An intoxicating blend of the past and the present, vibrant Seoul has plenty to see and do. Independent fashion boutiques, contemporary art galleries and modern restaurants rub shoulders with historic palaces, impressive gardens and traditional teahouses.
The people of Seoul are warm, friendly and welcoming to visitors. Many of the older population don’t speak English, but the younger Seoulites will be more than happy to help you out and practice their language skills at the same time!
Korea has had its fair share of hardships, and physical evidence of its turbulent history can be seen throughout the capital. Nowhere more so than in the Five Grand Palaces, all of which have been destroyed or damaged through the centuries. The Grand Palaces have now all been restored, and are home to many of the country’s most treasured artefacts.
Seoul has a fun and eclectic nightlife, with a varied selection of good bars, music venues and clubs dotted throughout the city. Start your evening at Hongdae Young Street and see where the night takes you! Seoul is a shopaholic’s dream, with traditional craft shops at Insadong, designer shopping at Myeongdong and the enormous Dongdaemun Market, ideal for bargain hunters.
If history and culture is more your thing, then head to Chongdong Theatre, which hosts traditional music, dance and performance. Dive into Seoul’s excellent food scene by starting with the cheap road-side stalls and eateries that serve up everything from pork donkas to kalguksu noodles and the Korean national dish kimchi. Kimchi is a spiced fermented vegetable (usually cabbage), and even has an entire museum dedicated to it in the form of the Pulmuone Kimchi Museum! After you’ve had your fill, head to a classic teahouse to relax.
But Seoul is not all bright lights and inner-city madness. The serene Cheonggyecheon Stream is a winning combination of a natural park, local art exhibition and wildlife display, situated in the very heart of the city.
The best times to visit are between March and May or from September to November, when the climate is at its mildest. The summers can be incredibly hot and the winters very cold. The city has a fast and efficient subway system, which is considered to be one of the best in the world.
Shopping, Museums and Castles
This vast commercial district is a shopper's paradise with its many malls, boutiques and specialist shops sitting happily alongside traditional Korean market places.
This royal palace has risen up from the ashes more than once and today, it's one of Seoul's finest examples of traditional Korean architecture.
Marvel as natural light illuminates the galleries of this contemporary museum building, which houses thousands of ancient and valuable Korean objects.
Wherever you are in Seoul, you'll usually be able to spot this landmark that offers superb views over the city.
Walk amid this peaceful natural environment, ride a cable car and marvel at Seoul’s majestic skyline at this sprawling mountain park.
See the splendour and wealth of the former home of Korean royalty, a UNESCO World Heritage Site also noted for its beautiful garden.
Venture to the border of South and North Korea, where the unsettling Demilitarized Zone separates the 2 countries in a 2.5-mile-wide (4-km) swath of land lined by tanks, landmines, and electric fences.
Located in a relatively remote northeast region of the country, Seoraksan National Park is known as the backbone of Korea, offering astonishing landscapes brimming with mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls.
Enjoy a 2-day experience that shows you the spiritual side of South Korea in the peaceful surroundings of Odaesan. Experience a stay at a Korean temple, having the opportunity to live a day in the life of a Zen practitioner. Day 1 (Sat) Start the tour with pickup in Seoul.
Towering over the city from atop Namsan Mountain, the N Seoul Tower is an icon of the Seoul skyline. Ride up to the observation deck of the brightly lit, 777-foot (237-m) tower for stunning, unobstructed views over the city and surrounding landscapes.
Explore the territory that separates North and South Korean on this tour to the Demilitarized Zone and its surrounding historic sites. Learn about the Korean Conflict as you visit the DMZ Theater and Exhibition Hall, as well as nearby sites like Dorasan Station, Imjingak Park, and the 3rd Tunnel.
A vivacious cosmopolitan center bursting at the seams with history and savory dishes at nearly every corner, Seoul is a profound joy to explore. Embark on a guided tour that takes you through the heart of the city and allows you to taste a delicious variety of authentic Korean cuisine.