Welcome to Seoul
The biggest city and capital metropolis of South Korea, Seoul, is a buzzing center filled with skyscrapers, palaces, marketplaces, and temples. Seoul draws the attention of thousands of people through exceptional arts & culture and remarkable historic places. Get to know the locals, the South Koreans are some of the most hospitable hosts in the world and will show you how to enjoy good food (Korean BBQ) and family friendly entertainment (Karaoke). It is a perfect place for urban explorers as there is always something to see and do in this lively city.

How to get to Seoul

By Air

Incheon International Airport (ICN) is one of two airports that serve Seoul and the surrounding area, located on a small island just off the mainland. To get to Seoul proper, head to the Terminal 1 & 2 Transit Center to catch the A'REX train, KTX train, or bus service. If you'd prefer to add water to your adventure, take the ferry from the island to the mainland. Want something more private? Ride share companies like Uber can get you from ICN to Seoul, but it'll be pricey - around $100 USD.
By Air

Gimpo International Airport (GMP) also serves the Seoul area, and is located south of the Han river in Western Seoul. To get to the city center, hop on Seoul subway Line 5 or Line 9, hop on the city bus, or grab an Uber for around $40 USD.
By Road

If you're driving in from other areas of South Korea (perhaps taking a little road tour of the beautiful countryside?) you'll want to jump onto the Seoul Ring Expressway (Expressway No. 1), which is a 127km ring road connecting Seoul to the major satellite cities.

Local etiquette in Seoul

Tipping

Nobody expects a tip for their services in Korea; however 5-10% is appropriate for exceptional service in restaurants, spas, or for tour guides.
Greeting

While greeting someone, it is polite to bow and smile.
Gestures

During a handshake, support your right forearm with your left hand to show respect.
Words & Phrases

Yeoboseyo [Hello]
Words & Phrases

Budi [Please]
Words & Phrases

Gomabseubnida [Thank you]
Words & Phrases

Ye [Yes]
Words & Phrases

Ani [No]
Words & Phrases

Annyeong [Goodbye]

What's the weather like in Seoul?

The weather is best between September and November with the sunshine lasting between 6 hours. Fantastic months for warm weather and not so many crowds would include between March and May. In winter, it will be chillier overall but still quite sunny throughout the 5 hours a hour day. Light outwear is necessary for Spring and Fall as the temperature may drop after sunset while short pants, raincoats, umbrellas should be carried in Summer when the rainy season begins. Warm clothing is essential in Winter in Seoul as it is colder than the South region.
Spring
62° F (17° C)
45° F (7° C)
Summer
84° F (29° C)
70° F (21° C)
Fall
67° F (19° C)
50° F (10° C)
Winter
38° F (3° C)
24° F (-4° C)

How to get around in Seoul

Public Transport
Seoul has a robust - if perhaps overcrowded - public transportation system, offering multiple bus and subway lines to get you nearly anywhere in the city. While affordable and convenient, be prepared for crowds. We recommend purchasing an "MPASS" card, which is exclusively for international tourists. It's a rechargeable card offering 20 rides per day for a flat fee.
Ride Share
Uber and Lyft are both available in Seoul, but be prepared - traffic delays can make the crowds of the public transport system look very appealing.
Other
Seoul has become a city of bikes, as local citizens seek to avoid the crush of traffic and crowded public transportation.
Renting a Car
Rent a car if you must, but it wouldn't be our first (or second, or third) choice. Expect NYC or Central London-levels of traffic congestion.

Where should I eat in Seoul?

Breakfast restaurants in Seoul

Tavolo 24 ($$$)
Korean/Asian/American Mix

Interliners love the:
Breakfast buffet


Tavolo 24 Website
279, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03198
Aria ($$)
Korean/Asian

Interliners love the:
Fresh juices, exceptional service


Aria Website
Sogong-ro, Jung-gu | 1F, Seoul Westin Chosun Hotel, Seoul 04533
MoMo Cafe ($$)
Contemporary / International

Interliners love the:
Pancakes, sandwiches, Korean noodles


MoMo Cafe Website
9 Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 04526

Brunch restaurants in Seoul

The Lounge ($$)
Cafe

Interliners love the:
Hello Kitty bingsu


The Lounge Website
Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu | 1F, JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square
Casablanca Sandwicherie ($)
Moroccan Sandwich Shop

Interliners love the:
Moroccan chicken sandwich


Casablanca Sandwicherie Website
Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04338
Hemlagat ($$)
Scandinavian / Swedish

Interliners love the:
Smoked salmon sandwich


Hemlagat Website
Sogong-ro, Jung-gu | 123, Namsan Lotte Castle Iris, Seoul 04632

Lunch restaurants in Seoul

Jyoti Indian Restaurant ($$)
Indian

Interliners love the:
Garlic naan


Jyoti Indian Restaurant Website
Sinchon-ro 20-gil, Mapo-gu | 3 Floor, Seoul 04101
Jonny Dumpling ($)
Asian / Chinese

Interliners love the:
Fried shrimp dumplings, steamed pork dumplings


Jonny Dumpling Website
5, Bogwang-ro 59-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04391
Braai Republic ($$)
South African BBQ

Interliners love the:
Lamb chops, cheesecake


Braai Republic Website
19, Itaewon-ro 14-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04391

Dinner restaurants in Seoul

Gusto Taco ($$)
Mexican / Southwestern

Interliners love the:
Pork tacos


Gusto Taco Website
41, Wausan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04049
Jungsik ($$$)
Asian / Korean

Interliners love the:
Amuse bouche, gimbap, octopus


Jungsik Website
11, Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 06014
Jihwaja ($$$)
Asian / Korean

Interliners love the:
Beef ribs


Jihwaja Website
757, Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-948

Other eats and bites in Seoul

Kiss The Tiramisu

Try the Tiramisu ice cream
RetroGameBar

Try the "Pacman Forever" cocktail, live eSports
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Try the Cruffin (a croissant-muffin fusion)

Things to do in Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace ($3+) Built in 1935, Gyeongbokgung Palace has striking architecture and design and is the heart of the capital of Korea. It's style hails from the Joseon dynasty and offers a lot for visitors to do and see, from authentic Korean royal furniture to preserved artifacts. This palace complex also has a remarkable National Folk Museum and National Palace Museum. Gyeongbokgung Palace Website
Hangang Park ($0+) Hangang Park is spread along the Hangang River and is composed of 12 "sub-parks" – Gwangnaru, Jamsil, Ttukseom, Jamwon, Banpo, Ichon, Yeouido, Yanghwa, Mangwon, Nanji, Seonyudo, and Gangseojigu. Every "sub-park" has its unique features, consisting of walking trails, in-line skating rinks, soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pools, water skiing, ecological preserves, and numerous ferry cruises.
Hangang Park Website
War Memorial of Korea ($0+) The history of the Korean War (1950-53) is well-documented in this museum, located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. The museum holds around 33,000 artifacts and draws a significant amount of tourists daily. There are indoor and outdoor halls and memorial rooms which showcase period weapons, uniforms, and maps. The plethora of tanks, helicopters, and other war machines makes this place a must-visit location for history-buffs and kids-at-heart alike. War Memorial of Korea Website
Bukchon Hanok Village ($0+) This 600-hundred-year-old locality is one of the best instances of living history in the Seoul. The village has Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine in the vicinity. There are hundreds of traditional houses, called hanok, which gives visitors an intrinsic glimpse into the lives of ancient Korean life. Today, a majority of these hanoks operate as resorts, restaurants, cultural centers, and teahouses, providing opportunities for visitors to experience classical Korean culture.
Bukchon Hanok Village Website
Myeong Dong ($0+) Seoul’s largest shopping district, Myeong Dong, was once a residential area during the Joseon Dynasty. After the Korean War in the 1960s, this place became a commercial zone. Myeong Dong is known as the world’s 9th most expensive shopping center. It attracts thousands of tourists for shopping daily, and houses numerous department stores, global designer brand shops, and dining options.
Myeong Dong Website

Seoul festivals and parades

  • Oct
    Seoul International Fireworks Festival
    Since 2000, Hanwha Group has been organizing one of Korea’s and the world’s greatest fireworks festivals in Yeouido. Every year, the major fireworks companies from all around the globe perform fireworks displays and light up the night skies of Seoul.
  • May
    Lotus Lantern Festival
    This thousand-year-old festival is celebrated in Korea to pay honor to Buddha on his birthday. During the festival, different parts of Seoul get illuminated with lanterns, conveying messages of hope and love. An extraordinary parade is held starting from Dongdaemun Gate to Jogyesa Temple. Before the ceremony, open-air lantern shows and dance performances take place in the heart of metropolitan Seoul.

What's the nightlife like in Seoul?

Photo © Octagon
Octagon
(website)
Octagon features fabulous local and international DJs and a luxurious interior. It's regarded by many as the 5th best nightclub worldwide.
Don't miss:
In addition to great live music, expect high-quality cocktails and food offerings.
Tip:
Photo © Romantic Chimac
Romantic Chimac
(website)
Enjoy a relaxed evening sampling awesome food and truly unique local beer at this Asian brew-pub
Don't miss:
Don't miss the garlic chicken!
Tip:
Photo © NB2
NB2 is one of the premier hip-hop nightclubs in Korea, and for that matter the world.
Don't miss:
NB2 is owned by Korean entertainment powerhouse YG Entertainment - the people behind almost every major hit Korean music group.
Tip: NB2 gets quite crowded on the weekend. Try a weekday for a less soul-crushing experience - unless impromptu mosh pits are your thing, of course.

Seoul hidden gems

Deoksugung Doldam-gil
Deoksugung Doldam-gil is a classic place for a romantic stroll, making for both a memorable and picturesque experience. In the surrounding area you'll find the famed Seoul Museum of Art, Jeongdong Theater, and the Russian Legation.
Jeongdong Theater
This historically significant place was opened in 1995 to restore the legacy of first modern theater in Korea, Wongaksa. Jeongdong Theater serves as a cultural center for locals, and hosts various productions including the world-renowned Miso.
Seonyudo Park
Previously industrial water treatment plant, this is an island on Hangang River which has been rebuilt as a very unique park. The best part of this park is the Seonyudo Bridge, popularly known as footbridge of peace, which joins the Yanghwa district and an island park on Hangang River. The park also hosts the Hangang River History Museum, which contains fascinating exhibits on the cultural heritage and ecosystem of the area.