"Return to Seoul" Top 5 Page for this destination Seoul by Ewingjr98

Seoul Travel Guide: 3,137 reviews and 8,085 photos

Seoul, with 12 million people, is the 4th largest city in the world and it is surrounded by mountains and farms. Even though Koreans flock to the city during the week to work, they flock to the national parks on the weekends to hike. Within Seoul, you have modern skyscrapers next to 800 year old palaces. There are military installations (both US and Korean) beside beautiful parks.

The capital of South Korea, Seoul is a very modern city with a relatively high standard of living compared to other east and southeast Asian nations. There is a lot to see and do across the spectrum of Korean history (palaces & fortresses), Buddhist temples, parks (like 1988 Olympic Park), hiking, culture, great restaurants, and lots of nightlife...

I absolutely loved the city of Seoul and all that it offered. Almost every weekend, I got to go sightseeing, visit the parks and historic sights, or just wander through different neighborhoods.

While in Seoul, I also visited Busan, Incheon, Songtan, Suwon, and the North Korean border at the DMZ.

From Korea, I also made side trips to:
Fukuoka and Okinawa, Japan
Taipei, Taiwan
Saigon and Hanoi, Vietnam
Hong Kong and Macao, China
Singapore
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Bangkok, Thailand
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The Return Trip in 2013

After nine years, I finally returned to Seoul, one of my favorite cities in the world.

We flew into Inchon Airport from Tokyo and took the new Airport Express into the city for just a few thousand Won. When we arrived, we checked into our centrally located hotel, stopped by the War Memorial, and decided to grab a few beers in Itaewon. We spent about 45 minutes exploring the area, then we had some mandu and teriyaki chicken from a small shop on food vendor alley. We stopped for beers at two of my favorite bars from my previous time in Seoul: Seoul Pub and Scrooge, then we had another late-night snack on food vendor alley (mandu soup) before retiring for the night.

On Tuesday, we started our day with kimbab, then we hiked Namsan to Seoul Tower. We walked down the mountain's north side to Myeongdong, then did some shopping in Namdaemun before shopping at Kyobo bookstore, then visiting Insadong. We had dinner at a great Kalbi restaurant in Gangnam.

Wednesday began with kimbab from the restaurant called Kimbab Heaven, then we visited Changdeokgung, the Secret Garden and Gyeongbokgung. We also wandered around Bukchon where we had lunch at a great local restaurant. It began to rain, so we stopped for a beer at a bar next to the park along Cheonggyecheon stream. For dinner we went to Noryangjin Fish Market.

On Thursday we had lunch in Itaewon before heading up to the DMZ for a tour of the North Korean tunnels and Panmunjom. We had dinner at a crappy cafeteria while on the tour, then we went back to Itaewon to enjoy a few beers and a snack.

Friday was spent at Dongdaemun and the surrounding area, including a great lunch of seafood stew, before catching a flight home.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Good food (even kimchi!), many great sights, friendly Korean people
  • Cons:The overpowering aroma of hundreds of people who had kimchi for breakfast all crammed into an air-tight subway car
  • Last visit to Seoul: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 8, 2013
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Reviews (264)

Comments (25)

  • nezz's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    For a first time visit to Seoul for a mature couple , where do you suggest we stay
    Great pages by the way!

    • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
      Mar 30, 2014 at 3:27 AM

      Insadong would be another great neighborhood, or you might consider a Hanok Homestay in the great Bukchon neighborhood, both are centrally located.

    • nezz's Profile Photo
      Mar 30, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      Thank you I will research these areas

  • jckim's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    It has everything in Korea! Great job!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    Thanks for the interesting read on the local customs of Koreans.

  • thuyduongvn's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    wow beautiful picture !

  • meljmorgan's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    I move to Seoul in a couple of weeks and have found your tips really inspiring. This is my first foray into the website and I`m really impressed. Can`t wait to try out some of your recommendations.

  • arschaaf's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    Not to mention the "All you can eat AND all you can drink" buffet that happens 6-10pm (except Sundays) at the Gangnam location. Call ahead to reserve. The beer is actually good too!

  • Jun 20, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    Excellent page about Seoul!

  • xxgirasolexx's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2008 at 8:37 AM

    What? Why is kimchi listed in the "con" section? KIMCHI IS THE BEST!

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    May 17, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Now, rereading, I'd like to see photos of some of those huge Christian Churches, some of the world's largest Christian congregations I understand. In fact, I understand that their are more Presbyterians in Korea than in the USA!

  • Feb 10, 2008 at 12:03 AM

    Now a juciy bar. No live music.

Ewingjr98

“"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." ~ Ernest Hemingway”

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