I have been living in Seoul for more than 2 years now and during this time I have guided many of my friends who flew all the way from Europe or America to visit me. The biggest challenge for me is that my friends usually don’t have a clue on what they want to see or do in Seoul. So I took these challenges and made their individual tour perfect for them. The result? They were super satisfied with their stay here. So I decided to make this “typical day trip in Seoul for newcomers post” and in this post, I also would like to give alternatives to those who may have a bigger interest in say shopping, outdoor activities or History. So if you are here ONLY one day these are the places I would recommend you to visit (you can replace some sites with the alternatives down below).
Reminder: Seoul is BIG so depending on travel time and traffic you may only have time for 4-5 places for one whole day (if you go by car). So here it is 1day Best of Seoul tour by car:
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace.
9.00 am: Get picked up from your hotel with this private car and driver package and arrive at the Seoul Royal Palace Gyeongbokgung. Probably the most famous place to visit in Seoul. I also wrote the blog post “Why Seouls Royal Palace Gyeongbokgung is a must see!” Where you can read about the best photo spots and where you can rent a Hanbok (traditional clothing) so that you can get in there for FREE! The national folk museum is also conveniently located inside the palace. You will be able to see the Changing Guard Ceremony which is really cool and colorful. It starts 10 am and 2 pm that’s why I recommend going early so you don’t miss it.
Please note: Gyeongbokgung is closed every Tuesday
Picture: Changing Guard Ceremony at Gyeongbokgung
2. Lunch Time!
12.00am There are all kinds of good food nearby the palace! But Korean food can be a bit different from what you are used to so I recommend you to search online for reviews on the foods and then for restaurants. Here are just a few examples of famous Korean dishes: Bulgogi is Korean grilled beef marinated in a quite sweet sauce often eaten with rice. Bibimpab is translated to “mixed rice” and it’s basically rice with different vegetables, an egg and mixed with a spicy red pepper paste. This dish is widely enjoyed by vegetarians as well. Kalguksu is a traditional noodle dish, very mild in taste but is usually eaten with kimchi as a side dish. Korean style Fried Chicken with beer has been a trend in Korea for years now and it’s really delicious!
3. Bukchon Hanok Village
1.00 pm depart to Bukchon Hanok Village which is home to hundreds of traditional houses, these houses are called Hanok in Korean and date back to the Joseon Dynasty. These Hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, letting visitors experience a Korean traditional lifestyle. It’s a beautiful and perfect spot for taking photos but please be aware that it’s also a residential area so many people still live there. Have fun but be considerate and don’t make too much noise.
4. Myeongdong Shopping District
3.00 pm depart to Myeongdong! Myeongdong is a great place for shopping! It’s a very tourist friendly area. You can find all kinds of brand stores and if you like Korean skincare products this is the place to go. Skincare stores are also famous here for giving you a lot of free samples! The more you buy the more free gifts you may get. Walking around Myeongdong you will also see a lot of places selling street foods, currency exchange, and massage + fish pedicures!
Picture: Street in Myeongdong – Wikipedia
5. N Seoul Tower (Namsan Tower)
5.00 pm depart to N Seoul Tower! I have been here so many times and really enjoy the view and atmosphere. There are 4 ways to get to the Namsan tower which is located high up on a mountain. You can go up by cable car, by shuttle bus, private car or by walk. I would recommend taking a walk up to the tower (not a difficult hike) rather than the cable car and take the cable car down, but that’s up to you and the weather condition/how much time you have. While up there you will enjoy the view, street foods/restaurants and if you are with your partner you can lock your love on the fences around the tower.
N Seoul Tower is the iconic landmark that gives you a spectacular 360 degrees view over the entire city. Book this discount ticket today with KoreaTravelEasy.
6. Back to Hotel or Nightlife!
7.00 pm you may or may not be tired. If you took this private Seoul tour this is the time to get dropped off and you may pick wherever you want to go. Rest and sleep in your hotel OR enjoy Korean Nightlife! I would recommend either Hongdae or Gangnam depending on what style you like.
Younger people tend to hang in Hongdae, it’s an artsy and hipster place to be, you can see people “busking” aka doing street performances, themed cafes, clubs, clothing shops, fun galleries etc.
Picture: Hongdae at night – Wikipedia
Gangnam is considered to be more of a fancier place, it’s more expensive to live and eat around here but there are also great nightclubs in this area. The Gangnam underground shopping is big and sells some cheaper items such as clothing, shoes, cellphone cases etc. But overall Gangnam has very nice restaurants, fashionable places such as Cheongdam-dong where you can shop at luxury brand stores and see more of unique, trendy fashion styles.
Picture: Gangnam – Wikipedia
Alternative options (Replace 1 place with another)
1. If you like Shopping: Dongdaemun or Garosugil
Dongdaemun is a shopping district filled with many high-rise shopping malls. Famous for being open late, some close as late as 5 am! This is the place to bring cash and bargain! And some places do have more expensive designer items. It’s really a huge place, many malls with many floors and they mostly sell clothing.
Picture: Dongdaemun Market – Wikipedia
Garosugil is a Gingko tree-lined street in Sinsadong that offers a more unique and refined shopping experience. Unlike Myungdong this place is less crowded and has a lot of trendy high-quality shops and cafes. I recommend you to not only walk the main road but check out the narrow alleys to find some hidden gems, then I know for sure you will have a pleasant shopping experience.
Picture: Garosugil – Visitkorea.or.kr
2. If you love historical places: Changdeok palace + Huwon or Insadong + Samcheong-dong
Changdeokgung Palace (A UNESCO World Heritage site) was the second royal villa built after the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It’s the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The most famous part would probably be the Huwon Secret Garden that takes up about 60% of the palace grounds. It was used as a place of leisure by members of the royal family. I heard that it’s most beautiful in the fall when you can see the foliage.
Take a nice walk through Insadong and Samcheon-dong (10 min walk away). Insadong is a popular place for tourists to see traditional goods on display. A while back we wrote a blog post about a “Kimchi making experience” that you can enjoy in Insadong. Walking around there you can also see that all the main signs even the foreign stores like Starbucks are written in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) to keep a more traditional Korean feel. There is one main road in Insadong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries and traditional restaurants, teahouses, and cafes. The teahouses and restaurants might be hard to find so take your time and stroll around so you can discover these and many more unique shops. I can assure you that you will enjoy walking through Insadong and later winding up at Samcheong-dong Street.
Samcheong-dong Street has a unique feel to it, here you can see old Hanok buildings mixed with European style cafes. If you have an interest in art this is a great place to explore many galleries and get inspired by the trendy shops, traditional landscape, museums and beautiful quiet pathways.
3. If you love the Outdoors: Hangang river or Yeouido park
Hangang river runs through the central part of the Korean Peninsula. It flows from Gangwon-do, through Seoul all the way to the yellow sea! The riverside parks offer a nice retreat for the citizens of Seoul. Activities such as Swan peddle boats, bicycle rentals, and simple exercise equipment are examples that some parks have to offer. A lot of Koreans go to Hangang to exercise but also to date or hang out with friends, they put up a tent, have a picnic or order Chicken and beer while playing games and just chatting till late at night. I would recommend you to go and “enjoy the Banpo Rainbow bridge fountain show” by the Hangang river, read more about it in the blog post!
Yeouido Park is a large recreational area located on Yeouido Island in the central part of Seoul. There are 4 different sections of this park you can enjoy: the Traditional Korean Forest, Grass Square, Culture Square, and Nature’s Ecosystem Forest. In the Traditional Korean Forest, only traditional Korean trees are planted it’s created to feel like an elegant Korean garden. Great photo spot! The Grass square is a grass field with various trails, evergreens, and deciduous trees. It’s a perfect picnic spot! The Cultural Square holds performances and events. It’s a nice place to just chill and/or have a good workout at. You can find a basketball court, inlines and bicycle rental place and more. The most popular area, Nature’s Ecosystem Forest is where you can escape the city for a while and walk through a small but amazing forest!
Picture: Yeouido Park – Wikipedia
So, If you like this 1-Day Seoul plan you too can enjoy it by booking this Private Car and Driver package:
How to book!
Very easy from mobile or pc click here or the link below and put in what date, number of people, pick up address, tour time and finally if you choose BEST OF SEOUL CITY itinerary you will go to all these places I mentioned above OR you could customize your trip by writing down what places you want to go to in order in the SPECIAL REQUESTS box. You can also make small changes in the best of Seoul itinerary for example a different drop off place just write it in the SPECIAL REQUESTS box.
What car should I choose?
There are 3 car types to choose from:
Sedan/small Van (passengers 4 people)
Limo-Van (passengers 9 people)
Large van (passengers 13 people).
If you are 4 people or fewer the small van would suit you. However, if you are 4 people I would still like to recommend the Limo Van because there’s more space for you and your bags and it’s also a more comfortable ride, which is especially important if you travel with kids or elderly. So choose wisely and I hope you enjoy your ride and the sights of Seoul city!
Friendly reminder: This Private Car Service includes a driver who is not a guided tour. The driver will not provide you with commentary service or other recommendations on the spot, The driver will ONLY take you to the places with the specific addresses, you may change your destination while on the tour just make sure it doesn’t exceed the 10-hour limit. If it does you may pay the driver for the additional time 20.000KRW per hour.
If you are looking more for tour guided services, please email: info@koreaTravelEasy.com
Why recommended by KoreaTravelEasy Hire your own DOOR-TO DOOR private car/van and enjoy the freedom of having your own transportation for a day to experience Seoul! The best private car service in Korea! You can travel freely at your own wish: there are no limits on the stop you go. Choose our BEST OF SEOUL CITY…