wasting money, trust me. You probly wouldn’t think twice, about getting some facial foam or lotions for yourself either. It is easily my favorite place in Seoul, where every corner you get beauty stores, fashion clothing stores, cafes, Korean bbq restaurants, salons, massage parlors and SOFT SERVE! And trust me when I say you’ll find yourself coming back night after night. Myeong dong closes relatively later, around 10/11pm, than the Lotte shopping mall found right beside which closes around 7~8pm. So we do suggest heading to Lotte before crossing the street to Myeong dong.
4. Everland Theme Park
For adrenaline junkies, do make a trip to Everland and get your butts on the T-express and I assure you, that hour long train trip down will be worth every min. Dubbed one of the best rides in Asia, T-express is the fourth tallest and ninth fastest ride in the World. We lost count on the number of drops on the ride but after the first plunge, we couldn’t even catch our breath and the second drop came. This ride is nothing like all the other rides in Asia that we’ve been on, and its definitely one of the rides not to be missed! Aside from the t-express, Everland also offers a safari where you get to see the big cats, ligers, bears etc in the safety of a bus. The spectacular light display at night is too one not to be missed.
5. Royal Palaces
No trip to Seoul is complete without visiting one of their 5 Royal Palaces. The most famous of the lot would be Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace), which served as the main palace for the royalties in the Joseon Dynasty. This 600 year old palace is rich in culture and history, and I’d recommend you to spend half a day or more in the palace. Though descriptions and artifacts are all in Korean, they do provide English audio guides at a nominal fee.
For the nocturnal ones, Dongdaemun is the place to go. When they say Seoul is a city that never sleeps, they literally meant it. With shopping malls selling wholesale clothes and food chains operating till 5am in the morning (on wkends Fri & Sat), you’ll never have to worry about sleepless nights and midnight hunger pangs.
7. Nami Island
Do a One day tour to the beautiful island of Nami which is just a train/boat ride away from Seoul. Read about One day Nami island and petite france tour
8. Namsan Tower
Namsan Tower is both a communication tower and an observatory deck for tourist and locals alike to head up for a birds eye view of the city. To get there, one would have to take a cable car to the top of the mountain before taking the lift up to the observatory deck. Do note that taking the lift up would cost you a nominal fee, however, if you choose to dine at one of their top level restaurants, they would waive the nominal fee. For those of you who are like our Singapore Travel blog and is traveling together as a couples, Namsan tower also carries the tradtion of placing locks at specific locations across the tower area to signify the eternal lock between 2 parties, much like the “Love lock” bridge in Paris. You can either bring your own locks or purchase one from their giftshop.
9. DMZ/JSA Tour
This particular tour, although pricey, was one of the best experience we personally had throughout our whole Seoul trip. The DMZ/JSA tour takes you through the history of the ongoing war between the North and South Korea to the present day situation. You get to visit the underground tunnels, the demilitarized zone and get to the border of North Korea. For those who are traveling with a budget, you can also consider heading to Seoul’s War Memorial Museum where you would learn a great deal about the war. The visit to the War Memorial Museum would also serve as a good add on to those who already did the DMZ/JSA tour.