One of the trendiest cities in Asia, Seoul has so much to do it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the attractions. You can spend years in the city and still discover new things about it. So how do you set a course of action of you have just one day? You start by reading this article.
Start at Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace is one of the most important sites in the city. It was first built in 1405 and somehow still stands strong. This architectural masterpiece has some spaces that are open to the public and you can join a guided tour that will teach you all about it and the life of the royal family. Fun fact: the very last member of the royal family was Ku-Lee, who lived in the palace until his very last day on Earth in 2005. Nowadays, the Korean government uses the structure.
Not far from the Palace (a five-minute walk), you will find Insa-dong — a bubbly young neighborhood full of art, galleries, and splashes of color. Walking through the local stands and galleries is sure to make you hungry at some point, and luckily, Insa-dong is a great place for a lunch break. Most restaurants offer a super-affordable lunch deal (Hanjeongsik in Korean) at the cost of 5,000-7,000 Won (which is about 4-6 USD). When the price is that good, you might be tempted to try multiple options, and we wouldn’t blame you. There are a couple of things you simply must try: hotteok and kkul-trae. The former is a local pancake filled with sugar and peanuts (Yum!), and the latter is a honey-based candy you can have for dessert.
Soak in the Cheonggyecheon Canal
From Insa-dong, your next stop would have to be Cheonggyecheon Canal. Seeing the place will make it hard to believe the 4.7 miles long creek was completely covered with cement until 2005! Now a huge recreational area, along the canal’s banks you can find shopping centers, restaurants, and coffee shops — all super trendy and impeccably designed. At daytime, the place is full of people in neckties and button-down shirts from nearby offices, but as the night starts to fall, the place gets a romantic twist courtesy of a light display on the water.
Shop at Myeong-dong
Myeong-dong has all the shopping you can ask for, and then some. The never-ending stores offer clothes, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics that won’t make you break your piggy bank, as well as pricier a-list brands. Pro tip: try making it to Myeong-dong around 5 PM or later — this is when shop owners and coffee shops offer cheaper deals on items that didn’t sell well earlier in the day!
Observe the city at the N Seoul Observatory
Before your feet lose their ability to carry you, your final destination should be N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain. The tower’s observatory is the perfect place to finish your day. Enjoy a cold drink or a nice dinner at the observatory restaurant while taking in the city lights.