A guide to Seoul, South Korea

Gyeongbok Palace
Gyeongbok Palace

Seoul is another amazing party place and also not part of the backpacker trail. In fact, you would rarely see foreigners in this city, which makes for an interesting trip!

Getting There: The closest airport to Seoul is in Incheon, which is another city altogether. The cheapest way to get to the city is to get on their metro, and ride the green line (use the regular train instead of the express one to save more money).

Where to Stay: If you like partying and want to taste the ‘real’ Seoul, try staying in the Hongdae area. Here you can drink with the locals (and my god, can they drink) and have fun going through the various alleys, looking at the local stores. Hongdae is home to a lot of universities so the vibe is positively buzzing. I personally stayed at the Kimchi Hongdae Hostel – I’ve met a lot of backpackers in the area who became my travel buddies throughout my stay. It’s also a great place to shop in, with trendy little boutiques you won’t find anywhere else.

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Locks of Love – Seoul

 

Places To See: There are plenty of things to do in Seoul, whether you are waiting for your class to start as an English teacher or as a tourist.

1) Lotte World – an indoor and outdoor theme park in the heart of Seoul near Jamsil station, Lotte World. Think Disneyland except everything is spoken or sang in Korean. What’s odd is, most of their performers are white! This theme park can get pretty crowded (with some ride queues lasting for more than two hours) so be prepared and armed with a friend! The rides in the indoor park are mostly catered for kids, while the outside rides are bigger, and more catered for the adults.

2) Gyeongbokgung – one of the many palaces you’ll see in Seoul. This is the main one used by the Joseon Dynasty since the 1400s. From the front gate, you can watch the changing of the guards ceremony (free of charge, but entry to the palace has a charge). Inside the palace, see the intricate wooden architecture and the gardens. Outside Gyeongbokgung, you can also see Gwanghwamun Square, with fountains, greens, and a statue of King Sejong.

3) Cheonggyecheon –  There is a park that runs beside the river. From a decrepit stream, it has now become one of the top things to see in Seoul. There are numerous exhibits within the 7 mile walk, and you can also cross the stream in various places – hopping along from stone to stone, trying not to touch the flowing water beneath. It’s fun to do it especially in winter.

4) N Seoul Tower & Namsan Park – Rising high above Seoul, the tower is a tourist attraction that also houses the Teddy Bear Museum. It has an observation area where on a clear day, you can see the city. Also houses several love locks, where lovers would put a padlock and throw away the key in the hopes that they will stay together forever. The ride up to N Seoul Tower is scenic – you can take the cable car a few minutes walk from Myeongdong. 

When Seoul hosted the Olympics

When Seoul hosted the Olympics

Seoul is a very urban, big city and this city guide barely even scratches the surface. There are plenty of other places to see like the Olympic Park and the numerous palaces that dot the place. The best time to go is autumn, with all the leaves turning into shades of red, gold, and fall from the trees. Winter can get absolutely cold, so be prepared.

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