Next I’ll talk about the sight-seeing in Seoul. Now, if you want to go to Korea purely for the sight-seeing, you’ll be bored stiff staying in Seoul more than 5 days. I just don’t think Seoul is it if you wanted sight-seeing. Busan will be a much better choice for that. So anyway, I’ll mention the places that you should visit if you are in Seoul. Please note that this list is only based on where I went. I will however try to mention other places as well.
Since it’s a pretty long list, do click more if you want to see the full list.
Nearest train station: Angguk St (line 3/orange line)
As I mentioned on my last post, I spent the first night in Bukcheon area. I really love how quiet and serene the area is. It is also where we got to see our first cherry blossoms (well technically we did see some on our bus ride from the airport but I shall not count that).
Rows upon rows of cherry blossom trees all in Jeongdok Public Library. Sadly when we came, a lot of the cherry blossoms had gone, but there are still quite a few which we made full use of.
The required selfie with the cherry blossoms at the background. ❤
Yep, I took pictures of the big signs that indicates the name of places I went to so that it’s impossible to forget! ;p
There’s also Hanok Village (traditional Korean houses) nearby. Now I understand there’s quite a number of hanok villages all around Seoul but this is the only one we went to and I say it’s breathtaking. Especially since it’s located on a hill. It’s especially beautiful if you can reach it when there’s not many people around.
Note: Those two just won’t move even though we’ve waited and took pictures for quite a long time so…. -____-
If you love to go to art galleries, Bukcheon truly is your place. There’s galleries everywhere! You can easily spent one whole day going from one gallery to the next and still can’t enter all!
Bukcheon is also a stone throw away from Samcheong-dong an area filled with small boutiques and cafes. The things they sell in that area are super unique and therefore not cheap. Angguk Station is also fairly close to Insadong so you can actually spend a few nights in Bukcheon if you want.
Nearest train station: Angguk St (line 3/orange line)
I know there are a lot of sites that mentioned it as Changdeokgung Palace but since ‘gung’/’goong’ is palace it’s just weird to me.
This is actually the first place we went to after we had our lunch but we went as far as the gate. Since the English guided tour time didn’t match our timing (we had to wait quite a while if we wanted to take the tour) we decided to just forgo it. Why take the guided tour you ask? If you enter the palace without a guide, you will not be able to truly appreciate the history behind your surrounding.
I learnt that a while back when I visit Nijo Castle in Kyoto, Japan. Ever heard of the nightingale floor? Well, that’s the only part of the castle I found interesting. The floor really chirps when you step on it! …. But that’s about it. And although there’s tons of history behind that particular castle I was not impressed at all. To me it’s just another old building. So from then on I decided that I had to hear a guided tour when I visit another castle.
Bonus point: we heard from the owner of Manaedang that there’s a garden filled with cherry blossoms inside.
Later on we found out that it’s actually the hidden gem and is actually prettier inside than Gyeongbokgung. So if you are interested, you can check VisitKorea for the timing of the guided tours.
Nearest train station: Gyeongbokgung St (line 3/orange line)
Easily the most famous palace in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung is named the grandest of all four palaces. Sadly, a lot of its buildings are ruined after the Japanese invasion and they are currently in the process of reconstructing parts of the palace.
Also, unlike Changdeokgung, the guided tour of this palace can be joined for free! \(^o^)/ The best part is that the English guided tour is just 30 minutes away from the Changing of guard ceremony, so we didn’t need to wait a long time.
We do arrive a little early for the ceremony, so we decided to walk to Gwanghwamun Square first. It is where you can find the statue of Admiral Lee Sun Shin (a familiar name if you watch Gu Family Book *wink wink*) and the statue of King Sejong. If you are K-drama lover like me, I think you would be familiar with those names and actually the statues themselves show up pretty often in dramas…
There’s actually a museum dedicated to King Sejong The Great and the Admiral there. The entrance is right underneath King Sejong’s statue.
The square is usually packed with tourists so it can get annoying trying to take a picture of the statue. You just have to be patient and wait for your turn.
Really amazed that they build a mini sized turtle ship inside the museum!
You can actually play games inside the museum! So interesting!
So after watching the ceremony, we went for the free tour around the palace. It was actually very interesting to hear the story behind the buildings. I would totally recommend it! ^^
Other than Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung, there are actually still other palace in Seoul, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will only list out places I went to myself. There’s also Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and also Jongmyo Shrine.
TIP: if you are interested in visiting all palaces, you can buy the Integrated Ticket of Palaces for KRW 10,000.
Nearest train station: Samseong St (line 2/green line)
Bonguensa Temple is such a tranquil place for being so close to all the high rise buildings in Gangnam. There were actually a lot of locals that would come to the temple to just sit at the garden eating their lunch. It was really nice to see!
I mean who wouldn’t want to? Look at how pretty this place is!
Ihwa-dong Mural Village
Nearest train station: Hyehwa St (line 4/light blue line)
It’s a pretty long walk through the village, but you won’t feel it cos you’ll be stopping every now and then to take pictures of the pretty murals. ^^
The koi stairs is really really pretty! Well, actually all the murals are pretty…
There’s also this cool little gazebo if you are willing to hike up the hill. It’s actually a little way off the mural track, so it’s purely optional. But the view from up there is really beautiful, though sadly when we were there it was foggy…
This is what I think is the most successful mural. That chair is just a painting I tell you. It was really hard to do the sitting pose without a chair, though thankfully I can lean against the wall.
TIP: go early in the morning so that you’re not ‘competing’ with that many people for the murals.
Nearest train station: Myeongdong (line 4/light blue line)
You can reach the top of the hill either by hiking or, if you are as lazy as me, take the cable car.
If I’m not mistaken, the trip to and from the top of the hill is KRW 8,500. Not that expensive right? So yea, we just took the cable car ride.
It’s actually a really scenic route up the hill. I head some guide books recommend you to take the cable car up and hike down, but I would recommend hiking up instead. The stairs are pretty steep, so it’s pretty scary to go down the steps…
We didn’t actually go up the tower though. It’s pretty expensive going up for one thing… Hahaha
That’s all for the sight-seeing section of my trip to Seoul. Next will be things to do in Seoul!
Please do note that most of the information here is based on memory and so I apologize in advance if there is any mistakes. Do let me know if you spot one so I can correct it! Thanks for reading until the end! ^^