Seoul, South Korea: Attractions, Food and More

Seoul

This is not a complete list of tourist places and popular Korean food. It’s just a list of places that I think may be worth visiting and a few other relevant things.

Korean Air

  • Website
  • As of December 30, 2021, all travelers, including fully vaccinated travelers, must submit a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure in order to board flights to the US. Learn more.
  • As of March 2, 2022, foreigners must submit a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure in order to board flights to Korea. Read consular notice.
  • Starting from April 1, 2022, vaccinated travelers who have completed vaccination overseas AND register their vaccination history through the Quarantine COVID19 Defence (Q-Code) system BEFORE traveling to Korea will be eligible for quarantine exemption. Vaccination is considered to be complete 14 days after the 2nd shot for a two-dose vaccine (valid up to 180 days) or with booster shots. Read consular notice.

Seoul, South Korea

Incheon Airport

Tourist Cards

  • Website
  • Buy 7-day MPass (Metropolitan Pass) card for $53
  • Purchase locations:
    • Incheon Airport Tourist Information Center: 1F, Passenger Terminal 1 in front of Gates 5 & 10 / 7 AM-10 PM
    • Myeong-dong Tourist Information Center: In front of Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 / 09:00-20:00, Closed on the day of Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)
    • Seoul Station Tmoney Town : 1F, Seoul City Tower near Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4, AREX), Exit 10 / Weekdays 09:00-18:00
  • There is a $4.11 deposit. Get deposit refund (minus $0.41 for the cost of the card) at the Tourist Information Center at the airport before leaving Korea.
  • MPass can be used on subway lines, airport railroad all-stop train, Seoul city buses (mainline buses, branch buses, circulation buses, village buses, night buses)
  • The pass offers 20 rides a day for the duration of the pass. 

Hotels

When choosing a hotel, if you want to be close to

  • many attractions
  • easy subway transportation with direct connection to the airport
  • tons of food options
  • tons of shopping options

you probably want to stay around the Myeong-dong area.


ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong

KTO Tourist Information Center

Modern, High-Tech Seoul

Meerkat Cafe Seoul

Lotte World

  • World’s largest indoor theme park
  • Website
  • Hours: 9:30AM–11PM except Sundays
  • Admission: $50

Lotte World Aquarium

  • Website
  • Hours: 10AM–8PM except Sundays
  • Admission: $28

Lotte World Mall & Tower

  • Seoul’s largest shopping mall
  • Google Maps
  • Mall Hours: 10:30AM–10PM
  • Tower Hours: 24 hours

Seoul Sky

  • The Seoul Sky Observatory is located at the top of the Lotte World Tower, the world’s fifth tallest building standing 123 stories and 555 meters high. As the tallest building in South Korea, it is the only place where you can take in a gorgeous 360-degree view of Seoul, the capital city of South Korea roaring with brilliant history and dynamic modern culture.
  • Google Maps
  • Website
  • Seoul Sky Hours: 10:30AM–10PM
  • Skybridge Website
  • Skybridge Tour Hours: See timeslots (closed in winter from Dec 13 to March 31)
  • Skybridge Admission: $67 – $93
Skybridge Tour

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

The War Memorial of Korea

Seodaemun Prison History Museum

Seoul City Hall

Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market

Seoullo 7017

Namdaemun Market

  • It is the oldest and largest market in Korea.
  • Website
  • Google Maps
  • Hours: varies by store. Closed on Sundays.

Shinsegae

N Seoul Tower & Namsan

Seoul Grand Park & Skylift

  • Seoul Grand Park is a park complex to the south of Seoul, South Korea, in the city of Gwacheon. Facilities at Seoul Grand Park include hills and hiking trails, Seoul Grand Park Zoo, Children’s Zoo, a rose garden, Seoul Land amusement park, and the Seoul Museum of Modern Art.
  • Website
  • Google Maps
  • Hours: 9AM-6PM (March~April,September~October)
  • Admission:
    • Zoo: $4
    • Theme Garden: $2
    • Skylift: $5
  • Skylift Website
  • Skylift 1 (outside the zoo): 10 minute ride
  • Skylift 2 (inside the zoo): 15 minute ride

Cheonggyecheon

  • Course 1: Cheonggye Plaza to Dongdaemun: 2.7 Km (about 2 hours)
  • Course 2: Cheonggyecheon Museum to Dongdaemun: 2.6 Km (about 2.5 hours)

DMZ

Website

DMZ Tour by Tour Agency

KORIDOOR DMZ Tours

DMZ Tour by Train

  • Website
  • Take the DMZ Peace Train from Seoul to Dorasan.
  • Choose the Dorasan Security Tour.
  • Tour package is available from the KORAIL Travel Center at each departure station
  • Foreigners can purchase train tickets from Yongsan Station to Dorasan Station online, but will have to register for the Dorasan Security Tour at Dorasan Station if they wish to travel further.
  • Operating days: Wednesday-Sunday, once a day / No trains Monday-Tuesday
  • Train Tickets and Times
  • Ticket Price: $30
  • Tour schedule: 
    1. Depart from Yongsan Station (10:08) – Seoul Station (10:15) –
    2. Arrive at Imjingang Station (11:24) –
    3. Complete identity check (11:32) –
    4. Arrive at Dorasan Station (Google Maps) and board connecting bus (11:43) –
    5. Dorasan Peace Park (12:10) –
    6. Lunch break at Tongilchon (Unification Village) (13:00) – 
    7. Dora Observatory (Google Maps) (14:00) – 
    8. The 3rd Tunnel (Google Maps) (14:40) –
    9. Tour Unification Platform (15:50) –
    10. Depart from Dorasan Station (16:27) – Seoul Station (17:47) –
    11. Arrive at Yongsan Station (17:54)

Dora Observatory

Look at North Korea from South Korea

DMZ The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

Website

Panmunjeom / DMZ Joint Security Area

Lotus Lantern Festival in May

Haewoojae Museum (Mr. Toilet House) (해우재)

Seoul Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Songdo International City

  • Wikipedia
  • Google Maps
  • Tour
  • Highlights:
    • Songdo Central Park
    • G-tower for panoramic views of Songdo city
    • Canal walk and NC CUBE shopping center

Itaewon

It’s where all the foreigners hang out at night.

Apgujungrodeo

It’s like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Myeongdong Street Food

  • Google Maps
  • Hours: 9AM-9PM
  • On Saturdays and Sundays, there are many more street food vendors at night.

Food to try at Myeongdong

Korean Stir-Fried Noodles
Baked Cheese – Ice Cream Waffles
Tornado Potato
Fried Chicken
Omelette Burger
Grilled Lobster
Omelette Pancake
Banana Pancake
Teokgalbi Meatballs

Gyeyeolsa Fried Chicken

Casablanca Sandwicherie

Passion 5 Bakery

Costco

HBC Gogitjib 이태원더고깃집(구HBC고깃집)

Downtowner Cheongdam 다운타우너 청담점

Linus’ BBQ

  • Beef brisket
  • Google Maps
  • Hours: Weekdays: 12-3PM, 5-9PM, Weekends: 12-9PM

Gino’s NY Pizza

Gwangjang Market

  • A traditional street market in Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The market is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in South Korea, with more than 5000 shops and 20,000 employees in an area of 42,000 square meters.
  • Website
  • Official Website
  • Google Maps
  • Hours: 10AM-11PM

Jilhal Bros

Hongdae Free Market

Hyundai Department Store | D-Cube City

Seoul Public Bike

  • Official Website
  • Government Website
  • Rent a bike to tour the Cheonggyecheon
  • Pick up and drop off at any Bike Seoul location
  • 1 hour – $0.82
  • 2 hours – $1.64
  • All day – $4.11
  • $0.82 for every additional 30 minutes

Dongdaemun Market

Seoul Folk Flea Market

Starfield COEX Mall

Flying Suwon

Everland Resort

Caribbean Bay

Yeontabal BBQ Restaurant

  • Address: 1317-16 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Google Maps
  • Nearest Subway Station: Gangnam
  • Operating Hours: 11:30AM-10PM, daily
  • What to Order: Grilled king beef ribs
  • Expect to Pay: Around $33-$38 per person

빈대떡 (Bindae-tteok: Mung bean pancake)

Video

호떡 (Hotteok: Korean Sweet Pancakes)

Hottoek is a Korean-styled pancake. One of the most popular Korean street snacks, it is made from a simple flour batter and filled with sweet syrup made from cinnamon, brown sugar, and peanuts. It’s a great snack when you’re between meals.

Video

팥빙수 (Patbingsu: Shaved Ice with Sweet Rea Beans)

Pat Bingsu – Bingsu with red beans

Video

화전 (Hwajeon: Pan-fried Sweet Rice Cakes with Flower Petals)

Video

찐빵 (Jjinppang: Fluffy steamed buns filled with sweet red beans)

Video

경단 (Gyeongdan: Sweet Rice Balls)

Video

황남빵 (Hwangnambbang: Hwangnam Bread)

Red beans are mixed with eggs and wheat dough by hand, then this artisan bread is shaped and baked without any artificial sweeteners or preservatives, keeping only the sweetness of its original natural ingredients.

Video

호두과자 (Hodu-gwaja: Walnut Cookies)

Hodu means walnut in Korean and they are cookies filled with red bean paste and walnuts.

허니 브래드 (Honey Bread)

Thick bread is divided into nine parts filled with whipped cream and then topped with honey, caramel syrup, and cinnamon powder. Its original name was Honey Butter Bread.

계란빵 (Gyeran-ppang: Egg Bread)

has a shape of rounded rectangle and contains whole egg inside of a bread. They are often sold by street vendors.

꽈배기 (Kkwabaegi: Twisted Korean Doughnuts)

It is made with glutinous rice flour and melted butter. The dough is deep-fried in oil and tossed in sugar and cinnamon powder. Like most fried breads, it tastes better when it’s hot. You can enjoy the original taste of twisted bread by eating when it just comes out of the oil, or by heating them up. 

뚱카롱 (Ddungcaron: Fat Macaron)

Rice Punch 식혜 (Korean Sweet Rice Drink)

Songpyeon half-moon rice cake (송편)

The fillings for these rice cakes vary, but the most common are sweetened sesame seeds and mung beans.

Video

Chapssaltteok (Korean style mochi)

Filled with sweet red beans

Korean dalgona coffee

Pat-sirutteok 팥시루떡 (Layered rice cake with red beans)

율란 Yul-lan – Chestnut cookies

무지개떡 Mujigae-tteok (Rainbow rice cake)

불고기 Beef Bulgogi

Thinly sliced or shredded beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, scallions, and black pepper, cooked on a grill (sometimes at the table). Bulgogi literally means “fire meat.” Variations include pork (dwaeji bulgogi, 돼지불고기), chicken (dak bulgogi 닭불고기), or squid (ojingeo bulgogi, 오징어불고기).

Galbi (갈비) – pork or beef ribs

Cooked on a metal plate over charcoal in the centre of the table. The meat is sliced thicker than bulgogi. It is often called “Korean barbecue” along with bulgogi, and can be seasoned or unseasoned.

Dak galbi (닭갈비)

Stir-fry marinated diced chicken in a gochujang-based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and tteok.

Dubujeon (두부전)

Steamed tofu mixed with ground beef and vegetables.

Bungeoppang (붕어빵; “carp-bread”)

is the Korean name for the Japanese fish-shaped pastry Taiyaki that is usually filled with sweet red bean paste and then baked in a fish-shaped mold. It is very chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Gukwa-ppang (국화빵)

is almost the same as bungeoppang, but it is shaped like a flower.

Places Not in Seoul

As a bonus, here are a few places in Korea outside of Seoul.

Lotte Waterpark