Its rich culture and exciting attractions make Seoul a must-see city. Here’s how you can ensure you won’t miss out on the whole experience.
Located only a few miles from North Korea, Seoul arguably sits in a dangerous location. And this fact is a surprise to many, as Seoul is easily the most visited South Korean cities.
And why wouldn’t it be?
After all, the picturesque scenery, bustling markets, amazing monuments, and loads of entertainment venues can keep you busy for days.
When making a bucket list for your trip, make sure to include some of the more unique experiences the city offers.
Check Out the DMZ
It’s not a particularly gorgeous attraction, but it is one of the most popular things to do in Seoul. Visiting the demilitarized zone around the border of North and South Korea is undeniably a unique experience.
What’s more, it’s even possible to step on the North Korean side of the border and return. But you have to sign up for that opportunity and it’s not free.
Besides standing between two countries and two cultures that are so similar and yet so different, you can also learn more about North and South Korean history.
Take a Stroll on the Seoullo 7017
Seoul’s Seoullo 7017 is pretty much the equivalent of the High Line of New York City. It’s a futuristic highway overpass that’s recently repurposed in 2017.
Initially built in 1970, the Seoullo 7017 is one of today’s most modern elevated parks globally. It connects to 17 walkways and has an eco-friendly theme that inspires awe in most tourists.
You can even find modern art exhibits, cafes, the famous plants that sing, eateries, and so much more along the walkways.
Go Shopping in Shipping Containers
If you want to talk about unique things to do in Seoul, going to the mall probably doesn’t come up on anyone’s list. But know that Seoul has a very unique mall – one made entirely out of shipping containers.
The massive complex in the Gwangjin district has over 200 containers. Ask for directions to the Common Ground and you’ll find it in no time.
The boutique theme seems fitting and the absence of big brands makes it an affordable place for afternoon shopping. You can also easily catch a music event or grab a bite while taking a break from browsing the many pop-up shops.
Admire the City from Above
The Namsan Seoul Tower dates to 1969. A former broadcast tower, it’s now a city landmark and one of the hottest attractions even in the whole country.
If you want things to do in Seoul that make for unforgettable moments, a visit to the renowned N Seoul Tower is one of them. The observation deck provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and surrounding areas.
Try to get in on a weekday to avoid the noisy weekend crowds and long lines.
Explore the Namdaemun Market
Sometimes, one of the best ways to experience the local culture is through its food. And Asian cuisine is full of surprises, especially for westerners.
If you don’t know where to try the local delicacies when in Seoul, one specific market is your best bet.
The Namdaemun Market is the oldest in Seoul and has a reputation for being the most traditional. The diversity of fresh produce is amazing and it’s also not a bad place to pick up a few souvenirs.
However, what’s great about it is how packed and busy it is every day. You can spend a few hours wandering around, sampling street food, and learning more about local habits.
Tour the Palaces
Koreans did a great job of preserving their monuments and history. And the Changdeokgung Palace is good proof of that. After all, it’s one of the most impressive sights you can see in Seoul.
It’s one of five grand palaces commissioned during the Joseon Dynasty. The palace is also one of the most affected of the five during the Japanese occupation of South Korea.
Here, tourists can visit the surrounding garden that’s initially a place of relaxation reserved only for the royal family. You can visit the palace as part of many tours offered in the city.
Gyeongbokgung Palace is another great attraction that offers a unique experience. One of the coolest things to do in Seoul is to catch the changing of the guard here. It happens on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm all week long, except Tuesdays.
You can also immerse yourself in the experience. Before the ceremony starts, you can try on a gatekeeper costume for free and take pictures. That’s an experience that even Buckingham Palace can’t match up to.
Escape Bad Weather at the Indoor Amusement Park
Florida may have Disneyworld, but Seoul has Lotte World. So if you want a unique experience, why not explore the largest indoor theme park in the world?
Lotte World has an outdoor section too, but the indoor complex is especially massive. Here, you can ride roller coasters, go shopping, play all sorts of games to start with. It also has a hotel if you want to spend the night in a vast entertainment hub.
When traveling with kids, Lotte World is always worth a trip.
Embrace the Viral District
Gangnam District is one of Seoul’s largest and most popular. And its rise to popularity largely had a lot to do with the Korean artist PSY and his record-breaking song.
But it’s not just the nostalgia about the music that makes the district a tourist and local hotspot.
The district’s one of the trendiest places in South Korea and has a unique vibe and lifestyle. It offers upscale nightclubs, shopping centers, and outrageous venues and events worth seeing for yourself.
A Trip You’ll Always Remember
There are things to do in Seoul that are commonly done in many parts of the world as well. So you can easily find enjoyable touristy things to do and sights to see without spending hours planning a trip.
But there are also a few things you can do that can help you forge unique memories.
A changing of the guard where you can dress up like an actual guard? Check.
An indoor amusement park? Check.
Jumping back and forth between two countries’ borders? Check.
Seoul occupies a special place in the hearts of tourists who crossed its threshold and will continue to do so for years to come.
Seven Best Campsites in Seoul
Do you want to spend your nights in Seoul in a unique way? Try having an outdoor-only vacation.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know about camping rules in Korea: Camping in Korea national parks is illegal.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t absolutely go camping. It just means you can’t pitch your tent wherever you want.
In reality, most parks have designated campgrounds so you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you pay attention. Check out these campsites if you want a great camping experience in Seoul.
1. Nanji Hangang Park
If you don’t want to stray too far outside Seoul, then Nanji Hangang Park is an excellent spot to park for the night.
What makes it one of the best places to go camping is its massive size. Nanji Hangang Park sits on the Han River and has a capacity of over 2,000 people. It offers a total of 165 camping pitches and you can rent a tent or bring your own.
The fee is cheap enough and the multilingual service caters to tourists from all over the world. On the site, you can also find tables, grills, and convenience stores.
Consider camping at Nanji Hangang Park an outdoor experience with city comforts, or something that’s akin to glamping.
2. Seoul Grand Park
One of the best campsites in Seoul can be found in Seoul Grand Park. It offers 150 camping pitches and tons of amenities.
What’s also great is that you can also rent a pitch during the day if you want to have a barbeque with the family without spending the night at the park. You can also rent any camping equipment you need at the campsite.
The nearby Grand Zoo and Seoul Land Theme Park are great attractions to visit with the family. You also have the National Museum of Contemporary Art close to the park if you want to discover local art.
However, most people choose camping at Seoul Grand Park because it sits in the Cheonggyesan Mountain forest. It has breathtaking scenery, plenty of shade, and multiple trails you can explore.
3. Noeul Park Campground
You can find another popular campsite near the World Cup Stadium. The Noeul Park Campground has a vast green pasture rich in local wildlife and wildflowers.
Initially a landfill, it’s now one of the most gorgeous places in all of Seoul to pitch a tent and enjoy the outdoors. The campground also has over 20 lookouts that are ideal for sightseeing.
Although it’s not as massive as other campgrounds, you can still find over 100 campsites. And all of them are fully equipped with necessary amenities like tables and grilling areas.
However, note that many locals spend their afternoons there too, so it can get crowded at times.
Many campgrounds in and around Seoul can get very busy and noisy, as the young crowds are known to party outdoors.
If you’re traveling with your family and want to park in a more family-friendly spot, try the Choansan camping grounds. It’s one of the best locations on Choansan Mountain and offers 54 camping sites.
It can accommodate up to 216 people at about four occupants per tent. And if staying in a tent isn’t to your liking, you can also choose to rent one of the local log houses. But unlike other campgrounds, you won’t find much camping equipment to rent at Choansan.
That said, its cabins have everything you need, including a spa and pool area. It’s a quiet location and considered one of the best campsites in Seoul when it comes to scenery and relaxation.
5. Gangdong Campground
Another family-friendly spot is on the Injasan Mountain where you can find the Gangdong Family Campground.
It has decent parking, plenty of spaces, and amazing surroundings and amenities. You can experience spending the night within the in-forest shelters. Fortunately, you’ll also have access to electricity so you can access all your appliances and gadgets with you during your stay.
You’ll even find hot showers, a water fountain, even a forest library here. And many tourists choose Gangdong for its relaxing atmosphere, lush surrounding forests, and stargazing potential.
6. Grand WalkerHill
If you prefer glamping, you might want to check out one of the local resorts. The Grand WalkerHill Hotel offers a luxurious camping experience for its guests right on the hotel grounds.
From there, you can observe Mount Acha in all its glory, as well as the famous Han River. The amazing sights on the camping site are as impressive as the service and dining experience they offer.
If you camp at the Grand WalkerHill, you don’t just get a luxury tent to spend the night in. You also get the same level of service offered by that of a luxury resort.
It’s not the cheapest, but it can provide a unique inner-city camping adventure.
Don’t be afraid to step outside of Seoul to find an amazing experience. Pine4Rest is one of the best campsites in Seoul, even if it’s more than one hour away from the inner city.
Its location is the star attraction, as Pine4Rest sits in a coniferous and pine forest. The tents there have an interesting design and often remind guests of ramyeon bowls.
Although minimalist in design, they look luxurious and have the amenities to back up their glamping allure. Each tent has an AC unit, as well as a bathroom and a living room.
Seoul – A Camping Trip You Won’t Forget
There’s so much to see and do in Seoul that most people don’t realize that camping is among the biggest attractions in the area.
In fact, the best campsites in Seoul have everything for everyone. You can go with the most minimalist approach and rough it in the great outdoors. And if you want some pampering in nature, staying at one of the city’s glamping sites is the next best thing.
You can enjoy a full stay in Seoul as close to nature as you want. The city allocates a vast amount of land to this specific goal, for the enjoyment of natives and guests alike.
10 Unique Things to Do in Seoul
A colorful, lively metropolis teeming with authenticity and fun, Seoul is a place everyone should visit at least once. And when you go there, you’ll be all but guaranteed to come back.
To say that Seoul is a massive city would be something of an understatement. The capital of South Korea has almost 10 million people, and it’s both a national and global powerhouse of culture and economy.
You’ll notice a fascinating mixture of the old and the new in Seoul. It’s present in the architectural make-up of the city as well as its culture. And when it comes to activities for visitors, there are plenty that you couldn’t experience anywhere else.
Without further ado, here are the 10 unique things to do in Seoul.
1. Get Tricked at a Museum
The Trick Eye Museum in Seoul is a place of art, illusion, and great fun. It’s a gallery that uses various illusions, both in 2D and 3D, to make its exhibits come to life.
Want to know the best part? Your photos can become a part of the display! Now, we won’t explain how exactly to avoid spoiling the experience.
The place also houses the Ice Museum and a cafe where you can order coffee with your selected photo done in latte art.
2. Have a Snack at the Market
Tongin Market started as a Japanese market during the Japanese occupation at the time of World War II. As soon as Korea regained its independence after the war, the market closed. Luckily, it reopened after a few decades – now with a fun and authentic feature.
When you visit the Tongin Market, you’ll see plenty of so-called “lunch box” cafes. In these eateries, you can purchase old coins that you can then use to buy lunch box items all throughout the market.
Simply go from one stall to the other and select the food you want – you’ll end up with a delicious, and rather cheap, meal.
3. Spend a Couple of Days at the Temple
Jogyesa is a Buddhist temple in Seoul that’s become as much a tourist magnet as it is a central location of religion and culture. The temple’s located downtown and it’s about seven centuries old, housing various lectures, events, and rituals.
You can participate in the everyday life of Jogyesa by booking an overnight stay. This includes staying at the temple for two days and one night and engaging in various Buddhist rituals and crafts.
4. Visit an Abandoned Theme Park
Yongma Land had a relatively long lifespan as a theme park before its profits started dwindling. Unfortunately, rising competition caused the park to finally close in 2011. But even though the rides were no longer operational, the park didn’t stop attracting tourists.
Today, you can roam Yongma Land for a small fee and take incredible photos among some iconic rides. There’s also a snack bar on the premises, and you can even have the owner turn on some of the lights for an additional price.
5. Spend the Day in the National Museum
The largest of its kind in the country, the National Museum of Korea has three floors, six permanent galleries, and over 220,000 historical and cultural objects. You can see everything from prehistoric exhibits to famous Buddhist artwork.
Like many other sites in Seoul, the National Museum has an authentic twist. There’s a gorgeous pond park outside where you can take a break from touring the exhibitions, sit down, and have a snack.
6. Take the Subway to a National Park
Bukhansan National Park has mountain streams, secluded temples, and a peak with a breathtaking view of Seoul. Don’t think that it’s too far for you to visit since you can head there directly from the city via the subway.
You can choose the trail that fits you the most from a free map that you can pick up at the information center. But choose wisely – there are over 100 trails in Bukhansan.
7. Walk Around an Ancient Village
The Northern Village, Bukchon Hanok in Korean, is a historical neighborhood of Seoul. It contains two palaces and hundreds of Hanok – traditional Korean houses.
While the village used to be mostly residential, many houses have now been converted into shops, museums, galleries, and restaurants featuring traditional Korean cuisine.
8. Have a Cup of Coffee While Being Part of a Cartoon
There’s a coffee shop in Seoul where its interior, dishes, and all other details are fashioned after cartoon drawing. The reason we refer to this unique location as “a coffee shop” is because of another unique quirk – it doesn’t have a name.
The only way to find the shop is by its address: Yeonnam-Dong 223-14, which is also how people call the establishment. However, the coffee shop isn’t easy to find by the address alone, so you’ll need the help of a map.
9. Try an Authentic Dish That Led to the Creation of a Museum
Among the many delicacies of traditional Korean cuisine, one dish stands out by having a museum dedicated to it.
At Museum Kimchikan, you can find out everything about the history, production process, and different types of kimchi, the famous spicy side dish made of fermented cabbage. And it gets even tastier – you can also try regional kimchi variations originating from different parts of South Korea.
Museum Kimchikan is not only one of the attractions in Seoul but is also a UNESCO Heritage site.
10. Take In the Beauty of Gangseo Marsh
Situated along the Han River, the Gangseo Marsh Ecological Park lies between two bridges. It covers a stretch of land with wetlands, lakes, and wildlife areas, a stark contrast to a highly urbanized city.
You’ll have a chance to take refuge from the tourist-heavy spots and enjoy a lovely walk along one of its many trails that traverse the gorgeous natural landscape.
Get an Experience of a Lifetime in Seoul
As the authentic location that it is, Seoul can quickly fill up any list of unique sights and experiences. From nature to culture and everything in between, this bustling metropolis is a place you shouldn’t miss.
Tour the city and take in as much as you can. There will still be plenty left for you to explore on your next visit to Seoul.
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