We know the struggle with crafting an itinerary for a trip to Korea– there are just so many places to see but so little time! From day tours to restaurant hopping, amusement park adventures, and shopping, you’ll have to plan your vacation to make your trip memorable and worthwhile.
If it’s your first time in Korea and wants to go to the best destinations in its capital city, Seoul, here’s your complete guide to all the best in the city.
First things first: travel must-haves
- Visa or travel documents: some countries do not require a tourist visa, so you have to check your country’s list of requirements if you need one.
- Valid passport: this will serve as your ID when traveling abroad. Plus, you’ll also need this for a tax refund after shopping in Seoul.
- SIM card: It’s best to purchase a SIM card at the airport when you land. Use this to contact your hotel accommodation, connect to the internet, book a taxi, and more.
- WiFi router: traveling with your family? Better to rent a WiFi router so you could all stay connected.
- T-money: this is the reloadable transportation card that you can to use to pay for fares or even at convenience stores. You may purchase one at the airport too.
- Airport transfer: Book your airport transfer going to your accommodation for a hassle-free ride.
After you get your travel must-haves booked and ready, now’s the time to discover Seoul. This five-day itinerary is made to explore Seoul’s best attractions, must-try restaurants, and must-see spots!
Day 1: Historical Korea
Start your trip by taking in Korea’s culture and traditions! Check out these cultural sites in Seoul.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Take a step into a piece of the Joseon dynasty by visiting Bukchon Hanok Village. See the streets filled with traditional Korean houses called hanok. The neighborhood is also a way to learn about their traditions and culture, through its many guesthouses, restaurants, and cultural spaces for visitors.
Location: Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Bukchon Sulwhasoo House
Did you know that the Sulwhasoo flagship store stands in Bukchon Hanok Village? Just by the entrance of the village, you can visit the store where you can buy skin care products, and learn about Korean culture when it comes to beauty.
Location:47 Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul Museum of Craft Art
Get to appreciate traditional Korean art at the Seoul Museum of Craft Art. This is the only public craft museum in Korea, where you can marvel at masterpieces from embroidery, lacquerware, and important artifacts that tell the story of how Korean art developed.
Location: 4 Yulgok-ro 3-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Myongdongjeong Royal Cuisine
Continue the historical day one with a taste of authentic Hanjeongsik, which is the cuisine prepared for royals and aristocrats of Korea! Book a table at Myongdongjeong Royal Cuisine, and indulge in an exquisite meal fit for royals.
Location: 299 Samil-daero, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Become Korean royalty for a day, wearing a hanbok and taking cute photos around Gyeongbokgung Palace! Rent a hanbok and choose from 500 different styles and colors, plus get free hairstyling to complete the look.
Location: 133-5 Sajik-ro, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
See the main palace of the Joseon dynasty and the largest among all! Built in 1395, the historic Gyeongbokgung Palace was restored after it was destroyed in the war. It’s in a huge complex that houses the National Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum too. Step into old-world Korea as you visit this beautiful palace.
Location: 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Wangsimni Aunt’s House
End your day one at the most popular gopchang restaurant in Seoul– Wangsimni Aunt’s House! Gopchang is a grilled beef/pork intestine dish. Enjoy the dish along with other beef dishes and cold beverages for a filling meal after a tiring day.
Day 2: Fun Time at the Theme Park
On your second day in Seoul, spend it at Lotte World and explore the many activities in its massive complex.
Breakfast at La Seine
Your day two in Seoul is best enjoyed with a big breakfast at La Seine. Start your day energized with a taste of mouthwatering Korean and international dishes from appetizers to desserts. It’s the perfect gustatory experience to try various flavors on their buffet menu.
Location: 1F, La Seine, Eulji-ro, Euljiro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Seoul Lotte World
Get the thrills and have the most fun at Seoul Lotte World’s many rides and attractions! Tag your friends as you explore the indoor and outdoor adventure areas by watching magical parades, going on unlimited speedy rides, and trying out fun attractions for a day.
Location: 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Lotte World Aquarium
Another attraction you must not miss in Lotte World is the Lotte World Aquarium, the biggest indoor aquarium in South Korea! Get to meet and greet colorful fishes and animals of the underwater world you may have never seen before. It’s a family-friendly attraction that kids will learn from and immensely enjoy.
Location: 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
After a fun day at Lotte World, time to have a sumptuous dinner! You don’t need to go far because you can eat at Gomguk Sijip located in Lotte World Mall. Try their gomguksi, a slurp-worthy hot beef noodle dish that’s their bestseller. Order their homemade dumplings as well, for a very filling dinner.
Location: 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Day 3: Daytour from Seoul
Take a detour for a day and discover the beauty of Nami island!
Escape Seoul for a bit and head to the picturesque Nami Island for a breath of fresh air. Dotted with pine trees that change color depending on the season, this island destination is a must-visit all year round. You can stroll, bike, or take lots of photos on this breathtaking island.
Location: 1 Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea
Petite France Village
Petite France is a little French cultural village that’s very near Nami Island. Take a side trip and visit this stunning place where there are colorful buildings, pretty cafes, gift shops, and plenty of Instagram-worthy spots for your feed.
Location: 1063 Hoban-ro, Oeseo-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Garden of Morning Calm
Another fantastic sightseeing spot to visit is the Garden of Morning Calm, home to 5,000 kinds of plants. It’s undoubtedly one of Korea’s most beautiful gardens, as they have colorful plants neatly landscaped to create a heavenly destination. If you’re a huge K-Drama fan, you may have seen this place before because it’s been used as a filming location too.
Location: 432 Sumogwon-ro, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Gangchon Rail Bike
What previously was a train track that ceased to operate was turned into an attraction that is now the Grangchon Rail Bike Park. Take a fun rail bike tour along the countryside and admire the beautiful scenery while relaxing. It’s a must-try activity that’s both fun and relaxing.
Location: 1383 Gimyujeong-ro, Sindong-myeon, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea
Meet the lovely alpaca of Alpaca World and see the largest forest experience farm in the country! In this attraction, you can walk with and feed the cute fluffy alpacas, wander around its park, have snacks at the restaurant, or shop alpaca souvenirs.
Location: 310 Pungcheon-ri, Hwachon-myeon, Hongcheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea
Seoul Manjok Ohyang Jokbal Restaurant
Have you ever tried pig trotters before? Check out this jokbal restaurant where you can taste delicious pig trotters prepared with fresh vegetables. It’s a hit among locals, so you should try this if you think you’ve had enough KBBQs for the trip. Whether you like it spicy, you’ll enjoy this popular Korean dish.
Location: Dongdaemun branch 18-77 Gwanghui-dong 6-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Day 4: DMZ Tour
Make your trip more exciting by booking a tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and seeing the world’s most protected border! At the DMZ, you’ll learn about the Korean War and the relationship between North and South Korea. You can also explore other places such as the monuments in Imjingak Park, the Third Tunnel of Aggression which the North Koreans built to invade the South. The best part? You could actually see a glimpse of life at the North via binoculars at the Dora Observatory.
Don’t skip on the tourist-favorite Korean barbecue when you’re in Seoul! After the tour, head straight to Hanam in Apgujeong to savor the succulent grilled pork belly. You can choose from their meat platters that will all satisfy your cravings.
Location: 27 Apgujeong-ro 46-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Day 5: Cafe-hopping and shopping
It’s your last day in Seoul! Make the most out of day five by discovering cute cafes and souvenir shopping in the city!
N Seoul Tower
N Seoul Tower is where the famed Love Lock Bridge is found. But once you go inside the iconic tower, there’s so much more to explore– from breathtaking views of Seoul at the observatory to a variety of dining spots, a virtual reality theme park, and gift boutiques. It’s an ideal romantic place for couples!
Location: 1-3 Yongsandong 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Place Dining
via KKDay supplierBefore you leave N Seoul Tower, have your lunch at The Place Dining, which serves delectable Italian fare. Aside from their food, you also get a dreamy view of the skyline that makes for a great fine dining date place for lunch.
Location: N Seoul Tower T2 floor, 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Korean GN Perfume Studio DIY Experience
Don’t leave Korea without ever booking yourself a quick and cute workshop session! Learn the art of perfume-making at GN Perfume Studios, and get to discover perfume notes to craft your scent of choice. Perfumes also make for a great souvenir to make the trip memorable!
Location: Bangbaedong Branch, B1, Bomi Building, 22, Seocho-daero 29-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
On your last few hours in the city, take the time to chill. Visit cute cafes along Myeongdong and savor tasty pastries and coffee for a quiet afternoon. Check out Cafe Coin, which specializes in hand-drip coffee that’s a must-try. Not a fan of coffee? They serve delicious pastries and shaved ice for desserts too.
Location: 10, Myeongdong 6-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hunt for souvenirs along Myeongdong Shopping Street
Time for souvenir shopping! Head straight to Myeongdong Shopping Street to buy all sorts of trendy knick-knacks from clothes to accessories, skincare, food, K-Pop merch, and more. It’s your shopping mecca in Seoul, plus, it’s more affordable to shop here compared to the malls!
Hamcho Ganjang Gejang
End your Seoul trip with a bang. Try the mukbang-favorite soy sauce marinated raw crab, and indulge in real seafood goodness that’s oozing with flavors. Taste this so-called rice thief at Hamcho Ganjang Gejand along Myeongdong, a popular restaurant that’s been featured in TV shows. It’s the perfect dinner feast to celebrate your last day!
Location: 27, Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Where to Stay
The best thing about Seoul is that every neighborhood here has its own unique charm. Whether you prefer quiet towns instead of malls and the metro within your reach, you’ll find a place that’ll fit your budget and personality. Here are some of Seoul’s most popular neighborhoods!
This bustling neighborhood is your pick if you want to shop 24/7. It’s where you can find the giant shopping malls, underground shopping hubs, and the shopping and street food street.
Gangnam is the upscale neighborhood of Seoul. It’s an affluent district, which means planning to stay here can be quite expensive. It’s where you can spot the K-Star Road, COEX Aquarium, and Starfield Library.
Hongdae is more of a hip and indie block. It’s where students and younger adults live because of the youthful ambiance. There are plenty of things to do here such as walking along University Street, cafe-hopping, or partying til late at night.
This place is also known as “foreigner town.” As a foreigner-friendly neighborhood, you’ll find here lots of international restaurants and establishments that cater to tourists. What you’ll enjoy here are good dining spots, nightclubs, museums, and shopping stores.
If you prefer to stay in quiet areas, book a place at Gangdong. The vibe here is more slow-paced and relaxing, plus, you get to be near the Han River. Tour around the neighborhood to see historical sites, parks, gardens, and amusement parks with fewer tourists.
Best Time to Visit
December to February
Bring your fluffy jackets and ear muffs because it can be really cold in Seoul during winter. And yes, it snows in Seoul periodically, so you can expect winter wonderland when you visit!
March to May
It’s a pink paradise come spring season in Seoul. Cherry blossom trees are blooming, and the weather is perfectly fine too. Make sure to visit botanical gardens and parks to make the most out of your spring visit.
June to August
It’s summer in Seoul from June to August. It can be quite hot, so make sure to bring light and comfortable clothes.
September to November
Autumn is the most favorite season of all. It’s in the middle of summer and winter so the weather is good, plus, the autumn foliage is so breathtaking. Go palace-hopping and explore the outdoors to better appreciate the fall colors.