Top 10 Things You Must See in Seoul
1. Gyeongbokgung (경복궁)
Like a phoenix, Seoul’s premier palace has risen several times from the ashes of destruction. Hordes of tourists have replaced the thousands of government officials, scholars, eunuchs, concubines, soldiers and servants who once lived here. Watch the changing of the guard ceremonies at the main entrance Gwanghwamun, then set aside at least half a day to do justice to the compound, which includes a couple of museums, ornamental gardens and some of Seoul's grandest architectural sights.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/kAgouhyiM6jNBjTt5
2. The War Memorial of Korea (전쟁기념관)
This huge museum documents the history of the Korean War (1950–53) using multimedia exhibits and black-and-white documentary footage, along with artefacts like weapons, uniforms, and maps. Outside, a sombre memorial walkway is inscribed with the names of every casualty from the allied forces. There are plenty of tanks, helicopters and planes too, and just to remind you that the war remains unresolved, you can clamber aboard a replica of the patrol boat sunk by North Korean forces in 2002.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/YridsvzgQSwe4Jii7
3. Changdeokgung (창덕궁)
The World Heritage–listed Changdeokgung is the most beautiful of Seoul's five main palaces. You must join a one-hour guided tour to look around. English tours run at 10.15am and 1.15pm; if you don’t care about the commentary, Korean tours are at 9.30am, 11.30am and 3.30pm. To see the palace's lovely Huwon (Secret Garden), join tours at 10.30am, 11.30am and 2.30pm (also 3.30pm February to November). Book online or come early as the Huwon tours are restricted to 50 people at a time.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/FS8fc3cDdWAjdTYJ6
4. Bukhansan National Park (북한산국립공원)
Granite-peak-studded Bukhansan National Park's sweeping mountaintop vistas, maple leaves, rushing streams and remote temples draw over 5 million hikers and rock climbers annually. Even though the park covers nearly 80 sq km, it's so close to Seoul (45 minutes by subway) that it does get crowded, especially on weekends. The park is divided into the Bukhan-san area in the south and Dobong-san area in the north, each featuring multiple scenic – but strenuous – hikes to mountain peaks. Bring plenty of water.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/NG9ZpQKZ4AewqLiD6
5. Myeongdong (명동)
Seoul’s retail world bursts forth in the brightly lit, packed-to-the-gills and supremely noisy streets of Myeong-dong. This is Seoul’s equivalent of London’s Oxford St or New York’s Fifth Ave.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/vV7cDGFz7q5vpfhB8
6. Insadong (인사동)
Insadong has been Seoul’s most artistic neighbourhood for centuries, and is still the entire country’s home of traditional arts and antiques. Today, you’ll find a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity as you weave through the tangle of old backstreets which branch off Insadong-gil, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare and most contemporary artery.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/EvSMGGK8MEgtpkot5
7. Trickeye Museum Seoul (서울 트릭아이미술관)
Pair an art gallery with a dash of whimsy, and you get the Trickeye Museum in Seoul. Inspired by the visual art technique of 'trompe l'oeil,’ the museum features paintings that give each 2D-piece a 3D-illusion. Step into or beside the art, and snap photos that have you popping out of the portrait or mural.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/GUWpMCDqN5ukcFi29