The tourist attractions included in this itinerary
Visit the most Korean places FIRST. First thang first!김치맨
1. Gwanghwamun Plaza 광화문 광장
A plaza in front of the front gate (Gwanghwamun) of Gyeongbok Palace where the statue of King Sejong and General Lee are sitatuted.
FYI: Gwanghwamun(‘Mun’ means gate) is the name of Gyeongbok palace or Gyeongbokgung. (‘Gung’ means a palace)
Subway: Exit 2 or 9 of Gwanghwamun Station line no.5 (purple line)
Things to do: Take a picture of King Sejong who created Hangeul and Admiral Lee who evicted Japanese navy with his turtle war-ships. Visit Sejong Are Centre, Walk along Hangeul Gaongil. Visit Gyeongbokgung or go directly Cheonggae Stream if you want to take your time.
Tip: Get out of exit no.9 to get the view above.
2. Gyeongbok Palace 경복궁
The main and largest palace among 5 old ones where the history of Joseon Dynasty began.
Subway: Exit 5 of Gyeongbokgung Station, line no.3 (orange line)
Mar, Apr, May, Sept. & Oct.: 09:00-18:00
Jun, Jul & Aug: 09:00-18:30
Nov & Dec: 09:00-17:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Royal Guards Changing Ceremony
- 10:00 & 14:00 twice a day all year round
- 3,000 Won
- 1,500 Won age between 7 – 18
- Free of Charge age between 1-6 and over age 65
- Free for Korean under age 24
Free Language Guide Service:
- English: 11:00, 13:30 & 15:30 (3 times a day)
- Japanese:10:00, 12:30 & 14:30 (3 times a day)
- Chinese:9:30, 11:00, 13:30, 15:00 & 16:30 (4 times a day)
Things to do: Take a tour of Gyeongbok Palace including National Palace Museum of Korea and National Folk Museum of Korea.
Tip: Start from National Palace museum of Korea on the left side in the palace → Gyeongbok Palace → National Folk Museum of Korea to walk easily to Bukchon Hanok Folk Village
3. Bukchon Hanok Folk Village 북촌 한옥 마을
Korean traditional village in Seoul with a long history located on the top of a hill between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace
FYI: There are roughly 900 houses in which people actually live in. Shhh!
Subway: Exit 2 of Anguk Station, line no.3 (orange line) and walk 10 minutes straight north.
Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (the very spot of the picture) / 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37(계동)
Things to do: Get the map of Bukchon Hanok Village to find all the beautiful spots and to get picturesque photos.
4. Samcheongdong 삼청동
Low-key Samcheong-dong draws visitors to Bukchon Hanok Village, a sprawling maze of centuries-old traditional houses filled with artisan workshops, tea rooms and small museums.
FYI: Everything here is over-priced. 🙁
Subway: Either Gyeongbokgung or Anguk Station
Address: 107, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 종로구 삼청로 107(삼청동)
Directions: To get here, after coming out of the National Folk Museum, get out of the palace through the east gate of Gyeongbok Palace, walk straight to the north.
Things to do: Try contemporary restaurants and wine bars established in traditional houses along with art galleries, design shops, specialty shops and themed museums.
After Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheongdong, you can choose to visit Changdeok Palace and or Changgyeong Palace – not included in this itinerary due to the main palace, Gyeogbok Palace – and then move on to Insadong. But, taking a look around 3 palaces will be very challenging, so I don’t recommend it.
5. Insadong 인사동
Pedestrianized main street crammed with teahouses and Korean eateries and showcasing Korean traditional antiques and old books. Well-known for souvenirs, art galleries, and snacks plus shops selling traditional goods like pottery, tea and handmade hanji paper.
FYI: No cars on the weekends, which is good. But more crowded 🙁
Subway: Exit 6 of Anguk station, subway line no.3 (orange line)
- Most shops open between 9am and 10am and close between 8pm and 10pm.
- Galleries generally are open 9:00-18:00. Some are free to enter, but not all.
Things to do: Visit art galleries, do some souvenir shopping for your family and friends. Eat Korean food or drink tea at traditional restaurants and tea houses. Try some street food and do some cheap shopping too.
6. Tapgol Park 탑골 공원
A small public park located on the other side of Jonggak. It was formerly Pagoda Park.
FYI: You will see many elderly Koreans playing chess, resting, or talking. 😮
Subway: Exit 1 and 5 of Jongro-3ga station, line no.1 (navy blue line).
Address: 99 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Fun Fact: This is the 1st park built in downtown Seoul. The first 33 representatives of the March 1st Movement in 1919 recited the Korean Declaration of Independence from Japan and shouted “All hail independence”.
7. Jong-gak 종각
Jong-gak means the pavilion where the big peace bell is situated, otherwise called Bosingak.
FYI: The big peace bell ‘jong’ is hit here in the pavilion at 12 midnight moving to a new year.
Subway: Exit 4 of Jonggak Station, line no.1 (navy blue line)
Address: 54, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 종로구 종로 54(관철동)
Info: Jonggak has 2 meanings; one is the pavilion where the big bell is placed and the other is the area itself. Jonggak is also called as Bosingak. The bell inside is hit 12 times on the New Year. Thousands of people gather here to celebrate the new year. You would get stepped on by the sheer number of people. This is also one of the best areas for restaurants and pubs in north part of Seoul.
8. Cheonggyecheon 청계천
The stream flowing in the middle of Seoul from Gwanghwamun Plaza all the way past Dongdaemun
FYI: The artificial stream uses the water from the Han River that cools off the heat of the city. ‘Cheon’ means stream, so it is either Cheonggyecheon or Cheonggye stream.
Subway: Exit 4 of Jonggak Station, line no.1 (navy blue line).
Tip: Drink some beer alongside the stream any time of day.
Things to do: Start from Gwanghwamun and finish your stroll in Jonggak along this stream, looking around, talking to your friends, and taking pictures. Get some beer on the bank. You can walk along bank towards Dongdaemun. This will be an amusing expedition.