Seoul Travel Guide : 3 Incredible Treasures In The City To Visit This Year

Seoul – the buzzing and captivating capital of South Korea is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Asia. Whether you’re a K-fan, love traditional Korean culture, want to explore all the different neighbourhoods or try the plethora of interesting Korean cuisine, a Seoul trip has something for everyone.

Did you know ?

  • Seoul has a population of around 9.9 million people in 2020. The city’s density ranks as one of the highest on Earth with over 15.9 thousand people per square kilometre in 2019, more than double that of Kuala Lumpur.

Click here to find out 50 reasons why Seoul is the world’s greatest city!

If you’re planning your first trip to the capital of all things K, continue reading this Seoul travel guide as we’ve highlighted three incredible treasures in the city that fully deserve their ranking as Seoul’s top things to do.

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Despite its uber-high population density, Seoul is considered to be one of the world’s most livable cities (as featured on CNN travel in 2017).  | Credit: Sujin Lee via Unsplash

Seoul Travel Guide : top 3 places to visit in seoul

1. Hangang river (Han river)

One of the most famous and longest rivers in South Korea, Hangang River should be on every Seoul itinerary due to its natural incredible beauty and unique history.

The river, at around 545 kilometres long, flows through the city of Seoul, plays an important role in the country’s economy and is known for its clear waters, numerous bridges, and lush greenery.

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Hangang River is a great spot for outdoor picnics in summertime with no shortage of outdoor playgrounds, public swimming pools and restaurants lining its picturesque riverbanks. | Credit: Lee JiSeon via Unsplash

Hangang River is one of Seoul top things to do because:

1. It’s just gorgeous – with its winding channels and lush foliage. From the riverbanks, you can see some of Seoul’s most iconic landmarks, like the National Assembly and Seoul tower.  Springtime brings along more gorgeousness in the form of cherry blossom (Sakura) trees (April 28- May 5).

2. There’s the Hangang River Trail – This scenic trail takes you on a journey through Hangang Park, passing by several scenic spots along the way and featuring numerous interesting historical sites and monuments. Click here to find out about great cycling trails along the river.

3. There’s so much to do! There’s absolutely no shortage of activities, with an amusement park, a water park, as well as countless sports and outdoor activities.

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The view by night – Gangbuk district (left) and Gangnam-district (right) are on opposite sides of Seoul, which is split by Hangang River. | Credit: Suhyun Lee via Pixabay
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Sebitseom is a man made floating island in the heart of downtown Seoul, made up of three gorgeous islands and featuring state-of-the-art facilities such as a wedding, exhibition and convention hall, the Golden Blue Marina yacht, an Italian restaurant and many more. | Credit: yeon woo lee via Pixabay

2. Gwanghwamun

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Set in one of the most beautiful areas in the city, Gwanghwamun is one of Seoul’s top things to do and home to the tourist attraction National Palace Museum. | Credit: Tancheonman via Pixabay

 

For culture and history lovers, Gwanghwamun is a must on your Seoul itinerary. This palace has seen several instances of devastation during its lengthy history and serves as a reminder of Seoul’s status as the Joseon Dynasty’s capital. The district is home to a vast amount of culture, including art galleries, temples, and historical sites. The area around Gwanghwamun is also home to a number of popular restaurants, malls and cafes. History buffs will want to check out The King Sejong Statue/Square and Gyeongbokgung Palace, and art and culture lovers will want to put Insa-dong on their Seoul top things to do.

Insa-dong

This charming district is famous for its traditional markets and shops selling everything from arts and crafts to cosmetics and food.

Insa-dong must-do activities:

  •  Shop at the famous Insa-dong Traditional Market for souvenirs and traditional Korean food items like kimchi, seaweed and many more.
  •  Enjoy a cup of traditional jujube tea (Korean red date tea) and Yuja tea (Korean Citron tea) at one of the many teahouses.
  •  Browse through art galleries such as Moin Gallery and Gallery La Mer and take home some beautiful artwork.
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Once the heart of arts and culture in South Korea, you’ll find a lively mix of modern and traditional Korean culture in Insa-dong. | Credit : kyerim-che via Pixabay

The king sejong Statue (King sejong square)

Located in the central square of Seoul, the King Sejong statue is a beautiful and impressive monument to the great Korean king and is regarded as a key historical landmark.

Made from bronze, a sculpted figure of the king wearing the traditional Korean garment, the 6.2-meter-tall bronze statue sits with a kind grin on his face and a book in his hand, honouring the 15th century monarch and his outstanding achievements.

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Sejong the Great, the fourth emperor of the Joseon dynasty is one of Korea’s most well-known historical figures. | Credit: Skyler W via Unsplash

Gyeongbokgung palace

Built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung palace is one of the most significant palace complexes in Seoul.

The complex is made up of five main palaces – the main Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Changdeokgung Palace, the Gyeonghuigung Palace, the Deoksugung Palace and the Changgyeonggung Palace.

Receiving around five to six million visitors annually, the Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and considered as the most beautiful of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces.

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Built in the early days of the Joseon Dynasty, Taejo was the king during the construction of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. | Credit: I. H Cho via Pixabay

3. Lotte world

Lotte World Theme Park

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Lotte World Theme Park has been in operation since 1989 and is one of Seoul top things to do. | Credit: cmmellow via Pixabay

Thrill seekers and lovers of theme parks will definitely want to include Lotte World Theme Park in their Seoul trip. This massive theme park in Songpa-gu has a wide range of attractions, including rides, shows, gardens and restaurants and is known for its lavish and impressive design.

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Lotte World Theme Park’s adrenaline-pumping attractions include the terrifying Bungee Drop (thrill of a rapid, 90 km/h descent from a 38 m height!) and the Gyro Spin (Asia’s first anti-noise and non-vibration spin ride!). | Credit: Tourism Media

Lotte World Tower

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A remarkable view of Hangang River from Lotte World Tower. The Lotte World Tower Seoul Observatory offers visitors a unique opportunity to see the city from a different perspective and learn about astronomy in an interactive setting. | Credit: JEONGUK via Unsplash

At a whopping 555.7-meter-tall, Lotte World Tower (just next to Lotte World Theme Park) is a 123 storey skyscraper that offers up jaw-dropping 360 views of Seoul and the Hangang River. It is currently the sixth tallest building in the world and the tallest in South Korea.

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The Lotte World Tower Sky Deck (478 metres high) holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s tallest glass-floored observatory. | Credit: Lotte World Official Website

Whether you’re interested in the modern or the ancient, looking for a blend of old and new or a fusion of the East and West, this 2000-year-old city has it all covered.

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