Today, Seoul is a vibrant, futuristic megacity that is a curious fusion of the ancient and the modern. Past meets present as ornate temples and sprawling palaces contrast with the shining glass and steel office towers of Itaewon and starchitect-designed museums. With 20.5 million residents, Seoul is the world's second-largest metropolitan area, and in 2010, was designated a World Design Capital. Enter this energetic, fascinating city, and experience its diverse character for yourself.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
Art Galleries on Samcheongdong-gil
Stroll along Samcheongdong-gil (Samcheong-dong Walkway) and stop in the galleries that line the path, such as Gallery Hyundai, Geumho Gallery, Growrich Gallery, Artsonje Center, Gallery Hak Go Jae, Geum San Gallery, and Kukje Gallery. The last is a must, particularly if you are interested in contemporary art; Kukje opened in 1982 and introduced world-renowned artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Anthony Caro and Joseph Beuys to local audiences, as well as significant Korean artists.
Bukhansan National Park
At nearly 2750 feet, Baekundae is the highest of Bukhansan National park's three peaks, and offers stunning views of fortress gates, fortified walls, granite cliffs, and the city below. Ascending the summit requires some light rock climbing maneuvers as you hoist yourself up on metal cables.
Visit Gyeongbokgung (also called Gyeongbok Palace), the largest of the five palaces constructed by the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbokgung translates in English as “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven,” and it is an intense source of pride for Koreans, who have seen it decimated and rebuilt throughout the centuries. Tour the grounds of the palace with a senior member of the restoration project.
Visit the History Museum with a curator, which usually takes half a day to see. The most unique exhibits here are to-scale reproductions of traditional Korean homes, which show the myriad ways in which joints were constructed without nails, as well as replicas of typical furniture and common dress through the ages. The celadon collection here is also top-notch, and for those who want a hands-on approach to history, there is a “touch museum” where you can actually handle real or meticulously recreated ancient tools found on the Korean peninsula.
Spend the afternoon in Hongdae, the area around Hongik University. Here you will witness Korean youth culture at its most creative and vibrant; there are scores of unique cafes, boutiques, performance spaces, bars and other small businesses geared towards young Koreans and the handfuls of foreigners studying at or visiting Hongik.
Leeum Samsung Museum of Art
The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is a cultural complex of three buildings dedicated to traditional Korean art, dating from prehistoric times to the end of the Joseon Dynasty in 1910, as well as modern art by local and international artists.
Lunch at Sanchon
For lunch, try Sanchon, a unique restaurant owned by Mr. Kim Yon-shik, who lived as a Buddhist monk for 18 years, and is set in a temple-like atmosphere. The entire meal, consisting of several courses (20 at dinner time!) is served to you on a low table as all patrons take their meals while seated on the floor. The monks prepare primarily vegetarian cuisine, replete with various hardy roots and mountain vegetables rarely seen outside Korea.
South Korea Regions
Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.
- 12 days / 11 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $15,900
- 12 days / 11 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $63,000
- 4 days / 3 nights
- Price Per Person
- Extension: Optional add-on to your itinerary.
- 14 days / 13 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $26,400
The Banyan Tree Club & Spa is centrally located at Mount Namsan, just 10 minutes from downtown Seoul. The hotel was renovated from the Tower Hotel which was created by the first generation of Korean architects. Each of the rooms and suites offer contemporary accommodations that includes a walk-in closet, a private pool, complimentary Wi-Fi, and high levels of privacy as each floor contains a maximum of four rooms per floor. Guests may dine at any of the 12 establishments which serve Italian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Moroccan cuisines. Additional facilities at the hotel includes indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Korean sauna, soccer field, basketball and tennis court, ice-skating rink, golf range and a fully-equipped fitness center. The Banyan Tree hotel is approximately 55 minutes from Incheon International Airport.
The five-star Conrad Seoul is located in the Yeouido financial district with fantastic views overlooking the Han River and city. The hotel offers a huge year-round indoor swimming pool, spa, well-equipped gym, a rooftop garden and even a golf driving range. The spacious executive lounge outshines other five-star lounges with comfortable seating and a generous happy hour promotion. There are 434 spacious rooms with air-conditioning, a deep bathtub, rainfall showerhead, double sink, luxury aromatherapy toiletries, Apple entertainment systems, a Nespresso coffee machine and complimentary newspapers. The hotel is within 5 minutes walking distance from Yeouido Subway Station (Line 5) and reasonably close to Seoul's airports. There is a choice of restaurants including Zest offering international dishes, Atrio that plates up Italian cuisine, a bar and grill on the 37th floor with a 360-degree view of the city and Flames a lobby bar offering wines, cocktails, local and international beers. The hotel also has direct access to the large international-style IFC shopping mall.
Reflecting the unique city it sits in the center of, the Four Seasons in Seoul is a combination of traditional Korea and modern cool. Located in the central business district and yet within walking distance of the city’s historic sites, it’s the ideal choice for those traveling for work or pleasure. Fully equipped with a range of beautiful new facilities, guests may opt to stay in the hotel, making use of the pools, sauna and spa, not to mention state-of-the-art 3D golfing range. The rooms, studios and suites are decorated with chic design features and all the modern conveniences, providing a welcome retreat after a long day of leisure, meetings or sightseeing. Fine dining is available in the selection of on-site restaurants, serving delectable cuisine from Asia and beyond. Thanks to the expert chefs and the hotel’s stylish bars, the hotel is a nightlife destination in itself and a go-to hotspot in Seoul.
Park Hyatt Seoul
South Korea Goes Well With
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
- Jay Tindall
At first, Seoul can seem a bit cold and uninviting; however once you get the lie of the land and work out where to go, it quickly becomes clear how much this city really has to offer
- Catherine Heald
Despite its reputation as a bustling, modern city, South Korea’s Seoul is also quite rich with history, so there is wonderful contrast between Old Korea and New Korea. It was this juxtaposition that drew me in.
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Couple from Melbourne Australia, clients of ETM Group.
Even though we had to change our plans at the last minute, the revised itinerary you put together was more than perfect.
A couple from Florida - Aman Jet Expedition, Spring 2016
As the trip progressed strangers became friends. Particularly special was the effortlessness: perfect logistics, never having to worry about anything, and, of course, the charming and thoughtful way you organised everything.