6 Experiences That Are Unique to Seoul
Buddhist Temple Nojeoksa, Bukhan Mountain, Seoul, Korea. | © SFL Travel / Alamy Stock Photo
Seoul is the cool kid of Asia. It’s a city that’s leading the way with film, TV and music, and a new raft of bookable experiences offer travellers a glimpse of the city’s thrilling dynamism.
Seoul is a city that does things differently, and the rest of the world is starting to take notice. For better or worse, the song ‘Gangnam Style’ has traversed time zones and borders to every country in the world. But there are still plenty of other aspects of K-culture that are yet to be discovered – even in Seoul.
Whether you’re K-Drama obsessed or know next to nothing about Korea, here are six Seoul experiences that’ll give you a feel for what makes this city tick.
AdmissionSkip the Line: Trick Eye Museum Entrance Ticket
Pair an art gallery with a dash of whimsy, and you get the Trick Eye Museum in Seoul. Inspired by the trompe l’oeil visual art technique, the museum features paintings that give each 2D piece a 3D illusion. Step into or beside the art, and snap photos that have you popping out of the portrait or mural. Then, freeze boredom out of your life inside the Ice Museum, part of Trick Eye, and discover rooms made entirely of ice. Post your amusing and bizarre pics on social media and watch the thumbs-up numbers climb.
ActivitiesImmersive Korean BBQ, Market, and Secret Pub Experience in Seoul
Go to the same Korean pork barbecue restaurant featured on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on this classic Korean night out of barbecue and drinks. Spend a lively evening with a Korean food expert to learn about Korean barbecue and drinking etiquette, and then experience traditional and trendy alcoholic drinks in an energetic classic pub filled with Koreans from all walks of life. You will also explore a market famous for its pigs feet and a colourful market selling savoury pancakes and tempura made from almost anything under the sun. Make sure to bring your camera, but don’t lose it, or they may fry it. This is the most intense way to immerse yourself in Korean food culture.
ActivitiesMt Bukhan Hike with Korean-Style Spa
Take a break from the city on this full-day tour that combines a hike on Mt Bukhan with a rejuvenating Korean spa experience. Your guide will select a two- or three-hour route, depending on the group’s skill level, taking you past granite peaks and crystal-clear streams on Seoul’s highest mountain. At the jjimjilbang, or traditional sauna, you’re rewarded with a soak in a hot bath followed by a full-body scrub, oil massage, face mask and shampoo — all applied by an expert practitioner. Lunch and round-trip hotel transport are included.
ToursDark Side of Seoul Evening Ghost Tour
Korea’s most popular ghost tour! This is the side of Seoul that you won’t find in the tourism brochures. Take a tour down the dark alleys of Seoul’s forgotten 600-year history of bloody massacres, seedy hideaways and mourning ghosts. Self-proclaimed clairvoyants on the tour have reported a few sightings, including a little girl who has been seen following the group around. This is not only a ghost tour, but a walk unearthing Seoul’s murky and violent past, making the city much more interesting and intimate. Guests also receive an online map of all the haunts, murder sites, and torture chambers mentioned on the tour.
ToursSample Alcohol Tasting at Brew Master's Workshop and Dinner With Magkeolli
Gastro Tour Seoul takes adults to visit a true artisan Korean brewer’s workshop that has been recognised as Korean Food Master by the Korean government. With food and drinks included, you’ll be introduced to quality Korean alcohol like soju (distilled alcohol), makgeolli and yakju (rice-brewed wine) from this local brewer. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the entire process of turning rice into soju and makgeolli and you’ll venture deep into the heart of Korean alcohol culture as you explore this hidden brewery known only to the true locals. This three- to three-and-a-half-hour-long tour will introduce you to master artisans who brew and distill according to time-honoured traditions. The tasting sessions are followed by a traditional homemade Korean meal served together with bowls of makgeolli.
ActivitiesDrinking and Eating through the Alleys of Seoul
This tour is different than other tours! I focus on food and drinks. The main focus is drinking at each spot while we eat some outstanding food. I provide five-hour tours. I will be taking you around the neighbourhood that has the best food in Seoul, hands down! There are tiny alleys that even Koreans don’t know about. I have taken many people around here including my native Korean friends and they will agree that it is the best of the best. I promise you won’t be disappointed in this tour. Just make sure to bring a huge appetite since we will be trying a ton of dishes.I do not take you to places that you will be able to find on google or are commercialised. I take you to places you would typically not be able to go to on your own.