Shop. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Myeong-dong lives for consumption and consumerism. Shiny shop fronts snare unsuspecting passers-by with the twin assault of saccharine K-Pop and free makeup samples. Need some doe-eyed respite from the dog-eat-dog world of high-street retail? Pop into Café Gaenae, where you can sip coffee in the company of 25 puppies.
Places to stay from $10 a night
5 miles from downtown
There’s no flashier district than Gangnam. Style is skin-deep here. In Seoul’s cosmetic-surgery capital, you’ll see all the airs and graces satirised in Psy’s hit song. Dress to the nines and sashay around Garosu-gil before hitting the dance floors of Octagon or Ellui, where you can splash your hard-won “won” alongside Seoul’s movers and shakers.
Places to stay from $12 a night
2.4 miles from downtown
Seodaemun-gu’s home to contrasting symbols of conflict and renewal. Picture life behind bars at Seodaemun Prison Museum before looking to a brighter Korean future – the area’s the seat of high-flying universities like Yeonsei and Ewha. Student life and bar life go hand in hand, so turn on, tune in and drop out in Woodstock or Mike’s Bar.
Places to stay from $8 a night
3.1 miles from downtown
Insomniacs rejoice – Mapo-gu’s a district that never sleeps. During the day, Hongdae’s a street performance hotspot. Once lectures are over, Mapo’s student population clink glasses of “soju” at joints like Bar Fly or Factory. Then it’s time to boogie on the dance floors of NB or Cocoon. Still up? Unwind past sunrise at a jjimjil-bang (sauna).
Places to stay from $6 a night
0.5 miles from downtown
The heart of Seoul. Suited salarymen and camera-toting tourists cross paths on these pulsating streets. Retail fiends flock to Namdaemun Market or Myeongdong Street, and adventurous gourmands sample the wares of the various “pocha” (street food vendors). After dark, lovebirds steal kisses on Deoksu Palace steps or the banks of Cheongyechong Stream.
Places to stay from $8 a night
Old and new coexist in Seoul, South Korea's capital and largest city. Skyscrapers dominate the sprawling metropolis, whose streets are lined with mega malls and karaoke bars blasting K-pop alongside well-preserved remnants of Korea's past. Against a backdrop of glass and steel buildings, Bongeunsa Temple and Jogyesa Temple are tranquil respites where visitors can witness the lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Jongmyo Shrine – the world's oldest Confucian shrine – honours Joseon Dynasty rulers.
Seoul's grand palaces offer an atmospheric lesson in Korean history and culture. You'll see ancient architecture, throne rooms and banquet halls as well as picturesque pavilions at Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. The National Museum of Korea, meanwhile, offers a wider overview of Korean history and art.
Shopping is a favourite pastime in Seoul, where you'll find endless opportunities to lighten your wallet. Dongdaemun, one of the city's largest shopping districts, sells everything from silks and electronics to traditional Korean cuisine. At Gwangjang Market, the country's oldest street market, you can pick up fresh produce, handicrafts, textiles and more. You'll also need ample time to explore Lotte World Mall's 17 floors of retail space, aquarium and indoor theme park.
Navigating a city as big as Seoul can be daunting. Luckily, the capital features one of the most extensive transit systems in the world. Seoul Station services commuter and intercity trains, which can take you to the plethora of shops near Myeongdong Station or Gangnam Station for entertainment and nightlife.
From $20 per night
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|Most popular time to visit||October-December|
|Cheapest time to visit||January-March|
|Local currency||KRW 10,000 = $7.67|
|Average weekend price||$19 per night|
|Average weekday price||$14 per night|
|Average stay||2 nights|
Seoul is an amazing city. Such diverse touring options. Loved the museums and most were free. Palaces, markets (Gwangjang for food) upscale shopping, bargains. Great street food or beautiful restaurants (Parc Seoul by Leeum Art Museum) Nice hiking areas. And efficient, cheap transportation — definitely purchase the transportation card for 3,000 won and then just add more money as needed. Look
The accommodation was very close to the subway station. There are convenience stores and many restaurants just a minute away from the hotel, so it was convenient. The dining table was a folding table, which was a bit inconvenient, but the bed was large.
I had only one and half day in Seoul on my bussiness trip but it was splendid! I enjoyed the food market which is famous from netflix and I can totally recommend. I visited the lotte world tower with amazing view. i tried Sul-bing icecream and lots and lots of food like traditional Korean BBQ, street food, kimchi and so on as well as japanese sushi. I went on a party in Itaewan.
Love the public transport system. Very well connected and minimum walking was required to even the most obscure of destinations. Love the Han River. Would love to come back and spend more time cycling along the waters or eating convenience store food at their benches here when I'm back. If you're crazy about skincare and makeup, the shopping here can take up to three days of your itinerary. Pro tip is to carefully plan for food because there's just so many korean food that you need to try. On my next trip, would avoid Lotte World though and opt for Everland instead, just an hour ride outside of Seoul. It's less crowded and more value for money. Lotte World is crowded by 12pm so you spend more time in queues than on rides.
Seoul is a perfect place for shopping and food. They have lots of hidden gems such as cafes and restaurants around! Sometimes, you just got to look up and explore the upper floors for better food! If you haven't check out dongmyo, the vintage shopping is amazing! Seoul is also very advance in its transport system, so get a t-money card & get on your way with buses and trains!
Be prepared without Google navigation or use Naver or Kakao map instead. It's a great city. I've been there 4 times. Will still go back. Also a good travel base for going to everywhere else in Korea.
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