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The PERFECT 3 Days in SEOUL Itinerary (2024 Guide)

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  • Last Updated: May 26, 2024

Plan an epic trip to the Korean capital with the help of this itinerary for how to spend 3 days in Seoul!

There’s no doubt that this bustling metropolis is the soul of South Korea. After all, nearly half the population of the ROK calls the city home!

Seoul is the political, cultural, and educational centre of the country. It’s also an economic powerhouse, coming in behind just New York, Tokyo, and Los Angeles on the list of largest metropolitan economies.

The Korean capital is about much more than business, though. This is a city full of fascinating cultural and historical sights, from ancient palaces to hillside temples.

When the sun goes down, the party starts in Seoul. While people here may come off as a bit shy and reserved, they sure know how to throw it down at night!

READ MORE: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Seoul !

When the soju starts flowing, the good times start rolling in Seoul.

Seoul is a massive city with lots to see and do, so planning a visit here can be a bit intimidating.

Never fear, as I’m here to guide you on what to do in Seoul in 3 days.

We visited a few times when we were teaching English in China, and my brother even lived there for a year (thanks for the tips, bro!).

Tourists In Seoul South Korea

Table of Contents

Ancient Palaces

Gyeongbokgung, changdeokgung, changyeonggung, gwanghwamun plaza, cheonggye stream, jongmyo shrine, gwangjang market, drinks with a view, korean breakfast, namsangol hanok village, namsan park, korean bbq and soju, yongsan park, national museum, down by the river, when to visit seoul, getting around seoul, best budget accommodation – bong house, best mid-range accommodation – g2 hotel myeongdong, best luxury accommodation – the shilla seoul, how to spend a perfect 3 days in seoul itinerary.

I’m going to share with you the perfect way to spend 3 days in Seoul using my personal experience and itinerary.

You’ve just arrived in a massive capital city that’s home to around 25 million people. What to do first?

Before you see the modern side of Seoul, it’s time to look to the past.

Back in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the kings had many grand palaces built in Seoul.

These days, five of them are open to the public. Paying a visit to a few of them is a must for your 3 days in Seoul itinerary.

Unless you’re a huge history buff, you’ll probably just check out one or two of the palaces.

If you’re really gung-ho about visiting them, you can pick up a combination ticket for USD$8.50 that gives you entrance to four palaces as well as the Jongmyo Shrine .

Here’s a brief rundown of the more notable palaces so you can choose your own adventure.

Alternatively, book this awesome ‘ History of Joseon Dynasty’ half-day tour with a bunch of extra sights and activities.

We’ll start with the grandest palace of them all – Gyeongbokgung. With a name meaning “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven,” you just know this place is rad!

This huge palace dates all the way back to 1395 and the time of King Taejo. At its peak, it’s estimated there were an astounding 300 buildings and some 3,000 staff members here.

Despite the name, it turns out Gyeongbokgung wasn’t really blessed by heaven. The Japanese burned it to the ground in 1592 and it lay in ruins for several centuries.

It was rebuilt, then destroyed again. This place has certainly had a turbulent history.

The city began restoration efforts once again in 1990 and they’re ongoing to this day.

A highlight of visiting Gyeongbokgung is seeing the changing of the guard ceremony.

This takes place every hour on the hour from 11-3 and the guards wear traditional Joseon-era uniforms.

While you can definitely visit on your own, it’s worth it to jump on one of the free guided English tours.

These start at 11, 1:30, and 3:30.

In addition to all the gates, pavilions, and gardens, there are also two museums here.

Both the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea are included in your ticket price.

  • Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Wednesday-Monday from 9 AM-5 or 6:30 PM depending on season
  • Cost: USD$2.50

Gyeongbokgung Palace In Seoul

The Joseon kings definitely came up with some awesome names for their palaces.

This one means “The Palace of Prospering Virtue” and it dates back to 1405.

This was the second royal palace after Gyeongbokgung, and it was actually home to the Joseon royalty longer than any other palace.

Over the years, it too has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.

Changdeokgung is notable for blending in well with its natural surroundings.

It’s also famous for its gorgeous “secret garden” that lies just behind the palace.

There are English tours of the palace available at both 10:15 AM and 1:15 PM.

  • Address: 99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 9 AM-5:30 or 6:30 PM
  • Cost: USD$2.50 for the palace, $6.75 for the secret garden

Any guess as to what the name of this ancient Korean palace means? If you guessed “Palace of Flourishing Gladness,” you nailed it!

King Sejong built this one to honor his retiring father, the aforementioned King Taejong.

As with the other grand palaces of Seoul, this one was also ravaged by the Japanese on a few occasions.

During the period of Japanese colonial rule, they built a zoo and botanical garden here in an attempt to undermine the royal status.

Thankfully this important piece of Seoul’s history has since been restored.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the peaceful pond at the back of the complex.

As there’s only a wall separating them, it’s easy to combine a visit to Changyeonggung with Changdeokgung.

There are English tours at 11 AM and 4 PM here if you prefer to visit with a guide.

  • Address: 185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 9 AM-5:30 or 6:30PM
  • Cost: USD$0.85

Royal Palaces Of Seoul

While you can definitely visit all three in a day if you start early, you’ll probably experience a bit of palace fatigue if you do so.

If you really want to see all three, I recommend doing Gyeongbokgung on day one and the other two the next day.

There’s a lot more to see and do on your 3 days in Seoul itinerary, so let’s keep moving.

After visiting Gyeongbokgung, you might as well take a short stroll to Gwanghwamun Plaza.

Opened in 2009, the idea behind this plaza is to have a cultural and historical place for both locals and visitors.

Previously, this area was a massive 16-lane road.

Ten of those lanes were transformed to create this public space, which is one of many aspects of Seoul’s environmentally-friendly renovation projects.

Inside the plaza, you’ll find statues honouring King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun-sin – two very important figures in Korean history.

In front of the latter sits the 12.23 fountain. This commemorates the 12 Korean warships and the 23 battles they fought during the Japanese invasion.

In addition to checking out the statues and fountains, it’s fun just sitting on a bench and watching the city go by.

Children splash in the fountain during the warmer months and it’s a very festive atmosphere around Christmas and New Year’s.

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes surrounding the plaza, so this is the perfect place to take a lunch/coffee break.

You’ll need some energy to tackle the rest of this itinerary for 3 days in Seoul!

Gwanghwamun Plaza In Seoul

Once you’re nice and full/caffeinated, head south through Gwanghwamun to reach the Cheonggye Stream.

Similar to Gwanghwamun, this restoration project was a huge undertaking.

There was a stream flowing here way back in the Josen Dynasty.

After the Korean War, many people migrated to the city and set up a shantytown along the banks of the stream.

All the waste made the area quite the eyesore, so the city decided to cover the stream up with concrete.

It wasn’t until 2003 that the city began working on restoring the stream.

While it was a costly and lengthy restoration process, the results have been fantastic.

These days, there’s a lovely pedestrian-only path along the restored stream.

Along the way, you’ll pass under 22 different bridges and several fountains. It’s a great place for a stroll as it’s around 5 meters below street level.

Despite being in the heart of a mega-city, the stream remains a tranquil oasis.

Cheonggye Stream In Seoul

After walking along the stream for a while, you can head back up to the street level to visit the Jongmyo Shrine.

This Confucian shrine is an excellent addition to your 3 days in Seoul itinerary.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is dedicated to the deceased royal family members of Korean dynasties.

It’s known as the oldest and most authentic Confucian royal shrines in the world.

While the building itself and the history behind it is impressive, the shrine is most notable for the rituals that are still performed here.

Known as Jongmyo Jerye , these ancestral worship ceremonies feature traditional music and dance.

You can visit the shrine as part of a guided tour on weekdays except Tuesday.

The English tours run at 10, 12, 2, and 4. On Saturdays and the last Wednesday of each month, you can visit at your own leisure.

  • Address: 157 Jong-ro, Hunjeong-dong, Jongno-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Wednesday-Monday from 9AM-5 or 6:30 PM
  • Cost: USD$0.85 (included with combination ticket)

READ MORE: Here’s our list of our best travel tips from more than a decade on the road !

Next up for our Seoul in 3 days adventure is a trip to Gwangjang Market.

This sprawling market is one of the oldest and largest in all of South Korea and is a must-see, especially if you love street food !

The market has a history going back to 1905, when Korean merchants and investors came together to create a marketplace outside of Japanese control.

At the time, most local markets were only open sporadically. This became the first major market in the city to be open every day of the week.

It continued to grow over the years, and these days it’s home to a few thousand different shops.

It’s easy to get lost in the market, but that’s half the fun! Wander around the maze of stalls and see what catches your eye (or your nose).

As I mentioned, this is a haven for Korean street food. One must-try snack here is bindae-tteok – a mung bean pancake.

If you’re into fashion, you may want to stick around and shop for some traditional hanbok clothing.

You could also join the Korean youth in hunting out some cool vintage threads here.

Whatever you do, the market should definitely be on your list of what to do in Seoul in 3 days.

  • Address: 88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Daily from around 8:30 AM-6 PM

Wow! It’s been a pretty huge first day in Seoul. Before calling it a day, though, it’s time for drinks with a view.

Head to the L7 Rooftop Floating bar in Myeongdong.

Located on the 21st floor of the L7 Myeongdong Hotel, this excellent rooftop bar offers panoramic views of the city.

Order up a Korean craft beer, glass of wine, or one of their signature cocktails and drink it in!

There are both indoor and outdoor areas of the bar.

The latter features a nice foot bath, which you’ll probably need after this epic start to your 3 days in Seoul itinerary.

  • Address: 137 Toegye-ro, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea ( click here )
  • Hours: Every day from 5 PM-12 or 1 AM

After such a big day and with two more to go, I recommend making the adult decision to take it easy tonight.

Of course, I’m also not one to deter people from partying.

If you really want to let loose, there are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from in Seoul!

Panoramic View Of Seoul

Hopefully, you got some solid sleep and are ready to tackle day two in Seoul.

If you stayed out and raged on night one, well that’s just fine as well!

Whatever you did, it’s time to lace up your shoes for another big day in the Korean capital.

Before embarking on another day of sightseeing, you’ll want to load up with a nice Korean breakfast.

Don’t come here expecting eggs, bacon, and hash browns, though.

Koreans pretty much eat the same thing for breakfast that they do for lunch and dinner.

On the menu for breakfast here is usually a mixture of rice, soup, and the all-important banchan .

This is the collective name given to small side dishes that are a fixture of Korean cuisine.

These might include some simmered tofu, thin pancakes with scallions, and of course, the almighty kimchi .

Known as the national dish of Korea, kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish usually made with cabbage or radish.

Basically, it ain’t a meal in Korea unless there’s some kimchi on the table.

Eating cold, spicy fermented cabbage may not be your typical breakfast routine, but when in Rome!

Another go-to option for breakfast in Seoul is gomtang – a clear beef stew.

It’s usually made with oxtail, brisket, and tripe. A great spot to try it is Hadongkwan .

They’ve got several locations in the city and there’s usually a line, even at breakfast.

If an oxtail soup and fermented cabbage is a bit much for you in the morning, you can try a Korean spin on Western breakfast and eat some tost-u .

This Korean street toast takes an egg sandwich and adds things like cabbage, spring onion, and a sprinkling of sugar.

With a full belly, you’re ready to power on with these 3 days in Seoul.

Kimchi In A Seoul Restaurant

As I mentioned on day one, you can space out your visits to the grand palaces if you want to see more than one.

Start your second day off with the others if you’re keen. If not, head straight to the Namsangol Hanok Village after breakfast.

These days, most Seoulites live in high-rise apartment buildings.

Step into a time machine here and see what life was like in the city many centuries ago.

Here you’ll find a collection of hanok – traditional Korean houses that have been restored.

There are five different Joseon-era hanok here representing a range of social classes from peasants to aristocrats.

They even chose furniture based on the era and the different social statuses to give an accurate portrayal of what the homes were like.

In addition to the hanok houses, you can explore a traditional garden. It’s a nice little slice of tranquillity set amongst the urban sprawl.

There are also frequent workshops and performances you can attend.

Check their website to see what’s going on.

  • Address: 28 Toegye-ro 34-gil, Pil-dong, Jung-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 9 AM-8 or 9 PM

Namsangol Village In Seoul

Next up for our 3 days in Seoul trip planner, we head to the city’s largest park.

Meaning “South Mountain” in Korean, Namsan is a 262-metre peak in the middle of Seoul.

There are several hiking trails that you can follow, or you can opt for the easy way out on the cable car.

Either way, you’ll end up at the N Seoul Tower .

This observation tower offers some incredible views of the city.

I tend to skip out on the pricey observation decks in cities, but the one in Seoul is pretty freaking cool.

In addition to the panoramic views of the city, you can check out the new immersive art exhibit called “Inside Seoul.”

Using 40 laser projectors and 5D mapping, this exhibit shows a fantastical view of the Korean capital.

Head up here a little before sunset so you can see the city and the tower light up at night.

The tower is open from 10 AM until 11 PM or midnight.

Tickets cost about USD$9 for adults to visit the observatory.

N Seoul Tower In Seoul

At this point in our 3 days in Seoul itinerary, you’ve seen a lot of the traditional side of the city.

Now it’s time to dive into modern-day Seoul.

Cruise on over to the popular Insadong area to kick off your evening.

This trendy area of the city is always bustling with activity.

There’s an outdoor bazaar, fine art museum, old tea house, and quirky attractions like the Alive Museum.

Here you can take some pretty funny pictures with artwork that creates an optical illusion.

If you’re looking to pick up some interesting souvenirs from your 3 days in Seoul, this is a great place.

There’s also plenty of tasty street food on offer here, but don’t go too big. You’re going to want to be hungry for tonight’s dinner!

While kimchi may be the national dish, the quintessential dining experience in Seoul is definitely Korean BBQ.

There’s just something magical about grilling up a feast right at your table.

The concept of Korean BBQ is simple. You order up a variety of meats and then grill them up yourself.

Be sure to order up some bulgogi – thinly sliced marinated beef.

Once it’s grilled to perfection, wrap it up in lettuce, add some spice paste, and dig in!

If you really want to do Korean BBQ right, you might as well order up a bottle of soju as well.

Korea’s famous booze is usually around 16-20% alcohol.

Many people like to pour a little in a cup and top it off with cold beer. It goes down easy but watch out – these will catch up with you!

In the Insadong area, one Korean BBQ joint that comes recommended is 853 . They’re open til 11 and you can find them on the map here .

Korean Bbq In Seoul

Since you took it easy on night one (or did you?), go ahead and let loose tonight if you’re up for it!

A good place to kick off your night is the Southside Parlor in Itaewon ( click here for directions).

These guys whip up some mean cocktails. Try their signature Juarez Old Fashioned or Omija Mule. It’s a little slice of Texas right in Seoul!

How you choose to spend the rest of your night is totally up to you.

Want to rock out to a live band? Dance the night away in a club?

Sing your heart out at a karaoke joint? Get irresponsibly drunk off soju with Korean businessmen?

The world is your oyster on a night out in Seoul!

You’ve made it to the final leg of this epic 3 days in Seoul itinerary. Pat yourself on the back, because it’s been a wild ride so far.

You’ll be happy to hear I’m taking it easy on you for the final day!

After breakfast (you can go back to eggs and bacon if you need to, by the way), begin a relaxed day in Seoul at Yongsan Park.

Formerly a golf course for the US military, this is now a large public park full of walking paths, playgrounds, sports fields and more.

On a leisurely stroll around Yongsan, you can relax by the pond, check out some sculptures, and visit the patriotic flag park.

It’s located just north of the Han River. The next stop on our 3 days in Seoul itinerary just so happens to be here as well.

A Local Park In Seoul

Before leaving Seoul, it’s time for a little history lesson on South Korea.

The country’s National Museum is huge and features a very impressive collection.

The museum spans three floors and covers ancient history, calligraphy, sculpture, and much more.

At any given time, there are over 12,000 artifacts on display here. Some of the most famous include the Pensive Bodhisattva and the Ten-Story Pagoda .

There are also special exhibitions here that rotate every few months. To see what’s going on during your trip, check their website .

There’s enough to see to keep you busy for a few hours.

Should you need a break, drop into one of the many cafes here.

  • Address: 137 Seobinggo-ro, Seobinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu ( click here )
  • Hours: Open every day at 10 AM until 6 PM (M, T, Th, F), 7 (Sun), 9 (Wed, Sat)
  • Cost: Free to enter main exhibition, small charge for special exhibit

From the museum, it’s just a short walk south to the banks of the Han River.

Head down here to enjoy a riverside walk and take in the scenery.

Depending on what time of year and day you visit, you can rent a bicycle, take a river cruise, admire the Rainbow Fountain , or take in a fireworks show.

There’s always something going on here and it’s a favourite local hangout.

The best way to end 3 perfect days in Seoul is with a relaxing stay in one of the city’s many jimjilbang .

This is a 24-hour bathhouse with a variety of pools, saunas, lounges, and much more.

They’re a big part of Korean culture and a great way to unwind after a busy 72 hours in Seoul.

In addition to chilling in all the baths and saunas, you can also get a massage, body scrub, or a pedicure.

Typically, there are co-ed areas where you wear a bathrobe and then separated areas where you rock your birthday suit.

Most jimjilbang also have restaurants, bars, and sleeping areas.

You usually get twelve hours with the price of admission, so you can even check out of your accommodation and just crash here before heading out of town.

We’ve done that both times we visited Seoul and really enjoyed it!

There are tons of jimjilbang in Seoul, but some of the best include Dragon Hill, Spa Lei, and Siloam Sauna .

Whichever one you choose, it’ll be a glorious end to your 3 days in Seoul itinerary!

Get your entry into Dragon Hill Spa here online .

At Gyeongbokgung In Seoul

Seoul Itinerary Travel Guide

So you want to know how to tour Seoul in 3 days? It’s definitely doable, but some months are more enjoyable than others.

First up, you’ll need to figure out when to visit.

Let’s start out with the extremes. The coldest month here is January, while the hottest is August.

Unless you have no other choice, I’d recommend giving these months a hard pass.

The best time to visit Seoul is between March-May or September-November.

During these spring and fall months, you’ll get pleasant weather and some beautiful scenery.

That being said, you shouldn’t be deterred from visiting in winter or summer.

You can easily hit the slopes in this city that just hosted the Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, summer months mean outdoor music festivals and water parks.

A Garden In Seoul

As far as getting around Seoul goes, your best bet is to use a combination of public transportation and your own two feet.

Here are some tips for making your way around Seoul in 3 days.

The metro system here is one of the largest and most efficient in the world.

There are currently 23 lines operating, so you can go just about anywhere in the city on the tube.

Not only is the Seoul metro efficient and convenient, but it also has super-fast WiFi!

South Korea is one of the world leaders in wireless internet coverage, so you’ll be able to post all those kickass photos you take in real-time.

If you don’t feel like waiting in line to buy a ticket for every trip, it’s a good idea to snag the Korea Tour Card .

You can pick these up in convenience stores, at the airport, or at metro stations.

For just USD$3.50, you can get this card and load it up to ride both the metro and bus system in Seoul.

It gets you a discount on the fare, free transfers, and lots of deals around the city. Read all about it here .

Even with the card, navigating the metro system can be confusing.

Download the KakaoMetro app before you go. It will tell you when the next train is arriving, which exit to take, and more.

Gwanghwamun Plaza In Seoul

Where to Stay in Seoul and Best Accommodation

In such a huge city, figuring out where to stay is key for your 3 days in Seoul itinerary.

You definitely don’t want to waste a bunch of time in transit when you have such a short time in the city.

To keep it simple, the city is split in half by the Han River.

The northern half is known as Gangbuk and it’s the more historical side.

This is where you’ll find many of the tourist attractions such as the palaces.

South of the river, you’ll find Gangnam.

Yes, as in “Gangnam Style.” Now you’ll be singing that damn song for the rest of this post. Sorry about that.

This is the more modern and trendy side of Seoul.

For these 3 days in Seoul, I recommend staying north of the river.

Some of the best districts for travellers include Jongno, Jung, Seodaemun, Mapo, and Yongsan .

If you’re balling on a budget for your 3 days in Seoul, look no further than Bong House .

This awesome hostel has a super convenient location and dorm beds for USD$10 and under.

We’ve stayed here and can personally recommend this fun hostel.

This centrally-located hotel is an excellent base for tackling this 3 days in Seoul itinerary.

With a gym and a rooftop garden to go along with their well-appointed rooms, this place is a steal.

Looking to be a bit fabulous on your trip to Seoul? The Shilla is definitely the place for you.

This place is constantly ranked among the best hotels in all of South Korea and for good reason.

If you can afford to splurge a bit, the Shilla is definitely worth it.

Namsan Park In Seoul

That about wraps it up for this guide on how to spend 3 days in Seoul.

While it’s not nearly enough time to see all that the Korean capital has to offer, this itinerary will give you a great introduction to the city.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

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Sasha and Rachel

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23 Epic Things to Do in SEOUL, South Korea (2024 Edition)

8 amazing things to do in jeonju, south korea, life experiences while wwoofing in south korea, related posts, 5 most scenic hiking spots in south korea, 2 thoughts on “the perfect 3 days in seoul itinerary (2024 guide)”.

Hallo, I am planning (one person) to spend 3 or 4 days in Seoul at the end of November 2023, flying from Heathrow, (transfer to be included at S) staying in a centrally located 3 star hotel and possibly requiring a guide or just a bike. If possible a nearby located important site could be included. I am an experienced traveller having been to almost 120 countries. I would appreciate your comments Regards Peter Meshty

Love your itinerary. That’s a lot of activities and destinations for 3 days but I’m not complaining. There are a lot of interesting places to visit especially those cultural and historical sights like the ancient palaces. Lots of food too, can’t wait to try it out. Hope we can visit South Korea soon.

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BEST First-Time Visitor’s Seoul Itinerary (3-7 Days)

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2023 by Max · This post may contain affiliate links · 2 Comments

South Korea is a land of mountains, palaces, and busy streets, and this 3 to 7 day Seoul itinerary will put you right in the middle of it all. With the city’s futuristic architecture and state-of-the-art technological advancements, people sometimes get culture shock when they see how integrated they are into more traditional lifestyles.

Everywhere you go, there’s always an event happening or a festival on, and there are plenty of surprises in store – especially if you visit any of the Seoul hotspots detailed below. But while Korea is truly a magical place, it’s far from what we see in the K-Dramas.

Fans often come here expecting to meet a dashing chaebol randomly in the streets (which is highly unlikely), and are disappointed when they’re not hit on in the nightclub. Dramas and idols are just a small fraction of Korean culture .

To truly experience it for yourself, you’ll have to immerse yourself in Seoul for 3 days or more, before heading further south. That way you’ll get to try everything Korea has to offer; from delicious food to astounding historical landmarks.

So if you’re figuring what to put in your Seoul itinerary, let us help you plan how many days in Seoul you should spend, and what to do and where to go during your South Korea vacation. Use the 'Jump To' box below to go to a specific section.

3 days trip to korea

Basics of Travel in South Korea

How to maximize your seoul experience, faq about seoul, where to stay in seoul, seoul itinerary 3 days, seoul itinerary 7 days, tips for visiting seoul.

Visa: Most travelers will need a K-ETA ( Korean Electronic Travel Authorization ), applied for at least 72 hours before departure. If you needed a visa before, you'll need a K-ETA now. Note that from April 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024, passport holders from 22 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and several EU nations, can visit visa-free – no K-ETA required!

Currency: South Korean won ( KRW or ₩ )

Arrival in Korea: all international flights arrive at Incheon Airport (ICN), one of the best-rated airports in the world. It usually takes about 1 hour to get through security & pick up checked bags.

Getting Around: Korea has an extensive & reliable public transport system. A refillable T-Money card is your ticket to buses and trains across the country; you can buy and refill yout TMoney card at any subways station or convenience store in Korea.

Internet & SIM Cards: Rent a Wi-Fi egg or purchase a prepaid Korean SIM card at the airport, available for up to one month of connection.

Travel Insurance: always recommended, though some credit card companies offers limited coverage when booking.

3 days trip to korea

How many days should I spend in Seoul? While most guides will tell you that three days in Seoul is enough, we recommend that you stay in Seoul for a week.

But for those with tight budgets, we can help maximize your Seoul itinerary for as many days as you have, and thanks to the advanced metro system in Seoul, you’ll jump from one place to another without issue.

That being said, Seoul at night is a treat for the eyes, and most of the attractions in Seoul occur when the sun begins to set. Banpo Bridge, for example, has an incredible fountain show and the title of the World’s Longest LED-light display.

Around the same time each evening, stalls are set up where people enjoy delicious foods while waiting for fireworks to decorate the sky. The best part is, there’s a way to do all of these things in Seoul for free.

Simply purchase a Discover Seoul pass before your trip, and you can get into most of these attractions (once each) without worrying too much about your budget. There are three kinds of passes you can choose from (24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours), and even if you run out of hours, you can still use it to avail of discounts in any of the partner tourist attractions.

Other sites that provide discounts are kkday , Trazy and Klook .

Unfortunately, each attraction’s opening hours may change due to public holidays or unforeseen events. So if you follow this Seoul itinerary, please develop a habit of checking attractions’ schedules first if you don’t want to wait hours for a show that has already been cancelled.

3 days trip to korea

For a solo traveler, a vacation in Seoul may cost between ₩1,000,000-2,000,000 ($800-1,600USD). This takes into account 3 meals a day, a public transport card, and a week in a hotel, which can all vary widely in price. The rest of your money will go to experiences and souvenirs.

The best time to visit Korea is from May to June and September to October, since this is the best time to see the cherry blossom trees bloom or watch the fall colors in the mountains. Moreover, the weather at this time is generally pleasant for locals and foreigners alike, making walking around more pleasant than in summer or winter.

Three days should be sufficient for a first trip to Korea, especially if you have a Discover Seoul pass , though one week is ideal. The pass enables you to visit key locations once for free, and best of all, get discounts on other destinations and experiences.

Here are the essentials to pack for Seoul: passport, credit cards, and travel medical insurance, as well as shorts, a sun hat, and tops with sleeves. Moreover, certain cellphones do not work in Korea, so you need to check if your phone is not region-locked or that it is equipped to intercept the networks provided in Korea, and possibly rent a phone for your trip.

3 days trip to korea

Seoul is known for having culturally diverse neighborhoods, full of history, good food, and memorable experiences. There are several fantastic neighborhoods I'd recommend staying in when you visit Seoul.

There’s always something that will pique your interest, but you have to make sure that the neighborhood matches your preferences - since you might choose to add to your Seoul itinerary by experiencing the bustling Seoul nightlife .

Specifically in Ichon-dong, this is probably the most convenient place to look for accommodation, especially if you want something quick and cheap. This is also a convenient location if you want to visit the most popular areas in Seoul for free , like the National Museum of Korea, Yongsan Family Park, and Ichon Han River Park.

Creatives and digital natives love coming to this hub because this neighborhood is panned towards the younger crowd. If you’re reminiscing about your college days, this is the neighborhood in Seoul for you.

Cafés regularly host language exchange parties, coffee and pub crawls , and art appreciation guilds. Sometimes buskers hold small concerts in the streets, from late afternoon into the wee hours of night.

Rub elbows with the rich and famous by staying in this Seoul neighborhood . With large-scale suites with spectacular views of the Seoul night sky, this area boasts popular attractions for those with luxurious tastes.

Apgujeong-dong and Garuso-gil, for example, hold multiple high-end luxury chains with clothes made by internationally renowned designers, and worn by the famous K-Celebrities we know and love (like Lisa of BLACKPINK and V of BTS).

3 days trip to korea

This is the city where tradition meets modernity, and you deserve to experience both sides during your 3 days in Seoul. This itinerary covers the basics and the must-sees of the city if you have limited time, with an optional extension to 7 days below.

Seoul Itinerary Day 1: Embracing Korea’s Traditional Side

Note: If your first day falls on a Monday or a Tuesday, you’ll want to move this day’s schedule to a later date— most of the palaces are closed on both those days.

Did you know that entry to any of the five Grand Palaces in Seoul is free when dressed in a hanbok ? Be sure to reserve a full day’s use online ahead of time to avoid the stress of long lines on the day of. The best thing about reserving online is that it also comes with a hefty discount.

Try checking the massive selection provided by the Hanboknam Gyeongbokgung Store , which actually has a Korean hairstyling service too! 

Stop 1: Gyeongbokgung Palace

Time: 9:30AM

Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Fee: Adults: ₩3,000, Children: ₩1,500; Groups have a discount, with ₩2,400 for Adults and ₩1,200 for children; It is free if you come wearing a hanbok.

The best way to start your day is to arrive at Gyeongbokgung Palace 30 minutes before it opens. That way you get to see the Opening Ceremony of the Palace Gates, and the procession that takes place as the guards shift their duties.

As you enter, the first thing you should do is fall in line to see Geunjeongjeon Hall. It’s quite a bit of a walk, and you’ll initially pass by the pumgyeseok (the markers court officials used to indicate where they should stand if the King calls for a meeting) before reaching the steps.

However, the view of the majestic ancient Korean architecture and the people wearing hanboks will make you feel like you have time-traveled all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty. As soon as you get to the red throne, you only have a few minutes to admire its splendor, so make sure to bring your camera with you.

If you’re able to join an English-language tour, your guide will certainly point out the parts of the palace that were heavily influenced by Chinese architecture , a fact quite revealing of the times.

Other notable parts of the palace are the Gyeonghoeru Pavillion, or what used to be the setting for lavish official banquets, and the beautiful Hyangwonjeong, a small temple-like structure on top of an artificial island on Hyangwonji Lake. 

There are plenty of things to do at Gyeongbokgung, but there’s a special tea ceremony that lets you drink the tea that delighted the King and Queen back then, and I’d highly recommend it. You’ll feel like royalty after just one sip. 

3 days trip to korea

Stop 2: Hwangsaengga Kalguksu

Address: 78, Bukchon-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03053 South Korea

Prices: ₩₩-₩₩₩

Notorious for being the “best noodle and dumpling shop” near Gyeongbukgung Palace, expect long lines of people dying to have a taste. Since these dishes don’t take long to cook, people don’t have to wait long to try some of their most famous offerings, like the cold soybean soup or the rich ox bone noodles. 

Stop 3: National Palace Museum of Korea

Time: 2:00 PM

Address: 12 Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Nearest Metro Stop: Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3, Exit 5)

Once you’ve enjoyed your meal, head back to the steps leading to the museum and walk further on in. This facility has everything you need if you wish to know more about Korea’s glorious and often difficult past.

Fourteen of Korea’s ‘National Treasures,’ including recovered pieces from the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire, are housed in this free museum . Periodically they even host events to educate the people who come, usually involving activities like calligraphy, tea ceremonies , and even Korean traditional dance lessons.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 4: Gwanghwamun Square

Time: 4:00PM

Fee: Adults: ₩3,000, Children: ₩1,500; Groups have a discount, with ₩2,400 for Adults and ₩1,200 for children.

This wide park is actually a huge commemoration site for the military strategist that led Koreans to victory during the Japanese invasion, Admiral Yi Sun-sin. His statue stands proudly next to the water fountain which entertains local kids every summer, and may be even more famous than the statue!

But this installation actually has a meaningful story behind it, because the water jets shoot exactly 18 meters high, with 300 smaller jets to symbolize the battles the Admiral fought on sea.

Meters away from the great admiral’s statue, an intimidating gold statue of Sejong the Great watches over you, perfect for taking selfies and startling visitors.

Stop 5: Cheonggyecheon Stream and Cheonggye Plaza

Time: 5:00PM

Address: 530 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

Just a 10-minute walk from Gwanghwamun Square is a long man-made stream that doubles as a public recreation space. I recommend coming here in the late afternoon because the sunset view is legendary; you can rest your weary feet in the stream as you wait for the night to come.

By then, the lights will turn on, illuminating the traditional lanterns above and the long strip that makes the stream sparkle below. This makes for a beautiful sight, most especially if you look at it from above.

If your trip hits around summer, the sunset may come around 8PM, and the wait can get quite hot & sweaty. So if you have plans to really see the sunset, swing by Cafe imA, a coffee shop next to the Ilmin Art Museum. Visitors rave about their Hamburg Steak (₩13,500), but you can also try their desserts and waffles (₩6,500-₩8,000).

There’s also Dal.Komm Coffee on the other side of the stream, near the starting point. Most of their coffee, juice, and tea selection ranges from ₩4,100 to ₩6,100, but their Real Strawberry Lemonade (₩5,300) is the best drink to beat the summer heat.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 6: Deoksugung Palace

Time: 7:00PM

Address: 99 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul

Fee:  Adults: ₩1,000, Children: ₩500; Groups have a discount, with ₩800 for Adults and ₩400 for children; It is free if you come wearing a hanbok.

Cap off your first day by visiting Deoksugung , or the small palace that used to be the residence of Korea’s Royal Family. Unlike the other Five Grand Palaces , this one has the Seokjojeon , a building that features a more prominent modern & western style that King Gojong would use to enthrall the diplomats who came to visit Korea.

It’s also a beautiful sight at night, and if you arrive before 7:30 PM, you should sign up for “Seokjojeon at Night.” This is an evening tour program that lets you stroll and observe Deoksugung’s highlights, enjoy tea at the terrace, and watch a musical performance at the reception area (where the King used to meet with important figures in history).  

Seoul Itinerary Day 2: Feel Young Again in Hongdae

Stop 1: Thanks Nature Cafe 

Time: 8:30 AM

Address: 29 World cup buk-ro 4-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Fee: ₩₩-₩₩₩

For breakfast , there’s a famous cafe nearby that lets you make friends with two massively fluffy and docile sheep. You can mingle with them in the playpen while waiting for your breakfast, or watch from afar if you’re just there for the pics.

They have a wide selection of coffee, smoothies, and breakfast waffles; you have to try the latter, as they only use seasonal fresh fruits on the waffles. Unfortunately, breakfast in Korea is always enjoyed at home, so not many spots are open super early.

An alternate nearby recommendation for vegans or vegetarians is Salad Brothers , a fantastic salad bar that lets you put as much dressing as you want. Their Cobb Salad is a crowd favorite because it packs quite a punch, even though the portions are small. Plus, the food is just as photogenic as their menu.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 2: Coconut Box – formerly known as the Trick Eye Museum

Time: 10:00 AM

Address: 20 Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Fee: ₩23,000  

I was sad to learn that they closed the Trick Eye Museum in Seoul; I had many fond memories there. Still, the replacement attraction of Coconut Box is a worthy visit— they reinvented the entire place into a Southeast Asian beach, with sand on the floor and wooden huts you can sit in.

You can pretend that you’re vacationing in a tropical island garden, but the real highlight of the visit is the “metaverse play” in one of their bungalows. Getting there at 10am, shortly after they open, will guarantee you’ll have the chance to enter & interact in one of the most famous paintings in the entire world: Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Stop 3: Abiko Curry

Address: 25, Hongik-ro, Mapo-gu Hotel Seokyo Annex B106, Seoul

Fee: ₩-₩₩

If you’re craving a good Japanese curry, Abiko Curry lets you enjoy variations of this dish at a reasonable price. Sure it’s a little cramped, but if you don’t mind that, I swear their tonkatsu is to die for, and Koreans basically consider it a local dish at this point. Set meals are also good for sharing, and the servers are kind to foreigners. 

3 days trip to korea

Stop 4: Caface Seoul

Address: 20 Hongik-ro 3-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Near Abiko Curry stands Caface Seoul. This popular spot is one of those ‘only in Korea’ kind of things, that lets you have your face printed as latte art. This is also the perfect way to commemorate your day in Hongdae, and then bring your masterpiece on a stroll around the neighborhood.

Just give them any of the selfies you took earlier, hand over ₩2700, and you can have a “face latte.” I know you’re too pretty to drink, but their coffee definitely tastes better warm – so drink it while it’s hot!

Stop 5: Hongdae Shopping Street

Time: 3:00 PM

Address: 365-8 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

In any trip, it is important to have a bit of time to do some quick retail therapy. In Hongdae, where the hip, young, and fashionable gather, most of the clothes for sale are aimed at the younger crowd.

But it’s amazing how much branded stuff has heavy discounts here, albeit mostly ‘free size’ (generically large or stretchy clothes), and there are a lot of ‘2 items for $8’ offers.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 6: Mapogalmaegi

Time: 7:00 PM

Address: 14 Hongik-ro 5an-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Expect lots of young women in here, because this restaurant is located close to Ehwa Women’s University. I’m a meat-lover, so I can’t let you vacation in Seoul without eating in at least one typical barbecue-type restaurant.

All Korean BBQ spots are best enjoyed with a group of people due to the layout, but most places will accept a single person unless they’re packed. Aside from meat, this spot offers soju or beer, and you can try a variety of delicious banchan to go with your meats of choice.

Another option is the Analog Garden, a charming coffee house that serves delicious salads. Though most of their dishes have meat and egg in it, a there's a vegan-friendly option called the "Falafel Wrap" worth ₩7,500.

If that is too small for you, get the "Falafel Plate" instead for ₩11,000. But what people actually come for is a homemade fake-meat set meal (soy-based), that’s said to go well with their roasted coffee.

Stop 7: Come back to Hongdae Shopping Street

Time: 9:00 PM

Come back here after dinner, because this is when the buskers come to perform. Around the performance areas are food stalls packed with delicious Korean foods for a couple bucks each; if you couldn’t or didn’t want to eat KBBQ for dinner, you can find something here.

The beauty about this place is that you can stay out late and still spot people roaming around, browsing and entering restaurants and bars. This is why most shops close past midnight here.

3 days trip to korea

Seoul Itinerary Day 3: See Iconic Locations in Seoul

Stop 1: K-Pop Square

Time: 10:30 AM

Address: Right outside Samseong Station, Exit 5

K-Pop Square is a large public area in Samseong, featuring a massive LED-screen that promotes show-stopping performances from the past. This is an ode to K-Pop, which is responsible for a large portion of the country’s tourism, and why Korea is so well known across the world.

Fans will also be happy to know that somewhere in the area is a wall that lets them hold hands with their favorite idols. Also known as the “K-Pop Handprint Wall,” big stars like BTS, Shinee, and even EXO are among the artists featured here.

Stop 2: Statue of Gangnam Style

Time: 10:45 AM

Address: 524 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

At first I just thought this was a strange gold installation of two hands shielding you from the sun, but when I finally got close to it, I knew immediately who it was: Psy oppa !

Though this ‘Gentleman’ has been relatively quiet since his 2012 hit, the song Gangnam Style remains in the Youtube hall of fame as one of the fastest to hit a billion views. If you know how to dance Gangnam Style, this is the perfect location for you to shoot a dance cover of the video. 

3 days trip to korea

Stop 3: Bongeunsa Seoraewon ( 봉은사 서래원)

Address: 531 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Imagine enjoying a warm meal inside a small Korean temple, without ever leaving Seoul. Bongeunsa Seoraewon lets you have that experience in the heart of the city, and the noodle prices are affordable too; most especially the sets.

After your meal, you can just walk outside and visit Bongeunsa Temple directly. What’s cool about this place is that it also has options for vegans (ask for their Bongeun Tofu).

Stop 4: COEX Starfield Library

Time: 1:30 PM

Address: 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

This is by far the most famous library in Seoul. It’s a real operating library, located inside the largest underground shopping mall in all of Asia: CoEx Starfield. Book lovers will cry at the sight of tens of thousands of books filling the 13-meter shelves.

Visitors also come to watch famous authors do book signing events, and famous poets visit to motivate young children to write.

The downside about this place is only that it is always crowded and noisy – it’s hard to appreciate the rare book you found if there are couples chatting on either side of you. But did I mention that this space is free? This is why people often try to sneak out the books, which I discourage you from trying. 

3 days trip to korea

Stop 5: COEX Aquarium

Time: 5:00 PM

Address: 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, 서울특별시

Fee: Adults: ₩28,000; Children: ₩24,000; Senior Citizens: ₩20,000

CoEx Aquarium in Seoul is for those who want to see marine life up close, with more than a hundred display tanks and over 40,000 sea creatures in various themed zones. Shark lovers will be thrilled to know that this is the aquarium that houses the highest number of sharks in Korea.

Touch pools also let you feel the fish (like the manta ray), allowing you to have a healing experience with nature in a safe setting.

Stop 6: Gosoo Dalgalbi Gangnam

Time: 7:30 PM

Address: 20, Teheran-ro 5-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Fee: Adults: ₩-₩₩

For dinner, you should definitely try the tastiest dakgalbi in Seoul. This is a famous Korean dish not common internationally, but very popular domestically. The dish consists of loads of chopped cabbage with tender bits of chicken rib meat, stir-fried in a thick, spicy sauce (that tastes so much better with cheese, in my opinion!).

What’s so wonderful about this place is that their special, the 치즈모듬사리 ( Cheese Modeumsari ), is a party plate full of cheesy rice cake and glass noodles that is perfect for sharing.

For a fun vegan option, come to Veg Green, a delicious vegan buffet that has a homey vibe - the staff will still smile at you, even if you come late at night for dinner. At just ₩12,000 per person, it’s full of options for those who enjoy large mixed salads, including fruits and jam in a cozy ambiance.

Stop 7: GSM Terrace

Address: 327-45 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Fee: Adults: ₩10,000 for unlimited drinks

Friends are important, and meeting fun people from diverse, cultural backgrounds may also make your stay in Korea a fulfilling one. Sure, it’s an activity for international people, but you may spot some Koreans who are seeking places to practice their English.

Additionally, you can play all sorts of games with them if you run out of things to talk about. Everything comes easy and natural here, and all people are welcome to join in the fun.

3 days trip to korea

If you find that 3 days in Seoul is not enough, you’re not alone. Most visitors spend 5-7 days in Seoul to get a taste of the culture, nightlife, and food in Korea.

The suggestions below are ideal for people who are looking for other things to visit on their Seoul vacation, since the first three days have pretty much hit all the popular places. A good alternative to Everland is Lotte World.

Seoul Itinerary Day 4: Everland Theme Park

Everland is a popular theme park in Seoul, perfect for people who just want to have a magical day with their date, family, or friends. With over 40 attractions scattered across five different themed areas, it might take an entire day or two to exhaust all of the attractions.

What I love about this place is that it always has festivals and seasonal events to entertain guests of all ages.

Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Address: 199 Everland-ro, Pogog-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do

Fee: Adults: ₩54,000 to ₩64,000; Children: ₩43,000 to ₩51,000; If you want to skip the line, you can buy the tickets ahead of time . There’s also a fun option of wearing a Korean school uniform, which you can rent online or on-site.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 1: Global Fair

If you’ve always wanted to travel to far-flung destinations, this fair lets you see the world all at once. Historical structures, both existing and ancient, line one area of this zone - and here you can see various architecture from different points in time, instantly turning you into a time traveler.

Stop 2: Live Hologram Adventure (Global Fair)

Time: 11:00 AM

Never been to a K-Pop concert before? That’s okay, because the Live Hologram Adventure lets you experience a 30-minute snippet of a K-Pop concert in high definition.

If you also decide to take pictures and videos, it’d look so realistic that you can trick your friends into thinking that you actually went to a BIGBANG concert.

Stop 3: Snack Buster for Lunch

When you’re in a theme park , you need a lot of grub to keep your energy levels high. Unlike other theme parks with food in small, reduced servings, Snack Buster has generous servings of high-quality Korean foods sold at an affordable price.

I highly recommend their Korean fried chicken with french fries and tteokbokki, because it’ll come in a plate that’s big enough to share with your family or friends.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 4: Carnival Square (European Adventure)

Time: 2:30 PM

Around this time you should join the people gathering by the Carnival Square, because this is when you get to witness a spectacular event only seen in Everland.

Here they’ll launch flowery floats with vivacious dancers and mascots, all inviting you to come join their party. Imagine being in Rio de Janeiro, but when you leave, you’re back in Korea.

Stop 5: Panda World (Zootopia)

Time: 3:15 PM

Need I say more? Pandas are such gentle creatures, and imagine entering a world full of these adorable bears. Everland’s Zootopia should be in your Seoul itinerary for this very reason. If you don’t like pandas and prefer a different animal, then next to this enclosure is the Friendly Monkey Valley.

Stop 6: Lost Valley (Zootopia)

Enjoy zipping through a safari, riding a tram that crosses difficult terrain dotted with real animals. To enjoy this experience, then join the queue at the Lost Valley, where you’ll find your ride crossing the stream.

The trip will take you  into landscaped enclosures full of large animals including elephants, giraffes, camels, and rhinos. And then, if there’s still time, your guide will let you hand-feed these animals, giving you a chance to interact with them up close.

3 days trip to korea

Step 7: Thunder Falls (Magic Land)

Time: 6:00 PM

Speaking of getting wet, there’s a fun flume ride in Everland that features backward drops and steep falls. It’s such a thrill to be on this ride, and the danger can be so exhilarating! But if you need more adrenaline rush, see if you can queue for the T-Express (aka. Everland’s Scariest Ride).

Step 8: Robot VR and Gyro VR (American Adventure)

Have you ever fantasized about channeling your inner Han Solo? These rides let you pilot a futuristic spaceship and navigate the stars. Sci-fi fans love this ride because the effects feel so real— the ride itself even follows the joystick you’re controlling!

Step 9: Four Seasons Garden & Rose Garden

Time: 8:00 PM

When the sun sets, this is the best area to end your day in Everland.  There’s always a light show with fireworks around this time, and a variety of performances that go along with it.

3 days trip to korea

Seoul Itinerary Day 5: Feel the National Pride

As a tourist, one of the best ways to experience Korea is to visit the location where they played host to countries from all over the world. Coming here, you’ll see the effort Korea puts forth in promoting peace and harmony, as well as soak in the welcoming spirit. Plus, Olympic Park is 100% free to visit!

Stop 1: World Peace Gate

Time: 9:30 AM

Address: 424 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul

The World Peace Gate is a marvelous winged structure that reveals a beautiful painting of a phoenix, tiger, turtle, and a dragon if you stand beneath it. This is called “A Painting of Four Spirits,” signifying the desire of Korea to be friends with everybody in the world.

As you stand underneath, it’s like a gate that genuinely welcomes you to enter and experience Korea. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful place to stand and reflect on your experiences in the country.

Stop 2: Olympic Museum

Learn more about the athletes that represented Korea in the past Olympic Games! Documentation about Korea’s best athletes, their training process, and even their histories are comprehensively explained here. Also, thanks to this museum, you’ll get to closely observe the gear used in the recent 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. 

3 days trip to korea

Stop 3: Olympic Park’s Peace Square

Address: 326, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul

If you time your visit around the last week of September to the first week of October this year, there will be a grand festival called the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival in the Olympic Park’s Peace Square.

Coming here lets you experience the rich Hanseong era in Korea, featuring food tastings, tea ceremonies, parades and performances, and even a demonstration of a hawk-aided hunting!

Moreover, the reason why they’re holding it here is because the Mongchontoseong Fortress area is known to be a remnant of the Baekje capital. Hopefully you’ll get to see this festival in person, because it truly is a fascinating way to learn more about Korea’s fascinating past.

Stop 4: Bukchon Hanok Village

Time: 4:00 PM

Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Perhaps one of the oldest villages in Seoul, this area dates back all the way to the Joseon Dynasty. Also called the “northern village,” this is also where two significant Seoul landmarks, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno, are located.

What’s admirable about this area is that people hold traditional events here, giving curious tourists an opportunity to get to know the Joseon dynasty even better. Fun activities such as hanbok wearing, etiquette demonstration, and even tea ceremonies are hosted by the people here, and all of these usually occur in the afternoon.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 5: Insadong Street

Address: Insadong, Jongro-gu, Seoul

One of the popular destinations in Korea, Insadong Street has a long array of lively stalls and shops to give you something to look at everywhere.This is also the best place to grab a quick snack, because they serve a variety of Korean foods you should make it a point to try.

If you’re interested in trying something new and enjoy green tea , track down O’Sulloc Tea House and order their matcha cake. Since this is one of your last days in Seoul, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Insadong is one of the best places to buy souvenirs for your family and friends!

Stop 6: Noryangjin Fish Market

Address: 674 Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul

I know that capping your day in a fish market is unusual, but after you swing by Insadong Street, head to the Jonggak Station and ride the subway to Noryangjin , because this is where people can eat the freshest seafood in Seoul.

You can even try the unique dishes they serve, most especially try delicacies that you definitely haven’t before - like the penis fish. You should come try the small octobps, king crab, and hwe (sliced raw fish) here, for example.

Don’t be shy if you can’t speak a lick of Korean because the people are so used to seeing foreigners that they have devised a way to make things easier and enjoyable for you.

3 days trip to korea

Seoul Itinerary Day 6: See Korea’s Highest Point

Stop 1: Namsan Park

Address: 231, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul

This public park is a nature-friendly rest area smack in the middle of the city. It has clear walking trails leading to Namsan Seoul tower, but I’d encourage you to take your time appreciating this quiet, vast expanse, because it has more facilities than your average park.

Aside from seeing gardens and free physical activity facilities, there’s also a library, a botanical garden, a memorial hall, and a culture center. 

Stop 2: Mok Myeong San Bang

Address: 71 Toegye-ro 20-gil, Namsandong 2-ga, Jung-gu 1F, Hannam Building, Seoul 04629 South Korea

People might have a hard time locating this place, but keep your eyes peeled for a hanok within Namsan Park. Mok Myeong San Bang is a vegetarian-friendly, healthy, traditional lunch restaurant that serves authentic Korean cuisine.

In fact, they pride themselves as chefs who never use artificial seasoning. I highly recommend their bibimbap , which is known to be the best in Seoul, but you should explore dishes like the crispy cheesy pancake and the yukhoe (raw beef).

3 days trip to korea

Stop 3: Namsangol Hanok Village

Address: 28 Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

After a savory lunch, walk to Namsangol Hanok Village on the north side of Namsan Mountain. Here you get to see homes that were restored to their original form to give tourists a sense of how people in the Joseon dynasty used to live.

Sometimes you may chance upon demonstrations that show people how to play a traditional board game ( yunnori ) or fold a traditional paper called hanji . Sometimes there’s also a fun segment on how traditional herbal medicines are made and used.

Stop 4: N Seoul Tower

Time: 4:30 PM

Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Fee: (Observatory) Adults: ₩11,000; Children: ₩9,000

Also known as the second highest tower in Seoul, Namsan Tower’s Observation Deck provides an unobstructed view of the whole city. There’s also a powerful telescope available for use that lets you have a high quality LCD view of wherever you’re pointing it at. 

Aside from museums and exhibitions, what people really come here for is attaching their own lock to Love Lock Bridge. This is the infamous site in Seoul where couples fasten a lock to symbolize their everlasting love— hence why there’s an area full of locks, and a booth that lets you customize your own to add to the bridge.

Stop 5: Lotte World Tower

Address: 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Fee: Adults: ₩27,000; Children: ₩24,000; Fast Pass for all ages: ₩50,000

After seeing the second highest point, go to the tallest building in the entirety of Korea! Lotte World Tower, just 55 minutes away from Namsangol Hanok Village. Sleek and slender with a gentle curved design, you can end your evening in a fantastically fast elevator, taking you directly to the highest point in Korea.

The ride also allows you to take great photos, because you get to see the entire city transition to night time as you arrive. Inside you can also test your courage as you walk through the highest indoor glass floor, giving you perspective of how high up in the sky you are (and how teeny every person looks from above).

3 days trip to korea

Seoul Itinerary Day 7: Enjoy the Night at Dongdaemun

Stop 1: Dongdaemun Seonggwak Park

Address: right outside Dongdaemun Station Exit 1

If you feel like doing a bit of walking in the afternoon, this little tourist trap has an uphill road that takes you to a nice park. It’s not as pretty as the other ones, but it has everything you need, and it's very conveniently located for a chill afternoon out.

Since it is a little bit elevated, you get to have a clear view of Dongdaemun , which lets you see the fusion of traditional and modern elements scattered around the city. Moreover, this is where the beautiful Heunginmun gate is located, perfect for pictures on your last day in Seoul.

Stop 2: Heunginjimun (Dongdaemun Gate)

Address: 288 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Don’t skip this gate before you leave. This is an ancient monument which used to stretch longer, as it used to be a fortress with three other gates. All four gates apparently have a meaning attached to their name, and Heunginjimun is loosely translated as “benevolence, with good energy.”

There’s also a semi-circular ongsung inside, which is a pagoda-like traditional structure that makes it stand out compared to the existing gates in Seoul. Plus, the reason we’re coming to see it at 6pm is because it lights up beautifully against the backdrop of cars.

3 days trip to korea

Stop 3: Bulgwangsikdang ( 부광식당 )

Time: 6:30 PM

Address: 207-26 Sungin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Not many are comfortable in crowded places, but for this one, most will surely make an exception. If you feel like eating a proper home-cooked meal for dinner, this is the best option in Seoul. Since this is more frequented by the elderly and locals, most of the meals are made to appeal to their taste.

But who knows, you might find your favorite Korean meal here! Plus, the owners are kind and friendly, making it a less intimidating place for foreigners to try. Vegans might want to swing by Vegan is Hip (비건이즈힙), a wide sandwich and waffle bar that offers choices that range from sweet potato, tofu salad, fruits, and vegetables.

Their waffles are super delicious, even if they are made with rice flour and plant-based cream, a combination that most non-vegans find challenging to like. If you choose to come here, try their apple jam whipped cream waffle, and you won’t regret it.

Stop 4: Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Address: 43 Eulji-ro 45-gil, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

See that majestic neon embryo thing? That’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This huge building is absolutely worth seeing at night, since it glows brightly and makes for a good aerial photo. There are lots of free things to do inside since this also doubles as a museum and an exhibition center.

Speaking of which, there’s a large LED screen that allows you to relax your eyes with soothing colors that dance along to therapeutic music. Take your time strolling around inside. There are plenty of fun things you can do, like browse inside for things to buy or check out the books on the shelves.

You can even play on the funny chairs that let you spin without falling! There are also rest areas that let you charge your phones while you sip the coffee from the food carts outside. If you’re a K-Pop fan and you like artists from SM Entertainment, you’ll be happy to know that SM Town is inside.

Stop 5: Dongdaemun Night Market

Time: 10:30 PM

The reason you should come here late in the day is to experience one of the best night markets in Seoul . Known as a fashion destination throughout Seoul, plenty of people frequent Dongdaemun Night Market to shop, play, and eat. The best part? Most of the stalls are open until as late as 5am!

3 days trip to korea

So you’re finally coming to Korea. Your bags are packed and your ticket is ready. Congratulations! But before you leave, here are helpful tips for visiting Korea that you might want to read before you arrive.

  • Learn some key phrases in Hangul – or download Papago

While most of the buildings and public spaces in Seoul provide English translations for foreigners, it is rarely enough to travel without learning a few key phrases . Trust me, you’ll want to know what to say if you need to know where the nearest station is or the cost of something.

If you cannot cram these many Korean phrases into your memory, I can relate, and I recommend that you have the Papago translation app ready to assist you just in case.

  • Learn basic etiquette 

Of course people don’t expect you to bow everywhere, but you should show them respect. One way to do this is, when you are giving or receiving things, you use both of your hands. As a foreigner, never call strangers ‘ahjussi’ or ‘ahjumma’ if you happen to talk to them, and most of all, learn how to respectfully address people in Korea .

  • You can connect to the internet almost everywhere in Korea, but get a Korean SIM card or wifi egg just to be safe 

Don’t assume that everywhere you go, the Internet will always be with you; most Koreans have cell phones with unlimited data now, so wifi is ironically harder to access. One of the hacks I’ve used to be able to connect while on the go is to find a metro station and connect to the free Wi-Fi in there.

But in cases where a station is quite far from you, and you need to use apps like KakaoMaps to sort out your route, it’s best to have a Korean sim card handy.

3 days trip to korea

  • Bring a power bank!

You never know when you’ll run out of battery, and Korea is a big city. Even though cafes let people stay for a long time, you may happen to come on days when most are either closed or crowded, so you can’t count on that.

Sometimes you can visit a convenience store and ask if they have ports to charge your phone, but if you don’t want a dead battery to ruin your trip, take a power bank with you (or buy one when you arrive).

  • Don’t rely on Google Maps

I cannot stress this enough! Google Maps doesn’t work in Korea, and what’s worse is that what they tell you is rarely accurate. Instead, download Kakao-brand apps when possible. Even though KakaoMaps is made primarily for Koreans in Korea, it is foreigner-friendly and even has an English version.

  • Ride public transportation instead of taxis

Taxis are expensive, but Seoul is even more expensive. Also known as the 7 th most expensive capital in the world, most of the fun things to do require you to shell out more money than you might want to.

So to save on your vacation to Seoul, when you can, choose to ride the subway or the bus. Both systems are very clean, extensive, and reliable.

  • Carry your own trash

Bring your trash back home with you. Unlike other cities where you can freely throw garbage in any bin, Seoul has very few public trash cans and a very specific system for sorting their waste.

In South Korea, there’s actually a national Zero Waste Policy which has resulted in 5 different types of trash and recyclables, each of which warrant a separate type of bin (I got a stern talking-to a few times over the years for using the wrong types of bags to toss my various types of trash).

I know this has been quite the Seoul travel guide, but that’s just proof that there’s plenty of things to do in Seoul. So whether you’re in Seoul for a week or just three days, I hope this Seoul itinerary can help you make the most of your trip.

More South Korea

A serene temple nestled among vibrant cherry blossoms and lush greenery, with a tranquil pond reflecting the surrounding natural beauty.

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vincent Liptrot says

July 13, 2023 at 2:57 am

great info in here about Seoul. As you can see many fun places are in small allies and harder to reach places. it can be tricky to navigate on your own an tiring by foot to get between sights, though have a wonderful time in Seoul and enjoy this excellent blog!

July 16, 2023 at 10:05 am

Thanks, Vincent!

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The Discoveries Of

3 Days in Seoul: The Perfect Seoul Itinerary

Seeing everything that Seoul, South Korea’s sprawling capital offers in a few days is no easy task. But this Seoul itinerary packs in Joseon Dynasty palaces, all-you-can-eat BBQ feasts and pop culture staples in just 3 days. Let’s adventure! 

I just got back from an action-packed trip to South Korea , and (no surprise) Seoul was a massive highlight reel. To say that I was moving non-stop from morning to night may give you an idea of how much there is to see and do in Seoul. So, when I wrote this itinerary, I made sure to make it as efficient as possible to help you make the most out of your trip. 

We’re going to explore where to get the best street food, see the city’s stunning palaces, fit in a day trip to the DMZ and soak up a (hopefully) glorious sunrise on an urban hike.

That’s all before seeing the idyllic hanok houses in Bukchon Village, and scoring some of those K-beauty supplies you’ve been waiting to stock up on at bargain prices. 

Long story short, you’re going to do a lot on this short trip and we’ve no time to waste. Here’s what you need to know for your 3 days in Seoul.

3 Days in Seoul Itinerary 

Day 1: explore seoul old and new.

3 days trip to korea

Welcome to Seoul. I’m guessing you haven’t slept off that jet lag entirely, but that’s ok. This city never stops moving, so you can get your day started no matter when you decide to roll out of bed. 

I’ll warn you – we’re going to hit the ground running on your first day. We’ll explore historic landmarks like Namdaemun Gate (the 14th-century pagoda that was once the southern entrance to the city) and the bright neon lights from the top of N Seoul Tower and more. Wear comfortable walking shoes and have a hearty breakfast. 

Walk Around Gwanghwamun Square

Gwanghwamun Square Seoul South Korea

There’s no better place to kick off your time in Seoul than seeing Gwanghwamun Square, the meeting place of old and new Seoul in the city’s centre. 

Once known as Hanyang, Seoul has over 500 years of history under Joseon rule, and you’ll notice plenty of tributes to that history dotted around this massive 555 x 34-metre (1,820 x 112-foot) town square. 

The most important (and prominent) figures are a statue of Sejong the Great (a Joseon ruler who legit invented the Korean alphabet) and the famed Yi Sun-sin, who helped defend Korea during the Imjin War. 

The square itself is where many of the administrative buildings were from the past to present, and is now an important gathering place for locals and tourists downtown. 

It’s also a mere few paces away from our next stop, the stunning Gyeongbokgung Palace. 

Tour Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul has always been the focal point for power in South Korea, which explains why by the early days of the Joseon Dynasty, the city boasted not one, not two, but five Grand Palaces and, you guessed it, Gyeongbokgung Palace was one of them. The late 14th-century palace is one of the most important reminders of Joseon Dynasty rule in South Korea. It still stands despite years of remaining dormant after it was burned to the ground during the Imjin War in the late 1500s and destroyed again during the Japanese occupation, where nearly all of its buildings were levelled to the ground. But during the 1990s, South Korea began rebuilding this iconic palace, and you can once again gaze in awe at the massive gate of Gwanghwamun at the entrance, with its pagoda architecture.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Also make time for the spectacular Heungbokjeon Hall with its gorgeous details carved from wood and stone – it was once an administrative building for the royal leaders.

If you have time to visit the National Palace Museum of Korea, you can check out an exhibit that shows the 30+ years of restoration at Gyeongbokgung Palace. 

Lunch at Insadong Hangane Bulgogi Jumak

Insadong Hangane Bulgogi Jumak Seoul South Korea-3

I imagine after a couple of in-depth history lessons, you’re ready for a lunch break. Luckily, you’re just a few blocks away from the ridiculously good Insadong Hangane Bulgogi Jumak. It’s a ten-minute walk to land at this fantastic restaurant which really offers one of the best deals in Seoul. 

For 18,000 Won (£11), I had a feast of stellar beef bulgogi, which included more banchan (complimentary tasty sides) than you’ll know what to do with. 

Insadong Hangane Bulgogi Jumak Seoul South Korea-2

As I mentioned, the bulgogi was pretty epic, but the pickled veggies, rice, and soup were all worth saving some room for.

It does get busy, but it’s definitely worth the wait. You can also often make the wait shorter by nabbing a spot at one of the traditional tables on the raised deck in the corner of the restaurant where you eat off a low table whilst sitting on a mat on the floor. 

This local favourite is closed on Saturday and Sunday, but the food (and view) at Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong are great too.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

South Korea has a rich history of art that spans thousands of years. From ancient calligraphists like Shin Saimdang to more recent abstract painters like Park Seo-bo, learning more about historical and contemporary art is a must. The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is where to go to learn more.

When it opened in 1969, it was the only place in Korea where you could see modern art from local and international artists and continues to deliver groundbreaking exhibits and events. Prime example? It was the first East Asian country to host collections from The Whitney and Albertina Museum. You can see works from Warhol, Niki de Saint Phalle, and other popular international artists. But I’d focus on the local artwork since you’ll only have a couple of hours here. From the legendary self-taught Park Su-geun, famous for his unique paintings of typical days in Korea in the mid-20th century, to a current exhibit highlighting decades of work from Korean Avant-Garde Association founder Kim Kulim – you’ll learn why Seoul is one of the most exciting cities in the world for art right now . 

If you have time, walk over to see the collection of roses in Theme Garden (also in Grand Park) too. 

Visit Jogyesa Temple

3 days trip to korea

While Buddhism is not quite as prevalent in Korea as it is in China, many South Korean residents have practised the religion for centuries, and you can find some beautiful temples throughout the country. Jogyesa Temple is a particularly stunning Buddhist temple, even if it is a bit younger than you might first guess. The beautiful, brightly coloured facade stands out as a symbol of old Korea amongst downtown Seoul’s office buildings and busy streets but is less than 100 years old. It’s still an active temple, with prayer, community events, and lectures happening frequently in this tranquil setting in the bustling metropolis.

If you visit between March and June, you’ll see the lotus lantern decorations. A rainbow of colours lights up the outdoor area near the temple and is nothing short of spectacular.

Chill Out at Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon Stream Seoul South Korea

Now it’s time to have a little break like a local. Walk over to a nearby section of the 10.9 km (6.7-mile) Cheonggyecheon Stream for a unique example of nature in an urban setting. The stream runs through the city from the nearby valleys of Inwangsan Mountain and is a great place to kill some time. While the story hasn’t always been so rosy (it was part of the city’s sewage system for decades before being covered by a freeway), it’s once again a tranquil site flowing through the ancient city. After a restoration project in the early 21st century, it’s now a popular urban park where locals hang out and relax near the water. There’s plenty to look at along the shores of the stream, with bridges, trees, and murals lining the long concrete banks. 

As it runs through the city’s centre, it’s also a nice relaxed way to walk between different neighbourhoods including Insadong and Mugyo-Dong.  

Art installations like the multi-coloured spiral horn are fun to look at year-round. But if you visit South Korea around Christmas, the decorations over the stream are really fun to see.

Check Out the Namdaemun Gate

Sungnyemun (also known as the Namdaemun Gate) is a beautiful Joseon-dynasty gate on the southern side of the city and was one of 8 gates in total.

The gorgeous Pagoda-style gate sits atop large stone steps and is a striking reminder of the Joseon-dynasty rule. It was restored only a few years ago, but this fire was a bit different than many that destroyed Korean artefacts under Japanese occupation. It was actually an elderly Korean resident who committed arson and was responsible for destroying a large section of the elaborate building and roof. Tragic.

It took nearly 25 billion to complete the project, but you can see the iconic symbol how it was always intended to look when you visit the gate.

Eat and Drink in Itaewon

If you’re getting hungry again, I can’t blame you a bit. It’s been a full day. I have just the remedy for you, and it’s dinner and drinks in the vibrant Itaewon. The multicultural neighbourhood is a popular destination for locals and tourists and a perfect place to find food and drinks worldwide.

Your options are endless, but I have a couple of suggestions. If you want traditional Korean food, Maple Tree House serves delicious Korean BBQ in a stylish room. And if you’re in the mood for something different, head to Mikkeller Bar Seoul, where you can try craft beer and food at one of the famed Danish brewer’s South Korean outposts.

Take Namsan Cable Car Up to The N Seoul Tower and Visit the Observation Deck

N Seoul Tower

Now that you’ve seen many of the most historic sites in Seoul, it’s time to check it all out again from a bird’s eye view. What’s the best way to see Seoul at night? From the top of N Seoul Tower, no doubt. Once you reach the top, the observation deck offers some of the most incredible views of the city.

You can hike up, which takes about 30 minutes, but I think taking the Namsan Cable Car is worth the £16 ($20) round trip, especially at night. The views of the city and N Seoul Tower itself are spectacular, so long as you’re diligent about elbowing your way to the window so you can see them. 

Views of Seoul from Observation Deck N Seoul Tower South Korea-3

I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t much of any attractions at the top (BUSAN X in Busan has 3 levels of features to enjoy), but there is the N Grill restaurant, which I hear is actually pretty good. 

If you need to use the bathroom, this is the opportunity to do it – as you’ll enjoy the same amazing views of the bright lights from the buildings and highways from your stall as you do on the observation deck. 

Lock in your tickets to N Seoul Tower ahead of time to pick a perfect time slot .

Day 2: Shopping, Eating and Sightseeing

Insadong Hangane Bulgogi Jumak Seoul South Korea

No matter how many days you have in Seoul, you need to fit in some shopping, plus the lively food markets, futuristic malls, and hanbok shops in Bukchon Hanok Village require at least a half day to explore. 

So, on your second day in Seoul, bring your tote around town to see what surprises you can take home after your trip. 

But since this is only a 3-day itinerary, I planned a full day of sightseeing that includes some of the city’s best outdoor spaces, a Joseon Dynasty palace, and a fantastic little cocktail bar I found on my last trip. Enjoy.

Walk Around the Gardens at Changdeokgung Palace

Changgyeong Palace Seoul South Korea-6

Now, out of the 2 Joseon Dynasty royal palaces I visited, Changdeokgung Palace was my favourite. Why? Even though it’s not quite as famous as Gyeongbokgung, there’s actually a lot more to see here. For starters, the palace grounds are huge, at over 57 hectares. There are 13 buildings, and nearly ⅓ of them were not damaged when Japan occupied South Korea in the early to mid-20th century. 

Another plus? The architecture is slightly different from other royal palaces and the garden was left in a more natural-looking state.

Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul South Korea-2

Pop into the palace’s buildings to try the AR experience where you can “attend” a historical 60th birthday party for the emperor’s mother as if you were one of the guests. It’s a really interesting experience and  talks you through the event.  I haven’t seen this done before, but it was a great way for building historical context for the ways in which the palace buildings would have been used in the past. 

Palaces aside, the secret gardens are the star of the show. Featuring beautiful pavilions, a large pond, and several types of trees lining the pathways, you need to make some time to walk around them and take in the scenery.

My favourite part? The aesthetic changes dramatically by the season, especially when the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring and when snow covers the buildings and landscape in the winter.

The palace and gardens are closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly. 

Stroll Through The Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

South Korea is famed for its stunning hanok villages – old villages with traditional hanok houses, one of the most famous of which is in Jeonju. If you can’t plan a day trip to Jeonju, don’t worry. There’s another historic Joseon-era village right here in Seoul and it’s every bit as scenic. Bukchon Hanok Village is an enclave of about 900 houses along cobbled streets that date back as far as 600 years. This is one of the best places in South Korea to see the houses from the Joseon Dynasty era, with museums and stores inside some of the historic buildings. Want the perfect photo? You can rent a hanbok from 한복남 경복궁점 Hanboknam Gyeongbokgung hanbok rental shop, and walk around the village looking for the best perspective. It’s an excellent way to take a time warp and get some fun photos for social media. 

Bukchon Hanok Village Seoul South Korea-4

I won’t lie – outside of the early hours, it is packed with tourists, but that’s part of its charm I guess. 

There are some excellent museums to see in the area too. Don’t miss the Bukchon Asian Cultural Art Museum, where you can see artefacts from the village dating far back into the Joseon-era.

Shopping in Samcheong-Dong

Every Seoul travel itinerary needs to feature a stroll through Samcheong-Dong. If this neighbourhood already looks familiar, you’re not mistaken. You were right next to it at the Bukchon Hanok Village, and much of the same old-world charm remains in Samcheong-Dong. Walk around the narrow alleys and steep staircases, and you’ll be treated to plenty of modern shops, murals, and restaurants (try the handmade dough soup at Samcheongdong Sujebi if you need a snack). Check out the clothing boutiques, tea shops, and K-beauty stores like Beauty of Joseon in one of the most charming areas in Seoul. 

Mellow Out at Han River Park

Han River is one of Korea’s most iconic bodies of water, stretching from Kangwŏn through Seoul to the Yellow Sea. Hangang Park is a wonderful place to enjoy peace and quiet by the famous river, in one of 12 different parks in the city. I chose Yeouido Park as a stop for your trip because it’s on the way to The Hyundai Seoul and offers a great chance to people watch and get some exercise on the tree-line paths near the Han River. It’s a local spot that’s equally fun for tourists.

If you end up doing this later in the day, head to Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market for some excellent food, but it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays from April to October.

Pop in to the Pop-Ups at The Hyundai Seoul

A department store as a must-see on your holiday in Seoul? Absolutely. And if you know anything about K-pop (I’m guessing you do), this shopping centre is going to be a really fun stop for you. The K-culture pop-up features numerous exhibits from famous K-pop groups, some not as well-known ones, and even actors like Lee Dong-wook, who sold packages of souvenirs to fans in November. There’s also plenty of snacks you can try if all the sightseeing makes you work up an appetite. There are lots of fun, international options, but you need to try Le Freak. It’s a “burger” joint, but it’s actually a fried chicken sandwich. Korean fried chicken is incredible, and this fast food restaurant deviates a bit from tradition but nails it with a Nashville Hot and Garlic Soy option. But even if the pop-up market isn’t your thing, the department store itself is really cool. It’s a beautiful space inside filled with striking modern architecture and lots of indoor plants for a welcoming feel.

Street Food at Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market Seoul South Korea-

I hope you shared the sandwich at The Hyundai because you’ll need an appetite when you visit Gwangjang Market. The 118-year-old market is one of Korea’s most famous places to eat, and you can honestly find just about any South Korean cuisine imaginable at this local haunt. So, how do you narrow in and really find the best thing to eat? Look no further than Sunhui-ne Bindaetteok, the crazy popular mung bean pancake shop that makes them better than you’ll find… anywhere. 

Gwangjang Market Seoul South Korea-

This isn’t your Western breakfast pancake. It’s so much more. The crispy exterior is full of flavour and ingredients, including succulent pork, spicy kimchi, and assorted veggies to give you some sustenance for the evening. If you want more than a quick snack, find a stall selling knife-cut noodles (Gohyang Kalguksu) and enjoy them with a savoury broth that should hold you over until your next meal.

Happy Hour at Ace Four Club

Ready to party? Seoul is a lively city, where the party always seems to be going on, but if you want something a bit more sophisticated, you want to head to Ace Four Club in the trendy Euljiro-dong neighbourhood.

For starters, the vibe is just incredible. It’s a brilliant ​​ fin-de-siecle cocktail bar in a 60-year-old teahouse with beautiful views from the hardwood tables in the dimly lit space. 

But it’s not just surface-level stuff here. No, the cocktails are exquisite. The menu leans simple and classic (which I love) without too many surprises. But the negroni, old-fashioned, and high ball are all made with expert precision and the finest products. But alas, I could enjoy a G&T made by the most jaded bartender and still enjoy the timeless decor and genuine energy at this hidden gem in Seoul.

Go For a Night Out in Nogari Alley 

Nogari Alley is a street open-air drinking spot with cheap drinks and a lively atmosphere. Perfect place to kick start the last night of your Seoul 3-day itinerary, isn’t it? Euljiro is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Seoul, and Nogari Alley is its liveliest street. Think make-shift dining tables pulled out onto the sidewalks and streets with a young, local crowd chowing down on fried chicken, burgers, and beers. Have a hankering for Western food? The Ranch Brewing Euljiro sells square pizzas and craft beers in a lively setting popular with locals. It’s a lot of fun.

Day 3: Hiking, Visiting the DMZ, and Spa Time

N Seoul Tower

It’s the final day of your Seoul trip itinerary. You’ll cover a lot of ground on foot and drive to the DMZ, but you’ll finish the day with a luxurious spa treatment in one of Seoul’s best spots. 

Climb Inwangsan 

You’re going to have to wake up, rally, and head out to the hiking trails early on Day 3. But trust me, the views from the top of Inwangsan will wipe away any brain fog from the bright lights and stiff drinks the night before. Climb up this short but challenging hike in Jongno-gu, which has over 550 feet of elevation gain, making you question the literal translation of Inwangsan to “compassionate/benevolent king.” I promise, the views of the sun rising over the city will put a smile on your face once you’ve caught your breath.

You can’t hike this trail on Mondays (it’s closed), so you’ll need to move this to another time if Monday is the final day of your trip.

Walk Through Seodaemun Prison 

The 20th-century Seodaemun Prison was once known as Keijo Prison under Japanese occupation. During the years of colonial rule, the jail quickly went from 500 to nearly 3,000 inmates, with harsh conditions that included torture and murder. Sad, but true. Korean independence activists spent decades in prison until it was turned over to South Korea after World War II. Now, you can tour the property and learn about the inmates’ stories and struggles in a very moving memorial, which I think everyone should do on their trip to South Korea.

You can preorder tickets for around £1.80 ($2.25) here

See North Korea at the DMZ or Visit Aegibong Peace Ecopark/i

Aegibong Peace Ecopark

You won’t have time for a full tour if you want to fit in other activities, so you’ll miss a few highlights of the Korean DMZ. The stretch of demarcation on the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea is a popular area to visit to learn more about the history of the Korean War and it also offers a glimpse into North Korea. Luckily, Aegibong Peace Ecopark is an excellent alternative to the standard DMZ tour, with loads of information about the history of the war and a peek into one of North Korea’s most important cities: Pyongyang (granted from far away).

The drive takes 1.5 hours each way, and you’ll want to avoid peak commute times, which you can bypass by leaving after 10 am and returning before the evening rush hour.

Korean BBQ and Nightlife in Myeongdong

Myeongdong Seoul South Korea

Keep the party going in Myeongdong, where the busy shopping district transforms into a nightlife paradise, with neon lights covering everything from the storefronts to the trees lining the bustling avenues. Before you go out for a nightcap, be sure to visit one of the city’s favourite BBQ joints, Chung Ki Wa. Order a plate of the signature spare ribs. The secret sauce is insane, and for about £18 ($22), you’ll have enough food to handle cocktail hour.

Myeongdong is a huge neighbourhood with tons to see, but you have to check out Myeongdong Sukui. You’ll need to track down the speakeasy (it’s on the 4th floor of this building ) and kind of trust your instincts to locate the elevator. But trust me, it’s worth the effort to try one of the perfectly-made cocktails.

Call ahead to reserve a spot, the secret is out

Jijimbang at Spa Lei

South Korea has a rich history of spas (Jijimbang), which date back to royalty in the Joseon Dynasty era, taking advantage of the natural hot springs throughout the country. 

Spa culture in Seoul is a 24/7 affair, with many of the best houses staying open around the clock. Make like a true South Korean and go for a cleansing Jijimbang at the end of your night out. 

 My favourite, Spa Lei, is one such place, making it the best activity to cap off your time in Seoul. Entrance to the spa is around £25 – you can pay that by card, but you need to have cash to pay for massages / scrubs within the spa itself. I opted for the 1 hour scrub and massage combo and it cost around £70. 

This isn’t necessarily a relaxing experience, but you will come out feeling brand new. Guaranteed. Think of an ultra-modern Art Nouveau setting using traditional Korean products.

If you are going to have a scrub, definitely make sure you spend some time moving between the warm baths first (min 30 mins) as it helps soften your skin. I’ve had a lot of scrubs before but this one was *vigorous* so you’ll definitely benefit from having prepped your skin a bit beforehand. 

Have More Time? Add These To Your Itinerary 

If you have time to stretch your trip out a few more days, I’d highly recommend adding a day trip to another one of South Korea’s beautiful cities. There are many different locations to choose from, and the KTX high-speed train connects you to the top of many of the destinations in the country in under 3 hours. Here’s a look at a couple of the best.

Gamcheon Village Busan South Korea-4

The KTX will bring you to Busan in around 3 hours, and the first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful this city is. Located on the southeastern point of the peninsula, you can catch outstanding ocean views from the top of the tallest skyscraper, BUSAN X the SKY, or from a scenic cable car on Busan Air Cruise.

There is some excellent food here, too. If you’re at the popular Haeundae Beach, go to Korean Steak Grill 전설의 우대갈비 해운대직영점, and enjoy a plate of Korean BBQ that’s expertly cooked and sliced at your table.

Jeonju South Korea

If you’re looking to slow down a little and take in the scenery, food, and culture of one of South Korea’s most charming towns, jump on the KTX from Yongsan Station and arrive in Jeonju in a few hours for under £30 ($38).

You’ll find that Jeonju Hanok Village is the most charming historical Korean village in the country, with somewhere between 700-800 Joseon Dynasty-era-inspired houses (who’s counting?) lining the idyllic cobbled streets. 

Rent a hanbok dress and amble about the village, stopping at Gyeonggijeon Shrine to learn more about Joseon Dynasty’s first ruler, King Tae-jo, who was born in Jeonju.

Jeonju South Korea

But do save time to explore more of Jeonju, where the famous bibimbap dish was invented. It’s a culinary delight and an official UNESCO City of Gastronomy with hidden gems around every corner like the excellent 경성금돼지 – Pork Grill Restaurant. Try the cold noodles with sizzling cuts of pork and heaping spoonfuls of kimchi for a perfectly balanced treat.

Handy Tips for Planning Your Seoul Trip

  • Getting around Seoul via bus and subway is really easy – simply buy and charge a transport card and use it to tap in and out of the relevant locations. 
  • Use Naver or Kakao – Google Maps doesn’t really work in South Korea. 
  • While it’s possible to fit in a trip to the DMZ, it may come at the expense of a couple of other locations. Prioritise what you want to see the most and visit those locations over your first 2 days in the city.
  • While South Korea is mostly card-friendly, there are a few instances (like in the spa) where you need to pay in cash, so have some Korean Won with you at all times. 

Recommended Tours

Insadong Seoul

What to Pack 

  • Comfy sneakers, you’ll be on your feet a lot during your 3 days in Seoul.
  • Bring a universal travel adapter to use with the plugs, which include both Type C and Type F.
  • If you’re travelling in the winter, you’ll want a warm jacket, hat, and gloves.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight tops that cover your shoulders and chest in the summer, as South Korean women dress more conservatively. 

Recommended Hotels

3 days trip to korea

Quick Info for Your 3 Days in Seoul 

  • Time Zone: Korean Time Zone (GMT+9)
  • Currency: South Korean won
  • Plugs: Type C, Type F
  • Nearest Airport: Incheon International Airport (ICN)
  • 5 Must-See Spots: N Seoul Tower, Gwangjang Market, Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Cheonggyecheon Stream. 
  • Top Tip: Ditch your Google Maps and use Naver or Kakao to navigate the sprawling city. 

Getting Around 

Seoul has excellent public transportation, which you can rely on to get just about anywhere in this itinerary. The train and bus system is easy to navigate. Just charge up your card as you go, and you can dip in and out of each ride.

Read All Seoul Guides

Views of Seoul from Observation Deck N Seoul Tower South Korea-3

Read More South Korea Guides

  • How to Spend 10 Days in South Korea
  • Cool Things to do in South Korea
  • The Best Things to do in Busan

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3 Days in Seoul

I’m Julianna Barnaby - a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. I started The Discoveries Of to help you to discover the best of new destinations from around the world.

Discovering new places is a thrill - whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, I write to help you explore more and explore differently.

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The Ultimate Seoul Itinerary – 3 Days in Seoul

Written By: Jade House

City Guides , South Korea

Updated On: May 20, 2021

Seoul Itinerary what to do in Three Days in Seoul

Looking for a fun Seoul Itinerary that ticks all the boxes? This guide for 3 days in Seoul is the perfect blend of must-do sight-seeing and activities alongside casual wandering and unmissable food stops.

Having spent three years living in Asia and visiting all kinds of cities across the region, Seoul remains one of my favorites. Three days is a great amount of time to see the city and this Seoul itinerary will help you make the most out of every minute!

Table of Contents

The Perfect 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

There are some affiliate links in the post below where theplanetd will earn a commission if you make a purchase but there is no extra cost to you!

  • Day 1 in Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village , Insadong
  • Day 2 in Seoul – Inwangsan Peak, Gwangjang Market, Myeongdong N-Seoul Tower 
  • Day 3 in Seoul – Changdeokgung. Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gangnam, Common Ground

About this Seoul Itinerary

three days in seoul itinerary

Seoul is a huge city, but much of what you’ll want to see is within a smaller area of the center. This Seoul itinerary encourages quite a bit of walking. Not only is this often the easiest way to get around, but there are so many picturesque streets in between sights that you won’t want to miss out on.

Thankfully, for those times you do need public transport, Seoul’s public transport systems are fantastic.

  • You can read more tips on what transit cards to get further down in this post.  further down in this post

3 Days in Seoul Itinerary Map

seoul itinerary map

You can  click on it to open  in another window and save for reference for your future Korea trip. This should make it easier to plan out your 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary. Click to see full Seoul Itinerary  map here

Day 1 in Seoul

Day 1 of this Seoul itinerary is going to take place in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul where you will be able to walk between all the main attractions.

  • If you are staying in the Bukchon Hanok Village, you won’t need to take public transport at all!
  • If you are staying in another Seoul neighborhood, the best metro stops for the following sights are Gyeongbokgung, Anguk, and Jonggak.

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace

vast complex of Gyeongbokgung with modern seoul in background

Seoul’s royal palaces are some of the most important sights in the city, so where better to start your 3 days in Seoul than at Gyeongbokgung Palace? This was the main palace for 200 years of Joseon Dynasty rule, and the current restoration is stunningly detailed.

There were once 500 buildings spread out over this large complex but not all stood the test of time. Gyeongbokgung is a vast complex and can get very busy, so I recommend arriving early and staying until you get hungry.

If you’ve come via metro to the Gyeongbukgung stop, you may be lucky enough to grab one of the high school and university kids offering free tours to practice their English!

My favorite area is Hyangwonjeong, the royal pavilion which sits upon a man-made lake at the rear of the palace. This is such a peaceful spot to sit and let your mind daydream about the lives of Korea’s royals in the Joseon Period.

The Gate Guard Duty Performance at the main gates is at 11 am and 1 pm.

  • Hours : 9am-5pm, closed on Tuesdays
  • Free guided tours are available at 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. If tours aren’t your thing, it is still great to just wander and soak it in.
  • Location: Sajik-ro
  • Subway Station: Gyeongbokgung (Orange Subway Line 3)

2. Bukchon Hanok Village

traditional hanok house - world cultural heritage in Seoul

Continue your day tour of Seoul by heading out of the Geonchunmun Gate of the Gyeongbokgung Palace towards the top of Bukchon Hanok Village. Turn onto Samcheong-ro, and once you reach Bukchon-ro, you can get lost in the myriad alleys of this charming neighborhood.

Bukchon’s traditional Hanok homes and buildings are absolutely beautiful and exploring here will give you an idea of what Seoul would have looked like hundreds of years ago.

A UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Bukchon Hanok is a must-visit in Seoul.

hanok village seoul how to plan seoul itinerary

Just remember that this is a residential area, so do respect people’s privacy when taking photos.

While most homes are residential, there are a few you can peek inside for a small fee and others have been turned into shops, galleries, and restaurants.

You’ll likely be hungry at this point, and the streets around Bukchon are perfect for refueling with a bit of old-world atmosphere.

Hours:  You can visit anytime of day but be extra respectful after dark.

Cost: Free.

Location: Bukchon-ro

Metro stop: Gyeongbokgung or Anguk (Orange subway Line 3)

3. Insadong

giant paintbrush entrance to Insadong Seoul

After a lunch break, it’s time to continue your walking tour of Jongno-gu to Insadong-gil, Seoul’s center of the creative arts!

Here you’ll find art galleries, art stores, and plenty of adorable tea shops to stop by in.

This would be a fantastic place to grab a souvenir!

One thing we never left Insadong without is a box of Korean Honey String candy.

You’ll likely hear these streetside desert vendors before you see them as they’ll be singing while making their incredible candies.

This is a royal dessert made from water, sugar, maltose and white vinegar stretched into thousands of hair-thin strands and wrapped lovingly around a center of crushed peanuts.

You can buy a box for around $5.

Location: Insadong-gil

Metro: Anguk (Orange Line 3)

4. Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa Temple what to do in seoul itinerary

From Insadong-gil it is a short walk over to the impressive Jogyesa Temple.

Right in the heart of the city, this complex is the core of the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism and an extremely important place of spirituality for Koreans all over the country.

To learn a little more about Jogyesa and the Jogye Buddhists you can pop into the Information Centre for foreigners.

Here you can chat to the English-speaking monks whose task it is to educate visitors.

Often decorated for various festivals and events, Jogyesa is the perfect introduction to the colorful and intricate architecture of Korean temples. Don’t forget your camera!

Hours:  5am-9pm.

Cost:  Free.

Location:  55 Ujeongguk-ro.

Metro:  Anguk (Orange Line 3) or Jonggak (Purple Line 1).

5. Gwanghwamun Square

seoul travel Gwanghwamun Square

Continuing on foot once more, make your way from Jogyesa Temple to Gwanghwamun Square.

This long and lively pedestrian area boasts unbeatable views of Gyeongbukgung Palace and Bukhansan National Park to the north and is flanked by the Sejong Performing Arts Centre and the mighty US Embassy.

Two giant statues sit upon the square, one of King Sejong and the other of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin. Both of these men have played integral parts in Korea’s history – one even created the Korean alphabet!

You can pop below the King Sejong Statue down to a small but excellent museum to find out more about the lives of these great leaders.

Hours:  9am-7pm

Cost:  The Square and the Museum are both free.

Location:  Sejong-daero

Metro:  Gwanghwamun (Pink Line 5)

6. Cheonggyecheon Stream

seoul itinerary

By now it is likely getting towards sunset time, and Gwanghwanmun Square and nearby Cheonggyecheon Stream are the perfect places to watch from.

Both offer wide open spaces with plenty of foreground for epic sunset shots!

Interestingly, before the Korean War, this stream flowed naturally through the city but was covered up when transport needs grew too large in downtown Seoul. The stream was restored in 2005 and cost nearly a billion dollars!

Cheonggyecheon is a really relaxing place to finish this walking tour of Jongno-gu district and, if it’s warm enough, you can even take off your shoes and soak your feet in the stream!

The streets between the stream and Jonggak-ro are full of bars and restaurants, making it an ideal spot to end your first day in Seoul.

Location:  Cheonggyecheon-ro adjacent to Sejong-daero

Metro:  Jonggak (Purple Line 1)

Read More about Seoul

  • Where to Stay in Seoul: Guide to the Best Neighborhoods
  • 21 Incredible Things to Do in Seoul
  • Jade’s Expat Guide to Travel in South Korea

Day 2 in Seoul

On your second day in Seoul, it’s time to head out of Jongno-gu district and explore some of Seoul’s best views.

Seeing Seoul from above is one of my favorite things to do in the city!

Seoul Itinerary Map Day 2

three days in seoul map day 2

Click here for the Interactive Map!

7. hike inwangsan mountain.

korea tour seoul day 2 hike Inwangsan Mountain

Start your second day in Seoul getting involved in one of South Korea’s favorite pastimes: hiking!

The Inwangsan Peak hike is one of many easily accessible walks in Seoul.

You will be following the old city walls of Seoul up to an unbeatable view over the Jongno-gu district you explored yesterday and across the rest of Seoul.

Seeing the royal palace from above is really cool after being in the thick of it.

To get to the trailhead, take the metro to Muakje station and get out at exit 2.

From there you should be able to find the wooden steps into Muakje park and then up onto Inwangsan Peak.

Hours:  It takes around 2 hours to hike Inwangsan

Location:  Inwangsan-ro

Metro:  Muakje (Orange Line 3)

8. Gwangjang Market

things to do in korea eat at Gwangjang Market

After your hike, you are going to be hungry! Get back onto the metro and head down to Jongno-5-ga station. From there make your way on foot to Gwangjang Market.

This fantastic indoor food market has an incredible selection of Korean specialties and is a great place to try lots of different street food.

Korean food is absolutely delicious and really varied, so I suggest following your nose and heading to any busy food stall.

The Mungbean pancakes and Gimbap (like Korean sushi) are easy to recognize and really tasty snacks.

Hours: 8.30am – 6pm (11pm for some restaurants)

Location: Changgyeonggung-ro

Metro: Jongno-5-ga (Purple Line 1)

9. Myeongdong

things to do in South Korea Seoul

From Gwangjang Market you can walk along to Dongdaemun metro station and take the metro all the way down to Myeongdong station.

Exit the station through the labyrinth of tunnels and find yourself in Seoul’s buzzing shopping district!

This area is alive with sights, smells and sounds and is just a fascinating place to get lost in.

The streets are mostly pedestrianized and it gets very busy with foot traffic! If it gets a bit much for you, head into a coffee shop (there are many!) and people watch with a perfectly brewed beverage in hand.

Coffee shops and shopping are two other favorite Korean pastimes!

Hours:  Most shops and restaurants stay open until 11 pm

Location:  Myeongdong-8-gil

Metro:  Myeongdong (Blue Line 4)

10. N – Seoul Tower

3 days in seoul itinerary namsan hill

Namsan hill rises up just south of Myeongdong and offers another amazing vantage point over the city of Seoul, especially if you go all the way up to the N-Seoul tower on top.

If you can handle another small hike, I definitely recommend skipping the cable car to walk up to the N-Seoul tower on top of Namsan Hill.

Again, it isn’t a strenuous hike with stone steps leading up most of the way. The viewpoints along the trail more than make up the effort!

places to visit in Seoul -Seoul tower at sunset

You’ll definitely want to time your visit to N – Seoul Tower with the sunset. If you are a little early, then you can grab a drink from the shop at the bottom of the tower and wait for it.

Seeing the sky turn orange, and then all the millions of neon city lights come on one by one across the crazy landscape of Seoul is incredible!

Did you know that South Korea is 75% mountainous? You’ll believe it when you see the views from the N-Seoul Tower.

Hours: 10am -11pm

Cost:  Entry costs just 10,000won which is just under $9. A return trip on the cable car is 9,500won.

Location: Sopa-ro

Metro: Myeongdong or Hoehyeon (Blue Line 4)

11. Hongdae Nightlife

what to do in seoul at night markets

After you’ve made your way back down Namsan Hill, get back on the metro and get to Hongik University station for a night out in Seoul’s fun University neighborhood.

Hongdae is another crazy area of shops, cafes, bars, coffee shops and restaurants and our favorite place to be once the sun goes down.

You can bar-hop in Hongdae until the early hours and try all of Korea’s unique alcoholic beverages, including Soju and Makgeolli.

This is a great place to get Korean BBQ or Korean Fried Chicken for dinner – I bet you’ll be craving both once you leave!

One more classic Korean activity to seek out in Hongdae is karaoke.

Location:  Eoulmadang-ro

Metro:  Hongik University (Green Line 2)

Recommended Day Trips from Seoul

Travelling to Seoul but not sure when and where to book tours? Make sure you don’t miss out on these incredible experiences and use a booking service like  GetYourGuide  to book tours, attractions, excursions & activities – either in advance or on the spot. You can find some suggestions below or simply search for  city tours  on your next Seoul trip.

North Korea is in the news a lot these days and everyone is fascinated with knowing more about this unknown country.  Book a trip to the Joint Security Area  and learn about how the demilitarized strip of land came about. Get a rare glimpse of North Korea from the Dora Observatory.

Visit the most popular temple in Korea and hike to the top of Korea’s third highest mountain on this  Seoraksan National Park and Naksana Temple Tour.  This 12-hour tour  takes you through the Baekdam Valley to the Buddhist temple of Baekdamsa and the ancient Naksansa Temple.

All trips have easy cancellation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

Day 3 in Seoul

The final day of your 3 days in Seoul begins with another top attraction before moving on to discover the modern sides of the city and new neighborhoods.

Seoul Map Day 3 Itinerary

Seoul itinerary 3 days map

Click here for an interactive map!

12. changdeokgung.

Korea trip Seoul Changdeokgung Palace

After a potentially heavy night in Hongdae, wake up slowly and then spend a relaxing morning exploring Seoul’s secondary Palace, Changdeokgung.

Set on extensive grounds, Changdeokgung is another stunning example of Joseon-era architecture. Along with Gyeongbukgung, it is one of five royal palaces in the city.

While I love Gyeongbukgung, there is something even more special about Changdeokgung and the beautiful gardens that stretch out around it.

There are hundreds of different tree species in the Changdeokgung Huwon garden and some are more than 300 years old.

In Spring, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, it is spectacular.

This palace is also a little more peaceful, with fewer crowds.

Hours: 9am-5pm

Cost:  3,000won/$2.7

Location: Yulgok-ro

13. Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul Travel South Korea

From old to new, head from Changdeokgung Palace to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

This is one of Seoul’s greatest architectural wonders.

Designed by Zaha Hadid, the first female to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, it is an inspiring place to take photos with a backdrop of modern Seoul.

While the outside is definitely the main reason to go to Dongdaemun, don’t miss the chance to go inside and see what creative exhibitions are on at the time of your visit.

This is the center for Seoul’s creative industries and there is always something interesting to see.

Hours:  10am-7pm

Cost:  Entry is free.

Location:  Eulji-ro 45-gil

Metro:  Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, exit 1

14. Ihwa Mural Village

seoul what to visit iwha village

Wikipedia CC  Photo by  Wei-Te Wong  from Taipei City, Taiwan [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Just 15 minutes (including metro and walking) from  Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the Ihwa Village was designed to revitalize one of Seoul’s oldest and poorest neighborhoods.

70 artists came together to design street art to attract tourists and spice up the area.

It reminds me of  the Favelas  and  Lapa Steps  of Rio de Janeiro where communities have come together through art to create a higher standard of living.

Many movies are starting to film in the area for its artistic flair.

Metro Line:   Hyehwa Station (Subway Line 4) Follow the signs for about 15 minutes after you exit the Subway at exit 2.

14. Gangnam

seoul tourism Gangnam district

After exploring Dongdaemun, it’s time to take your longest public transport journey yet and head over the Han River to Gangnam.

Take exit 5 from Gangnam metro station and you can get straight into the spirit of the area by singing along to  Psy’s top hit  “Gangnam Style” on the streets that influenced the lyrics!

It’s a silly thing to do but fun all the same!

If you are a big Kpop fan, you can actually pay visits to some of Korea’s biggest entertainment companies in the heart of Gangnam.

Shopping is the biggest draw of Gangnam and here you can explore one of the largest underground shopping malls at COEX. The Kimchi Museum and Instagram-famous giant bookstore are both well worth stopping at.

Gangnam isn’t just Kpop and shopping though, there is so much to do in this area south of the river.

You can visit tranquil Bong Eun Sa Temple, surrounded by highrises or wander among the tombs and trees of Samneung Park.

Location:  Teheran-ro

Metro:  Gangnam (Yellow Bundang Line) and Samseong (Green Line 2)

15. Common Ground

common Ground in Seoul nightlight

Round off your final day in Seoul with a little more of Seoul’s modern-day delights at Common Ground, back across the Han River.

This collection of containers is its own little hipster village, full of cafes, shops, restaurants, and pop-up exhibitions.

The outdoor seating and lively atmosphere make this a fun place to grab dinner and people-watch.

Seoul may be full of history and tradition, but it is also one of South Korea’s most forward-thinking, youthful cities and visiting places like this helps give visitors a complete picture of the city.

Hours:  10am-10pm

Cost: Entry is free

Location:  Achasan-ro

Metro:  Konkuk University (Green lines 2 and 7)

Wow, three days in Seoul goes so fast!

But, this itinerary involves a whole lot of exploring and shows you all the sides to Seoul’s vibrant personality.

Where to stay in Seoul

seoul itinerary | hanok house insadong area

If you just have 3 days in Seoul South Korea and aren’t visiting other cities, I would recommend opting to stay in a traditional Hanok house in the Insadong area of Seoul.

This is such a unique experience and will set the scene for your time in the city.

We’ve created these interactive maps for each day of this Seoul itinerary to help you see where things are in relation to one another and how far you’ll be traveling each day.

Hanok House

A Hanok House offers a glimpse of traditional life in Seoul. These timber or stone houses with tiled roofs are designed to maintain the balance of their surrounding environment. They are typically designed with a river at its front and the mountains at its back.

These historic homes date back to the 14th century and many have been converted and opened to the public.

If you are a super efficient traveler and get through this itinerary quicker than my suggested times, check out this post to find more incredible things to do in Seoul.

I wrote an in-depth breakdown of all the  best neighborhoods to stay in Seoul:

By clicking on the links below will take you to a break down of each Seoul neighborhood and suggested hotels

  • Insadong  – in the heart of Seoul, close to most major attractions
  • Myeongdong  – a hub of modern Korean culture close to Namsan tower
  • Hongdae  – a bustling university neighborhood known for its bars and restaurants
  • Gangnam  – this iconic area is home to skyscrapers and luxury chain hotels
  • Bonus: Hanok Homes  – a unique accommodation experience in Seoul

3 Days in Seoul Itinerary Resources:

Seoul 3 Days final evening

What Time of Year Should I visit Seoul?

Spring  is blossom season in Korea and Seoul is full of colour and warm days. If you are an avid photographer, this is a fantastic time to visit Seoul.

Summer  can get very hot in Korea but plenty of sunshine means lots of time outside. There’s no better time to visit Seoul’s many outdoor, public spaces.

Autumn  is also full of colour when all the trees change to shades of orange, yellow and red. Evenings will be cooler but there will still be plenty of sun. Winter  is definitely off-season in Korea and visiting in the cooler months, you’ll be more likely to have many attractions to yourself.

Before You Go

  • South Korea Travel – Visa requirements. Most countries do not require a visa to travel to Korea. A valid passport will do. You can  check here  for Visa requirements for you country.
  • Ready to fly to Seoul? Check out  Cheap Flights here .
  • Make sure you have travel insurance. We never travel without it and recommend  World Nomads  for short-term trips. If you are looking for something more long-term check out  Allianz Travel Insurance . Read more about  the value of Travel Insurance here.
  • Seoul uses the South Korean Won and 1,000 Won is around 1,116 USD. For up to date conversions get the  XE Currency Converter App.

#1 Money Saving Tip in Seoul

The best way that you can save money and see all of the best attractions in Seoul with one purchase is with a  Discover Seoul Pass.

You can get it for 1-3 days and it includes all of these and more:

  • Entry to over 35 of Seouls’ best activities and attractions, plus discounts on 40 more
  • Use of all public transport and a one-way airport transfer to the city with the AREX train.

With only having a short amount of time this will help you get around quickly and skip queuing for tickets. Definitely worth it.

For a more detailed outline see the How to Save Money in Seoul section below.

Book your Discover Seoul Pass Now!

How do i get around seoul.

Hopefully, this itinerary has shown you that Seoul is a very walkable city and public transport is widely available, affordable and easy to navigate too.

If you purchase the  Discover Seoul Pass  to save money on attractions, then it also doubles at a Transit card that you can load at your discretion.

If you just want to go with the travel card you can get a   T-Money or Cashbee Card , that you can load at most convenience stores.

Getting to and from the Airport:  The Discover Seoul Pass includes a one-way transfer to the city centre on the AREX train and you can return the same way for 8,000 Won, under $8.

Recommended Reading

  • Lonely Planet Seoul
  • Rough Guides
  • Top 10 Seoul

Did you enjoy this post on what to do in Seoul? Why not Pin it on Pinterest for reference on how to plan your own Seoul Itinerary?

Seoul Itinerary what to do in Three Days in Seoul

And that is my three-day itinerary for Seoul. You can easily spend more time in the city but this guide will give you an excellent start to begin planning your own Seoul Tour.

So start planning today! It’s time to visit and hopefully, you’ll be able to see more of Seoul and get a chance to explore Korea too!

Jade House is a freelance writer who has spent the last few years in Asia. She is currently exploring Europe in a campervan with her fiance and their dog, working on content creation for  Digital Nomad Design  and blogging on  journey-count.com .

Read her other Seoul articles on the  best neighbourhoods to stay  in and  21 incredible things to do there .

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About Jade House

Jade House is a freelance writer who has spent the last few years in Asia. She is currently exploring Europe in a campervan with her fiance and their dog and she blogs about it on  Words By Jade . Follow the day by day journey on  Instagram .

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11 thoughts on “The Ultimate Seoul Itinerary – 3 Days in Seoul”

My family are enjoying Seoul as I type, following your advice… thanks for sharing!

The places you share are very beautiful and famous. I really want me these places.

Thanks a lot for this amazing article here

This is good

wow it’s beautiful. I plan to visit Korean next year and it’s really great to meet your post. The time is perfect, I’ll try to reach all the destinations that you have written because it’s worth to try.

Thank you for sharing this information about Seoul. I hope you have enjoyed your Hongdae Nightlife with especially Korean BBQ and fried chicken.

Thanks Jade for sharing such a nice and informative blog, i really appreciate it.

Jade really shared some excellent information. I know I feel confident to build my own itinerary from her suggestions when we visit Seoul now too!

Hopefully I’ll get around to seeing South Korea someday, if it’s meant to be. 🙂

It’s one of the countries in Asia I am still looking forward to see. Such a great itinerary for a short visit, I hope I can use it soon!

I’m confident the food there in South Korea is sooooo delicious that you didn’t want to leave. 🙂

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Traditional Korean style architecture at Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul

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DMZ tour: Small group DMZ tour

Day trip: Nami Island and Petite France

Mention South Korea to anyone and the first place that comes to mind is Seoul. With breathtaking high-rise buildings, bustling streets, and unparalleled aesthetic cafes, this is a city not to be missed on any visit to East Asia.

Aside from its modern charm and towering skyscrapers, history and culture are sprinkled throughout the city. From winding, old-fashioned side streets to gorgeous palaces, there’s plenty of culture to discover when you visit Seoul .

On top of being a truly beautiful city with unique and interesting foods, mouth-watering barbecues on every corner, a convenient 24-hour culture and an abundance of culture, there is a great range of things to see and do in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung palace at twilight in Seoul, South Korea.

How long should I spend in Seoul?

As the world’s 16th largest city, Seoul has many fascinating neighbourhoods to explore and it can be challenging to squeeze everything you hope to see and do into just a couple of days.

You can easily spend two weeks in Seoul soaking in all this beautiful city has to offer, at a pace that doesn’t make you feel rushed off your feet! Taking your time here will allow you to discover the individual charms of the many neighbourhoods - a gift many people don’t get to experience.

That said, it's definitely possible to get a feel for the city in three days, and we’ve provided this suggested itinerary to help you squeeze as much out of your time here as possible.

Even though Seoul’s public transport is fast and reliable, the subway can get incredibly cramped, which can make travel during peak hours uncomfortable, especially in summer.

This itinerary has been put together based on convenient transport links and things that are within walking distance of one another, so you can spend less time getting from A to B, and more time enjoying the sights.

Traditional houses at Namsangol Hanok Village, Seoul

Day 1: Namsan, Dongdaemun and Euljiro

We recommend spending your first day in Seoul by visiting some of the most prominent tourist destinations, including the famous Namsangol Hanok Village and Namsan Seoul Tower.

Namdaemum Market

Start your day with a trip to Namdaemum Market , an old traditional market, which originally opened during the Joseon period in 1414. As the largest market in the city, you’ll find a range of vendors selling a variety of purses, clothing, foods, snacks, and souvenirs.

You can reach the market by taking subway line 4 to Hohyeon station. It’s typically recommended to spend a couple of hours here, but if you’re a shop-a-holic, you may want to make more time in your schedule for this stop.

This is a great place to pick up some Korean snacks if your hotel doesn’t serve breakfast!

Namsangol Hanok Village

After this, take a short 25-minute walk (or two subway stops on line 4, getting off at Chungmuro station), to visit the famous Namsangol Hanok village.

This re-constructed village consists of traditional Korean houses, known as Hanoks, and was rebuilt to open in 1998 after the village was lost to Japanese occupation. Here you can see a gorgeous range of traditional architecture, but ensure you remain quiet and respectful, as many people still reside here.

If you’re looking for a spot for lunch, there are plenty of traditional Korean restaurants to visit around this area.

The skyline of Seoul, South Korea

Namsan Tower / N. Seoul Tower

Once you’ve explored the village, head back towards Chungmuro Station. Here you can catch a bus all the way up Namsan Mountain to N. Seoul Tower, located right at the top.

There are also options to hike up the mountain if you’re feeling active, or even take a cable car, from which you can enjoy panoramic views of the city below as you ascend.

Just be aware that the bus is cheaper than the cable car, often less crowded, and the views from the tower are even more impressive, so if you’re travelling on a budget the bus is the preferred option.

Upon reaching the summit, head on over to the ticket office, where you’ll be able to purchase tickets to enter the tower and visit the observation deck.

Some of these come with the option to add on snacks (we highly recommend trying the onion flavour popcorn!), or if you wish to purchase standard entry, this can be done online in advance .

Spend your time at the tower taking in the astonishing views of the city below, where you can view famous sights such as the Han River, if you’re travelling with your partner, be sure to add a love lock onto the rails to commemorate your visit!

Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) & Cheonggyecheon River

After enjoying the amazing views, at Namsan, head back down the mountain in the direction of Dongguk University Station. From here it is only a 15-minute walk to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

Home to Seoul Fashion Week, this stunning example of futuristic architecture boasts an out-of-this-world design, looking like a building straight from a sci-fi movie, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in modern architecture, science fiction, or fashion.

Just north of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza lies the beautiful Cheonggyecheon River. A gorgeous sight to see in all seasons, this area is particularly spectacular during the Winter months, as it is home to the beautiful Seoul Christmas Light Festival, where LED sculptures, traditional lanterns and all kinds of bright displays light up the walkways.

Euljiro Neighbourhood

A short walk down the beautiful stream will bring you out in the Euljiro Neighbourhood, a great place if you’re looking to try some authentic Korean food in an equally authentic Korean neighbourhood.

The best street food restaurants can be found down a small bustling alleyway, located just by Euljiro 3-ga station. Slightly off the beaten path, you’ll find higher quality street food at better prices than those available in tourist-heavy areas like Myeongdong.

But the authenticity comes a slight challenge - many of these vendors don’t speak English. Be sure to bring your phrasebook with you!

Colorful memorial ribbons by the rusty Korean war train remnant in the Imjingak Pavillion in DMZ close to Seoul

Day 2: History and culture tour

For the history and culture fanatics, this one will be a day to remember! Although even history doesn't really appeal to you, being able to look out into North Korean territory with your own eyes is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that anyone can enjoy.

The Demilitarised Zone (The DMZ)

Tourists cannot make their own way to the DMZ , and must visit as part of an organized group. This area is heavily guarded, and although safe, attempting to visit without a tour guide will result in you being turned away.

Both morning tours and full-day tours can be pre-booked, and include hotel pick-ups and drop-offs.

For this itinerary, the half-day tour is the best choice, as it finishes at 1 p.m., leaving you the rest of the afternoon to explore the city.

This tour includes a visit to the Imjingak Tourist Information Center, Imjingak Peace Park (dedicated to the reunification of the two Koreas), the third infiltration tunnel, Dora Observatory (where you can see out into North Korea), the Bridge of Freedom, and Dorasan Station.

Various drop-off points are available after the tour, including your next stop of the day: Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, in Autumn

Gyeongbokgung Palace

The main palace during the historical Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung Palace , is now open to the public, and wandering around the grounds is truly an experience.

With beautiful lakes, historical palace buildings, and even free entry if you’re wearing a hanbok (traditional Korean clothing; you can rent outfits from nearby Hanbok stores ), the palace perfectly captures Korea’s history and traditional architectural styles.

Be sure to grab some lunch at a nearby cafe!

The National Museum of Korea

With a short bus ride to Seoul Station, you can take subway line 4 down to Ichon Station, which brings you to The National Museum of Korea, open every day from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Admission is free.

Established in 1945, this museum is home to plenty of ancient Korean artefacts and pieces of history, as well as many beautiful artworks. You can even visit the on-site Hangeul Museum, which explores the country's unique language.

The grounds of the museum are also beautiful, with adorable pagodas, man-made streams, gardens and bridges to walk across. Be sure to take some time to explore them after your visit.

The colourful Jogyesa temple in Seoul, South Korea.

Day 3: Insadong and Gangnam

Your final day in Seoul is a great opportunity to see the areas popular with those who like living the city life, frequenting cafes and shopping until they drop. This is a wonderful day out for younger visitors, but travellers of any age are sure to find plenty of fun in the activities of day three.

Jogyesa temple and shopping in Insadong

Take the subway to Jonggak Station. From there, you can walk north towards Jogyesa temple, where you can view beautiful paper lanterns hanging in the breeze - a truly peaceful and unique start to this fun-filled day.

After this, head on over to Insadong’s famous streets. With over 50 antique shops, 80 art galleries, traditional stationary shops, hand-made crafts and bookstores, there’s plenty in the area to explore if you’re the artistic type.

Insadong is also a must-visit if you’re interested in enjoying Korean cuisine. With almost 100 restaurants specialising in traditional Korean food, it is one of the best places to dine if you’re after some truly authentic dishes.

Gangnam-style statue in Seoul, South Korea.

Gangnam (also accessible via Subway line 2), is one of the most famous places in the city, and for good reason too!

Immortalised in PSY’s 2012 hit song ‘Gangnam Style’, visiting this up-sale neighbourhood will give you a taste of what it’s like to be amongst the rich and famous in Korea. You can even see the famous statue of the ‘Gangnam Style Hands’ here, a great spot for taking Instagram-worthy pictures.

K-pop fans may want to pay a visit to the famous K-Star Road, located in the Apgujeong neighbourhood of Gangnam, where you can see the famous bear-shaped statues commemorating a variety of different Korean pop groups.

This is also a great area to check out the country’s most affluent shopping district. Apgujeong’s main shopping street, Apgujeong Rodeo (named after Rodeo Drive) is home to designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga.

Visit a fancy restaurant in the area for a steak or some unique pasta dishes, where international cuisine is truly tailored to Korea’s palette.

The Han River at Banpo Hangang River Park

The final stop of the day is by the most famous river in Seoul, the Han River. Enjoy a walk along the riverfront before stopping at the Hangang River Park, where you can enjoy a great array of snacks from vendors and the magical views of the light-up waterfall, showering down from the edge of Banpo Bridge.

For an extra special experience, you can take a private sunset cruise down the river and see the city from the water.

Bright lights at night in Itaewon, Seoul.

If you have more time in Seoul

With so much to see and do in Seoul, there’s a great range of things you should see if you have more time here:

The War and Women’s Human Rights Museum: An emotional museum to visit, focused on telling the stories of war crimes against women. Located near Hongdae.

Hongdae : A university town popular for clothes shopping, cute cafes and nightlife

Gangnam: Other sights to see in Gangnam include the CoEx Mall, CoEx Aquarium, and SM Town Museum.

Itaewon: A popular spot for expats, where you can find great international food and fun nightlife

Myeongdong: Great shopping and street food, a popular tourist spot for grabbing great deals on clothes, makeup and skincare.

Bukhansan National Park : Go hiking without leaving the city. Head up Bukhasan Peak for incredible views, and you can go with a guide if you prefer.

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Emily Adam

Author - Emily Adam

Emily is a travel writer from the UK with a passion for exploring the world and experiencing the local foods, traditions, and history of the places she visits. Emily has a degree in Asia Pacific Studies and has studied and lived in Seoul and Busan in South Korea. Growing up, Emily travelled annually with her family, typically to all-inclusive resorts around the world, and small Spanish seaside towns. Since then, she has travelled widely across Asia, the United States and Europe.

Last Updated 25 January 2024

Gyeongbokgung palace with cherry blossom tree in spring time in seoul city of korea, south korea.

3 perfect days in Seoul

Kristin Braswell

Seoul is a sprawling city, and I’ll admit that as much as I loved it, I was not prepared for its size and scope. So when I went back recently, I made sure to plan accordingly.

The South Korean capital is a mix of contradictions—towering skyscrapers abut historic Hanok homes, tranquil tea houses dot buzzy shopping districts. I wanted to experience it all, so I designed the ultimate itinerary, including real Tripadvisor traveler reviews and ratings to round it out. Here’s my guide for the perfect three days of sightseeing in Seoul.

The Big Buddha in Bongeunsa Temple, Seoul, South Korea

MORNING: Explore a massive market and mountaintop

Walk through the ancient Sungnyemun Gate (one of Seoul’s original fortress entrances) to get to Namdaemun . Dating back to the 15th-century Joseon Dynasty, it’s South Korea’s oldest and largest market. Here, thousands of stores sell everything from hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) to herbal teas. The streets are also lined by food stalls, where you can try local specialties like kalguksu (hand-cut wheat noodles), yeot-gangjeong (nutty candy), and hotteok (fried pancake filled with cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey). Tip: Download the Google Translate app in advance; you’ll want it to read the menus and signs and I found it super helpful.

From Namdaemun, walk 10 minutes to Namsan Park . If your legs are tired, and you don’t want to hike a half-hour up the mountain, hop on the cable car to N Seoul Tower . The jaw-dropping 360-degree skyline views are worth it. Plus, by coming in the morning, you’ll avoid the crowds that gather at sunset.

Travelers say: “Namsan Park is a huge hill with lush greenery in the very center of South Korea’s capital. To explore it easily, I suggest taking the cable car up to the N Seoul tower, then walking an hour down, along the pathway. You'll see medieval city walls, beautiful nature, and excellent views of Seoul from several spots.” —@ BrakiWorldTraveler

AFTERNOON: Check out the shops

Just 10 minutes north, Myeongdong shopping district is the first place I make a beeline to when I arrive in Seoul. I’m obsessed with Korean skincare products, so I always stock up at Olive Young and Innisfree, both of which have multiple outposts in Myeongdong. Beyond beauty, there are stores specializing in whatever you fancy (yes, K-pop fan merch, too).

Around 3 to 4 p.m. Myeongdong’s famous night market opens. You’ll smell it before you see it: Nearly 150 food stalls offer local delicacies like cheesy lobster, grilled abalones, and Busan fishcakes. Prefer meat over seafood? Satisfy your Korean fried chicken fix at BBQ Chicken or BHC , two of the city’s most popular chains. (Tip: The line on the left is for to-go orders while the right line is for dining in.) To avoid a food coma, get a quick pick-me-up latte at Coffee Libre , hidden inside Myeongdong Cathedral.

CULINARY TOURS

  • The half-day Secret Food Tour will take you through Gwangjang Market (featured on Netflix’s Street Food series) and sample nokdujeon (mung bean pancakes), mandu (Korean dumplings), and honey cookies.
  • Take a Korean Cooking Class , where you’ll shop for produce at a local market and learn how to make a hanjeongsik (multi-course meal).

EVENING: Bliss out at a serene spa and tranquil temple

The glamorous Gangnam-gu district, a half-hour subway away, is home to upscale nightclubs, fine-dining restaurants, and designer stores. Before a late night out, slow down at Bongeunsa , an 8th-century Buddhist temple. This peaceful haven has woodblock carvings and a 91-foot stone statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha. The best part? It’s usually quiet around sunset, when the lanterns light up and monks sound the gongs. Then, continue relaxing at Sulwhasoo Spa . I swear by the ginseng facial and back treatment, and I often buy the overnight vitalizing mask as a souvenir.

For dinner, head next door to Ryunique , where Chef Tae Hwan Ryu will take you on an 11-course journey. Highlights include: bacon-wrapped quail egg with beet sauce, and abalone with cucumber and red quinoa. Desserts are works of art—I still dream of the coconut caramel apple cotton candy. End the evening at Imbibe , a cocktail bar with an extensive whiskey selection.

Worthy detours along the way

3 days trip to korea

MORNING: Learn about Seoul’s vast history

Follow in the footsteps of Korean royalty at Gyeongbokgung Palace , built by the Joseon Dynasty in 1395. The property has manicured gardens and intricate pavilions as well as two museums (included in your admission ticket): the National Palace Museum and National Folk Museum . The changing of the guard happens at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day except Tuesday, when Gyeongbokgung is closed. If you have time, take a five-minute Uber to Changgyeonggung Palace , a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s considered a masterpiece for its ornamental architecture. Plan accordingly: It’s closed on Mondays, as are most of the palaces.

Travelers say: “[Gyeongbokgung] is one of the best restored palaces. The information office provides a free map in English and info about each building’s history. Many people wore Hanboks, which can be rented at the shops in the area. Plan to spend about an hour or two here—add extra time to check out nearby palaces and museums as well as Bukchon Hanok Village.” —@ Deanosaur89

AFTERNOON: Visit a traditional village

Sandwiched between the two palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village has hundreds of houses dating back to the 14th century. Today, these hilltop residences have been turned into artist studios, small museums, and tea rooms. Cha-teul is a favorite for its mountain views; I love the steamed pumpkin rice cake and chrysanthemum tea. From here, head a few blocks south to eat Korean dumplings at Bukchon Son Mandu Samcheong-dong or the fragrant chicken broth at Oreno Ramen Insa.

WALKING TOURS

  • On the Seoul Sightseeing Tour you’ll explore the city’s historic sites, including Gyeongbokgung Palace and see the changing of the guard.
  • The Private Seoul City Walking Tour takes you to Bukchon Hanok Village, Jogyesa Temple, and Insadong for local food tastings.

EVENING: Stroll the streets of Insadong

Continue a block south to Insadong 's pedestrian “artist alley” of galleries selling pottery, handmade Hanji paper, and paintings. Pop in Shin Tea House (open until 10 p.m.) and have a cup of green plum tea in the zen courtyard, or visit Ssamziegil 's independent boutiques (check out the view from the fourth floor). Keep walking, and you’ll soon cross the seven-mile Cheonggyecheon Stream . A popular K-drama filming location, this waterway is especially beautiful at night when it’s illuminated in rainbow lights, lanterns, and art installations. Don’t forget your camera!

Save room for dinner at Charles H. inside the elegant Four Seasons Hotel . Inspired by Prohibition-era speakeasies, this low-lit dining room has handsome leather booths and a bar serving creative cocktails like the London Rhubarb Gimlet. Pair it with some small bites, such as truffle arancini and mini lobster rolls (my first pick). In the mood for a nightcap? Move upstairs to the lively OUL bar, where DJs spin tracks on the weekend.

3 days trip to korea

MORNING: Take a walk in the park

Start your day at Haneul Park , an easy 35-minute metro away. This beautiful green space is one of the five parks that were built to commemorate the World Cup. Its observatory deck has vast views of the Han River, and the nature is a nice respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. I particularly love the fall, when the pampas grass blooms and the ginkgo maple trees turn gold. Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes as Haneul Park has quite a few hills.

Travelers say: “We really enjoyed the relaxing stroll and mesmerizing scenery at Haneul Park and would love to return on a weekday. If you are in Seoul during autumn, particularly in October, Haneul is a must-visit.” —@ SQKrisflyer

AFTERNOON: Discover a cool-kid hotspot

Catch a 10-minute cab to Hongdae , where creative types congregate and students attend Hongik University. Look up: Murals and street art are scattered all around this up-and-coming neighborhood. On Saturday afternoons between March and November, Hongdae Free Market features handicrafts, clothing, and homegoods made by local artists.

Hongdae really comes alive around happy hour. You’ll feel the energy shift, especially along University Street , which is lined with bustling bars and restaurants. One of my favorites is Meat Master Hongdae, a killer Korean BBQ joint (you must taste the pork belly and kimchi stew). After, walk two blocks to a noraebang (karaoke bar)—Helicon and Su tend to be busy.

NIGHT TOURS

  • This evening Food Tour takes you to Changgyeonggung Palace (lit up after dark) and a night market. Note: Picky eaters be aware, you’ll need to be a bit more adventurous to try the street food.
  • Explore Seoul after hours on a Pub Crawl , where you’ll join 50 people as they hop from bar to club in Itaewon and Hongdae. If you want a more intimate experience, Thursdays tend to have smaller groups.

EVENING: Have a night out on the town

A former redlight district, Itaewon has quickly become a nightlife hub of live music, LGBTQ+ bars, and dance clubs. Start with a pint of pale ale at Magpie Brewing Co. , then soak up the suds in Bawi Pasta Bar . At Chef Kim Hyun-Joong’s eight-seat counter, he makes noodles by hand (his signature mint pistachio pesto dish is to die for). Tip: Reserve your spot far in advance. End the epic trip with some sax at All That Jazz , just around the corner. Opened in 1978, the cabaret-style space is South Korea’s first jazz joint, and it’s still going strong thanks to its soulful brass bands.

3 days trip to korea

Know Before You Go

Seoul has temperate weather from March to May and from September to November. The cherry blossoms usually bloom in April. Meanwhile, the summer months are humid and have the most rainfall.

Most retail stores and restaurants are open daily in Seoul. Government offices and banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Smaller shops typically open in the late morning and don’t close until 10 p.m. Convenience stores stay open until midnight. Restaurants operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Hongdae: A haven for hipsters and university students, Hongdae is full of shops, restaurants, and bars. Check into the stylish RYSE , Autograph Collection hotel. The lobby bakery, Tartine, sells fresh croissants that both guests and locals line up for.

Gangnam: If you're a night owl, make Gangnam your base. Between the clubs and late-night malls, this district is bustling around the clock. Check into Josun Palace , a 254-room luxury hotel with five fine-dining restaurants and sweeping skyline views. Or, for business travelers, the JW Marriott is the perfect choice. Book a table at its on-site Margaux Grill for your next client dinner and order the tender Hanwoo Korean Beef. Follow it up with a cocktail next door at MOBO , a greenhouse-like bar and terrace.

Myeongdong: This shopping district is in the heart of Seoul. Staying here means you’re within easy access to Namdaemun Market and historic sites like Gyeongbokgung palace. Living up to its name, L’Escape boutique hotel feels like a Parisian pied-à-terre, inspired by French interior designer Jacques Garcia. The cozy library, vintage decor, and clawfoot tubs add to the romance.

Public transportation: Seoul’s public transit is extremely efficient and clean, plus free WiFi is available on all buses and trains. Signs in the metro stations are in English as is the KakaoMap app, which will show you the fastest route to your destination. (Note: Google Maps walking and driving directions don’t work well in South Korea, so you’ll want to download KakaoMap in advance.)

By taxi: Due to the city’s notorious traffic, hailing a taxi can prove difficult, particularly during rush hour. However, two types of taxis are available: regular and Black/Deluxe, both of which use meters. Running late? Uber is your best bet.

By bike: Grab one of the Seoul Bikes at a docking station around the city (you can almost always find them near subway stops and tourist attractions). Different payment plans are available depending on the length of your rental.

Airport transfers: Downtown Seoul is about 30 miles from Incheon International Airport. Taxis and private cars can be expensive, so consider the Airport Limousine Bus or the AREX Airport Railroad instead. Tip: The express train is just 40 minutes to the city center.

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3 Days in Seoul | The Perfect Seoul Itinerary

If you’re looking for an amazing city to explore, look no further than Seoul ! With its rich culture and history, there’s always something new to see and do in this vibrant city. In just 3 days, you can experience all that Seoul has to offer. Here is the perfect itinerary for a whirlwind trip through the capital of South Korea!

Why should you trust me to give advice on South Korea? Well, I’m half Korean and I’ve lived in South Korea for several years. I’ve visited frequently to see family and I’ve been all over South Korea. Enjoy this itinerary for Seoul .

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.    Support my blog here . 

View of Seoul from Namsan Tower | 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

  • 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

3 Days in Seoul is plenty of time where you don’t feel burnt out. If you want to do a 5-day itinerary in Seoul, I would suggest starting with this itinerary and building it from here. There are so many things to in Seoul that 2+ days are needed to see a lot within this large city.

3 Days in Seoul Quick Links

I’ve compiled links to hotels , tours , and other travel-related services to ensure a safe and efficient trip.

HOTELS : The Top-Rated Hotels in Seoul, be sure to read my guide on where to stay in Seoul.

SEOUL TOURS : The best Seoul tours you need on your list.

OTHER SERVICES

  • Korean Sim Card
  • Travel Insurance
  • Luggage Services by SAFEX to get your baggage
  • Korea Rail Pass
  • Airport Transfers
  • Discover Seoul Pass

My Korea travel guide will provide helpful information every new traveler needs to know. Find out where to visit in South Korea, where to stay , the top attractions and cities within South Korea, and where and what to eat in Korea.

Where you will visit in 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

Day 1 in Seoul

  • Hanbok Rental
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Bukchon Hanok Village

Jogyesa Temple

Balloon statue.

Day 2 in Seoul

Ihwa Mural Village

Dongdaemun design plaza (ddp).

  • Gwangjang Market

Changdeokgung Palace

Namsan tower, sungnyemun gate.

Day 3 in Seoul

Bongeunsa Temple

  • COEX Shopping Mall and Starfield Library

Gangnam Style Hands

Cafe hopping and shopping in hongdae.

  • Nightlife in Hongdae

3 Days in Seoul Itinerary | Day 1 

Hanbok Rental | Seoul Itinerary

Hanbok Rental and Photoshoot Experience

I think this is an important thing to add here since many people who visit Korea are in love with Korean culture. The best thing is that Koreans love celebrating and sharing their culture with people that visit. You can easily rent a Hanbok in Korea and on top of that get free entrance into the Palaces! If this is something you want to do, you should definitely check it out. Be sure to be there early to make time for finding the dress you want, getting your hair done, and more. 

Book your hanbok rental here.

Gyeongbokgung Palace – Popular for your Seoul Itinerary

There are 2 palaces in Seoul worth checking out which is Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. Out of these two, my favorite is the Gyeongbokgung Palace. This one to me is the one most beautiful and worth visiting. If you visit both, that is an option, but you might be burnt out when it comes to visiting the palaces so I’ve added Changdeokgung for your second day.  Probably one of the most popular places to visit during your 72 hours in Seoul.

Bukchon Hanok Village | 3 Days in Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village – Must see for 3 Days in Seoul

After you have visited the palace check out the Bukchon Village and take some cute photos in and down the alleyways. You have probably seen many Instagram photos of the perfect shot in this village. You can also find some great places to eat some delicious food. After this, you should return your hanboks back to the shop and move onto the Jogyesa Temple. Read more about how to go to Bukchon Hanok Village .

Next, you should take the time to visit the Jogyesa Temple. There are a few temples in Seoul to check out and this one is one of the most popular based on location. You can choose to skip this one if you feel burnt out from all the historical places to visit. 

This is the perfect location to buy local souvenirs and just take some time to shop and eat some food. It is a great place to take a break if you need it from visiting all the Korean traditional sites.

This is one of the famous Instagram shots that has been shared thousands of times. 

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3 Days in Seoul Itinerary | Day 2 

This is a beautiful spot filled with murals, sculptures, and colorful staircases. Additionally, there are few things you can see and do there including Naksan Park. You can rent a traditional Korean school uniform as well and take a photo shoot around this beautiful village. This is one of Seoul’s off-the-beaten-path locations. 

The DDM is a pretty cool place to check out especially during the night. On the upper level of the building, there is an amazing flower sculpture garden where the flowers light up at night. It is beautiful. Additionally, the DDM is a beautiful building to be admired from the outside in. 

Gwangjang Market | Seoul Itinerary

Lunch at Gwangjang Market

This is one of the most popular traditional Korean street food markets in Seoul. Eating is one of my passions in life and I highly suggest you make sure this is added to your 3 day itinerary in Seoul. There are a lot of tasty treats and was featured on Netflix’s Street Food series. There are so many foods you should try there and be sure to check out my Gwangjang Market post so you do not miss out on all the delicious treats. I highly suggest you take this amazing Gwangjang Market Seoul Food tour .

Changedeokgung Palace | 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

The other famous palace located in Seoul is Changdeokgung. I honestly prefer this palace over the other because it is usually less crowded. Since it is less crowded, it allows for more photo opportunities which are great for those trying to preserve their memories of the palaces. Keep in mind during your Seoul in 3 days itinerary, this palace is usually closed on Mondays .

If you are a K-Drama fan, Namsan Tower has been filmed in many K-Dramas including the famous Boys over Flowers. Here you will take a cable car up to the top of the tower and enjoy a great view of the city. I suggest you buy a lock write a wish and lock it up. Hoping your dream will come true. This is a great view during the day or the evening and worth checking out. 

Myeongdong Shopping Street | Seoul Itinerary

Shopping in Myeongdong

Myeongdong is known for shopping. It is a great place to do a lot of KBeauty skincare shopping , colored contacts, eat some delicious street foods, and enjoy some cute little shops. There are so many things to see and do with lots of street vendors selling food, toys, and clothing. 

This isn’t really necessary for the itinerary, but you can go see if you want. They aren’t super far from each but it seems to be fairly popular among tourists. This would be a great photo opportunity. 

3 Days in Seoul Itinerary | Day 3

The Bongeunsa Temple is a famous temple and UNESCO site in Seoul. The Bongeunsa temple is filled with beautifully colored lanterns where many people take photos and pay their respects. The lanterns are constantly changing throughout the seasons. 

Starfield Library | 3 Days in Seoul

COEX Shopping Mall and Starfield Library – Famous Library for your 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

Right next to the Bongeunsa Temple is the COEX Shopping Mall and Starfield Library. The Starfield Library is one of the most popular places you can find on Instagram. If you are a huge fan of books, I highly suggest you visit the Starfield Library. It is an open library located in the center of the COEX mall. You can read many of the books right then and there. Afterward, enjoy the day shopping and exploring the area. 

Gangnam became popular because of Psy’s Gangnam Style dang and song which became famous around the world. Since the song and area became so popular, they created a monument to represent that song. So there you can find the hands dedicated to the song. Gangnam is a city that is filled with lots of plastic surgery clinics, high-end shopping and more. 

Cafe in Hongdae | 3 Days in Seoul

Hongdae is literally my favorite place in Seoul and should be a place to check out during your Seoul Itinerary. There are so many things to see, do and explore in this area. I really love all of the cute and special different types of cafes. You can go shopping for clothes, nicknacks, jewelry, colored contacts, and more. Some of the cafes are located in Hongdae. Additionally, you can find some amazing food from Korean to Western-style making it easy for everyone to find something they like. 

RELATED: Popular cafes in Seoul

Hongdae NightLife

If you enjoy going out to dance and drink, Hongdae is your area to do those things. Hongdae is known for its clubs and going dancing. Additionally, at night you can enjoy many of the street performers, shopping, late-night cafes, and dinner. Korean culture is to eat late and drink while eating, so if clubbing isn’t your thing you can still enjoy yourself late at night.

More information for your 3 days in Seoul Itinerary

Where to stay in seoul for 3 days.

There are many places you can choose to stay in Seoul. Many of the accommodations are great but choosing the right neighborhood could be difficult. My favorite neighborhoods to stay in are below. All three of these locations have a different type of nightlife worth checking out.

Myeongdong is the perfect location for shopping, street food and more. There are many cute cafes and great places to eat which makes this the perfect location. Additionally, this prime location is close to many of the temples and palaces making it easy to travel around. 

Hongdae is a great location but a bit further from some of the iconic sites in Seoul. The best thing about Hongdae is the clubbing scene, a great shopping location from skincare to shopping areas. Hongdae has some of the cutest cafes in Seoul from the Bunny Cafe, Mr. Healing Cafe, 2D Cafe and more. On top of that Hongik University is known for the art scene, so you will see many street performers, artsy shops and handcrafted jewelry. 

This location is popular among foreigners because of their restaurants with Western-style food, clothing made for westerners and more. This location is centrally located making it a great area to be able to travel around. Additionally, if you are into nightlife since it is popular among foreigners, there are lots of bars and places to go drinking and enjoy a night out. 

When should I visit for 3 days in Seoul?

Seoul has all 4 seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. All 4 seasons vary but the best times I suggest you visit are in the spring from March through May or during the fall from October through November. The summer months are absolutely brutal with humidity and crowds. You will just feel hot and wet all around. The winter, however, is still a great time to visit as long as you don’t mind the cold. I’ve always visited Seoul during the winter holidays because of family and I’ve always found it feasible. It doesn’t snow often in Seoul and not enough to worry about trekking in it. 

How to get around Seoul

The best, fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around Seoul is by subway. The reason I say this is because when you travel by Taxi or by Bus you may be stuck in traffic. It will take a lot longer to get around town while the subway is underground or out of the way. It is not affected by traffic at all and always runs on time. 

A taxi is a great option if you are tired, you have too many bags to take back to the hotel from shopping and it is outside of traffic hours. The taxi drivers can be a bit difficult to communicate with so I suggest you have some sort of cell phone service to be able to translate. Some do speak English but there are still many who do not. 

The bus system can be a bit complicated to navigate making it hard to get around. Like I stated before, you still have to worry about traffic in and around the city making it a waste of time to get around the city sometimes. I would take this as needed but there isn’t an easy map route to know where and how to get around. Additionally, bus drivers in Korea are brutal, they will knock you around if you are standing just to try and hurry up to the next stop. They will constantly stop suddenly and not worry about your well being on the bus . 

Language in Seoul

In Seoul, the main language is Korean also known as Hangul. However, thankfully in the city, many Korean do speak English which makes it a bit easier to get around. Although, this is typical with the younger generation. Many street food vendors may not speak English so be sure to have google translate on hand just in case. 

Some Korean words to Know

  • Hello = 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo)
  • Thank you = 감사합니다 (gamsahabnida)
  • Sorry = 죄송합니다 (joesonghabnida)
  • No = 아니요 (aniyo)
  • Yes = 네 (ne)
  • Can you speak English? = 영어를 말할 수 있습니까? (yeong-eoleul malhal su issseubnikka?)

Form of Currency in South Korea

South Korea uses the South Korean won. The easiest way to make the conversion from USD is 1,000 won to $1 USD. Although, it’s actually less than $1 USD it’s easier to calculate in my head. South Korea uses card payments almost everywhere except when it comes to street vendors, so if you plan on just using a card you’ll most likely not have any problems. Sometimes though, some vendors have a hard time reading foreign cards. 

Tips to save money for your 3 days in Seoul Itinerary

There are a lot of ways to save money when traveling in Seoul. Here are some of the tips I’d recommend for you to save money in Seoul.

  • Tipping is not a thing in South Korea, so you will save a lot of money there and all the prices are what they say they are. They include the taxes in the total price. So if the item is 3,000 won, then it’s 3,000 won. 
  • Eat street food. Food is pretty cheap in South Korea, but street food is cheaper and there are so many things to try. I can usually get full off of 2 items. 
  • Eat Ramyeon (ramen) at the convenience stores. There are a lot of things you can buy at the convenience stores and eat there which makes it great for on the run and affordable. Ramyeon is pretty cheap at around 1,000 – 2,000 won and you can use a microwave or hot water at the convenience store to eat them. 
  • Use the subway or bus for public transportation. Although taxis are still pretty cheap, they can add up compared to the public transportation system.

Day Trips in Seoul

There are a lot of places to visit if you want to take a day trip from Seoul. You can easily extend your time in Seoul to enjoy these amazing day trips in Seoul below.

  • Nami Island, Petit France, Garden of the Morning Calm, and Rail Bike

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What did you think of the 3 days in Seoul Itinerary? Is this your first time traveling to Korea? Be sure to check out my posts about South Korea below.

Posts Related to 3 Days in Seoul

  • Why you should visit South Korea!
  • Busan, South Korea
  • Top 10 Korean Drugstore Skin Products
  • 10 Things to Eat in Korea
  • Seoul Travel Tips
  • Myeongdong Street Food
  • One day in Seoul
  • Jeju Itinerary
  • How to go to Bukchon Hanok Village
  • Gamcheon Culture Village
  • Things to do in Songwol Dong Fairy Tale Village
  • Things to do in Paju
  • Autumn in Korea
  • Korean Street Food
  • Where to stay in Busan
  • Korean Instant Noodles
  • Winter in Korea
  • Summer in Korea
  • Things to do in Gangneung
  • Cimer Spa at Paradise City
  • Teach English in South Korea
  • Things to do in Hongdae
  • Seoul Gardens & Parks
  • Myeongdong Shopping Street
  • What to do in Incheon Airport for a Layover
  • Things to do in Itaewon
  • 2 Days in Busan Itinerary
  • Things to do in Gyeongju
  • Things to do in Geoje
  • Visit Youngwol Y Park
  • Where to stay in Seoul
  • Things to do in Jeju Island
  • How to get a Korean Driver’s License
  • Spring in Korea

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Hey, I'm NieNie, also known as Stephanie – a California native of hapa heritage (an American with a mix of Korean and German) with an enduring love for travel. Transitioning from my expat life in South Korea to embracing the experience of living in Germany, while also frequenting visits to my family in the Philippines, I'm documenting my adventure as a plus-size woman immersing herself in diverse cultures. Join me on Adventures with NieNie for travel tips, cultural insights, and inspiring stories from South Korea, the Philippines, and Germany. Let's embark on this adventure together!

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Wapiti Travel

The ultimate Seoul itinerary for 3-7 days (2024 edition)

By: Author Sylvia

Posted on Last updated: May 11, 2024

Are you looking for the perfect Seoul itinerary but not sure what to do while you’re there? Don’t worry, we have got you covered.

Seoul represents the futuristic race South Korea has run over the past years. 

The city was mostly flattened after the Korean War, and the pace at which this city has been undergoing development since then is just phenomenal. 

The few historical buildings that survived the war are now surrounded by modern skyscrapers.

In this Seoul travel blog post, we share an epic Seoul itinerary for 3 to 7 days.

We completely updated this Seoul itinerary in January 2023.

Table of Contents

Wapiti Travel icon

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

South Korea Essentials

  • We have always found the best flights to Seoul on Momondo . You also have Skyscanner and recently WayAway , a new and promising travel aggregator, has popped up. It may be worthwhile to compare these three sites.
  • Looking for more inspiration for your South Korea trip? Here are all our Korean posts.
  • Use this step-by-step guide to plan your trip to South Korea.
  • Looking for the perfect itinerary? Check out our 1 week Korea itinerary and 2-week Korea itinerary .
  • Since foreign credit and debit cards don’t always work, we advise that you bring some spare cash.
  • Don’t lose time upon arrival at the airport and order your Korea travel sim or portable WiFi device in advance so that it’s ready and waiting for you at the airport when you arrive.
  • Consider getting the  Discover Seoul Pass  which covers 65 of Seoul’s best tourist attractions. It also has a T-money function that will save you ₩2,500 from buying a separate T-Money card. As an extra benefit, you get one free one-way A’rex Express train ride.
  • Note that the Discover Seoul Pass is not always available. If it isn’t, you can see if they have the BTS edition. It’s a 24hr edition of the Discover Seoul Pass without the T-money option. Instead, you get a Korea Tour T-money Card as a bonus. The BTS edition covers the same attractions as the regular Discover Seoul Pass. Here is more information about this pass and other Seoul discount passes.
  • Visiting the DMZ is on the bucket list of many travelers. Check out the  best DMZ tours  here.
  • Looking for accommodation? Look at this list of highly-rated boutique hotels or this list of cool hotels in Seoul . We also have a selection of Airbnb’s in Seoul . Accommodation posts for other places in South Korea are here .
  • Here is a post with more travel tips for Korea.
  • Last but not least, make sure you have travel insurance .

Seoul E-Guide

3 days trip to korea

For the price of a single cup of coffee, you can get this Seoul itinerary as a nicely formatted PDF document.

It contains all the information in this post.

You can print it or store it on your phone so you can access it anytime during your visit to Seoul.

Have a look here for more information and a preview.  

Seoul Travel Itinerary

Here we share our recommended Seoul travel itinerary for 3-7 days.

The map below shows all the places you visit during these 7 days. Read on to discover which places you absolutely need to visit in Seoul.

Seoul Trip Itinerary 3 Days – What To Do in Seoul For 3 days

Brace yourself, this will be three thrilling days filled with amazing sights and activities.

After these 3 days in Seoul, you will have already seen many of the highlights of this fantastic city.

However, fear not. There is still more than enough to do during the remaining days.

Day 1: Discover The Palaces, Bukchon Hannok village, And Insadong

The palaces in seoul.

The Joseon Dynasty was the last kingdom in Korea.  

Over the reign of this dynasty, Seoul became the capital city and center of state affairs.

Throughout the years, the kings had many grand palaces built here. 

5 of them are currently open to the public.

Gyeongbokgung palace Seoul, South Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace

If you can only go to one palace during your Seoul trip, I suggest you visit   Gyeongbokgung Palace ,   because it is the main royal palace and also the largest of the 5.

It’s also the most popular and often regarded as the most beautiful as well.

Try to be there during Royal guard Changing Ceremonies.

The Royal Guard ( Sumunjang ) changing ceremony can be seen for free on weekdays, except on Tuesdays, at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM in front of Gwanghwamun.  This is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

If these time slots don’t work for you, you can also witness a shorter Guard-on-Duty Performance at the Gwanghwamun gate at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM on weekends.

The Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training at the Hyeopsaengmun Gate at 09:35 AM and 1:35 PM is temporarily canceled.

Here’s the latest schedule with all the details about the above ceremonies.

There is a free guided tour of the Palace building in English at 11.00 AM, 1.30 PM and 3.30 PM.  Check the schedule on the official website to make sure the hours are still correct.

3 days trip to korea

₩3,000 or included in the combined Four Palaces ticket (see below). 

Free entrance if you’re wearing a complete and correct Hanbok .  (see the explanation on the website of what exactly qualifies)  Free entrance with the Discover Seoul Pass .

Here you can rent a hanbok.

Changdeokgung Palace Secret Garden Seoul South Korea

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung was the second royal villa built after the construction of Gyeongbokgung was completed in 1405.

It was the main palace for many kings of the Joseon Dynasty and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining palaces.

It has been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.

The  “Secret Garden” (Huwon)  in Changdeokgung, one of the  most beautiful places in Korea,  remains a little bit mysterious up until today because there are only a limited number of people admitted each day.

The secret garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond, and a pavilion.

It’s a beautiful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Be sure to reserve your tour online well in advance  if you want to visit the garden. (click on tour reservation on top of the page)

There is a free guided tour of the Palace building in English at 10.15 AM and 1.15 PM.  Check the schedule on the official website to make sure the hours are still correct.

₩3,000 for the palace building or ₩8,000 for the palace building area including the Secret garden.  Access to both is included in the combined Four Palaces ticket (see below). 

Free entrance to the palace building if you’re wearing a Hanbok.  Free entrance with the Discover Seoul Pass.

Deoksugung Palace

Deoksugung Palace is located at the corner of Seoul’s busiest downtown intersection and is famous for its elegant stone-walled road.

The palace is also worth a visit because it is the only palace that sits alongside a series of western style buildings that contribute to the uniqueness of the surrounding scenery.

Deoksugung Palace has its own Changing of the Royal Guards Ceremony. It is held at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM except on Mondays.  Due to another event, the ceremonies on Saturday afternoon are often canceled.

Once the ongoing construction is completed the ceremony at 3:30 PM will be resumed.

There is a free guided tour in English at 10.45 AM and 1.30 PM.  Check the schedule on the official website to make sure the hours are still correct.

₩1,000 or included in the combined Four Palaces ticket (see below).  Free entrance if you’re wearing a Hanbok. Free entrance with the Discover Seoul Pass.

Changgyeonggung Palace

Changgyeonggung and Changdeokgun Palace

Changgyeonggung Palace is located in the heart of Seoul. It is located next to Changdeokgun. 

Both palaces used to share the rear garden and were commonly known as the East palaces as they are located East of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

The palace was often used as residential quarters for queens and concubines.

During the Japanese colonial rule, it became a park with a zoo and a botanical garden.

In 1983 the government of Korea decided to remove the zoo and began working on the restoration of the palace. 

The botanical garden was preserved and gradually the palace is regaining its old glory.

₩1,000 or included in the combined Four Palaces ticket (see below).  Free entrance if you’re wearing a Hanbok.  Free entrance with the Discover Seoul Pass .

Gyeonghuigung Palace

Gyeonghuigung Palace   is located Southwest of Gyeongbokgung Palace and towards Deoksugung Palace.

Gyeonghuigung Palace served as the secondary palace for the king in the latter half of the Joseon period.

The secondary palace is there where the King would move in case of an emergency.  The palace was also called Seogwol which means ” a palace of the west”, as at that time it was located on the west side of Seoul.

3 days trip to korea

Unhyeongung

You can also choose to visit the 6th palace,  Unhyeongung .

It’s one of Seoul’s smaller and less touristic palaces and is located near Bukchon.  

A visit is therefore easy to combine with a visit to Bukchon Hanok Village.

If you plan on visiting all the palaces you can save by buying the Four Palaces ticket which grants you access to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyenggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, and the Jongmyo Royal Ancestral Shrine for ₩10,000.

The ticket can be bought at any of these locations and is valid for 3 months from the date of purchase.

Here is a list of more free things to do in Seoul.

Seoul, Bukchon Hanok Village, South Korea

Bukchon Hanok Village

From Unhyeoungung you can make your way to  Bukchon   to stroll between  the traditional Hanok houses. 

This district is composed of many streets and alleys. You’re free to wander around and explore the cozy inner courtyards as long as you respect the privacy of the people who live there.  

Some of the beautiful traditional Korean Houses that you will pass date back to around 600 years ago. All of them have been renovated with great respect for the cultural heritage.

There are many small alleyways and long roads for great pictures.

Bukchon lies on a hill, so there will be some uphill climbing involved.

If you want to spend the night in one of the hanok houses, check out this post in which we share an overview of the best hanoks in Seoul.

Bus icon

  Nearest subway station: Anguk Station, Exit #2

Insadong shopping Seoul, South Korea

Bukchon it’s not far from  Insadong , one of the most traditional and cultural districts in Seoul.

It is one of those places you absolutely must visit while you are in Seoul. It’s full of coffee shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

A great place for lunch and for souvenir buying.

If you like to spoil yourself with a good brunch, take a look at the best places to brunch in Seoul.

Best Things To Do in Insadong

Make sure to drop by the beautifully decorated Jogyesa temple , one of the most famous temples in Seoul.

Noteworthy museums are  the Kimchi Museum  (Renamed to Museum Kimchikan in 2015) and The Alive Museum.   Museum Kimchikan is situated in the center of the cultural street of Insa-Dong on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors of the Insa-dong Maru building.

It was named one of the top 11 best food museums by CNN in 2015 .

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish and often recognized as one of the healthiest foods in the world.  Koreans eat Kimchi with almost every meal but only recently does it start to appear on tables outside the Korean borders.

A little bit further out and technically not in Insadong, but worth the detour is  Gwangjang market.

This is a traditional street market where you can mingle with the Koreans to taste some of the local street-food delicacies.

Have a look at the stalls that sell San-nakji which is a raw octopus that is killed by cutting it in pieces on your plate so that the tentacles are still moving while it is served. 

I can assure you that we did not try this either but there’s a lot more you can enjoy like the Soonday (blood sausage), different kinds of rice rolls, and bindaetteok, a kind of pancake.

Nearest subway station: Anguk Station, Exit #6

If you only have 1 day in Seoul, check out our Seoul 1 day itinerary post.

Seoul, Gwangjang market, South Korea

Day 2: Namsan Park, Seoul tower, Myeongdong, and Hongdae

Visit namsan park and n seoul tower.

Mt. Namsan – Namsan Park is a symbolic place in the center of Seoul.

It is the largest park in Seoul attracting over 20,000 people a day.  

Most visitors come to this park to enjoy nature, see the city skyline, or hike one of the trails.

A number of events take place at the park and one of the biggest is the annual cherry blossom festival in April. The Cherry Blossom Path in Namsan Park is the longest trail of cherry trees anywhere in the city and is spectacular in full bloom.

Discover all the things Seoul is famous for.

To get up the mountain you can ride the Namsan cable car or take the Yellow Bus. 

To get to the base station of the Cable car you take the metro to Myeongdong Station where you take exit 3 and head South. 

The cable car is probably the most convenient option to reach the top. 

The Yellow bus stops at Exit 2 of Chungmuro Station or Exit 6 of Dongguk University Station.

Alternatively, you can also just simply walk to the top of the mountain. 

There is a pedestrian walkway that starts about 50 meters from the parking lot of the Namsan Cable Car.  If you keep a steady pace you only need 30 minutes to reach the foot of the N Seoul Tower.

At the bottom of N Seoul Tower, you have some dramatic views of the Skyline of Seoul and the surrounding area.  Better yet are the vistas from the viewing platform of the N Seoul Tower.

Since 1980, the N Seoul Tower has been a landmark of the skyline of downtown. It’s also the first tower-type tourism spot in South Korea.  Rising at almost 480m above sea level, it is one of the tallest towers in Asia.

The great vistas of Seoul from Mt. Namsan are completely free if you walk to the top, you have to buy a ticket for the cable car or bus.

Check prices and availability: Seoul Tower Tickets

Seoul, Seoul Tower Love locks, South Korea

Shop till you drop in the  Myeongdong district which is situated at the foot of Mt. Namsan. 

This is a good place for shopping in Seoul. Here you will find everything you want from skincare to makeup, clothes, and more!

Starting at 4 PM vendors will get their carts in place and it becomes one of the best places to try the delicious Korean street food.

You will be surprised by the huge variety of sweet to spicy snacks that you can buy.

In Myeongdong you can feast on grilled lobster, tteokgalbi meatballs, and other delicacies in addition to the classics like bungeoppang (fish shaped waffle), gyerranppang (waffle with egg on top), and gimbap (Korean version of sushi).

A great place to get a snack after you come down from Mt. Namsan.

Make sure you have some spare cash for the street food as credit cards are usually not accepted.

Nearest subway station: Myeongdong Station

Hongdae Eatery Seoul South Korea

Its location near a few of Seoul’s colleges makes Hongdae  the mecca of nightlife, shopping, cafes, and activities.

It’s also home to one of the funniest museums in Seoul,  the Trick Eye Museum.

The Trick Eye Museum is an interactive museum that gives off impressive optical illusions.

A trip to Hongdae will also be incomplete without taking a look at the colorful collection of street art in the area.

Every Saturday from March to November, there is  the Hongdae Free market where you will find an array of local artists’ work.

Free admission to the Trickeye museum with the Discover Seoul Pass  or you can buy discounted tickets on Klook .

Nearest subway station: Hongik University Station, Exit #9

JSA Panmunjom, South_Korea, DMZ

Day 3 Visit DMZ

Tours to the DMZ have restarted, but the JSA still cannot be visited. The JSA is the actual border post pictured above. The JSA is a highlight of this tour, but even without this stop, the DMZ tour remains an informative and fascinating trip where you will learn a lot about this unique border area.

A visit to the  DMZ  is a must-do when you’re in South Korea.  The DMZ area is located around 60 km up north of Seoul and can only be visited with a guided tour. 

Make sure to book your tour well in advance as they are often sold out. Tours to the DMZ, including the JSA,  run Tuesday to Friday. The regular DMZ tours continue over the weekend.

We recommend booking a full-day tour that includes the  JSA , the Joint Security Area.  This is the official building with the conference room where the leaders of both countries meet. 

The conference room is built on the border and you can step across the room, passing the border, to spend a few minutes in North Korea. Don’t forget your passport on the day of the excursion!

Here is an overview of the tours that can be booked today.

Check prices and availability: Overview DMZ tours

Or you can read our full guide about the best DMZ tours.

Seoul Bukhansan National Park, South Korea

Seoul Itinerary 4 days – 4 Days in Seoul

Day 4:  go hiking in bukhansan national park.

If you are like us and you like nature you should definitely spend a day at Bukhansan National Park . Bukhansan National Park borders Seoul in the north.

It’s the perfect place to unwind after some busy days in the city.

Things To Do At Bukhansan National Park

There are several walks of varying lengths. You should be able to find a hike in line with the time you want to spend in the park.

We hiked up Munsubong peak to  the Bogungmun gate. 

The climb is strenuous and demanding but the view from the top is awesome.

I dare to say this might have been the best view on Seoul we had.

At the top can either follow the old city enclosures further to the North or to the South.  We continued our way south and continued to follow the ramparts to get one beautiful vista after another on the skyline of Seoul below us.

Once we got to the Daeseongmun gate we descended back towards the entrance of the park. 

This loop took us approximately 2.5 hours with the occasional stop to take pictures and enjoy the magnificent views.

This is just one of the many hikes that you can do. 

On  the National Park’s website , you will find much more hikes along with their start locations and their difficulty grade. You can get a map that shows all trails at the visitor centers.

South Korea - Seoul - Bukhansan National Park

How To Get To Bukhansan National Park

The park is quite large and has 10 different entrances. 

We started our hike at the Jeongneung Visitor Center as we came by car and this is one of the few entrances with a parking lot. 

By Public Transportation

It may not be the best entrance if you use public transportation. 

In that case, you might opt for the Weondobong entrance further north at the Bukhansan National Park Dobong office . 

Nearest subway station: The Dobongson metro station (Line 1 or 7, exit 1) is just 10 minutes walking from this entrance. 

You should be able to follow the Koreans in their colorful hiking clothes to the entrance, hiking is very popular in Korea.

Directions to all entrances are very well explained on the National Park’s website .

Check out this alternative 4-day Seoul itinerary to get an even better idea about all the things that you can do in this amazing city.

3 days trip to korea

Seoul Itinerary 5 Days – 5 Days In Seoul

Day 5: gangnam.

If you are 5 days in Seoul, you definitely should visit Gangnam.

Gangnam is very known from  Psy’s song Gangnam style .

Gangnam literally means ‘south of the river,’ the neighborhood borders the southern banks of the Han river.

It’s a district where many wealthy South Koreans live. You should reserve a day to explore this exclusive upscale district.

Fun Things To Do In Gangnam

Shop til you drop.

The Gangnam district is one of the most popular districts to go shopping.  It counts many shopping malls and department stores.  They are spread out across various areas in this district.

The main areas are Apgujeong, Garosugil, COEX , and Gangnam Station.  

At Gangnam station, there is a large underground shopping center with loads of stalls with affordable clothing, fashion items, shoes, etc. 

The mall is mainly aimed at millennials and is a great place to keep up with the so-called “Gangnam Style”.

The underground shopping center below Gangnam station is your best bet to shop if you are looking for bargains in the chic Gangnam District.

Stroll Along The Streets Of Gangnam

As we walked along the wide boulevards that traverse Gangnam we felt like actors playing a role in a futuristic movie.

It seemed like any minute we could expect a flying car to pass buzzing above our heads.

Nothing as futuristic as that happened but those flying cars wouldn’t be out of place in the pictures of this district. 

The huge boulevards are lined with skyscrapers and are best enjoyed after dark when Gangnam comes alive and the huge billboards lighten up the neighborhood.

We enjoyed discovering this neighborhood and admired the classy architecture and the shiny cars that are parked in front of the exclusive bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues.

The Bongeunsa Temple

Visit The Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple

Bongeunsa is a Buddhist Temple in the center of Gangnam.  

The moment you cross the doorstep of the temple you leave the bustle of the city behind and you will find yourself surrounded by the serenity of the Buddhist mantras and the peaceful landscape of the temple’s gardens.

The  Bongeunsa Temple features a more secluded and quieter atmosphere than Jogyesa Temple in Insadong .  The various buildings of the temple complex are spread out on a forested hillside.

Twice a day, at 4:10 PM and 6:40 PM, a percussion ceremony using four instruments is performed by the monks of the temple.

This ceremony is meant to save and awaken beings on the ground using the drum, beings underwater using the wooden fish, beings in the sky using the cloud drum, and beings under the ground using the gong.

Take Subway Line 9 to Bongeunsa Temple Station (Exit 1) 

3 days trip to korea

COEX – Shopping Mall And Aquarium

The COEX shopping mall is located underneath the Korea World Trade Center and is one of the largest underground shopping centers in South Korea. 

It underwent a complete renovation in 2014. 

It is a shopping mecca for international brand name stores but besides stores, it also contains a movie theater, a concert hall, an aquarium, and an extensive food court just as well as several fine dining restaurants.

Note that the Kimchi museum used to be located in the COEX mall but has moved to Insa-Dong in 2015. (see higher)

Take Subway Line 2 to Samseong Station (Exit 6) or Subway Line 7 to Cheongdam Station (Exit 2).

Seoul Olympic park, South Korea

Seoul Olympic Park

Seoul Olympic Park, often referred to as Olpark, is absolutely enormous and a popular date spot for Seoul residents.  

It’s also popular with families with small children, people playing sports, and couples strolling. 

There are bikes, kites, balls, and skates, all of which visitors can rent at a low price. It costs about 15,000 won to rent the bike for an hour.

The park is divided into several zones and houses impressive leisure facilities legacy of the 1988 games. But besides the 6 sports stadiums that are all still in use, you also find a large collection of art and sculptures. 

At the entrance of the park, near the peace square, is the winged world peace gate that symbolizes the ability of the Korean people and peace and harmony.

Recent efforts have also succeeded in re-introducing animals like raccoons, ducks, woodpeckers, pheasants, and many more.

The vast area covers approximately 1.4 million square meters and it takes about 3 hours to explore the park completely.

Jamsil (Green Line 2, Pink Line 8) and Mongchontoseong (Olympic Park) Station (Purple Line 5)

Samsung D’light

Samsung D’light is a global promotional and exhibition center that showcases the latest technology founded by Samsung.

The name is derived from the company’s vision of being a guiding light in the digital world’. 

The center occupies three floors in the Samsung Electronics building.

The first floor is an exhibition space for Samsung’s technology and devices.

The second floor is a showcase of the possibilities of the future with Samsung solutions.

The basement floor houses Samsung’s flagship store.

All Samsung devices are available for purchase but ironically foreigners can often find Samsung devices cheaper in their home countries.

Line 2 Gangnam Station (subway line 2, Shinbundang Line) exit 8

Lotte World, Magic Island, Seoul, South Korea

Lotte World Adventure, Magic Island & Aquarium

Lotte World Adventure in Jamsil , just outside Gangnam, is the world’s largest indoor amusement park. 

It’s a Korean version of Disneyland and a great place to go if you’re traveling with kids. 

The park can get crowded, certainly during holidays and on weekends when you may have to queue for 90 to 120 minutes for some of the popular attractions.

Next door is Lotte World Magic Island (entrance is included with your ticket for Lotte World Adventure) with many outside attractions.  The magic castle on the magic island looks like an exact copy of Disney’s castle. 

On the opposite side of the road is the Lotte World Mall which houses the Lotte World Aquarium.

You can buy a combi-ticket to visit all three parks on the same day but in Lotte World Adventure and Magic Island you can easily spend a day.

Check prices and availability: Dicount and combi tickets for Lotte World

Nearest subway station: Jamsil (Green Line 2, Pink Line 8) Exit 4

Here is a list of more fun theme parks in and around Seoul.

Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea

Seoul Sky @ Lotte World Tower

The Lotte World Tower completed in 2017 is Seoul’s tallest tower and is ranked as the 5th tallest building in the world.

The top floors of this 123-floor skyscraper house Seoul Sky, the highest observation platform in Seoul which is also the world’s highest glass-floored observation deck.

Tickets are not cheap but worth every cent as Seoul Sky offers a great experience and a fantastic view over Seoul.

Check prices and availability: Lotte World Tower Seoul Sky admission

Nearest subway station: Jamsil (Green Line 2, Pink Line 8) Exit 1,2,10 or 11

Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

Seoul Itinerary 7 Days

If you have 7 days in Seoul we recommend taking some day trips from Seoul.

One of the highlights of our Seoul trip was a day trip to Seoraksan National Park .

Day 6- 7: Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan National Park lies in the Northeast of Korea.

It offers some of the most beautiful sceneries of Korea and is a must-visit if you are 7 days in Seoul.

What To Do In Seoraksan National Park

You can choose from a whole selection of hikes, the shortest hikes take just a few hours the longest treks take 3 days. 

We hiked to the top of  the Ulsanbawi Rock , it took us somewhere between 3 to 4 hours. 

This is seen as the best hike if you don’t want to camp overnight in the park.

The description on the national park’s website lists 2 hours and 20 minutes but that’s quite a challenge knowing that the last kilometer of the hike is one giant flight of stairs that takes you steeply uphill along the mountainside.

Although it’s possible to get an impression of the park in one (long) day.

The interesting and impressive hikes will probably all take you up rocks or mountains and will require at least 4 hours. 

That’s why we recommend spending the night in Sokcho so that you don’t need to rush and instead enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the park.

Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

How To Get To Seoraksan National Park

The easiest way to reach Seoraksan National Park is by car or with an organized day trip from Seoul .

If you have a car, it’s a 3h easy drive to the Park along the Yeongdong Highway ( road 50). 

It’s very easy to do a road trip in South Korea, we wrote an article about hiring a car and driving in South Korea in which we share some useful tips.

By Public Transport

It’s quite a hassle to reach the park from Seoul by public transport.

You would first need to take a bus from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal to Sokcho from where you continue your trip to the park with bus number 7 or 7-1. 

The first part from Seoul to Sokcho takes 2 hours and a half and it takes an additional 45 minutes to get from Sokcho to the park.

Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

Where To Stay in Seoraksan

Ramada gangwon sokcho hotel.

We stayed in  the Ramada Sokcho hotel.  From here it was a 30-minute drive to the park. 

We had a big comfortable room with a balcony where we could see how the boats sailed in and out of the harbor.

We liked the extensive breakfast buffet although the restaurant isn’t really cozy.

A great place to stay if you like seafood.  It’s right next to the harbor. Boats arriving at the port drop their catch at one of the many seafood restaurants along the pier.

Check prices and availability:

Booking.com

Cherry blossoms South Korea

General Information About Seoul

Here we answer some general questions you may have about your trip to Seoul.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Seoul In South Korea? 

Seoul can be visited all year round. But some seasons are better than others especially if you don’t like hot and humid summers or cold winters. 

Spring 

Mid-March to May is a great period to visit South Korea’s capital. After a cold winter, the weather starts to warm up.

This is one of the most beautiful seasons to visit Seoul.

Around the beginning of April, the cherry blossoms start to bloom making this a great time to visit Seoul. May until the beginning of June brings warmer weather.  These months are some of the most popular as well as the busiest months to visit Seoul.

Summer 

July to August brings rainy and humid summers. There is also a risk of typhoons. 

The typhoon season starts around the end of June and lasts until the end of September. 

Although this is not our favorite season to travel to Seoul due to the weather, the many festivals that are organized at this time of year can partly make up for it.

Late September until November is one of the best times to visit Seoul.

This time of the year brings mild temperatures and low rainfall. Fall is also a great time to admire the beautiful colorful foliage in Bukhansan and other parks.

Winter is also the low season in Seoul, which means fewer crowds and lower accommodation costs.

It’s a great time to visit Seoul if you don’t mind the cold or if you like to do some winter sports such as skiing.

3 days trip to korea

How Many Days in Seoul?

How many days do you need to visit Seoul?

The highlights of Seoul can be visited in a few days but you will need weeks to discover all areas of this stretched-out megapolis.

3 days ( 72 hours in Seoul) is a good amount of time to visit the highlights of the city.

4 to 7 days will give you the time to go hiking, visit more of-the-beaten-path attractions, or take a few day trips from Seoul. 

Passport page with Korean visa and immigration control stamps.

South Korea Visa Requirements

We didn’t need a visa and you probably won’t either except if you’re living in Africa or Asia.

Here you can check if you need a visa. 

K-ETA South Korea

If your country is part of Korea’s Visa Waiver program you won’t need a visa but you will need to apply for a K-ETA, a Korea Electron ic Travel Authorization . Do this at least 72 hours before your flight, the approval process can take this long and you will need to show the approved K-ETA to board your flight.

Make sure to enter all information exactly as it appears in your passport. The travel authorization will usually be valid for 2 years or until the expiry date of your passport if that expires earlier.

The K-ETA costs 10,000KRW (approx. $10 USD) at the time of writing.

The application can be done on the official site , if you feel uncertain about the process or want help with the paperwork you can use a visa agency like  iVisa  which will take care of everything for you.

Airplane sunset clouds

Cheap Flights To Seoul

  Skyscanner and Momondo are both good sites to check for cheap flights. 

Read our full review of 10 booking sites here or check out this  post where we review 10 booking sites. 

How to Get From Incheon Airport to Seoul

Most international passengers will arrive at Incheon International Airport.

South Korea’s largest airport is 47km from Seoul Station , which is considered to be the center of Seoul.  The airport is well-connected to this station.

Some hotels have courtesy shuttles to Seoul station but if they don’t you could continue your journey with the subway, the train, the limousine bus, or organize a private transfer.

The A’REX Airport Express

The fastest and cheapest way to get from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station is using the A’REX Airport Express.

If you don’t have the Discover Seoul Pass, you can purchase your A’rex Airport Express tickets in advance here: A’rex Incheon Airport Express train tickets

Tourist is waiting the bus in Seoul, South Korea.

Take The Limousine Bus

Another option is taking the limousine bus. There are 4 lines that stop at various places in Seoul.

  • 6701 Airport: Seoul City Hall
  • 6702 Airport: Dongdaemun/Namsan
  • 6703 Airport: Gangnam/COEX
  • 6705 Airport: Jamsil/East Seoul Bus Terminal

The buses run from early in the morning until 9 or 10 PM. Each bus has a slightly different schedule so definitely check the bus hours before booking a ticket.

Please refer to the Klook page to see which hotels are served by which bus.

How To Get Around Seoul? 

The easiest way to travel around Seoul is to use   the subway. 

Seoul’s subway is well-connected and quite cheap.

Single ride cards can be purchased on vending machines with coins and bills, credit cards are not accepted.

To avoid the hassle of buying tickets for each and every ride you can opt for the T-money recharge card .

Marking seats for pregnant women on the Korean subway line This seat for interpretation is for pregnant women

T-Money Recharge Card

The card can be used on subways, buses, and taxis and you will save ₩100 on each subway and bus ride if you pay with this card. (not all taxis accept T-money, look for the T-money or Cashbee symbol or check with the driver before you get in)

The card can be recharged at the vending machines with coins and bills, credit cards are not accepted.

The card costs ₩2500 and this fee is not refundable. Cards can be bought in convenience stores a

At the end of your trip, you can get a refund of the funds that are still on the card minus a transaction fee of ₩500.

In addition to the regular T-money cards, there’re also some special editions that are exclusively available to tourists. We mention the most popular ones below.

Korea Tour Card

The Korea Tour card is a T-money card that can be used in the whole of Korea.

In addition to the comfort of just having to tap the card whenever you use public transportation, you also get discounts at a number of popular attractions, including Lotte World, Everland, and several more.

The Korea Tour card can also be bought in convenience stores and in a limited number of subway stations (at the airports and at Seoul Station).

The card costs ₩4000.

Users of Android phones can also use a digital version of the T-money card. It offers the same benefits. To pay for transportation you just tap your phone. NFC needs to be enabled and you need to have a data connection.

To top up the card you use the app on your phone. All major credit cards are accepted. Refunds can also be arranged in the app.

This card is a great deal as it is even cheaper than a regular T-money card. It costs ₩6000 and has a ₩5000 value that can be used towards rides.

Check prices and availability: Digital T-Money Tour Card ( Android Only)

3 days trip to korea

Korail RailPlus Transport Card

In addition to the subway and busses, this card can also be used on Korail’s intercity trains, including the fast KTX trains. Some taxis also accept the Rail+ card and you can also pay your highway toll fees with this card.

You need to top up the card before you can use it. This can be done at the train and subway stations or in convenience stores. If you don’t want to use cash to add money to your card you can use the Rail Money App.

The card costs ₩2500.

Know that this card is not a T-money card. We’ve included it in our overview because it serves the same purpose and we particularly like it because you can use it to pay your highway tolls. It also offers a ₩100 discount on subways and busses (similar to T-money). You may never notice the difference with an actual T-money card but there can be instances where T-money cards are accepted but the Rail+ card isn’t.

At the end of your trip, you can go to a Korail station or eMart24 convenience store to have your remaining balance refunded.

Check prices and availability: RailPlus Card

M-pass card

During our first trip to Seoul, we used an M-pass card.

This is a transportation card exclusively for international tourists traveling in the Seoul metropolitan area.

M-PASS comes in five different durations: 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day passes. 

For the duration of the pass, you can do 20 free rides a day on the subway, and on the bus, and also the all-stop A’rex airport express is covered. 

You will only benefit from this card if you will be using public transport a lot, that’s also the reason we only got it once.

20 rides a day is normally more than enough but you can load extra funds on the card if needed as it basically is just another T-money card.  It cannot be used to pay for taxis though.

Discover Seoul Pass

If you plan to visit a lot of Seoul’s tourist attractions then the  Discover Seoul Pass is your ideal travel companion. 

The pass has a 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day variant and gives you discounted or free access to many top tourist destinations.

It also has a T-money function that will save you ₩2,500 of buying a separate T-Money card. As an extra benefit, you get one free one-way A’rex Express train ride.

Check prices and availability: Discover Seoul Pass

Discover Seoul Pass BTS

The Discover Seoul Pass is not always available. If it isn’t, you can see if they have the BTS edition.

It’s a 24hr edition of the Discover Seoul Pass without the T-money option. Instead, you get a Korea Tour T-money Card as a bonus.

The BTS edition covers the same attractions as the regular Discover Seoul Pass.

Check prices and availability: Discover Seoul Pass (24h+Korea Tour Card)

Hop-On-Hop-off Bus

If you don’t feel at ease using the subway, you can always jump on one of the hop-on-hop-off buses to see the highlights of Seoul.

They also have a special night tour where you drive along the river with the illuminated bridges and have beautiful views of the illuminated skyline of the city. Discover Seoul by night on a bus.

The Myeongdong Cathedral

Where To Stay In Seoul

Seoul is a large city with lots of districts each with its own atmosphere and attractions.

Here we share the best places to stay for tourists and first-timers based on our own experience.

Myeongdong – City Center

Myeongdong  is right in the heart of Seoul’s city center.  This is one of the most popular places to stay. 

The Metro hotel is a good choice in Myeongdong. It is within walking distance of shopping areas, street food, and public transportation.

Insa-Dong – Palace Quarter

Insa-dong  is one of the most traditional and cultural districts in Seoul and a very touristy district.  The streets are lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, and tea houses.  You are within walking distance of most palaces, the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, Bukchon Hanok village, and Gwanghwamum square

The Sunbee hotel lies in an excellent location for sightseeing. It is close to 2 subway stations, the Bukchon Hanok village, and the Seoul city center. You will also find many nice restaurants, tea houses, and cafes in the area.

For an overview of more amazing hotels in Seoul, check out the following posts:

  • Where to stay in Seoul: Our ultimate guide that explains all areas in detail.
  • 16 best hanok stays in Seoul: For those that one to experience a traditional stay.
  • Cool hotels in Seoul: For those that are looking for a cool and comfortable hotel
  • Best boutique hotels in Seoul : For those that are looking for a quintessential holiday experience in Seoul.
  • Best Airbnbs in Seoul: For those that are looking for a list of vacation homes.

DMZ freedom bridge, South_Korea

Organized Seoul tours

Here is an overview of the best-organized tours in Seoul. 

An organized tour saves you time and, moreover, the tour guide will enlighten you about the different sights you visit.

We selected 3 great tours in Seoul just for you.

  • The DMZ: A visit to the Demilitarized zone is a must-do when visiting Seoul. Read more here.
  • Seoul City Bus Tour : For those that want to comfortably discover the highlights of Seoul in a short amount of time.
  • Nanta Show: For those that are looking for a fun night out in Seoul this nonverbal Nanta show is perfect for you. 

KT Olleh SIM South Korea

Internet in Seoul

The internet in Seoul is super-fast and many places offer free WiFi.

We don’t know why, but often our phones wouldn’t connect to these WiFi hotspots.

We, therefore, advise you to buy a local SIM card.

Another option is bringing or renting a Pocket Wifi Device.

South Korean won and currency money exchange. background of money.

Cash Is King for Visitors

Bring some cash money.

Koreans can swipe their cards everywhere but foreign cards are not always accepted.

We were surprised by the number of ATMs at Incheon airport, and even more surprised by the number of ATMs that didn’t accept our cards. 

We have been trying different machines for at least an hour before we found one that worked for us. 

Once we had left the airport things didn’t get better. 

It was always a hit or miss with the ATMs we tried.  There was no particular bank where we could say with certainty that our card would work.

The majority of times it wouldn’t work but luckily every once in a while the machine would start counting bills, a noise that made us very happy at that time. 🙂

We, therefore, advise strongly you to bring some cash money.

On the other hand, we had no problem at all using our cards for payments. Restaurants and shops would all accept our cards. We could also use it in hotels and for the deposit of our rental cars. The only place it wasn’t accepted was the highway toll booths, be sure to have some spare cash for those.

Korean street food

Handy Seoul Apps

  • Korea Seoul Metro Navi will guide you quickly and efficiently through Seoul’s extended subway network.  The app calculates the fastest route to your destination.

Available on: Google Play – Apple

  • Mangoplate is a good app to check for restaurant reviews and the best places to eat.

Do I Need Travel Insurance For Seoul

Flights are usually one of the most expensive and least flexible items in your travel expenses. 

To find a good deal on airfares you usually need to book a few months in advance and when you want a flexible rate you need to pay two- or threefold of the normal fares. 

Compare that with hotel bookings which you can book a few weeks in advance and where you only need to add a few euros to get the flexibility to cancel for free on the same day or one or two days in advance.

It would be a shame to lose this investment in a beautiful holiday through a stupid accident. 

Believe me, many things can happen in the run-up to your vacation. 

We once broke our leg in the last weeks before our vacation and had to cancel our travel plans.  

That’s why we always get travel insurance .

Travel insurance is much cheaper than paying for flexible airline tickets and protects you from any losses in case you need to cancel or change your plans. 

In addition, it covers a whole range of other things. 

Seoul is an amazing city where modern life and traditions go hand in hand.

We hope this itinerary for Seoul will help you plan an unforgettable trip.

Enjoy your trip!

Monday 3rd of June 2019

Help! We are going to Seoul in a week and im still not quite organized with our itinerary. We are planning to visit the Gyeongbokgung , Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village , Namsan Tower , MBC World, SM Town Theater, Trickeye Museum , Figure Museum , Grevin Living Museum and we only have a full 2 days to do this. Pls help me maximize our time, i tried to google which one is closest to one tourist destination but getting confused. We are planning to take train and will be staying in Myeongdong. Thanks

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

I'm sorry, we were traveling ourselves so we just saw your message now. Hopefully, it turned out fine and you had a wonderful time in Seoul.

Best regards,

Thursday 28th of March 2019

This is the best- by far- guide I've seen online. I am planning to visit South Korea in December (by myself). So, for a first timer like me, this is very helpful! :) Thank you!

Thanks a lot for your kind words. We do our best to provide in-depth information. We are happy you appreciate it.

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

Great post! It is so in-depth, and I really appreciate that. I completely agree with you that having 5-7 (or more) days in Seoul is best for exploring the city. There is so much to see and so many different neighbourhoods that having only 3 days would be so hectic. I was there for a week my first visit and 5 days my second visit and still feel like there is so much more to see. Yes to your suggestion to bring cash. I thought I could take cash out of an ATM on my first trip and was horribly wrong. It was incredibly stressful, and I ended up paying a large fee to take cash from my credit card because it was the only thing that worked. Cash really is king!

Thursday 21st of February 2019

Thanks for your nice comment.

Travel Hiatus

Ultimate Itinerary for 3 Days in Seoul + Tips

Seoul is a fun, beautiful, and unique city to visit, but with so much to see and do, knowing and trying to plan out what to do for your first visit can be overwhelming.

Stress no more! This complete Seoul Itinerary for 3 days covers the main attractions in Seoul and how to see them, ensuring you can experience much of Seoul during your first visit!

Staying central in Seoul is important so you can experience plenty during your 3 days in Seoul.

Consider staying in Myeongdong or Insadong , the two most centrally located areas in Seoul. Both areas are near many attractions, offer plenty to do, and are well-connected to public transportation.

If you’re visiting Seoul for five or more days and prefer a more local neighborhood atmosphere, consider staying in one of Seoul’s other popular areas .

Getting Around Seoul

There are numerous ways to get around Seoul. The city is well-connected with subway (metro) lines, buses, taxis and ride-sharing apps.

Get a reloadable T-Money card at GS25 or 711. You can put money on it to take the subway, bus, and even some taxis in Seoul. Below are all the ways you can get around Seoul !

  • Subway / Known as Seoul Metro
  • Taxis / Usually white/silver taxis
  • Foreign Taxi / Orange taxis, drivers usually speak English
  • KakaoT / ride-sharing app, similar to Uber and Grab

TIP : Google Maps doesn’t work in Seoul for walking, so download and use  KakaoMaps

a few locals walking in the beautiful streets of Seoul, spotted ahead is the famous N Seoul Tower

3 Days Seoul Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1 : Insadong Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Myeongdong Night Market
  • Day 2 : N Seoul Tower/Park, Namdaemun Market & Hongdae
  • Day 3 : Yongan Park/National Museum of Korea & Gangnam
  • (Optional) Day 4 : Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwangjang Market & Cheonggyecheon Park

Day 1 in Seoul:

Your first day in Seoul starts with exploring the cultural side of the capital. No trip to Seoul is complete without visiting the city’s culturally rich attractions.

Once you’ve had breakfast, if you’re looking for something tasty and quick, I recommend IsaacToast, my favorite breakfast sandwich in the city. It’s a popular Korean sandwich/cafe franchise.

The three attractions mentioned below are all nearby and within walking distance. You can take a taxi if you really don’t want to walk, but there’s no reason to, walk around and explore the streets of Seoul!

Insadong Hanok Village

Strolling through Insadong Hanok Village is like stepping back into Korea long ago. The charming village is full of beautifully restored traditional homes, showcasing the beauty of Korean architecture.

Throughout Insadong Hanok Village you’ll also find several antique shops, galleries and traditional Korean tea houses to visit. I recommend you visit one of the tea houses in the village, it’s an experience in itself.

You’ll also spot local vendors selling many different souvenirs and traditional crafts. Despite how modern Seoul is today, the Hanok Village offers a clear glimpse of Seoul’s past way of life and atmosphere.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Located in the center of the city is Gyeongbokgung Palace, a beautiful palace of the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul. It was first built by King Taejo in 1395.

As you enter the beautiful palace, you’re met with majestic gates, stunning pavilions, and meticulously landscaped gardens. The royal residences give visitors a glimpse of how the dynasty used to live.

Next to the palace is the National Palace Museum of Korea, where you can find a collection of artifacts and treasures.

This palace is the largest and most significant of the Five Grand Palaces in Seoul and is one of Seoul’s most famous attractions, so it can’t be missed when visiting!

Another nearby palace you can visit if you’re interested in learning more about Korean heritage is the Changdeokgung Palace, and it’s nearby.

3 days trip to korea

Myeongdong Night Market

I’d imagine that after exploring all day in Seoul, you’ve already gone for dinner. Well, I hope you didn’t eat too much because this next attraction is another must-experience in Seoul!

The popular Myeongdong Night Market is a bustling, fun market that hosts over 100 to 150 vendors in the streets of Myeongdong every evening. The market opens at 5:00 PM and runs until 10:00 PM.

Here, you’ll find countless delicious Korean street foods to try, including pancakes, meat skewers, grilled cheese, and more!

At the night market, there are several souvenir stands selling goods and shops surrounding it. It’s the perfect place to do some Korean souvenir shopping!

By the way, I’d recommend you come early to Myeongdong and explore the area. The streets are quite picturesque. Once vendors show up, the streets get quite busy, and it’s not the same!

several Korean styled hot dogs being sold by a vendor at night market in Seoul

Day 2 in Seoul:

It’s day 2 of your Seoul itinerary for 3 days. Let the adventures continue. Today, you’ll spend the day exploring Seoul’s most famous park and visiting the city’s tallest tower, which can be spotted throughout the city.

Then, you’ll visit one of the city’s oldest and most vibrant day markets, followed by an evening in Hongdae , Seoul’s most vibrant neighborhood.

N Seoul Tower & Park

Namsan Park, the largest park in Seoul and home to the famous N Seoul Tour, is located just a 15-20 minute walk south of Myeongdong. It is highly recommended to visit Namsan Park!

As you walk around the park and slowly make your way up the mountain, you’ll consistently be meet with breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Also views of the N Seoul Tower ahead, which stands at 236 Meters high.

If hiking isn’t for you, not to worry, you can take a cable car to the top of the park instead. Cable car tickets are 12k KRW for one way and 15k KRW for a roundtrip ticket.

At the top, there are several different observation decks, lovely decor, a cafe, a souvenir shop, and washrooms.

Namdaemun Market

Famous for being one of the oldest markets in Seoul, Namdaemun Market is a bustling day market that is open from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM and closed on Sunday.

The market is home to over 10,000 shops, stalls, and street vendors, offering various goods, ranging from clothing, accessories, and electronics to fresh produce, spices, and traditional Korean crafts.

There are many delicious street food vendors around the market. After some shopping, be sure to sample a few foods. The market is an excellent way to experience one of Seoul’s traditional markets and bargain hunt for deals on various goods.

several locals walking around on a cloudy afternoon at the Namdaemun Market in Seoul

Visit Hongdae

Hongdae is one of Seoul’s most popular neighborhoods. The area is known for its extensive walking street , where you can find countless unique boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, karaoke bars, arcades, and more.

Walking around Hongdae’s streets, you’ll notice the area is a hub for Seoul’s indie music and arts scene. The trendy area is also known for its wide variety of international cuisine, excellent Korean food, and lively nightlife.

Visit Hongdae in the evening, or if you have time, come earlier during the day to explore the neighborhood. For a restaurant recommendation in Hongdae, try out Doma , an excellent Korean BBQ restaurant.

If you don’t make it to Hongdae earlier in the day, visit Hongdae for dinner and then continue your evening on the lively walking street, watching street performances, trying some street food, visiting an arcade/karoke bar, or perhaps continuing the night at a nightclub or cozy concert hall!

popular intersection with plenty of locals shopping, walking in Hongdae, Seoul

Day 3 in Seoul:

Seeing that it’s your last full day in Seoul, on the third day, it’s best to experience less so you’re well-rested to travel the next day.

But if that’s not your preference, don’t worry, there’s plenty more to do suggested as an optional 4th day below, which you could possibly fit into your third day of adventures!

Yongsan Park & National Museum of Korea

Conveniently located next to one another, Yongsan Park is a charming park featuring lush gardens, walking trails, and ponds. It is the perfect spot to relax for the afternoon. Consider buying a few snacks from GS25 and enjoying them at the park.

Next to the park is the National Museum of Korea, one of the city’s most significant museums showcasing Korea’s rich history and heritage. The museum contains a large collection of ancient artifacts and traditional Korean artworks.

Those who enjoy history will appreciate visiting it, if mueums aren’t for you, you can skip it!

Visit Gangnam

Continue the later part of your third day and evening in Gangnam, a bustling district known for its parks, excellent restaurants, museums, impressive shopping malls, and vibrant nightlife.

Main attractions to visit in Gangnam are the COEX Mall , known as one of the largest underground malls in Asia, the Seolleung and Jeongneung tombs , and Garosu-gil Street , a notable and picturesque street in the area.

Also, check out the Starfield Library , an extensive large library with impressive modern architecture.

Once you’ve enjoyed dinner at one of the many great restaurants in the area, you can enjoy a laidback evening at one of Gangnam’s many riverside parks or explore the area’s nightlife, with many bars and nightclubs in the area.

three locals studying amongst walls of books at the Starfield library in Gangnam, Seoul, Korea

(Optional) Day 4 :

For visitors staying in Seoul for longer than three days, or perhaps you’ve convinced yourself to stay longer because of how much you’ve enjoyed it, here’s an itinerary for four days in Seoul!

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Those who appreciate architecture will really want to visit the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Renowned architect Zaha Hadid designed this standout masterpiece, a spectacle.

The cultural hub has many uses: a museum, exhibition area, and multi-purpose convention center. Fashion, trade shows, and many significant events occur at the DDP.

Walking around the DDP, you’ll encounter a beautiful contemporary but futuristic design. DDP is a must-visit destination for those seeking a creative and inspiring experience in Seoul.

the remarkable Dongdaemun Design Plaza building in Seoul on a sunny day, designed by Zara Hadid

Gwangjang Market

Who’s up for some shopping? Gwangjang Market is a vibrant and historic market located in the Dongdaemun area, close to the DDP, and a must-visit.

Established in 1905, it is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in South Korea. It’s open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

The bustling day market offers various high-quality goods to purchase and various clothing, textiles, produce, and plenty of street food to try!

As soon as you arrive, you’ll hear the sounds of products moving around the market, the smells of fresh foods served, and plenty of impressive vendor stands.

The food alley at Gwangjang Market is quite impressive. If you’re a foodie looking for street food, this is your day market to visit.

Cheonggyecheon Park

Located amongst the hustle and bustle of Seoul, between Insadong and Myeongdong, is Cheonggyecheon Park. The park’s centerpiece is the Cheonggyecheon Stream, a restored waterway that meanders amongst nature.

Lined with lush greenery, trees, bridges over the beautiful stream that flows amongst it all. The park’s centerpiece is the Cheonggyecheon Stream, a restored waterway that meanders amongst nature.

The lovely urban park is below the main ground level, offering a natural escape for locals and tourists.

locals walking along the stream and greenery at Cheonggyecheon Park in Seoul

When to Visit Seoul

Seoul has four seasons, and depending on the time you visit, it offers a different atmosphere. Each season offers various activities.

All seasons have their advantages, but if you don’t favor the heat, you’ll want to visit in the Spring, and if you’re not looking to experience any snow, don’t come in the winter!

Spring : April to June

Spring is an excellent time to visit Seoul, with temperatures ranging from  10 to 20   Celsius  ( 50 to 68 Fahrenheit ). It’s an ideal time to explore Seoul’s many outdoor attractions, like its parks, palaces, and hiking trails.

These ideal midrange temperatures in the city allow for comfortable walks and outdoor activities. Also, Spring in Seoul offers a picturesque and enjoyable experience due to the yearly cherry blossom bloom.

Summer : July to August

In the Summer, Seoul becomes warm with some humidity, with average temperatures ranging from  23 to 30 Celsius  ( 73 to 86 Fahrenheit ). It’s a vibrant season with cultural/music festivals, outdoor markets, and lively street performances.

From exploring the historic sites to enjoying the bustling nightlife, there’s always something happening in the city, and Summer is a great time to experience all that Seoul has to offer!

a beautiful cherry blossom tree during the Spring at Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul

Autumn : September to October

Autumn in Seoul is another favorable season to visit, especially for those who prefer mild and comfortable temperatures between from  17 to 22 Celsius  ( 63 to 72 Fahrenheit ).

As the leaves change color, the city transforms into a picturesque landscape adorned with vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues. It’s a perfect time to explore parks, gardens, and mountains like Namsan and Bukhansan.

Autumn in Seoul offers a serene and romantic ambiance, making it an ideal season for nature lovers, hikers, photographers, and those looking for a romantic gateway!

Winter : December to March

Winter in Seoul can get a tad chilly, with average temperatures ranging from  -1 to -7 Celsius  ( 30 to 19 Fahrenheit ).

Seoul transforms into a winter wonderland as snow blankets the streets and parks. It’s the season for ice skating, skiing, and enjoying hot drinks at cozy cafes around the city.

Popular attractions in the city, such as Namsan Tower and Gyeongbokgung Palace, offer stunning views amidst a snowy backdrop.

charming walking trail full of many coloured trees during the fall at Gyeongui Line Park in Seoul, Korea

Tips for Visiting Seoul

  • Google Maps doesn’t work in Seoul. Download and use  KakaoMaps .
  • If you want to get around by taxi, use traditional cabs or  KakaoT , a ride-sharing app.
  • Don’t tip in Korea. It’s considered rude and offensive. There’s no reason ever to tip in Korea.
  • Get a reloadable T-Money card to use for Subway/Buses; get it at convenience stores like GS25 or 711
  • Google Translate is okay, but  Papago  offers a more accurate translation from English to Korean.
  • Don’t point at people if you’re trying to refer to someone. It’s considered rude in Korea.
  • Most places accept credit cards and cashless payments – if you need cash, use ATMs in 711 or GS25 stores.

many locals walking in a picturesque street in Insadong, Seoul area during Fall

Seoul Itinerary for 3 Days  — Final Thoughts

That concludes how to spend 3 days in Seoul. The city is full of many amazing things to do.

Three days is enough for first-time visitors curious about Seoul, but realistically, there’s still much more to do!

Seoul has several exciting neighborhoods, each offering many things to do, a different atmosphere, and unique traits. If you prefer not to stay in the two most central areas which are Insadong and Myeongdong, use my guide for where to stay in Seoul .

If you’re visiting Seoul for longer than 3 or 4 days, I recommend you explore the other areas!

Is 3 days enough for Seoul?

For first-time visitors, 3 full days in Seoul should be enough, but for many who enjoy the city, you may want to spend four to five days in Seoul.

How long to spend in Myeongdong?

Check out the many great boutique shops in the area’s center, visit the LOTTE department store, eat some delicious Korean BBQ, stroll Cheonggyecheon Park, and end your evening at the Myeongdong Nightmarket !

Is Seoul an expensive city?

Seoul isn’t expensive, but it’s not cheap either. The average visitor spends $120 US a day , which includes hotel, food, and activity costs.

Is 7 days in Seoul too long?

No, it’s not too long. There’s plenty to do in Seoul, and the city has several exciting areas to explore. You can easily spend a day in each of these areas, having plenty to do.

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Owity founded Travel Hiatus in 2022 to document his travel, food and cultural experiences from all over the globe in order to help fellow travellers along the way. His slow travels allow him to research and explore places in-depth, meaning only the best and most informational guides for fellow readers! From Europe to North America, Asia and more, so far Owity has visited 21 countries.

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Seoul 3-day itinerary – how to see the best of the city

I’ve been to many big cities around Asia but Seoul is one of my favorites. You’ll see the contrast between old and new at every step. Although most of Seoul was destroyed during the Korean War , a few historical buildings remain and now they’re all surrounded by tall, glass & metal skyscrapers.

It’s incredible to see this contrast and it’s a part of Seoul’s charm. If you are planning a 3-day trip to Seoul, this itinerary will help you a lot. I’ve spent five days in this city and I’ve visited all the popular, historic and cool tourist attractions.

Please find below the places you shouldn’t skip if you want to spend three days in Seoul.

Korean girls wearing hanbok at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

1. Why you should visit Seoul

Fashion & technology-forward but also traditional, Seoul is an intriguing yet fascinating city. There’s always something happening. From K-pop street performances to traditional dances  and an amazing theme park , you’ll always be surprised by something.

With a population of over 10 million, Seoul is a great choice for those in search of a rich culture, futuristic architecture and great food. You only need a few days in this dynamic and youthful city to fall in love with it.

Get ready for a vibrant nightlife, endless shopping opportunities and jaw-dropping temples and palaces.

Main street in Hongdae, Seoul

What I loved about Seoul was its awesome public transport, cool cafes and electronic games. I rediscovered my inner child and visited quite a few arcade game shops. The variety of games you’ll find here is incredible and the locals seem very passionate about playing video games too.

Fun fact: Do you know the world-famous Gangnam Style song? Well, it got its name after a neighborhood in Seoul called Gangnam.

2. The perfect Seoul 3-day itinerary

Visiting Seoul in 3 days is totally do-able and you’ll have enough time to discover the main tourist attractions in the city. If you only have two days to spend in this city I recommend skipping the last day of this itinerary but you can adjust it as you wish.

Good to know: I recommend getting a  Seoul Pass . With this pass, you will save a lot of money on entry fees to many tourist attractions in Seoul. 

No time to read now? Pin it for later!

How to spend 3 days in Seoul

Let’s start this trip with a visit to one of the most famous borders in the world, the DMZ. It’s going to be exciting and a great way to find out more about the Korean history. Usually, the trips to DMZ are half-day so for the last part of the day, I recommend visiting the N Seoul Tower. Here you will get a 360 degree glimpse over Seoul. Take your time and admire it from above!

Visit one of the most famous borders in the world – the DMZ

Duration (getting there + visiting): half day

A visit to South Korea isn’t complete without visiting the DMZ (demilitarized zone). For many of us, visiting North Korea is out of the question so this is the closest we can get to this country.

3 days trip to korea

While visiting the DMZ you will find out more about the Korean history and war. You will visit some important locations such as the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, the Dorasan Station or the Dora Observatory.

Good to know: Access to DMZ is possible only by guided tours. Click here to see available tours. 

If you want to get a glimpse inside one of North Korea’s cities, don’t skip the Dora Observatory! To read more about this experience, check out my complete guide to DMZ.

Dora Observatory DMZ South Korea entrance

Good to know: there are actually two kinds of tours that will take you to the border between South Korea and North Korea. One of them is called JSA (Joint Security Area) and, apart from the places mentioned above, it will take you to the place where the North and South Korean soldiers stand face to face (this tour lasts for an entire day). The other tour is called DMZ. Given the fact that you only have 3 days in Seoul, I recommend the shorter tour called DMZ.

Tip: Book your tour at least two weeks in advance. They sell out quickly. Check out some awesome tour options below

Admire the view from N Seoul Tower

Duration (getting there + visiting): 2-3 hours

Are you ready to enjoy the best view of Seoul? This Seoul itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a panoramic view over the city. Climb to the N Seoul Tower and see the sun set over Seoul from one of the viewing platforms or from the observatory.

Namsan Seoul Tower was opened to the public in 1980 and it now welcomes around 12 million visitors each year. It’s an important Seoul landmark and the views it offers are breathtaking. Even if you’re visiting Soul for just 3 days, don’t skip this attraction! Book your entry ticket here .

Panoramic view from N Seoul Tower

Good to know: It’s free to admire the city from the viewing platforms at the base of the tower (the view is incredible). If you want, you can go even higher to the observatory but you will have to pay an entry ticket of 10,000 won per adult.

The second day of this 3-day itinerary of Seoul will cover the most important historical monuments in the city, a beautiful temple and a shopping street. This is the time to search for souvenirs and find out more about the Korean culture. Once the day ends, it’s time for some fun in one of the most vibrant and youthful neighborhoods of Seoul – Hongdae!

Rent a Hanbok

Oh, I loved wearing the traditional Korean dress called Hanbok. You’ll see that both locals and foreigners love wearing hanboks and taking photos all around the city.

Girls wearing a hanbok in Seoul

Since the first tourist attraction I recommend for this day is the Gyeongbokgung Palace, it would be a great idea to visit it while wearing a hanbok . You can take some awesome pictures like the girls from the picture below.

Bonus: the entrance fee to the palace is free if you’re wearing this traditional Korean dress.

Foreign girl wearing a hanbok at Bukchon Hanok Village

Renting a hanbok in Seoul is quite easy since there are rental shops almost everywhere but for all the details you need to know and tips & tricks, you can check out this guide . It covers prices, photo locations and more.

Explore the Gyeongbokgung Palace

There are actually 5 palaces in Seoul (Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Gyeonghuigung and Deoksugung). They are situated pretty close to one another and they all date back to the Joseon Period . Which one to choose?

I recommend visiting  Gyeongbokgung Palace because it is close to the next attraction on our itinerary and it is the biggest and most impressive out of all the five palaces in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung Palace facade

Even though this palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, it was reconstructed in the 1990s according to what it used to look like. You can explore the interior courtyards, admire the architecture and take some awesome photos.

Get lost in Bukchon Hanok Village

Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour

This traditional Korean village is one of the hot spots for tourists in Seoul. With many alleys and beautiful traditional homes, the Bukchon Hanok Village is a fascinating glimpse into Seoul’s past. Keep in mind that people live here so don’t make too much noise.

Foreign girl wearing a hanbok at Bukchon Hanok Village

There is no entrance fee to this village. You are free to wander through the alleys and admire the beautiful architecture. Don’t be surprised to see both locals and foreigners dressed in hanboks , taking photos around the village. It is a very popular place for photoshoots.

Admire the colorful Jogyesa Temple

Once you’ll enter the gate of Jogyesa Temple in Seoul, you will be amazed by its colorful details. This temple is a splash of color. It features a mix of traditional temple and palace architecture and the gardens are full of flowers.

Entrance to Jogyesa Temple, flowers

Visiting a Korean temple is a great way to get a bit closer to the local culture. Relax and admire the Jogyesa Temple while finding out more about Buddhism.

Go shopping at Insadong Street

It’s time for a bit of shopping! Right near Jogyesa Temple is the Insadong Street. Here you will find tens of local shops full of clothing, accessories, souvenirs and handicrafts.

It’s the perfect place to look for souvenirs for the loved ones back home. Insadong  Street is also a great place for art enthusiasts. From paintings to statues and home decor, you will find everything here.

Korean traditional dance at Insadong Street

Also, here you’ll find many restaurants with both local and international cuisines. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the street food. Even if you don’t know what kind of food people are selling, just try it! You might end up loving it.

Explore the Seoul nightlife at Hongdae neighborhood

Duration (getting there + visiting): 3 hours

What better way to end this day than with a bit of fun? Hongdae is the perfect place to explore Seoul’s nightlife. With many clubs, bars, restaurants and shopping opportunities, Hongdae is the place to be for fashionistas, shopping enthusiasts and party animals.

If you feel like singing, you can go try karaoke or if you want to bring your inner child out, you can play electronic games at Zzang Games. All in all, Hongdae has something for everyone in search of fun. To read which are the top 10 things you have to do in Hongdae , check out this guide .

K-pop performance in Hongdae, Seoul

Tip: Don’t forget to try the 32-centimeter tall ice cream! It’s delicious, quirky and BIG! 

On the last day of this three-day itinerary of Seoul, we’ll visit one of the most popular neighborhoods in Seoul – Gangnam. After that, we’re heading to the suspended platform Seoullo 7017 and then we’re doing some shopping in a local market.

Towards the end of the day we’ll combine the old with the new. After seeing one of the eight gates of Seoul, we’ll be heading to one of the modern buildings in the city – Dongdaemum Design Plaza.

Explore Gangnam Neigborhood

Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours

Mostly known due to the world-famous Gangnam Style song, this neighborhood is the place to be for those who want to really feel Seoul’s vibe. With countless shops, hip restaurants and tall skyscrapers, Gangnam’s architecture is one of a kind. Just take a walk on the streets and feel how the local life unfolds in front of you.

Gangnam Style song stage in Seoul

While you are here, don’t hesitate to visit the Gangnam Style Horse Dance Stage where you can pay tribute to one of the most popular songs in the world. You will find this stage at the exit of Gangnam metro station.

Step in the future at Seoullo 7017

It’s time to get on the other side of the river and visit the Seoullo 7017. What used to be a highway is now a futuristic pedestrian walkway. Made out of glass and full of trees and vegetation (24,085 plants and 228 species of trees and flowers), the Seoullo 7017 is great for taking a walk and relaxing.

Seoullo 7017 pathway

You can watch the traffic below or admire the skyline above. Either way, this pedestrian walkway is a must-see when in Seoul.

Shop till you drop at Namdaemum Market

You can’t visit a new country without going to one of the local markets. Right near Seoullo 7017 you can visit the Namdaemum Market. Opened in 1964, this is the largest traditional market in Korea and here you can find pretty much anything: clothes, street food, electronics, fruits & vegetables and souvenirs at affordable prices.

Namdaemum Market shops and souvenirs

There are approximately 10,000 stores at Namdaemum Market so you’ll certainly find something to buy. We ended up buying tons of souvenirs and street food.

Admire the Sungnyemun Gate

Right near the market, you can visit one of the eight Seoul gates – the Sungnyemun Gate. Dating back from the Joseon Dynasty , this gate is the first National Treasure of Korea . It is a big, imposing structure in total opposition with the surrounding buildings. While the gate is a historic monument, it is guarded by tall, glass skyscrapers.

Namdaemum gate change of guard

If you are lucky, you can even catch the change of guard when visiting the Sungnyemun Gate.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

For those passionate about art and architecture, the Dongdaemum Design Plaza is the place to be. The most striking feature of this building is its architecture. With its metal-looking exterior, round shapes and imposing structure, the Dongdaemum Design Plaza is an atypical sight.

Dongdaemum Design Plaza interior

Housing art exhibitions, fashion shows, home decor global trends and live performances, this place attracts quite a fashionable crowd. Visit it and see which are the latest trends around the world.

3. How to get around Seoul

By far, the easiest way to get around Seoul is by subway . The connections are great, it is affordable and you’ll get to your destination in no time.

Good to know : If you are planning to visit many tourist attractions in Seoul, I recommend buying a Seoul Pass .

You can also use the bus (we used it a lot and the connections are great). Just type in your Google Maps your destination, select the “public transport” option, and follow the instructions. Depending on the color of the bus, the price is different.

  • Blue Buses : ₩1,300 per ride
  • Green Buses:  ₩1,300 per ride
  • Yellow Buses : ₩1,200 per ride
  • Red Buses : ₩2,400 per ride
  • Night Buses : Regular city routes that operate at night. All night routes are prefixed with an “N.”

To pay for the bus you will need exact change or a payment card such as T-money which will reduce the bus fare by ₩100.

3 days trip to korea

Taxis in Seoul are pretty affordable and definitely the most comfortable way to get around the city. There are two types of taxis in Seoul:

  • Regular taxis – silver, orange, blue or white color. They have the “taxi” sign on the roof and they generally cost between ₩2,800 and ₩3,000 for the first two kilometers. After that, you’ll have to pay an additional ₩100 for 142 meters.
  • Deluxe taxis – black color and yellow stripe. The prices are a bit higher – between ₩3,200 and ₩5,000 for the first three kilometers and ₩200 every 164 meters.

Good to know: Keep in mind that not all taxi drivers speak English. Also, tipping is not required but it’s welcomed. 

4. Where to stay in Seoul

I’ve searched for the best accommodation in Seoul for each budget. Find below the best options:

  • Budget  –  JM Guesthouse Hongdae  – excellent location, clean rooms, friendly staff
  • Mid-budget  –  Orbit  –  good location, stylish interior, spacious rooms
  • Luxury  –  Ryse Hotel  – excellent location, comfortable, excellent breakfast

If you were wondering which are the places to visit in Seoul in three days, I hope that this itinerary was helpful. You can ask me any questions in the comments section below!

May the travel bug bite you!

3 days trip to korea

Aurelia Teslaru is a professional travel blogger and the writer behind Daily Travel Pill. With a 4-year experience as a travel writer and photographer, Aurelia only shares travel guides about destinations that she visited.

She has been to more than 40 countries during the past 10 years and aims to explore 50 countries before turning 30 years old. Aurelia is a digital nomad who transformed her passion for travel into a lifestyle. Read more about her here .

To follow her adventures, check out her Instagram and Facebook pages!

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Sigur voi porni de la acest articol pentru a planifica cele 5 zile pe care le vom petrece acolo primavara viitoare! Totul pare asa de frumos in poze 🙂

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Este superb! Sunt sigura ca iti va placea!

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Coreea de Sud este o tara superba in care am petrecut 6 luni de zile in care am descoperit locuri si lucruri cu care am rezonat si mi-au intrat la suflet de la prima vedere. Seoul este un oras cosmopolit, superb, unde nu te plictisesti niciodata. Este orasul in care traiesc la maxim fiecare clipa! De 5 ani de zile concediile mele includ cel putin 7 zile in Coreea de Sud, din care 3 zile in Seoul. Nu cred ca am sa ma plictisesc vreodata de acest oras superb si de oamenii extrem de politicosi si primitori pe care am avut ocazia sa ii intalnesc de cate ori am fost acolo.

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love your post and recommendations, I’m planning my trip to S. Korea and will definitely checkout the places you have recommended

I’m sure you’ll have a blast in South Korea. Enjoy! Happy I could help!

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3 Day Seoul DIY Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea

If you are off to South Korea , then don’t you dare miss the capital, Seoul . Seoul is everything you need to see in a country; the traditional historical side, modern and advancing side, and the natural beauty. Go off to the Palaces, the gorgeous Han River, Markets, and skyscraper buildings of mega-industries. To see all of that, here’s a 3 Day Seoul Itinerary that could help you cross everything off your list.

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Remember, Filipino citizens, need a South Korea Tourist Visa to enter South Korea unless you are exempt, according to the embassy’s announcement . However, it’s pretty easy as they don’t have an interview and if you have complete documents.

Discover Seoul Pass All the Benefits and Sample Itinerary

When you go to Seoul, I recommend buying a Discover Seoul Pass . It costs KRW 39,900 for a day, KRW 55,000 for 2 days, and KRW 70,000 for 3 days. It can get you to enter attractions, tours, and other perks for FREE. I know it’s quite expensive to look at first, but if you follow this itinerary, it’s going to be worth it if you purchase a 3 day one. Check out also my detailed article of the pros-cons of buying the Discover Seoul Pass .

Table of Contents

3 Day Seoul, South Korea DIY Itinerary

Day 1: seoul itinerary.

  • Hanbok Rental at HANBOKNAM
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Bukchon Hanok Village

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Start your day on the traditional side of Korea and go to Hanboknam to rent Korean Traditional Wear. With that, you can enter palaces or shrines for free! Off you go to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of 5 palaces in Seoul. After that, you can go across and see the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which was also featured in Korean dramas. You can walk to Bukchon Hanok Village to see traditional houses from 600 years ago. There are also shops nearby so you can eat lunch there. You can return the Hanbok too.

Discover Seoul Pass All the Benefits and Sample Itinerary

If you want to ask why I don’t suggest going to another palace, it’s because they are quite similar to each other. One is enough. However, if you don’t like the other one, I suggest Changdeokgung Palace. It has a gorgeous secret garden!

  • Grevin Museum
  • [Alternative] Running Man Experience
  • [Alternative] Alive Museum

Discover Seoul Pass All the Benefits and Sample Itinerary

Use that Discover Seoul Pass and go to modern museums. Grevin Museum is a wax museum with famous people like President Obama, Korean artists like Psy, and celebrities like Tom Cruise. After that, you are off to L’atelier, which is an art theme park with replicas of famous paintings. Both are very fun.

Discover Seoul Pass All the Benefits and Sample Itinerary

You can also choose the Running Man Experience, especially if you are a group. Alive Museum is also a 4-D art museum in Seoul. However, the first option optimizes your Discover Seoul Pass as the cost of Grevin + L’atelier is KRW 39,000 but free with the pass while the other one is KRW 28,000.

  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza
  • Dongdaemun Night market

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days6

In the evening, go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza, where you can see modern Seoul. The landmark is also where some scenes in Kdramas like “My Love from the Star” and “She Was Pretty” was filmed. Off you go to Dongdaemun Night market to go shopping and eat the best street food Seoul offers.

Day 2: Seoul Itinerary

  • Purchase a Seoul City Bus Tour: Panorama Course (Can start at Gwanghwamun, 9:30 AM)
  • Namsan Cable Car
  • N Seoul Tower

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Get a Seoul City Bus Tour and choose the Panorama Course. It’s a hop-on-and-hop-off, so you can get off at Namsam Cable Car first, then ride to N Seoul Tower. You can also try the Hanbok experience in the Tower or the Hello Kitty Museum. There are also restaurants there so you could have lunch there. Ride the Namsam Cable Car back to the spot to wait for the bus.

Things to do near Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong

  • Ewha Woman’s University
  • Myeongdong Cathedral

Things to do near Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong

Ride the bus and hear the guided tour and description of the spots. Drop off at Ewha Womans University; you can walk from the bus stop towards the University. There are many shops and restaurants as well. Then get dropped off at Myeongdong, there are many beauty shops, clothes stores, street food cafes there. There is also the Myeongdong Cathedral. Ride a train to Hongik University Station after.

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

  • Hongik University

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Hongdae or where Hongik University is a great place to spend nightlife. It’s a hip area with many young university students like to hang out. There are free outdoor concerts and many more. It’s a fun place to be.

Day 3: Seoul Itinerary

  • COEX – Starfield Library
  • SM Town Museum
  • [Alternative] COEX Aquarium

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days5

For the third day, you can be touring the South Part of the Han River. Go to COEX Mall and find the gorgeous instagrammable library, Starfield Library, inside. When you go out, there is the SMTown Museum outside. For those fans of KPop groups like Super Junior, Girls Generation, EXO, Red Velvet, and NCT, this where you can see their albums, a training room, and many more. If you are not into KPop, then try COEX Aquarium which is just nearby. You can also eat lunch here.

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days4

  • K-Star Road
  • Somesevit or Sebitseom Islet

Go to the famous Hallyu K-Star Road and take pictures with 18 big Gangnamdol. If you don’t want to go to entertainment offices, you proceed to Somesevit. It’s a floating structure in the Han River where there are 3 glowing islands. There are Gavit, Chavit, and Solvit – along with Yevit, a performance area on the water.

  • Eland Cruise

Discover Seoul Pass All the Benefits and Sample Itinerary

Ride to 63 Square, a gold skyscraper in Yeouido Island . After that, you can cruise on the Han River with Eland Cruise at night. It’s the best way to end your Seoul trip!

Savings with Discover Seoul Pass

If you bought the Discover Seoul Pass , here is the computation of the total attractions and benefits you will pay versus DSP:

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

As you can see, you can save KRW 80,400 when you get a Discover Seoul Pass. It’s very worth it, so you should buy it.

Find accommodation in Seoul, South Korea

Where to stay in seoul, south korea, where to stay in seoul, south korea if you want luxury.

Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong

My Seoulful Experience with Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong

Located in 49, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Jongno-Gu, 03145 Seoul.

This newly built building is surrounded by Art Galleries and near the palaces. The rooms are cozy with TVs, Air Condition, and ensuite bathroom with toiletries. I highly recommend this for your stay in Seoul.  Read my personal experience with Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong .

Price: Starts at USD 105   for One Standard Room  for Two Persons

Where to stay in Seoul, South Korea if you’re on a Budget

Grid Inn Hotel

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Located in 49, 9-6, Jong-ro 18-gil, Jongno-gu, Jongno-Gu, 03192 Seoul.

Grid Inn Hotel is located near Jongno-3ga Station and Jongmyo Shrine. They have rooms good for a single person or a group of 5. They have comfortable rooms with complete amenities and friendly staff.

Price: Starts at USD 50   for One Single Room for One Person

Where to stay in Seoul, South Korea if you’re a Backpacker

Gateway Korea Guesthouse

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Located in 2F, 50, Dongmak-ro 3-gil, Mapo-Gu, 04047, Seoul.

They have shared dorms (mixed and separate for females), and double rooms. It very near Hapjeong Subway Station. There is Wi-Fi, air-condition, heating, shared bathrooms with towels and toiletries, and a shared kitchen.

Price: Starts at USD 19   for One Bunk Bed in 6-Bed Dormitory Room , free breakfast.

List of Restaurants that you can try while in Seoul, South Korea

Palsaik Samgyeopsal

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

Enjoy authentic Korean Pork Belly at Palsaik Samgyeopsal. What’s so unique about this establishment is that they have 8 flavors of pork belly like red wine, curry, or miso. They also have side dishes.

Tosokchon Samgyetang

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

If you are cold or just want to try some homey soup, go to Tosokchon Samgyetang. Their chicken ginseng soup is super delicious. It will make you feel energized after a long day.

Gaon Restaurant

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days03

Dine at one of Seoul’s 3-starred Michelin Restaurant, Gaon. Menu changes depending on the best seasonal ingredients. You are not only there to eat but also experience Korean Culture in every dish.

Frequently Asked Questions for Seoul, South Korea

3 Day Seoul Itinerary Get Best of Seoul, South Korea in 3 Days

1. What is the language spoken in Seoul?

Korean is mostly spoken in Seoul, South Korea. Though the South Koreans really try hard to speak English, I suggest downloading google translate just in case.

2. What currency do they use?

Korean Won are used throughout the city.

3. Are credit cards accepted?

Yes, major credit cards are accepted. However, for those small restaurants or shops, it’s better to pay in cash.

4. How much will you spend in Seoul?

It’s quite expensive in South Korea; prepare at least USD 100 per day (with food and accommodation). You can pay KRW 10,000 per meal at a restaurant. However, what will make you spend are the attractions and shopping.

5. Do you have any saving tips?

  • Use Discover Seoul Pass so that you can save on attractions and transportation
  • Avail Duty-Free and Tax Refunds for tourists
  • For breakfast, if it’s not free at the hotel, you can buy kimbap at the convenience stores
  • Bring water container and refill it, water is quite expensive (about KRW 1,000+)

6. Where to purchase Souvenirs ?

You can shop at the stores in Insadong, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, or Hongdae.

7. Is it safe to travel to Seoul?

Yes, South Korea is one of the safest places to travel in the world. I have traveled solo in Seoul, and I was at ease. People are disciplined and friendly.

8. Should I get travel insurance before heading to Seoul?

I always recommend buying travel insurance when we go out of the country since we don’t know what will happen. You can check out Safetywing .

9. Do I need a visa for Seoul?

Philippine passport holders need a South Korea Tourist Visa to enter Seoul except if they are exempted . As for other nationalities, please check if you need one before going.

10. How to get to Seoul?

There is Incheon International Airport that serves Seoul. There are flights from the Philippines, the rest of Asia, Australia, Africa (Ethiopia), the US, Canada, and Europe. You can also travel via train or bus if you are going to Seoul. I suggest you use the AREX (Airport Railway Express) .

My Solo Travel and Experience Staying at Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong in Seoul, South Korea

I hope you find this 3 Day Seoul Itinerary helpful for your future adventures in South Korea! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Don’t also forget to comment about your experience in Seoul. Happy Travels!

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.

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Recommended korea itinerary: diy seoul - 3, 4, 5, 6 days tour.

NEW UPDATED RECOMMENDED SAMPLE DIY SEOUL KOREA ITINERARY NEW UPDATED with hotels, tour packages, things, to do, and breakdown of expenses to guide in in planning your trip for the first time

Looking for Sample Seoul, South Korea DIY Itineraries for 3, 4, 5, or 6 days tour? Here's my South Korea Travel Guide blog with suggested itineries to help you plan your trip!

Sample south korea itineraries 3, 4, 5, 6 days tour.

Discover Seoul Pass Korea on a Budget Travel Guide

How to Apply for a Korean Tourist Visa in 3 Easy Steps

3d/2n: sample diy seoul south korea itinerary (3 days & 2 nights), day 1 - arrival in incheon.

  • 07:10 AM - Departure from Manila via Air Asia
  • 12:10 PM - Arrival in Incheon International Airport, redeem Discover Seoul Pass and Korea SIM card or 4G WiFi with Unlimited Data
  • 01:00 PM - Travel to Seoul via AREX Airport Express Train to Seoul Station. BOOK A TICKET HERE!
  • 01:45 PM - Travel from Seoul Station to Anguk Station
  • 02:00 PM - Check-in at Hotel Icon in Jongno
  • 03:00 PM - Explore Insadong, have lunch
  • 04:30 PM - Travel to Hongdae
  • 05:15 PM - Explore, eat, and enjoy in Hongdae
  • 09:00 PM - Go back to the hotel
  • 10:00 PM - Arrive at the hotel and sleep

DAY 2 - NAMI ISLAND + PETIT FRANCE DAY TOUR

  • 06:00 AM Breakfast at the hotel
  • 07:20 AM Travel to Myeong-dong
  • 08:00 AM Depart from Myeongdong Station exit 2
  • 09:30 AM Arrive at Petite France
  • 12:00 NN Depart for Nami Island
  • 12:30 PM Arrive at Nami Island
  • 03:00 PM Depart for Seoul
  • 04:30 PM Arrive at Myeongdong Station
  • 05:00 PM Street Food / Early dinner at Myeong-dong
  • 07:00 PM Travel back to hotel and sleep

DAY 3 - CITY TOUR USING THE DISCOVER SEOUL PASS + DEPARTURE

  • 06:00 AM - Brekfast at the hotel
  • 07:00 AA - Check-out, leave bags at the reception
  • 07:30 AM - Start City Tour using the Discover Seoul Pass
  • 09:30 AM - HANBOKNAM (You can wear your hanbok of choice outdoors for 90 minutes)
  • 10:00 AM - Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • 11:30 AM - Walk to Changdeokgung Palace
  • 12:00 AM - Changdeokgung Palace
  • 12:45 AM - Changgyeonggung Palace
  • 01:30 PM - Lunch
  • 02:00 NN - Jongmyo (Royal Shrine)
  • 03:00 PM - Travel to N Seoul Tower
  • 04:00 PM - N Seoul Tower
  • 06:30 PM - Namsan Seoul Tower Hanbok Experience Center
  • 07:00 PM - End City Tour, have dinner
  • 08:00 PM - Shopping at Myeongdong
  • 09:30 PM - Go back to the hotel and get your bags
  • 10:00 PM - Travel to Seoul Station
  • 10:50 PM - Travel to Incheon Airport via AREX Express Train. BOOK A TICKET HERE!
  • 11:40 PM - Arrive at Incheon Airport, check-in and wait for your flight
  • 03:05 AM (the following day) - Depart for Manila via Cebu Pacific Air

KOREA TRAVEL GUIDE 2019

Seoul, Korea Travel Guide with DIY Itinerary and Budget

4d/3n: sample diy seoul south korea itinerary (4 days & 3 nights).

  • 05:10 PM - Departure from Manila via Cebu Pacific
  • 10:40 PM - Arrival at Incheon International Airport, redeem Discover Seoul Pass and Korea SIM card or 4G WiFi with Unlimited Data
  • 11:00 PM - Travel to Seoul via Incheon Airport Private Car Transfer. BOOK A PRIVATE CAR TRANSFER HERE!
  • 12:00 MN - Check-in at Hotel Icon in Jongno

DAY 2 - CITY TOUR USING THE DISCOVER SEOUL PASS

  • 07:00 AM - Breakfast at the hotel
  • 07:00 PM - Dinner
  • 08:00 PM - Back to the hotel and sleep

DAY 3 - NAMI ISLAND + PETIT FRANCE DAY TOUR

  • 06:00 AM - Breakfast at the hotel
  • 07:00 AM - Travel to Myeong-dong for Nami Island Day Tour via Klook
  • 08:00 AM - Depart from Myeongdong Station exit 2
  • 09:30 AM - Arrive at Petite France
  • 12:00 NN - Depart for Nami Island
  • 12:30 PM - Arrive at Nami Island, Explore Nami Island .
  • 03:00 PM - Depart for Seoul
  • 04:30 PM - Arrive at Myeongdong Station
  • 05:00 PM - Street Food / Early dinner at Myeong-dong
  • 06:00 PM - Travel to Hongdae
  • 07:00 PM - Enjoy The youth culture and shopping at Hongdae
  • 10:00 PM - Travel back to your hotel
  • 11:00 PM - Back at the hotel and sleep

DAY 4 - DEPARTURE

  • 07:00 AM - Check-out
  • 07:30 AM - Travel to Seoul Station via Subway
  • 08:00 AM - Arrive at Seoul Station
  • 08:30 AM - Take the AREX Airport Express Train to Incheon Airport. BOOK A TICKET HERE!
  • 09:30 AM - Arrive at Incheon Airport, check-in
  • 12:55 PM - Depart for Manila via Air Asia

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Seoul, South Korea

Enjoy 35 Attractions, Discounts and Freebies in Seoul with a Discover Seoul Pass!

5d/3n: sample diy seoul south korea itinerary (5 days & 4 nights).

  • 12:30 PM - Arrive at Nami Island , Explore

DAY 4 - EVERLAND FULL DAY TRIP

  • 09:00 AM - Depart from Myeongdong Station Exit 2
  • 10:10 AM - Arrive at Everland
  • 10:30 AM - 04:00 PM - Enjoy Everland
  • 04:30 PM - Depart for Seoul
  • 06:00 PM - Arrive in Myeong-dong
  • 06:30 PM - 10:30 PM - Shopping and Dinner at Myeong-dong

DAY 5 - DEPARTURE

KOREA ON A BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE AND ITINERARY

Nami Island Day Tour from Seoul

6d/5n: sample diy seoul south korea itinerary (6 days & 5 nights), day 1 - arrival in seoul.

  • 11:00 PM - Travel to Seoul via Private Car Transfer. BOOK A PRIVATE CAR TRANSFER HERE!
  • 12:30 PM - Arrive at Nami Island, Explore
  • 08:00 PM - Travel back to hotel and sleep

DAY 4 - DMZ DAY TOUR + INSADONG AND HONGDAE

  • 06:30 AM - Breakfast at the hotel
  • 8:00 AM - Hotel pick up for DMZ Tour
  • DMZ Day Tour via Klook.com
  • Imjingak Park
  • Freedom Bridge
  • 3rd Infiltration Tunnel
  • DMZ Theater & Exhibition Hall
  • Dora Observatory
  • Dorasan Station
  • Pass by Unification Village
  • Amethyst factory or Ginseng Center visit
  • 02:30 PM - Drop off at City Hall / Lunch in a local Korean Restaurant
  • 03:30 PM - Explore Insadong and shop for souvenirs
  • 05:00 PM - Travel to Hongdae
  • 06:00 PM - Enjoy The youth culture and shopping at Hongdae

DAY 5 - EVERLAND FULL DAY TRIP

Day 6 - departure.

Korea on a Budget Seoul Travel Guide and DIY Itinerary

A Peek into North Korea from the Demiliratized Zone

How many days to stay in korea.

TRAVEL TIPS AND ESSENTIALS:

  • If you have limited time (let's say 3 days and 2 nights only) and you want to maximize you time in Seoul, I highly recommend that you take the early morning flight from Manila and late night flight from Seoul. This will allow you to have full days on your first and last days in Seoul.
  • When booking for a hotel in Seoul, you may consider areas such as Myeong-dong and Jongno . These places are best for this itineraries. CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR HOTELS AND HOSTELS IN SEOUL.
  • To save on travel expenses, I highly suggest that you join group tours - especially for trips outside Seoul such as Nami Island and Petit France , Everland , and DMZ Tour .
  • Use a Discover Seoul Pass to enjoy discounted rates, and an all-access tour to the top destinations, shrines, palaces, temples, and tourist spots in Seoul. You may read my review on the Discover Seoul Pass HERE . It can also be used as T-Money Card that you can top up and use when taking the trains and buses in Seoul.

If you need a more detailed SEOUL TRAVEL GUIDE, you may check out my SEOUL BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE with an ₱8,000 Pesos DIY Itinerary .

Follow my adventures on youtube @pinoyadventurista, 0 comments :, post a comment.

Looking for Budget Travel Guide Blogs, Hotel Reviews, and Sample DIY Itineraries? Welcome to Pinoy Adventurista, "Your Next Ultimate Adventure Starts Here!" Pinoy Adventurista is one of the Top Travel Blogs in the Philippines and the World. In 2013, he visited all the 81 provinces in the Philippines.

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An itinerary for south korea's capital.

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3 days trip to korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Bukchon hanok village.

3 days trip to korea

Hiking atop Inwangsan Mountain

Gwangjang market, n seoul tower.

3 days trip to korea

Hongdae Nightlife

Changdeokgung.

3 days trip to korea

Ihwa Mural Village

Dongdaemun design plaza.

3 days trip to korea

We are Jimmy & Tah, American and Thai Millennials left the career in military and finance to become travel inspirers & storytellers . Starting the life of non-stop traveling since September 2017. Sharing our journey along the way of life we have always dreamt of - traveling and being able to work wherever we love (as long as there is Wi-Fi and coffee).

If you have a limited amount of time for your journey, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Seoul? , Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Seoul? , Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in Seoul? and Is Seoul Worth Visiting?

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The Perfect Korea Itinerary With Seoul, Busan & Gyeongju (2024) – One Week Travel Guide

September 4, 2023 by Bino 14 Comments

South Korea has become somewhat of a rising star in the tourism scene in recent years owing in part to the proliferation of Korean TV shows and pop music. The cities of Seoul and Busan undoubtedly appeal to folks who like seeing pretty and cute things and it’s probably not surprising that the visitor demographics here dis-proportionally lean towards females. If you are thinking of visiting South Korea and would like to have a practical itinerary to cover both Seoul and Busan, allot at least 5 or 6 days. If you are also visiting Jeju, you’ll need to add 2 or 3 more.

The two major cities of Seoul and Busan are the most intuitive places to explore during a trip to South Korea – Seoul for its cosmopolitan vibe and traditional culture and Busan for its seaside chic. This travel guide aims to show you how these cities can be done in as little as a week.

Table of Contents

Day 1 – Seoul City Center

Tip: Google Maps does not work well in South Korea especially in navigating walking directions and public transport route. Instead, download Naver Maps which even shows you the bus timings and fares. This is especially helpful since most of the public buses around South Korea don’t come with English signs.

If this is your first time exploring the tourist attractions in Seoul , start the day with a tour of the palaces. Seoul has 5 palaces but the ones really worth exploring are Changdeokgung, Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugong.

3 days trip to korea

gyeongbokgung

A recommended path to take is one that starts at Gyeongbokgung . If you visit wearing a hanbok (Korea’s traditional costume – you can check out here for hanbok rentals ), the admission fee is waived. While here, make sure to go to the far back where the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, which is built on an artificial island, is located. Many visitors miss it due to the distance but it is well worth a photo stop especially during autumn when the surrounding foliage turn bright red and yellow. Other highlights in the palace complex include the Geunjeongjeon Hall and Gyeonghoeru.

bukchon hanok village

bukchon hanok village

From here, you can make an exit at the side gate and walk around ten minutes to reach Bukchon Hanok Village . Back in the day, almost the entirety of Seoul was made up of these traditional single-storey housing. Nowadays, you can only find them in small pockets with the main area being here. It’s a nice place for a stroll especially if you come here with a rented hanbok  with the age-old buildings serving as perfect backdrops for selfies.

marinated raw crab at keunkiwajip

marinated raw crab at keunkiwajip

One of the highly recommended places for lunch nearby is the Michelin-starred Keunkiwajip (62 Bukchon-ro 5 Gil, Open daily except Monday 11AM to 3:30PM, 5PM to 10PM) for its marinated raw crab. This place is usually very busy and my recommendation is to come here early otherwise it may take you around 30 minutes to get a table.

the view from jeongdong observatory

the view from jeongdong observatory

After lunch, head to Changdeokgung , the largest of Seoul’s five palaces. The highlight here is the sublime secret garden – another popular autumn viewing spot. Admission is free during the last Wednesday of the month or if you are wearing a hanbok. Alternatively, you can also check out Deoksugung which is near Seoul’s city hall. Make sure to drop by Jeongdong Observatory (free, 9AM to 9PM during weekdays, until 6PM during weekends) for a nice bird’s eye view of the city – with both traditional and modern buildings complimenting that view.

Devote the evenings for shopping. Many of Seoul’s shopping districts are open relatively late especially during weekends. Popular night haunts include Myeongdong with its range of street fashion and toiletries, Hongdae with its youth-oriented clothing brands as well as Dongdaemun for wholesale/bazaar-type apparel stores that open until way past midnight.

dongdaemun design plaza

dongdaemun design plaza

If you do decide to go to Dongdaemun, a stop right by the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (open daily except Mondays, 10AM to 7PM, til 9PM on Fridays and Saturdays) is a must. Tours of the interiors are offered but the place is just as worth visiting for its imposing steel exterior. It is especially atmospheric at night when the structure is floodlit and the grass fields adjacent to it have these electronic flowers that are also lit up.

Day 2 – Southern Seoul & Gangnam

Tip: If you plan to visit multiple palaces, museums and the N Seoul Tower, you may wish to consider getting the Discover Seoul Pass. In total, there are 36 attractions that you can visit free of charge. You can buy here for a 15% discount.

Start the day at Seoul’s upscale Gangnam – a district filled with high-end boutiques, plastic surgery clinics and well-heeled city folk. It is known in some circles as the Beverly Hills of South Korea. A popular cafe to check out in this area is Cafe Dior (464 Apgujeong-ro, Open from 11AM to 8PM daily). Cafe culture meets fashion in this well-appointed cafe.

From the cafe, Garosugil is just a short ride away. The shopping street is filled with plenty of luxury brands as well as big-name stores such as a dedicated Apple Store and more. The street is especially attractive in autumn when the gingko trees by the pavements turn yellow.

After having your fill at Garosugil, head further east to Galleria , a luxury shopping mall in Gangnam. The highlight here is the basement deli and food court which is filled with plenty of traditional Korean eats. The place is a well-curated affair with many of Korea’s best independent snacks / food places brought together. Even the food court here is recommended for its kimchi soup, bibimbap as well as seafood stews.

starfield library in seoul

starfield library by geoff henson

After a short lunch at Galleria, head to Starfield Library (free, open daily from 10AM to 10PM) at Starfield Coex Mall. The venue is known for its humongous 2-storey tall bookshelf which has been featured aplenty in social media. There are over 50,000 books and magazines here but I doubt if most people who come here are actually bookworms.

pandoro from cafe onion

pandoro from cafe onion

If you have time to head to just one cafe during your time in Seoul, let that place be Cafe Onion (open daily from 8AM to 10PM, from 10AM on Saturdays and Sundays). Housed in a seemingly rundown industrial building, the place has attracted visitors from far and wide for its instagram-worthy aesthetic and delicious pastries. While here, don’t miss the Pandoro, a towering Italian bread filled with powdered sugar.

3 days trip to korea

view from n seoul tower

Late afternoon is a great time to check out Namsan Seoul Tower (daily 10AM to 11PM, til midnight on Saturdays). Located in a forested area in the middle of the city, it’s a great place from where you can appreciate Seoul’s skyline. If you are wondering if it’s worth going up the tower versus just appreciating the view from the parking lot, my take is yes – the higher view is certainly much more photogenic. During spring and autumn, the higher view also allows you to appreciate the colorful foliage around Namsan itself. The admission fee to the tower is 16,000 Won but you can get a 22% discount by booking N Seoul Tower tickets here .

Day 3 – DMZ Tour

One of the most intriguing activities you can do during your trip to Korea is to join a tour of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Korea is officially the only divided country in the world with both North Korea and South Korea as separate member states of the United Nations. The Korean War was one of the biggest military conflicts of the 1950s and it was concluded through an armistice agreement signed in 1953. However, it never progressed beyond that with no peace treaty signed despite multiple efforts. Technically, hostilities have not ended and there are occasional periods when access to the demilitarized zone is closed whenever there are tensions in relations between the 2 Koreas.

The Korean Demilitarized Zone is the 250 kilometer border between North and South Korea plus a buffer measuring about 4 kilometers wide. During peace time, it is possible to visit the Korean DMZ from both North Korea and South Korea and I have had the pleasure of visiting from both sides. Since this guide is about visiting South Korea, I will instead present my perspective of visiting the DMZ from South Korea. But if you are curious to see what it was like to visit the DMZ from the North Korean side, check out my North Korea DMZ experience here .

the joint security area of the dmz

the joint security area of the dmz

There are many DMZ tours being offered but the most exciting kind, in my view, is the tour that includes stepping into the JSA or the Joint Security Area (you can book here ). Do note that tours that include this facility are often more expensive than other DMZ tours but it’s all worth it because you’ll get to step into North Korean soil , albeit for a few seconds. Whenever there are heightened tensions between the 2 Koreas, access to this facility becomes restricted so it’s best to check for the situation before booking. Alternatively, you can book those DMZ tours that don’t come with access to the JSA. 

korean soldiers in the dmz

korean soldiers in the dmz

A typical tour of the DMZ that includes the JSA takes about a day. Along the way, there are stops such as the Third Tunnel of Aggression and Dora Observatory – a viewpoint from where you can see North Korea through binoculars. There’s also a customary Korean lunch followed by a visit to the JSA itself. One of the reasons why this tour takes longer is because security is tighter and you’ll be subject to inspections when entering the Panmunjom facility. Expect to be back in Seoul by around 5 to 6PM.

Day 4 – Excursions From Seoul / Seoul’s Neighborhoods

If you are thinking of visiting Nami Island , allocate a full day for the excursion. You can choose to do it yourself but for convenience, you may want to take a direct bus which can do Nami Island combined with  Petite France . They will also handle the day’s itinerary for you. Whichever option you choose, you’ll find that taking a shuttle bus there is indeed a lot easier than the DIY route.

If a day trip to Nami Island does not appeal, you can also venture to some of Seoul’s other interesting neighborhoods. Here’s a rundown of districts worth checking out:

hiking in suseong dong valley

hiking in suseong dong valley

  • Buam-dong – Still relatively unexplored by foreign visitors but Buam-dong is quickly gaining ground for its art and design hubs and independent cafes interspersed with natural areas. Highlights here include Changuimun (the original city gate), the cafes Club Espresso and Lumberjack as well as Whanki and Seoul Museums . Nearest metro: Jahamun-gogae
  • Seochon – Personally, my favorite among Seoul’s less known districts, Seochon was where the nobles used to live back in the Joseon Dynasty. You will find a lot of clothing boutiques here as well as the Sejong Village Food Street but the real gem is the Suseong-dong Valley where locals typically go for nature walks. Nearest metro: Gyeongbokgung
  • Itaewon – A very foreign-centric district as American soldiers typically come here during their leisure time. Today, it’s home to plenty of international restaurants, cafes and boutiques.

Day 5 – Busan

Take a morning train ride to Busan (you can purchase train passes here ) – South Korea’s second largest city. Depending on which train you take, the overall journey ride will require 2.25 to 2.50 hours so it’s definitely possible to do Busan as a day trip if you’re pressed for time, albeit a rushed one.

Many of Busan’s main tourist attractions are located not too far from Busan Station (where trains from Seoul stop). A few blocks south is 40 Steps , a 450 meter street lined with statues and other photo opps, including a 40-step stairway. The area has been refurbished recently and is supposed to reflect life in Korea in the 1950s and 1960s.

Tip: While many of Busan’s attractions are in the city center, the bulk of the good hotels are located farther out. This is especially true for seaside hotels. The good news is that there are left luggage lockers inside Busan Station for you to leave large bags while you go exploring in town.

3 days trip to korea

inside jagalchi market

From here, Jagalchi Market (nearest metro: Jagalchi Station) is a short hop away. The thought of eating freshly cut octopus with their tentacles still wriggling probably stands as one of the most iconic travel images concerning South Korea and that is exactly what this bustling seafood market is known for. Less adventurous eaters have other options as well. There’s a wide array of fish, crab and other shellfish available which can be chosen for cooking and served to be eaten at the dining tables upstairs.

gamcheon cultural village

gamcheon cultural village

Next up on one’s Busan checklist is Gamcheon Culture Village . Some call it Korea’s Santorini which I think is a bit of a stretch. It shares more similarities with the blue city of Jodhpur however as many of the houses are painted in similar shades of light blue. You can spend around 1 to 2 hours here depending on interest level. You’ll find shops and murals scattered around the village as well as cafes and museums. There is also an elevated view point here which is a popular spot for wedding shoots and panoramic photos of the village.

If you are in Busan only for a day trip, you can end here and return to Seoul. Otherwise, head to the below.

Day 6 – Busan Outskirts

seokbulsa temple

seokbulsa temple

If you are up for some hiking, check out Seokbulsa Temple located around Geumjeongsan, a mountain range not far from the city center. If you are coming as a group, it might make sense to take a taxi up and ask the driver to wait for you. Admission to the temple grounds is free of charge and visitors come here for the Buddha niches carved on the rocks. It is not considered a major temple in Korea but I have to say these carvings are among the most impressive I’ve seen in the country.

Tip: Within the general vicinity of Haeundae is Dalmaji-gil which has plenty of art galleries, cafes and restaurants. If you are in Busan during the weekend, check out the Dalmaji Art Flea Market from 2PM to 9PM. You can find handicrafts, teapots, bags and other creations by local artists.

After a morning hike, it’s time to cool off by the coast. Busan’s appeal to Koreans lies in its relatively milder weather and beaches. If you are in Busan during the summer months, you might find Haeundae Beach (nearest metro: Haeundae Station) relatively packed with weekenders from Seoul. While it’s definitely a popular tourist spot in Busan, I would not say Haeundae Beach is a must-see especially if you come from a tropical country. If you are in the area, I would instead suggest checking out the Busan SEA LIFE Aquarium near the beach or Busan Cinema Center (nearest metro: Centum City Station) with its metallic exterior and wave-like roof and mini-light show. It is an especially wonderful spectacle at night.

yonggungsa temple

yonggungsa temple

Another place to visit in the eastern part of the city is the Yonggungsa Temple . While Korea has no shortage of temples, what makes this place stand out is its scenic seaside location. The temple is literally perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the coast which makes it one of Busan’s most photogenic spots. To get here, take the metro to Haeundae Station then transfer to bus 181.

Day 7 – Gyeongju

anapji pond in gyeongju

anapji pond in gyeongju

Another reason to visit Busan is that it serves as an excellent base from which to explore Gyeongju , the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has a plethora of historical sites that can easily take up one whole day of exploring. Highlights in Gyeongju include:

  • Bulguksa Temple – Considered one of the main temples of Korea, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist Art. The Dabotap pagoda which is found in the temple grounds is featured in the 10 Won coin.
  • Seokguram Grotto – Probably the closest Korea has to an “Indiana Jones” type of archeological site, visitors go inside a cavern to witness a large stone sculpture of the Buddha. Of all the places in Gyeongju, it is probably the Seokgruam Grotto that impressed me the most. It’s too bad photography is not allowed inside.
  • Cheomseongdae Observatory – An ancient astronomical observatory built during the Silla period in the 7th century.
  • Tumuli Park – A large area filled with mounds representing the tombs of the former kings of the Silla period. This was how Korea’s royalty was buried back in the day and you can find other burial mounds scattered all over Korea (including North Korea).
  • Anapji Pond (Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond) – Particularly photogenic when visited in the evening while the structures are floodlit, today Anapji Pond exists in a garden-like state with cherry blossoms in the spring and pavilions that are immaculately reflected by the still waters from the pond.

To get to Gyeongju from Busan, you can either take the bus (around a 40 minutes ride) from the bus terminal or alternatively, you can book a guided day tour to Gyeongju that takes you through the tourist attractions listed above.

Getting to Seoul From Incheon International Airport

The Airport Express (AREX) train is my preferred way of getting from Incheon International Airport to the city  as it’s relatively fast, inexpensive and there are frequent departures. Do note that if you are flying with Korean Air, you get a discount on train tickets so it’s wise to keep your boarding pass. Alternatively, you can also book online here to get a 25% discount for the AREX ticket to Seoul.

Another way to get to the city is by one of the airport buses which take almost 1.5 hours but the plus point is that it drops you off at varying locations around Seoul. If your hotel is near one of the airport bus stations, then it may make better sense to travel by bus.

Getting to Busan From Incheon International Airport

There used to be a direct KORAIL train from Incheon International Airport to Busan but it has been discontinued. If you can’t fly in/out of Busan to your home city directly, your best bet is to take the AREX to Seoul Station (~ 1 hour) then take a direct train from Seoul Station to Busan Station (~2.5 hours).

Getting to Busan From Seoul (City Area)

From Seoul to Busan (and vice versa), you have a couple of options including train, plane, bus or car rental. These are the pros and cons of each of these options:

  • Best overall: South Korea’s KTX trains are best overall in getting between Seoul and Busan . The trains are fast, with the shortest ride being around 2 hour 15 mins. Economy class tickets cost about 59,800 Korean Won. Busan’s main station is in the city itself, not far from Jagalchi Market. You can purchase rail passes here .
  • Fastest: Flying is theoretically the fastest. The plane ride lasts just less than an hour but you’ll need to factor in getting to the airport an hour before. Once you reach Busan, you’ll also need to factor in that Busan’s Gimhae Airport is in the outskirts and you’ll again need some form of transport to get to the city center.
  • Cheapest: If you are on a budget and don’t mind being on the road for a couple more hours, you can take the bus. A bus ride between Seoul to Busan takes just over 4 hours and costs about 30,000 Korean Won. Buses will drop you off at Busan’s Central Bus Terminal which is at the northern edge of the city. There is a metro station here – Nopo – which can take you to the city center for a cheap price. However, if you plan on avoiding the metro due to heavy bags, etc; you’ll have to note that it’s quite a long cab ride to the city and you may end up paying an extra 20,000 Korean won or more for the taxi trip.
  • Car rentals: Car rentals have gained in popularity in the pandemic era as some folks prefer to minimize interactions with strangers during their trip. South Korea is a relatively easy place for driving. Just make sure you have your international license. You can check out car rentals in Korea here .

Travel Tips for Seoul and Busan, South Korea

  • Travel Insurance: In this age of uncertainty, it may be prudent to get travel insurance for your trip. If you reside in Singapore, check out this aggregator for the cheapest travel insurance. There is also a promotion running until 1st July that comes with 4x KrisFlyer miles per S$1 , lucky draw for 125,000 miles and even free lounge access in the event of flight delay.
  • Navigation: As mentioned previously, I can’t stress the help that Naver Maps provides in navigation and even bus schedules. Make sure to download the English version of this app.
  • Changing Money: In Seoul, one of the best places to change money is this money changer in Myeongdong near the Chinese Embassy. The full address is: 26 Myeongdong 2-gil, Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea and they are open daily from 9AM to 9PM. Otherwise, you can also get pretty good rates from the branches of the big banks. In Busan, you can similarly exchange foreign currency at the big banks or in the area around Jagalchi Market.

Where to Stay in Seoul and Busan

3 days trip to korea

shilla stay gwanghwamun

Seoul – If you prefer to stay somewhere closer to the shopping district, you can check out the Stanford Hotel Myeongdong . The hotel is located just next to Euljiro-1 station. Rooms are clean and value-for-money. The property is also relatively new. For somewhere closer to sightseeing spots, I can’t recommend mid-priced Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun enough. The hotel is within walking distance to Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village. I absolutely loved being able to conveniently return to the hotel in the afternoons for some siesta time as I took breaks between sightseeing. Rooms are of modest size with understated chic decor, taking inspiration from the iconic The Shilla Hotel. You can also check the best prices for other Seoul hotels here .

Busan  – The southern city is generally considered by locals as a resort destination and that is likewise apt for visitors in order to serve as a bit of contrast to the hustle and bustle of Seoul. While in Busan, I recommend the highly instagrammable Hilton Busan located in the city outskirts. The curve-y interiors reflect the seaside location of the hotel. Just a word to note – you might get too comfortable here that you wouldn’t want to leave the hotel anymore. For a cheaper option, you can check out Baymond Hotel located a short walk from Haeundae Beach. You can also check the best prices for other hotels in Busan here .

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Hi, my name is Bino and I started I Wander around 15 years ago with the aim of sharing about some of my personal journeys and experiences, hoping that the information may benefit readers like yourselves. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Alternatively, you can also email me at b i n o (at) iwandered.net. You can follow I Wander on Facebook , Telegram , or Instagram . Also, if you liked this article, please feel free to SHARE or RETWEET

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July 12, 2019 at 11:27 am

Great and very informative post. I visited South Korea earlier this year around May 2019. But i only ventured through the capital city Seoul. However, I am more keen to explore the ancient side of the country during my next visit Busan and Gyeongju. I am thinking of starting my visit in Busan, to Gyeongju and then back to Seoul for few days before flying out, but am confused if that’s possible because my port of entry will definitely be Incheon airport from Kuala Lumpur and so as my port of exit. Is there anyway i can fly directly into Busan from Kuala Lumpur and make Seoul as my port exit? Or I have to arrive at Incheon airport go through the immigration and then make my way to Busan?

3 days trip to korea

July 12, 2019 at 11:33 am

Yes, if you are coming from KL, believe AirAsia flies to Busan direct.

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May 10, 2022 at 2:38 pm

This is an excellent itinerary! Thanks for sharing! am heading to Seoul in late June & will be spending 2 weeks there. I would like to include 2 days stay in both Busan & Sokcho & will likely travel to these two places on weekdays, to avoid any weekend crowd. Can you advise whether it is best to travel from Seoul-Sokcho-Busan-Seoul or visi versa? I noted travelling time between Busan & Sokcho by express bus is 6 hours?? Is it safe to purchase any bus tickets etc only when we fly into Seoul? Do you have any inputs or recommendation? Thank you so much!

May 10, 2022 at 2:42 pm

Thanks for your kind words. Sorry haven’t been to Sokcho itself but regarding buses – I usually only buy on the spot.

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November 17, 2021 at 2:58 pm

Hi, I will be flying to Seoul with family for 15 days in late December thanks to Singapore-South Kores VTL. Would like to get your advise on the following: 1) Are we able to visit Jeju or is quarantine still required? 2) We were thinking of renting a car to visit some outskirts of Seoul. a) Is it possible to drive to Busan? b) Are there any areas which we should avoid by car? c) Is it easy to drive in South Korea & find parking too? Hope to hear from you soon! 3) Any good recommendations for authentic Korean food?

November 17, 2021 at 3:09 pm

Hi, Thanks for dropping by. I am not sure about Jeju. It’s best to check with relevant authorities.

On driving to Busan – yes it’s possible but it will be a few hours’ drive.

Driving in South Korea is quite easy – but note they drive on the opposite side of the road as compared to SG.

For parking, most tourist attractions will have parking areas so no issues. If you are in the city center, might be a bit tougher but you can find those indoor parking lots or shopping mall parking spaces. Don’t park on the street unless it’s clearly marked for parking.

For food, you can check out the ones I listed in this article 🙂

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December 19, 2021 at 11:35 pm

Hi! It is possible to drive from Seoul to Busan but it will take roughly 6 hours to get there, mostly because of the traffic, but also because the speed limit is set at 110 km/hour. As far as parking is concerned, most hotels and restaurants have their own parking, but within the city going by public transportation is much easier. Coming from Eastern Europe and having lived in Hong Kong for a while, and after 1 year of living in South Korea I would say driving is easy, just a bit crazy crowded, especially as you get closer to Seoul (no matter the direction). Hope this helps!

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April 8, 2022 at 11:28 am

Hi B, thankyou so much for sharing your trip, such an amazing journey. reading your post makes me also want to visit there 🙂 hope i can visit there too for next vacation

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January 28, 2023 at 8:57 pm

I spent a week in Busan and a week and Seoul and can just recommend it. I really enjoyed Busan a little more than Seoul. I love the sea and the coastline and beaches there are so beautiful.

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January 31, 2023 at 11:36 pm

I came across your website. I found it most interesting. I wish to travel to South Korea in April. I want to visit Seoul, Busan, Gyeongju Pohang, Itaewon, and Jeju island. I wish to be brave and travel on my own. Female in her sixties but young at heart. are there lots of accommodation for the single traveller.

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May 7, 2023 at 5:55 pm

Thank you, this is really great! I have a question about Busan – in your itinerary its just 2 nights which makes sense to me, but you suggested hotels that seem quite far from the station. Was it not stressful to get all your luggage to the hotel, then back to the sightseeing etc?

May 7, 2023 at 7:38 pm

That’s a great question! As Busan’s hotels are quite spread out, to save time, I would suggest leaving your luggage at the lockers inside Busan station while exploring the sights.

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September 9, 2023 at 10:57 am

Hi, You itinerary is great. I wanted to ask why didn’t you add the DMZ tour to this. What are your thoughts

September 9, 2023 at 7:51 pm

Thanks for the idea. Just added my experience of the DMZ tour 🙂

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Zen Moments in Korea

Zen Moments in Korea

Discover the Best of Busan in 3 Days

3 days in Busan itinerary

Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by Ingrid & Alex

Are you spending 3 days in Busan and are looking for the best itinerary? You have come to the right place because we have put together an easy-to-follow comprehensive itinerary.

It includes the answers to all your questions, from how to get to Busan, how to travel around the city, where to stay, what to do, and much more.

During our stay in Korea, we loved Busan and went back as often as we could. Its colorful streets, vibrant neighborhoods, delicious and fresh food, sandy beaches, hip cafes – all these make a city worth visiting for at least 3 days.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Read more about it on our  disclosure page here .

Table of Contents

Stay connected: sim card with t-money for seamless travel.

  • Navigate Like a Local: Naver Maps vs. Kakao Maps

Lost in Translation? Not Anymore: Papago for Easy Translations

Smooth takeoff: skyscanner for flight options, all the best things to see in busan – map, busan itinerary 3 days summary, gamcheon cultural village, busan city tour, jagalchi fish market (부산 자갈치시장).

  • Huinnyeoul Culture Village (희여울문화마을) & Jeoryeong Coastal Walk

Yongdusan Park, and the Busan Diamond Tower (부산타워)

How to get to haedong yonggungsa temple from haeundae beach, take the blue train or sky capsule from songjeong station, main things to do at haeundae beach, go for a sunset luxury yacht cruise.

  • Day 3 of your 3 days in Busan: Day trip – Gyeongju, Boseong, or another destination

SPA Land Centum City

Oryukdo and igidae coastal walk, bujeon market (부전시장), gukje market (국제시장), biff square (biff 광장), lotte world adventure busan, songdo cable car, how to get to busan, getting around busan, lavalse hotel in yeongdo-gu, hotel hyggelig at haeundae beach, want a great luxury hotel option, want to stay in the middle of the city so you can see it all, are 3 days in busan enough, when to visit busan, where to eat in busan, is busan worth visiting, how many days in busan, what to pack for 3 days in busan, other south korea travel resources, 3 days in busan: complete guide + itinerary, useful tools and information for when you travel to south korea.

Before moving to Seoul, we had no idea how important it is to have the right tools at our disposal. Not only because we did not speak or read Korean, but also because common things such as Google Maps do not work in South Korea.

In order to make your vacation a success, here are a few things worth knowing and having.

The T-money card is a rechargeable smart fare card used for public transportation in South Korea, including buses, subways, and even taxis.

It is widely used in major cities such as Seoul and Busan. The card can also be used to make small purchases at certain convenience stores and vending machines.

Having a SIM Card with a T-Money card will make your life easier and your trip more enjoyable.

Navigate Like a Local: Naver Maps vs. Kakao Map s

Instead of Google Maps, which doesn’t work properly in South Korea, you will need  Naver Maps  ( for IOS  |  for Android ) or  Kakao maps  ( for IOS  |  for Android ).

I found Naver easier to use and have it installed on my phone. The app is easier to use for non-Korean-speaking travelers, even though sometimes you might need to enter the address or location name in Hangul.

For translations,  Papago  is your savior. Use it on pictures or copy and paste the text. (download it here for IOS  |  for Android ).

Sure, Google Translate will help you, but Papago is a local app developed only for the Korean language, so it will be more accurate.

For flights, both external and internal, you can use   Skyscanner to check prices and options. It is the best way to find the most affordable prices for your time and date.

What to do and see in Busan in 3 days

3 days trip to korea

Click on the map to open it.

Your days in a nutshell:

First Day: Explore the western part of Busan ( Gamcheon Cultural Village, and go on a Busan city tour by bus to Taejongdae, Jeoryeong Coastal Walk, and Jagalchi Market)

Second Day : Head over to the beach: Haeundae Beach, the Blue Line Train, Busan Aquarium, Sunset Yacht trip

Third-Day : Go on a day trip or head further east: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Wave on cafe & Songjeong Beach

F irst day of your 3 days in Busan : Western part of Busan (Gamcheon Cultural Village, Taejongdae, Jeoryeong Coastal Walk, and Jagalchi Market)

3 days trip to korea

Start your day climbing the hills at the Gamcheon Cultural Village, and snapping countless pictures on the colorful streets of this area.

How to get to Gamcheon Cultural Village

Take the bus or subway to  Chungmu Market , from where you will board the  Seogu 2-2 green bus . This is a small bus, that only fits roughly 20 people, thus it will be easier if you get there in the morning.

Address : 203 Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan, South Korea

3 days trip to korea

A short history and why should you visit

In the 1920s and 30s, Korea’s government constructed the district as an area for the working class to live in. Over time, it has grown to become a bustling residence for countless individuals. Its streets are filled with stories of history, culture, and everyday life.

In 2009, after a government-led redevelopment project, the village was revitalized and now dazzles visitors with its stunning array of brightly colored buildings. Over 1 million people come to enjoy the unique atmosphere and take part in the cultural activities offered here.

Gamcheon Cultural Village Busan

The village is full of vibrant street art and murals, which have been painted by local artists. You can enjoy taking in the sights while strolling through the narrow alleyways filled with shops selling traditional souvenirs, and of course, taking a picture with the famous Little Prince statue.

3 days trip to korea

While this place might not be your usual tourist attraction, it is one of the main things to do in Busan, and we strongly believe you should give it a chance.

3 days trip to korea

Should you take the Busan City Tour Bus or use normal public transportation?

Of course, you will be able to get to the attractions we have added to the list for today, by using normal public transportation. However, you will have to change a few buses and understand where exactly to get off.

By choosing to go on the Busan City Tour Bus , you can select an itinerary that takes you past some of the most iconic attractions, so you can learn more about its fascinating history. Furthermore, the total price of your trip will be set and clear from the start, giving you peace of mind that there won’t be any surprises.

An idea for one of your days in Busan would be to take the Green Line bus . It will take you to all the places you want to see today: Jagalchi Fish Market, Huinnyeoul Culture Village, Taejongdae Park, Yongdusan Park, and the Busan Tower.

Jagalchi Fish Market

In close proximity to the port, the famous Jagalchi Fish Market is easily linked to Gamcheon Cultural Village by bus ride.

Located near Busan’s Nampo-dong District, this vibrant market is home to hundreds of vendors selling fresh seafood from around the world. The market is a great place to sample some local fare and get an up-close look at the bustling Korean fish trade.

The perfect time for a visit to the fish market would be during lunchtime. Be sure to plan enough time to wander around the market and take in all of its unique sights, smells, and sounds. You’ll find vendors selling a variety of fresh fish, squid, eels, shrimp, clams, crabs and other seafood delicacies that will tantalize your taste buds.

Many vendors also have tanks full of live fish so you can pick out exactly what you want and they will cook it for you.

Address : 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

Opening hours : every day, between 02:00-22:00, closed on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

If you choose to travel by Busan City Bus Tour, you can take it from there and head towards your next stop on Yeongdo Island.

Huinnyeoul Culture Village (희여울문화마을 ) & Jeoryeong Coastal Walk

2 days in Busan itinerary

A narrow colorful street, perched above the sea, from where the ocean will charm you with its infinite blue. Initially thought to be a lively tourist area, Huinnyeoul Culture Village quickly became laid-back, with the white and colorful buildings contrasting with the blue sea, known also as the “Santorini of Busan”.

3 days trip to korea

Along the 14 intertwined streets and alleys, we found countless cafes, lazy cats, vibrant murals, and breathtaking views. This place has become extremely popular with Korean people, and you will find them strolling around and taking countless Instagram-worthy pictures .

3 days trip to korea

From the streets above, you can see the Jeoryeong Coastal Walk , painted in blue, that ends with a beautiful rainbow-colored staircase, and one of the most photogenic caves in Busan.

Busan Jeoryeong Coastal Walk

At the entrance to Huinnyeoul Culture Village, you will find an informational map, and you can create your itinerary based on it. Or simply walk along the sea and let yourself explore every narrow and colorful corner.

Stop by the Huinnyeoul Beach Cafe (흰여울비치), a beach-themed cafe with pink exterior walls and beautiful ocean views.

Address : 부산 영도구 영선동4가 1109 (1043 Yeongseon-dong 4(sa)-ga, Yeongdo-gu, Busan, South Korea)

Taejongdae Park

The Cliffed Coast is a must-see for nature passionate, but also for those who want to go for a walk on the forested paths, or simply admire the beautiful Yeongdo Lighthouse and have access to the Taejongdae Observatory.

At the end of the coastal walk, you can visit the Taejongsa Temple – a must-visit during the month of July when the Hydrangea Festival takes place here.

Address : 24 Jeonmang-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan, South Korea

Busan Tower

The tower was built in 1973 and it stands tall at the top of Yongdusan Park in central Busan and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

Visitors to this tower can enjoy sweeping views from its observation deck located 120 meters above ground level.

The tower also serves as a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike to admire night views of Busan ‘s skyline with its light show that changes colors every few minutes.

Address : 37-55 Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

Day 2 of your 3 days in Busan : Haedong Yonggungsa Temple + Blue Train or Sky Capsule + Haeundae Beach + Sunset cruise

3 days trip to korea

Today you will be taking it slow, spending time at the most popular beach in South Korea, and enjoying the ocean view from the colorful Blue Line Train and Sky Capsule and from the boat.

On our second visit to Busan, we chose to stay at Haeundae Beach and take advantage of everything it had to offer. We spent one week there and we really liked its vibe and all the things you can do in the area.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사(부산)

While the country has many more temples by sea, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is the most popular with tourists.

To be honest, we never managed to visit the temple partly because of its location a bit further away from the city.

The temple was first built during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and has been restored several times since then. It stands on a dramatic rocky outcrop overlooking the East Sea, with breathtaking views of mountains, forests, and ocean.

The main hall contains statues of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and other deities as well as a large bell tower that can be heard from miles away.

Visitors to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple will find it to be an impressive example of traditional Korean architecture combined with stunning natural scenery.

Address : 86 Yonggung-gil, Gijang, Busan, South Korea

3 days trip to korea

You can travel to the temple by bus, as it is located a bit further away on the east coast.

From Haeundae Beach station , take buses 1001, 100 or 181, and get off at Yonggungsa Temple 용궁사 | National Institute of Fisheries Science 국립수산과학원.

Another option would be to take the Blue Train to the end of its line at Songjeong Beach. From here, take one of the buses heading towards the temple and ride it for only 4 stops.

No matter which way you choose to go, you will still have to walk for roughly 10 minutes until you reach the temple.

How to get from Haedong Yonggungsa Temple to Songjeong Station

The fastest route is by bus 181 or 100, for 4 stops.

Sky Capsule Haeundae Beach Busan

Songjeong Beach is popular with surfers, and it has a more relaxed vibe than Haeundae.

While you are there, and if you are interested, you can book a surfboard and surfing lessons.

From Songjeong Station you can take the Blue Line train, and change at Cheongsapo Station to the Sky Capsule that will take you to Mipo Station.

Admire the coastline from the comfort of your own small and colorful capsule.

The Sky Capsule is a unique transportation experience connecting the two villages of Mipo and Cheongsapo, located just 2 kilometers apart. The capsule travels along an elevated, suspended path at a leisurely pace of 4 kilometers per hour, making the journey from one village to the other in less than half an hour.

They only allow a maximum of 4 people inside one car, and we relayed our trip. The one-way price for 2 people in a car is 30.000 won, while 4 people will pay 44.000 won.

Make sure to book in advance, especially if you want to have this experience at a certain time of the day.

Address : 60 Songjeongjungang-ro 6beon-gil, Haeundae, Busan, South Korea

Read the full guide for taking the Sky Capsule and Blue Line Train here!

Haeundae Beach

things to do in Haeundae Beach Busan

Haeundae Beach is one of the most popular beaches in South Korea. It is known for its beautiful white sand and blue waters, which make it ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a variety of water activities.

The beach also boasts stunning views of the nearby mountains and islands, making it a great place to take photos or simply admire the scenery. Haeundae Beach should be included on any Busan itinerary mainly because there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops, and entertainment venues nearby. On top of that, there is easy access to public transportation options like buses and taxis.

Where to stay in Haeundae

The beachfront of Busan is renowned for its luxurious hotels. Many offer stunning views of the sea and have inviting infinity pools.

Paradise Hotel stands out as one of the most impressive venues, with its sophisticated décor and a prime location for picturesque snapshots.

Grand Josun Busan offers breathtaking sea views from its expansive windows and an impressive infinity pool that will make you feel like you’re floating on air.

Let’s not forget Shilla Stay – its sleek and modern design, as well as its premium services, are sure to make your stay unforgettable.

3 days trip to korea

The short answer is yes if you are wondering whether you can swim at Haeundae Beach. Of course, depending on the season and weather conditions, the authorities will limit or regulate swimming.

Our favorite place in Busan was Haeundae Beach. So much so that we decided to stay there for our second trip to the city. We loved its vibrant atmosphere and the countless restaurant options. Also, the delicious street food at the market and the cafes with a sea view.

Haeundae Beach reminded us a bit of Stanley Beach in Hong Kong. The beach was our favorite morning coffee or early brunch getaway.

Read the complete list of things to do at Haeundae Beach here !

BlueLine Park Busan

Go for a walk on Dongbaek Island  – just behind Westin Josun Hotel. The island has been designated as an ecological park by the government, making it an ideal destination for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Pamper yourself with a SPA treatment at the famous  SPA 1899  located steps away from the beach. They will use some of the best Korean skincare, for an unforgettable experience.  Book your treatment here!

Don’t miss the  Sea Life Busan Aquarium  – This state-of-the-art facility houses more than 40,000 marine animals from over 600 different species around the world. Visitors to Sea Life Busan can explore nine interactive zones that feature a variety of aquatic life from penguins and jellyfish to sharks, rays, and more!  Book your ticket here!

Choose one of the restaurants along the seafront, next to the market, for dinner. They are extremely popular with locals, and always serve fresh fish – pay attention to what you receive because here is where we were served silkworms as an appetizer.

Haeundae food market

Have seafood at the Haeundae Street Food behind the main promenade. We went there for dinner and had a delicious meal with fish soup, fried fish, fried calamari, and other small traditional Korean dishes. Of course, you can also try the many types of food on a stick.

BUSAN X the SKY – climb to the top of one of the tallest buildings in Busan and enjoy the view. Book your ticket here!

Haeundae cruise from Mipo

Finish off your second day in Busan with a  sunset yacht cruise . This was by far one of our favorite things to do, and admiring the city as it lights up is a breathtaking experience.

For one hour, you will sail along the coastline while admiring some of the city’s most famous landmarks: Gwangalli Beach, Gwangan Bridge, Donbaek Island, and the Marine Center.

Address : 52 Dongbaek-ro, Haeundae, Busan, South Korea

Book your sunset yacht cruise here!

Day 3 of your 3 days in Busan : Day trip – Gyeongju , Boseong, or another destination

On your  third day in Busan , you can choose to go on a day trip to the beautiful historical town of Gyeongju or visit the tea plantations in Boseong .

Gyeongju-Bridge

We have written a comprehensive guide for a  day trip from Busan to Gyeongju here , including how to get there, what to do and see, where to eat, and more based on our experience.

If, however, you prefer to explore the tea plantations on the hills north of Yeosu, you should consider a  day trip to Boseong .

Boseong tea plantations

You can rent a car and drive there by yourself, or you can book an organized tour and forget about having to think about itineraries, schedules, maps, and so on. A tour will take you through the tea plantations in Boseong, but you will also get to see the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve .

Visiting the  Oedo Island Botanical Garden  is another fun activity for a day outside of Busan. With its lush vegetation, crystal clear waters, and picturesque views, this botanical garden offers an unforgettable experience for visitors from around the world. From tropical plants to exotic flowers, you can find something interesting at every turn.

As you can see, there are so many things to do and see in Busan in 3 days. You simply cannot get bored in this vibrant city, and you will fall in love with the place.

Any one of the 3 days can be replaced by a Busan Day & Night Full Day Tour .

It’s a 14.5 hours tour that will take you to see some of the most important attractions in Busan. You can choose from 2 itineraries, and it includes transportation and a guide.

Other things to see in Busan

One of the largest SPAs in South Korea and one of the best to experience if you want an authentic jimjilbang . Moreover, it is hosted in the world’s largest Department Store, Shinsegae, on the banks of the Suyeonggang River, very close to Gwangalli and Haeundae Beach.

Address : Shinsegae Centum City 1F, 35, Centumnam-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan

The walk along the coastline offers a stunning view over Haeundae and Gwangalli. Make sure to wear the right shoes, and come prepared for the many steps and bridges.

The walk is 4.7 km long.

It is stretching from Dongsaengmal Trail – Global Gathering – Nongbawi Rock – Eoulmadang – Oryukdo Quay.

Can take roughly a 2.5-hour walk.

Address : 137 Oryukdo-ro, Nam-gu, Busan, South Korea

A bustling area of Busan located near the city center. Home to many shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

The streets are filled with locals and tourists alike as they explore what this vibrant district has to offer. Seomyeon is known for its nightlife, with bars, karaoke rooms, and nightclubs that stay open until late into the night.

There are also plenty of places to shop during the day in Seomyeon’s numerous department stores and malls. If you want a taste of traditional Korean culture, there are several temples in the area worth visiting for an exciting experience.

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Busan 3 days itinerary infographic

It’s been around since 1902 and is known as one of the oldest traditional markets in the city. The market has over 500 stalls selling everything from fresh produce, seafood, and spices to clothing, accessories, and souvenirs.

You can also enjoy delicious Korean street food at numerous restaurants scattered throughout the market or take part in cooking classes offered by experienced vendors.

Address : 부산진구 중앙대로 748, 부산광역시, 부산광역시, 대한민국

The market has an interesting history. This market used to be the place where refugees who fled to Busan set up stalls. They would make a living by selling smuggled or imported products after the Korean War.

Today, Gukje Market is one of Korea’s largest markets. It is where you can find almost anything from machinery tools to kitchenware and clothing.

Address : 부산광역시 중구 광복로35 | 35 Gwangbok-ro, Jung-gu, Busan (set in Nampo-dong)

It is the site of the world-renowned Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). The area has become an integral part of the city’s identity and culture, offering visitors an array of cultural attractions from movie theatres to art galleries and beyond.

At the center of BIFF Square stands the Busan Film Center, a multi-story building that houses various film-related facilities, including a theater and cafe.

The area also contains several shopping districts, restaurants, and bars.

Additionally, many art galleries are showcasing both modern and traditional Korean artwork.

Address : 부산광역시 중구 비프광장로 20 (남포동6가) 일대 | 20, BIFF gwangjang-ro, Jung-gu (Nampo-dong)

Extra tip : you can visit Gukje Market, Yongdusan Park / Busan Tower, Jagalchi Fish Market, and BIFF Square as a stand-alone itinerary since they are all set in Nampo-dong .

It features a variety of thrilling rides and attractions, as well as exciting shows that will keep you entertained for hours on end. The park also offers a number of dining options, from traditional Korean cuisine to international fare.

From roller coasters to water slides, there’s plenty of excitement waiting at Lotte World Adventure Busan.

Address : South Korea, Busan, Gijang, 동부산관광로 42

Get your ticket here!

A great way to admire the skyline and the ocean, especially during the night. Now called Busan Air Cruise, the itinerary runs from East Songrim Park to West Aman Park.

Address : 171 Songdohaebyeon-ro, Seo-gu, Busan, South Korea

Get your Busan night tour with Songdo cable car included!

If you are traveling from Seoul, you will have plenty of options to get to Busan.

You can read the complete guide here , including getting there by plane, bus, train, or car.

The fastest way to get from Seoul to Busan is by KTX – you take the train from Seoul Station and you get to Busan Station in around 2.5 hours.

The cheapest way to travel from Seoul to Busan is by bus. However, taking the bus is an option when you have more time to spend in the city because the ride takes around 6 hours.

Flying from Seoul Gimhae Airport to Busan Nahmea Airport is also an option. The airport in Seoul is closer than Incheon, and in Busan, you have a direct subway line that will take you to the city. However, you need to factor in the extra waiting time at the airport. The flight time is less than one hour.

Book your Korea Rail Pass here!

Getting from Gimhae Airport to Busan city

After the 1-hour flight from Seoul, you can easily get to the city by subway. The purple line links Gimhae Airport to Sasang. From there, you can take any other line and get to your final destination.

Busan Subway

If you travel by train, Busan Station is right in the city center. From there, you will be able to travel by subway or bus to wherever you need to go.

Even though the second time we visited the city we traveled by car from Seoul, we never actually used it to get around the city.

Public transportation in Busan is so reliable, easy to use, and has such a great network, that we only used the car to go on day trips outside of the city.

Using the subway and the bus will get you anywhere without having to worry about spending too much or finding parking.

Get the full information about the Busan metro system here .

Get the full information about the Busan bus system here .

Read the full guide for how to get around Busan

Where to stay for 3 days in Busan

Busan is an incredible city with plenty of things to see and do in a short amount of time. For our trips, we decided to stay in two different areas based on the attractions that were on our itinerary.

We chose an area near Haeundae Beach, which was great for exploring the nearby cafes and bars along the waterfront. It was also conveniently located near the Busan metro, and with a few transfers, we could easily get around to all of the destinations on our itinerary.

Also, on our first trip, we stayed on Yeongdo Island at one of the most picture-perfect hotels in Busan.

Accommodation in Busan is quite varied. Depending on your budget and needs, you can choose from luxury hotels, guesthouses, hostels, or even Airbnb apartments.

LaValse Hotel Busan

One of the most Instagram-worthy hotels in Busan, LaValse Hotel is set on Yeongdo island.

Situated near popular attractions like the harbor, museums, and bustling shopping districts, the hotel offers guests breathtaking views of the city skyline and rolling hills beyond. With convenient access to public transportation, a quick ride on the subway brings visitors close to all major landmarks in no time.

3 days trip to korea

Our standard room with ocean views was tastefully designed and featured modern decor that we found especially pleasing. The hotel offers a rooftop cafe with a delicious selection of breakfast items, as well as access to a sauna, providing an opportunity to relax after exploring the city.

3 days trip to korea

The stunning views of the ocean from our room were truly mesmerizing and added to the peaceful environment of our stay. We had a wonderful experience and will definitely consider returning for another visit in the future.

3 days trip to korea

The corner room at the hotel is the most sought-after, and it’s usually booked solid well in advance. For those looking for an authentic experience, they also offer a Korean-style room that involves sleeping on the floor – complete with traditional bedding and floor cushions – making it an unforgettable experience for those who decide to stay here.

3 days trip to korea

Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the same amenities as all other guests, such as free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast.

So make sure to book your stay with plenty of time to spare.

Hyggelig

Situated just minutes from the stunning Haeundae Beach.

This charming hotel provides guests with a conveniently located and affordable accommodation option.

We were mesmerized by the stunning views of the city skyline and harbor from our room with a balcony. Every morning, we watched as local fisherman sold their fresh catch at the lively fish market below us. That created a vibrant atmosphere that was absolutely enchanting.

The smell of salt water filled the air, and we felt so fortunate to have found such a special place to stay.

3 days trip to korea

The rooms provide maximum comfort and convenience with all the amenities you’d expect from a modern hotel.

Just a few minutes walk from the hotel, you will find a wide array of restaurants offering delicious Korean cuisine. Multiple convenience stores are located nearby if you need to grab some essentials quickly. The Blue Train Line is easily accessible.

The hotel also hosts a cafe with a stunning rooftop.

Cafe in Haeundae

It all comes at a very convenient price compared to other hotels in the area.

Read also:  The complete guide for where to stay in Busan on your first visit

There are plenty of amazing luxury hotel options along Haeundae Beach.

Paradise Hotel Busan is popular with locals not only for its incredible infinity pool but also for its great location on the beach and 5* services. See prices here!

Grand Josun Busan is another great option. The beachfront hotel boasts an array of amenities, including an outdoor swimming pool, a fully equipped gym, and a steam room.

If you are traveling with kids, you can take advantage of the dedicated kids’ floor.

The hotel offers a unique beachfront experience with plenty of activities and attractions for all ages. Be it taking a dip in the pool, relaxing at the sauna, or jogging along the beachside. See availability and prices here!

Park Hyatt Busan – Sitting slightly further away from the sandy beaches of Busan, yet within proximity of the renowned Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre (BEXCO). The hotel offers luxurious 5-star accommodation. With an exquisite eatery on the 32nd floor, one can enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline and the glistening ocean below whilst dining there. See availability and prices here!

Choose to stay in Seomyeon .

Lotte Hotel Busan is a 5* hotel set within walking distance of the subway station. You will find an on-site duty-free store, an indoor and outdoor pool, a sauna, and a fitness center. See availability and prices here!

Browndot Business Seomyeon is a more affordable hotel option. It has spacious rooms equipped with a bathtub, perfect for relaxation after a long day of exploring the streets of Busan. See availability and prices here!

While spending 2 days in Busan would be too short, allowing an extra day to explore the city or to go on a day trip should give you a chance to get a better feel of its vibe.

We spent one week in Busan without getting to do it all. That being said, I think that, with the right itinerary, 3 days should be a good amount of time.

How to get from Seoul to Busan

Busan is an incredibly popular tourist destination annually with its subtropical climate, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture.

Accordingly, the best time to visit Busan would be during the spring and autumn months. Between March and May , or September to November is just right.

During these months, the weather is mild, with comfortable temperatures providing the perfect relaxing vacation opportunity.

In the summertime, temperatures can get quite hot and humid in Busan. Thus, exploring outside during this period may be a bit uncomfortable.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of indoor or beach activities! Busan has numerous art galleries, museums, shopping centers, and entertainment venues. So you won’t be short on things to do.

In our opinion, the perfect time to visit Busan is during spring or autumn. Those are the most beautiful seasons in South Korea.

We visited in May and September, and both trips were perfect. However, if you want to see the cherry blossoms, you should go as early as March or early April.

On the other hand, if you want to catch the full fall foliage, plan your trip for October.

Food in South Korea

We tried various restaurants during our 3 days in Busan and we liked everything we had.

From the Westerner-type Mad for Garlic restaurant set in Haeundae to the Chinese hot pot Haidilao set minutes away from the train station.

On Yeongdo Island, at the raw fish market, we had eel soup with various traditional side dishes.

We had the best fish soup at Samsan Sliced Raw Fish restaurant, minutes away from Haundae Beach.

3 days trip to korea

Another chain restaurant worth trying is Clam . It is a tapas restaurant and you can find it at the beach in Haeundae and at Gwangalli.

Also, next to the Haeundae Market, you can find various fish restaurants and a great Korean BBQ place. We were served silkworms as appetizers at one of the fish places, so be careful!

Yes, absolutely! We loved Busan even more than we liked Seoul. Primarily because of its location by the ocean and the laid-back vibe.

The streets are colorful, there are plenty of things to do and see, and the food is delicious and fresh.

As many as you can spare out of your itinerary! If you can only spend a weekend or 3 days in Busan, that is ok.

But we spent one week in the city and would love to return at some point.

For a 3-day trip to Busan, you should pack light and comfortable clothing such as shorts and T-shirts. You should also bring a raincoat or umbrella.

Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, jackets, and other items that protect you from the sun. Especially if you plan to spend time at the beach.

Travel adaptors are important, along with a power bank.

Additionally, remember to bring your camera for picturesque sights and souvenirs for family or friends back home.

Busan itineraries:  one day ,  2 days

Your ultimate  South Korea bucket list

South Korea 10 days itinerary

What to do in Winter in Korea

SIM Card or Pocket WiFi? What to choose

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By Ingrid & Alex

Ingrid A former financial professional, I have been passionate about photography since an early age. My fascination with Korean culture was one of the reasons Alex accepted a business role in Seoul. Alex A former corporate business executive, I am a historical fiction writer. My business career allowed us to live in Seoul and explore South Korea for one year. We fell in love with the country, its culture, food, and people, and we strongly believe you will love it too! Because we know how difficult planning a trip can be, especially to South Korea, we are here to help you out and ensure you have an awesome time there.

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  • 10 Days in South Korea: Best 4 Itineraries for a First Visit 2024/2025

When visiting South Korea, 10 days is the most popular length of time for both families and couples. You could explore major highlights of Seoul and Busan without feeling rushed. You would also have the flexibility to visit Jeju Island, traditional Gyeongju and Andong, or other places that interest you.

In this article, we've handpicked four 10-day South Korea itineraries to help you plan a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and stress-free journey. We would customize any itinerary based on your preferences.

Itinerary 1: Classic South Korea

  • Itinerary 2: For Family with Teenagers

Itinerary 3: Modern and Historical South Korea

Itinerary 4: south korea off-the-beaten-path.

  • How Much Does a 10-Day Trip in South Korea Cost

This 10-day itinerary is excellent for a first visit to South Korea. It covers the must-see attractions in Seoul, Busan, Gyeongju, and Jeju Island, as well as a variety of authentic activities to enrich your trip.

  • 3 nights in Seoul
  • 1 night in Gyeongju
  • 2 nights in Busan
  • 2 nights on Jeju Island
  • 1 night in Seoul

Begin your adventure in Seoul. Explore iconic landmarks, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Myeongdong, and N Seoul Tower with your private guide. Your guide would help you to understand the culture and history of Seoul in a more interesting way.

To fully immerse yourself in Korean cuisine, taste authentic Korean food at Gwangjang Market. You would also have the chance to try your hands at a cooking class in a local home.

Next, head to Gyeongju, the ancient capital with many historic sites. Don't miss experiencing a night's stay at a traditional Hanok hotel. A Hanok hotel usually has 5–15 rooms and they're easily booked up, so you're advised to make a reservation at least 3 months in advance.

Continue your adventure to the seaside city of Busan. You could quickly get a feel for the city's cultural-rich atmosphere at Haedong Yonggung Temple and Gamcheon Culture Village.

Take a short flight to end your journey on Jeju Island. Be amazed by the natural wonders of Manjanggul lava tube, Hallasan Mountain, and Seongsan Ilchulbong ('Sunrise Peak'). Watch Haenyeo divers catch seafood in a traditional way and enjoy some free time on the beaches. After that, back to Seoul to depart from the country.

Our South Korea travel expert would tailor-made a private tour for you based on your preferences and requirements.

Itinerary 2: for Families with Teenagers

This 10-day South Korea itinerary is suitable for families with teenagers and allows for a relaxing travel pace. It would satisfy your kids' love for K-pop and provides abundant family-friendly experiences. What's more, you don't need to change hotels a lot.

  • 4 nights in Seoul
  • 3 nights on Jeju Island

Start your trip in Seoul. For a special family experience, we could arrange many authentic activities to help you delve into Korean history, culture, and food. For example, experience a private K-pop dancing class and shoot a video, explore the DMZ tunnels with a guided tour, indulge in a cooking class, and spend a night at a traditional Hanok hotel.

Then, take a comfortable KTX (Korea Train Express) to Busan. Enjoy the natural beauty of Taejongdae by traveling effortlessly on the Danubi Train and then sample various street food at BIFF Square.

If you want to see the full view of Busan's coastal line, Songdo Skywalk is a must-visit. We suggest picking the high-end crystal cable car with a glass bottom instead of the regular one. That way, you could enjoy the beautiful sea view of Busan from every angle, feeling like you're walking on air.

Finally, you would fly to Jeju Island and be immersed in its attractive highlights: Seongeup Folk Village, the performance of Haenyeo divers catching seafood, and a sightseeing cruise to watch whales.

Our travel expert would carefully design each private tour to cater to your unique interests and requirements .

With this 10-day South Korea itinerary, you would explore the top two modern cities of Seoul and Busan, and also delve into the profound history of the ancient cities of Andong and Gyeongju.

  • 1 night in Andong
  • 2 nights in Seoul

Your journey through South Korea would begin in Seoul, a capital with a vibrant culture. You would take a leisurely walk in Insadong and Myeongdong, cruise on the Han River, and sample local Korean food at Gwangjang Market.

During your stay in Seoul, you could also consider taking 1–2 days for a day trip to explore nearby cities like Suwon, known for its rich traditions, and Chuncheon, a paradise for outdoor sports.

On day 4, you would head to the birthplace of Korean philosophical culture, Andong. Highlights include seeing a unique mask dance performance at the famous Hahoe Folk Village and creating your mask at Hahoe Mask Museum. With the company and guidance of a local guide, you would gain a deeper understanding of historical stories.

On day 5, travel to Gyeongju to visit the "museum without walls". There are many historical sites with thousands of years of history waiting for you to explore: Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond. Don't forget to spend a night at a Korean-style Hanok hotel.

Then, spend 3 days in Busan, where you could wander around Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, experience the fun Songdo Skywalk, and sample the freshest seafood. After that, head back to Seoul to depart from South Korea.

You can just tell us your preferences and requirements, and we will customize a tour for you.

With this 10-day itinerary, you would visit the bustling city of Seoul and explore three off-the-beaten-path cities: Sokcho, Andong, and Suncheon. Immerse yourself in traditional villages and enjoy serene natural views.

To make the most of your time while visiting the attractions, you're recommended to travel in a private car when visiting the three hidden gems of Sokcho, Andong, and Suncheon.

  • 1 night in Sokcho
  • 2 nights in Suncheon

You would start in Seoul. Explore the highlights with a guided tour of Changdeok Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Jogyesa Temple, the DMZ, and any other attractions that you're interested in.

One of the highlights of this itinerary is the Seoraksan National Park in Sokcho. This is the highest peak near Seoul, featuring strange rocks and rare wildlife. It's a great place for travelers who love adventure and outdoor sports.

The traditional city of Andong is your next stop. Enjoy a unique mask dance performance at Hahoe Folk Village and visit the local Confucius temple and school to gain insights into the culture that has deeply affected Korean history.

Another highlight of this itinerary is Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve in Suncheon. It's one of the world's top five coastal wetlands. You could take a sightseeing cruise to visit the rare birds with a guide and wander across the wide reeds. Finally, take a private car and return to Seoul to depart South Korea.

If you have other requirements, contact us and we can make it happen.

How Much Does 10 Days in South Korea Cost?

US$400–500 per person per day is the typical cost for a private tour with 4-star hotels, based on a family of 3–5 people. This includes a private guide, private car, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, all intercity transport within South Korea, and handpicked 4-star hotels.

Therefore, the total cost for 10 days in South Korea would be about US$4,000–5,000 per person (international flights not included).

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COMMENTS

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