Korea Tourism: 50 Seoul Attractions and How to Get There – Seoulistic

If you’re coming to Korea for tourism, there’s plenty to see. And although there are literally hundreds of tourist attractions in Seoul that we can list, here’s a list of 50 Seoul attractions we think are pretty awesome 🙂

Note: While our previous post focuses on cool places to hang out in Seoul (21 Hotspots: Where to Go in Seoul and How to Get There), this post focuses on attractions (not places).


Historical Attractions in Seoul

1. Gyeongbokgung (경복궁)

Photo Credit: Romain John. Please click to see more of John’s beautiful work!

The main palace of the Joseon Dynasty (Korea’s last royal dynasty), located in the heart of Seoul (and in our hearts ;)).

How to get there: Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5). Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 2)

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

2. Gwanghwamun Gate (광화문)

Source: Flickr

The main gate to Gyeongbokgung (if you’re seeing #1, you’ll have to go through this). Also, the name has an ultra cool translation: “may the light of enlightenment blanket the world.” Deep!

How to get there: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – Exit 2). Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5).

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

3. Heunginjimun (흥인지문) – Dongdaemun – The East Gate

Source: Flickr

Heunginjimin (aka Dongdaemun or the East Gate) is located in the center of Korean fashion. If you dress nice for the gate, you will be blessed with good luck (may or may not be true). Stop by on your way to shopping at Dongdaemun Market.

How to get there: Dongdaemun Station (Line 1, Line 4 – Exit 6 or 7)

Useful links: exploringkorea

4. Sungnyemun (숭례문) – Namdaemun – The South Gate

Source: Flickr

Another cool gate. This one was actually burned down by arson, but it is under reconstruction and should be rebuilt by the time you’re in Seoul (was due for completion at the end of 2012… so…uh.. lets give Seoul another few months :)) Stop by while you check out Namdaemun Market.

How to get there: Seoul Station (Line 1, Line 4, Airport Express Line aka AREX, Gyeongui Line, Gyeongbu Line – Exit 4), or Hoehyeon Station (Line 4 – Exit 5), make a right at the large intersection

Useful links: corealocal

5. Cheonghwadae (청와대) – The Blue House

Source: Flickr

Cheongwadae is the official residence of the president of South Korea. Unless you reserve and pay for the official tour, you’ll need a swat team to get in here on your own. We recommend going with the official tour. Reserve in advance.

How to get there: Go through the back gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace (which is also very nice to see). Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – Exit 5). (Or Gwanghwamun Station, see entry #2).

Useful links: lifeinkorea

6. Changgyeonggung (창경궁)

Source: Marmot’s Hole. Check out his site for Seoul ninja type info.

If you think big crowds will ruin your peaceful palace viewing experience, come to this palace. There’s less people, and the only things that might ruin your palace perusing are the obnoxious pond and insufferable botanical garden. (Obviously jk, but you know how people on the interwebs are ;).)

How to get there: Anguk Station (Line 3 – Exit 3)

Useful links: Marmot’s Hole, and Marmot’s Hole #2

7. Jongmyo (종묘)

Source: Flickr

Jongmyo is where all the royal rituals took place. Come on the first Sunday of May to see a yearly ritual with traditional Korean music, food and dudes with old school Korean hats.

How to get there: Jongno 3-ga Station (Line 1, Line 3, Line 5 – Exit 7)

Useful links: SouthKoreaTravelGuide.com

8. Changdeokgung (창덕궁)

Source: Flickr

Seoulites say that Changdeokgung is the prettiest of all the palaces. And on top of that, there’s a garden called the “Secret Garden” (후원/huwon). Be a snoop and check it out.

How to get there: Anguk Station (Line 3 – Exit 3)

Useful links: daleskoreantempleadventures

9. Deoksugung

Source: Flickr

Without knowing the history, these palaces can all seem very similar. Deoksugung is the exception. It’s got a Russian designed cafe and a British inspired museum. Although they forgot the French bidets.

How to get there: City Hall Station (Line 1, Line 2 – Exit 2)

Useful links: Marmot’s Hole

10. Unhyeongung (운현궁)

Source: Flickr

This residence of the royal family is a bit more interactive than the other palaces. Here you can try on traditional Korean clothes (hanbok), watch a traditional royal wedding ceremony and other royal stuff to make you feel like you’re living in large in the 1800’s.

How to get there: Anguk Station (Line 3 – Exit 4)

Useful links: Korea Tourism Organization

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Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


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