24 Hours in Seoul – How to experience Korean culture in a short time

24-hours-in-Seoul-eat-Korean-BBQ

Seoul belongs to one of the biggest cities in the world. You might think that 24 hours in Seoul will never be enough.

However, with a bit of planning, it is totally possible to experience a bit of Korean culture and see the most famous attractions in only 24 hours in Seoul.  

On a different note, here are 15 fun facts about South Korea, you should check out before visiting.

24 Hours in Seoul: Sightseeing

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Let’s get started with the Gyeongbokgung Palace. This palace offers the chance to interact with Korean history and impresses with its traditional architecture. It is considered the most beautiful palace in Seoul.

You may become a witness of the changing guard ritual, which takes place at 10 am and 3 pm. Throughout the whole day, you will be able to enjoy dance performances. 

The entrance costs around 3000 KRW (around 2.50€).

Bukchon Hanok Village 

Another attraction that should be on your list for 24 hours in Seoul is the Bukchon Hanok Village. In this village Korean tradition has been preserved, while in other parts of Seoul loads of old buildings are replaced by new ones. 

The village has multiple entrances (no fee) and you can spend hours to stroll around the tiny streets.You will see loads of traditional style homes with wooden frames and started rooftops as well as tiny shops, restaurants, and teahouses.

People are actually living there, which means you have to be respectful and quiet when visiting. Visitors are only allowed between 10 am and 5 pm. 

In the village, you will also have the opportunity to dress up in traditional clothing, called “Hanbok”, for an affordable price. We only paid 10€ each.

Insadong

Insadong is the place to be for art lovers. On the main road, you can find small art galleries, craft stalls, ceramic shops, and antique stores. Common products to find there are a handbook, tea, accessories, calligraphy material and so on. It is a great place to get some souvenirs.

Here are some famous places to eat and drink: Gogung, Ssambabjob, Sindosi, and Ranka House Pub and Bar.

Seoul Tower

If you want an incredible view of Seoul, then spend the Seoul Tower a visit. It is located at the top of a mountain where you can get to by cable car for around 7500 KRW (5-6€).

Besides enjoying the amazing view, there are loads of other activities and places to see. For example, exhibition rooms, a park to stroll around, performance halls, restaurants to eat and much more.

There is also a place for couples to leave a padlock behind which is believed to bring good luck for their relationship.

Check the website Klook upfront to get a discounted ticket.

Food Markets

Sightseeing makes hungry. Head to one of the many food markets in Seoul. Two popular places are Noryangjin Fish Market and Namdaemun Market.

Noryangjin Fish Market

Noryangjin Fish Market will offer a real authentic experience with its over 700 food stalls. They sell any kind of fish, such as Octopus, prawns, squid, etc.

After you made your selection, you can bring it to the restaurant stalls where they grill, steam and cut it in front of you. The chefs have a “nothing gets wasted” philosophy which means that if there are leftovers, they make a spicy broth out of it and use it for the next dish. 

How to get there: Subway line 9 and take exit 1. Keep walking until you see the entrance on your right.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is not only a food market but also other goods, such as clothes, toys, souvenirs, fabrics, etc. There are over 1000 shops.

However, there are also food tents that offer authentic Korean street food, such as bean pancakes, dumpling soup, rice cake and so on.

How to get there Subway line 4 (light blue line) to Hoehyeon Station and take exit 5. 

Korean BBQ

During your 24 hours in Seoul, you must have a Korean BBQ (if you are not a vegetarian or vegan). You will have a choice between different kinds of meat like beef, chicken, pork, etc. I really liked beef and pork.

Your table will then be filled with loads of small plates of vegetables, fish, spicy food, salad, sauces and so on. Often, not all plates evens fit on the table. 

In front of you, the BBQ grill will be turned on and you have to take care of your meat to not burn. Then you take a salad leaf, fill it up with meat, veggies and a sauce and eat it like a wrap. Korean BBQ is awesome! 

Korean BBQ Places in Seoul

Here are 5 famous Korean BBQ Places in Seoul that won’t disappoint.

Hongdae Neighbourhood

If you are into partying, then the Hongdae neighborhood is the place to be. Koreans start their party very late (around midnight) and finish in the early morning hours.

The Hongdae neighborhood is filled with loads of students. You will find endless places to have a drink (pubs), eat (bars), dance (clubs) and socialize with locals or expats. Many bars and clubs will ask for your ID, so make sure to bring it along.

Famous places are Zen Bar, Club Naked, Cocoon, Mama Gorillas, Club Evans (jazz), Freebird (rock) and Rolling Hal (indie-rock).

Gangnam Neighborhood and Hands

You probably know the song Gangnam style from PSY. This song actually is about social classes in South Korea where he describes what kind of guy he is, and what kind of girl he wants.

Gangnam itself is a wealthy neighborhood in Seoul which is not only home to the best clubs in Asia, but also a must-visit place during your 24 hours in Seoul.

You can take a photo with the famous big hands of the Gangnam style song there.

24 Hours in Seoul: Accommodation

Jjimjilbang

You don’t need to stress about finding a hotel or hostel for 24 hours in Seoul. It’s much easier!

Simply look for a Jjimjilbang – a 24 hours full-service Spa. They are a great and cheap alternative to expensive hotels or hostels. It cost between 6000-15000 KRW (5-10€).

Firstly, you will be provided with a locker for your personal belongings. Then you can enjoy the bathhouse, shower facilities, get a massage and spend time in the sauna if you’d like to.

Finally, you can sleep in the common rest area until it is time to leave.

HOSTEL OUR

Should you prefer staying in a low budget hostel for about 15€ per night per room, I can recommend Maru Guesthouse Seoul Station.

It was a super simple and small room, but perfectly enough for 24 hours in Seoul as you spent most of the time outside anyway.

It was located near Seoul Main Train station, only 10 min walk away which made it very easy to catch the train to the airport or the metro to town.

I hope you enjoyed our 24 hours trip to Seoul. Should you have more tips, feel free to share.

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