Seoul, South Korea

Seoul was such an interesting city, with so much to do. It is very easy and inexpensive to get around by foot or public transport, mostly metro, too. This was great because it allowed us to see and do so much in 4 days.
The best thing that we did was the North Korean Border Tour. On these trips, you’re taken to the Demilitarized Zone/Joint Security Area between North and South Korea. During these trips you can walk through one of the tunnels that was built from North Korea into South Korea, look at North Korea through binoculars from the Dora observatory, visit the Dorasan Train Station, learn about all of the history and conflict, just to name a few things. There are two types, the DMZ and the JSA. They are both offered as a half day tour or as a combined full day tour. The full day tour, called the koridoor tour, would be the best option as you get to see everything. If that’s not an option, the JSA half day would be best. Make sure to book these in advance as they book out very early. There are loads of companies that run them and the companies I went with are above. This is a must for any trip to Seoul.

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In the DMZ Area (above) ; Looking at North Korea and with my ticket to North Korea at the Dorasan Train Station (below)

Theme Cafes are very popular in Seoul, so we had to visit a few while we were there. You will find dog and cat cafes scattered all over the city, where you can go in and have a drink or some food and pet some cute animals while you’re there. I was never so happy! They even have some racoon and sheep cafes too! We even went to a poo themed cafe, where everything was poo shaped, like the emoji, or served in a toilet bowl! If you can think it, Seoul probably has a cafe for it! Here is a list of other cafes! A nanta cooking show is another different thing in Korea. It is a percussion show using cooking utensils. Random but it was recommended to us!

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Spagetti Bolognaise in a toilet bowl at the Poop Cafe. (the food and scones were actually very nice!)

Deoksugung Palace is another main attraction in Seoul. There are a number of palaces to see, but the changing of the guard here was pretty cool. We didn’t bother to go inside, because we had heard it was only ok, so we just decided to watch the changing of the guards. This takes place most days, except Monday at 11am, 2pm and 3:30. It is quite a long ceremony so give yourself 40 minutes to an hour for it. We got there a little early to be at the front of the crowd as it can get busy. You are given an opportunity to get photos with the guards during the changing ceremony too. You can also check out Gwanghwamun Square while you’re in this area, with views of the mountains in the background.

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Changing of the Guards at Deoksugung Palace

Seoul Tower is another major attraction in the city. Getting here, you can hike up, get a bus or get a cable car in Nam Sam. We decided to get the subway to the cable car area so that we could take in the views on the way up too. You have to pay to get into the observation deck in Seoul Tower. There is also a love lock bridge for any hopeless romantics that visit here! Lotte World Tower also has an observation deck, so visiting one would be more than enough to get a view of the city.
The Olympic Park in Seoul was interesting to see, but, there is not much there. I would go there if you have time, but I wouldn’t be rushing if you’re caught for time. You can see the Olympic Torch, the flags of the countries that took part and a stone from each country that took part that represents the size of the team they had taking part. That same day, we explored the city by foot and subway and saw the Gangnam Statue (Yup, from this music video! They LOVE him). You can get the metro there. I think the stop is called Coex Urban Park Station and take exit 5 once you’re there. It is near the Bongeunsa Temple. We went and checked this temple out too as we were there. We did all of this on our last morning and just explored the city for a while.

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‘Heeeeyyyyyy sexy lady’ – Gangnam Style Statue

For nature lovers, Seoul has a number of parks that you can visit. Banpo Hangang Park and Bukhansan National Park are two great options. For nightlife, you will find bars everywhere, but Haewon Dong is a more lively party area.

For accommodation, we stayed in the Myeongdong Area. Here, we found a lot of restaurants, bars and there were food stalls and markets there in the evening.There is also a lovely river nearby that has markets in the evenings too in Cheonggyecheon. There is a light show here in the evenings. It was easy to get around the city from here as the subway stops were interlinked with other lines. Here are some accommodation recommendations:

  1. K Guest House (there are a number of K Guest Houses in Myeongdong, try to pick a central one, Like Myeongdong 3 or 2
  2. Philstay
  3. Lotte City Hotel
  4. L7 Myeongdong
  5. Myeongdong Studio Apartment
  6. Pacific Hotel

The Hongdae area is another possible area to look at staying in.

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River and markets in Cheonggyecheon

Top Tips:

  • The Full Day JSA/DMZ tour doesn’t run on Sunday and Monday
  • There is no changing on the guards at Deoksugung Palace on Monday
  • Try a Korean Style BBQ dinner, where you cook your dinner at your table
  • Check out the video of my trip on my YouTube Channel

Happy Travels,

Top Tip Traveller 🙂

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