What to do in Seoul

Seoul, a dynamic metropolis where modernity and tradition coexist harmoniously, is an Asian jewel that attracts travelers from all over the world. Whether you're a history buff, a fan of K-pop, or simply looking for unique experiences, Seoul has a lot to offer. In this in-depth article, we explore everything you can do in this fascinating city, from must-see sights to more unusual experiences.

Discovering Royal Palaces and Korean History

Gyeongbokgung Palace: A Journey through Time

History and meaning

Gyeongbokgung Palace, whose name means "palace of resplendent happiness", is the largest and most famous of the five great palaces built under the Joseon dynasty. Founded in 1395 by King Taejo, it symbolizes the sovereignty of the Joseon dynasty and represents traditional Korean architecture. Despite destruction during the Japanese occupation, Gyeongbokgung has been meticulously restored, allowing visitors to admire its original splendor.

What You Will Drink

As you pass through the imposing Gwanghwamun Gate, you enter a world where history mingles with architectural beauty. The palace houses the royal throne in the Geunjeongjeon pavilion, the kingdom's administrative center. Not far away, the Gyeonghoeru pavilion, used for official banquets, stands majestically on a pond, reflecting the sophistication and elegance of the royal court.

Unmissable Experiences

  • The Changing of the Guard The Joseon dynasty: Attend this colorful ceremony that recreates the military traditions of the Joseon dynasty.
  • Hanbok tour Rent a hanbok, the traditional Korean costume, for an immersive experience and unforgettable photos.

Bukchon Hanok Village: An Immersion in Tradition

The Soul of Old Seoul

Located between the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village is a neighborhood that has retained its old-world feel, offering a striking contrast to Seoul's surrounding modernity. Bukchon means "northern village" and is so named because of its position to the north of the city's two main palaces. The village is made up of winding lanes lined with hanoks, traditional Korean houses, some of which date back almost 600 years.

A Window on the Past

Bukchon's hanoks, with their elegantly curved roofs and earthen walls, embody the beauty of traditional Korean architecture, designed in harmony with the surrounding nature. Structured around a central courtyard, the houses are designed to provide natural insulation and efficient ventilation, bearing witness to ancestral knowledge of sustainable living.

Experiences not to be missed

  • A Walk Through Time Let yourself be guided by the information panels scattered around the village for a self-guided tour that will reveal the secrets of these historic homes.
  • Cultural Workshops Korean arts and crafts: Join workshops at selected hanoks to learn traditional Korean arts, such as hanji paper-making and the tea ceremony.
  • Photography Bukchon offers unique views of Seoul's royal palaces and modern skyscrapers, providing memorable photo opportunities, especially if you're wearing a hanbok.

Visit tips

  • Respect the Quiet of the Places Bukchon is above all a residential area. We therefore recommend that you respect the residents' peace and quiet by speaking softly and avoiding intrusive photography.
  • Wearing Comfortable Shoes : The cobbled streets and hills can make walking difficult, so wear shoes that are suitable for walking.

Getting to Bukchon

Bukchon is within easy walking distance of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Alternatively, take the metro to Anguk station (line 3), exit 2, and follow the signs to the village.

Seoul Neighborhood Tour

Seoul, a pulsating metropolis, is distinguished by its varied neighborhoods, each with its own personality and unique attractions. Here's a look at some of the city's most dynamic neighborhoods, apart from the must-see Myeongdong and Hongdae.

Insadong: The Epicenter of Traditional Art and Culture

Insadong is the cultural heart of Seoul, where Korean art and tradition are celebrated. Stroll along its streets dotted with art galleries, antique shops and souvenir stores selling traditional crafts. Insadong is also renowned for its traditional teahouses and restaurants serving authentic Korean cuisine.

Itaewon: The International Melting Pot

Itaewon is known for its international and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It's the neighborhood of choice for foreign restaurants, trendy bars and late-night clubs. Itaewon attracts a diverse crowd, from expatriates to tourists, in search of entertainment and world cuisine.

Gangnam: Glamour and Luxury

World-famous for Psy's hit "Gangnam Style", Gangnam is synonymous with modernity and luxury. This thriving business district is also a center for high-end fashion and shopping, with its many malls, luxury boutiques and beauty spots.

Samcheong-dong: Between Modernity and Tradition

Located close to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Samcheong-dong is a charming district that harmoniously blends traditional architecture with modern boutiques. Stroll along its streets lined with hanoks converted into cosy cafés, art galleries and fashion boutiques.

Ewha and Sinchon: Youth on the move

The Ewha and Sinchon districts are bustling with a dynamic student population. These areas are brimming with affordable boutiques, trendy restaurants and cafés. It's also a great place to discover young fashion and experience the latest culinary trends at low prices.

Dongdaemun: A hub for fashion and late-night shopping

Dongdaemun is famous for its markets and shopping malls, open 24/7, offering a unique shopping experience in Seoul. As well as fashionable clothes and accessories, here you'll find the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, an architectural monument that hosts art and design exhibitions.

Jamsil: Entertainment for all ages

The Jamsil district is synonymous with leisure and entertainment, home to Lotte World, a large indoor and outdoor amusement park, and the Lotte World Tower, one of the world's tallest towers offering spectacular views of the city.

Each of these Seoul neighborhoods offers a unique experience, reflecting the diversity and richness of the South Korean capital. Whether you're looking for art and culture, nightlife, luxury or an immersion in the daily life of young Seoulites, the city has so much to offer at every turn.

Seoul in nature

SeoulThe bustling metropolis of Shanghai also offers a number of green and peaceful havens in which to recharge one's batteries. Among these, the Cheonggyecheon River and Mount Namsan stand out for their beauty and their ability to offer residents and visitors alike a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Cheonggyecheon River: An Urban Oasis

A successful Urban Revitalization Project

The Cheonggyecheon River is the result of an ambitious project to revitalize a waterway once covered by a freeway. Today, it presents itself as an 11 km-long serpentine urban oasis in the heart of Seoul. The project is hailed as an example of urban transformation, combining respect for the environment with improved quality of life for city dwellers.

A Soothing Walk

The promenade along Cheonggyecheon is dotted with waterfalls, pedestrian bridges and lush vegetation, providing the ideal setting for a soothing stroll. In the evening, artistic lighting along the river adds a touch of magic to the already peaceful atmosphere.

Cultural Events Center

Cheonggyecheon is also a venue for cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the famous Seoul Lantern Festival, where thousands of colorful lanterns light up the river, creating a magical spectacle.

Namsan and the N Seoul Tower: A breathtaking view

A Green Lung in the Heart of Seoul

Mount Namsan is a haven of greenery in the midst of Seoul's dense urbanization. This national park offers hiking trails, picnic areas and rich flora, providing a breath of fresh air and a moment of escape for those seeking to reconnect with nature.

The N Seoul Tower: Symbol of Love and Panorama

Perched atop Mount Namsan, the N Seoul Tower is more than just a tourist attraction; it's a symbol of Seoul and a privileged place to admire a 360° panoramic view of the city. Couples come to hang "love padlocks" on the railings around the tower, symbolically sealing their love with a breathtaking view in the background.

Recommended Experiences

  • Hiking or cable car You can reach the N Seoul Tower or opt for the cable car for an easier ascent.
  • Observation platform Be sure to climb up to the N Seoul Tower observation platform for a breathtaking visual experience, especially at sunset or at night.
  • Dinner with a view The tower also houses a revolving restaurant, offering a gastronomic experience with a changing view of Seoul.

The Cheonggyecheon River and Mount Namsan embody Seoul's fascinating contrast between hectic urbanity and tranquil spaces. They offer moments of relaxation and contemplation, reminding us of the importance of nature and green space in a major metropolis.

Culture and Entertainment: Unique Experiences in Seoul

Dongdaemun Design Plaza: An architectural masterpiece

Innovation and Creativity at the Heart of Seoul

Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is an architectural marvel that defies convention. Its fluid, futuristic forms make it one of Seoul's most photographed buildings. Beyond its impressive aesthetics, the DDP is an incubator of innovation and creativity, serving as a bridge between Seoul's ancient traditions and its dynamic future.

A lively cultural crossroads

The DDP is not only a feast for the eyes; it's also a vibrant cultural center where visitors can interact with art and design in an immersive way. With a varied program including contemporary art exhibitions, fashion shows by Korean and international designers, and design conferences, the DDP is an essential meeting place for creatives and cultural enthusiasts.

Events & Festivals

The plaza regularly hosts major events such as Seoul Fashion Week and the Seoul Light Festival, transforming the space into a spectacle of light and color. These events attract designers, fashionistas and visitors from all over the world, consolidating Seoul's position as a world capital of design and fashion.

Gangnam: Elegance and Luxury

Beyond Gangnam Style

Gangnam, immortalized by Psy's viral song, is much more than just a pop cultural landmark. This district is the symbol of luxury and sophistication in Seoul, with its avenues lined with designer boutiques, gourmet restaurants and high-end entertainment venues.

Luxury Shopping and Gastronomy

For shopping enthusiasts, Gangnam offers an incomparable experience with its ultramodern shopping malls and luxury boutiques featuring the latest trends. Gastronomy is not to be outdone, with a wide range of refined restaurants serving both Korean specialties and international dishes.

Nightlife and Entertainment

When the sun goes down, Gangnam lights up and the party begins. The district is famous for its trendy bars and clubs, where local and international DJs keep the dancefloors buzzing until the wee hours. For a quieter experience, the night cafés and cocktail bars offer a cosy atmosphere in which to relax after a day's sightseeing.

K-Pop and Pop Culture

Gangnam is also the beating heart of the K-Pop industry, home to the headquarters of several major entertainment agencies. K-Pop fans can hope to catch a glimpse of their idols or take part in fan-meet events. Guided tours are even organized to discover the emblematic places associated with K-Pop in the district.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Gangnam illustrate Seoul's rich cultural and entertainment scene. Whether you're drawn to the artistic avant-garde or the glamour of luxury, these neighborhoods offer unique experiences that define the dynamism and diversity of South Korea's capital.

What to do in Seoul when it rains?

Rainy weather doesn't have to be a barrier to exploring Seoul. The city is full of exciting places and activities that are perfect for a rainy day. Here are a few suggestions for making the most of Seoul, even in the rain.

Explore Museums and Art Galleries

The National Museum of Korea

Home to countless treasures of Korean history, the National Museum of Korea is the ideal place to spend a few hours learning about and admiring historic works of art and artifacts. With exhibits spanning millennia, it's an open window on the country's fascinating past.

Leeum, Samsung Art Museum

For those more interested in contemporary and modern art, Leeum offers captivating exhibitions by Korean and international artists. The museum's architecture itself is a work of art, designed by world-renowned architects.

Relax in the Cafés Thématiques

Seoul is famous for its unique and often extravagant cafés. Whether you choose an animal-themed café, such as a cat or dog café, or opt for more unusual themes like cartoon or library cafés, there's always something new and exciting to try.

Shopping malls


The COEX Mall, located in Gangnam, is not only Asia's largest underground shopping mall, but also home to a magnificent open library, the COEX Aquarium, and a cinema. It's the perfect refuge from the rain while enjoying a day of shopping, culture and entertainment.

Lotte World Mall

With impressive architecture and a variety of stores, restaurants and attractions, such as the Lotte World aquarium and the Lotte World Tower observation platform, this shopping center is a destination in itself.

Experience Korean Culture in a Jjimjilbang

Jjimjilbangs are Korean public baths where you can relax, enjoy saunas, hot-water baths and even sleep. It's a great way to relax and immerse yourself in an important facet of Korean culture.

Enjoying Korean Cuisine

Take advantage of a rainy day to explore the richness of Korean cuisine in one of Seoul's many restaurants. Comforting dishes such as kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) or budae jjigae (army stew) are perfect for warming up and enjoying.

Visiting covered cultural spaces

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)

As well as being an architectural masterpiece, the DDP regularly hosts exhibitions and events that are perfect for a rainy day.

Performance Halls

Seoul has a rich theater and music scene. Enjoy a concert, musical or play to discover local and international talent.

Rain in Seoul is not an obstacle, but an opportunity to discover another facet of this dynamic city. From enriching museums and gigantic shopping malls to unique cultural experiences and culinary delights, there's always something to do in Seoul, whatever the weather.

  1. Day 1: Palace and history

    • Start at Gyeongbokgung Palace to admire traditional Korean architecture.
    • Visit nearby Bukchon Hanok Village for an immersion in historic Seoul.
  2. Day 2: Art and Culture

    • Explore the Insadong district, known for its art galleries and handicraft stores.
    • Visit the National Museum of Korea or Leeum, Samsung Art Museum for a dose of culture.
  3. Day 3: Shopping and Gastronomy

    • Go shopping in Myeongdong and sample Korean street food.
    • Discover the markets of Namdaemun or Dongdaemun for unique souvenirs.
  4. Day 4: Nature and relaxation

    • Stroll along the Cheonggyecheon River.
    • Visit Mount Namsan and climb the N Seoul Tower for a breathtaking view.
  5. Day 5: Cultural excursion

    • Take a day trip to the Korean Folk Village for an enriching cultural experience.
  6. Day 6: Entertainment and Nightlife

    • Explore the Hongdae district for its street art, cafés and vibrant nightlife.
    • In the evening, discover Gangnam for a luxurious nightlife experience.
  7. Day 7: Relaxation and Pop Culture

    • Unwind in a jjimjilbang (Korean spa) for a relaxing experience.
    • Explore the world of K-pop by visiting iconic venues in Gangnam.
  • Enjoy open-air skating rinks and festive Christmas markets.
  • Visit snow-covered palaces for magical winter landscapes.
  • Warm up in the jjimjilbangs or with Korean comfort food.
  • Admire the Christmas lights and join in the festivities.
  • Explore cosy cafés and bookstores for a warm break.
  • Attend a concert or musical for a memorable cultural evening.
  • Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace for an introduction to Korean history.
  • Stroll through the Myeongdong district for a taste of Seoul's modernity.
  • Discover local cuisine by trying bibimbap or kimchi jjigae in a traditional restaurant.

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