Seoul Travel Guide

Explore Seoul

It’s easy to get a sensory overload when you travel to the capital city of South Korea. The most colourful street food scene, the oldest temples and the grandest ancient palaces it’s all here in Seoul.

Urbanites will love the explosive city vibes, while history buffs will be impressed by the collection of historical edifices in town, and foodies have no shortage of places to feast at.

Slightly less flashy than neighbouring Tokyo but more edgy than Hong Kong, Seoul truly has a spirit and personality of its own.


TOP THINGS TO DO

Gyeongbok Palace

Regarded as the grandest of all five palaces in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395 and served as the home of the royal family until it was destroyed in a fire. All of the 7,700 rooms have been immaculately restored and the palace now also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea.

Seoul Central Mosque

Located in the Itaewon district, the country’s most important mosque has an Islamic Centre and holds classes for Muslim children. Worship services are held five times a day here, and Friday prayers regularly draw in between 400 and 500 worshippers.

N Seoul Tower

At 236m, the Namsan Tower is the highest point in Seoul, so expect to get the best panorama in town from its observation deck. The Namsan cable car journey up to the tower is worth the journey on its own.

Bukchon Village

To get a glimpse of old Korean living, step back in time in this cultural centre, home to Seoul’s largest concentration of traditional Korean homes.

Namdaemun Market

South Korea’s biggest and oldest market has a dizzying number of stalls selling everything from clothing to food and handicraft. By night, the shops close and give way to food carts that buzz with activity.

Where to Eat and Drink

Seoulites take their food very seriously: whether they are tucking into piping hot tteokbokki on the sidewalk or feasting on a multi-course hanjeongsik in an imperial restaurant. Meals are elaborate here regardless of where you’re having it and eating is simply a national hobby. Islamic restaurants are mainly concentrated in the Itaewon district, here’s a full list of Halal restaurants in Seoul.


RECOMMENDED PLACES TO EAT

Gwangjang Market

Seoul’s largest food alley (previously known as Dongdaemun Market) spills with hundreds of kimchi stands and fresh seafood stalls. You can’t come here and not try the famous nokdu bindaetteok (mung-bean pancake) that’s often washed down with makgeolli (rice wine).

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Jungsik

Voted one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, this restaurant is heralded as the first restaurant to serve molecular Korean food. Chef Jung Sik Yim has gone on to open a more informal bistros in Seoul but his flagship restaurant is still a hot favourite.

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Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant

Seoul is brimming with Korean BBQ restaurants, but there are not many Halal-certified BBQ restaurants. This is one of the few ones, having imported their meat from Australia. Although prices are slightly higher than other BBQ restaurants, it’s well worth trying their succulent grilled meat.

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Myeondong Kyoja

A specialty restaurant, this joint is said to have the best kalguksu (handmade noodles with chicken broth) in the city. Its steam mandu dumplings are also the reason why people flood to this place.

More info

Eid Halal Korean Food

Well received among Muslim diners, this casual diner serves up traditional Korean dishes that are fully Halal certified and good on the pocket. It’s also located within walking distance from the Seoul Central Mosque.

More info

Sigol Bapsang

This rustic hole-in-the-wall diner is a favourite haunt amongst locals and foodies for their banchan (side dishes that come with every Korean meal). For just 8,000 KRW, you can have a feast of at least twenty different types of banchan including kimchi, anchovies, spicy tofu and pickles.

More info

Recommended Places to Stay

W Seoul Walkerhill

The snazzy colors and funky, bold design of the W Hotel has made it a hot favorite among well-heeled travellers. Poised on the slopes of Mount Acha, the hotel lets you feast on serene views of the mountains or the Han River from the comfort of your bed.

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Park Hyatt Seoul

Arguably one of the most luxurious hotels in Seoul, this high-end establishment is slick and ridiculously stylish, with an infinity pool on the 24th floor offering spectacular Gangnam views.

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Hotel Cappuccino

Charismatic and full of character, this midrange hotel is decked out in a modern, industrial look, featuring all-white rooms, hipster cafe and rooftop bar. Offering great value for money, it has an excellent location and even custom-made ultra big beds in every room.

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Haemil Guesthouse

Experience old-world Korean living at this Hanok (traditional Korean home) where mattresses are laid out on the rattan floor and tea is served from ceramic pots like in the olden days. The rooms are small and humble but authentically Korean.

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Best Time To Go

The best times to visit Seoul are during Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild and temperature is around 12 to 17 °C.

If you’re a powder hound, the best time to visit is between December and February, when the mountains will be covered in snow and temperatures average around 0 and -2 °C.

We would advise avoiding the summer months, when uncomfortable humidity, tourist crowds and hotel room costs are at their highest.


Getting There

Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to Seoul, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Saudia and Qatar Airways. Direct flights are not available at this time, and most flights to Seoul include one or two connections. Riyadh offers the most flights, with a minimum journey time of 14 hours.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Train

    The Airport Railroad Express (AREX) operates two train services to the city centre from Incheon International Airport: the non-stop Express Train takes 43 minutes to get to Seoul Station and costs 14,800 KRW one way; the All Stop Train service stops at 11 subway stations, takes 56 minutes to reach the same station and costs 4,250 KRW.

  • By public bus

    There are numerous bus routes that travel from Incheon Airport to various parts of Seoul. A single fare on the standard bus costs between 9,000 and 10,000 KRW, and on the luxury bus it costs 14,000 – 16,000 KRW.

  • By taxi

    Taxis are available at the taxi stand outside the arrival area. There are three types of taxis in Seoul: regular, deluxe, and jumbo. Depending on your destination, the fare for a regular taxi to downtown Seoul costs around 60,000 to 100,000 KRW.



Extra tips
  • In Seoul and the rest of South Korean, the language spoken is Korean. Most of the younger generation in Seoul speak English, although it’s best to pick up some Korean words to communicate with them.

  • The currency in Seoul is the South Korean Won (KRW). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to 299.61 KRW.

  • South Korea uses 220 voltage

  • The plug in South Korea uses the power socket of type C/F, which uses two round pins.