Seoul is not exactly a city that never sleeps but it is definitely full of life and personality. Seoul has a long, exciting history full of beauty and tragedy. Seoul’s diversities range from ancient Joseon Dynasty palaces to extremely modern skyscrapers. Seoul is a city with beauty around ever corner. I have complied a list of the top 10 must-sees when visiting Seoul, South Korea.
Number 10: Myeongdong
Myeongdong is a tourist Mecca full of flashing lights, fashion and amazing restaurants. Myeongdong is in the center of Seoul and has everything anyone’s KPOP lovin’ heart desires! If you are looking for high-flying fashion and a nice diversity of street food Myeongdong is for you!
Number 9: Insadong
Insadong is the perfect area for anyone looking for traditional food and stores. Insadong has a long history of providing unique, authentic and very traditional Korean artwork. There are a lot of food hawkers pushing all kinds of yummy treats from tteokbokki to kkultarae. Insadong located very close to Gyeongbukgung Palace so you will not have to waste time with long travel to new sites.
Number 8: War Memorial of Korea
Korea has an unfortunate but interesting long history of conflict. The museum provides great insight into the history of Korean warfare and also a great history about Korean generals. It has its own exhibit on the Korean War and has memorials for all allied troops involved. Outside of the museum there is a few out-of-commission boats, ships and tanks. The museum is very much worth the time to go see it. It is located in Yongsan so while you are there you can go take a look at Seoul electric city full of all kinds of electronic goodies.
Number 7: Namsan Tower
Namsan Tower is also known as Seoul Tower and has one of the most beautiful views anyone can ask for. You can either walk to the top, which is a nice little exercise I must say, or you can take a air trolley(which cost 8,000 Won). Once at the top there is a nice restaurant, but expensive, several convenient stores and a bar. There is also a beautiful projection show every night, which I recommend. The view is truly unheard of as you get a 360 view of Seoul and is quite touching and remarkable. There are also chain link fences where they can buy a lock and attach your love to Seoul forever. Great location too as it is very close to Myeongdong.
Number 6: 63 Building
This incredible building is the tallest building in one of the tallest building in South Korea and offers a view to die for. The building is in the upscale area of Yeoido and is right next to the Han river. The building offers an aquarium, convention center, art gallery, numerious international restaurants. The observation deck is the true gem allowing one to see as far as Incheon.
Number 5: Bukchon Hanok Village
These buildings are some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Seoul. They are traditional and were originally owned by Korean aristocrats. Bukchon village is a very residental area and is not a tourist area, so if you do wish to view these wonderful buildings please be respectful. Also, Bukchon is well-located between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces so you will be able to kill three birds with one stone if you plan on seeing others sights.
Number 4: Hongdae
Hongdae is an extremly lifely place full of music, lights and food. Hongdae is the nightlife center of Seoul and is located right next to a famous liberal arts university. If you are looking to experience the hustle and bustle of Korean weeekends I highly recommend this area. Also, if you do decide to go you should go to the playground/park(central Hongdae) which has great live and eclectic music.
Number 3: Changdeokgung Palace
This palace is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the Joseon Dynasty and is a real marvel. The palace is extremely beautiful and blends with the environment very well. It was prefered by many of the royals because of this amazing attribute. Much of the palace was destroyed by the Empire of Japan during World War 2 but was rebuilt and still has all of its harmony and eloquence. It was located in Jongno-gu, Seoul very close to the main place, Gyeongbokgung palace.
Number 2: Han River
As you travel by train and cab you will be spending a lot of time staring at the Han River, but there is nothing more great than riding a bike down the length of the river at dusk. There are many bike rental shops and for a cheap 2,000 won(2.00USD) you can have an adventure, while sight-seeing every building, shop and landmark along the Han River. The main trail takes you the length of the river and helps to give insight as to why Seoul and South Koreas economic boom is known as The Miracle of the Han River.
Number 1: Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung is one of the true masterpieces of Seoul. The palace is located in Jongno-gu and is conviently located near Changdeokgung Palace and Insadong. Gyeongbokgung is breathtaking simply by the sheer size of it. It is the main palace of the “Five Grand Palaces” and has the stature to back up that title. The palace was unfortunately damaged greatly by the Empire of Japan, just like Changdeokgung, but has been repaired to its previous glory. Gyeongbokgung is one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Korea and is most definately the number one sight to see!