2019 Spring. A trip sponsored by Hybrid Holidays. All images by Andy Kho © 2019 All Rights Reserved.
Here’s a list of some places in no particular order.
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because its location is furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace) Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the largest of all five palaces.
My recommendation : Visit this place dressed in traditional hanbok and you get free entrance. There are plenty of shops renting out hanbok outside the palace ground.
Janunary-February 09:00-17:00 (last admission 16:00)
March-May 09:00-18:00 (last admission 17:00)
June-August 09:00-18:30 (last admission 17:30)
September-October 09:00-18:00 (last admission 17:00)
November-December 09:00-17:00 (last admission 14:00)
Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Groups (10 people or more): 2,400 won
Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Groups (10 people or more): 1,200 won
* Free admission: Preschoolers (age 6 and younger), seniors (ages 65 and older), people wearing hanbok, the last Wednesday of every month (Culture day)
Nearest station : Gyeongbokgung station ( exit 5 )
2. Kubongsan Observatory Cafe Gubongsan Mountain Observatory is one of the most scenic driving courses in Chuncheon, stunning with its breathtaking views both day and night. With fresh brewed coffee in hand, go for a stroll to its outside terrace or garden where you can gaze out on the beauty of Chuncheon. The observatory offers the best spot to see the night view of Chuncheon. Cafes and restaurants decorated with different themes provide good coffee and a great food. You can enjoy sitting on the wooden deck and watching the world around you at its finest.
Nearest station : Namchuncheon Station
3. Gwangjang Market The heart beat of the soul of South Korea the Gwangjang market in the city of Seoul. This is where you explore your gourmet senses and meet people from all walks of life. Here you can just start a conversation with random people sitting next to you or with the stall owner. Soju is always a great way to start anything in Korea.
Gwangjang market is one of the oldest and largest traditional market in Seoul. It has about 5,000 stores but these images shows the street food side of it.
My recommendation : Visit this market with empty stomach and have a great time trying out variety of Korean street food.
4. Seoraksan National Park Located on the North East central of the Korean Peninsula Seoraksan is a UNESCO Biosphere Protection Site. Seoraksan translate to “snow peak” it spreads across 4 cities; Sokcho, Inje, Goseong and Yangyang. Seoraksan is popular for its hiking trail but my trip there was too rush to explore any of the trail unfortunately. But this national park has the higest peak in the Taebaek mountain range of Korea. I only managed to visit the temple ground. Will have to make another trip there some day to hike up the peak.
With its highest point, Daecheongbong Peak, located 1,708 m above ground, Seoraksan Mountain is one of the most beautiful mountains in Korea, boasting a variety of colorful flowers in spring, refreshing clear water streams in summer, vibrant autumn foliages in fall, and a scenic snow-covered landscape in winter. With the mountain changing in color according to each season, a visit to Seoraksan Mountain guarantees a picturesque landscape any time of the year.
Hangyeryeong and Misiryryeong serve as a boundary line dividing Oeseorak (Outer Seorak), located towards the East Sea, and Naeseorak (Inner Seorak). The Oeseorak is a home to gigantic waterfalls such as Biryong Falls, Oryeon Falls, and Towangseong Falls as well as notable rock formations such as Ulsanbawi Rock and Geumgang Cave. Convenient facilities are gathered around Seorak-dong, making the area one of the busiest region within Seoraksan National Park. Noteworthy hiking courses include Biseondae-Madeungryeong course and Biseondae-Cheonbuldong-Daecheonbong Peak course.
My recommendation : Take the earliest bus you can and spend the whole day there so you can hike the hiking trails if you are into adventure. Or else half a day is enough.
From Seoul Express Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take a bus to Sokcho (Travel time: approx. 2 hr 30 min).
From Sokcho Express / Intercity Bus Terminal, take Bus No. 7 or 7-1.
– Get off at Sogongwon Bus Stop (Travel time: approx. 45 min).
5. Namiseon Island If you are a fan of the famous Korean drama Winter Sonata you will know this place. One of it’s attraction is the pine tree alley during autumn and winter. Namiseom or Nami Island is a half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea, formed as the land around it was inundated by the rising water of the North Han River as the result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944.
My recommendation : Go in the morning and spend half a day there. To experience the best of Nami Island, go during autumn or winter when it’s snowing.
There are 2 ways to travel from the ticket area to the island; by ferry or by zip wire ( pix below ).
[Naminara Visa (Entrance Fee + Ferry Fare]
General Rate: 13,000 won
Discounted Rate: 10,000 won
Special Rate: 7,000 won
Nearest station : Gapyeong station
6. Namsan Seoul Tower was the first tower-type tourism spot in Korea. The top of the tower is at almost 480 meters above sea level, including Namsan Mountain (243m) and the tower’s own height (236.7m), making it one of the tallest towers in Asia. It is comprised of Seoul Tower Plaza, recently opened to public access after 40 years, and N Seoul Tower, operated by CJ Foodville since 2005. The tower was first established as a broadcasting tower to send out TV and radio signals in 1969. As of now, it has become one of the representative landmarks and multi-cultural venues in Seoul.
My recommendation : This is a popular dating location for young couple and has been featured in many Korean dramas. Go late afternoon for tea and stay till night and enjoy the magnificent 360 degree bird’s eye view of Seoul from there.
Namsan Seoul Tower with spring blossom tree.
[Individual Admission Ticket]
– Observatory: Adults 11,000 won / Children 9,000 won
– Hello Kitty Island: Adults 8,000 won / Children 7,000 won
Package Admission Ticket
– Package (Observatory + Hello Kitty Island): Adults 13,500 won / Children 11,500 won
* Adults (ages 13 or more) / Children (ages 3-12)
* Senior citizens fare is same as children only for observatory admission.
* Visitors using N. Grill have free admission to observatory if they make a reservation in advance.
[Namsan Cable Car]
– Operating hours: 10:00-23:00
* Hours may vary on the day before holidays and Friday and Saturday depending on situations. – Round-trip fare: Adults 9,500 won / Children 6,500 won
– One way: Adults 7,000 won / Children & Senior citizens 4,000 won
* Discounts may apply for groups of 30 people or more
* Children rate applies to preschoolers
Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus
1. Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus No. 02
– Take the bus from the closest subway station: Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 4), Exit 2 (in front of Daehan Cinema) or Dongguk University Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
2. Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus No. 03
– Take the bus from the closest subway station: Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4), Exit 9, Itaewon Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 4 or Hangangjin Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 2.
3. Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus No. 05
– Take the bus from the closest subway station: Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 3 or Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2 (in front of Daehan Cinema).
Get off at Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4) and Exit 3.
Walk for about 15 minutes following the street on the right side of the Pacific Hotel. The cable car boarding place will be seen ahead.
7. Cherry Blossom Tunnel at Yeouiseo-ro Street Located right next to the National Assembly building by the river mid April is the best time to visit this place. During this time 1886 Korean cherry blossom trees stretched over a few kilometers will be at their full bloom. Enjoy walking through the cherry blossom tunnel next to the Han river while enjoying the cool spring breeze.
Nearest station : National Assembly station ( exit 1 )
8. Myeongdong is one of the major shopping area in Seoul. From brand names shops to replicas to food you name it they are all here. And you can definitely get all sorts of skincare and facial masks here too. With average of 2 million people visiting Myeongdong each day this place never seize to amaze visitors. The scene of the main streets starts to transform starting from 4pm where street food and clothes vendors pop up all over.
My recommendation : Go after lunch and shop till the sun set then explore the street food for dinner.
Nearest station : Get off Seoul subway line no. 4 at Myeong-dong station and start exploring from there.
9. Hongdae The name Hongdae derived from Hongik Daehakgyo(Hongik University). Hongdae neighbourhood was built on the foundation of artistic souls of Korea’s top fine art university. This neighbourhood never sleeps and is always lively. Many of Korea’s performing talents were discovered here as aspiring artist do street performance usually on weekends at the outdoor stage along the main walking street. It’s worth exploring from day till night as it’s ambience changes as the sun sets; from being a shopping paradise into playground of the night-crowlers. This is the best place to meet girls/guys. There are so many things to do here you’ll never be bored.
My recommendation : To avoid crowd, go in the morning. If you are into people watching go there for lunch then shop till night. This is a place where you can spend the whole day. There’s plenty eating places to enjoy.
10. Ewha Women’s University is one of the popular landmark of Seoul. It is the world’s biggest women’s university. The name Ewha means “Pear blossoms” and was bestowed by Emperor Gojong hence the image of a pear on the university’s logo. Surrounding Ewhadae is the popular women’s shopping streets where visitors will have a fun time shopping through Korea’s skincare and cosmetics. Best time to visit is spring and autumn.
My recommendation : Go in the morning and explore the university, shop for cheap fashionable clothing and facial care and grab lunch at one of the hidden back streets. Food there is cheap and nice!
This is the famous landmark of the university. The “valley” is not just an architecture showcase but inside the glass walls on both sides there are actually university lecture halls, shops, clinic, offices, cafeteria and more.
Ewha Women’s University compound is very big and the area is very hilly. This is a view from the top of the hill looking at the streets next to the university.
A night view of one of the shopping streets at Ewha.
Nearest station : Ewha Women’s University station
11. Bukchon Hanok Village Located on a hill north of two significant landmarks of Seoul, the Cheonggyecheon stream and Jongno, Bukchon Hanok village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called “hanok”. These houses are hundreds of years old and is an actual neighborhood with people living in the hanok. So visitors are STRICTLY advised to keep their voice down. Bukchon hanok village is also surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongno shrine. The Seoul Tower is visible in the background.
My recommendation : This is a very nice location to take photos so rent a hanbok from one of the rental shops near the main streets.
IMPORTANT NOTE : KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN and respect the resident.
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1 or 2.
Go straight for approx. 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.
Take Maeul Bus Jongno 02 and get off at Bukchon Hanok Village Bus Stop.