24 hours in Seoul, South Korea - How to spend a day in Seoul (2023)

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If you only have a short amount of time in Seoul, this blog is for you! Alex, our guest writer, explains exactly how you should spend your 24 hours in Seoul!

It's a challenge to decide what to do when you only have 24 hours in the vibrant city of Seoul - there's enough here to keep you busy for years! However, if you only have time to enjoy one day (and hopefully one night), there are definitely some sights and places worth visiting. I had a month to explore and get to know this beautiful city, but there are some must-see highlights if you have less time.

Here are some top recommendations on how to spend 24 hours in Seoul!


Gyeongbokgung Palace

24 hours in Seoul, South Korea - How to spend a day in Seoul (1)

Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the places you MUST visit if you only have 24 hours in Seoul

The first and most obvious place to visit is Gyenongbokgung Palace. Home to the Korean Emperors during the Josen Dynasty, it was built in 1395 and is home to some unique architectural innovations and designs. It's pretty extensive, so make sure you dedicate more than an hour of your time. As the most iconic example of ancient Korean culture, it is also one of the few historical monuments that survived the Korean War.

You can also enter the museum for free by renting a hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) from one of the nearby stores.

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Bukchon Hanok Dorf

Just ten minutes from the palace is Bukchon Hanok Village, a small neighborhood where you get a glimpse of what Korea might have been like before the ravages of war. Seoul is a city from which history is impossible to escape, and every modern building you see around you is a direct response to the destruction wrought by the Japanese occupation and the Korean War.

It only takes a few minutes to explore the neighborhood, but you get a taste of what life must have been like before modern times.

You can visit Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village on your own. However, if you want to know more, consider joining a half-day walking tour with an expert guide! Since you only have 24 hours in Seoul, a guide will help you learn more in no time!Check out this half-day hike here!



24 hours in Seoul, South Korea - How to spend a day in Seoul (2)

Food Stalls in Myeong-dong

One of my favorite parts of Seoul was the Myeong-dong neighborhood. With flashing neon lights, the echo of K-pop in numerous bars and restaurants, and some great shopping, it's worth wandering around for an hour or two. I also recommend eating some of the street food here. Everything is delicious and each one has an interesting twist that makes it quintessentially Korean. It can be easily reached by bus or public transport.

namsam park

One of the things I liked most about Seoul was the way it mixes nature with urban spaces. Namsam Park is one of the best examples of this, and spending an afternoon walking the trails and visiting the N Seoul Tower can give you an idea of ​​why this city is so special. I was there in the fall and the colors of the leaves rivaled anything you can see in New England.

24 hours in Seoul, South Korea - How to spend a day in Seoul (3)

(Video) 24 Hours in Seoul, South Korea

Torre Namsan no Parque Namsan

While the tower is a bit pricey to climb, it's also one of the best ways to see the vastness of the city – most of it was built in the last 50 years.



The Insa-dong neighborhood which has some amazing restaurants!

Before heading out for the night, be sure to check out some of Insa-dong's fantastic restaurants. Again, it's easily accessible by public transport (Seoul has one of the best systems in the world), and it's also close to some of the best clubs in the city.

Here are some places to eat and drink that I recommend:


The future of Korean food is one of the best things about this country, and one of its most delicious dishes is bibimbap. It's a bowl filled with all kinds of goodies like rice, vegetables and your choice of meat. Gogung serves some of the best in town in the trendiest area.

38 Gwanhun-dong, Jogno-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 736 3211


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For traditional Korean food, this place offers a selection of kimchi and Korean pancakes that hark back to ancient recipes. The best part is that all the options here are pretty cheap. So if you're on a budget, you can still experience the culture without paying too much.

165-15 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 548 7589

being themselves

Drinking is part of Korean culture, and it's not uncommon to see workers in fancy suits all night before heading to work the next day in the same suit. For a hipster vibe, Sindosi offers cool lighting and a wide range of cocktails and craft beers.

31 Eulji-Ro11-Gil, Supyo-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 70 8631 4557

Casa Ranka Pub and Bar

Cocktails are the main attraction here and they aren't afraid to experiment! If you like fruity drinks that look great on your social media pages then this can't be Ranka House. You're also likely to see some young Koreans getting ready for a night out at the club.

7-4 Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Coreia do Sul

If you really are a "foodie", you would probably like to go on a food tour.This culinary tour is a 4-hour evening tour. So you can taste the widest variety of food in Seoul. Click here for more information and prices!



After trying some of Korea's delicious food, it's time to get the party started. Seoul is a night city and also incredibly safe. Gangnam is the place to dance the night away and is home to some of the best clubs in Asia. It's a must during your 24 hours in Seoul!


While there are many options, the most famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) club in Seoul is the Octagon. With eight levels of partying, there's something for everyone, including a dance floor, several types of bars for cocktails or beer and closing at 7am.

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645 Nonhyeon-Ro, Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 10 2468 0855

South Korea is really a great place to travel alone or as a woman, check out our blogWhat to do in South Korea!

Where to stay in Seoul

If you only have 24 hours in Seoul, you need a place to sleep. Choosing a comfortable option in a good neighborhood close to a subway station is essential to make the most of your 24 hours in Seoul. Here are some great accommodation options in Seoul:

  • Air Hostel Myeongdong(budget decided)– Located close to Jongmyo Shrine, Jogyesa Temple and Bangsan Market, this hostel is the perfect budget option for Seoul. It has a modern decor, Wi-Fi in all facilities and air conditioning. A double room costs around 60 USD.
  • Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Seúl Namdaemun(average budget)– This hotel offers beautiful rooms with views of the city. It is just steps away from a metro station and offers breakfast every morning. A superior double room costs around 95 USD.
  • Orakai Insadong-Suiten(high budget)– Located in the Insadong district, this hotel offers luxurious self-catering apartments. There is a swimming pool on site and breakfast is included. The price for a double room starts at 135 USD.

Impressive view of the city from theRamada!

To view all available accommodation in Seoul and check prices, click here!

If you have more time...

be sure to passsome of the museums in seoul! Each one is well done and can take an entire afternoon to explore. I've tried to do it all, but there are a few for whatever your interest may be.
If you are interested in nature, you should also visit Bukhansan National Park. There are hikes for all levels, including the challenging Bukhansanseong Trail. It's another example of how the city has incorporated some amazing parks into one metropolis.

The list of things to do in Seoul is endless,Click here to see all available tours and activities!

-Alex von The Wandering Traveler

About the author

Alex is a Montana-born traveler and writer. These days, she's a New York dreamer living in Brooklyn, promoting sustainable travel for millennials. You can read more about her travels below.the traveling traveler. You can also follow her on Instagram at @wayfaringvoyager.

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Is 1 day enough in Seoul? ›

One day in Seoul isn't enough to see everything you need to in the beautiful country of South Korea, but it is a good starting point. This post will be filled with tourist spots to visit in Seoul which is perfect for those of you who want to do some sightseeing in Seoul.

How much do you need per day in Seoul? ›

You should plan to spend around ₩118,491 ($91) per day on your vacation in Seoul, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, ₩33,012 ($25) on meals for one day and ₩17,029 ($13) on local transportation.

Can I leave the airport during a layover in Seoul? ›

Did you know that you can leave the terminal for awhile during a layover in Seoul? Incheon Airport offers this exciting deal for visitors where you can tour for up to 5 hours and witness some of Seoul's most famous sights. Just visit their website and choose what you wish to do before leaving on your trip.

How much do you need per day in Korea? ›

You should plan to spend around ₩118,323 ($91) per day on your vacation in South Korea, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, ₩30,541 ($24) on meals for one day and ₩17,227 ($13) on local transportation.

What can you do in Seoul without money? ›

Free Things To Do in Seoul!
  • Jeongdong Observatory.
  • Namsan Park to Seoul Tower Walk.
  • Tongin Market Street Food.
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace.
  • Bukchon Hanok Village.
  • Changdeokgung Palace Gardens.
  • Insadong Shopping Street.
  • Jogyesa Temple.
Jun 8, 2020

How long is enough for Seoul? ›

3 days ( 72 hours in Seoul) is a good amount of time to visit the highlights of the city. 4 to 7 days will give you the time to go hiking, visit more of-the-beaten-path attractions, or take a few day trips from Seoul.

How long do I need in Seoul? ›

3-5 days is a great start. That gives you enough time to explore the highlights of the city, plus a day or two to get out and explore the surrounding areas. It's a city of endless surprises, so you'll only be scratching the surface, but it's enough time to get a feel for Seoul.

Is Seoul cheap to travel? ›

Between its vast and affordable transit system, wide range of dining options, and abundance of low-cost activities and attractions, South Korea can prove a relatively inexpensive travel destination.

Do I need cash in Korea? ›

Although card payments are widely accepted, some merchants won't accept cards for purchases under ₩10,000. Also, only some ATMs will accept foreign credit/debit cards.So it's handy to have cash on you at all times to avoid a sticky situation.

How much cash can I bring to Korea? ›

Foreign currency declaration upon arrival. If you bring in means of payment not exceeding USD 10,000 to Korea, you do not need any permission or declaration. In addition, there is no need to report or authorize the importation of promissory notes, letters of credit, or bills of exchange.

How much money do you need for food in Korea? ›

If you're eating out at a Korean restaurant, then look to spend around 10,000 – 15,000 KRW ($9 – $13) for a meal. When eating at a more western restaurant, then you might spend 20,000 KRW ($18) at minimum for a meal. Fast food or a small meal will range around 5,000 – 7,000 ($4.50 – $6.30).

Do US citizens need a visa for South Korea? ›

Do US Citizens Need A Visa For South Korea? No, you don't. US citizens traveling to Korea must have an approved South Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) to enter Korea.

Can I leave the airport during a layover and not come back? ›

The short answer is yes. It is possible to exit and reenter the airport. Whether or not you should depends on a range of factors, including if you're traveling internationally or domestically and how much time you have between flights.

Does Incheon Airport accept US dollars? ›

You can pay by both cash and credit card. Available currencies are Korean Won, Japanese Yen, USA Dollar, Euro, and Chinese Yuan.

How much usd should i bring to South Korea? ›

It is recommended to bring a minimum amount of cash with you. $200 USD should be enough to pay for small items and in case your card doesn't work. All of your other expenses should be paid with your card.

What month is the cheapest to fly to Korea? ›

High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly to South Korea is March. Enter your preferred departure airport and travel dates into the search form above to unlock the latest South Korea flight deals.

How much does 1 meal cost in South Korea? ›

Cost of Living in South Korea
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant8,000.00₩
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course50,000.00₩
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)7,500.00₩
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught)4,000.00₩
62 more rows

Can you use American money in Seoul? ›

Dollars you can take it with you. But in Korea, shops do not take dollars depends on shops but they do not have changes in dollars. You can make exchange when you have dollars. You can ask where are the best exchange shops from the hotel reception.

Where can I get cash in Seoul? ›

In South Korea, there are regular ATMs and cash dispenser machines (CDs), which give out cash but don't accept deposits. CDs generally offer directions in English and are more convenient for travelers since most ATMs in South Korea require that customers have an account with a Korean bank.

Can I go to Seoul without visa? ›

You must have a valid U.S. passport and a visa or an approved Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) to enter Korea. Most U.S. passport holders traveling to Korea for tourism or business purposes for less than 90 days can obtain a K-ETA.

How much money do you need to survive in Korea? ›

On a national level, a family of four can expect to spend an average of 2,300,000 KRW per month (2,000 USD) in living expenses (excluding rent). A single expat can expect to pay 652,000 KRW (560 USD) per month (excluding rent).

What is the best month to visit South Korea? ›

The best time to visit South Korea is between March and May if you want to see the vibrant pink of the cherry blossoms in bloom. If you want to see the landscapes come alive as the leaves change in the cooler weathers, then we'd recommend visiting between September and November.

What is the best time of year to visit Seoul? ›

The best time of year to visit South Korea is generally considered to be the spring months of April, May & June, and the autumn months of September, October & November. During these two seasons days are typically sunny and dry with comfortable average temperatures.

How long can I stay in South Korea as an American? ›

A U.S citizen with a valid passport can visit the Republic of Korea with K-ETA for 90 days for the purpose of tourism or visitation. For detailed information on a foreigner's entry with K-ETA, please click here.

Where to sleep in Seoul? ›

The best areas to stay in Seoul for first-timers are the neighborhoods of Insadong, Myeongdong, Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon, Jamsil, and Bukchon Hanok Village. These districts are very popular with tourists, and they offer a wide variety of tourist attractions and amenities.

How walkable is Seoul? ›

As shown, more than 80% of Seoul was rated as walkable. However, only 0.8% was rated as a “walker's paradise” (the highest level). On the other hand, approximately 5.1% of all areas received Walkability Scores of less than 25, which indicates high rates of car-dependence.

How far does a dollar go in South Korea? ›

The local currency, the South Korean won (₩) is worth around US$0.0008, which means that for each US dollar, a visitor can obtain around ₩1200.

Is food expensive in South Korea? ›

The cost of food in Korea is exceptionally cheap. Public transportation is also affordable. In Korea, a bowl of noodles can cost as little as three US dollars.

Can you use American card in Korea? ›

CREDIT CARDS ISSUED OVERSEAS can be used in Korea with most merchants, although Korean credit cards are often required for online purchases. You must continue to make payments on your overseas credit card to your own country's card issuer. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted networks in South Korea.

Do American cards work in Korea? ›

Credit Cards in South Korea

Most major credit cards are accepted with Visa and MasterCard being the most widely so, but many shops and banks charge a transaction fee of between 2-4%. Amex is also accepted in a few places in the major tourist areas, but will not be quite as useful.

Can I use my American debit card in South Korea? ›

Credit cards, debit cards, and cash are all accepted without issue in South Korea, with cash becoming less common.

Can you pay with American money in Korea? ›

South Korean won is the only reliable currency in South Korea. Some places, especially in larger cities, will accept US dollars, but change will generally be given in won.

What can I not bring to Korea? ›

Guns, narcotics, pornography, subversive material, treasonous material, and counterfeit goods are prohibited from entering Korea.

Can you spend US dollars in South Korea? ›

Re: Can I use USD in Seoul/Itaewon? Euro is easily changed in Korea. USD is in general as acceptable as KRW would be in Ireland. Itaewon is slightly the exception for places like tailors, jewelers will take any currency that's stable.

How much is gas in Korea? ›

South Korea Gasoline prices, 06-Mar-2023
South Korea Gasoline pricesLitreGallon

How much is a Big Mac in South Korea? ›

The price of Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) in Seoul is ₩7,898. This average is based on 7 price points. It can be considered reliable and accurate. Latest update: March 03, 2023.

How much are clothes in Korea? ›

Cost of Clothing in Korea

It is possible to buy things like T-shirts for 5,000 won ($4.50) and jeans for 20,000 won ($17.70) in some places. Luxury items get expensive very quickly, and there is a “luxury tax” which makes more expensive jewelry very pricey.

What does a US citizen need to visit Korea? ›

Starting September 1, 2021, U.S. citizens traveling to Korea must have a valid visa or an approved Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) to enter Korea.
Quarantine Information
  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? No, there is no automatic quarantine. ...
  • Transit passengers. ...
  • Responsibility for treatment costs.

What should I wear in Korea? ›

Unless you are in a tourist beach area, we advise that you avoid a bikini in favor of a one-piece suit and a sarong. A skirt or loose-fitting pants are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun. A loose cotton shirt is very useful too. If you are here on business go for skirt-suits (not too short) with heels.

How can I get South Korea visa from USA? ›

They have to:
  1. Complete the online South Korea Visa application form.
  2. Pay the fee.
  3. Attach the required documents for the South Korea visa (depending on the reason for your visit)
  4. Wait for the Confirmation of South Korea Visa Issuance. If the application is confirmed:
  5. Print the Confirmation and send it to you.

What happens to your luggage if you miss your layover? ›

What happens to your luggage if you miss your flight? In the event that you missed a connection or got held up in security and your checked luggage has gone ahead without you, immediately track down an airline representative. The carrier may be able to track your bags and hold them for you until your arrival.

Can I get my luggage during a layover? ›

Normally, when layover flights are booked with the same airline, your baggage will be automatically transferred through to your final destination. However, if the two flights are with different airlines, you may have to claim and re-check your baggage during your layover.

Do I have to pick up my luggage on a connecting international flight? ›

If you checked a bag, you'll have to collect it from baggage claim from the international flight. You'll need to clear customs and immigration. Next, you'll recheck your luggage for the domestic flight. Finally, you'll need to go through Transportation Security Administration screening.

Where can I exchange US dollars in Seoul? ›

Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, and KEB Bank have Foreign Exchange Counters in major Tourist areas like Myeongdong, Itaewon, etc. Your credit card provides you with the absolute best exchange rate for purchases in South Korea.

Can I bring food on a plane Korea? ›

You can bring prepared food for personal consumption into Korea, but it cannot exceed USD 400.

How much US dollars are you allowed to travel with? ›

You may bring large sums of money with you in the form of cash, money order, or traveler's checks. There is no maximum limit, however, any amount exceeding $10,000 USD must be declared upon arrival on both the Form 6059B and FinCEN 105. All forms must be filled in completely and truthfully.

Is Seoul a 24 hour city? ›

A 24-hour city, Seoul has an intense work-hard, play-hard culture. The booming metropolis fuses tradition and modernity.

How do you spend a layover in Seoul? ›

16 Things to do on a layover at Seoul Incheon Airport
  1. Explore the food scene. Korea and food are practically synonymous, so even if you're not a foodie, you'll do well to check out some in-airport eateries. ...
  2. Hang out in a lounge. ...
  3. Go shopping. ...
  4. Take a shower. ...
  5. Relax at a spa. ...
  6. Take in the art. ...
  7. Gamble. ...
  8. Visit the (virtual) gym.

How long can an American stay in Seoul? ›

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Most U.S. passport holders traveling to Korea for tourism or business purposes for less than 90 days can obtain a K-ETA. Apply at the K-ETA website for 10,000KRW.

Do Americans have to quarantine in Seoul? ›

Yes. * Arriving passengers will experience some combination of temperature screening, health questionnaires, quarantines, and/or COVID-tests, depending on points of departure, visa status, and nationality.

What is meant by a 24 hour city? ›

Hence the definition of the 24-h city as a "pulsating glamorous place where something is always happening on the streets" emerged in order to elevate cities' night status through activities such as shop-top and apartment living, innovative restaurants, high-tech hubs, bohemian cafes and late-night bookshops (Holmes ...

Where do Americans hang out in Seoul? ›

Itaewon. Of course, being expat central, Itaewon is an extremely popular area for expats to meet. Foreigners living in Korea either live in the Itaewon area or they come there often for the international cuisine, the nightclubs, the bars and the special events like quiz nights and fundraisers.

What are the don'ts in Korea? ›

Avoid drawing parallels between the Korean culture or language to Japan. Korea should be acknowledged for its distinctiveness and difference from other East Asian cultures. Avoid exhibiting anger or distress in heated displays or outbursts of emotion.

What should you not miss in South Korea? ›

Best things to do in South Korea
  • Visit Insadong Tearooms.
  • Enjoy the beauty of Huwon, Seoul.
  • Immerse yourself in Korean culture at Jeonju Hanok Village.
  • Get involved in Boryeong Mud Festival.
  • Try Makgeolli.
  • Visit Teddy Bear Museum.
  • Take a walk in Guinsa.
  • Experience tranquillity at Dosan Seowon.
Dec 19, 2022

Can we leave the airport during layover? ›

The short answer is yes. It is possible to exit and reenter the airport. Whether or not you should depends on a range of factors, including if you're traveling internationally or domestically and how much time you have between flights.

How do I pay for public transport in Seoul? ›

Seoul residents use cards known as Multiple Journey Transportation Cards (or T-money cards) to pay for subway rides, with fares starting at 1,350 won (about $1.20) for the first 10 kilometers of travel. T-money cards cost 2,500 ($2.24) won for the card; fares for 10 kilometers traveled cost 1,250 won ($1.12).

How much money is enough for South Korea trip? ›

If you are traveling on a budget you can probably get around with 80 000 krw a day but you might not be staying in the nicest hotels or have the best food. For those on a mid range budget, 120 000 krw should be enough and for those on a luxury budget, a minimum of 200 000 krw should be ok.

What is the cheapest way to go South Korea? ›

The cheapest way to get from India to South Korea is to fly which costs ₹18,000 - ₹31,000 and takes 11h 43m.

Is Korea cheap for tourists? ›

Between its vast and affordable transit system, wide range of dining options, and abundance of low-cost activities and attractions, South Korea can prove a relatively inexpensive travel destination.


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