Friday, December 30, 2011

Where should I visit in Seoul?

I was recently asked where a person should visit in Seoul if they have only 3 days. That is a big question. There is so much to do in Seoul that 3 days is definitely not enough. It also depends on what kind of person you are--a history buff, a shopper, a nature fan. And, of course, it depends on what time of year you're here because it literally doesn't get above freezing these days, but in the spring there are many outside activities to do. 

Namsangol Hanok Village last summer
With that in mind, here are my suggestions:  
1. There are lots and lots of palaces to see (though I kind of think they all look the same). I would recommend Unhyeongung palace because it is very close to Insadong where you can do some tourist-y shopping for Korean pottery (Celadon) and other traditional gifts (Line 3 Anguk station).
2. Myeongdong, Cheonggyecheong, and Seoul Tower: these are all in the same area. There is a lot of modern shopping in Myeongdong--Lotte Mart and Shinsegae department stores, as well as more traditional Korean shops. Lots of good restaurants here, too. Cheonggyecheong is the stream that runs through this area. It's not hard to run into and is very pretty with walking paths along it below street level. There is an elevator you can take up to Seoul Tower which has an observation deck, too. We haven't done it yet, but it's supposed to be amazing. (Line 4 Myeongdong station) Itaewon (the foreigner area) is pretty easy to access from here, too, if a person wanted to be surrounded by Americans, English speakers, and some American restaurants and stores.

Seoul Tower last fall
3. National Museum of Korea and Korean War Memorial: We haven't made it to the National Museum, but it's supposed to be pretty cool (Line 4 Ichon station). The Korean War Memorial is really neat! (Line 6 Noksapyeong station)
4. Namdaemun and Dongdaemun: these are huge shopping districts, very Korean style. (Namdaemun: Line 4 Hoehyeon station, Dongdaemun: Line 1 or 4 Dongdaemun station). We have been to parts of each of these. It is worth it to do some research and know what you are looking for when you go because they are so huge.
5. Coex Building, 63 Building, Times Square: these are all more modern shopping malls in what I think is considered "downtown". (various stations on Line 2)
Coex Mall last week
6. Evening entertainment: watch the lights and fountains on the Banpo bridge (Banpodaegyo) at 8pm every night or take the ferry cruise down the Han River. I really want to do both of these things when the weather gets a little warmer!
The links here are to my own posts about our experiences at the places we have visited, but these places are all really easy to get information about on the internet. I would recommend or The subway system is really easy to navigate. It's not always the fastest way, but when you don't know where you're going, it's the easiest way, and most of it is in English.

the kids on one of the city buses last summer
Being that it is winter break, during which we had planned on going to Busan and then spoiled our children and spent way too much money on their Christmas this year, I am feeling motivated to make sure that we see more of these things since I am recommending them! Now I just have to get my family out of the house and do it!

By the way, I thought I would share with you some of my iPhone photos from the last 6 months since I didn't want to just post old pictures you've already seen. It's not always the best quality, but it's always convenient!

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