Seoul is the capital of The Republic of Korea (known to most of the world as “South Korea”). As such, it is also the biggest city in the country. There is so much this city has to offer because it has various activities for people with all interests. That’s why it’s been named the “People-Centered City.” My first trip to Seoul was one I’ll never forget. When visiting South Korea, it is recommended to spend at least a week in Seoul – so you can experience all this beautiful city has to offer. However, that may not always be possible. Here is the itinerary for the perfect day in Seoul.
Find A Great Place to Stay
There are many places to stay in Seoul, and there’s definitely something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a five-star resort or a cheap hostel, Seoul has got it all.
Personally, I am an avid Couchsurfer, so I found a great couchsurfing place to stay. Upon arriving, I was given my own room with full access to the rest of the house. (For a full review and look at her place, feel free to visit her couchsurfing profile.) Although she’s not staying in Korea much longer, I would recommend her to everybody! My night with her was filled with hot tea and conversation. I cannot recommend her enough!
Coffee at Cafe Delumbro
Start the morning with coffee at Cafe Delambre in Jungno. This cafe is famous in Seoul because of the delicious pastries and the unique decor. I ordered a chocolate chip scone and a cafe latte. The pastries look almost as amazing as they taste, but the ambiance is too eclectic to pass up. It’s definitely a must-see cafe.
After breakfast, head over to the Myeongdong Market to walk around and do some shopping. (It was here that I discovered a new scent at The Body Shop: Japanese Cherry Blossom + Strawberry Kiss. )This market is the biggest in all of Korea, so you can imagine there are lots of stores and carts to choose from! This market has everything from major retailers to small local carts. You could probably find anything you want here!
Grab Lunch at Gogung
After shopping, have lunch at Gogung. On the outside, it looks like a hole in the wall, but inside it looks like a majestic temple. Since I am vegetarian, I had vegetable bibimbap, as well as the traditional sides Koreans serve with every meal – but there are many meat-friendly options on the menu, as well. This place is one of the best places I have ever eaten at – Korea or not – and I recommend it to everyone.
When lunch is over, visit the most beautiful area of Seoul: Samcheongdong. My friend has lived in Seoul her whole life, but my first trip to Seoul was also her first trip to this part of town. This area is common for couples to visit, and it wasn’t difficult to understand why after seeing the city myself. It’s one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.
Go have coffee and waffles at Cafe Terrace. It’s an aesthetically-pleasing coffee shop with great waffles and an even better view! I especially love the waffle smothered in chocolate! The atmosphere at this cafe is cozy and quaint, and the view in indescribable!
After stuffing yourself with goodies, hike the steep stairs up to Bukchon Hanok Village. Hanok villages are areas containing traditional Korean houses. These buildings may be old, but they definitely don’t look it. They are still beautiful and contain much history. (When visiting, keep in mind that there are people who still live here – so please be considerate.) After taking pictures of the beautiful village, feel free to wander around Samcheongdong a bit more. There are many pictures to be had in this gorgeous town.
Venture towards Namdaemun Market. This market is almost as big as Myeongdong, but it looks significantly different. Myeongdong Market contains large brands and well-known stores and looks like Korean Times Square to me. Namdaemun Market looks more like a traditional Korean market. There are various clothes, accessories, and toys, as well as many different kinds of food and drinks, both as groceries and for immediate consumption. Honestly, these are the types of markets I prefer in Korea because they show more authentic Korean culture. This may not be true for everyone, but when I visit other countries, I always want to see how the locals do it. Namdaemun Market is the perfect place for that.
End your day at Namsan Tower. Namsan tower was the first tourist attraction of its kind in Korea and is still one of the tallest towers in Asia. The tower is located in the middle of Namsan Park and on top of Mount Namsan. I was fortunate enough to see the tower during cherry blossom season, so the pictures were even more beautiful! The view from the tower is unparalleled and is beautiful both during the day and at night. If you visit Korea for an extended amount of time, I recommend you visit the tower twice. Believe me when I tell you it is definitely worth it!
My favorite part of Namsan tower was the tunnel at the entrance to the plaza. This tunnel is amazing! The OLED display helps it change to different scenes and places, and it looks genuinely real! Pictures weren’t enough, so I had to take videos of this one! Every scene felt like you were being transported somewhere new. Look for yourself!
Grab Some Food
Have you ever been to Seoul? What did you do on your first day? Was it your perfect day?