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.

Known for

Shopping, Museums and Castles

Explore map

Where to stay in Seoul

Myeongdong
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Myeongdong

Shopping, Rivers, Urban

This luxury shopping district at the heart of central Seoul is the place to come for quality brand products and simply great food.

Jung-gu
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Jung-gu

Shopping, Castles, Dining

Historic meets modern in this central district of Seoul, where good food, unique architecture and mountainous green spaces come together. 

Insadong
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Insadong

Culture, Castles, Shopping

Right at the centre of Seoul, this district is a mix of culture and shopping complemented by traditional Korean art, crafts and antiques.

Seocho-gu
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Seocho-gu

Shopping, Skyscrapers, Dining

This riverside district of Seoul is packed with exciting places for discovering South Korean culture, including museums, galleries and theaters.  

Samseong-dong
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Samseong-dong

Temples, Shopping, Aquariums

With one of Asia’s biggest underground malls, sky-high buildings and international brands, this glitzy Seoul district is also the unlikely home of several historic sites.

Top hotels in Seoul

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Lotte Hotel Seoul
Lotte Hotel Seoul
5 out of 5
30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
NZ$333/night
23 Jul. - 24 Jul.
4.4/5Wonderful! (2,633 reviews)

"Friendly employees, Good breakfast buffet. Very convenient to take the express bus from the airport."…"

Reviewed on 18 Jul. 2019

Lotte Hotel Seoul
Image for Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong
Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong
4.5 out of 5
52, Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
NZ$153/night
8 Aug. - 9 Aug.
4.4/5Wonderful! (2,308 reviews)

"Staffs were above your expectation. Location is a plus (very convenience both bus and subway) Easy to find everything around this hotel Clean, nice staff and convenient location"…"

Reviewed on 17 Jul. 2019

Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong
Image for ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun
ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun
4 out of 5
36, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
NZ$146/night
18 Aug. - 19 Aug.
4.5/5Wonderful! (863 reviews)

"Booked a deluxe suite which has a king bed and single bed. Room was huge with a 3 seater sofa and wooden like flooring instead of carpet which was great for us as we have sensitive noses. Huge bath room. Friendly staff. Hotel very near exit 9 of city hall station. We took the express train from incheon ..."…"

Reviewed on 14 Jul. 2019

ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

Popular activities in Seoul

Dongdaemun Market
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Dongdaemun Market

This vast commercial district is a shopper's paradise with its many malls, boutiques and specialist shops sitting happily alongside traditional Korean market places.

Gyeongbok Palace
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Gyeongbok Palace

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.

National Museum
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National Museum

Marvel as natural light illuminates the galleries of this contemporary museum building, which houses thousands of ancient and valuable Korean objects. 

N Seoul Tower
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Photo provided by Korea Tourism Organization

N Seoul Tower

Wherever you are in Seoul, you'll usually be able to spot this landmark that offers superb views over the city.

Namsan Park
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Namsan Park

Walk amid this peaceful natural environment, ride a cable car and marvel at Seoul’s majestic skyline at this sprawling mountain park.

Changdeokgung Palace
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Changdeokgung Palace

See the splendour and wealth of the former home of Korean royalty, a UNESCO World Heritage Site also noted for its beautiful garden.

Top activities in Seoul

Demilitarized Zone & with Third Infiltration Tunnel
Image for Demilitarized Zone & with Third Infiltration Tunnel

Demilitarized Zone & with Third Infiltration Tunnel

NZ$58

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.

Mt. Sorak Overnight Tour
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Mt. Sorak Overnight Tour

NZ$501

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.

2-Day Buddhist Temple Stay (Sat & Sun)
Image for 2-Day Buddhist Temple Stay (Sat & Sun)

2-Day Buddhist Temple Stay (Sat & Sun)

NZ$428

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.

N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets
Image for N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets

N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets

NZ$13

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.

Morning Excursion to the Korean DMZ (No Shopping)
Image for Morning Excursion to the Korean DMZ (No Shopping)

Morning Excursion to the Korean DMZ (No Shopping)

NZ$50

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.

Small-Group Seoul Street Food & History Tour
Image for Small-Group Seoul Street Food & History Tour

Small-Group Seoul Street Food & History Tour

NZ$132

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.

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Trover photo by Jeong Young Woo
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