Seoul city with Beautiful sunset, traditional and modern architecture at central park
Incheon

Seoul

Seoul is a city that is a cool mix of old and new. Fashion, design and technology-forward, also one that is proud of its heritage. Throughout the city, see temples and teahouses being used the same way they have been for centuries. Contrasting with a city offering the best restaurants, flavour packed Korean food, lounges, nightlife and karaoke - it's a place that doesn’t sleep. Discover the many unique experiences with the help of our Seoul travel guide.

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Places to stay

Seoul is a lively city, though it keeps South Korean tradition alive. You’ll find charming art-galleries, Buddhist temples, and traditional tea houses, among modern architecture and high-rise buildings. Depending on the things you want to see, budget and travel style will determine which area you choose to stay. There are several diverse neighbourhoods, each offering their own unique features and atmosphere. From hotels, apartments, guesthouses or Airbnb, there’s somewhere for everyone.

Myeongdong, in the middle of Seoul’s city centre, is a great place to stay if you love shopping and want to be close to plenty of restaurants. It’s a hip area and one of the coolest places to stay. Gangnam lies in the heart of Seoul and close to many attractions with some of the best hotels in the city. Insadong is the ideal place for families and history lovers to stay. You can get a taste for Seoul’s rich history, find temples, palaces and good Korean food. Business travellers may choose to stay in Itaewon, a lively, multicultural neighbourhood, with many hotels. The Grand Hyatt in Yongsan-gu is a peaceful place to stay to discover the vibrant culture and beauty of South Korea, conveniently close to downtown Seoul with views of the Han River and Namsan Mountain.

Seoul is packed with plenty of accommodation options to experience history, culture, shopping and entertainment, whichever area you choose to stay.

Things to do

There are plenty of must-see places in Seoul with historic sites all over the city, beautiful sights, thrilling bars, innovative hotels and multiple restaurants serving up delicious Korean food. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Changdeokgung Palace is a stunning site to visit mainly because of its breathtaking secret garden, ornate pavilions and lotus pond. Also in the area is the traditional Bukchon Hanok Village and charming Jogyesa Temple. For art lovers, head to Leeum to see the significant collection of traditional Korean art as well as the Samsung Museum of Art.

For a stunning view over the city, head to Bukhansan Mountain or the N Seoul Tower observation desk. Shoppers should check out the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, with many shopping malls nearby to explore and some of the best Korean food from street stalls. Myeongdong is also a shopper’s paradise and one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Seoul.

Located in the historic district of Jongno-gu, Insa-dong is an arty neighbourhood where traditional meets modern. Known for its plethora of galleries, this is the perfect place to take a quick break between sightseeing. For a dose of culture, head to Bukchon, an old neighbourhood where laneways are lined with hanoks (traditional Korean houses), small shops and cafes. Gangnam is another place to add to your list, made famous by the song, filled with quirky karaoke bars, nightclubs, department stores and Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple. Seoul is one of the most stunning capital cities on the planet.

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Where to go

Discover the fascinating Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung Palace's, to the lively market places, iconic Gangnam area, Lotte World Tower and many diverse neighbourhoods. See Seoul from all angles with images courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization.

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Street food

With multiple vendors serving up delicious Korean street food such as stuffed pancakes, dumplings, fried chicken, spicy rice cakes and fish cakes, Seoul is essentially one open-air restaurant. Street food is a must try on any visit to South Korea with plenty of places to sample it. Be sure to wander through century old Gwangjang Market to soak up the city's traditional culture and try mayak kimbap rolls. Bamdokkaebi Night Market is the place to go on weekends to watch a concert and sample tasty treats from one of the many food trucks.

Common Ground is one of Seoul’s coolest places where restored shipping containers offer everything from boutiques stores and many food offerings like meat bowls and seasonal desserts. Namdaemun Market is Seoul’s oldest market with many food choices like chicken skewers and kimchi.

There are countless places to eat in Seoul all at an affordable price.

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Discover other attractions in SeoulOpens external site in a new window Palace Korea, Seoul

Culture and Histroy

Gyeongbokgung Palace: Seoul’s premier palace is where to head to experience traditional South Korean culture. Originally home to the Royal Family, the impressive building is where you can watch the changing of the guard, before spending half a day exploring the restored compound, which includes museums, ornamental gardens and some of Seoul's grandest architectural sights.

Changdeokgung Palace: the World Heritage listed Changdeokgung Palace, is the most beautiful of Seoul's five main palaces, and well worth a visit. The palace is the second oldest in Seoul after Gyeongbokgung. The grand royal palace is set within a large park in Jongno District, Seoul and built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. It's famous for its outstanding Korean architecture and expansive stunning gardens.

They are both grand sites and not to be missed on a visit to Seoul.

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Seoul car information Seoul city dusk

Getting around

From Incheon Airport: choose from taxis, car rental, airport transfer, bus, train or hotel shuttle. A cheaper taxi option is to hire one coloured orange, white or silver. Deluxe taxis (black) are more expensive. Taxis can be hailed from either terminal and take around one hour to the city. A convenient way to get to downtown Seoul is to take the A'Rex Airport Train, taking 45 minutes. Airport limousine buses run to most parts of Seoul. Car hire available at both terminals. 

In and around the city: with public transport, taxi, bicycle and car hire options, getting around is easy. Seoul has an excellent user-friendly subway system which operates throughout central Seoul. Seoul’s bus system is comprehensive with most bus routes maps available in English. Buy a T-Money card for a discount on bus, subway and train fares. It's possible to hire a car, though with a lot of traffic it's best to use the city's excellent public transport system. You can hire a bike through the bike share system, or metered taxis are an easy way to get around.

Seoul car information

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