There are so many things to do in a city like Seoul, that is really easy to stay there for weeks and not get bored. I was only there for 5 days and had to take a pick. Here's what I did.
- Sleep or eat in a traditional Hanok
A Hanok is a traditional Korean house and there are plenty of these to be found in Bukchon Hanok Village in the northern part of the centre. This area, which is straddled by the two main palaces in Seoul, has lots of quirky shops, eateries and places to stay. I'd heard that the paper thin walls of a Hanok meant hearing more from your neighbours than you'd like to, so I opted for just having lunch in one.
- Visit the palaces
There are 4 palaces in Seoul,but if you need to pick go with Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palace. With its mountainous backdrop, the setting of Gyeongbokgung Palace is pretty stunning and you can watch the changing of the guards here as well. Changdeokgung Palace has a 'secret garden' that is well worth a wander around.
- Have a coffee with a cat (or a dog)
As most Seoulites live in high rise buildings, many don't have the space to own a pet. Hence the omnipresent pet cafes. Health and safety issues aside, what could possibly be better than having a cat cuddle with your coffee?
- Hike through Namsam Park and go up the Seoul Tower
The park is great for hiking and Seoulites make good use of it. The tower is considered to be the most romantic spot in town and THE place to take your date. And judging by the many love padlocks attached to the railings at the bottom of the tower, many couples do. The tower is also good for taking in far reaching views of Seoul, even for singles.
- Eat street food at a night market
Namdaemun is one of those markets and I happened to be staying right next to it. This is a 24 hours market with stalls spread out across several blocks. At night the food stalls open up shop and serve all kind of local dishes. On my first night, I was lured into a tent by a woman who only spoke Korean and enjoyed some bibimbap and chicken. I think.