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SeoulSouth Korea

This South Korean metropolitan capital city is a mix of busy markets and thumping nightlife, sitting happily alongside palaces and peaceful teahouses.

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.

Seoul Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Seoul

Myeongdong featuring shopping, night scenes and street scenes

Myeongdong

Myeongdong
Dongdaemun Design Plaza which includes modern architecture as well as a couple

Jung-gu

4.5/5Wonderful!(171 area reviews)

Jung-gu
Insadong which includes shopping as well as a small group of people

Insadong

Insadong
Seocho-gu which includes a river or creek, a bridge and modern architecture

Seocho-gu

4.5/5Wonderful!(3 area reviews)

Seocho-gu
Samseong-dong showing interior views

Samseong-dong

Samseong-dong

Top hotels in Seoul

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
SIGNIEL SEOUL
SIGNIEL SEOUL
5 out of 5
Lotte World Tower 76F-101F, 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
NZ$567
per night
9 Apr. - 10 Apr.

Located in Songpa, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Lotte World Tower, Lotte World and Lotte World Mall. Olympic Park and COEX Convention and ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (768 reviews)

"From the time I was greeted at the entry to leaving a few hours later, the, food, service and atmosphere compared favourably to a fine dining restaurant in Seoul 잠쉴스, The menu was large without being too hard to choose from, the quality and quantity was excellent, and matched to a great wine list, ..."…"

Reviewed on 27 Mar. 2020

SIGNIEL SEOUL
Novotel Ambassador Seoul Yongsan - Seoul Dragon City
Novotel Ambassador Seoul Yongsan - Seoul Dragon City
4.5 out of 5
95, Cheongpa-ro 20-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
NZ$136
per night
9 Apr. - 10 Apr.

Located in Yongsan-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Yongsan Electronics Market and Shilla I’Park Mall. War Memorial of Korea is 1.5 mi (2.4 ...

4.3/5Excellent! (849 reviews)

"Best value for money of any 5-star hotel that I know of in Seoul. Very convenient location right behind Yongsan Station with a walkway to the station. Ordered room service menu item Chicken Cesar Salad. Most delicious that I ever had! Lots of staff waiting to serve."…"

Reviewed on 28 Mar. 2020

Novotel Ambassador Seoul Yongsan - Seoul Dragon City
Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong
Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong
4 out of 5
15, Namdaemun-ro 5-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
NZ$88
per night
15 Apr. - 16 Apr.

Located in Jung-gu, this spa hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Namsan Park, Gyeongbok Palace and N Seoul Tower. Dongdaemun History and Culture Park and War Memorial ...

4/5Very Good! (1,124 reviews)

"The hotel was super clean and bed was very comfortable. Bathroom was huge with very large wooden tub. so great"…"

Reviewed on 25 Feb. 2020

Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong

Popular activities in Seoul

Dongdaemun History and Culture Park
Image for Dongdaemun History and Culture Park

Dongdaemun History and Culture Park

4.5/5(72 reviews)

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

N Seoul Tower
Image for N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower

4.5/5(54 reviews)

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

Myeongdong Cathedral
Image for Myeongdong Cathedral

Myeongdong Cathedral

4.5/5(28 reviews)

Dating back to the late 1800s, this Gothic church is the final resting place of martyrs and offers a pleasant respite from Seoul’s hectic streets. 

Top activities in Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace & Namsan Tour with Shopping & Lunch
Image for Gyeongbokgung Palace & Namsan Tour with Shopping & Lunch

Gyeongbokgung Palace & Namsan Tour with Shopping & Lunch

88% of travellers recommend
NZ$118
Per adult
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)

90% of travellers recommend
NZ$53
Per adult
Palaces, Temple & Folk Museum Morning Tour
Image for Palaces, Temple & Folk Museum Morning Tour

Palaces, Temple & Folk Museum Morning Tour

86% of travellers recommend
NZ$51
Per adult
DMZ Tour including Hotel Pick up
Image for DMZ Tour including Hotel Pick up

DMZ Tour including Hotel Pick up

84% of travellers recommend
NZ$61
Per adult
N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets
Image for N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets

N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets

NZ$14
Per adult
Demilitarized Zone Tour
Image for Demilitarized Zone Tour

Demilitarized Zone Tour

NZ$79
Per adult

Reviews of Seoul

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
148
5 - Excellent 61.92468619246862%
4 - Good
75
4 - Good 31.380753138075313%
3 - Okay
13
3 - Okay 5.439330543933054%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 1.2552301255230125%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

PQ

13 Feb. 2020

High expectation usually leads to disappointment. Not everyone, but most of the people wasn’t friendly at all. Does not make you feel welcome at all.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

7 Feb. 2020

Loved Seoul. The people, food and experiences you can have.

5/5 - Excellent

David

22 Jan. 2020

Wide streets, friendly people, excellent subway system.

5/5 - Excellent

Lyn&Rocky

21 Jan. 2020

Loved the city and people. Will be back soon

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

18 Jan. 2020

People in Korea is respectful.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

7 Jan. 2020

Definitely use the subway but if unsure taxis are really cheap , 5000KWN for 10 min trip.

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