With nearly half of the country’s population residing within its’ city limits, Seoul is filled with endless opportunities to have a great time. There is something for everyone in Seoul, which could explain why many of us foreigners dream of getting placed there! I may not be able to give you extensive details of things to do and see, I can share a few of my favorites with you!
The theme museums
Not a fan of museums? No problem! Why not take a break from all of those art and history museums and step into a world of fiction? Korea is in the lead when it comes to Photo Zones (포토존) and Pop Art hidden throughout various city corners. My favorite, by far, would have to be the Trick-Eye Museum (서울트릭아이미술관).
This museum is located in Hongdae, a very popular area filled with university students, and can be located easily from the Hongik University subway station. Once inside there are 2 floors for you to explore.
~Don’t forget to leave your things in a locker so you can be hands-free to take all the great photos!~
On the first level you’ll enter and pay the entrance fee of 15,000 won (about 15$) and this includes the ice museum as well; they are in the same building. On the lower level you can find the infamous Love Museum. There are many “Love themed” museums, but this one is especially interesting. For a country where sex is nearly taboo and rarely spoken about, there are plenty of love motels and obscenities that create an almost contradiction. Don’t leave Korea without visiting at least one, if only for the experience!
Hey all you EDM fans! If you love music and large crowds with great DJ’s, then you must buy a ticket to UMF Korea. It may not be as crazy as it is in the USA or Europe, there aren’t any drugs or many people dressed strangely, but it is still an amazing time. They sell booze at every stage, there are 4, and there is plenty of space if you don’t want to get caught in the crowd. I mean, the venue is the old Olympic stadium so of course there is space! If you happen to be around in the summer, and you want to have the best weekend of your life, don’t miss this!
Not far from Gyeongbukgung Palace, exists the most artistic area of Seoul, Isadong. If you’re looking to find unique cafes, traditional tea shops, and handmade goods to send home to your family then this is the place to go.
Rather than go to busy myeongdong or namdaemun market, I always find myself more attracted to going to Insadong. These are very big tourist attractions for people interested in shopping for clothing etc. If that’s up your alley then check those out : Myeong-dong and Namdaemun Market. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos for either of those off hand :(.
Insadong is filled with art galleries and small vendors that would graciously thank you for your business.
I especially find it pleasant because they aren’t aggressive like vendors in other parts of Asia and South America that would follow you for miles waiting for you to buy their hand-made scarves.
Gyeongbukgung and the palaces
You can’t come to Korea and not see a palace. It’s like going to Italy and not eating any pasta, it’s impossible! Especially because there are so many to choose from! The most well-known palace in Seoul is Gyeongbokgung. It’s especially important because it’s filled with the rich history of the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbokgung palace was built in the 15 century and in the 16th century the Japanese invaded and burned it down. (They did that to a lot Korea unfortunately). It wasn’t rebuilt until the 19th century. This palace is also the biggest palace in all of Korea. Two stories high and the only one of it’s kind, it’s a symbol of Korea that can’t be missed when visiting.
If you’ve got more time to explore and you really love temples and history you can check out the couple of museums about the palaces or visit the other 4:
You can buy a pass that will allow you to enter all of the palaces, as well as the UNESCO Jongmyo shrine, and save some money.
Lotte world mall
Okay, so this may not be the “highlight attraction” of Seoul, but it’s a good place to go and walk around if you’re bored or don’t have enough money, like me, to go to Lotte World (theme park). I have this tradition of going to Hard Rock Cafe in every country that I visit. I started doing this in Amsterdam in 2013 and I’ve done it ever since. Every time I go I always order the “Local Legendary Burger” which changes in each location. I usually do this on my own, my friends don’t want to spend 20$ on a burger, and I have to say that it’s always a good time.
Seoul Hard Rock Cafe is BY FAR my favorite in the world so far. Their Kimchi burger was so good! I didn’t even like Kimchi that much and it was still amazing. That wasn’t the only thing that made my experience amazing. There was a bartender that went on stage, along with various servers, and began dancing “Gangnam Style” and incorporated the entire restaurant! All these people were having so much fun laughing and dancing that I found it contagious and laughed along with them! Seriously kuddos to them, although I very much doubt they’ll ever know I’ve mentioned them ;).
This mall also has a studio ghibli store. Which, if you’re a big fan of such films as My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away you could find yourself spending all your money in there within 5 minutes of entering.
Hit up one of the many bars and nightclubs
I’m not much of a party-goer, but I must admit that the nightlife in Seoul is like no other. With the exception of a few of completely wasted people, the people are classier than anything I’ve ever seen. I’m not talking about Thursday Party. If you want to party with foreigners, then you’re sure to find them at any Thursday party riddled around the big areas like Itaewon and Hongdae. If you truly want to experience something out of a movie, you have to go to the Octagon in Gangnam. I was a little hesitant, I mean 30$ cover is a lot, but I’m glad I went. The music is great, the Korean to foreigner ratio is like 70-1 and you can get a taste of the rich and famous Gangnam lifestyle. Just make sure you go dressed to impress, or else you’ll stick out even more than you do already ;).
You can also find unique types of bars and soju rooms. One of my favorites I never would have found out about until my friend, pictured above, dragged me to it. The place is called Rainbow Room. It’s a hookah bar where they serve alcohol in buckets and even in their Shisha. If you wanna relax in a trippy underground bar and smoke up a buzz, then try finding this sweet local. (It’s somewhere in Gangnam 😉 )