Are you looking for your next travel destination and don’t know if is Seoul worth visiting? After spending almost one year in South Korea’s capital, I think we can give you a comprehensive answer and help you make the best choice for your travel style.
We loved Seoul and the rest of South Korea, with its impressive culture, delicious food, and breathtaking nature. But we know it is not a destination for anyone, so read until the end and learn about all the cool things you can do and see in Seoul.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Read more about it on our disclosure page here.
Is Seoul worth visiting?
Is Seoul friendly to tourists?
Yes, Seoul is a very welcoming city for tourists. The Korean people are generally friendly and helpful to those who visit their country.
Ingrid visited the city alone while we were living in Hong Kong, and found it easy to navigate even without speaking Korean (as long as you stick to the main tourist attractions).
As long as you have the right tools and know what to expect, you will find it easy to visit Seoul.
Read our General Travel Information for everything you need to know before you go!
Tourists will find plenty of attractions and activities in the city, from historical sites to modern shopping malls and nightlife areas. There is something for everyone in Seoul, making it a great place to explore and experience Korea’s culture.
Additionally, there are numerous English-speaking tour guides available for visitors who need help navigating the city. You can spot them around the main tourist areas such as Bukchon Hanok Village or Myeongdong, wearing all red outfits.
Is Seoul expensive as a tourist?
That depends a lot from where you are traveling from.
If you are coming from Singapore, Hong Kong, the US, Australia, or certain countries in the Western Europe, you won’t find Seoul expensive when it come to food, transportation, and tourist attractions.
However, if you are coming from South-East Asia, you might find it a bit pricey. Also when living there, the largest part of our budget went on rent, which is pretty high.
You can expect to pay around 50.000 to 100.000 won for 2 persons at a Korean BBQ, but you can also eat with as little as 10.000 won when you choose a traditional eatery.
Coffee is between 5000 and 10000 won, and you should also expect westerner-style restaurants to be more expensive than the local ones.
Can you visit Seoul without knowing Korean?
Sure you can. We lived there without knowing Korean. It wasn’t a breeze in the beginning, but once we got used to everything, life wasn’t too hard.
Not many people speak English and even those who do won’t try to if they are not happy with their language level, but you can find people to help you especially in very touristic areas.
Download Papago App and always have it handy – you will use it to translate menus at the restaurant, labels at the convenience store, public transportation signs and everything in between.
On the airport line (bus or subway) all announcements are made in various languages, including English, Chinese, and Japanese.
In Myeongdong, most people working at the skincare stores usually speak a little bit of English, and maybe Chinese.
So all in all, don’t be afraid of the language barriers, you can easily visit Seoul without speaking Korean.
Is Seoul safe?
Yes, Seoul is a very safe city to visit. Thanks to its strict laws and a strong police presence, crime in the city is much lower than other large cities around the world.
As a matter of fact, Seoul is one of the only places where I’ve seen people leaving their belongings unattended in cafes or restaurants without any problem.
Additionally, most tourist attractions have security guards and cameras in place for added safety.
Of course, always use common sense and be aware of your surroundings.
Why is Seoul a dream destination? Top reasons to visit Seoul, from an insider: What is so great about Seoul?
Korean culture is very unique and fascinating, with a rich history and vibrant traditions.
From folk art and music to traditional festivals and cuisine, visitors will find plenty to explore in Seoul and Korea.
Food plays an important role in Korean culture, with meals made up of several dishes that can be enjoyed together or on their own.
Koreans also have a strong sense of community, which can be seen in their customs and etiquette. From bowing as a sign of respect to giving thoughtful gifts, visitors will find that the Korean people are warm and welcoming to those who come to explore their culture.
Korean food is some of the best you’ll ever have, no matter if you like meat, vegetables, your dishes to be spicy or sweet.
They have very particular dishes such as kimchi or cold noodle soup (Naengmyeon), and you should not miss their world-famous Korean Barbeque.
Many might think that vegetarian people cannot find what to eat in South Korea, but the truth is you can find vegetable dishes.
Other popular dishes you should try Bulgogi include (marinated beef), bibimbap (rice bowl with vegetables and meat), and ginseng chicken soup.
It’s not something you might think of when planning your trip to South Korea, but they do have a wide range of cool amusement parks to choose from.
The good news is you don’t even have to leave Seoul because Lotte World Adventure, one of the largest and greatest amusement parks, sits right in the heart of Gangnam.
Whether you are looking for a thrilling roller coaster ride or want to try traditional Korean games, there’s something for everyone at these vibrant theme parks.
Popular attractions include Everland near Seoul, Lotte World in Seoul, and Legoland outside of Seoul.
Sure, you can find K-beauty everywhere in the world nowadays, but nothing beats the offers you can get in South Korea, and in Seoul in particular.
This kind of skincare has become famous for a good reason, it emphasizes hydration and glossy skin. All products are mild, they use the power of nature and natural ingredients in order to obtain the best skin.
South Korea is the country with the most plastic surgeries, but walking on the street you wouldn’t tell. They do everything with style, and you can even go on a beauty tour with a local guide and translator.
With so many local brands to choose from, tens of flagship stores where you can test the latest trends in beauty, and so many Korean SPAs, you simply cannot ignore the importance of K-beauty.
Read also: Where to buy skincare in Seoul
South Korea has a long and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years.
From the Three Kingdoms period, where rival kingdoms vied for control of the peninsula, to the modern era of rapid development, South Korea’s past is full of unique stories and characters.
During the Korean War, South Koreans fought bravely against invading forces until a cease-fire in 1953 ended the conflict.
In the decades following, South Korea has experienced unprecedented economic growth while striving to be a leader in international affairs.
Today, you can learn more about the country’s impressive history by going on a guided tour of the Palaces in Seoul. Of course, you cannot skip a day trip to the Demilitarized Zone either since it is so close to Seoul.
Book your day trip to the DMZ and see inside North Korea
Even though Seoul is a huge metropolis with such a big population, there are still so many parks, mountains, and so much nature to explore.
We loved how even though we lived in the city, in just 5 minutes we could be climbing a hill in a small forest.
With Namsan Mountain in the heart of the city, you don’t have to travel far from the main tourist attractions in order to go for a hike.
On the other hand, Bukhansan Mountain is easily reached and is packed with trails for all levels of intensity.
There are also plenty of parks to explore during spring or fall, chasing cherry trees, flowers in bloom, or colorful foliage. Simply walk along the Han River and explore one of its many parks, or discover some of the many streams that have been made into perfect walking trails.
In conclusion, nature lovers will come to appreciate a trip to Seoul.
Home of Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and more, South Korea is a must-see destination for technology freaks.
The country has been a major player in the global tech industry for decades and continues to be a leader in developing cutting-edge innovations.
From 5G networks to driverless cars, South Koreans have consistently pushed boundaries when it comes to technological advances.
South Korean companies like Samsung and LG are responsible for some of the most popular consumer electronics products in the world.
The country is also home to an array of cutting-edge startups and established tech giants such as Naver and Kakao.
You can travel to Suwon and visit the free Samsung Museum at the Samsung Digital City where Samsung’s R&D department is located. You will need to book an appointment, but the entry is free.
Other places to see in Seoul for technology lovers:
Robot Museum (로봇 박물관) – 1-44, Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Yongsan Electronics Market – 15-2 Hangangno 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu
T.UM by SK Telekom – a future experience center, where you can visit the future city HI-Land 2053 and get a realistic, first-hand experience with the leading ICT media technology
DJI Arena (아레나)
Who doesn’t love a great SPA experience, especially after a full day of exploration in such an intense city as Seoul? We are both SPA fans and would never say no to such an experience.
After trying a few traditional Korean SPAs in Seoul, we compiled this comprehensive list of the best jimjilbang, packed with useful tips for those who are visiting for the first time.
If you don’t feel like spending the whole day soaking in the hot pools or moving from one sauna to the other, there are also plenty of skincare SPAs where you can go for luxury treatments and massages.
Sulwhasoo Flagship – one of my favorite luxury skincare brands, their flagship in Gangnam is over the top! They have a SPA, a museum, and a rooftop terrace. You can book facials or body treatments at their SPA and pamper yourself.
Address: 18 Dosan-daero 45-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu
The O Hui & Whoo SPA in Myeongdong is very close to some of the main tourist attractions in town. It is easily accessible, and it offers treatments with some of the best Korean beauty products.
Coffee and cafes
Ingrid is a “coffee snob” as one Seoul friend called her, and she would run around looking for the best specialty coffee in Seoul. The good news is South Korea, and Seoul in particular, has plenty of options to choose from.
On the other hand, there are the popular cafes with unthinkable aesthetics that attract people for their Instagram vibe and picture-perfect pastries.
We think that South Korea might have the highest cafe density, and there is always something new and cool popping up! Even if you live there, it is impossible to go everywhere and to try everything.
But, if you love coffee, we have a great list of cafes and coffee places to try in Seoul. From cafes with stunning views to some of the best specialty coffee in the city, you will find it all there. Tried and tested.
As mentioned before, South Korea is one of the safest countries we’ve been to.
Of course, there are exceptions and things can happen, that’s why we strongly advise you to always be mindful of your surroundings.
However, there are CCTV cameras almost everywhere, and most people leave their belongings unattended in public spaces.
K-Pop is a popular genre of South Korean pop music that has been gaining global recognition over the last decade. It is characterized by catchy melodies, fast-paced rhythms, and colorful visuals.
This genre has become a massive force in the international music industry and continues to be highly influential. The sheer popularity of K-Pop around the world speaks to its ability to transcend language and cultural boundaries.
K-Pop merchandise is by far one of the best souvenirs to buy from Seoul and bring back home. Moreover, around the city, there are plenty of places you can explore linked to some of your idols. For example, the first time we visited Hongdae, on the main street there were plenty of K-Pop wannabe performances.
DMZ – Korean Demilitarized Zone
A perfect day trip from Seoul, DMZ is considered to be ‘the world’s most dangerous border’.
If you want to understand the history of the DMZ, but also how a day trip takes place, which one is the best for you, and more, make sure to read this comprehensive guide.
K-fashion has become famous for its modern, stylish trends that are accessible to all.
The country’s vibrant culture and unique aesthetic sensibility have made it a global trendsetter in the fashion industry. Furthermore, many South Korean fashion labels are now making their way onto international markets and gaining recognition by the world’s leading designers. K-fashion is not only a source of inspiration and innovation but also for fun and creativity.
If you want to buy the latest fashion at an affordable price, head over to Dongdaemun Market, Hongdae, or Gangnam Express Bus Terminal Underground Shopping Mall.
Fun and clubs
South Korea has a clubbing and drinking culture you won’t find anywhere else. That came as a shock to us, but many people travel to Seoul for its incredible nightlife.
The city comes alive at night, as countless bars, clubs, and restaurants come alive with music and laughter. From the bustling nightclubs of Gangnam to the lively pubs of Hongdae, Seoul offers something for everyone.
The best way to enjoy and get to know the city’s nightlife is by attending a pub crawl.
If you are into luxury, be it goods or places, Seoul has plenty of things in store for you!
Head over to Gangnam around Dosan Park and step into one of the many luxury brand stores. Some of them even have cafes, such as the Dior Cafe. Moreover, there are many department stores offering the latest collections.
If you love luxury accommodation options, there are plenty of fancy 5* hotels in Seoul. Some offer stunning NSeoul tower views from your private jacuzzi, others have Han River views and top-notch SPAs.
Depending on your preferences, here are a few of our Seoul luxury hotels:
In conclusion, no matter what you love Seoul has it! That’s why, in our view visiting Seoul is a must and totally worth it!