Seoul in South Korea is a fantastic city break to experience some culture and get some shopping done. If you are visiting Seoul for the first time it’s best to stay north of the river as this is close to all the attractions and an ideal location.

Myeongdong and Dongdaemun are good places to book a hotel in, and you can get great value for money! Stay in a 5 star hotel for roughly £120 per night. Real 5 star standards. The service is impeccable and you will get a luxurious vibe. 

Arriving in Seoul the first thing you will notice is how pristine everything is kept! The roads are spotless and everything looks polished. You won’t find a chewing gum stain in sight. The second thing that you may notice is the toilets. Most are manually operated, but not all. You may jump with surprise when you first feel the cleaning functions on the toilet.

Heated seat, wash and dry, self-flush and some even play music. Happy days

Things to do in Seoul

1. Shopping

Myeongdong is a shoppers paradise! You can find everything from cheap fashion, luxury designer goods, food markets and skincare products. If you don’t leave South Korea with glowing soft baby skin, then you just didn’t do it right. Myeongdong is filled with beauty and skin care shops. You must admit that Koreans have flawless skin and this is why. Forget retail therapy… it’s more like skincare therapy. Everything is so fascinating and you will want to try it all. Do shop around and ask for samples… your skin will be rejuvenated in no time. If you are feeling brave, why not have a snail facial – they use real snails on your face!

Lotte Department Store is a high-end shopping mall offering luxury handbags and shoes, clothes and home goods, as well as food halls and beauty products. Shop till you drop and take advantage of the duty free, and take some memorable photos at star Avenue.

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Try street food at Myeongdong market and experience the Korean flavours. Catering to all of your tastebuds, you will find hundreds of different foods to try. Fruits, seafood, fried meats, sweet delights, juices and smoothies, and some not so easy to recognise… you will be spoilt for choice. The smells, the lights, the whole buzzing atmosphere is a delight to experience. 

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Visit the midnight markets and find your souvenirs, fashion stools, dancing and entertainment and of course more food. Dongdaemun night market is open from 10am until 5am the next day. Be sure to carry small change to make your transactions easier and reduce the risk of losing big notes.

2. Sight seeing

Visit Gyeongbokgun Palace and take in the history the Korean royalty. It costs 3000 won to enter which is roughly £2. A must see is the changeover of the guards which happens every hour between 10am to 4pm, everyday except Tuesdays.

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visit the war memorial of Korea, Which is situated in Namyeongdong. The museum houses approximately 33,000 artifacts with about 10,000 on display at an indoor and outside exhibition halls.

It is free to enter and an educational and respectful experience.

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Enjoy the architecture and exhibitions at the Dongdaemun design district. In the summer time, why not take a walk and dip your feet in the Cheonggyecheon stream, a relaxing retreat from the surrounding city.

3. Relaxation

Although Seoul is a busy city, you can escape the crowds and fully pamper yourself.

Want to try something out of the ordinary? Try Korea’s unique snail facial. Costing around £250 for high end (you can find this cheaper outside of the hotels), the Korean facial consists of placing alive snails to the face, which claims to rejuvenated the skin. The mucus from the snails contains proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid *yikes*

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Enjoy a massage at one of the many parlours. You will find them on every street corner, or opt for a more luxurious one in a spa or hotel. Click here to view the top spas in Seoul.

To get a full on spa experience, visit the Herb healing centre at Pocheon herb island.

It is located about two hours outside of Seoul. This place is amazing if you are fatigued, overstressed, and have been neglecting your health. Prices range from 120,000 – 336,000 won (£83-£233)

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4. Cafes

Go for a coffee and meet some fur friends at the cat cafe. You can find some beautiful breeds of cats such as short hair Persians, Siamese and Norwegian forests. The cat cafe is popular and tends to be quite busy. Enjoy great ambiance, kind staff, a clean environment and 41 lovely cats.

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An alternative is cat’s playground. 

If you are looking for an animal free cafe, try out pink pool cafe for its instagramable views, and lovely pink interior. It has a quirky pool, pink everything and a lovely rooftop which is great for summertime. 

5. Libraries

If you enjoy books you need to visit these libraries.

Starfield Library looks like an airport for books. It is located in Gangnam – a great area you should also visit, and it has a unique library appearance. With over 50,000 books, it is a great place to find a good read and find out some research on Korea the old fashion way.

Arc and Book is known for its beautiful book tunnel. Here you will find books (of course) cafes and restaurants. They have a beautiful collection of coffee table books that will make a great souvenir.

6. Nightlife

One thing is for certain, the Koreans definitely know how to party – Gangnam style. In the Gangnam area you will find many bars and clubs filled with people dancing, singing and having a good time. Pop music is loved by most and the chances of seeing a karaoke bar is high. Great fun all around. Another area for great nightlife is Hongdae. Here it is a little cheaper and quite a younger crowd whereas Gangnam is a bit more pricier and ‘flashy’.

7. Foods to try

You can’t travel abroad and not try the food! If you haven’t already, you have to try Korean BBQ. The flavours are incredible, cooked a bbq that is built into the table. They give you the condiments which you can usually choose from, and cook it yourself. The food is yummy and it’s a lovely activity to do with your friends.

As mentioned earlier, the street food is a must try! your taste buds will be excited as they try new flavours and textures.

kimchi and BBQ are the most popular dishes in Korea. Kimchi is a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables – mostly cabbage. It is seasoned with well with garlic, chilli powder, ginger, scallions and jeotgal. it’s tasty and good for you.

The distinct foot long ice cream cones are popular all year round. Super affordable and delicious. Seoul had a lot of yummy ice cream spots which all look as good as they taste. In Seoul you will find lots of cute dessert spots.

72 hours in Seoul is not long at all! There is so much to do, you will not be bored at all. you will have more trouble trying to organise your time to fit things in rather than wondering what to do to keep busy. If you have kids there are many great amusement parks and water parks. These are so fun even the adults will have a blast. It is a wonderful city and definitely a place to consider visiting.

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