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Things to do in Seoul

Seoul is a rambling city of contrasts, with ancient palaces sitting in the shadows of modern high-rise buildings. The main sightseeing area is north of the Han River in the Jung-gu and Jongno districts. The most impressive sites include the Gyeongbokgung Palace and Chandeokgung Palace, home to the royal secret garden. Insadong and Samcheongdong are the present-day cultural centres, packed with street vendors and high-class galleries showcasing traditional ceramics and contemporary Korean art.

Bongeunsa, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art - Museums and Galleries

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    The Leeum Samsung Museum in Seoul, South Korea features Korean artifacts such as celadon and pottery.

    Showcasing the past, present and future of art and design, the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is housed in three high-design buildings and brings world-class exhibitions to Seoul's Yongsan area. English-speaking tours are available at 3pm on weekends.Show this on map

    Cost

    W10,000; 7-18 yrs W6,000; temporary exhibitions vary

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun 10:30am-6pm, until 9pm Thu; last entry one hour before closing

    Address

    747-18, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-893

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 2014 6900

    Transport

    Subway line 6 Hangangjin station (exit 1)

    Website

    Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

  2. 2. National Museum of Korea - Museums and Galleries

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    National Museum of Korea. Courtesy of National Museum of Korea

    The National Museum of Korea houses more than 11,000 pieces - ancient artefacts, ceramics and paintings - spanning Korea's extensive history on three exhibition floors. The outdoor garden houses pagodas and stone relics in the Yongsang district.Show this on map

    Cost

    Permanent collection free

    Opening hours

    Tue, Thu & Fri 9am-6pm; Wed & Sat 9am-9pm; Sun & holidays 9am-7pm; last entry one hour before closing; closed Mon

    Address

    135, Seobinggo ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-026

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 2077 9000 (English, Japanese, Chinese)

    Transport

    Subway line 4 Ichon station (exit 2)

    Website

    National Museum of Korea Website

  3. 3. Totoman - Museums and Galleries

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    Totoman, Seoul. Courtesy of Totoman

    This tiny museum in Insadong district is packed with an eclectic collection of objects and toys from Korea's recent past. Dating from the 1960s to the 1990s, the displays include toy robots, junk food packaging, albums, figurines and other memorabilia.Show this on map

    Cost

    W1,000

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-9pm

    Address

    169-2, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-300

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 2014 6900

    Transport

    Subway line 1 Jonggak station (exit 3)

Attractions

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  1. 4. Jongmyo Shrine - Attractions

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    Jongmyo Shrine, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

    A place of worship for Joseon Dynasty royalty, Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine. Three paths lead there from the main gate: the middle one for dead kings; the eastern path for the present king; and the western for the prince.Show this on map

    Cost

    W1,000; W500 7-18 yrs; under-6s & seniors free

    Opening hours

    Mar-Oct 9am-5pm weekdays, (until 7pm weekends/holidays); Nov-Feb 9am-4:30pm (until 5.30pm weekends/holidays)

    Address

    1-2, Hunjeong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-400

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 765 0195

    Transport

    Subway line 1 to Jongno 3(sam)-ga station (exit 11)

    Website

    Jongmyo Shrine Website

  2. 5. Changdeokgung Palace - Attractions

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    Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

    The most beautiful of Seoul's palaces, Changdeokgung Palace served as the main power seat for the Joseon Dynasty kings for over 300 years. The peaceful "Secret Garden" (Biwon) behind the main palace building has 300-year-old trees, a lake and pavilion.Show this on map

    Cost

    W3000; 7-18 yrs W1500; under-6s & seniors free

    Opening hours

    Mar-Oct Tue-Sun 9am-6pm; Nov-Feb Tue-Sun 9am-5pm

    Address

    99, Yulgokro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-360

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 762 8261

    Transport

    Subway line 3 Anguk station (exit 3) or line 1, 3, or 5 Jongno 3-ga station (exit 6)

    Website

    Changdeokgung Palace Website

  3. 6. Gyeongbokgung Palace - Attractions

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    Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

    Gyeongbokgung was the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Its 500-year history starts with the founding king, Lee Seong-Gye. In 1395 he moved the capital from Gyeseong to Seoul and built this palace in the northern Jongno district.Show this on map

    Cost

    W3000 adults; W1500 7-18 yrs; free for seniors and under-6s

    Opening hours

    Mar-Oct Wed-Mon 9am-6pm; Nov-Feb Wed-Mon 9am-5pm

    Address

    1, Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-050

    Transport

    Subway line 3 Geongbokgung station (exit 5) or line 5 Ganghwamun station (exit 2)

    Website

    Gyeongbokgung Palace Website

Special things to do

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  1. 7. Bongeunsa - Special things to do

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    Bongeunsa, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

    The historic Zen Buddhist Bongeunsa temple was built in Gangnam in quieter, pre-skyscraper days. Early-morning percussion rituals awaken the heavenly beings (it's also a great time for visitors to avoid the crowds). English guides are available 9am-6pm weekdays.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free admission

    Opening hours

    Daily 4am-9pm

    Address

    73, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-870

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 511 6070 ext 4

    Transport

    Subway line 2 Samseong station (exit 6)

    Website

    Bongeunsa Website

  2. 8. Namsangol Hanok Village - Special things to do

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    Namsangol, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

    Moved here from various locations throughout the city, the restored homes in this traditional village show how both peasants and royalty used to live during the Joseon Dynasty. On Spring and Autumn weekends, they hold traditional marriage ceremonies around noon.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Apr-Oct 9am-9pm, Nov-Mar 9am-8pm, closed Tue, except if Tue is a holiday, then the following day is closed

    Address

    84-1, Pildong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-272

    Telephone

    +82 (0)2 2264 4412

    Transport

    Subway line 3 or 4 Chungmuro station (exit 3 or 4)

    Website

    Namsangol Hanok Village Website

  3. 9. Namsan N Seoul Tower - Special things to do

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    Namsan N Seoul Tower, Seoul. © Korea Tourism Organisation

    The N Seoul Tower (with its rotating restaurant) is located on Namsan hill in Jung-gu, and offers breathtaking Seoul city views. You can climb the stairs, while the less athletic can pay for the cable car up to the tower.Show this on map

    Cost

    Observation deck W7,000; 65 and older W5,000; 4-12 yrs W3,000

    Opening hours

    Mon-Thu & Sun 10am-11pm; Fri & Sat 10am-12am

    Address

    1-3, Yongsandong 2-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-022

    Telephone

    +82 (0) 2 753 2563

    Transport

    Subway line 4 Myeongdong station (exit 3)

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