Ask five friends which places are the best to visit in South Korea and you’ll get five different sets of answers. South Korea has many fascinating tourist attractions, and it’s easy to fall in love with its beautiful places. ❤Receiving tips and advice from everyone’s “Korea Bucket List” made us feel more and more excited for the trip. Thanks to recommendations, creating our own itinerary was a piece of cake.

My fiancé, sister, best friend, and I went around Seoul in four days with its efficient mass transport system. Since we’re all into trendy stuff, adorable cafes and delicious restaurants, what better place to stay than right at the heart of shopping in Seoul: Myeongdong. 🙂 (Read this post for my review of Casa Myeongdong Guesthouse and Budget Hotel.)

Our perfect idea of travel was to taste the best of Korean street food, shop for Korean makeup and skin care, try out Korean fashion, visit Korean palaces and wear hanbok, and simply enjoy the city’s cool weather. If you’re like us and are planning to go to Korea soon, this post may be helpful. Read on! 😛

Top 10 Places We Visited in South Korea in Four Days

1. Grevin Seoul Museum (서울 그레뱅 뮤지엄)

Grevin Seoul is the biggest wax museum in Asia. It holds several wax figures of known celebrities like Psy, Lee Min Ho, Jang Geun Suk, John Lennon, Brad Pitt, Jackie Chan and famous icons such as Nelson Mandela, Pope Francis, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Michael Jordan. They looked and felt almost real, which was quite eerie. 😛 The concept originated from France’s famous beeswax museum, the Musée Grévin. We spent an hour taking pictures and walking through the 14 main theme sections inside.

Address: 23, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 중구 을지로 23 (을지로1가)

Operating Hours:
Monday-Thursday, Sunday 10:00-19:00
Friday, Saturday 10:00-21:00
* Last admission 45 minutes before closing.

Admission / Participation Fees:
Adults (ages 19-64) 18,000 won
Children (ages 5-18) & Seniors (ages 65 or older) 15,000 won

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station:
City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1,2), Exit 6. Walk straight for 5 mins.
Euljiro 1-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 1. Walk straight for 3 mins.

2. Myeongdong Shopping Street (명동)

Myeongdong is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. Since our hotel was situated right in Myeongdong, we just shopped happily and leisurely around without the worries of getting lost or having problems going back to the hotel late at night.

Many designer shops and department stores line the streets and alleys and every store is filled with fashionable goods and trendy stuff. Korean cosmetic and skin care brands like Innisfree, Etude House, Holika Holika, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, Laneige, and Nature Republic can be found repeatedly in almost every block! Myeongdong is also a good place for tasting Korean street food and local restaurants. We had lots of fun. 🙂

Address: Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 중구 명동길 (명동1가)

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station: Myeongdong Station

3. Lotte World

Lotte World was one of the highlights of our trip. It is a major recreation complex in Seoul, which consists of the world’s largest indoor theme park (a Guinness World Record) that is open all-year around. Since we booked our flight via Air Asia, we scored a huge discount for the ticket. For the one-day pass, the price went down from the regular KRW 52,000 to KRW 36,000 per person. 🙂 I showed the screenshot of our Air Asia ticket on my phone.

Lotte World is linked directly to Jamsil subway station. Shopping malls, a luxury hotel, a Korean folk museum, sports facilities, an ice skating rink, and movie theaters are all in one place. It also has an outdoor amusement park called “Magic Island,” which was decorated in Halloween theme featuring zombies and haunted houses since it was Halloween when we went there. Attractions and rides are great for both kids and adults. Do expect long queues and waiting times though.

4. Namiseom Island (남이섬 종합휴양지)

Namiseom Island (or Nami Island for short) is small but there’s so many things to see and do. This was where Winter Sonata drama series was shot. It’s named after General Nami, who led a great victory against the rebels in the 13th year of the 7th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejo (reign 1455-1468). We traveled to Nami Island from Myeongdong through the subway, Gapyeong City Tour Bus, and the ferry. Total travel time was two hours.

People say that the best time to go to Nami Island is either during autumn or winter. We’re glad we caught the autumn leaves in sight. Everything looked lovely with yellow, orange and red hues dominating what was once a lush green flora. Most tourists we saw here were Korean families enjoying the view, cycling, and having a picnic on the grass. Overall ambiance was relaxing and peaceful as we felt closer to nature. It’s my favorite place in Korea thus far. 🙂

Address: 1, Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do 강원도 춘천시 남산면 남이섬길 1

Operating Hours:
[Ferry Schedule]
07:30-09:00 (Departure from Gapyeong Naru: Intervals 30 minutes)
09:00-18:00 (Intervals 10-20 minutes)
18:00-21:40 (Departure from Nami Naru to last ferry: intervals 30 minutes)

Admission Fee: (includes a round-ferry ticket, usage fee, and additional tax)
General Rate for Adults: 10,000 won
Discounted Rate: 8,000 won
Special Rate: 4,000 won

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station:
Go to Gapyeong Station and take the hop-on/hop-off bus for the Gapyeong City Tour.

5. Petite France (쁘띠프랑스)

From Nami Island, we rode the Gapyeong City Tour Bus and hopped off to Petite France. Traffic was heavy on a Saturday, so travel time was doubled from 20 minutes to 40 minutes. Worse was that we stood the entire time when we were on the bus. Anyway, visiting Petite France was worth it! 🙂

Petite France looked like a French cultural village set in the Korean countryside. It consists of 16 French-style buildings where guests can lodge and experience French food, clothing, and household culture. The small village contains a memorial hall dedicated to Saint-Exupery, the author of the celebrated French novel, Le Petit Prince (1943). As such, it is called the Little Prince theme park. At the same time, this place serves as a youth training facility (Goseong Youth Training Center). It’s also where Secret Garden, My Love From the Star, and Beethoven Virus television series were shot.

Address: 1063, Hoban-ro, Cheongpyeong-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do 경기도 가평군 청평면 호반로 1063

Operating Hours:
09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing.)

Admission Fees:
Adults: 8,000 won
Teenagers (Middle & High School Students): 6,000 won
Children (ages 3-Elementary School Students): 5,000 won
Seniors (ages 65 & above) / People with Disabilities: 6,000 won (proof of identification required)

How to Go:
[Bus] From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal or Sangbong Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Cheongpyeong. Or from Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal, take a local bus bound for Goseong-ri (고성리). Alternatively, take the Gapyeong City Tour Bus to Petite France.

6. The Garden of Morning Calm 

From Petite France, we rode the Gapyeong City Tour Bus once again and alighted at the Morning Calm Garden. This place houses Korea’s major botanical gardens, attracting about 700,000 tourists from home and abroad annually. The garden aims to promote the beauty of Korean flowers and plants to the world. Its design focused on curves, spaces, asymmetric balance, and Korea’s unique beauty to express classic elegance.

The Garden of Morning Calm is covered with a rich tapestry of color from the thousands of flowers and trees in full bloom. Conquering the entire area was very tiring. We climbed several flights of stairs to get to the topmost part where we found a greenhouse displaying many colorful flowers. The top location is a perfect spot for artists and photographers who want nature as their subject. It’s a wonderful feeling as well to breathe in fresh and cool air.

Address: 432, Sumogwon-ro, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do 경기도 가평군 상면 수목원로 432 (상면)

Admission/Participation Fees:
Adults: 9,000 won
Student: 6,500 won
Children: 5,500 won

How to Go:
[Bus] From Sangbong Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal take a bus bound for Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal. Or take bus 1330 at Cheongnyangni Transfer Center (in front of Lotte Department Store) and get off at the Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal. Alternatively, take the Gapyeong City Tour Bus to Morning Calm Garden.

7. Itaewon Special Tourist Zone (이태원 관광특구)

Itaewon is a multicultural place where over 20,000 foreigners live and is widely recognized by international visitors. This is why restaurants here offer various cuisines that cater to both Korean and non-Korean nationals. Streets of cultural diversity looked more interesting and beautiful after 9PM.

The bar district/nightlife here is said to be probably the best in Seoul. We did not come to Itaewon to drink or socialize in bars but to hunt for more chic clothes and accessories. 😛 This area is crowded with shops selling clothes and bags, leather products, and souvenir items. Prices of items are higher in general as compared to those in Myeongdong.

Address: Hannam-dong and Itaewon-dong in Seoul 서울특별시 용산구 이태원동 , 한남동 일대

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station: Itaewon Station

8. Namdaemun Market

Another place to go shopping galore is Namdaemun Market. Stalls of inexpensive clothing, hats, carpets, housewares, fabrics, jewelry, mountain gear, fishing equipment, stationery, kitchenware, accessories, toys, food, flowers, and appliances can be found in the streets. Prices of stuff are affordable as you can expect from a wholesale market, so there’s no wonder why the market is usually crowded. Namdaemun Market is open from 11:00PM to 3:00AM. It’s a great opportunity for bargains and also for taste the best of Korean street food some more.

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station: Hoehyeon Station

9. Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)

It would be sad to visit Seoul without going to one of the palaces. Out of the five grand Korean palaces that exist today, we chose Gyeongbokgung Palace because it’s Korea’s most famous royal palace. It was built in 1395 and has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times. Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings’ households, as well as the government of Joseon. The place is well-maintained and clean. The National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum are located within the premises of the complex.

We joined the English tour (for free) to learn more about Korea’s history, its architectural traditions and court customs. After the tour, we took our time strolling around the pavilions and halls within the palace’s spacious walled grounds. The compound is huge and it’s a good place for photoshoots. Entrance is free if you wear hanbok (but you need to pay for the rental outside).

Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)

Operating Hours:
November-February 09:00-17:00
March-May 09:00-18:00
June-August 09:00-18:30
September-October 09:00-18:00
Closed on Tuesdays

Admission Fees:
Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Groups (10 people or more): 2,400 won
Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Group (10 people or more): 1,200 won

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station:
Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5
Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2

10. Changdeokgung Palace 

Changdeokgung Palace is only one subway station away from Gyeongbokgung Palace Station, so if you have time, go and check it out. 🙂 It deserves a look not only because it’s one of the most historically significant attractions that represent the beauty of Korea but also because Changdeokgung Palace was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Committee in December of 1997. It would be nice to learn its importance from the time of Seongjong, the 9th king of Joseon, when a number of kings began using it as a place of residence.

Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built as a primary palace following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. Its grounds comprise of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond and a pavilion. The best time to see the garden is during fall season when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves just starts to fall. Unfortunately, weather did not cooperate that day. It was raining when we went there, so we were not able to stay as long as we wished.

Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)

Operating Hours:
Feb-May, Sep-Oct 09:00-18:00
Jun-Aug 09:00-18:30
Nov-Jan 09:00-17:30
Closed on Mondays

Admission Fees:
Adults (ages 25-64): 3,000 won / Group (over 10): 2,400 won
Children and Teenagers (ages 18 and under): Regular 1,500 won

How to Go/Nearest Subway Station:
Jongno 3 (sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 6. Walk for about 10-min to arrive at the palace entrance.
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 3. Walk straight from the exit (towards east) for about 5-min to arrive at the palace entrance.

About 

An IT person by profession; Foodie by nature; Wushu athlete by training; Dancer by heart; Writer by passion; Hasn't met a piece of cake she didn't like 🙂

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42 Responses

  1. Chelsee

    I can’t even imagine visiting South Korea. I can’t only imagine this was an amazing experience. I truly love the traditional architecture of the buildings. I had no idea about the wax figures! They look incredibly realistic. I would love to try the food as well; all of the pictures look scrumptious. You showcased all of these places remarkably well and I will have to visit all of the locations you mentioned. I find traveling abroad so interesting and this has me ready to book a plane ticket today!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wow, I’m happy that you’re inspired to travel. 🙂 The wax figures looked real. A major plus was that we were the only ones to visit the museum because we entered it one hour before closing time. It was Halloween which made the ambiance slightly creepier.

      Reply
  2. Bhushavali

    Namiseom Island & Changdeokgung Palace look the most interesting to me. Anyways, I’m referring the page to my mom. Korea is her dream destination!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      South Korea has always been mine. 🙂 I’m really glad to have visited Seoul during autumn and not winter because I can’t stand super cold weather for long.

      Reply
  3. Iza Abao, Two Monkeys Travel Group Writer

    4 days is too short but then when you are on a limited budget, then it is absolutely fine. I like Gyeongbokgung Palace the most because it shows the culture. I’d also like to visit the Lotte World because I’d get a discount if I travel through Air Asia. That is good deal. Your pictures look great too. May I know what camera that you used?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hi Iza! We were more short of time since we only have a limited number of vacation leaves from work in a year. We have other places to go to. Haha. At least for now these are the places I can also recommend to friends. 🙂 I’m using Fujifilm XT10 with 16-50mm kit lens and 35mm prime lens.

      Reply
  4. Franc Ramon

    South Korea has it all from Palaces, Museums, Theme Park, Replica Villages and natural sites. I should try to check them out myself.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      South Korea is one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m happy I can finally tick it off my list! Their palaces and museums are so well-maintained. You should really see for yourself. 😉

      Reply
  5. Pooja Kawatra

    South Korea is a gorgeous place and I am seriously missing on this beauty. Your photos are amazing the way you have captured the beauty.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Pooja! I’m glad we survived even without a translator or a tourist guide. Navigating throughout the city is easy when you have a map and some mobile apps to help along the way. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Bites for Foodies

    I wouldn’t mind going to Myeongdong for those octopus skewers..they have my mouth watering right now! A friend of mine has been living in South Korea for the past ten years and tells me all the time how amazing it is!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, those octopus skewers were super tasty! I wish we also have them in Manila as street food. I can imagine eating them with rice haha. 🙂 Oh, the rice lover in me.

      Reply
  7. Claire Algarme

    Now, this makes me want to go back to South Korea! Myeondong is one of my favorite places in the city. I think I have spent most of my time in this part of Seoul! Haha! But I also explored the palaces. I’d probably try Petit France and Lotte World next time. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You must be into shopping then! Myeongdong is the best place to stay in Korea for us so we’d still want to have our hotel somewhere in the area if we are to go back for the second time. 🙂 Everland is another good place to visit.

      Reply
  8. Fred

    I have been to some of these places In Seoul already, but some are new that I have yet to see. Very nice views of Nami Island. I really like Myeongdong and will make that place our homebase if we get to visit Seoul again.

    Reply
  9. krystal

    This is certainly on my bucket list. I have heard great things about South Korea, and I would love to visit myself. Loving all the unique food and outdoor destinations.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The food is really delicious, and I’m glad that we have a number of Korean restaurants in Manila that serve just as great and authentic Korean food. The outdoor destinations are those we can’t replicate.

      Reply
  10. Kristy @ Mommy Hates Cooking

    Looks like you were able to see and experience many things while you were in South Korea. That’s the perfect way to travel and experience a new place. The Namdaemun Market looks like such a great place to go!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      My satisfaction is achieved whenever we maximize our time and visit as many as places in one day as we can. 🙂 The Namdaemun Market is a definite favorite of shoppers.

      Reply
  11. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits

    I am reading the other county the I always wish to ascertain if I get the chance and to this list of places to visit from this post I am encouraged to really save money so I can visit Korea.

    LaiAriel

    Reply
  12. Tami Qualls

    Oh, I never considered this place as a vacation destination. I am now! I thought you really were standing beside the living Mick Jagger. The was museum would be my first stop.

    Reply
  13. Janice Min

    Thanks for the sharing! Hope to go for a trip in Korea soon…. The places looks nice. Saved the link for my trip to Korea in the future 🙂 Love your post and your pics

    Reply
  14. Echo

    The gardens there are beautiful! I am always so at peace wandering through gardens. I am really impressed with the wax celebrities! Those are some of the best ones that I have seen! I had a friend stationed in Korea and he always said the food was amazing!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, tasty food in Korea makes me want to go back! The Morning Calm Garden is a great spot for people who are into nature photography. The landscape is also amazing!

      Reply
  15. Tiffany Yong

    Naise! You went to all the must-visit place! You got some really nice photos of there. Thanks for sharing the addresses, made it easier for us to add into our itinerary~

    Reply
  16. Elizabeth O

    That museum rocks! I love to go to Korea, I hope to bring my family there soon!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It will be also interesting to add flowery spring landscapes, sandy beaches, rocky mountains and quietly stunning historic sites to your itinerary when you visit South Korea. 🙂

      Reply

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