Planning to go to Seoul this month? You should! Great food, shopping, cultural sites – they have it all in one place! These are the places I’ve been in and enjoyed so I hope you consider visiting these places even just for a little while.
Here are five places to go to while you’re in Seoul, South Korea!
I’ll start with one of my most favorite places in Seoul. I would like to characterize Samcheongdong as a long street home to both modern and traditional culture. On your left is the main palace back in the Joseon era called the Gyongbokgung Palace and on your right is the secondary palace, the Changdeokgung.
This place is teeming with cafes and little shops you can buy unique knick-knacks from. I once found a cactus as small as the nail on your pinky! Samcheongdong is also where you’ll pass if you’re going to the Bukcheon Hanok Village, a little area where the traditional houses are still preserved.
Jonggak is like a less spicy version of Myeongdong. While you can reach Myeongdong in 5-7 minutes from here, Jonggak is my preferred place to shop. The Jonggak subway station has an underground shopping center where you can get souvenirs, cute clothes, bags, and food! Once you go up, there’s just about a store for every major road shop beauty brand.
Myeongdong can get crowded. I know this because at certain hours, all the Etude House stores will get filled with people. So when this happens, take a train or walk to Jonggak station and shop peacefully.
Jonggak is also home to what was once the biggest Daiso in Seoul! But once you’re done shopping, you might also want to go to Cheonggyecheon Stream to chill out and relax.
Garden of Morning Calm
Because Nami Island is so far away from Seoul, tourists recommend also heading to Petite France and Garden of Morning Calm while you’re there.
Garden of Morning Calm or Morning Calm Arboretum is the perfect place to be in if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Seoul city life. It is a breathtaking field of beautiful flowers and trees. You will feel like Alice in Wonderland amongst the many species of flora you haven’t seen before.
Make sure to visit during March to November, since that’s when all the flowers are in bloom!
I like Insadong because it’s like a little town inside Seoul. It’s where the best bingsu (Sulbing) and green tea (Osulloc) are at! Insadong is also a nice place to buy souvenirs from. But what I love most about this place is that it’s a gateway from the busy Myeongdong-Jonggak area to the peaceful villages of Samcheongdong.
Still here to shop? I would recommend going to Ssamziegil, the ‘Special Insa-dong within Insa-dong’. The outdoor mall has a unique spiral structure making it easy to go through all the shops from the first to the fourth floor without the use of stairs. I got so lucky I discovered this by accident!
Bukcheon Hanok Village
When you’re in Samcheongdong, make sure to visit the Bukcheon Hanok Village. It’s a traditional village where you can see the old houses (called ‘hanok) reminiscent of Korea’s Joseon era. It’s almost like living in the olden times while you’re there. From a hilltop you can see all the roofs of the old houses and the modern Seoul right below it.
The village is home to tea houses, guesthouses, and even a perfume shop called Granhand.