Seoul is one of the most dynamic cities in the world. I’ve been privileged enough to have lived in and around the Seoul metropolitan area for several years as an English teacher. It’s a city that is near and dear to my heart and one which I strongly encourage you to visit. Below is my things to do in Seoul travel guide featuring all of the top attractions worth visiting:
1) Insadong is the cultural HUB of Seoul. It’s an area that is equally as popular with locals as it is with tourists. Whether you’re shopping for Korean souvenirs, people watching or wanting to grab some Korean street food, you’ll find it all here.
2) Do fancy cats? For cat lovers (and the cats living there) a cat cafe is paradise. With an opportunity to interact with cats and feed them treats, you’ll be sure to make a few feline friends in just one sitting. The deal with these cat cafes is that you have to purchase a prepaid drink and/or snack (at a price higher than a normal cafe) for the opportunity to pet and play with kitties. Our favorite cat cafe was located in Hongdae.
3) In the winter Korea is frigid in a way few from abroad might expect. To warm up head to a proper Korean Tea House where you’ll be served a wonderful aromatic fruity Korean tea accompanied by rice cake snacks. To enjoy like a local find a spot with Ondol – heated floors. If you’re looking for a recommendation, try the ginger tea!
4) For the best view in Seoul consider hiking up Mount Namsan to visit Seoul Tower. Best done in the spring or fall – given the moderate temperatures – this moderately challenging walk will take less than an hour to complete. We picked late fall to go when it was cooler outside and leaves were changing colors.
5) No trip to Seoul would be complete without visiting the oldest market in the city – Namdaemun market. Many come here to shop but I’m all about coming for Korean street food. With a plethora of stalls and no shortage of options it’s best to arrive with an empty stomach. If you’re having a hard time choosing I recommend Hotteok and Tteokbokki.
6) As if visiting a cat cafe wasn’t enough there are also dog cafes in Seoul! Unlike the cat cafes, which are a bit more mellow, prepare for a high energy kind of environment in the dog cafe where the dogs are more active than the docile cats.
7) For the best walk in Seoul head down to the Cheonggyecheon stream in the heart of the city. Equally as fascinating during the summer as it is by winter, it takes on a totally different personality as the seasons change. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a traditional Korean performance or hear Korean music playing.
8) There are numerous palaces to consider visiting in Seoul but none is more impressive than Gyeongbokgung. With admission being only 3000 KRW it’s a cheap and fun landmark to visit. Be sure to stick around for the changing of guard ceremony.