How to Spend 24 Hours in Seoul

Kit Dale / © Culture Trip
Kit Dale / © Culture Trip
Photo of Linda Dunsmore
8 May 2018

Do you have a long layover in Seoul or are visiting for just a day? With a little bit of planning and determination, it’s absolutely possible to see the most popular attractions and experience a little bit of Korean culture in only 24 hours – here’s how!

Start at Gyeongbokgung Palace

The most visited attractions in Seoul are its palaces. Gyeongbokgung, the main palace, and Changdeokgung, with its beautiful Secret Garden, are the two most popular. Lucky for busy travelers, the two are located almost next to one another. Start off at Gyeongbokgung Palace and travel back in time to the prosperous Joseon Dynasty. The palace is open during all four seasons and a must-visit when in town.

Deoksugung Palace, Seoul | © Culture Trip

Explore Korean culture at Bukchon Hanok Village

Next, make your way over to Changdeokgung Palace, but not before wandering around beautiful Bukchon. The traditional village features about 900 traditional Korean hanok houses with lovely shops, cafés, restaurants, and teahouses. Cha Masineun Tteul, for example, is a lovely building on a hill on one side of Bukchon. The name literally translates to “The Garden Where Tea Is Drunk” and allows visitors to enjoy a splendid view of the area while sipping on a hot drink.

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul | © Culture Trip

Admire Changdeokgung Palace and Secret Garden

Once arrived at Changdeokgung, you can explore the many buildings of the palace. Should you have enough of Korean palaces after your visit to Gyeongbokgung, head straight to the Secret Garden. This unique green area features countless picturesque ponds and pavilions and is a must-visit when in Seoul.

Secret Garden | © Culture Trip

Get artsy in Insadong

Next on your list should be Insadong. The area is considered the artistic soul of the city, with countless arts and craft shops along the main and many side streets. This is the perfect place to pick up unique and handmade Korean souvenirs to take back home.

Insadong Area | © Culture Trip

Get bird’s eye views from Namsan Tower

One of the highest points in the city, Namsan Tower, or Seoul Tower, is a great place to get amazing views of the city. No matter what time of the day, you can always catch a stunning glimpse of the hustle and bustle of Seoul below. However, Namsan is a perfect place to visit to catch the sunset over the city or spectacular night views.

Shop and dine in Myeongdong

Millions of tourists from all over the world come to Korea to pick up Korean fashion and skincare products each year. The best place to fulfill your shopping lust is Myeongdong. The area is home to some of the largest Korean stores in the country, including Innisfree, Skinfood, 8 Seconds, and many more. After, or during, your shopping haul, you can fill your stomach with delicious Korean street food or sit down in one of the many local restaurants to grab a bite.

Go clubbing in Itaewon

The foreigner and expat district in Seoul, Itaewon sure knows how to party. No matter what kind of music genre or type of entertainment you are looking for, you will find it here. A little on the cozy and relaxed side, The Cake Shop is a well-visited club in the neighborhood. Club MUTE is another hotspot for premier nightlife in the city that plays house, techno, and nu-disco beats.

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