[Culture]50 Seoul Attractions and How to Get There

Historical Attractions in Seoul

1. Gyeongbokgung (경복궁)

Photo Credit: Romain John. Please click to see more of John’s beautiful work!

The main palace of the Joseon Dynasty (Korea’s last royal dynasty), located in the heart of Seoul (and in our hearts ;)).

How to get there: Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5). Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 2)

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

2. Gwanghwamun Gate (광화문)

The main gate to Gyeongbokgung (if you’re seeing #1, you’ll have to go through this). Also, the name has an ultra cool translation: “may the light of enlightenment blanket the world.” Deep!

How to get there: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 2). Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5).

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

3. Heunginjimun (흥인지문) – Dongdaemun – The East Gate

Heunginjimin (aka Dongdaemun or the East Gate) is located in the center of Korean fashion. If you dress nice for the gate, you will be blessed with good luck (may or may not be true). Stop by on your way to shopping at Dongdaemun Market.

How to get there: Dongdaemun Station (Line 1, Line 4 – Exit 6 or 7)

Useful links: exploringkorea

4. Sungnyemun (숭례문) – Namdaemun – The South Gate

Another cool gate. This one was actually burned down by arson, but it is under reconstruction and should be rebuilt by the time you’re in Seoul (was due for completion at the end of 2012… so…uh.. lets give Seoul another few months :)) Stop by while you check out Namdaemun Market.

How to get there: Seoul Station (Line 1, Line 4, Airport Express Line aka AREX, Gyeongui Line, Gyeongbu Line – Exit 4), or Hoehyeon Station (Line 4 – Exit 5), make a right at the large intersection

Useful links: corealocal

5. Cheonghwadae (청와대) – The Blue House

Cheongwadae is the official residence of the president of South Korea. Unless you reserve and pay for the official tour, you’ll need a swat team to get in here on your own. We recommend going with the official tour. Reserve in advance.

How to get there: Go through the back gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace (which is also very nice to see). Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5). (Or Gwanghwamun Station, see entry #2).

Useful links: lifeinkorea

6. Changgyeonggung (창경궁)

If you think big crowds will ruin your peaceful palace viewing experience, come to this palace. There’s less people, and the only things that might ruin your palace perusing are the obnoxious pond and insufferable botanical garden. (Obviously jk, but you know how people on the interwebs are ;).)

How to get there: Anguk Station (Line 3 – Exit 3)

Useful links: Marmot’s Hole, and Marmot’s Hole #2

7. Jongmyo (종묘)

Jongmyo is where all the royal rituals took place. Come on the first Sunday of May to see a yearly ritual with traditional Korean music, food and dudes with old school Korean hats.

How to get there: Jongno 3-ga Station (Line 1, Line 3, Line 5 – Exit 7)

Useful links: SouthKoreaTravelGuide.com

8. Changdeokgung (창덕궁)

Seoulites say that Changdeokgung is the prettiest of all the palaces. And on top of that, there’s a garden called the “Secret Garden” (후원/huwon). Be a snoop and check it out.

How to get there: Anguk Station (Line 3 – Exit 3)

Useful links: daleskoreantempleadventures

9. Deoksugung

Without knowing the history, these palaces can all seem very similar. Deoksugung is the exception. It’s got a Russian designed cafe and a British inspired museum. Although they forgot the French bidets.

How to get there: City Hall Station (Line 1, Line 2 – Exit 2)

Useful links: Marmot’s Hole

10. Unhyeongung (운현궁)

This residence of the royal family is a bit more interactive than the other palaces. Here you can try on traditional Korean clothes (hanbok), watch a traditional royal wedding ceremony and other royal stuff to make you feel like you’re living in large in the 1800’s.

How to get there: Anguk Station (Line 3 – Exit 4)

11. Bosingak (보신각)

It’s a big ol’ bell (belfry) that’s used to (…wait for it…) “RING” in the New Year (sorry, it was just too easy). Not only rung on New Years. There’s also a daily bell ringing ceremony at noon.

How to get there: Jonggak Station (Line 1 – Exit 4)

Useful links: Seoul Tourism Website

12. Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (Seonjeongneung)

There’s tons of these Royal Tombs of Korea’s late great royalty scattered all throughout Korea. But this one is right in the middle of Gangnam. Be a decent visitor and see some history before you go get hammered at Gangnam Station, will ya? ;)

How to get there: Seolleung Station (Line 2 – Exit 8)

Useful links: The View From Over Here

 

Amusement Parks in Seoul

13. Lotte World

Seoul’s biggest amusement park is a whole day filled with fun rides, games, an ice skating rink and 176 different types of wonderland cute overkill.

How to get there: Jamsil Station (Line 2, Line 8 – Exit 4)

Useful links: hangchungtee

14. Seoul Land

Seoul Land, the other amusement park in Seoul, is located in Seoul Grand Park, so there’s really a lot to do (see entry #33). And although Seoul Land isn’t exactly in Seoul, it’s close enough. And since the name has Seoul in it, we’re including it here ;)

How to get there: Seoul Grand Park Station (Line 4 – Exit 2)

Useful links: funlifeinkorea

 

 

Markets and Malls in Seoul

15. Dongdaemun Market

The number one place for shopping in Seoul has cheap goods, original Korean designs, and a night time market. Bargaining isn’t allowed in the buildings, but you can go to town on the street vendors. And there’s tons.

How to get there: Dongdaemun Station (Line 1, Line 4 – Exit 5 or Exit 7). Dongdaemun Culture and History Park (Line 2, Line 4, Line 5 – Exit 1)

Useful links: skippingclouds

16. Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest and biggest markets in Seoul. It’s a huge tourist attraction, but it’s also for everyday Koreans too. Buy random stuff like pots and pans, Korean drama posters, art supplies and ginseng shaped like people.

How to get there: Hoehyeon Station (Line 4 – Exit 5)

Useful links: jamieliew

17. Noryangjin Market

If you like fresh seafood, come here. There’s all sorts of Korean delicacies (like live octopus aka 산낚지), that you might find weird but delicious. Or maybe just plain ol weird. At the least, come for the “dang, they eat that stuff?!” factor.

How to get there: Noryangjin Station (Line 1, Line 9 – Exit 1)

Useful links: jamieliew

18. Gwangjang Market

Not traditionally a food market, but this place has become famous for it’s market food. Come here for good bindaetteok (Korean pancakes) and mayak gimbap (baby gimbap or “drug” gimbap). And really fiesty market ajoomas (Korean women).

How to get there: Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1 – Exit 1).

Useful links: shinshine

19. Coex

The most famous of all the malls in Korea, Coex is reportedly the longest underground shopping center in Asia. Come here to buy Korean brands (like these 28 Korean fashion brands we already listed), watch a movie, or chill out at the aquarium.

How to get there: Samseong Station (Line 2 – Between Exit 5 & 6)

Useful links: jamieliew

20. Times Square Mall

It’s one of the newest malls in Seoul. Highlights include glass ceilings to make depressed people happy and the largest movie screen in the world (Starium) for giants. They got 4D movies here too!

How to get there: Yeongdeungpo Station (Line 1 – Follow underground passage directly to the mall)

Buildings and Monuments Attractions

21. 63 Building

For a long time 63 Building used to be tallest building in Korea (63 floors). It’s no longer the tallest, but it still has the world’s tallest art gallery, a great view of the Han River, and a shiny gold outside for people to saw “Oooo pretty!” (Lots of other stuff too.)

How to get there: Yeouido Station (Line 5 – Exit 5 – Free Shuttle Bus). Daebang Station (Line 1 – Exit 4 – Free Shuttle Bus). Yeouinaru Station (Line 5 – Exit 4 – Free Shuttle Bus).

Useful links: ripcitytoseoul

22. Cheonggyecheon

This used to be a stream for 3rd world Koreans to dump doo doo in (no seriously). But now it’s been transformed into one of the prettiest places in Seoul! Highly recommended if you like to just chill out (aka everyone except your high-strung boss).

How to get there: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 5) (Many others, but we recommend starting here.)

Useful links: talktomeinkorean

23. King Sejong Monument

 

Most famous for creating the Korean writing system (Hangul), King Sejong the Great is the man! We’re going to go out on a limb and say he’s probably the most famous person in the history of Korea (take that Psy!). Don’t forget to visit the (semi-secret) museum underneath the monument.

How to get there: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 2). Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5).

Useful links: exploringkorea

24. Admiral Yi Su-shin Monument

Admiral Yi ranks right up there with King Sejong the Great as one of the coolest figures in the history of Korea. He’s on the 100 won coin because of his status as an all time badass legendary hero of Korean military history. Even if this stuff doesn’t interest you, you can’t deny that his statue is one badass statue!

How to get there: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 2). Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5).

Useful links: exploringkorea

25. Bukchon Hanok Village

Hanoks are Korean traditional houses and Bukchon Village is where the aristocratic classes lived during the Joseon Dynasty! Certain Hanoks are still owned by locals, while most of it were converted into galleries, restaurants, and cafes.

How to get there: Anguk Station (안국역, Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Walk straight for about 300m then you will arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.

Useful links: VisitseoulKorea Tourism Organization

26. Seoul Station (Old Building)

If you are a fan of old buildings or history, there is a lot to see here. The Old Seoul Station has been completely restored and is open to walk all throughout. Best time to visit would be during the night; the lights fill this station with magic.

How to get there: Seoul Station (서울역, Subway Line 1, 4 or Airport Railroad), Exit 2.

Useful links: Culture Station Seoul 284 (photo blog), Korea Tourism Organization

27. Banpodaegyo Bridge

Banpodaegyo (Banpo Bridge) is the world’s longest fountain bridge. It holds many different types of shows from morning to night, but the most beautiful show is the light show during the night! So bring your date, sit back, and enjoy the light show!

How to get there: Dongjak Station (동작역, Seoul Subway Line 4), go out of exit 1 or 2. You can’t miss it, you will be on a bridge.

Useful links: Youtube Video

28. N Seoul Tower

If you ever wondered what the view from heaven was like, well come on over to North Seoul Tower. You can get a perfect bird’s eye view of the beautiful landscape of Seoul (make sure to come on a clear day :P).

How to get there: Shuttle Bus No. 05 – Chungmuro Station (Exit 2, 4). Once you get out of either exit 2 or 4, you will most likely see a bunch of other people lining up for the bus as well!

Useful links: lonelytravelog

 

 

Outdoor Attractions

29. Bukhansan

Look at your screen upside down to see heaven. Hiking is a wonderful way to see Korea and experience the generosity of the Korean landscape. Whether you are looking to lose some of that fat from last night’s Samgyeobsal dinner, or just looking for some nature and escape, it’s the perfect solution.

How to get there: Gireum Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 3. Take Bus 110B or 143, and get off at the last bus stop.

Useful links: The View From Over Here

30. Seoul Forest

Finally, some true greenery :) It’s probably the closest you can get in terms of a forest. You can enjoy this sweet getaway any time of the day or during any time of the year. Absolutely beautiful place, a must place to visit!

How to get there: Seoul Forest Station (New Subway Bundang Line), Exit 3. Walk for about 5 minutes.

Useful links: Chincha mag

31. Hangang Park

Hangang Park is a magestic park in the heart of Seoul, next to the Han River. This place is very famous for bike riding (you can rent)! If you like having the wind rip through your hair for a few hours, you ought to check this place out! :)

How to get there:

* Ttukseom district: Exit #2 or 3 of Ttukseom Resort station (Seoul Subway Line 7).
* Gwangnaru district: From exit #1 of Cheonho station (Seoul Subway Line 5 & 8), walk 20 min.
* Yeouido District: Exit #2 or 3 of Yeouinaru station (Seoul Subway Line 5).
* Yanghwa district: From exit #4 of Dangsan station (Seoul Subway Line 2), walk 10 min.

Useful links: Mykafkaesquelife

32. Hongneung Arboretum

Okay, we know what you’re thinking… “Sighhh, not another historical site!” Well, before you give up, you REALLY need to check this place out. It’s one of the most convincing look and feel type of forest within the boundaries of Seoul. It’s only open during the weekends, so being authentic is high praise :)

How to get there: Line 6 to Korea University, Exit 3

Useful links: theoneonefour

33. Seoul Children’s Grand Park

Deep down, we’re all children. This park features a small amusement park, a small zoo, and miles and miles of beautiful scenery. The park is open year round, but is a great place to visit during spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming and during fall when the leaves are changing color.

Random Fact: The park was actually featured in Psy’s Gangnam Style music video for about 2 seconds!

How to get there: They have their own dedicated station: Children’s Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 7), Exit 1.

Useful links: seoulsuburban

34. Ttukseom Hangang Park

 

This place is for the sports enthusiasts. During the summer you can enjoy the thrills of windsurfing, tennis, and even water-skiing. If you survived the summer without any head traumas, you can then enjoy sledding during the winter time!

How to get there: Ttukseom-Resort Station (뚝석유원지 Seoul Subway Line 7), Exit 2 or 3.

Useful links: discoveringkorea

35. Tapgol Park (Pagoda Park)

Tapgol Park and the area around it is where all the old people hang out. Well, we know why. This park shows the vast contrast between a tourist hot-spot and a regular street frequented by the locals of Seoul. This is what most tourists need to see; the side of Seoul that belongs to the locals.

How to get there: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (종로3가 Subway Line 1, 3, 5), Exit 1. Walk for about 5 minutes, you can’t miss it.

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

36. Yeouido Park

How can you enjoy yourself with the environment and serenity of Seoul? By napping on a bench in the park at the Yeouido Park. Dont you love going out for a walk on a beautiful day, enjoying the scenery, watching people playing around in the park? Must go during the season of Cherry Blossoms (April).

How to get there: From Exit # 3 of Yeouido Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), walk 5 minutes towards the National Assembly building. You will run into a big sign that says 여의도 공원 (Yeouido Park).

Useful links: Veganbeats

37. Olympic Park

The year was 1988: The Summer Games held in Seoul. Seeing those five interlocked rings will make your memories from your youth to flood back. Visitors are treated to several kilometers worth of open spaces to explore this beautiful park.

How to get there: Olympic Park Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 3

Useful links: seoulfullife

 

 

Museums in Seoul

38. National Museum of Korea

For anyone who wants to become better acquainted with Korea’s history, the National Museum is the museum to visit. The museum is a time machine in action as it will take you back 20 centuries.

How to get there: Ichon Station, Seoul Subway line 4 & Jungang line, Exit #2

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

39. War Memorial of Korea

It’s fair to say that Korea has had a rather troubled history. The War Memorial of Korea museum covers pretty much the entire history of Korean warfare and even shows what future warfare might look like, slightly concerning seeing as the two Korea’s are technically still at war (yikes!).

How to get there: Samgakji Station (Subway Lines 4, 6), Exit 12. It is 5 min walk from the station.

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

40. National Folk Museum of Korea

Alright, if you like cool looking action figures and artifacts, check out the National Folk Museum of Korea! Here, you will also find multiple large-scale (life size) dioramas depicting traditional customs of Korea.

How to get there: Gwanghwamun station and come out of exit #2.

Useful links: Tigers and Magpies

41. National Gugak

Fancy a night of Korean traditional dance and music? Or maybe you’re just interested in super pretty Korean ladies in traditional Hanboks? ;) Then head to National Gugak Center, which is Korea’s national traditional music center!!!

How to get there: Subway Line No.4 Sadang Station, exit#1 – take the Green Bus Seocho #17. Click here for a detailed map!

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

42. Trick Eye Museum

It doesn’t take much to trick the human eye. If you want a good ol’ time messing with optical illusions, check out the Trick Eye Museum located in the heart of Hongdae – Korea’s center for fashion, art, and music.

How to get there: From Exit #9 of Hongdae Station (Subway Line 2) -> walk straight for 200m towards the Starbucks coffee shop.

Useful links: my-seoul-searching

43. Seodaemun Prison

This prison was one of the many prisons that held Korean Freedom fighters during the Japanese colonial rule. The prison was fairly large and is said to have been built to hold 500 prisoners at time; however, it is believed that it once held 3000 prisoners at a time. Um, that’s pretty scary. Sleeping with a bunch of dudes in one cell?!

How to get there: Dongnimmun Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 5.

Useful links: bobbysawesomelife

44. Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art itself is not to be missed. This stunning museum is housed separately into three different buildings, each with a fantastic collection to behold. Here you can find contemporary Paintings, Calligraphy, and Metal Works.

How to get there: Hangangjin Station (Subway Line 6), Exit 1. Walk straight for 100m in the direction of Itaewon.

Useful links: gracekimpai

45. Pulmuone Kimchi Museum (Coex)

Let’s say there was a national food award in Korea. The winner would be Kimchi. Kimchi is a worshiped food in Korea, so if you are travelling or planning to live in Korea, you should learn the basics of Kimchi 101. In fact, Kimchi is important in Korea that when kimchi prices go up, it makes the headlines in the newspapers (for reals!).

How to get there: Seoul Subway Line 2, Samseong Station, Exit #6, connected to COEX Mall. Walk through the mall towards COEX Aquarium.

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

 

Religious Attractions in Seoul

46. Jogyesa Temple

If you’re looking for the serenity of most Buddhist temples that are set high up in the mountains outside of Seoul, Jogyesa Temple is NOT for you. But if you are looking for some good Buddha action in the busy city, this IS the place for you! If you’re there in the spring you’re sure to see the amazing number of lotus lanterns that seemingly make a sky of lanterns at the temple. Beautiful 24/7.

How to get there:

*Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
*Go 50m forward, then cross the street in front of Dongduk Gallery.

Useful links: Photo Blog by Emily

47. Bongeunsa Temple

 

‘What did the monk say when he ordered a pizza? ‘Can you make me one with everything?’ :P The temple is usually always quiet since people are either praying or meditating. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful and if you are fascinated with Buddhism and meditation, you will easily find inner peace here at the Bongeunsa temple!

How to get there: Go out of exit #2 of Cheongdam Station (Seoul Subway Line 7), walk for about 150 meters and turn right (you should be near a high school).

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

48. Full Gospel Church

Okay, Korea lovessss to be #1 at everything (or tries to be!). No really, this church is the biggest Pentecostal Christian congregation in Korea, AND in the world. This church has over 1,000,000 members. If you ever wondered what it ever felt like to have thousands of other people attending church with you, attend one of their seven church services every Sunday!

How to get there: Line 5 to Yeouinaru exit 1, just walk down the road. It’s the biggest church in the world, you can’t miss it!

Useful links: Official English Website

49. Myeongdong Cathedral

Most people would never ever forever think about a cathedral in South Korea! But, located in the heart of Myeong-dong (one of Korea’s biggest shopping districts in Seoul), lies this beautiful Gothic cathedral.

How to get there: Walk along Myeongdong street for about 100 meters until you get to the Catholic Center.

Useful links: Steve Miller’s video footage of the Cathedral!

50. Seoul Central Mosque

Korea is filled with surprises! We bet you never knew a mosque ever existed in Korea, either! Located in Yongsan-gu in Seoul, the Seoul Central Masjid was the first Islamic mosque in Korea.

How to get there: Itaewon Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 3.

Useful links: Sarah in South Korea (blog)

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