🇰🇷 Exploring Seoul_The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Visitors


This guide is for all you spontaneous souls out there who, just like me, aren’t big on travel planning, or simply don’t have the time for it. My goal? To give you a snapshot of Seoul’s vibrant vibe. Naturally, I might miss some of the latest hotspots, but hey, that’s part of the adventure!

First thing to know

The basic thing you need to have in order to survive is to Download Naver Map in your Phone.

Google is unable to provide mapping services in Korea due to government regulations. Well, technically, you can still use it, but it’s such a hassle. They label many places as ‘not walkable’ or ‘not accessible by foot,’ which might lead you to think that Seoul is like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. This is definitely misleading, as Seoul is actually very walkable almost everywhere.

For some reason, even if your phone’s settings are in English, English might not be the default language there. You can follow the guide below to change the language settings.
1. Open the app

2. Click on the provided link to access the settings. If you’re having trouble finding the right option, try exploring each section in the settings menu until you locate the language settings. If all else fails, clicking through various sections should eventually lead you to the right place. 😊

3. Click ‘Confirm’ when you see the message ‘We will reopen the app in order to change the language.

4. Reopen the Naver Map, you’re able to search now.

Sightseeing and Walk

Seoul Downtown

North of the Han River in Seoul, the area centered around Myeong-dong is incredibly walkable. As shown in the map, you can explore the main attractions north of the Han River on foot. Starting from Gyeongbokgung Palace in the north, passing through Myeong-dong in the lower left, and reaching Dongdaemun, it’s only about a 5-6 kilometer journey. Along the way, you can also check out Insadong (INSA-Dong) and Ikseon-dong. Just follow the main roads – it’s super easy! And if you get tired, there’s always a subway station nearby to hop on. This whole area is perfect for a full day’s stroll to get a first taste of Korea.

Gwanghwamun-Gyeongbokgung Palace-Samcheong-dong-Insadong-Euljiro Entrance is a route I often take with colleagues and friends who are visiting. It’s a path filled with history, culture, streets to wander, and plenty of spots for snacks and coffee breaks.

Some places you might want to check out in downtown Seoul:

  • Bukchon Hanok Village 북촌 한옥마을 📍Address

  • Ikseondong Hanok Village 익선동 한옥거리 📍Address

  • Insa-dong Street 인사동거리 📍Address

  • Namsan Octagonal Park Observatory 남산 팔각공원 전망대 (better to take a bus or Gondola upthere) 📍Address

  • Gyeong Bok Gung Palace 경복궁 (The biggest one, must see. But if you have limited of time, the Chang Deo Palace also nice to go) 📍Address

  • Chang Deo Gung Palace- Changdeoggung 창덕궁 📍Address

  • Deoksu Gung Palace 덕수궁 📍Address

  • DDP │ Dongdaemun Design Plaza DDP 동대문디자인플라자 (for viewing the building) 📍Address

The area south of the Han River has a modern vibe. ‘Gangnam Style,’ the famous song, actually means ‘South of the (Han) River.’ When I worked in Seoul, I spent a lot of time in this part of the city. It’s walkable, but things are more spread out. If you’re staying south of the Han River, starting your trip in the Jamsil and Samsung areas is a good idea.

  • Banpo Hangang Park 반포한강공원 📍Address

  • Lotte World Tower 롯데월드타워 📍Address

  • Seokchon East Lake 석촌호수 (Cherry blossom) 📍Address

  • Starfield library seoul 별마당 도서관 (The highlight is to see their annual Christmas decorations.) 📍Address

Outside of Seoul

  • NAMI Island (All season) 📍Address
    - Website: Naminara
    - Transportation: Take subway to Gapyeong Station and take a taxi to the ferry. (or see if hotel offers Limousine)


  • Chicken soup! (highly recommend) Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌 삼계탕 📍Address

  • Dumpling and noodle (my comfort food) : Myeongdong Kyoja Main Store 명동교자 본점 📍Address

  • BBQ: Wangbijip Myeongdong Main store 📍Address

    — BBQ Urji meet shop 📍Address

  • BBQ beef intestine: Hwangso Gopchang 황소곱창 (Only if you like intestine! My favorite dishes in Seoul) 📍Address

  • BBQ: 벽돌집60-5
    [Naver Map] Byeokdol Jip 60-5 서울 강남구 테헤란로81길 60-5 📍Address

  • Nongmin Baegam Sundae Main 농민백암순대 본점 📍Address

  • Hot Beef Soup with Noodle 문배동 육칼 📍Address

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