When Cebu Pacific Air announced a 50% off airfare promo to Seoul, South Korea, we didn’t hesitate to book our flights. We were also lucky to be granted visas as first-timers. (Check out how we got our Korean visa!) Leading up to the day of our departure, I have spent countless hours creating a proper itinerary that my family would enjoy.
This post will highlight our first day in Seoul, South Korea, where we visited three major attractions in Seoul.
The main royal palace during the Joseon dynasty is the Gyeongbokgung Palace, also known as Gyengbok Palace. This is where most tourists go during their first trip to Seoul. It is beside the National Palace Museum of Korea, which is the first thing you will see when you emerge from the subway.
The palace is huge and you can take a tour around the palace with a guide, but if you want an English-speaking tour guide, here are the available times : 11:00, 13:30, 15:30.
My favorite part of the palace is the “Gyeonghoeru Pavilion“.
The backdrop includes a palace surrounded by water, trees, and mountain. It was very cold that day, so warming up with coffee or tea is a must during the winter season. There’s a cafe near the pavilion that serves coffee and some snacks. You can also purchase souvenirs from that cafe.
Operating Hours: 9AM – 5PM (click here for updates)
Closed on Tuesdays
Entrance Fee: 3000KRW (approx. $3USD)
How to get there:
Ride the subway and alight at Gyeongbokgung Palace Station and walk towards Exit 5
Bukchon Hanok Village
We actually walked to Bukchon Hanok Village after gorging ourselves from Samgyetang at Tosokchon. It was a bit of a walk, approximately 20-30 minutes, but if you just came from Gyeongbokgung Palace, it is much closer. Walking towards the village, you will find a lot of shops along the streets, and that’s where I bought Bart Simpson and Ironman blocks. I’ve yet to build mine. I got them at 5,000KRW each.
Aside from seeing Korean traditional houses, there are also quaint cafes, museums, and workshops around the area. You have to remember to be quiet, because those houses have people living in them. I really enjoyed looking around, and I am kind of obsessed with beautiful doors, so it was a treat for me.
Entrance is FREE
Pets are allowed.
Don’t be loud. There are people living in the houses.
How to get there:
Ride the subway and alight at Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), walk towards Exit 2.
N Seoul Tower
The fastest way to N Seoul Tower is to ride the cable car. For those who loves to walk and hike, and isn’t pressed for time, you can choose that route. Some said it takes about an hour to hike up N Seoul Tower. However, they said it’s something that you should do once.
The most popular thing to do there is to hang a love lock. You can purchase the locks at their souvenir shop and you get a free pen to write on them.
After we secured our love locks, everything that can freeze in our bodies were frozen. We decided to descend from the tower and have a cup of coffee at the waiting area. The lady that sold us coffee gave us free rice crackers while we were enjoying our coffee and having loads of laughter! I think she felt good about seeing us laughing a lot, and I also spoke to her in Korean. I find that that locals warm up to you when they know that you actually made an effort to learn their language. For quick a quick Korean lesson, click here.
Operating Hours: Open everyday at 10AM to 11PM
Cable Car Operating Hours: 10AM to 11PM
Cable Car Price: 8,500KRW (Round Trip) / 6,000KRW (One Way)
How to get there:
Ride the subway and alight at Myeong-dong Station, walk towards Exit 3. After emerging from the station, turn left. You will see the Pacific Hotel. Use the road to the right of the hotel and walk uphill for 15 minutes to Namsan Cable Car Station. Take the cable car to bring you to N Seoul Tower.
Our South Korea Adventure:
- Day 1 : Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, N Seoul Tower
- Day 2 : Nami Island, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Insa-dong
- Day 3 : Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), K-Live/Lotte Fitin, Myeongdong, Trick Eye Museum @ Hongdae