With 4 days in the city you can already visit wide range of places all around the city.
Day 4 highlights: Seokchon lake, Starfiel Coex library, Bongeunsa, Yeouido Park, Hongdae
On this day you will be taking metro a lot, as you will be exploring the south side of the Han River. You will be mainly using metro lines 2 and 9 (use Naver maps for directions).
You can get here in the morning using metro lines 2, 8 or 9. Seokchon lake is a combination of two lakes – East and West. Lotte World is located in the middle of the West lake, while East lake is relatively quieter. The two lakes are separated by the road above, from which you can have a nice view. Or you can pass between them by walking underground.
Overall, the lake is a nice area for walking around, relaxing and enjoying yourself. It’s where locals spend there free time walking or exercising.
If you are in Seoul during cherry blossom or Autumn foliage seasons, the lake is beautiful with trees lined all around. I suggest not to skip this area during this seasons, even if you do during other seasons. When we visited for cherry blossom season, there was a festival going on (it lasted for 10 days from 2pm to 7pm). However, we visited this in the morning, as we caught the festival later in the day at Yeongpo instead.
Note: If you come here on a Sunday from April to October, aim for afternoon, as there are traditional folk dance and music performances at 3pm.
1-day price: 62,000 won.
If you are following this itinerary, you will have to skip Lotte World and go there on another day (recommended to use Discover Seoul pass for this, due to its high price).
If you are visiting the amusement park – Lotte world here, you will need a minimum of one day. We didn’t visit, given that we were not as interested, as in many other things in this city and also due to the cost. Even if you get the express pass, you will still have to queue for attractions, especially if you visit during busy seasons. By the way, Lotte world is a very popular place for Koreans. It was featured in various K dramas – Business Proposal was what I have seen myself.
You can get Lotte world tickets (1-day price: 62,000 won with discounts for youth and children) in advance via Trazy, Klook, KKday or get a Seoul Pass (which is worth it if you are visiting a couple of expensive places). Getting it online is cheaper and you wouldn’t have to queue for tickets at least.
Price: 27,000 won.
Just next door is the Lotte World tower. You can’t miss this 123-floor building, which is the highest building in Korea and was the 5th tall building in the world, when it was completed in 2016 (I believe it is currently 6th). This building is multi-purpose, with a shopping mall on the lower floors, offices and hotel in the middle followed by the viewpoints on the last floors.
On 31st floor you will find food court with nice free views of the city.
You can visit the tower’s Observation deck and Sky deck (Price: 27,000 won, with discounts for children). The observation deck is covered roof and with glass windows, while the sky deck is the glass floor observatory (considered highest glass floor in the world) with the open roof Sky terrace on 120th floor (although Sky terrace also has high glass windows, so you won’t get uninterrupted view). You will also find cafes and restaurants here.
It’s best to get the tickets in advance, if you are visiting during a busy season, as you won’t have to queue for tickets. Plus, they are slightly cheaper that way. You can get them from Trazy, Klook or other websites or considering getting Seoul Pass, if you are visiting other relatively expensive places.
If you would like to see night views of Seoul, come here before sunset instead, so that you see day and night views.
Free of charge
From Seokchon hop on the metro line 9 and head to Bongeunsa station. You will find the Bongeunsa temple just a few minutes from here. The temple is not so popular and people only visit it because it is close to the Starfield library, however, it is lovely and interesting. It was originally constructed in the 8th century during the Silla dynasty and moved to this location in 14th century. Most of the temple was destroyed in 20th century and reconstructed.
When we first entered from the Jinyeomun Gate, the beautiful lanterns led up to the main halls. It’s a lovely walkway and makes gorgeous photos.
Once we reached the main halls, prayers were going on inside. Afterwards, a ritual started – we witnessed a procession walking through the grounds. After prayers, they performed a burning ritual (not sure what exactly it was dedicated to. If you know the meaning of the ritual, I would be happy to find out).
In Bongeunsa you will also find the Great Statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is surrounded by numerous smaller Buddhas. The square in front is usually used for cultural performances.
There is also a traditional teahouse on the temple grounds, which is very popular among locals.
Starfield Coex Library
Free of charge
Just a few minutes away from Bongeunsa, you will find the Starfield mall. To be honest, we always get lost in malls. This mall is huge. Once we entered it across the road from Bongeunsa, we ended up in the office buildings. So we got out and found another entrance. Then we followed the signs towards the library – it’s very easy, as the signs are on the floor too.
Starfield Coex library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It houses over 70,000 books. You have probably seen numerous photos of it on Instagram and while that platform often distorts things, this library is indeed lovely.
The library is open to the public and completely free. Anyone can come here to sit and enjoy reading (if you can do it with the hordes there). I admired people, who were actually managing to study and work here, despite the loud noises from all the visitors.
If you are tired and need coffee or sweets, you will also find several cafes here, including the famous Japanese %Arabica. There is also Knotted cafe branch in the mall.
If you are interested, or are travelling with children, you will also find the Coex Aquarium (32,000 won) in the Coex mall.
When you leave the mall, just outside it on your way back to the Bongeunsa station, you will see the Gangnam style statue – most of us probably still remember the crazy hit song from 2012, which was the first ever video on Youtube with over 1bln views and overall had over 4bln views. The song made Gangnam area of Seoul famous, hence, the strange statue. Btw the singer tried to repeat his success with subsequent songs, but it didn’t work. I have no clue, why his first song became popular either, even if the tune is quite catchy.
If you have more time here, you can start exploring Gangnam area with its many cafes and restaurants and riverside area. (See the list of some of the lovely cafes in my post dedicated to Seoul cafes). Alternatively, you go there next day in the evening (as this is one of the areas nice to explore in the evening).
Yeouido Hangang Park
After Coex mall, hop on line 9 again to head to Yeouido park. This area is one of the popular ones particularly during cherry blossom season and Autumn period. It was featured in a number of K-dramas, including My Love From Another Star.
Cherry blossom festival happens here in spring. We visited during the festival time and witnessed K-pop performances, martial art show, street art exhibitions, as well as a lot of street food stalls.
If you are not on a tight budget, nearby here is the Sky farm restaurant – with the garden in a skyscraper. If you do decide to go, you will need to pre-book it.
Another viewpoint you can visit at Yeouido is the 63 building, on the 60th floor of which you will find an art gallery and an observation deck (price: 15,000 won with discounts for youth and children, but you can get it cheaper online on KKday, Klook or Trazy). This observation deck is one of the most popular after Lotte World Tower and is cheaper too. It offers 360 views of the city.
You will also find an aquarium here, if you are interested. Apparently, it was featured in K-drama Legends of the Blue Sea.
Yeouido Hangang park is also where Eland cruises are departing from. You can enjoy the cruise during the day or evening (you can see further details on the official website of the Eland cruise). If you followed this itinerary at a slower pace, you may end up here towards evening, in which case you can hop on the cruise after exploring the Hangang park and enjoy the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain show from the river.
After Yeouido, in the evening, hop on metro line 5 and change to line 2 to get to the Hongik University station. Hongdae is one of my favorite areas, and I am definitely not a minority in this. This part of the city is very lively and popular for young people.