Seoul Travel Guide
The capital of Korea has a lot to offer that many may not even know. It feels like Tokyo which is also a metropolitan city, but in a very different way. We start from ancient history to traditional costumes and from k-pop bands to hipsters hotspot.
How to travel to Seoul
Seoul’s airports include Incheon International Aiport and Gimpo Airport. Gimpo International is closer to Seoul and accommodates most domestic flights. Incheon witnesses more international air traffic.
Upon arrival, it’s best to purchase an T-money card.
The t-money card is a contactless payment card that can be used on all forms of public transportation.
Arriving at Incheon Airport
A ride between the Incheon Airport to Seoul will take 40 minutes by express train (AREX), depart every 20 to 40 minutes. The local train takes one hour and leave every 5 to 10 minutes. The Express Train costs 9,500 won (7.30euro) each way, and the stop train is 4,150 – 4,750 won (3.5euro)
Arriving at Gimpo Airport
The cheapest option from Gimpo Airport is to take the stop train to Seoul station, it will take 20minutes.
The nicest neighborhoods in Seoul
Korea’s best know shopping district, where the streets are lined with departments stores and shops that sell brand-names cosmetics, clothes, shoes and accessories.
Best know for its souvenir shops and art shops. You can find Korean mask over here. There are two types of masks : religious (that keeps evil spirits away) and artistic (for dance and theater)
Ihwa Mural Village
This neighborhood is known as “the monthly village” because of its location on the hill.
A multiculutral neigborhood, wich I honestly didn’t like. Because it didn’t give me a holiday feeling. Between Itaewon 1-dong and Hannam 2-dong in the East you will find a whole street full of shops, restaurants ands stalls.
My favorite one Hongdae is a bustling neighborhood among all kinds of universities.
In this neighborhood you will mainly find clothing stores and there are many street artists.
Occasionally even famous!
Gangnam-gu is a fashionable district of Seoul that packet with upscale attractions including shopping, maybe knowing of the famous song Gangnam style.
Considered the soho of Seoul.
No 1 national treasure in Korea, also known as Namdaemun Gate.
It was the oldest wooden structure in Seoul until being destroyed by arson attack in 2008.
Must – visit
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by Zaha Hadid. It is a center for art, design and technology to which a park is linked. Really a place where people of all ages can feel at home. The building consists of aluminum of various curves with perforations. It is one of the first buildings in Korea that uses advanced 3D construction technologies. Architecture and landscape are constantly merging.
The building has 8 floors with different facilities: a design museum, shops, an academy … I have been snooping around the whole building because I was curious how it works. It turned out that you were not allowed to go everywhere, but I met someone who worked there. He asked me where I came from and I told him that I am an interior designer from Belgium. In the meantime he gave me a nice tour. I certainly enjoyed it very much!
Gwanjang Market is one of Korea’s largest traditional market and is renowned for its quality silk goods, handmade goods. These days, the vintage clothing arcade in the market has become very popular attraction among young people.
Bukchon Hanok Village
A walk through Bukchon Hanok Village brought me to an old neighborhood with about 900 traditional houses. It reminded me a bit of Kyoto (in Japan). The houses consist of stone, wood, earth and rice paper and have sloping roofs. Some houses are still inhabited, others serve as a museum, workshop room, coffee bar …
The National Folk Museum of Korea
The museum is on the same domain as the palace. You can visit it for free. In the museum you will find a historical storyline about Korea.
Royal Palace Gyeongbokgun
Gyeongbokgun was the first and largest of the royal palaces build during the Joseon Dynasty.
The palace was located at the heart of newly appointed capital of Seoul.
Tip : attend a changing of the guard!
A stream under the elevated highway was transformed into an ecological park in 2005 after 3 years long restoration project. Take a stroll down the path with 22 bridges.
Did you know that before this park, the first airport in Seoul was located here.
The old part of the city hall, the town hall is in renaissance style. The oval lawn for the city hall is used for events. The new part was designed by Iarc Architects and consist 13 floors, almost completely covered with glass. The curves and shapes are inspired by the traditional houses of Hanok.
Skygarden – Seoul Station
Skygarden, designed by MVRDV, resembles a mix of the High Line and the Gate Bridge. It’s a plant brigde that replaces the former highway in the city center. The park is 983 m long and collects around 50 plant families. On the bridge you can also enjoy of different activities.
This tower has 123 floors and is currently the tallest building in South Korea. The building contains a large shopping mall, private offices, an observation desk, etc.
Starfield Coex Mall
You will find the largest underground shopping center here included with a free library corner.
Cheongdam-dong Luxury Fashion Street
Hotspot Antracite Coffee
Meeting with my Korean friend before I leave Seoul, who I met in Japan during my internship.
Ihwa Mural Village
Strolling around this neighborhood to enjoy a lot of graffiti walls.
Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
Tip : if you want to buy fresh fish, then definitely don’t come here!