We spent an incredible 72 hours in Seoul sight seeing, shopping, eating, and visiting the border with North Korea. In that brief period of time I saw more coffee shops in Seoul than any other city in the world. Along with coffee shops, shops selling beauty products and clothes are also ubiquitous.
That aside, here are the highlights from our trip and things I’d recommend you could do when in Seoul.
1. Google Maps has limited functionality in South Korea.
2. There’s a crazy amount of walking in Seoul’s metro stations.
3. Street vendors hate their photos being taken.
1. Eat Street Food In Myeong-dong
After checking into our hotel in Myeong-dong we stepped out to grab some delicious street food. What I loved was the number of street food vendors, each selling a unique dish. From traditional ice-creams, to dumplings, chocolate covered strawberries, and even lobsters!
Street food at Myeong-dong isn’t cheap by a long shot! But it’s delicious, and there’s loads of variety. So, grab a bite, walk around, shop, grab something else to eat.
2. Dine, Shop, Party at Hongik University
Hongik University comes to life after sundown. The area is filled with shops, bars, clubs, and restaurants. The moment we stepped out of the metro station, we could feel the buzz in the atmosphere.
Hongik University is also where Hongdae Street located – a street famous for its clothes, and accessories shopping.
3. Visit The Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace is probably the most beautiful, and largest of all five palaces in Seoul. The palace was destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (1592-1598). However, all of the buildings were later restored during 1852-1919.
The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located on the eastern side within Hyangwonjeong.
As a photographer, I loved the contrasts from the inside the palace ground. Looking north, the palace sets itself against some of the tallest hills in Seoul. Looking south, the palace’s gates are contrasted by the modern skyscrapers of the city.
4. Walk Around Bukchon Hanok Village
A stone’s throw away from Gyeongbokgung Palace lies Bukchon Hanok Village. The village is home to hundreds of traditional houses, called hanok, that date back to the Joseon Dynasty.
This isn’t some model village, but a fully functional real neighbourhood in the city. So keep that in mind when you decide to get a photo taken in a front garden or porch.
There are numerous fashion boutiques, restaurants, and tea houses in and around the village.
5. Visit The DMZ
Last but not least, visiting the DMZ was the absolute highlight of our trip! Can you imagine that the world’s most dangerous international border is only an hour’s drive away from Seoul? If you want to catch a glimpse of North Korea, read more about how to visit the DMZ in this post.
Bonus: Visit Yeouido Park
If you happen to be in Seoul around cherry blossom season, swing by Yeouido Park. We caught a glimpse of the Yeouido Park on our way back from the DMZ and couldn’t believe all the colours. Spring was in full bloom! Luckily, our bus dropped us off close to the park and we walked back to the non-stop line of cherry blossom trees, and shrubs with colourful flowers.
Every time the wind blew, it looked like it was snowing cherry blossoms. It really was too beautiful for words! If you want to see beautiful cherry blossom in Seoul, I highly recommend walking around Yeouido Park.