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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

Enjoy the popular shops in Myeongdong. Myeongdong Street is a worthwhile stop, and you can jump on the metro at Euljiro 1-ga Station or Myeong-dong Station to see more of Seoul.

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

Jung-gu

4.5/5Wonderful!(171 area reviews)

N Seoul Tower and Myeongdong Street are top sights in Jung-gu, and you should be sure to explore the popular shops. Hop aboard the metro at Chungmuro Station or Dongguk University Station to see more sights in the area.

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

Insadong

Insadong is known for its ample dining options, and you can make a stop by Cheonggyecheon and Insa-dong while in the area.

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

Seocho-gu

4.5/5Wonderful!(3 area reviews)

Consider a visit to Seoul Arts Center and take some time to enjoy the abundant dining options during your time in Seocho-gu. If you want to see more of the city, jump on the metro at Sadang Station or Chongshin University (ISU) Station.

Seocho-gu

Top hotels in Seoul

SIGNIEL SEOUL
SIGNIEL SEOUL
5 out of 5
Lotte World Tower 76F-101F, 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
The price is NZ$589 per night from 9 Nov. to 10 Nov.

Located in Songpa, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Lotte World Tower and Lotte World Mall. Lotte World and Olympic Park are also within 2 mi ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (929 reviews)

"Signiel Seoul has great view of Seoul and their staffs are best!"…"

Reviewed on 25 Jul. 2020

SIGNIEL SEOUL
Grand Hyatt Seoul
Grand Hyatt Seoul
5 out of 5
322, Sowol-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Seoul
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is NZ$335 per night from 22 Oct. to 23 Oct.

Located in Yongsan-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Namsan Botanical Garden, Itaewon Antique Furniture Street and Leeum Samsung Museum of ...

4.2/5Excellent! (1,127 reviews)

"This property is a five star hotel, beautiful views and even great hospitality. The room service is top of the line as well. Have to stay here if you want the best experience in Seoul"…"

Reviewed on 18 Feb. 2020

Grand Hyatt Seoul
ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun
ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun
4 out of 5
36, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is NZ$94 per night from 22 Oct. to 23 Oct.

Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sungnyemun Gate and Deoksugung Palace. Cheonggye Plaza and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park are ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,715 reviews)

"The location is very convenient, staffs are polite, clean & I will stay again, but towels were worn out though."…"

Reviewed on 29 Sep. 2020

ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Holiday Rentals in Seoul

Somerset Palace Seoul
Somerset Palace Seoul
4 out of 5
7, Yulgok-ro 2-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Seoul
The price is NZ$171 per night from 19 Nov. to 20 Nov.

Located in Jongno, this family-friendly Seoul aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Jogyesa Temple, Gyeongbok Palace and Gwanghwamun. Bukchon Hanok Village ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,081 reviews)

"Excellent location, clean property, great stuff! They also provided a crib"…"

Reviewed on 17 Oct. 2020

Somerset Palace Seoul
Oakwood Premier Coex Center
Oakwood Premier Coex Center
5 out of 5
46, Teheran-ro 87-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Seoul
The price is NZ$279 per night from 21 Oct. to 22 Oct.

Located in Gangnam, this family-friendly Seoul aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Seven Luck Casino Seoul Gangnam Branch, COEX Convention and Exhibition ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (768 reviews)

"Large room. Lots of closet space. Fully stocked kitchen. Comfortable mattress."…"

Reviewed on 28 Jun. 2020

Oakwood Premier Coex Center
Orakai Insadong Suites
Orakai Insadong Suites
4 out of 5
18 Insadong 4-Gil Jongno-Gu, Seoul, Seoul
The price is NZ$144 per night from 19 Nov. to 20 Nov.

Located in Jongno, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Jogyesa Temple and Cheonggyecheon. Myeongdong Street and Gwanghwamun are also within 15 minutes. ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (679 reviews)
The Strogt of Korea

"Very comfortable and convenient. Abdolutely grest area and friendly shop keepers"…"

Reviewed on 4 Jan. 2020

Orakai Insadong Suites
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Seoul

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.

Gyeongbok Palace
Image for Gyeongbok Palace

Gyeongbok Palace

4.5/5(75 reviews)

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.

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.

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. 

Namdaemun Market
Image for Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market

4.5/5(59 reviews)

For all kinds of clothing and food at bargain prices, a trip to Seoul's oldest and largest traditional market is a must-visit.

Olympic Park
Image for Olympic Park

Olympic Park

5/5(4 reviews)

Go to “Olpark” in Seoul to visit a sports museum, attend a pop concert, watch South Korea’s top athletes perform or enjoy a long walk in its Eco Park.

Top activities in Seoul

DMZ Tour including Hotel Pick up
Image for DMZ Tour including Hotel Pick up

DMZ Tour including Hotel Pick up

NZ$58
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
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$51
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets
Image for N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets

N Seoul Tower Observation Deck Tickets

NZ$13
Per adult
Full Day Palace Tour (including Gyeongbok Palace)
Image for Full Day Palace Tour (including Gyeongbok Palace)

Full Day Palace Tour (including Gyeongbok Palace)

NZ$103
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Palaces, Temple & Folk Museum Morning Tour
Image for Palaces, Temple & Folk Museum Morning Tour

Palaces, Temple & Folk Museum Morning Tour

NZ$50
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Incheon Airport Transfer- Private service between Airport and Seoul (1-7 pax)
Image for Incheon Airport Transfer- Private service between Airport and Seoul (1-7 pax)

Incheon Airport Transfer- Private service between Airport and Seoul (1-7 pax)

NZ$152
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend

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.

Cities near Seoul

Incheon showing a skyscraper, heritage elements and a park

Incheon

Suwon showing night scenes

Suwon

Photo by Jordan Waitt

Seongnam

Photo by Algirdas Sidiskis

Anyang