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10 Must See Places in Seoul for First Timers (Spring Edition)

Posted: 24 January 2019 Seoul first timer visitors

Seoul first timer visitors One of the best times to visit Korea is during the spring season. For Seoul first timer visitors, we recommend visiting during Spring to experience the dazzling colors of Seoul. To make it easier, we’ve curated a travel list of places to experience in Seoul for first timers. Let’s go see Korea in it’s spring beauty.

 

Here we go!

 

1) Myeongdong

Myeong-dong is a good place to start when touring Seoul. It’s one of the biggest shopping destinations in the city. It is also called Seoul’s beauty hub because all of the known Korean beauty shops and brands are probably here. Grab your friends and shop through different Korean beauty products centers like Innisfree, The Saem, The Face Shop and more. Feel beautiful like your K-pop idols as most of the skincare products they use are sold here.

 

If you need to do some early shopping for just about anything – clothes, food, toiletries, etc – Myeongdong is your place to be.

 

Hungry? Myeongdong’s got you covered. There’s a lot of fancy and delicious street food to choose from. Grab a bite of the soft, gooey and spicy Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes). Enjoy the crispiness of Hweori Gamja (Tornado Potato) and Ojingeo Twigim (Deep Fried Giant Squid). Fill your stomach with the traditional Korean dishes like Gimbap (sushi-like roll), Tteokgalbi Meatballs, Jang Uh Gui (Broiled Eels) and many many more. Quench your thirst with Pomegrante and Grapefruit juice.

 

Don’t forget to indulge yourself of the famous Rose Gelato Ice Cream (it’s a rose-shaped icecream) only found in Milky Bee store. It’s beautiful in the eyes and mouth so check it out. Don’t forget to buy cute souvenirs like character socks, Korean pins, wallets and many more. Buy it at Artbox, Line Friends, Underground terminal and other stores in the this busy shopping street. 

 

In Myeong-dong, shopping and food are the adventure, perfect for first-timers in Seoul.

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Our fave place for streetfood, shopping, and money exchange is here in Myeongdong.

2) Gyeongbokgung

Gyeongbokgung or Gyeongbok Palace is a major tourist attraction and the largest of five palaces in Seoul. If you like historical structures or interested in Korean culture, Gyeongbokgung should be at the top of your list. Aside from the palace buildings, the scenic views are mesmerizing. You can just sit down and relax on one of the benches around Hyangwonji Lake and spend the whole afternoon admiring the beauty of nature and heritage architecture combined. And if you’re fortunate enough to be in Seoul for the first time during cherry blossoms season in Spring, you’ll find yourself showered with pink petals to brighten up your day.

 

Want to make your visit extra special? I recommend you wear a Hanbok and experience how it was like to walk the palace grounds in the olden days. Or at the very least, you’ll have some beautiful selfies that look like they were taken straight of out a Korean period drama. You can rent a full Hanbok costume in the nearby streets of Insadong or Samcheongdon before making your way to the palace. Visitors wearing a hanbok gets a special treat – free access to the palaces. Yes! No need to buy tickets. 

 

Before you leave, don’t forget to drop by the National Palace Museum and the National Folk Museum to get a glimpse of the life of the Korean people during the time of their monarchy. Thousands of royal relics and historical objects are housed in these two buildings. Both museums are located inside the palace compound near the East Gate. 

 

Experience Korea’s history at Gyeongbokgung.

 

gyeongbokgung spring
If you're at Gyeongbokgung during spring, you may chance upon some cherry blossoms all around the lake.

3 & 4) Yeouido and Hangang Park

Yeouido Island should be in every Seoul first timer’s itinerary, especially during Spring.

 

It’s home to various parks including Yeouido Park, which is one of the biggest leisure parks in Seoul, and Han River Park – that famous park along Seoul’s iconic river. 

 

It is a cherry blossoms hot spot so it’s a must see place for first timers. Stroll along Yunjunro street behind the National Assembly Building since it’s said to be the best place to see the flowers bloom. If you want to have some solitary moments, grab a book and sit in the benches under the pinkish cherry blossom trees. 

 

How about renting a couple bike with someone? Yes, just like in the dramas while enjoying the river-side view. Riding solo? No problem. Riding along the river banks is a blissful experience. If you happen to be in Seoul during certain times in spring and autumn, you might be able to watch the beautiful and popular Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain Show.

 

If you love art and books, then head over to J Bug Building Cultural Complex. It’s a tube type building where they have libraries, art exhibits even a view window to view the Han river. 

 

Yeouido has many activities available for families, couples and even solo travelers. It’s a great place for picnics too.

 

Don’t forget to take a selfie with the “I SEOUL U” signage. It’s proof that you were there.

hangang park picnic
Bring your picnic mat and have some Chimek (chicken and beer) delivered here at Han River Park.

5) Lotte World

For thrill seekers or if you have kids, Lotte World is for you. It’s the largest indoor amusement park in the world. There is a outdoor portion as well where the Disneyland-palace lookalike building is located. Situated beside the beautiful Seokchonhosu Lake (which we recommend you also check out during cherry blossom season), Lotte World is both for the kids and kids-at-heart.

 

There are tons of rides you can choose from ranging from traditional rides to more modernized 3D and 4D offers. If you want some adrenalin rush, be sure to check out Gyro Drop, Gyro swing, Atlantis, and the very unique French Revolution, which is a Virtual Reality roller coaster ride. No, it’s not virtual roller coaster. You’re on the real thing but you’ll be wearing VR goggles. 

 

The Camelot Carousel is iconic so be sure to check it out, at least for some selfies. Seoul first timers will have a ton of fun here.

lotte world carousel
Lotte World's iconic carousel. You'll see it in many kdramas.

6) Insadong

Insadong is a melting pot of culture, arts, nature, and Korea’s history. Stores here sell authentic and traditional Korean souvenirs. You can buy fans with traditional Korean paintings, hairpins, mask, figurines, vases, metal and wooden utensils, tea sets and many more. If you’re an artsy person, you’ll love it here since there are around 60 art galleries waiting for your visit.

 

If in Myeongdong you can feast on Korean, Western and Asian fusion, here in Insadong, it’s all about traditional Korean flavors. Many restaurants offer a full Korean feast.

 

Ssamziegil is a must place for you to visit. It’s a complex home to coffee and tea shops, deserts, beauty shops and of course art shops. Go to the rooftop café with your love one, write and hang some lovely messages or leave your mark by writing messages on the wall. Don’t worry it’s legal in that part of Ssamziegil. This is why Insadong is definitely for your artsy heart.

tea house insadong
We hung out at a tea house in Insadong

7) Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is a village of traditional Korean houses. It’s walking distance from Gyeongbokgung Palace so you can take a heritage tour of the area in one day. 

 

If you are a K-drama fan, then this village should be very familiar to you. K-drama such as Heartstrings, The Heirs, Personal Taste, and quite a few more were filmed here. Walking in this village is like stepping into a K-drama’s world. You can feel how traditional and romantic this village is. 

 

There are some elevated spots in Bukchon Hanok Village where you can see the top view of many houses. Many of the houses have been turned into museums, restaurants, and cafés. You can stay or enter Rakkojae, where you can eat traditional Korean food, listen to soul-soothing traditional Korean music, and watch beautiful Korean folk dances. If you are a vegetarian, Osegyehyang is the restaurant for you. This restaurant serves sumptuous yet affordable earthly foods. 

 

Bukchon Hanok Village is still a residential area though so be sure to keep the noise down.

bukchon
So many hanoks here!!!

8) Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market is for the foodie-at-heart. This market is one of the oldest in Seoul at almost 100 years old. Since I know we all love food, you’ll definitely like this place. 

 

Venture into different market alleys for a variety of offers. There are many alleys where they sell delicious Mayak gimbap (rice rolls). If you’re into the exotic, you should definitely try Soondae (Sundae). Although it sounds like it’s ice cream, it’s actually blood sausage. Don’t worry it’s bloody delicious. 

 

Another abundant street food in Gwangjang is Tteokbokki. It is spicy, yet soft and fluffy rice rolls. It’s best for those spicy lovers out there. 

 

During spring, huge fresh King Crabs can be found in the market. It’s your time to grab and eat those meaty claws. Bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) is a staple in Gwangjang. Oh! And don’t forget to try authentic Kimchi here. 

 

Although Gwangjang Market is for the frugal, you can feast like a king here. The vendors will feed you with, not just food, but also their hospitality.

Gwangjang Market
It's a food fest at the Gwangjang Market where you'll find mostly Korean delicacies and traditional street food

9) N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower, aka Namsan Tower, is one of the most popular tourist spots in Seoul. 

 

Going to the tower, you can walk and enjoy the beautiful trees during spring bloom or opt for the sky. By sky I mean riding in a cable car. 

 

There’s a fee to go up the observation deck to see majestic views of Seoul, but the surrounding area, which also offers an abundance of views is free.

 

N Seoul Tower is another K-drama hotspot. My love from the Star, Legend of the Blue Sea, Boys over Flowers, Hwayugi, and a lot more filmed scenes at the famous “padlocks of love” area. Take your loved-one to a pilgrimage there and add your very own lovelock. Locks are available at N Seoul Tower stores or you can buy one before you get here.

 

If you’re single and waiting for your oppa, take a picture at the Hallyu Seoul Chair. Maybe some oppas may pass by. For some futuristic vibes, come inside the OLED Tunnel, where it displays beautiful visuals in OLED screens. Outside the N Seoul Tower, beautiful cherry blossoms are light up in the evenings of spring.

n seoul tower padlocks
Love locks all over at N Seoul Tower.

10) Garosu-gil

Garosu-Gil means “tree lined street” so this street is beautiful to explore during spring time. If it’s your first time You can also explore Garosu-Gil any time of the year as it has many things in store for you. This street is an Instagram heaven as it has many fashion stores, beauty shops, coffee shops, and trendy food places. Indulge in the beauty and taste of pastries at C27. Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings at Maman Gateau. Get awed in the architecture of Gallery Yeh and the Simone Handbag Museum. This place is also a hub for famous celebrities, maybe you can bump into one when you visit Garosu-Gil.

Garosu-gil
We actually saw a Korean actor the last time we were at Garosu-gil, but Kim was too shy to get a photo.

So there you have it – 10 beautiful places that should be on your list. It’s just our first ten must-see destinations for first timers in Seoul during spring. There are still lots of other places you shouldn’t miss so stay tuned as we’ll be listing more very soon!