Your Itinerary for a Historical Day Trip in the Heart of Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul is one of the largest cities in the world and visiting for a short period may be overwhelming with picking which destinations you would like to see. We were lucky enough to have spent a year and some months and have had the opportunity to explore most of what this massive city has to offer. We have put together a great one-day itinerary highlighting the most iconic and one of our most favorite areas of Seoul. All of these spots are situated within a nice 4 km walking radius.

Check out our suggested route below. There are some alternatives if you have already seen some of these sites.

Check out the Best Places to Stay in Seoul to get the most out of your trip!

Helpful Tip
There is a map provided at the bottom of this post with pins for all locations that you can use from your phone to help you navigate!

Stop 1
Gwanghwamun Square

Ghwanghwamun Square

Admiral Yi

Start at Seoul’s iconic Gwanghwamun Square. You may recognize this view as it’s one of the most photographed and recognizable areas in Seoul. Walk along the path leading to Gyeongbokgung Palace with views of Bukhansan Mountain in the backdrop. Along the way you will pass the King Sejong Statue (known for developing the modern Korean alphabet, Hangul) and Admiral Yi Sun-Shin Statue (famous naval war hero who used the Korean turtle ships to defeat the Japanese). On the weekends there are flea markets and musical shows filling the empty space between statues!

Ghwanghwamun Square

King Sejong

Want to see extra? Start your adventure at the Cheonggycheon Stream for a relaxing walk along the downtown stream. Take your shoes off, have a snack, and rest your feet in the water! If you are lucky it could be decorated with either lanterns or umbrellas for one of many festivals they celebrate here.

Umbrellas-at-Cheonggye-Stream

Have extra time? Check out the free museums below the King Sejong & Admiral Yi Sun-Shin Statue HERE.

Directions:

To Cheonggycheon Stream: Take subway to Gwanghwamun Station (line 5) exit 5

To Gwanghwamun Square: Take subway to Gwanghwamun Station (line 5) exit 2 or 3 and walk straight.

Stop 2
Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace is a must see while visiting Seoul. It is the largest and main palace of all five palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. If you are lucky you will get to see the changing of the guard at the front entrance! Give yourself at least an hour to wander the massive grounds with beautiful, colorful intricate painted buildings.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Changing of the Guard

Grab some food to go and enjoy lunch on the lawn in front of some of the structures inside. There is even a museum free with admission inside.

Blue House

Just outside the back entrance

If you want to see the Presidential Blue House make sure you exit from the back gate.

See our experience visiting the Gyeongbokgung palace during a special exhibit at night HERE.

Admission: adults 3,000 KRW (~$3) and children 1,500 KRW (~$1.50)

Directions:

From Gwanghwamun Square walk straight to the palace!

By Subway: Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Line 3), Exit 5

 Note: Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed on Tuesdays

Stop 3
Samcheong-dong

Samcheong

Crafts sold all long the streets

This delightful area is located directly right of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Samcheong-dong is famous for its traditional Korean hanok style buildings, tons of shops, cafes, restaurants, street vendors, and art galleries. This area is conveniently sandwiched between Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village which makes it a perfect stop to enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack.

This is one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon shopping and strolling through the streets. The area is very charming and you can’t help but love the small town atmosphere tucked in the big city.

Directions

From Gyeongbokgung exit the gate on the right side of the palace. OR walk around to the right side of Gyeongbokgung.

From the Subway: Anguk Station (line 3) exit 1 toward the Jeongdok Library

Stop 4
Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon 6th View

Walk through this historical village of Bukchon and enjoy the splendor of these traditional Korean homes called hanoks. There are around 900 hanok style buildings scattered through this small area nestled between the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces.

This village is actually home to residents of Seoul and home to a few small museums. Grab a coffee to go and meander through the alleyways of these historical, traditional homes and buildings.

Check out our other post on Bukchon Hanok Village HERE

Directions

From Samcheong-dong: Walk balk towards the palace and make a left on Bukchon Ro 5 Gil. Then make a left on Bukchon Ro (the third street.)

By Subway: Anguk Station (line 3) exit 2

Stop 5
Insadong

 

Insadong is a great stop in the afternoon. Wander through the main street and alleyways for tons of traditional shops, tea houses, restaurants, street vendors, art galleries, and street performers. This is the place to shop for souvenirs! Even if you are not fond of shopping, you should still walk through Insadong to try some of the traditional candy or sweet treats this area has to offer.

Ssamziegil-3rd-floor-different-view-2

Check out Ssamziegil shopping center located in the heart of Insadong. This shopping plaza is home to local artisan boutiques and delicious snacks. Check out the trick art museum in the basement and the rooftop coffee shop.

If you are hungry then we recommend one of our favorite places to eat in Korea! Bukchon Mandu for the best mandu you’ve ever tried.

Check out our experience at the Alive Museum Here.

Note: Make sure you plan a visit to Insadong in the afternoon or early evening as most places close by 8 pm.

Directions

From Subway: Anguk Station (line 3) exit 6 walk 100 meters then turn left.

Stop 6
Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa Temple during Buddha’s Birthday

Jogyesa is one of Seoul’s most popular Buddhist temples due to its convenient location in the heart of the city. Check out the temple anytime of the day as it is always open to the public.

Take off your shoes and enter Daeungjeon, the main Dharma Hall, and silently admire the golden Buddha and witness how the Korean Buddhist’s worship.

During different times of the year the temple will be covered with paper lanterns or other decorations. We were lucky enough to visit in May during Buddha’s Birthday where the temple is decorated in hundreds of colorful lanterns.

See what it’s like to visit Jogyesa during Buddha’s Birthday here.

Directions:

From Subway: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 6.
Walk 50m straight then cross the street in front of Dongduk Gallery.
Walk another 50m to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.

BONUS!

Already been to Gwanghwamun Square? Than start in Buamdong and walk your way down to the Presidential Blue House. Enter Gyeongbokgung from the back entrance.

Sanmotoonge Cafe in Buamdong

View from famous movie filming location – Sanmotoonge Cafe in Buam-Dong

 

Never heard of Buamdong? Than you need to go. Check out what all there is to do in Buamdong.

Love the Palaces? Check out Changdeokgung Palace near Bukchon Hanok Village! Note: Changdeokgung Palace is closed on Mondays

Changdeokgung Palace

Directions:

By Subway: Anguk Station (line 3) exit 3: walk straight for 5 minutes

We hope that this guide is helpful. This is one of our favorite ways to spend a free day in Seoul.

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*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of Bobo&ChiChi. Please do not use them without our permission. If you want to use one of them please contact us to ask first because we’d be absolutely flattered and would love to share. Thanks!

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About the Author

Megan Indoe

I love to laugh, I LOVE animals, good food, beer and travelling. I've been to 12 different countries and am currently in South Korea with a goal of visiting 88 more before I die!

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