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Things to do in Seoul

Things to do in  Seoul

Welcome to Seoul

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a thriving metropolis that marches to the beat of millions of busy residents. Dominated by the towering peaks of Mt. Bukhansan and Mt. Namsan, the city boasts an impressive infrastructure that makes getting around the city by public transport easy. However, sightseeing tours provide added value with insightful commentary and off-the-beaten-track attractions. Discover UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures such as Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and the Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae); take a day trip to the DMZ, the no-man’s-land between North and South Korea; or shop until you drop in the commercial zones of Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, and Gangnam—birthplace of the global hit, “Gangnam Style.” Sample hearty Korean cuisine and local craft beers on a food tour or during a cooking class; peruse the stalls at the markets in Gwangjang, Insadong, and Namdaemun; and watch the city lights dance across the Han River on an evening cruise. Plus, Seoul serves as a convenient launch pad for outdoor adventures. Pull on your hiking boots and join throngs of South Koreans exploring Seoraksan National Park, the UNESCO Biosphere Protected Site home to Mt. Seorak. Or practice your turns at the ski resorts of Elysian Gangchon or Yongpyong. If you’ve got a flexible itinerary and wish to explore more of South Korea, use Seoul as a gateway to Gongju, Buyeo, Suncheon, Yeosu, and Busan.

Top 10 attractions in Seoul

#1

DMZ

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Nowhere is the tension between North and South Korea more palpable than in the no man’s land known as the demilitarized zone, or DMZ. As the only divided nation on earth, only 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) separate the North from the South in what is the most heavily armed border on earth. The 150-mile (241-kilometer) long zone has served as a buffer since the 1953 cease fire that put the Korean War on hold. The area is quite safe for tourists and is probably the most fascinating day trip you could possibly take from Seoul. While touring the DMZ, you’ll get the chance to visit the Joint Security Area, also known as Panmunjeom. When the North and South met for peace talks during the Korean War, they met in Panmunjeom, and it is here that you can really feel the tension as North Korean soldiers gaze down at passing tourists from their side while South Korean soldiers stare back.More
#2

Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Most commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because of its location compared to the other palaces of Seoul, Gyeongbokgung is a stunning reminder of the Joseon Dynasty, with elements of the complex still intact from that time, despite the wars and occupations that have since happened. The Gyeonghoe-ru pavilion and Hyangwonjeong pond are gleaming examples of that reminder, helping Gyeongbokgung become arguably the most stunning of the five palaces. Originally built in the 14th century, the main gate of the palace is the only thing dividing the once royal quarters from one of the busiest parts of the city. The grounds of the palace contain a number of structures you may not see all of on your first trip, including Geunjeongmun (the Third Inner Gate), Geunjeongjeon, (the Throne Hall) and Sajeongjeon (the Executive Office). The palace also contains a royal banquet hall, a royal study, and of course, the queen's and king's quarters.More
#3

Insadong

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Insadong (Insa-dong), Seoul’s cultural and artistic hub, is the place to go to shop for local crafts, visit a traditional Korean tea shop or catch an impromptu street performance. The quaint neighborhood, located in Jongno-gu district, houses one of the largest antiques and craft markets in the country. The area’s name dates back more than 500 years when Insadong was two separate towns divided by a small stream. The wealthy Korean residents who called the towns home were forced out during the Japanese occupation, and the new residents established Insadong as an antiques trading post. Today, Insadong’s collection of cafes, galleries and shops attract domestic and foreign tourists to the area. Many of the restaurants and shops are housed in the original historic buildings. You’ll find nearly half of Korea’s antique shops and nearly all of its stationary shops in Insadong. Keep in mind that many galleries in Insadong close on Sundays or Mondays.More
#4

Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

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Offering one of the most beautiful panoramic views in the city, the 777 foot (236.7 meters) Namsam tower, or N Seoul tower, in Seoul is an opportunity for visitors to see just how much the South Korean capital has grown over the years. Featuring a nice array of restaurants serving local food, including one that revolves, and a gift shop, you can take a cable car up the mountain the tower is located on and enjoy the views from various observation decks. Another option is to hike up to the tower through Namsan Park, which features paths and viewpoints. It's photographer's dream; try and catch the city flashing below the mountainous backdrop day or night. Though it was first opened to the public more than 30 years ago, it was reopened as a cultural landmark in 2005 and now offers art exhibitions, movies, performances, a children's center and even a bakery, making it a cannot-miss destination.More
#5

Bukchon Hanok Village

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Bukchon Hanok Village is a lovely residential neighborhood located between Gyeongbok and Changdeok Palaces, and is full of traditional hanok homes. It is a place that perfectly embodies the heritage and culture of South Korea. Famous for once being the residences of high-ranking government officials, the village is now a peaceful destination for visitors looking to taking a stroll through its comforting alleyways and calm, picturesque scenery. Boasting more than 600 years of history, the village reflects that of the tranquil views and nature of neo-Confucianism. It currently houses a museum and various craft shops tucked away in its back alleys, built in a uniform way where gardens meeting on adjacent properties seem to make the whole idea of property go away. Located just at the mouth of the village, the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center is a great place to get the low-down on not only the village itself.More
#7

Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae)

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Named for the blue tiles that cover the roof, Seoul’s Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae or Cheongwadae) serves as the presidential home, much like the White House in Washington, DC. Set in an old Joseon Dynasty royal garden, the Blue House sit with Mount Bugaksan as its backdrop in a spot deemed auspicious. Built in the traditional Korean architectural style, the Blue House has more than 150,000 tiles on its roof, each formed and baked individually and thought to be strong enough to last for centuries. On a tour through the grounds of the Blue House, you’ll get to visit some of the gardens, as well as the main building where the President of the Republic of Korea lives and conducts business and the State Guest House, all while learning about the tumultuous history of the country. You can see the Military Honor Guard and Band perform every Saturday at 10am just outside the Blue House as well.More
#8

Hongdae

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Many travelers visit Hongdae, the area surrounding Hongik University in Seoul, for its nightlife, the best in the city. On weekend nights, the district comes alive as Seoul’s youth come out in force to dance, drink and generally have a good time. With dozens of bars and clubs within a few block radius, Hongdae offers a little bit of everything, including easy-going taverns. Dance clubs where the music rages until the sun comes up, underground karaoke dens and themed cocktail bars. If you’re in Seoul on the last Friday of the month, called Club Night locally, you can pay a flat fee to enter about a dozen different clubs, with one drink on the house in each. It’s a good deal even if you only plan to visit a few of the bars. While the city’s best nightlife spot, the area around Hongik University is quite charming by day as well, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays when markets spring up selling Korean handicrafts and souvenirs.More
#9

Gangnam

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#10

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

Must-See Palaces in Seoul

Must-See Palaces in Seoul

How to Choose a DMZ Tour

How to Choose a DMZ Tour

Top activities in Seoul

Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul

Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul

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From
US$45.50
Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour

Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour

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From
US$97.44
Small-Group Korean Night Food Tour

Small-Group Korean Night Food Tour

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From
US$106.79
Private Seoul City Tour

Private Seoul City Tour

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From
US$190.00

Recent reviews from experiences in Seoul

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Super food and a tour guide that ROCKS!
Marie, Nov 2020
The 10 Tastings of Seoul With Locals: Private Street Food Tour
She spoke very well English, was very informative and gave us lots of information on Seoul, the culture and of course the local food!
star-5
Superb activity
Roam49242666568, Dec 2019
Seoul Hop-On Hop-Off Downtown Palace Course
Great experience to visiting famous sightseeing activity particularly the palaces.
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Great Tour
Athin S, Dec 2019
Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour
Covered most of the important attractions.
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A must for any visitor to Seoul
cournioni, Nov 2019
Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour
We were allowed ample time to see what needed to be seen without eating into our time at the other attractions.
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Nice tour
OnAir751732, Oct 2019
Seoul City Private Full-Day Tour Including Lunch
It was a very nice tour, the guide was very good, made sure we were at the palace to see the changing of the guards, the native village and the Buddhist temple were very nice, and the view from the Seoul tour was amazing.
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Julie was really nice and took gd care of us
Voyager23728378222, Oct 2019
Seoul by Night with fantastic view
I not been to Seoul so it was good to see the city from the Seoul Tower & from the river
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Day at Nami Island
Voyager23728378222, Oct 2019
Full Day Nami Island and Petite France Tour from Seoul
The tree's leaves changing their fall colors were beautiful
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Great tour!
saadusmani2019, Oct 2019
Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul
Unfortunately the main DMZ area was closed at the time but we managed to see some very good alternatives around the area.
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Excellent tour!!
alexiadesau, Aug 2019
No Shopping DMZ Half Day Tour from Seoul
The guide spoke excellent English and told us so many interesting stories about Korea.
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Fantastic day tour
1ndrtwn, Aug 2019
Seoul City Private Full-Day Tour Including Lunch
He was knowledgeable, informative and his English was great.
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A very typical HOHO bus tour
Flyer35379886815, Aug 2019
Downtown and Panorama 2-Day Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour in Seoul
If you want to see Seoul quickly and safely then the HOHO is a great option.
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E-bike Seoul Tour
Mobile35699719587, Jun 2019
Seoul E-Bike Riding Tour
We spent our first day in Seoul on the E-Bike tour and it was a great way to see historical sites, try local food, and experience views not normally included in other tours.
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A day trip in Seoul, Korea
NorthStar22559552839, Apr 2019
Alpaca World & Nami Island & Garden of Morning Calm Tour
Really enjoy the attractions in Seoul with the Animals, Scenery and the Mother Nature like the Flowers and Trees.
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Kpop tour
myronkam, Jul 2018
K-Fan K-Pop Tour With Lunch Option
As we are fans of Kpop, it was especially interesting to see what area of Seoul artists work in.
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Great experience to see many of the...
Sabrina W, Jun 2017
Full Day Small-Group Royal Palace and Seoul Tour
Great experience to see many of the temples in Seoul.
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Erica was a wonderful guide and our...
Munah A, Mar 2018
Day Trip to Nami Island and Gangchon Elysian Ski Resort from Seoul
We hope to see Erica again if we visit Seoul in the future.
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My Seorak 2 hours from...
Cleo, Nov 2017
Mount Seorak and Nami Island Day Trip from Seoul
Hiked to the Falls.
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Our tour guide was super friendly...
Rosa C, Feb 2018
DMZ Small Group Tour from Seoul Including Dora Observatory
The tour itself is great for a half day if you don’t have heaps of time in Seoul and a must do to see the DMZ!
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A wonderful taster of Seoul
missjasminr, Oct 2019
Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour
Would recommend for first time travellers as the day was packed full of the quintessential sites to see when you first visit Seoul!
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Great to see the temple, changing of...
Zackary S, Nov 2017
Best of Seoul Tour in the Morning
Great to see the temple, changing of the guard, and the palace.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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