Best Activities to Do in Seoul, South Korea (for First-Time Travelers)

There is no doubt that Seoul in South Korea has gained its popularity as one of the best travel destinations in Asia for a lot of reasons in the past few years.

In addition to the nation's rich culture, the pop culture in Korea has gained popularity quite rapidly through K-pop or K-dramas. The latter even made a pretty big impact, which has made South Korea known as one of the best Valentine's Day destinations in Asia for the past few years!

Looking for the best things to do in Seoul for first time travelers? Marie from Be Marie Korea will share some local insights about exploring South Korea's capital city as an expat living in Seoul. 

From exploring some famous Korean palaces, to experiencing the authentic jjimjilbangs in Seoul, here are the best activities to do in Seoul when traveling to South Korea for the first time!

What to Visit in Seoul, South Korea (on a Budget)

Seoul may not be the most affordable place to live or travel to in South Korea. However, traveling on a budget in the capital city is pretty doable, as even with just $10 USD (around 11,000 KRW) you can easily get a decent Korean lunch or experience at least one of the best activities to do in Seoul. 

Most of the government-owned museums and sites are free to enter, so traveling in Seoul on a budget is very easy. But other than that, there are so many places to see in Seoul that are worth visiting, and most of them don't require you to break the bank.

Not sure what to visit in Seoul, South Korea when you're traveling there for the first time? Apart from joining this Seoul city tour, you can also find some of my best recommendations for places to visit in Seoul below!

Visiting Palaces in Seoul

Seoul has 5 major palaces, including Gyeongbokgung Palace that is free to enter with some certain conditions.

You can wear a hanbok (a traditional Korean dress) to get the free entrance, or you can also visit the palace on Culture Day – every Wednesday in the last week of every month. 

The other ones have a 3,000 KRW entrance fee. Alternatively, you can also purchase a booklet for 10,000 KRW at any on-site tourist information centers in any of these palaces to give you access to the other four palaces and a Confucius Shrine in Seoul. 

The pass is valid for 3 months, perfect if you are staying for a longer time and love history as well as traditional architecture.

Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea.

Trying a traditional jjimjilbangs in Dragon Hill

Spas or Jjimjilbangs in Korea are very popular among locals. These traditional bathhouses can be found all across the country, but are difficult to find for foreigners. This is one of the most recommended activity to do for first-time travelers in South Korea!

Dragon Hill is a bigger and foreigner-friendly spa with both indoor and outdoor facilities. Tickets for the spa can be purchased online for 10,000 KRW or at the spa itself for 12,000 KRW.

Be aware that in all bathhouses, shower and changing rooms are gender-segregated and you'll be naked among other visitors. For the first time, this can feel uncomfortable but locals are totally used to it.

dragon hill in Seoul, South Korea

Climbing the N Tower Observatory

The Seoul Tower is the main landmark of Seoul, located at the top of Namsan mountain. It is located in the city center and can be seen from all across town.

The tower can be reached by bus or by hiking all the way up the mountain. The ticket fee to the observation deck is 10,000 KRW, which you should be able to book online here.

There are plenty of things to do in Seoul and its surroundings. To get into the details on what more you could do around South Korea, feel free to check this Korea itinerary.

Quick tip: You can also get a bundle package of the best things to do in Seoul by purchasing this Klook Pass Seoul where you can add up to 4 activities in South Korea's capital city, all at once!

Contributor: Marie from Be Marie Korea

Growing up in Ypres, a small city in Belgium 5 minutes from the French border, she always had the urge to travel and was fortunate enough to travel to many countries with her parents since she was a kid. Nowadays, she's based in Seoul as a content creator and designer. In her blog, she reviews travel destinations across the Korean peninsula. 

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