Looking for the best Seoul Day Trips? Seoul Korea is an amazing city for any traveller to visit. This bustling metropolis is modern and ahead of the times in so many ways, while still remaining deeply traditional.
You can expect to find all kinds of attractions, beauty, and adventures across South Korea’s capital.
While Seoul is a critical part of any Korea Itinerary, it can also serve as an ideal base to explore more of the country from. This city is very close to many major things to do and see in South Korea, and it is easy to make day trips as part of your Seoul Itinerary.
Using Seoul as a base in South Korea can be an excellent idea. Here are some of my recommendations on the best Seoul day trips, as well as some absolute gems in the city that I loved visiting.
⇒ Planning a trip to Korea? Don’t miss my Korea Itinerary which covers a 2 week trip to South Korea and can be adjusted to suit the duration of most stays in this fascinating country.
Seoul Day Trips
Table of Contents
- 1 Seoul Day Trips
- 1.1 DMZ Tours
- 1.2 Nami Island and Petite France
- 1.3 Mount Seorak and Naksana Temple
- 1.4 Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village
- 1.5 Andong
- 1.6 Snow or Ski Day Trip
- 1.7 Gyeongju Day Trip
- 1.8 Pocheon
- 1.9 Everland or Lotte World Theme Park Day Trip
- 1.10 Jeonju Hanok Village and Gyeonggijeon
- 1.11 Day Trip to Jeonju
- 2 Where to Eat in Seoul
- 3 Where to Stay in Seoul
- 4 How to get to Seoul and how to get around
- 5 When to Visit Seoul
- 6 Final Thoughts
- 7 Who Paid for What in this Post
Whether you love nature, are after adventure, or want to soak up the local culture and traditions, you can do it all from a Seoul day trip. Here are some of the best day trips from Seoul South Korea.
If you’re visiting Seoul one of the best deals on offer is the Discover Seoul Pass. This pass allows free entrance to 42 Seoul Attractions, discounts on 35 Seoul Attractions and it’s a transit card. There are 24/48/72 hour options available.
Korea has a fascinating war history, and any visitor to the country should definitely look into it. Full or half day tours are offered from Seoul to explore the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which lies on the border between North and South Korea.
Any visiting of this area outside a tour is not allowed. Visiting the DMZ is one of the most popular day trips in Korea.
Through this unique experience, you will get to learn all about Korean war history. You will also get to see some sites of major interest, such as the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, the Dora Observatory, and the Korean War Memorial. These day trips out of Seoul are completely safe and include transport.
It is essential to book your DMZ Korea tour ahead of your visit as they sell out. This one day trip from Seoul is normally an early start with quite a bit of paperwork.
For me, the highlight of the tour was being able to go to the actual border between North and South Korea. The tension in the air is almost visible at the border of the Demilitarized Zone Korea. Soldiers from each side guard the border and are only steps away from each other.
I actually thought the South Korean border guard was a statue as he was so still! Until I saw the perspiration coming down the side of his face.
There are small huts along the border between North and South Korea. These huts were assembled so that meetings could be held with both sides without either side leaving their country.
Inside the huts are standard meeting tables – and this is your one opportunity to stand in North Korea and have your photo taken!
There are some terrific names in Demilitarized Zone of Korea! The Bridge of No Return was named as such because once you chose which side of the bridge you were going to there was no option to return.
There are so many interesting things to see on this Seoul day trip. The stunning and modern Dorasan train station that was created for a border opening and is now virtually never used.
The Freedom House which was built for reunions of families from each side – which never took place. The Fake North Korean village with the doors and windows painted on.
⇒ Check out my posts on the best Seoul Day Trips, 8 fantastic Things to do in Incheon, 13 things to do in Myeongdong, my Seoul Itinerary 5 Days, 7 Fantastic Seoul Boutique Hotels and the best things to do in Gangnam.
Will I see North Korea on the DMZ tour?
Yes – but from a distance. The observatory offers the best views of North Korea. However, when I went the view that we saw of North Korea showed roads with no cars and countryside with no people.
There are also lots of opportunities to purchase various DMZ souvenirs which all have excellent novelty value.
This was the best thing that I did in Korea – Don’t miss it!
⇒ Do make sure you book the DMZ Tour ahead – this Korea tour sells out fast.
Nami Island and Petite France
This full day tour takes the difficulty out of figuring out foreign public transport systems with a return trip to Nami Island. You will take an air-conditioned coach to this tranquil island and experience all of the interesting beauty it has to offer.
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This Seoul day tour includes visits to the popular nearby attractions of Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm. These are must-visit destinations if you are in the area.
Nami Island has been made popular through Korean television, and exploring this stunning place will make you realize why. Enjoy an easy and comfortable day trip from Seoul.
⇒ Book your day trip to Nami Island
Mount Seorak and Naksana Temple
South Korea is covered in breathtaking mountains, and it can be an absolute hikers paradise! If nature and hiking is your thing, then be sure to take this hiking day trip from Seoul to reach the summit of Mount Seorak.
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Mount Seorak is an impressive peak near the country’s eastern shore. This tour takes you to the mountain on an air-conditioned van, where you can then follow the hiking trails up to the top. The walk up Mount Seorak is completely scenic, while the sweeping views from the top are unbeatable.
You also get to visit the famous Naksana Temple included in this tour. This is a must-do for nature lovers and those wanting to experience just how majestic South Korea really is.
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Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village
This Seoul day trip lets you experience the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon. This is a guided tour which guarantees you will learn all about the rich culture and history of this area.
While you explore the different fortifications and ramparts, you will get to learn about the Joseon Dynasty rule over Korea at Hwaseong Fortress. This will be further enjoyed while you get to the Korean Folk Village, which replicates the houses of this era. You will get to witness the traditional arts and crafts demonstrated by tradespeople.
This is an 8-hour tour and is highly recommended for history and culture fans.
The most economic way to travel South Korea by train is the Korea Rail Pass. This pass is only available to foreign travellers. The KR pass covers 600 stations and 80 different high speed routes with unlimited rides. It is available in 3 or 5 consecutive days or flexible 2 and 4 days.
This has got to be one of the best day trips from Seoul for those wanting to learn more about the country’s traditional culture and history. This trip will take you on a fully guided tour to Andong, a beautiful destination that is well known for its open-air heritage museums.
On the trip, you will get to visit the Hahoe Folk Village for a real insight into South Korean tradition. This place has some incredible local art and architecture to learn about, which you will get to absorb between the mask culture and dance displays.
The tour will also include a scenic stop at Buyongdae Cliff, as well as a visit to the largest Confucian school and temple in Andong. A delicious local restaurant lunch is included in your tour.
Snow or Ski Day Trip
Seoul really does have so much going on around it, including snow and ski resorts! Take a ski trip from the city to spend a day of fun in the snow.
This 9-hour tour takes you to a ski resort just outside the city. The tour gives you access to the ski resort, a guide, ski rental and lessons, as well as hotel pickup. And of course, this one is one of the most popular day trips from Seoul during winter.
This trip is perfectly suited to any level of experience or skill and is an ideal trip for families of all ages. Witnessing the snow like this is such a special experience to have while in Korea, and can be incredibly fun for anyone.
Gyeongju Day Trip
The Gyeongju day trip from Seoul allows you to experience multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites in one day. The whole experience of visiting Gyeongju is very interesting and informative, and it gives you a wonderful break from the busy city.
Your ticket includes a trip on the KTX bullet train with a skip the line pass at Seoul Station. Once you arrive at Gyeongju station, you will get comfortable private transportation to the sites.
The Gyeongju tour from Seoul includes a visit to the stunning Buddhist temple, ancient tombs, and much more – all with a private guide.
South Korea has so much natural beauty. If you want to experience just how amazing the natural beauty of South Korea is but are staying in Seoul, then this is the day trip for you. This private day tour of Pocheon will make you feel as though the busy city is far, far away.
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You will get to experience the crystal clear rivers and shimmering lakes of the Korea National Arboretum Pocheon. The forests here are magnificent, as are the waterfalls, the cliffs, and the general sense of peace. The Pocheon day tour from Seoul includes a delicious lunch, as well as the transport to and from your hotel.
If you like the sound of these types of nature activities you may want to add Jeju Island to your travel plans. Some of the top things to do in Jeju Island are nature based such as climbing Korea’s highest mountain Hallasan.
Everland or Lotte World Theme Park Day Trip
Everland and Lotte World are two massive and popular theme parks just outside of Seoul. Take the trouble of reaching these Korean theme parks through this convenient Seoul day tour with round-trip transport from your hotel in Seoul.
The Lotte World and Everland theme parks are perfect for families, and people of all ages. These Korean theme parks offer many thrills and amusements, and a visit to them will definitely be a real adventure.
This theme park tour from Seoul makes your theme park experience easy and completely stress-free.
Jeonju Hanok Village and Gyeonggijeon
Immerse yourself in the old Korean ways with this 10-hour day trip to Jeonju Hanok Village and Gyeonggijeon. The tour allows you to experience authentic local culture, and it gives you so much insight into the traditions and history of the country.
Highlights of a day trip to Jeonju and Gyeonggjieon from Seoul include the incredible architecture, delicious street food, and witnessing many young people in the traditional Korean dress.
Day Trip to Jeonju
Take a trip to the centuries-old city of Jeonju for a truly cultural day out. There really is so much to experience in Jeonju – a must-visit destination in the country.
You can learn all about local cuisine through the many different food and wine stalls – this city is gastronomical heaven. The Jeonju Traditional Wine Museum can teach you all about the areas of rice wine production and history.
Jeonju is also the home of the classic Korean dish bibimbab. There are a lot of Bibimbab restaurants in Jeonju. We chose to visit Hankook Jib – serving bibimbab in Jeonju since 1952 and still run by the same family.
It is best to have the complete traditional experience which means sitting on the floor and having your bibimbap served in an extremely hot stone bowl. Bibimbap in Korea also comes with an insane number of side dishes.
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There is a 15th-century Gyeonggijeon shrine with portraits of former kings which is worth a visit. Omokdae and Imokdae are ancient hilltop pavillions which provide some of the best views of the surrounding area.
Without question though the most fun thing to do in Jeonju is to join the locals and hire some classic Korean fancy dress. A key thing to do in Jeonju is to hire classic Korean costumes and then wander the streets being instagrammed in front of the classic buildings.
We were the only westerners dressed up in Korean costumes and it was great fun. We also gave much amusement to locals. The fabrics of the Korean costumes aren’t the most breathable so about 20 odd minutes of this is more than enough.
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The Jeonju old town itself is filled with lots of cute shops and cafes and many Hanok houses which offer home stays.
Jeonju also has an art village outside of the old town. It is necessary to cross the main road and walk up a very steep hill to access the art village. The area is covered in murals and has several cute cafes and is very photogenic.
The tour includes round-trip transport from downtown Seoul locations and is highly recommended for those wanting to dive into Korea’s rich culture.
Where to Eat in Seoul
When visiting Korea, eating amazing food is always a highlight! Here are some of my favourite places to eat in Seoul.
Located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, this gem of a restaurant serves up top-notch local food. The soups at Tosokchon Samgyetang Seoul are amazing, as is the ginseng chicken stuffed with rice.
You can expect hearty, traditional fare at Tosokchon Samgyetang in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Haunch Seoul is absolutely perfect for winding down after a busy day with a cold beer and some Korean fried chicken – a must eat when in Seoul. The food at Hanchu is simple and delicious, while the restaurant is always busy. The soju, stuffed fried peppers, and spicy soondubu are all major highlights here.
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This hidden gem located in Gangnam-Gu has so much to offer. The interesting menu is well varied, with meals for all kinds of palates. The food at Omiga Sinsa is made with love by the friendly, warm staff.
The restaurant is modern, comfortable and homely. You will love every bite here and will definitely want to return to Omiga Sinsa Seoul.
If you are looking for some of the best, authentic Koren food in Seoul, then Gaehwaok is the place to go! This restaurant serves amazing bibimbap and Korean BBQ, with some delicious kimchi on offer as well.
Located on Sinsa-Dong, Gaehwaok Seoul is the perfect place to end your busy day in the city.
Located in Yeonnam-dong, Little Taiwan is an absolute favourite. This restaurant serves up some stellar Taiwanese fried chicken, soups, and noodle dishes. The bubble tea is great too. Little Taiwan is a fun and trendy spot for the great taste of Seoul.
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Where to Stay in Seoul
Seoul is full of fantastic boutique hotels. No matter what kind of traveller you are, there is a hotel in this city that will suit your needs. Here are some of my top places to stay in Seoul.
Well located in Jung-Gu, this modern hotel offers all of the comforts you would want during your travels. The rooms at the Metro Hotel are clean, the wifi is strong, and the breakfast is great.
The location is really handy for getting around the city, and there are lots of great amenities at the Metro Hotel Seoul.
JW Marriot Dongdaemun Square
This has got to be the finest luxury boutique hotel in Seoul. The JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square is located in a popular shopping destination and is the perfect base for an opulent stay in Seoul.
Enjoy the spa, the pool, fitness, private verandahs, and incredible restaurant. The JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul is a truly special place to stay.
Enjoy a luxurious stay at The Plaza for the ultimate Seoul experience. This Autograph Collection hotel is newly renovated, and it offers guests an unforgettable experience.
Centrally located to many major attractions, this hotel is the perfect home base while in Seoul. Clean, comfortable, and serviced by really helpful staff, The Plaza Seoul is a smart choice.
Floral Hotel Shin Shin
This fun hotel focuses on modern contemporary design and amazing hospitality. You will have a really great time at the well decorated and comfortable Floral Hotel.
This place offers good value for money, especially considering how well maintained it is. The Jung-Gu location of the Flora Hotel Shin Shin Seoul is also very convenient.
Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel
You can expect world-class service and style at this modern hotel. The Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel is centrally located near the convention centres, Seoul Arts Center, Central City, and other attractions.
The accommodation at the Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam hotel is luxurious, clean, and well equipped with all your hotel needs.
⇒ Read my complete post on the 7 Best Seoul Boutique Hotels.
How to get to Seoul and how to get around
Seoul is the capital of Korea and Incheon International Airport has many options for international flights both in and out of the country. Seoul also has a second international airport Gimpo which is smaller than Incheon International and mostly offers flights to and from japan, China and Taiwan as well as domestic flights.
Incheon International Airport is 49km from Seoul. Traffic in Seoul can be bad so depending on the time of day a taxi can be an expensive lengthy journey (expect it to take at least one hour).
The other options to get from Incheon airport to Seoul are the Limousine City Bus which takes 70 minutes or the Express Train (45 mins) or All Stop Train (60 mins). Personally I took the Express train from the airport to Seoul and this was an excellent option.
Gimpo Airport is only 16kms from Seoul and a taxi will generally take about 25 minutes. The All Stop Train also goes to Gimpo Airport from Seoul Station and only takes 22 minutes. The final option is to take a bus to Gimpo airport which takes about 45 minutes.
Getting around Seoul
Seoul is one of the biggest cities in the world and can be quite intimidating. The Seoul subway station system is great but it is not the easiest to understand as I have never seen so many stops on an underground! And the Seoul subway stations are huge!
It is critical to check which is the best station exit for you to use for where you are going or you could get very confused. And very sore feet! But this subway is one of the best ways to discover Seoul.
There are 2 excellent ticket options for tourists wishing to get around Seoul via subway. The first is to purchase an MPass card. The MPass card Seoul is exclusively for tourists and offers 20 rides a day for whichever pass duration you choose (passes cover 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days).
The second option is the Discover Seoul Pass. The Discover Seoul Pass offers transport coverage for 24, 48 or 72 hours. This pass also includes free admission to many major tourist sites as well as discounts.
Both the MPass card and Discover Seoul Pass can be purchased at subway stations or convenience stores.
Of course, it is possible to take taxis around Seoul. However, if you are planning to do this do make sure you have the name of your destination in Korean and/or an image if possible. Or even better have your hotel or a Korean person who speaks English let your driver know where you would like to go.
Do note some taxi drivers in Korea don’t read the Korean language and this can make communication in taxis very tricky.
When to Visit Seoul
Summers are long, hot and muggy in Seoul and dry and freezing in the winter. Annoyingly summers tend to be cloudy and winters clear so it can be frustrating for photographers.
The ideal times to visit Seoul for comfortable weather are late May to early July and from late August to early October.
Do you need a Visa for your Korea Trip?
It can be a real pain trying to figure out if you need a visa for a country and then all the hassle of figuring out how to apply, how long you can go without your passport, when the embassy is open etc.
NB: Citizens of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada do not need a Visa for Korea if they are staying less than 90 days. Do double check that this still holds when you book your airfares.
Seoul is a vibrant city has so much to offer anyone who visits it. There is so much to do and see in the city itself, while there is also so much happening just outside. Seoul trips are varied and exciting, with something out there for everyone.
History, culture, adventure, nature, amazing food and a unique buzz, Seoul is a place with loads on offer. My list of favourite places and trips around Seoul Korea will help you to enjoy this place to its full potential, as this truly is a destination like no other.
Who Paid for What in this Post
I covered all of the costs associated with this Seoul day trips post. However, this Seoul blog post does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in the post and end up making a purchase I may well make a small commission. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.