Seoul Best 71 is an Android App for anyone who wants to explore Seoul. This App helps you plan your visit in Seoul. If you are visiting Seoul for the first time then let this app be your guide for the best places to visit in Seoul.
Even if you have been staying in Seoul for quite some time, you can use this app to track the places you have visited and check if you have missed out on anything.
For someone who is coming to Seoul for a short period of time can check Seoul Top 20 places that you can explore in a week. And for someone who wants to explore Seoul in and out can check all the 71 Best Places in Seoul. This app can help you plan the places you would like to visit and the places that you have already visited.
If you have enjoyed my app, then I request you to please rate my app and share it with your friends who might be interested in visiting Seoul.
I have listed below all the 71 places that you will find in this app. Obviously the app is more convenient and accessible as compared to the longish post below. The app has all the 71 places mentioned below, but it also allows you to track the places you have visited or are planning to visit and also explore places as per attractions.
Samcheong-dong is Seoul’s most stylish neighbourhood, located just past Gyeongbokgung (Palace)’s stone wall lined street. The name “Samcheong” is derived from the words “sam” meaning “three”, and “cheong” meaning “fresh” or “pure”, because the mountain, water and the heart of the people in this area are all very fresh and pure. Then it’s not wonder why many artists have sought out Samcheong-dong over the years. Because of this, Samcheong-dong became known as an artistic area.
Samcheong-dong is dotted with various art museums, museums, art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and shops; some are traditional, some are modern, but all are unique and colorful. Even the types of people that flock to Samcheong-dong vary; some come to relax at the cafes, some to take photos of the mural art, some to appreciate artwork at hanok galleries, some to enjoy modern art at galleries.
Insa Dong Traditional Market
The streets of Insadong are alive with traditional culture. The area that is now known as Insadong has been the center of culture since the Joseon era. Over the years a wider variety of arts have continued to move their way into this neighborhood making it one of the best places in the world to find diverse genres of art.
Forty percent of all antique stores in Korea can be found in Insadong. That is quite an astounding number for just one small neighborhood. But as you begin to explore the tiny alleys shooting off from the main street you start to realize that this is only the beginning. As you continue to wander around the alleys and byways of Insadong you will find stores selling old books, pictures and calligraphy. You will also undoubtedly find old photographs, pottery, wooden containers, jewelry, ceramics and earthenware.
On the weekends the streets spring to life with cultural festivities like parades, traditional wedding processions, traditional musical and dance performances, etc. making it a hot spot for audiences, both domestic and foreign. As you wander from shop to shop and immerse yourself in the long and storied history of Korea the time will just fly by.
Bukchon Hanok Village sits between the two palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. Unlike other hanok villages, Bukchon was not created for tourists but it is a living village inhabited by Seoulites, comprising about 900 hanoks spread across 11 dongs (administrative sections). The reason there are so many traditional houses in this area is that many yangbans (people from the ruling class) lived here during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
With its recently-opened hanok gallery, craft workshop and hanok restaurant, the village is increasingly important as a center for culture and the arts. There are also a number of museums of traditional Korean culture including the Gahoe Museum, the Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum, the Museum of Korean Art and many more.
Gwanghwamun Square is divided into six sections. At its center is the statue of King Sejong the Great, the fourth and most respected king of the Joseon Dynasty and creator of Hangeul, Korea’s alphabet; and a statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin, a naval commander noted for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598) and a hero among Koreans. Other attractions include the popular 12·23 Fountain, a sculpture of Haechi (the symbol of Seoul), a flower carpet, and Yeoksamulgil (Waterway of History) on either side of the square.
Gwanghwamun Square stretches out from Gwanghwamun (Gate), once the main gate of Gyeongbokgung (Palace), to Sejongno Sageori (Crossroads). Originally the area was a 16-lane roadway but in 2009, Seoul Metropolitan Government decided to create a landmark national square by transforming 10 lanes of the roadway into a public space where Seoulites could rest and socialize.
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the “Northern Palace” because it is the furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeongheegung (Western Palace). Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all five palaces.
The premises were destroyed by fire during the Imjinwaeran War (Japanese Invasion, 1592-1598). However, all of the palace’s 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919).
Remarkably, the most representative edifices of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoe-ru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond are still relatively intact. Woldae and the sculptures of Geunjeongjeon (The Royal Audience Chamber) represent past sculpture of contemporary art. The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located east within Hyangwonjeong.
Namdaemun Market, located in the very center of Seoul, is the biggest traditional market in Korea selling children’s clothing, men & women’s clothing, daily miscellaneous goods, kitchenware and local and imported products. Most shops have their own factories and make the products themselves offering both wholesale and retail prices which enable visitors to purchase various shopping items at extremely inexpensive prices.
Foreign visitors to Namdaemun Market show different tastes: the Japanese are more into foods like kim (seaweed), kimchi, and ginseng, while the Chinese show interest in clothing and miscellaneous goods. On the other hand, most tourists from the West simply enjoy the ambience of the traditional market. Hours vary by store, so it’s advisable to plan in advance according to a shopping list before you start actual shopping.
Dongdaemun Fashion Town
Dongdaemun Market is a large commercial district comprised of traditional markets and shopping centers that covers the entire area around Dongdaemun (Gate), a prominent landmark in Korea. It is Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district featuring 26 shopping malls, 30,000 speciality shops, and 50,000 manufacturers. All kinds of goods can be found here including silks and fabric, clothes, shoes and accessories, electronics, leather goods, sporting goods, office supplies, pet products and toys.
Although Dongdaemun Market is traditionally famous for its night market, this popular shopping district attracts hordes of shoppers and tourists at all times of day. Like Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun market sells a variety of products, but unlike Namdaemun Market, it is open 24-hours a day. The powerful appeal of Dongdaemun Market stems from the fact that you can buy everything you need at a reasonable price, in one convenient location and at anytime. Most major wholesalers and retailers are here along with specialist outlets focusing on the youth market, making Dongdaemun Market the best place to find the latest fashions at bargain prices. Dongdaemun’s famous food alley, Mukja Golmok, is also essential for anyone wanting to check out the latest trends in Korean cuisine.
Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain
Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain is the world’s ongest bridge fountain recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records with 380 water jets and a dazzling array of multi-colored lights. The fountain is programmed to play different shows during the day and night. During the day, the fountain shows a hundred different configurations meant to evoke waving willow branches and willow leaves. When the sun goes down, 200 lights illuminate the fountain as it sends up dancing, rainbow-colored jets of water in the air in synchronization with music. The Moonlight Rainbow Fountain operates from April to October every year, however the schedule of the fountain shows varies from month to month.
Tourists in Seoul will find that the capital has two rivers. One is the Hangang (River), running through the center of the city and the other is Cheonggyecheon (Stream) flowing through the downtown areas. Clear water streaming through the very heart of Seoul is sure to astonish anyone who visits it.
Until it was restored in 2005, Cheonggyecheon Stream existed only as a neglected watercourse hidden by an overpass. Today, it has been transformed into a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life. Narae Bridge, expressing a butterfly in flight, and Gwanggyo Bridge, symbolizing the harmony of the past and future, are just two of the more than twenty beautiful bridges that cross the stream. The ‘Rhythmic Wall Stream’, lined with fine marble, sculptures, and Korea’s 8th stone building, Palseokdam, adorn the Cheonggyecheon Stream.
Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace, allowing visitors to easily visit major tourist sites after a leisurely stroll along the stream.
Adorned with ginkgo trees, Garosu-gil stretches less than a kilometer in Sinsa-dong, but is still considered a main area within the greater Gangnam area. It’s true that Garosu-gil boasts splendid scenery in the spring and fall with golden ginkgo trees, but it dazzles visitors mainly due to its collection of quaint stores and its unique bohemian atmosphere.
Garosu-gil housed art galleries in the 1980s and small shops in the 1990s. During the last decade, modern stores began proliferating the streets, alongside a number of interior design shops. Its current makeup came from an increased number of stores run by designers, artists, and stylists who studied abroad and came back in throngs in the late 90s, early 2000s.
The array of open studios, ateliers, cafés, restaurants, bars, fashion shops, and prop shops blend together for a chic cityscape. While other streets in Gangnam are said to be fancy and modern, Garosu-gil presents a fascinating dichotomy of the old and the new, the coolness of modern city life and the warmth of days gone by. Some people claim that Garosu-gil resembles Soho, New York; others liken it to a European street.
It is an ideal place for going on a date, hanging out with friends, taking pictures, and film-making. Garosu-gil will captivate you if you like to walk, have a cup of tea, or just simply look around.
Seoul Fortress Wall (Mt. Bugaksan)
The Fortress Wall of Seoul was a doseong (a castle town) that surrounded Hanyang (the old name for Seoul) in the Joseon Dynasty. At that time, it was called Hansung. In 1395, Taejo of Joseon established a government office (Doseongchukjoedogam) to build a castle to defend Seoul, and he ordered Jeong Do-jeon to search for and measure a site.
On January 1, 1396 (by the lunar calendar), Taejo of Joseon held the groundbreaking ceremony. One hundred ninety seven thousand four hundred young men were placed under requisition over 2 years and completed building the castle 98 days after the war along the mountains Bugaksan, Naksan, Namsan, and Inwangsan. The wall contained eight gates, all of which were originally constructed between 1396 and 1398.
Several trailheads take hikers through reconstructed 15th-century gates and along Seoul’s ancient fortress wall. From the top of the 342-m (112-ft.) ascent, you’ll get a commanding view of the capital. You’ll also get to follow in the footsteps of North Korean commandos who climbed the mountain some 40 years ago in an unsuccessful bid to assassinate the president; the Seoul Fortress, which had been closed for security purposes, was re-opened to visitors in 2006 (make a tour reservation a week in advance).
The total length of the official Seoul fortress wall walk is 18.2km and consists of four main parts. Many visitors divide the path into smaller sections and take a number of day trips, as the trail can be steep at times, especially for those not used to hiking.
Hongdae has something for everyone and all tastes, ranging from hip hop and celebrity DJs, to reggae and old-time rock n’roll. On the last Friday of every month, Club Day, you can gain entry into more than a dozen rockin’ clubs for 15,000 won. Basically, you receive a paper bracelet and a coupon that you can use at any of the clubs to buy either a beer or soft drink. Clubs like Tool, M2 and Cargo feature primarily electronic music, while Hooper, Q-VO, and Tune are more geared toward hip hop. Apart from the clubs, there is also a burgeoning live music scene in Hongdae, and rock/blues outfits like Somah Dat and reggae group, Windy City, are especially talented and energetic.
While many tend to visit Hongdae only during the bewitching hours at night, it’s interesting to discover that a fabulous Saturday or Sunday can be spent visiting one of the most authentic markets near Hongik University. Here, you can browse around for a few hours, shop and then celebrate your purchases at one of the multitude of clubs or bars until the early hours of the morning. The markets here offer a wide variety of reasonably priced and original Korean paraphernalia, more than appropriate gifts for friends and family members back home.
The Hope Market (Sundays) and Free Market (Saturdays), in operation since May 2002, are open from about 1pm to 7pm on weekend afternoons, and run through most of the year. Check with the Tourist Information booth on “Picasso Street” to be sure.
Seoul Race Course
Seoul Race Park in Gwacheon is one of the three parks in Korea for thoroughbred flat races. It is host to many of Korea’s most valuable thoroughbred horse races including the Korean Derby and Grand Prix.
Seoul Race Park is equipped with two sand tracks with a 450m-long home stretch, two grandstands named Happy Ville and Lucky Ville that can accommodate up to 35,000 and 42,000 people, respectively, and two stables, which together house close to 1,500 horses. Also, the Park features numerous equine, recreational and convenience facilities.
Seoul Grand Park
The Seoul Grand Park is the first and largest theme park in Korea with a zoo and a botanical garden. It’s located at the foot of Cheonggye mountain in the city of Gwacheon. In 1984, the park was opened after all the animals were transferred from the Changgyeong Palace. Along with the main attraction, Seoul Zoo, there’s also a rose garden, children’s zoo, Seoul Land (a theme park), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art with a large lake in the middle of everything. Along the 7.4km trail at Cheongye mountain lies the forest path and the nature camp.
Currently, the zoo has an extremely rare Roland Gorilla, and about 360 kinds of animals, and total of 3,200 creatures from all over the world, divided into origin and species. The botanical garden is sectioned into different temperature zones, and the zoo has a practical layout. The dolphin and seal shows are the highlights of Seoul Grand Park. Adults and children of all ages can enjoy the shows. The botanical garden contains 1,300 kinds of plants, and the Mt. Cheonggyesan Forest Relaxation Area is great for trail walking.
The large field on which the Seoul Grand Park operates holds various seasonal festivals. In April, the Royal Cherry Blossoms Festival, in June, the Rose Festival beloved by couples, and in October the Autumn Leaves Festival is held to appreciate the surrounding Mt. Cheonggyesan fall colors.
Apgujeong Rodeo Street
Apgujeong is Seoul’s luxury fashion mecca. And in the center of Apgujeong’s fashion world is Rodeo Street. The name and concept of Apgujeong’s Rodeo Street takes after the Beverly Hill fashion street, Rodeo Drive. It’s where fashion can be met first and on a daily basis, and where new trends and culture can be experienced.
The beginning of Rodeo Street is located across the street from the Galleria Department Store. The entrance of the street is marked with a special archway. Past the archway is a multitude of shops, both featuring fashion from Korean brands and international designer labels. Shopping ranges from the extremely affordable to luxury labels. You can get a t-shirt for as low as 10,000 won, or a designer one for 100,000 won! The beauty of Rodeo Street is that you can experience all sorts of shopping.
There are many cafes with unique interior designs, as well as many Korean, Thai and Japanese restaurants. Beauty clinics are clustered on the streets and due to this atmosphere, Rodeo Street attracts many youngsters.
63 City is located in Yeouido overlooking the gently flowing Hangang River. With 63 floors measuring a height of 264m, the 63 Building is Korea’s tallest and most recognized building. On the outside, it’s a simple skyscraper. On the inside, however, it’s full of wonderful things for visitors to see.
Attractions include Sea World, which is known for fun family outings and the observatory located on the 60th floor, which is a great place for a romantic date. Plus, the observatory added a gallery in 2008, a recent wax museum, and regular showings of (Fanta-Stick), a string and percussion performance. As such, 63 City is constantly evolving as a great place to spend the day with diverse attractions for visitors to see, enjoy and taste all in one place. Moreover, 63 City offers splendid night views of Seoul and the Hangang River from the highest gallery observatory in the world.
Ttukseom Supia Park
The Supia Ttukseom year-round family theme park holds the ‘Snow Flower Village’ program every winter. The three major themed activities include: Fun Play Park, Ice Hill, and the Fun Snow Hill. Some amusement facilities in the village are the 90m long and 15m wide sleigh field, the Fun Snow Hill, a 4-D movie theater, mini train, space ship, mini Viking ship, and folk game zone. Other amenities include convenience stores, a café and a shaded area for visitors.
A snow sledding hill is open inside the Supia Park of Ttukseom Hangang Park during winters. Throughout the sledding hill opening period, there are plenty of other opportunities for recreation and culture including inflatable bouncers, bungee jump, mini train, chocolate making, pond smelt catching, and more.
N Seoul Tower
N Seoul Tower was built in 1969 as Korea’s first integrated transmission tower beaming television and radio broadcasts across the capital. Since opening to the public in 1980, it has become a much-loved Seoul landmark. The tower’s main attractions include multi-colored digital art projected onto the tower at night, a digital observatory, a roof terrace, the HanCook restaurant, the n.Grill restaurant, and the Haneul (Sky) Restroom. N Seoul Tower’s mountain surroundings on Namsan (Mt.) have made it a popular place to unwind for locals and tourists alike.
N Seoul Tower is a popular dating spot in Seoul because of it has featured in a lot of Korean Dramas. Couples come to N Seoul on their first date to add a love lock on the tower fence and then they throw the key down the valley so that their love is locked forever.
Jongmyo Shrine was built by Lee Seong Gye (1335-1408), the first king and founding father of the Joseon Dynasty. It was a primary place of worship for kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty and has been registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site for its well-preserved ancient customs such as memorial services and traditional music.
One of the many unique characteristics of Jongmyo Shrine is the 3-forked path of slightly raised roads that starts from in front of the main gate. The middle path is in honor of kings of the past and leads to Jeongjeon, where mortuary tablets of kings are preserved and memorial services are held. The tradition of enshrining successive kings was originally handed down from China, and has been well maintained. Jeongjeon has 19 different rooms in all, honoring 19 different kings.
The east road of the shrine’s forked path is for the living king and the west is for the living prince. These two paths connect to a room where the king and the prince used to go for ceremonial cleansing and to prepare for memorial services. After preparations had been complete, the king and the prince would then move into Jeonsacheong, a square-shaped room with a yard where the food for the service would be prepared.
The memorial service, called ‘Jongmyo Jaerye,’ is said to be the oldest complete ceremony in the world. It is annually reenacted on the first Sunday of May. Jongmyo Jaeryeak, the musical part of the ceremony, is produced by instruments, songs, and, dances that originated over 500 years ago.
Seodaemun Prison History Hall
Seodaemun Prison History Hall is a special museum located at Seodaemun Independence Park. It was built near the end of the Joseon Dynasty, and was where Japanese soldiers tortured then later executed Korean followers of the Independence Movement. Seodaemun Prison History Hall was built in remembrance of Seodaemun Prison, and to salute the Korean patriots.
There you’ll find seven jail cells, a historical exhibition hall, an execution room, watchtowers and a basement jail cell where Yu Gwan-sun an historic figure during the independence movement died. The 1st floor is “A Place of Reverence,” where you can learn about Seodaemun Prison via the graphic systems. The 2nd floor is “A Place of History,” where you can view the “National Resistance Room,” “Prison History Room” and the “In Prison Life Room.” “A Place of Experience” is the most horrifying and dreadful place in the prison. In the “Temporary Detention Room” and “Torture Room” you will see recreated torture scenes that are frighteningly realistic.
Changdeokgung Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond, and a pavilion.
Changdeokgung’s rear garden was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. The garden had formerly been called ‘Bukwon’ and ‘Geumwon,’ but was renamed ‘Biwon’ after King Kojong came into power. The garden was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when absolutely necessary. The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall.
The War Memorial of Korea
The grounds of the War Memorial of Korea were once the headquarters of the Korean Infantry. Many experts from different fields were consulted numerous times and exhaustive research was done in order to complete the exhibits. This memorial is the largest of its kind in the world.
There are 8 main exhibits at the War Memorial: the Hogukchumo Exhibit, War History Exhibit, June 25th War Exhibit, Overseas Dispatched Troops Exhibits, Military Development Exhibit, Large Equipment Exhibit, and the Outdoor Exhibit. The Hogukchumo Exhibit honors the spirit of those who perished fighting on the battlefield. Visitors can learn all about Korea’s war history by visiting the War History Exhibit, June 25 War Exhibit, Overseas Dispatched Troops Exhibits, and the Military Development Exhibit, as well as witness how the Korean military developed over the years. Different kinds of weapons and military equipment are exhibited as well, inside and outside the building.
Exhibits inside the building display equipment used during the Korean War in such a way as to invite comparison between the items. Large weapon and equipment used by different countries during World War II and the Vietnam War are also on display. In the Large Equipment Exhibit on the second floor, many kinds of defense industry equipment and both real and model weapons are displayed. In the Bangsan Equipment Exhibit, you can look at weapons and war equipment produced in Korea. In the War Memorial’s Storage Room, 17,800 files and artifacts of war are preserved. Modern damage control and prevention devices have been installed to keep these materials safe from harm.
Seoul National Cemetery
The Seoul National Cemetery is situated on a plot of land measuring approximately 1,430,000㎡. Entombed here are the remains of 165,000 martyrs and soldiers, police men, and reserve forces who sacrificed themselves for their country. Enshrined within the Memorial Tower are memorial tablets of some 104,000 soldiers who died during the Korean War, but whose bodies were never found along with the remains of some 7,000 unknown soldiers whose bodies were found. The remains of more than 54,000 martyred patriots have been buried in the Burial Plots, which are divided into various sections: graves of soldiers, police officers, meritorious citizens, and key figures of the provisional government. Every year on June 6th (Memorial Day) memorial services and events are held at the Seoul National Cemetery to honor these brave patriots.
Deoksugung (Palace) is unique among Korean palaces in having a modern seal engraving and a western style garden and fountain. Medieval and modern style architecture exists together in harmony in Deoksugung. The Changing of the Royal Guard can be seen in front of Daehanmun (Gate) and is a very popular event for many visitors. During the Joseon Dynasty, the royal guard was responsible for opening and closing the palace gate as well as patrolling around the gate area. Outside the palace is a picturesque road flanked by a stone wall which is much loved by visitors.
Originally, Deoksugung was not a palace. The Imjin War (the Japanese invasions in 1592) left all the palaces in Korea severely damaged. When King Seonjo (the fourteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty) returned to Seoul from his evacuation, the primary palace Gyeongbokgung had been burnt to the ground and other palaces were also heavily damaged. A temporary palace was chosen from among the houses of the royal family. This is the origin of Deoksugung. King Gwanghaegun (the fifteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty) named the palace Gyeongungung, formalizing it as a royal palace. Since then it has been used as an auxiliary palace by many Joseon kings. In 1897, Emperor Gojong (the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon Dynasty) stayed here and expanded it. The modern buildings such as Seokjojeon (Hall) were constructed during this period. In 1907, the palace was renamed Deoksugung.
Gwangjang Traditional Market
The Gwangjang Market is the nation’s first market and continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination today. The second floor of the market provides all of your silk, satin, and linen bed-sheet stores, which are the largest and most famous in Seoul. Many of the stores in the area even have their own factories supplying fabrics to the Namdaemun Market, Pyoung Hwa Market, and even to some department stores. Even though the goods are not brand-name products, the wide selection of high quality goods at inexpensive prices makes it an enjoyable shopping experience
COEX Mall is the largest underground shopping center in Asia. It is located in the basement of the Korea World Trade Center, located in Samseong-dong in the Gangnam-gu area of Seoul. The colossal shopping center stretches from Samseong station (subway line 2) in the south all the way to Bongeunsa temple in the north, and is considered to be the best shopping and entertainment complex in the area.
Visitors can find major international brands of leisure and sports clothing in a section of COEX mall that is operated by Hyundai Department Store. There are also plenty of attractions for those visitors looking for a break from shopping. The Game Champ video arcade has 100 of the latest game devices, while the Megabox Cineplex has 16 theaters screening a wide selection of movies. Other popular attractions include the COEX Aquarium, with its water tunnel, and the Kimchi Museum, where visitors can learn everything they need to know about Korea’s favorite food, and even try some of it.
Gangnam Underground Shopping Arcade
Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Center is a perfect place to get stylish items without breaking the bank. In fact, so reasonable the center is that it could be called a “5,000—1,0000 won Heaven”. Located under one of Seoul’s major bus terminals, this shopping center is easily accessible by subway, bus or car from inside or outside of Seoul. There is a large selection of basic to trendy style women’s clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, jewelleries (1000 won and up), bags (usually starting from 10,000 won), lingerie, and some casual-to-mature clothing for men. For women, this is a perfect place to stock up on many basic clothing needs, especially stockings (two for 5,000 won), tights, leggings (5000—8000 won) and socks.
In addition to selling clothing and accessories, the underground arcade has a big furniture and flower market. Interior items, paintings, pictures, picture frames, utensils, drapes, curtains, pillows, beddings, artificial flowers, wrapped flowers, various plants, flower baskets and pots, vases, carpets, cushions—almost anything you could possibly want for your home can be found. Flowers start from 2,000 won while plants start from 3,000 won. Of course, prices may vary depending on the size and type of flower or plant.
Bongeunsa is a Buddhist temple founded in 794 during the Silla (one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea) period. The temple has more than 1,000 years of history and has many interesting historic and cultural features, including woodblock carvings of the Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Garland Sutra). The temple is also a very popular tourist destination, offering various programs relating to traditional Korean Buddhist culture, in a variety of languages.
Over its thousand-year history Bongeunsa has gathered many treasures. The Goryeo Cheongdongrueunhyangno (Bronze incense burner) is designated as Treasure of Korea No. 321. It was once a treasure of Bongeunsa and is now displayed in the museum of Dongguk University. The calligraphy on the Panjeon (Hall)’s hanging board is the work of Kim Jeong-hui, a scholar and famous calligrapher of the Joseon Dynasty. Panjeon of Bongeunsa is the only building that escaped from a great fire in 1939 and holds more historical significance than any other building in Bongeunsa. It also stores valuable woodblock carvings of Buddhist sutras such as the Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Garland Sutra).
Hwagyesa Temple, which falls under the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism, is located at the foot of Mt. Samgaksan in Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul. Although it is located in the city of Seoul, the beautiful surrounding mountains and landscapes create a serene atmosphere to escape urban life.
It was built in 1522 AD (the seventeenth year of the reign of King Jungjong of the Joseon Dynasty) by monk Shinwol, but was destroyed in a fire in 1618. In 1866 (the third year of the reign of King Gojong), it was rebuilt through financial support from his royal elders.
The temple was built in an early architectural style and has Daeungjeon, a main sanctuary (Tangible Cultural Asset No. 65), Myeongbujeon shrine, Samseonggak pavilion, Cheonbulobaekseongjeon shrine, a temple bell pavilion, Bohwaru tower, and Hakseoru tower.
A small water spring, named Oktakcheon and located in the valley (Hwagyegol) beside Hwagyesa Temple, is famous for supernatural healing powers of skin and stomach diseases. The legend says this spring was formed from crows pecking away at the rocks.
Jogyesa Temple is the center of Zen Buddhism in Korea, and is famous for being located in the city. The first thing you will notice at the temple are the lovely trees. These locust trees and baeksong trees in front of the Daeungjeon, the main temple building, are about 500 years old. The Daeungjeon building is a stately building built in 1938. The Dancheong is particularly beautiful with all the different colors painted on it, and inside the building is the statue of Seokgamoni. In front of the Daeungjeon building, you can also see a seven-storey stone pagoda containing Jinsinsari.
Jogyesa Temple does not give off the solemn and traditional air of the other temples located deep in the mountains, or offer the seasonal scenery of the mountains and the sea. But because it is located in the middle of the city, the transportation is convenient, and is well connected to the surrounding areas. It is good for tourists on a tight schedule.
NANTA has been running since October 1997 and is the most popular show ever in Korea. It also has achieved outstanding international success having performed on Broadway and toured widely around the US and the rest of the world. It receives rave reviews wherever it performs and quickly sells out.
Without a dialogue, but through rhythmic banging of knives, pots and pans, NANTA (or Cookin’ as it was known in the States) tells the story of four crazy chefs who have been set the impossible task of making a wedding banquet in just one hour. What follows is pure musical mayhem, and they even manage to fit in a love story! The show is based on Korea’s traditional garak (rhythms) of Samulnori (traditional Korean percussion quartet), and can be enjoyed by all the family.
Ever since first hit the stage in July 2003, Jump has been incredibly popular in Korea. It also has had remarkable international success. In 2005 and 2006 it took the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by storm, and then went on to tour around the world, ending up on London’s West End and New York’s off-Broadway, proving that this musical comedy has universal appeal.
This innovative show incorporates many of Asia’s martial arts, including Korea’s Taekwondo and Taekkyeon, as it tells the story of a family of martial arts specialists who have to defend their house from robbers.
B-Boy City in Seoul “Kung” is a non-verbal musical performance that tells the story of the dance group Gorilla Crew. The main character, Hochan, anguishes about the stark reality he is facing as a dancer. Through dynamic performances, the B-boys Hyeonmun, Donghui and Seongtaek relate their agony, happiness, and passion for dancing.
“The Ballerina Who Loved a B-Boy” is a non-verbal musical combining exciting modern dance moves with beautiful ballet. Since taking the top award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007, the musical has received a great deal of attention from around the world. Its non-verbal nature makes it ideal for speakers of every language. A sequel, “The Ballerina who Fell in Love with a B-Boy: the Second Story” was premiered in 2008.
The musical has been attended by over 1.5 million viewers from around over the world for the past six years. It has been acknowledged by the United Nations Human Rights Council and numerous prominent media outlets as the symbol of our modern times. It also serves to raise awareness of the economic and social gaps in society today.
The Korea House
The Korea House was opened in 1981. It is a traditional Korean building that introduces the culture and lifestyle of Koreans, where you can experience traditional architecture and a classical atmosphere. The building was built in the style of the Joseon Dynasty’s Jagyeong-jeon building at the Gyeongbok Palace. It is the only building built in the traditional architectural style. You will feel its antiquity as you enter the building.
It is divided into the Haerin-gwan (a space for people to get acquainted with each other), the Traditional Theater, and three annex buildings (Munhyang-ru, Nokeum-jeong and Cheongwu-jeong). At Haerin-gwan, you can enjoy traditional music at Garak-dang and try traditional food at Sohwa-dang. In the square of Garak-dang you can view a traditional wedding (on the weekends) or people playing folk games. Sinayui, Salpuri, Pansori, the Drum Dance and the Bongsan Mask Dance are the most popular programs for foreigners. The programs are all explained in English and Japanese.
Chongdong Theater is the representative traditional arts performance theater of Korea. With diverse cultural facilities, Chongdong Theater has become a popular tourist attraction. The main program of Chongdong Theater is the Traditional Arts Performance. The Traditional Arts Performance is presented every day, and has become a place where traditional arts are introduced to foreigner visitors.
Chongdong Theater’s outdoor courtyard, Ssamji Madang, has become a cultural site for the public. Special event performances usually take place there. Art decorates the walls of the Chongdong Theater lobby, turning it into a small art gallery that visitors can appreciate while they are waiting for their performance to begin. The art featured always has a certain theme and the theme changes periodically.
Seoul Nori Madang
Established in December 1984, Seoul Nori Madang offers diverse traditional performances on an outdoor stage to promote Korean folk plays and culture among the public. Performances are regularly held every weekend; it hosts over 120 performances every year and each performance attracts over 1,300 visitors. Within Seoul Nori Madang is Songpa Folk Preservation Association, which offers seminars on folk plays—Songpa Sandae Nori (a mask play) and Songpa Baekjung Nori (a play performed on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month)—for students at no charge.
National Museum of Korea
The National Museum of Korea is located only 1.5km away from Yongsan Station. It is the largest museum in Korea and houses precious Korean cultural assets that silently tell the story of Korea’s fascinating history, from ancient days to the modern era.
In addition to galleries with a wide array of national and international pieces, the National Museum of Korea is the stage for a number of cultural activities related to relics collection and preservation, research and analysis, social training, academic publications, international cultural exchange programs, concerts, and more. Visitors of all ages have the opportunity to participate in a number of educational events and quality cultural programs. For those who prefer to tour at a leisurely pace, the museum grounds have a number of environmentally friendly spaces and rest areas.
National Folk Museum of Korea
Located inside Gyeongbokgung Palace, the National Folk Museum of Korea presents over 4,000 historical artifacts that were used in the daily lives of ordinary Korean people. Here you can fully immerse yourselves in previous domestic and agricultural lifestyles, and learn about Korea’s cultural beliefs.
The National Folk Museum of Korea has three permanent and two special exhibitions as well as a library, souvenir shop, and other subsidiary facilities.
King Sejongs Memorial Hall
King Sejong The Great Memorial Hall was established in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, on November 1970 in memory of King Sejong and his saintly virtues and great achievements. Officially opened to the public in October 1973, the memorial hall is a modern structure housing an exhibition area, auditorium, laboratory, and a reference room. The exhibition area is further divided into the Hangeul Room, Science Room, Traditional Music Room, King Sejong Art Room, and an outdoor exhibition space.
Teddy Bear Museum
The Teddy Bear Museum in Seoul is housed in N Seoul Tower, a symbol of Seoul and an ideal spot for viewing Seoul’s cityscape. The Teddy Bear Museum N Seoul Tower shows exhibits that chronicle the history of Seoul from past to present through the use of teddy bears. It is an amusing and innovative way for visitors to see how Seoul has changed and developed over time both as the capital of Korea and as an international city. Teddy bears are posed in scenes recreating historic events as well as various aspects of Seoul life.
Childrens Grand Park
Situated in Seoul City’s Gwangjin-gu, Children’s Grand Park covers 530,000 square meters and is an ultimate leisure facility for families, offering a zoo, botanical garden, amusement facilities, and diverse performance events. Opened on a Korean holiday called Children’s Day in 1973, the park is full of attractions that appeal to youngsters: Marine Animal House that exhibits seals and polar bears, a Small Animal Village, and even a Parrot Village.
The Music Fountain showcases a colorful array of water shows while the Outdoor Concert Hall offers a wide variety of performances year-round. The Water Playground is the ideal place to cool off in the summer. The wildly popular amusement park, iLand offers an entertaining assortment of thrill rides: train rides, a ride called the Viking which consisting of an open, seated gondola that swings back and forth, Jumper-Boat, Bumper Cars, Ghost Castle and more. Added to this are football fields, tennis courts, Dome Art Hall, and Kids Auto Park, making Children’s Grand Park an ultimate venue for family entertainment.
Floating Island, located near the southernmost part of Banpo Bridge, is the nation’s first-ever artificial island that floats on the surface of Hangang River. The Island is comprised of three flower-themed islets, Visat, Viva and Terra, with different functions.
The first islet, Vista, takes the form of a flower in full bloom. It is a multi-functional cultural facility which can be used as a venue for performances, international conferences, exhibitions and so forth. The second islet, Viva, looks like a flower bud. A range of cultural experience and event zones including Beat Square, Youth Woods and 3D restaurants will be located here. The third islet, Terra, takes the form of a seed. The islet has water sports facilities and outdoor garden from which you may enjoy the picturesque scenery of Hangang River. Around the Floating Island are LED lights that feature a fantastic night view under the theme of ‘gleaming light in the mist.’
Hwaseong Fortress (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site) is an impressive structure from the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and the official fortress of Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do. The fortress (constructed from 1794 to 1796) was built as a show of the King’s filial piety towards his father Jangheonseja and to build a new pioneer city with its own economic power.
The fortress wall stretches for a total of 5.52km and has a great variety of military facilities that’s hard to find anywhere else. Four gates face each of the cardinal directions—Janganmun (north), Paldalmun (south), Changnyongmun (east), and Hwaseomun (west)—and the seven-arch style Sumun gates straddle the point where the nearby stream reaches the palace. Above the Sumun gates is a pavilion called Hwahongmun.
Hwaseong Fortress was constructed under the guidance of Yu Hyeong-Won (1622-1673) and Jeong Yak-Yong (1762-1836), and is believed to have been constructed very scientifically. The fortress wall was built using Seokjae and Jeondol (bricks) and the holes between the bricks are just big enough to fire guns, arrows, or long spears through in case of an attack.
Opened on June 18, 2005, Seoul Forest had previously undergone a series of changes on Ttukseom (Ttuk Island). In the past the forest had been a royal hunting ground for kings and served as a military inspection facility. But, in more recent decades the area has served a wide variety of functions. Ttukseom initially served as a water-treatment facility, and later as a golf course, horse racing track, and eventually a sports park.
Consisting of five parks spread over 350,000 pyeong of land, Seoul Forest is an eco-friendly zone appreciated not only by the people of the city but also those visiting Seoul. Seoul Forest is rapidly developing into the premium city-park of Korea like Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York. The five parks include -
- Cultural Art Park
- Ecological Forest
- Nature Experiencing Study Field
- Wetlands Ecological Field
- Han River Waterside Park
Everland Theme Park
Everland Resort was opened in 1976 as the first family park in Korea. The park is home to over 40 heart-pounding rides and attractions. In addition to ‘Safari World’ featuring white tigers, tigers, lions and bears, ‘Herbivore Safari’ opened in April 2010, letting visitors get up close and personal with the safari’s giraffes, elephants, and ostriches. Everland is also known for its gorgeous flower arrangements and beautiful gardens, which have been year-round fixtures since the Rose Festival in 1985. Other great spots for family fun are the Snow Sled (the first and the longest of its kind in Korea), Caribbean Bay (an outstanding water park) and Everland Speedway (a racing track). Full of exciting attractions and entertainment, Everland is one of the most popular places in Korea for families, friends, and couples.
Tapgol Pagoda Park
Also known as Pagoda Park, Tapgol Park, located on the former site of Weongaksa Temple from the Joseon Era, is the first modern park to be built in Seoul. The park contains several national treasures, including Wongaksaji Sipcheungseoktap and Weongaksabi, and Palgakjeong, where the Independence Proclamation was read; the independence movement relief plate; and the statue of Son Byeong-hee. The park is of great historical value and national spirit as it was the starting point of the March 1, 1919 Independence Protest.
Namsangol Hanok Village
Namsangol Hanok Village is a collection of five hanoks (traditional Korean houses) from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), recovered from different parts of the city and relocated to the northern foot of Namsan mountain. The interiors of each of these five houses reflect owners from different walks of life, from the middle class to the yangban (who were mainly high government officials, noblemen and aristocrats).
At Namsangol Hanok Village, visitors can see the hanoks of important figures from the Joseon era including the house of Queen Yun’s parents, who was the Queen Consort to King Sunjong, the 27th king of the Joseon Dynasty; the jaesil (study) of Yun Taekyeong, King Sunjong’s father-in-law; the house of Park Yeonghyo, the son-in-law of King Cheoljong, the 25th king; the house of Lee Seungeop, who was in charge of constructing Gyeongbokgung (Palace) and the house of Kim Chunyeong, a military official of the Joseon Dynasty.
Noryangjin Fish Market
Opened in 1927 on Uiju Boulevard, Noryangjin is one of Korea’s largest seafood markets. The vibrant, abundant year-round market is connected to Noryangjin Station by a bridge. Over 830 seafood items are available for wholesale and retail purchases. Main items include clams, shrimp, blue crabs, octopuses, sea cucumbers, halibuts, and snappers.
Visitors can purchase fresh seafood and get it sliced into sashimi at one of the restaurants in the market (for 12,000 KRW). Or, they can enjoy maeuntang (spicy fish stew), sushi, roasted fish, and fried food there. Opening around three a.m. every day, the market offers an authentic marketplace feel with bustling patrons and fish sellers calling out the day’s catch.
Encompassing Deoksugung Palace and its surrounding neighborhood, the historic Jeong-dong area is Seoul’s old legation quarter. At the turn of the 20th century, it was virtually a city within a city, home to Western legations, Christian churches and missionary compounds that included some of Korea’s first modern schools. More importantly, it was also the heart of the Daehan Empire (1897—1910), a dramatic and ultimately tragic period of belated modernization efforts and imperial intrigue that would end with Korea’s annexation by Japan.
Like elsewhere in Seoul, much of Jeong-dong’s historic architecture has disappeared thanks to war and urban redevelopment, but the neighborhood is still home to Seoul’s best collection of Western-style buildings, and zoning restrictions have allowed it to maintain its quiet, leafy atmosphere. For good measure, several nations still maintain diplomatic facilities in the area, lending a nice sense of historical continuity.
Bukhansan National Park
Mt. Bukhansan is situated in the northern part of Seoul. The name Bukhansan means “big mountain in the north,” and it is also called Mt. Samgaksan. Mt. Bukhansan has such smooth curves that the large granite rocks sometimes look as if they would slide down the mountain. The sharp peaks provide contrast to the dozens of valleys and rivers flowing below. The mountain has many different kinds of peaks but its main peak is Baegunbong. The granite peaks blend well with trees, and there are about 1,300 kinds of animals and plants living on the mountain. Among the granite peaks, the best known is Insubong Peak’s Giam rocks. The world famous granite rock peak Insubong is over 200m above sea level, and there are about 100 mountain paths leading to the rock. When you stand on Baegundae and look down, sometimes you can see as far as Seoul City and the Hangang River.
With its granite peaks and Bukhansanseong Fortress, Bukhansan is perfect for hiking in all seasons. In the spring, all kinds of flowers bloom, and in the summer, lush forests carpet the numerous valleys. The hiking path along the valley is perhaps the best summer mountain climbing course. And the fall is the perfect time to visit the temples and pavilions in their autumn colors. In the winter, the snow-covered mountain scenery is very beautiful. The park averages 5 million visitors and has received the Honor of being in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the national park with the highest number of visitors per square foot.
Seoul National University was first established here in 1946 and quickly became a place for the young to gather. Although Seoul National University moved its campus in 1975, many other universities remain in the area, including Sungkyunkwan University, Korea National Open University, Catholic University of Korea and Seoul National University College of Medicine. With this many university campuses it is easy to see why many people call the main street in this area ‘College Street’.
On the former campus of Seoul National University now lie Marronier Park and various cultural arts centers, thus turning the landscape of Daehakno into one that is rich in culture and the arts. The Literary Arts Hall, Dongsung Art Center, Batangol Art Center as well as major theatrical exhibition centers and approximately 300 small movie theaters fill the streets of this culturally rich area. Many quaint cafes, unique restaurants, and pubs are scattered throughout this area. Marronier Park is a place where young people gather, play sports such as basketball or badminton, and perform music and plays. Heading towards Sungkyunkwan University, there is a small street that is famous for shopping.
In the heart of Sinchon you can find Yonsei University, surrounded by other famous schools such as Ewha Womans University, Sogang University, and Hongik University. The area is youthful and full of energy. You can find everything here, including Sinchon Hyundai Department Store, discount marts, innumerable trendy stores to shop at, and every kind of restaurant and bar that you could imagine. Some other popular hotspots are the noraebang 노래방 (karaoke rooms), DVD bang, PC bang, and plenty of other places where young people relax and have fun. The streets of Sinchon light up at night with glowing neon signs for night clubs, bars and the noraebang. The main street from Sinchon Station to Yonsei University has become known as “Yonsei College Street.” This road is chock full of restaurants and bars, side streets with cozy little restaurants, Hyundai Department Store and other surrounding shopping malls, and of course Yonsei University.
Itaewon is a unique place in Seoul where one can meet people of diverse nationalities and cultures. There is a popular joke saying that international residents may not know Seoul, but they know Itaewon. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences.
Itaewon typically refers to the street full of stores, restaurants, and stalls over 1.4 kilometers between Itaewon 1-dong and Hannam 2-dong in the east. Fashion shops specialize in various imported clothes, leather goods, fur goods, handbags, shoes, and antique furniture. Big and tall sizes unavailable in other areas are well-stocked, and experienced tailors offer customized clothes.
Another one of Itaewon’s many draws is its diverse food culture, which features cuisine from around world. Restaurants right behind Hamilton Hotel form a type of exhibition hall for international foods from Korea, New York, London, India, Thailand, China, Greece, Pakistan, Italy, France, Mexico, Australia, and more. Unique flavors, exotic interiors, and diverse nationalities help to make Itaewon befittingly ‘the global village in Seoul.’
Located in the heart of the city, Lotte World is the perfect spot for entertainment and sightseeing. It is a theme park filled with thrilling rides, an ice rink, different kinds of parades as well as a folk museum, a lake, and much more. The structure inside makes use of the natural sunlight, and it is open for visitors all year round, regardless of the weather.
Lotte World is divided into a ‘’Adventure’ theme once you are inside the building, and outside is a ‘Magic Island’ theme next to Seokchonhosu Lake. You can enjoy watching parades, numerous films, laser shows, and a variety of international cuisines even during the holidays. Magic Island is situated outdoors, where the dazzling Magic Castle is located as well as thrilling high-altitude rides that you can’t experience elsewhere. Be sure to also check out the peaceful walking trail around the lake.
One of the major reasons tourists are attracted to Lotte World is the amusement rides. The Gyro Drop and Gyro Swing are the top pleasers– a steep drop with an altitude of 70 meters, or taste the thrilling sensation of being inside a tornado. The Flume Ride is a long boat with a high-altitude wave, and the Spanish Pirate Ship swings at an electrifying 75 degrees. Besides the excitement of these rides, Lotte World also contains a variety of parades and laser shows.
After enjoying the rides, don’t miss skating on the ice rink as well as visiting the museum. The ice rink is situated indoors on the B3 floor, and is opened throughout the year. Its pleasant atmosphere is perfect for family and couples to enjoy.
The J Bug Museum
Ttukseom Hangang Park boasts an exquisite cultural complex called Jabeolle (J-Bug) offering plenty of art and rest facilities as well as a magnificent view of Hangang. Jabollae is one of the unique buildings in the shape of a Korean Jabollae bug. More than an observatory it is also a multiplex housing 3D theatre, Digital Art Museum, Animation Studios, Gift Shops, Restaurants and Cafes with the panoramic view of the Han River.
Jabollae is a good place to introduce your kids to the world of animation and digital art. They have continuous videos playing the behind-the-scenes of various animation techniques. Plus it also introduces the kids to the various techniques like storyboarding, sketching, scenario etc. They also have a section where it explains Korean Characters using animation and a section where you see a digital reflection of yourself.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, exhibits traditional and modern works of art by Korean and international artists. The museum itself is just as fascinating as the works of art on display, since its three buildings were designed by the internationally renowned architects, Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas.
MUSEUM 1 houses traditional Korean works of art, such as calligraphy, paintings, ceramic arts, and metal craftwork, while MUSEUM 2 displays modern and contemporary art by both Korean and foreign artists.
World Cup Park
The World Cup Park was built to commemorate the 17th FIFA World Cup. Opened in May 1st, 2002, the park was once a 15-year-old landfill that held over 92 million tons of garbage. It took 6 years to stabilize the waste (measures were taken to prevent the garbage runoff from contaminating the environment) and an additional year to build the actual park itself. The park is located near the Seoul World Cup stadium, and is made up of five smaller parks including the Pyeonghwa ‘Peace’ Park, Haneul ‘Sky’ Park, and Noeul ‘Sunset’ Park. The park takes up a 1.05 million-pyeong area and is usually crowded with in-line skaters.
Dongmyo (which literally means “Eastern Shrine”) is shrine in metropolitan Seoul built in honour of 3rd century Chinese military commander, Guan Yu. Three shrines – Dongmyo (east shrine), Seomyo (west shrine) and Bungmyo (north shrine) – were actually constructed in 1601. However, only Dongmyo Shrine remains today.
There was no such practice as worshipping Guan Yu as deity in Korea until Ming Dynasty military officers brought custom during military campaigns against Japan. As Neo-Confucian fundamentalists, Korean officers found it unacceptable to worship Guan Yu, but were unable to refuse Chinese request for enshrinement. The construction was burden to exhausted postwar Korea and shrine was maintained only with concern for relationship with China.
The shrine is surrounded by wall of stone and mud, and covers area of 9,315 m². The shrine, following Chinese model, is narrower in width than depth, and rear and side walls are sumptuously decorated with bricks. Inside main shrine wooden image of Guan Yu is enshrined, along with statues of four of his retainers.
Myeongdong is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. The two main drags meet in the center of the block with one beginning from Myeongdong Subway Station and the other from Lotte Department Store at Euljiro. Many brand name shops and department stores line the streets and alleys. Common products for sale include clothes, shoes, and accessories. Unlike Namdaemun or Dongdaemun, many designer brands are sold in Myeongdong. In addition, several major department stores include Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Myeongdong Migliore, Noon Square and M Plaza. The department stores carry many premium labels and other fashionable goods at reasonable prices.
Myeongdong also has family restaurants, fast food, plus Korean, Western and Japanese dining options. Many restaurants in Myeongdong specialize in pork cutlet (donkas) and kalguksu (thick noodles). Other businesses include hair salons, banks and theaters. Myeongdong Catholic Church is also a well-known tourist attraction. It is pillar of the Catholic church in Korea and was built in the Gothic style.
This quiet retreat in the middle of the city houses several tombs of royals. One of the important people buried here is King Seongjong, the ninth king of the Joseon Dynasty, and his wife, Queen Jeonghyeon. His royal mausoleum is called Seolleung. Jeongneung is the burial site for King Jungjong, the second son of Seongjong. The tombs are the green mounds typical of royals of the era. Although they were defaced during the Japanese invasion in 1592, they were later restored. Now they serve as a small oasis as the small forested area shields the tombs from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.
Seoul Square is an area and building in front of Seoul Station. In Seoul Square there are a lot of restaurants, hotels and an ice skating rink in winter. The main attraction is the digital screen that covers Seoul Square office building. The screen is a huge LED display made up of 42,000 LED screens and was installed in 2009. The screen covers the whole width and height of the building which is 19 floors high. The height of the screen is 78 metres and the width is 99 metres. This makes it the largest LED display in the world. Originally the screen was built to promote artwork exhibitions, which over 80 have been displayed. In February of 2011 it was used for commercial use for the first time. This has opened up many opportunities for companies who wish to display an ad on the world’s largest LED screen.
Located in the heart of Seoul, Changgyeonggung Palace was first built by the 4th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong, for his retiring father, King Taejong. It often served as residential quarters for queens and concubines.
Past the entrance of Changgyeonggung Palace, the Honghwa Gate, you will find Okcheon Bridge. All palaces of the Joseon Dynasty have ponds with an arch bridge over them, just like Okcheon Bridge. Cross Okcheongyo Bridge, pass the Myeongjeong Gate, and you will find Myeonjeongjeon. This is the office of the King, and Myeongjeongjeon is the oldest of the Joseon Dynasty palaces. The houses face southwards, but Myeongjeongjeon faces the east. Because the ancestral shrine of the royal family are located in the South, the gate couldn’t face the south as the Confucian custom. There are stones with the status of the officials carved on the yard.
Tongmyeongjeon was built for the queen. It is the biggest building in Changgyeonggung Palace, and you can recognize the delicate details of its structure in various parts of the building. Walk up the stones past Tongmyeongjeon and there you will find Jagyeongjeon. On the southeast direction of the Jagyeongjeon is the Punggidae. This Punggidae is a measuring instrument. It is a long pole with a cloth hung at the end, used to check the speed and direction of the wind. If you head north there is a large pond called Chundangji. Half of the pond was originally a rice field that the King took care of.
During the latter half of the Joseon period, Gyeonghuigung served as the secondary palace for the king. Situated on the west side of Seoul, it was also called Seogwol, literally meaning a palace of the west. The secondary palace is usually the palace where the King moves to in times of emergency.
This palace was built using the slanted geography of the surrounding mountain, boasts traditional beauty in its architecture and a lot of historical significance. For a time, it was of a considerable size, even to the point of having an arched bridge connecting it to Deoksugung palace.
Nearby the Gyeonghuigung Palace are the Seoul History Museum, Jeongdong Street, and the busy Jongno street. After you have been to Gyeonghuigung, you can cross to Jeongdong street and walk to Deoksugung Palace. The stonewall road to Deoksugung palace is considered one of the most elegant roads in Seoul.
Unhyeongung Royal Residence was the home of young Gojong, who later became Emperor during the Joseon Dynasty. Under the orders of Queen Mother Jo, Unhyeongung was renovated into a grand, palace-like house with four gates. Gojong’s father, Yi Haeung, or better known as Heungseon Daewongun, continued to live at Unhyeongung for most of his life.
Entering through front gate, the first noticeable sight is a small row of rooms to the right. This area, called ‘Sujiksa,’ housed the servants and guards. To the front, left-hand side of Sujiksa, there is a structure called ‘Norakdang.’ Many important events such as birthday parties and ceremonies, as well as the wedding ceremony for Gojong and Myeongseong, were held here. To this day, traditional wedding ceremonies continue to be held at Norakdang.
Norakdang also served as one of the two women’s quarters. The most notable structure inside Norakdang is the kitchen, which was used for food preparation when hosting important events. Right outside Norakdang, there are several rock structures along the path to Irodang. The rock structures are said to resemble various animals. To the left of Norakdang lies Irodang, the main building of Unhyeongung. This was where the wife of Heungseon Daewongun resided. Irodang’s most prominent feature is its tall steps and square shape. It was built this way in order to help protect the women inside from intruders. Outside Irodang lays an old well on one side of the wide, open yard. To the right of Norakdang lies ‘Noandang.’
The 480-m-long Byeolgung-gil can be easiest accessed from Exit 1 of Anguk Station on line 3. This beautiful trail has stone benches and simple cafes for pedestrians. It takes hardly more than one hour even to slowly walk around. Most peculiar is the old mansion of former president, Yoon Bo-seon. Unfortunately, the 99-room house is not open to the public. Instead, you can go to the outhouse of Andong Presbyterian Church, Soheodang, which literally means a house where people empty their mind and chat with laughing. Soheodang opens from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday
Seoul Museum of History
Seoul Museum of History captures the traditional culture of Seoul. Vestiges from the prehistoric era to modern Seoul are on display. The museum was renovated with modern updates in May 2002, 17 years after opening. The main exhibit halls are on the 3rd floor. Many of the Joseon Dynasty relics were donated during the Relic Donation Campaign. Also, the landscape of Seoul is recreated when it was the capital of the Joseon Dynasty. Another exhibit showcases the daily life of the Seoulites, while another presents items through an online cyber museum. The 1st floor has many convenient facilities such as a coat check and the Kids Corner playroom.
The Special Exhibition Hall, the Exhibition Hall for Donated Relics, and Museum Shop where cultural products are produced and sold, are also on the 1st floor. If you enjoy dainty foods and tea, visit the Gyeonghuigung Café. It is a cozy spot which stays open after museum hours.
Sungkok Art Museum
Sungkok Art Museum is an art gallery built by the Korean corporation Ssangyong to promote Korean art. To help talented writers there is an individual exhibit. For the development of art culture in Korea, there is a planning exhibit, and finally there is an international exhibit that enables the public to keep in touch with the flow of foreign art as well. They hold more than 15 exhibit a year. The art gallery building can be roughly divided into two. The main building that holds the exhibition and the annex building that harbors many diverse facilities. In the sculpture park there are about 100 kinds of trees that are decades old, which form a forest. Together with the sculptures the forest itself also plays a role as an art piece. Inside the forest a wood path exists. If you slowly follow this path you can soak in the sculpture park. Here you can the view the sculptures of famous artists from Korea and abroad in harmony with nature.
In the spring time the fresh and green scent of nature, in the summer, the vivid life of the forest, in fall, the forest’s brilliant change of color, and in the winter, you will be able to see the world covered in white. Outside the building there are terraces and outdoor tables awaiting you. Perhaps you might want to relax there inhaling the fresh air, and contemplate your trip and your life.
Olympic Park is an impressive leisure facility in which historic remains from the Baekje Era share space with modern state-of-the-art sports stadiums, an eco-friendly forest, and spacious grassy fields. A legacy of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the park not only houses the country’s largest sports arena, but has also become a place where Seoul residents come to relax and unwind.
Spread across 430,000 pyeong, Olympic Park encompasses the land that was once Mongchontoseong Fortress and Mongchonhaeja (manmade lake) from the early Baekje period. The park is divided into several zones, including a leisure sports park, a cultural art park, an eco-park, and the History Experience Park dedicated to the area’s rich historic heritage.
Seonyudo Park in Yangwha-dong is one of Seoul’s most famous parks. Connected to the mainland by a beautiful, arching bridge, the island was once an area of industry. The Hangang River History Museum exhibits geological features, ecosystem and cultural heritages of this surrounding region. An aquatic Botanical Garden provides much information on the growth and purification process of aquatic creatures. In particular, the time garden is very popular among visitors for its unique structure of every small garden that has various seasonal flowers and plants.
Seonyugyo (Seonyudo bridge), which links Hangang river’s Seonyudo Park & Yangwha Area with Seonyudo is made of environmentally-friendly wood. The arch-shaped bridge, also known as a Rainbow Bridge, gives out an exotic light every evening. The bridge is one of the beautiful night views of Seoul.
Times Square is a large, comprehensive lifestyle complex equipped with various leisure, entertainment, accommodation and dining facilities including; Shinsegae Department Store featuring a number of luxury brands and high-end local products; CGV Starium featuring 12 multiplex movie theaters, the Starium with the world’s largest screen and multiple performance center; Kyobo Book Centre; E-Mart Discount Supermarket; Courtyard by Marriott featuring 273 rooms, 10 suites and 5 meeting rooms on 16 floors; Kolon Sporex Luxury Fitness Center; Amoris Banquet and Convention; I Like Dalgi Children’s Theme Park; restaurants, and many more. In addition, several large outdoor spaces, which collectively span over near 14,850㎡, provide perfect spots for relaxation and enjoying nature inside the metropolitan.
Seorae Global Village
A little place called Seorae Village has become home to around 600 French people, roughly 40% of Korea’s total French population, due to the establishment of a French school in the 1980s. There are loads of exotic French cafés, French- and Italian-style restaurants, cheese shops, wine bars, bakeries, and French chain stores like L’Occitane.
Hotel Douce is a charming space offering dozens of French desserts, ranging from eclairs, macarons, and canneles bordelais to sherbet, cookies, cakes, and chocolates. Maison de Paris is an upscale home decoration store that carries antique furniture, tablecloths, curtains, gardening tools, linens, baby wear, and some fancy gift items. The village is flanked by hilly Montmartre Park, a perfect place for a walk after dining in one of the fine restaurants or cafes around here.
Scrolling credits for this app:
App designed, developed and conceptualized by Brijesh Bolar for the website – TheKoreaGuide.com
Credit for Images and Photography goes to – Alex Barlow, Anthony Shane, Charlie Shin, CK 2012 Seoul Collection, Colin James, Erik Barfoed, Glenn Sundeen, Guy Keating, Jamie Liew, Lunyme, Mongovine.net, Matt and Andrea, Maxim Tupikov, Penn Penn, Robert Koehler, Romain John, Shutter Dodem, Sungjin Kim, The Moose, Bluexpanse, tigersandmagpies.com, Korea Tourism Organization, Hi Seoul and Seoul Tourism