Best Things To Do In Seoul, South Korea

Culture wraps thick around every street, shop and social interactions; for all of Seoul’s explosive growth in recent decades, its strict traditions and national pride shadows every step. And this all-encompassing Korea-ness isn’t expressed through grand monuments and heritage sites; rather, it seeps through the everyday food markets, trendy spaces and budget entertainments. Approach Seoul through this list of local attractions and characterizing sites for a rounded insight into this evolving city. Here are the best things to do in Seoul.

Best Things To Do In Seoul

1. Walk around the traditional Gteongbukgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1495 for the Joseon Dynasty but suffered with many partial destructions due to the Japanese invasions. Its last reconstruction finished in 2007. That being said, you will not see it as it was originally built but you will see an exact replica, so it’s close enough!

There are two things that I recommend doing while there: witness the changing of the guards’ ceremony that happens at 10 AM and 2 PM (everyday except Tuesdays), and dress yourself in one of the traditional hanboks.

A hanbok is the traditional Korean dress that reflects historical Korean ideas, customs, and forms, all illustrated in the colors and shapes of the material.

2. Have the time of your life at Lotte World

Lotte World Attraction Ticket 2021 - Seoul

Lotte World is the world’s largest indoor amusement park. Comprising both an indoor theme park and an outdoor amusement park, Lotte World is also surrounded by a hotel and a large shopping complex!

This top-notch attraction is great for families, kids and couples alike. Lotte World is more than just an ordinary theme park, it’s a massive entertainment hub that promises fun in epic proportions!

3. Explore Bukchon Hanok Village

The Bukchon Hanok Village is one of my favourite photo spots in Seoul. The traditional hanok houses found here date all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty, and people actually live in them! This picturesque residential area is nestled in the heart of the city between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, and from atop the hill, you can see a background of modern buildings in the distance.

4. Catch the guard changing ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace: Tickets & Changing of the Guard Hours

When visiting the Gyeongbokgung Palace, don’t miss out on observing the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony or the Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance. Either one happens every hour between 10am to 4pm at the Gyeongbokgung Palace, every day except Tuesdays.

5. Gather spiritual calm at Bongeunsa Temple

Despite the city grown around it and its largely restored properties, Bongeunsa Temple retains a sensitive grace and peaceful ambiance.

Spread out over a forested area, this complex of small temples deliver intricate paint work and wooden detailing. The quiet life it exudes is further supported by the thousands of paper lanterns strung around the property.

The show-stealer however, is definitely the circular arena that houses the big Buddha statue and its smaller companions.

6. Shop until you drop at Dongdaemun

You haven’t seen retail heaven until you’ve spent 24 hours in Dongdaemun. Catering to huge crowds 24/7, this district proffers bountiful retail and wholesale shopping.

Between Lotte’s general goods, Doota’s eclectic mix local brands and adjacent shopping malls stacked with budget clothing stalls, you’ll have to cash out for an extra suitcase of trendy purchases.

Dongdaemun History & Culture Park sits at the center of it all, exhibiting creative and concept brands and housing a LINE store.

7. Hunt down street food

The 10 Best Street Food to Enjoy in Seoul | Travelvui

From deep fried, potato-heavy eats to soupy fish cakes and tangy pomegranate juice, street food in Korea caters to every taste. Cheap, bite-sized and saliva inducing, throw away diet plans for the stall vendors along Myeongdong’s main shopping street.

You can also find these delicious bites at any traditional market.

8. Wander in Seoul Forest

Royal hunting grounds turned a multi-faceted recreational area; Seoul Forest is a welcome swathe of outdoor classrooms inclusive of the Experiential Learning Park and Marsh Plant Garden.

A collection of botanical gardens and bird observatory, these two quadrants offer a calm and settled atmosphere.

The Ecological Forest is home to common wildlife such as elks, chipmunks, ducks and moorhens with an observatory for closer viewing.

9. Delve into Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Gardens

Just a few blocks away is the exquisitely designed Changdeokgung Palace, built ten years after Gyeongbokgung. One of the “Five Grand Palaces” of Joseon Dynasty, it is arguably one of the most beautiful heritage sites in Seoul.