Seoul Travel Guide and Itinerary

Seoul stock

Plant yourself at the crossroads of age-old tradition, cutting-edge innovation and environmental sustainability, and the hottest Asian pop culture, fashion and skincare trends.

About Seoul

The capital and largest city in South Korea spans a largely hilly terrain of 605.2 km2, comprises 25 districts and is home to about 10 million people — about half of the country’s population. The people, a majority of whom identify as Christians and Buddhists, are at once deeply traditional and trained toward a global state of mind. Not surprisingly, the city has become a common feature in world economic and livability indexes and a frontrunner in innovating design and technology. It carries a dynamic identity and is easily associated with global brands such as Hyundai, Kia Motors, LG Corporation and Samsung; is acknowledged as being at the forefront of aesthetic medicine; is recognized for offering some of the fastest internet speeds in the world; and is seen as the home-base of K-pop and Hallyu — all this while also being home to five majestic royal palaces, as well as a host of museums and galleries, big and small.

Many travelers are attracted to Seoul’s climate — yes, it’s as beautiful (and as extreme) as depicted in your favorite K-dramas or K-music videos: summer can leave you hot and sticky, while snowfall can be expected from around late-November to early December, with temperatures falling below -10°C in January 

Visitors also have a lot of love for the vibrant yet intense Korean cuisine, accessible from roadside stalls to posh, Michelin-recognized restaurants; the 10-step Korean skincare routine and multitude of brands and products that cater to one and all; the local, stylish, versatile and functional fashion sensibilities; as well as for some others, the lush, undulating landscape, which offers opportunities for trail walks and forest hikes or baths.

Being in the city can feel like a head rush, but there’s infrastructure in place — you’ll find that most places are connected by the extensive subway and bus systems, and perhaps require just one taxi ride or two — to support you and ensure that things don’t get too crazy. As one of the world’s cities that never sleeps, you’ll also discover that there’s just as much ground to conquer in the Seoul daylight as there is after dark and into the wee hours of the morning.  

Seoul stock
Photos on this page via Shutterstock.com
Highlights for the traveler

Seoul is a city for all in the family. The young ones can run riot at Everland (fully outdoors), Lotte World (indoors and outdoors) and one of its many water amusement parks; young adults and kidults alike can enjoy making K-pop- and Hallyu-themed tracks all over the capital (attending a concert or fan-meet; checking out celebrity-frequented establishments; or dining at a celebrity-owned restaurant); while the mature crowd, with a little more expendable income, can indulge themselves with shopping at some 24-hour retail complexes, bar-hopping from converted traditional Korean houses called hanok in Bukchon to hotspots in Itaewon, or singing their hearts out all night at a noraebang 

For a touch of both old and new in a day, opt for an early start at a traditional street market (Gwangjang Market gets going from around 9am and is great for both fresh catch, produce and even vintage wares), where you can get substantially filled up and fueled for your afternoon adventures. 

To get a  feel of old and new, first a palace stroll (in hanbok as well, if you so desire), followed by a leisurely walk along the revitalized Cheonggyecheon stream, and then a stop at the impressive Dongdaemun Design Plaza, developed by the illustrious firm Zaha Hadid Architects. The DDP programme is often varied, featuring permanent and traveling exhibitions, as well as pop-up events and markets, while an SM Town Stadium store onsite will also keep K-pop fans entertained.  

In the southern Seoul area of Garosu-gil, you’ll find quiet nooks (cafés and lifestyle shops) and big flagship boutiques, while the three university neighborhoods Ewha, Hongdae and Sinchon have small, humble restaurants offering some of the most affordable and delicious home-style delights — pluck up some courage to ask a local for recommendations, or check online for reviews. Afterwards, you can flex your vocal chops until closing time at a noraebang and then adjourn to a 24-hour public bathhouse, called jjimjilbang, where you can get clean, sleep off the crazy night and recover your energy for another day of Seoul adventures.  

 


Recommendations list to be updated.

Recommendations list to be updated.

Recommendations list to be updated.

We use cookies for a number of reasons, such as keeping Smile website reliable and secure, personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to analyse how our Sites are used.