This bustling metropolis should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list. With a public transportation system that could put many American cities to shame, Seoul is a vibrant city with much more to offer than one would think. Being someone who likes to experience a little bit of everything, I traveled all over the city taking in every sight, smell, and most importantly taste! When it comes to things to see, Seoul offers an abundance of things. After touring the city for 14 days, I have compiled a list of 6 things to full your days up.
6. Tour Deoksugung Palace
Topping this list off at number 6 is the beautiful ancient palace of Deoksugung. Inhabited by the Royal Family during the Joseon monarchy, Deoksugung not only contains a variety of buildings but a forested garden as well. Arrive at 11:00, 14:00, or 15:30 to catch the Changing of the Royal Guards Ceremony. The children will enjoy all the vivid colors and movements. After watching the Ceremony, grab a ticket for a tour. Children are free, while teenagers are 500 won and adults are 1,000 Won. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition against the overgrowing metropolitan should not be missed.
5. Take a stroll in Ihwa
Known for the beautiful paintings artists create on its’ stairs, Ihwa is a visual playground. Walk the hilly streets and basks in all the art surrounding you. Around every corner, you will find a mural to take your breath away. In 2006, the crumbling city set for demolition was completely renovated through the “Art in the City” campaign. The people of the village are very friendly and always eager to show it off, just be mindful that this is their home. Be respectful and try not to disturb them.
4. Visit the National Museum of Korea
It is only right that while traveling to a country you visit at least one museum. Considering that I was on a budget and most of Korea’s museums are free, I visited almost all of them. The National Museum of Korea was by far my favorite. Divided into three floors, this museum takes you on a voyage through the ground floor containing all things nature, to the second floor representing Koreas past, and finally through the top floor which represents Korea’s future. Not only is this museum visually appealing they also have tons of hands-on children activities. This is an attraction for the entire family.
3. Go Hiking in Naksan Park
Looking down on Ihwa, Naksan Park offers a stunning view of Seoul. From this park, you are able to see 2 of the 5 mountains surround the city. The welcome center has a very informative room full of artifacts and articles about Seoul and how the park came to be. The trails are not strenuous and dog freely so be on the lookout for furry friends. To my surprise, I also witnessed wild boar frolicking in the fields. Definitely, a sight to see.
2. Shopping in Myeong Dong
This one is for the ladies….. and men who LOVE to spend that mula. The Myeong Dong shopping streets will be your sanctuary. On every street, there is a massive variety of stores to buy just about anything you can think of. Grab a glimmering crystal bracelet for you mom or buy some silly socks for your nephews. This is most definitely the place to get any souvenirs you want. Just make sure you remember how to get home! It’s very easy to get lost in the crowd.
1. Scale the Namsan Seoul Tower
For the most magnificent view of the city, find your way over to the Seoul Tower. If catching the bus there, be mindful that the bus stop is a short uphill walk to the actual building. The fee of 10,00 Won (Adult) or 8,000 Won (Children) grants you access to the observatory as well as the gift shop. With an altitude of almost 480 meters above sea level, the Seoul Tower soars over everything within site. The 360 view is one you will never forget.
Seoul is filled with karaoke spots that provide for TONS of fun! If you like singing your heart out and drink with friends you need to visit at least one karaoke spot. And if you haven’t heard of Korean Barbecue yet, where have you been? I attended a Friday night Couchsurfing event at the Under The Bridge Cafe in Hongdae. Coming from an avid meat eater….. it was AMAZING! Definitely not something to be missed. Check out the Couchsurfing meet up here.