After the Olympics in Pyeongchang, we stayed in Seoul for a full week. We had a very good night, morning and afternoon rest (we were so exhausted) and headed out for some exploring.
N Seoul Tower
The N Seoul Tower was the first sight we visited. The tower is located on the Namsan Mountain. There’s a cable car which takes you up the mountain, but when we got there the line was very long and we prefer to walk anyway. The hike up the mountain isn’t hard or long at all and is very popular with locals. We visited on a Sunday afternoon and there were lots of people walking with their families and/or dogs and even running up the mountain. At the top of the mountain, there are a few observation decks with stunning views over the city. We didn’t go up the tower as we were cold and tired. We decided to call it a day.
Gyeongbokgung used to be a royal palace. The palace has burned down twice, in the late 16th century and in the 20th century. Since 1989, the palace has gradually been restored to its original state. To date, it’s still not entirely finished. The palace grounds are huge, and the buildings are very beautiful and full of details. Gyeongbokgung is absolutely a must visit in Seoul!
KRW 3000 (adult)
Daily: 9:00-17:00/18:00 (depending on the time of the year)
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean neighborhood and is close to Gyeongbokgung, which makes it easy to combine a visit to both places. The neighborhood is full of traditional Korean houses and it’s very nice to walk through the narrow streets. You’ll also see many people in traditional Korean clothing: Hanok.
As part of an urban renewal project completed in 2005 the Cheonggycheon stream, which was almost completely left dry, was restored. Cheonggycheon is a very popular place to stroll around with both tourists and locals. Even though you’re in the middle of a bustling city, walking along the stream is very calming. We actually knew this place from a scene in the Netflix series Sense 8.
Seoul is an amazing city for shopping. There are so many huge malls with lots of smaller boutique stores in them or just many regular stores. Many of our nights were spent at malls. We mostly went to the IFC Mall Yeouido as this one was the closest to our hotel. There is a huge variety of shops and restaurants in the IFC Mall and went there almost every evening to eat and wander around the shops.
On our first night, we went to the Lotte Young Plaza Shopping Complex. This mall is pretty huge and even connected to more malls. There were many nice street style shops and we loved looking around here. We didn’t buy anything at this place, but Mika did see a sweater and shoes here which she bought later somewhere else. The mall was perfect for inspiration.
If you’re into shopping and going to Seoul, make sure to check out Dongdaemun. Dongdaemun is considered a shopping paradise, but we didn’t have time to go there anymore, unfortunately.
Besides visiting the sights, we also wandered around some of the neighborhoods of Seoul. Just like Tokyo, Seoul doesn’t really have one city center, but there are multiple neighborhoods, each with its own identity and its own center with lots of (clothing) shops and restaurants. Just get out and explore!
In general, any place in Seoul is easily accessible by metro and Seoul’s Metropolitan Subway system isn’t difficult to figure out at all. Buying tickets, getting on the right train and transits are all very straight forward. We usually use Google Maps to get to a place, but Google Maps is a bit weird in Korea. You’re able to search for places in Maps and get directions to that place. Even the public transport directions in Google Maps are good. However, you can’t search for places on the map itself or click on anything, which is something we often use to explore the area on the map. There’s a Korean navigation app called Naver, which works much better. We used a combination of both Google Maps and Naver to get around in Seoul. We didn’t use the bus, so we don’t have any experience with that. Taxi’s in Korea are not that expensive either.
Have you ever been to Seoul? Let us know in the comments below!
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