8 Things to Do in Seoul
Seoul is an energetic metropolis of over 10 million people living their lives.
Many attractions, however, are known for getting people back into nature, enjoying uncrowded walkways, and enjoying delicious Korean food.
There is a balance of serenity and dynamics in South Korea’s main city that you will fall in love with.
Seoul and Korea is one of the top destinations for Malaysian tourists. According to Korea Tourism Organization, there are around 280,000 Malaysians visiting South Korea for tourism in year 2016.
Here are the top things to do in Seoul that will make the journey a “soulful” one.
- Korea Furniture Museum
Address: 330-577 Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu
Though it sounds like the kind of place your grandparents would peruse on vacation, the Korea Furniture Museum is actually a best kept secret.
Because there is so much historical value here, reservations are required to enter. The reason being is that the building itself is something of a well preserved national treasure that features stunning Korean architecture.
Further, within the museum you can see over 2000 traditional pieces of furniture plus an additional 10 hanok (Korean houses). Where else are you going to see hanok nowadays? Not in many other places, that’s for sure.
- Bukhansan National Park
Address: San 1-1, Jeongneung-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Hiking is a national pastime for Koreans, and one of their favourite places to go would be Bukhansan National Park.
The grounds cover a huge amount of northern Seoul with granite mountains, forests, and over 100 historic Buddhist temples scattered about. You can also visit the historically prominent Bukhansanseong Fortress that was built in 1711 (though the original foundation dates back to A.D. 132).
From there, walk the Bukhansanseong Trail to the top of Baegundae mountain for panoramic views of the city and everything beyond. The trek is somewhat strenuous and takes around 3.5 hours to complete—but it is well worth it!
- Bukchon Hanok Village
Address: 105 Gye-dong, Jongno-go, Seoul
The district is filled with narrow streets, gabled walls, and beautifully constructed hanok (traditional houses). Some even date back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). One of the most memorable pit stops you can make here would be the outdoor museum and the teahouses, where you can taste bittersweet omija.
There are also cafes, art galleries, and guesthouses where you can lounge in style. Bukchon Village is very popular with younger Korean couples because of the romantic atmosphere.
Address: Everland Resort, Yongin, Gyeonggi-do
Once upon a time, Everland was called “Farmland” or “Jayeon Nongwon.” Now, South Korea’s largest theme park has a fancy name that matches its resplendence.
Open year round, Everland Korea attracts over 7.3 million people to its attractions annually.
There are certainly many good reasons why Malaysian tourists like to visit Everland theme park.
There are several themed sections making up the amusement park called Global Fair, Zoo Topia, European Adventure, Magic Land, and American Adventure. Each section has its own unique flair.
For example, Global Fair features ethnic food from around the world and souvenir stalls while Magic Land features “Aesop’s Village,” a place where fairytales come to life.
Currently, there are 5 rollercoasters at the park, with the newest one, T Express, being constructed in 2008. It is South Korea’s fastest, longest, tallest, and steepest roller coaster, as well as the first wooden coaster in the country.
Aside from the usual rides, Everland theme park also hosts seasonal events throughout the year.
Click here to check out the Korea Everland theme park tickets.
- Lotte World
Address: 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
One of the most popular amusement parks in Seoul would be the major recreational complex known as Lotte World.
This is another top destination for Malaysian tourists.
It is the world’s largest indoor theme park, setting a Guinness World Record, and also has several other features that make it a magical place – including “Magic Island,” an outdoor artificial island linked by monorail to hotels, Charlotte Theatre, Lotte World Folk Museum, and much, much more.
Though Lotte World originally opened in 1989, it has yet to lose any steam when it comes to attracting locals and tourists from all around the world.
The attractions are set-up based by floor, and there are a total of 4 floors, excluding Magic Island. Throughout the various floors, park-goers are entertained by rollercoasters, flume rides, 3D IMAX theatres, simulations, bumper cars, and more. Magic Island also has a famous ride called Atlantis Adventure.
For thrill seekers, Gyro Drop, a VR enhanced experience, is a must.
Check out Seoul Lotte World tickets and packages that you can’t miss.
- Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace)
Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
If you love taking photographs of architecture or consider yourself a history buff (or both), then the ornate Gyeongbokgung is going to have you snapping pictures left and right. The palace was originally built in A.D. 1395 and was a pivotal location for the Joseon Dynasty.
Although the name translates into “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven,” Gyeongbok Palace was actually destroyed during the Japanese invasion in the 1590s. However, after being rebuilt, another Japanese invasion in the early 1900s. Then in 1990, the second (and hopefully final) restoration was completed.
Nowadays, visitors can admire the extensive and beautifully landscaped grounds ranging from stunning gates, gardens, pavilions and everything in between. Gyeongbokgung Palace is open every day except Tuesday for a small admission fee.
Address: 73 Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu
In the middle of a bustling city is the tranquil temple known as Bongeunsa.
The temple and the surroundings are insanely colourful throughout the year, as it is located on a slope of Sudo Mountain.
Also, there is a special yearly “Temple Stay program,” where temples from around South Korea come up with unique programs for tourists to experience life as a monk for a couple of hours to a couple of days or do cultural events.
Bongeunsa takes part in this. Wouldn’t you love to explore the grounds covered in lanterns, lilies, and more with a backstage pass?
Also, if you are vegetarian or vegan, the areas surrounding the temple are known to have a large amount of upscale vegetarian restaurants that offer Korean cuisine with modern flair!
- Dongdaemun Market
Address: 18-12 Ulji-ro 6 Ga, Jung-gu
One does not simply go to Seoul and not shop.
When it comes to Dongdaemun Market, window shopping is impossible. This place is not just a market. It is a sprawling collection of 10 city blocks, 26 malls, 30,000 speciality shops and stores, wholesale markets, and well, just about anything else that can come to mind.
Anything you need is available at Dongdaemun Market, and it is so big that you will need either a map or GPS navigator to get through it without getting lost.
You may think you don’t have enough time to cover the entirety of Dongdaemun Market, but never fear. The market is actually open 24 hours, and though some shops do close overnight, many remain open until 5:00 in the morning.
Throughout the market are several places that you must-see, like the Designer’s Club, Kwanghee Fashion Mall, and Nuzzon if you love Korean fashion. After that, head over to Pyeonghwa Fashion town just to the north of the Doosan Tower (another famous attraction).
Lastly, finish up your shopping spree with a journey through Mukja Golmok, which translates into “Let’s Eat Alley” for a wonderful selection of Korean delicacies.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Seoul
When you visit Seoul, make sure to come between March to May or September to November, when humidity is lower and travel expenses are considerably low.
Otherwise, you will run into freezing cold or monsoon months! Either way, there is so much to do both indoors and outdoors, that no matter the weather, you will never be bored.
Simply put, Seoul is an amazing city. You can’t simply come once and see everything. So where will you go first?
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