7 Things Every First-Timer To Seoul Must Do

There’s so much to see and do in Seoul! South Korea’s business and cultural hub, the metropolitan is home to a great number of modern and traditional attractions, from palaces to skyscrapers.

If you’re heading to the land of the morning calm for the first time and have no idea where to start, JB and Renée from Will Travel for Food, have compiled a detailed article on everything Seoul, from the best time to travel to where to change money. They share their own personal tips as well. Also in their piece are seven recommended places to go and fun things to do. Check out the list here:

1. Watch the changing of the guard at Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung Palaces

Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung Palaces in Seoul, South Korea (Pic credit: Will Travel for Food)

Seoul has five Joseon Dynasty royal palaces and these two are the ones that you can’t miss. Each magnificent in their own right, Gyeongbokgung is the primary palace while Chandeokgung is a UNESCO Heritage Site and home to Huwon or the “Secret Garden”. If you come at the right time, you can watch the changing of the guard as well.

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Suggested length of visit: 1-3 hrs / Admission: 3,000 KRW (USD2.60) per adult for each palace

2. Get lost in a maze of traditional houses at Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, South Korea (Pic credit: Will Travel for Food)

As ultramodern as Seoul can be, it was nice to find a place like this right in the heart of the city. A maze of narrow alleyways and traditional Korean houses called hanoks, Bukchon Hanok Village will take you back in time and introduce you to a 600-year-old Seoul.

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Suggested length of visit: 1-2 hrs / Admission: FREE

3. Lock your love and climb to the top of N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower, Seoul, South Korea (Pic credit: Will Travel for Food)

When it comes to great views, this place towers over the competition. Standing at 480 meters above sea level, N Seoul Tower is the best place to get a bird’s eye views of the city. It’s also the only place where you can “lock your love” for all eternity.

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Suggested length of visit: 1-1.5 hrs / Cost: 17,500 KRW (USD15) including round-trip cable car tickets

4. See the future of design at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea (Pic credit: Will Travel for Food)

This place is awesome. If you like design, any kind of design, then you need to put DDP in your itinerary. It’s like a museum, design supermarket, and space ship all rolled into one. Try devoting several hours there if you can, and be sure to come back at night when the building really comes to life.

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Suggested length of visit: 2-3 hrs / Admission: 4,000 KRW (USD3.50)

5. Shop and eat like there’s no tomorrow in Insadong, Myeongdong, and Hongdae

Myeongdong shopping district in Seoul, South Korea (Pic credit: Will Travel for Food)

Seoul is a shopaholic’s paradise. There are many shopping districts in the city but Insadong, Myeongdong, and Hongdae are three that you can’t miss. They each have their own unique personality. Insadong is known for its artsy-craftsy items; Myeongdong for its brand names and cosmetics; and Hongdae for its hip, college town vibe. All have great street food.

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6. Laugh at a Cookin’ Nanta Show

If you’re looking to add a cultural show to your itinerary, then this is one to consider. Entertaining and raucously funny in parts, think of it as a slapstick Korean Stomp with food. There’s a Nanta theater in Myeongdong so you can pair it with an afternoon of shopping and dining at the famed Myeongdong Kyoja noodle restaurant.

It’s a good idea to purchase your tickets from their website in advance. Click on the “discounts” button to check if they’re offering any promos. JB and Renée got a 25% discount simply by posting a message on their Facebook page and showing them the screenshot.

Tickets start at 40,000 KRW (USD34). This was good enough and gives great views of the show, though more expensive tickets bring you closer to the stage and make fun audience participation possible for you.

Tickets: At least 40,000 KRW (USD34) per person

7. Climb Hwaseong Fortress Wall in Suwon

Hwaseong Fortress, Suwon, South Korea (Pic credit: Will Travel for Food)

Located about an hour south of Seoul, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great day trip if you have the time. A good place to do some light hiking, the fortress has a pretty interesting background story too.

Click here for more pictures and information.

Suggested length of visit: 4-5 hrs / Admission: 1,000 KRW (USD0.85) per adult

For more travel tips for first-timers to Seoul from Will Travel For Food, click here.


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Maggie De souza
As a homebody, Maggie likes spending her week-nights and weekends curled up on the couch with her furbabies, catching up on her favourite TV shows, all while sipping on a nice warm cup of green tea.

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