Planning a trip to Korea but have no idea where to start? We’ve got you covered! Check out our detailed 5-Day Seoul Itinerary that gives you everything from where to stay, what to do, and budget hacks!
Before going to Korea, be sure to check if you’ll need to apply for a traveler’s visa (check the official website here). Most North American, European, and Australian citizens can enter visa-free.
Asian countries like Singapore and the Philippines have a few simple requirements to fulfill. Check out our detailed guide for Filipino Visa Application.
Where to Stay: Neighborhoods
Deciding where to stay is pretty important, depending on your budget and prospective itinerary. You’ll easily find hotels and Airbnbs in whatever neighborhood you choose to lodge.
- Myeongdong: This district is full of shops and restaurants for every budget, and makes for an easy dinner stop right after a day of traveling. But as a highly commercial area, it’s noisy and expensive.
- Hongdae: This university town is home to Seoul’s indie art scene. You’ll find lots of quirky (and affordable) cafes and restaurants.
- Gangnam: One of Seoul’s poshest neighborhoods. If you’re into K-Pop and Korean Dramas, you might see some of your favorite stars strolling by!
- Itaewon: AKA the ‘Party District’ of Seoul. You’ve got a lot of choice when it comes to bars and clubs.
- Jamsil: Traveling with the family? The Jamsil district is a quieter neighborhood right by Lotte World Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park. Great if you’ve got kids or seniors with you!
Seoul Itinerary: Places to Visit and Things to Do
Day 1: Seoul City Sightseeing
Morning: Arrive at Incheon Airport
Before leaving the airport, make sure you pick-up a pocket Wi-Fi device or local SIM and a T-money train card. Then, head over to downtown Seoul via the AREX Airport Express and check in to your hotel.
1:30 pm : Hanbok Experience
Experience life as an aristocrat from the Joseon Dynasty by donning on a beautiful Korean hanbok. There are many rental places, but we recommend renting with Seowha Hanbok for its wide selection, affordable price, and prime location to other Seoul city attractions.
Tourists can rent for as long as the entire day, and take photos in their hanboks by the nearby palaces, tea houses, and Bukchon Traditional Village.
This is the grandest of Korea’s Five Grand Palaces, and served as the main palace for the Joseon family and their court. Stroll through the palace grounds and gardens, and step back in time.
Just a few minutes away is the Bukchon Traditional Village, a quaint neighborhood of well-preserved hanok-style homes. The streets are narrow and winding, and full of all unique stores, like the Donglim Knot Workshop. You can enjoy your afternoon tea at the Korean Tea House.
6:00 pm: Dinner at Namdaemun Market
By now you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite. Head over the Namdaemun Market, the city’s largest open marketplace. The place is full of great shopping options and delicious street food!
Get an early start on your second day with this easy day tour from Seoul, out to Gangwon Province. For a hassle-free day, opt for this convenient bus day tour option that departs and drops you off in Myeongdong.
9:00 am – 11:00 am: Petite France
Francophiles will enjoy Petite France, a quaint French cultural village. Tuck into any of the French-style buildings and eat French cuisine, enjoy a traditional European puppet show, and listen to a 200-year-old-music box.
11:00 am – 12:30 pm: Gangchon Rail Park
Choose from the 2, 3, or 4-person seater Railbike and enjoy the beautiful Gangwon-do countryside. Pedal along now-defunct train lines and drink in the fresh air, clear skies, lush landscapes, and stunning view of the Bukhangan River.
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm: Picnic Lunch and Nami Island
Enjoy a hearty lunch of spicy chicken galbi at the scenic Nami Island. Every inch of Nami Island is picture-perfect—riverside pathways, colorful forests, and KDrama filming sites! Fans of the hit show, Winter Sonata, will instantly recognize the tribute.
You’re given the freedom to explore Nami Island, but with so much to see, we recommend you take advantage of the bike rentals (3,000 KRW for 30 minutes, 5,000 KRW for 1 hour) or hop on the electric tour car!
4:30 pm – Head back to Seoul
Enjoy the scenic bus ride back to Seoul.
5:30 pm – Seoul Night Life
Grab some dinner, before heading out for some drinks! You can head to the Itaewon District for the best clubs and pubs, or maybe head to any of Hongdae’s many event venues some live music and beers.
Day 3: Everland Theme Park
Who says amusement parks are just for kids? Everland, Korea’s most popular theme park, if full of thrilling rides and stellar attractions. Check out our complete guide to everything you need to know about maximizing your day and tips to scoring discounts.
Day 4: Culture and History
Dial back a bit, and take a day to experience Korea’s history.
8:00 am – 3:00 pm : Half-day DMZ Tour
Although a sobering tour, a trip to the Koreas’ Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ) will give you an up-close look into the elusive North Korea and a better understanding of one of the world’s longest cold wars.
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Traditional Royal Cuisine Restaurant
Who doesn’t love Korean food? By now you’ve probably had a lot of the usual Korean delicacies. Level up your culinary experience, and feast like royalty. Our friends, David and Andrew of the Fung Brothers described their meal as an “ancient, dynastic, delicious Korean experience.”
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm: N Seoul Tower
Drink in the spectacular panoramic view of Seoul City from the N Seoul Tower.
9:00 pm – 12:00 pm: Exploring Myeongdong
On your last day in Seoul, take it easy and explore the city like a local. There’s really no wrong way to go about this, especially with Seoul’s world-class public transportation system (READ: Seoul City Train Guide).
8:00 pm: NANTA Show
Korea’s proven that they’re just natural performers. So on your last night, treat yourself to a live show like the world-famous NANTA. This award-winning show will take you on a wildly entertaining culinary lesson. See the chefs whip up all sorts of traditional Korean dishes on stage to the beat of a traditional Samulnori (percussion quartet).
Day 6: Flight Back
Seasonal Day Tours:
Korea is a year-round beauty, but some places are best seen during certain seasons. Here are great seasonal day tours.
Summer time in Korea is always fun and bright, so make the most of the sunshine by heading over to scenic Dumulmeori Lake and Herb Island.
Spring: Catch the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival
Get tickled pink with the beautiful cherry blossoms of Seoul during the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival.
Autumn: Visit Seoraksan National Park
Autumn is a great time to visit Korea, for its colorful fall foliage and crisp weather. Venture out and take a day hike in Seoraksan National Park.
Winter: The Garden of Morning Calm
Don’t let the cold get you down. See the snow dust the manicured gardens and lined pathways at Korea’s largest private garden.
- K-pop Dance Studio Class: Live out your Korean Idol dreams and learn from the best at Real K-pop Dance Studio. Your instructors are fun, friendly, and will have you ready to perform your own show by the end of the session!
- Running Man Experience: Can’t get enough of Korea’s favorite variety show? Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make it through all 6 zones of adventure.
- Seoul Korean Star Makeover: Come to Seoul’s famous beauty salon for a Korean Star makeover! Put on head-turning make-up, strike a pose and bring a stunning photo home.
- Hangang River Ferry Cruise: Take in the awe-inspiring view of Seoul City when you cruise along the Han River.
Whether you’re already a fan of Korean Barbeque, or have never tasted kimchi, Seoul City’s restaurants and markets will leave you hungry for more. Here are some must-try Seoul City specialties:
- Japchae: Every Asian country has their stir-fry contender, and japchae is Korea’s bet. These noodles are soft, chewy, and sweet.
- Samgyupsal: Don’t leave Seoul without sampling their famous Korean Barbeque!
- Bingsu: Satisfy your sweet tooth and cool off with this shaved ice dessert.
- Soju: This alcoholic drink is a Korean favorite, and goes great with Samgyupsal.
Check out our full guide on all the other must-try food on your trip!
With its fast and efficient public transportation system, navigating around Seoul City is fairly easy. Most get around by subway or by bus, and the commute is very foreigner friendly (READ: Seoul City Train Hacks). But if you’d rather head straight to your destination, they’ve also got a pretty good taxi system.
For getting around Seoul, you’ll definitely need a T-Money Card, a reloadable transportation card as well as these useful (and free!) mobile apps.
It’s no secret that Seoul is an expensive city. So here are a few budget tips for you:
- Fly during the off-season: We mentioned that the city is a year-round beauty, but prices increase significantly during the spring. If you still want to catch the cherry blossoms, do a seasonal forecast and head there when the season either begins or ends.
- Street Food: Street food in Korea is savory and affordable, and a great way to experience the city like a local.
- Discount Cards and Coupons: Seoul is a very foreigner friendly, and travelers can avail of a lot of discounts and special offers. Check out our guide over here.
- Shopping: It’s easy to go wild over the fashion and skincare in Seoul. But there are a lot of options for whatever you’re looking for, in every price range (READ: 8 Cheap Things in Seoul). Check out our guide over here.
With its unique attractions, delicious food, and stunning nearby nature, Seoul City has everything you could want in a trip. You’ll never run out of this to do in the city, but this 5-day Seoul Itinerary should give you a good start.