- Get a “T-card,” a reloadable card that you can use to pay for public transport, whether it be bus, train or even taxi
- Get directions written in Korean. Very few taxi drivers speak or read English. Having directions written in Korean eliminates complications with language barriers.
- If you should get lost, the Koreans are super helpful in pointing you in the right direction
- If you want to get to Seoul faster from Incheon Airport, you can take the express train, or “AREX”
- Most shops offer around 7% tax back from purchases
- There’s really no need to purchase a sim card as there is almost free internet everywhere in Seoul
- Download “Subway Korea” app to get around on the metro from place to place and the “Visit Korea” app for helpful travel tips.
- Take a walk through the past in Insadong
Insadong is a great place to go to see some history. Rent a traditional Korean dress, or “hanbok,” and take a walk through history at Gyongbokgung Palace. When visiting, don’t forget to see the changing of the guard. You can see the performance between 10am to 4pm at the Gyeongbokgung Palace, every day except Tuesdays. While you are touring Insadong, you should also check out the Korean Folk Museum to learn about history of Korea. (Plus, it’s free to enter!) Nearby is Ssamziegil Mall, which is a great place to shop for Korean handicrafts.
How to get there: Get off at Anguk station.
2. Shop in Dongdaemun
If you’re looking to go shopping, Dongdaemun is a huge shopping complex where the locals go. You can buy everything from electronics to textiles to just about anything you can imagine. Even if you do not purchase anything, the sheer size of Dongdaemun is neat to see in person.
Getting There: Get off at Dongdaemun Station; rent a “hanbok” for 10,000 won ($10)
3. Mingle in Myeongdong
Getting there: Get off at Myongdong Station, exit 6-8
Myeongdong is a very hip and happening area. Here, you purchase tons of Korean beauty products and street food. So, come with an appetite. You can even play with some furry friends at a cat or dog cafe.
Tip: Look for “tax free shops” signs; bring your passport for instant savings.
4. Cheonggyecheon Stream
Cheonggyecheon Stream is a stream that runs Seoul. You can take a nice stroll down the stream to escape the heat of the day, or even at night when the stream is lit with lights.
5. Check out Namdaemun
Namdaemun Market is a traditional market within walking distance of Myeongdong. Here, you can bargain shop at competitive rates.
6. Hit up night life in Hongdae
Hongdae is near Hongik University. So, of course its great for night life! If the college scene isn’t for you, there’s also some great Korean BBQ places nearby.
7. Eat Korean BBQ
Korean BBQ is a must-do activity when visiting Seoul. Korean BBQ is a popular method of grilling where meat is grilled on gas or charcoal. The meat is brought raw to the table and the customers grill the meat at their own table.
8. Soak up in a Sauna
The Koreans know how to relax! Korean bathhouses, or “jjimjilbang,” is the ultimate way to destress before (or after) a long flight. You can even spend the night there, for an additional fee.
7. Tour the DMZ
The DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, is a strip of land dividing South Korea from North Korea. The only way to go there is to go to the DMZ is on a tour. Several agencies offer this tour. It is a little on the pricey side (about $70), but well worth it.
9. Hike to Mount Namsan
To get a great view of the city, hike to Mount Namsan. It’s a bit of a climb, so if you’re not that athletic, you can also take the cable car up to the top.
10. Venture through Bukchon Hanok Village
The Bukchon Hanok Village is a neat place to venture. Bukchon Hanok Village is a village where you can see is where you can see traditional Korean, or “hanok,” houses. These houses date way back! Today, there are 900 traditional hanoks that still stand.
Getting there: Anguk Station (Subway Line 3).