Travel Period: June 2015
We took a break from seeing all the cultural and historical sites (see my other post on this at: A Glimpse of Korean Culture and Heritage) and went to explore the other attractions in Seoul that were part of our Seoul Itinerary.
So, what else to do and see in Seoul? See my recommendations below 🙂
See Panoramic View of Seoul at Namsan
Take a trip to Nansam to enjoy the panoramic view of Seoul City, which are both beautiful and picturesque during daytime and at night. Of course, one cannot miss the N Seoul Tower , which is one of the most popular attractions and symbols of the City.
They have several observation decks like that of the famous “Locks of Love”situated on top of the N Plaza.
Better to go there late in the afternoon to take a stroll and wait for the tower to be illuminated. We were there in late June and did not know that the sun does not come down until around 8PM, so we had a lot of waiting time. So better check the forecast for sunset time for your trip. The restaurants and food stalls around the area are quite pricey so you may choose to bring your own food before going there.
There is an option to take a cable car ride worth KRW8,500, and boarding area is near Myeongdong Station. But budget travelers can opt to reach Namsan via bus: take the metrosubway, alight at Chungmuro Station, go to Exit 2. Proceed to the bus stop near Daehan Cinema and wait for Namsan Sunhwan Shuttle Bus No. 02 (yellow bus). For the bus route (and other bus options), check their website: N Seoul by bus
- Bus No.2 bound for Namsam: KRW850 (one way) via T-Money card.
- We only went to the open/free observation decks but there are paid observatories inside the N Plaza.
Spend an afternoon with the Little Prince
We went to the Gyeonggi province to see the Petite France . The concept of the whole place is that of a French cultural village featuring French-style buildings/houses, arts, and gardens. There’s quite a lot about the “Little Prince” here and you realize how the book is pretty famous among Koreans. Various performances are held throughout the day and the visitors can enjoy them for free (check their website for the schedule).
I admit that it was because of the Korean dramas “Secret Garden” and “The Man from the Stars” that I’ve included Petite France in our itinerary. The place was fine, but it’s not really somewhere I would consider for a second visit (sorry!). You don’t need a whole day here, just a few hours is enough to explore the place. Also, better to bring your own food as the restaurants inside the area are quite expensive.
Take the metrosubway, alight at Cheongpyeong Station, go to Exit 2. It’s about a 2-hour train ride from Seoul to Cheongpyeong Station. Walk right out of the exit and you will see the bus stop in front of the station. Wait for the “Gapyeong Shuttle Bus”. Just take note of the bus schedule/hours at this website: Bus schedule for Petite France
- Gapyeong Shuttle Bus: KRW6,000 (it’s a hop-on hop-off city tour bus so remember to always keep your ticket). You can purchase the ticket upon boarding the bus.
- Entrance to Petite France: KRW8,000.
Hang out in Insa-dong and appreciate Korean Arts
The streets of Insa-dong is probably one of my favorite hangout places in Seoul. The alleys maybe narrow but are stunningly adorned with numerous shops, galleries and cafes/teahouses that mostly feature or sell a collection of Korean arts and crafts. Here, it’s nice to spend an afternoon of leisurely walk as you rummage around for souvenir items and other unique buys. The street is also beautifully lit at night and sometimes, you can stop to enjoy watching different groups of street performers.
Somewhere along the street of Insa-dong or Insa-dong-gil is the Ssamzie-gil Mall that houses many shops and galleries of various Korean arts and handicrafts, as well as several clothing and fashion accessories shops. The rooftop of the mall encloses a sky garden, book cafes and restaurants.
Towards the end of the street of Insadong-gil, you will find the Alive Museum featuring 3D trick art and other fun exhibitions. It’s a cool place to enjoy taking pictures, but be ready for your imagination and photography skills to be put to test.
I must say that Insadong is one the the best reasons why you should book your accommodation around Jongno area (Beewon Guesthouse is just walking distance to Insadong-gil). It’s nice to go here just to chill and hangout, like for coffee or a stroll. I find it one of the best places to buy Korean souvenir items for pasalubong (like Korean shirts, ref magnets, etc.) and you can haggle for prices too.
Take the metrosubway, alight at Anguk Station, go to Exit 6. From the exit, turnabout (opposite the direction of the Seoul Jongno Police Station) and walk straight . Upon reaching the 4-way intersection (you will see a monument of a paint bursh ahead), turn left (you will see GS25 Store in the right) and walk straight taking the path of Insadong-gil. The Alive Museum (main branch) is at the Deil-B/D B1,B2.
Entrance to the Alive Museum: KRW12,000.
Enjoy Budget Shopping and Street foods
Of course there is always a room for shopping in every trip. Depending on what items you’re looking for, here are my top places for budget shopping in Seoul:
- Underground of Express Bus Terminal Station
If you want to shop for Korean street fashion and accessories, my top recommendation is to go to the underground of Express Bus Terminal Station. The underground shopping area is so vast that one day is probably not enough to go through all the shops and retail stores. Note however that most stores do not allow to try their clothes on but you can try to negotiate for prices. I think that the prices here are a lot cheaper compared to those in Myeongdong. Most of the bargain prices for clothes are at KRW10,000.
Take the metrosubway, alight at the Express Bus Terminal Station, go to Exit 8.
Whenever I travel, I would always look for souvenir shirts for my family (in this case, those that have “I Love Korea” prints, and the like) and a fridge magnet as a pleasant reminder of the trip/adventure. They have many of these in Insadong and are way cheaper here than elsewhere.
Take the metrosubway, alight at Anguk Station, go to Exit 6.
You can find anything and everything in here from clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, etc. But the main products that you can best buy in Myeong-dong are the Korean brand of cosmetics. I’m talking about stores and stores of BB creams, face masks and tons of other beauty products.
By the way, I mentioned this before in my other entries that Myeong-dong is the best place to have your dollars exchanged for Korean Won. They just have the best rates here (compared to Korean banks and the airport).
Also, you can enjoy variety of Korean Street food anywhere around Myeong-dong.
Take the metrosubway, alight at the Myeongdong Station, go to Exit 5, 6 or 7.