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Top Traditional Places to Visit in Seoul and Around 1/2

Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · By ENKOR

Seoul, a city where the ancient harmoniously coexists with the modern, offers numerous traditional sites that provide a glimpse into Korea's rich history and cultural heritage. From majestic palaces and serene temples to charming villages and historical landmarks, here are some of the top traditional places to visit in Seoul and its surrounding areas.


Gyeongbokgung Palace

  • Subway Station: Gyeongbokgung Station (경복궁역) on Line 3
  • Exit: 5
  • Distance: About a 5-10 minute walk from the station

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Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty, is a must-visit for anyone interested in Korean history. Established in 1395, it served as the main royal palace until it was destroyed during the Japanese invasion. Today, it has been meticulously restored and offers visitors a chance to explore its grand halls, beautiful gardens, and the National Folk Museum of Korea located on its grounds. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ceremony held at the main gate, a vibrant display of traditional Korean uniforms and practices.


Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon (Secret Garden)

  • Subway Station: Anguk Station (안국역) on Line 3
  • Exit: 3
  • Distance: About a 5-10 minute walk from the station

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Another of the Five Grand Palaces, Changdeokgung Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its harmonious integration with the natural landscape. The palace complex includes the stunning Huwon (Secret Garden), which features pavilions, ponds, and meticulously landscaped gardens. Guided tours of the Secret Garden provide fascinating insights into the life of the royal family and the architectural beauty of the Joseon era.


Bukchon Hanok Village

  • Subway Station: Anguk Station (안국역) on Line 3
  • Exit: 2
  • Distance: About a 5-10 minute walk from the station

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Nestled between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village is a historic neighborhood that preserves hundreds of traditional Korean houses known as hanoks. Walking through the narrow alleyways of Bukchon, you can admire the unique architectural features of hanoks and get a sense of what life was like during the Joseon Dynasty. Many hanoks have been converted into cultural centers, guesthouses, and teahouses, offering visitors a chance to experience traditional Korean culture firsthand.


Jongmyo Shrine

  • Subway Station: Jongno 3-ga Station (종로3가역) on Line 1, 3, and 5
  • Exit: 11
  • Distance: About a 5-10 minute walk from the station

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Jongmyo Shrine is the oldest and most authentic Confucian royal shrine in Korea, dedicated to the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds ritual ceremonies called Jongmyo Jerye, which are performed to honor the spirits of the royals. The shrine’s architecture and the surrounding forested area create a peaceful and solemn atmosphere. Visitors can join guided tours to learn more about the significance of the shrine and the Confucian rituals still practiced today.


Insadong

  • Subway Station: Anguk Station (안국역) on Line 3
  • Exit: 6
  • Distance: About a 5 minute walk from the station

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Shin Old Tea House

Insadong is a vibrant neighborhood in central Seoul known for its traditional Korean culture and art. The main street and its winding alleys are lined with antique shops, art galleries, traditional teahouses, and craft shops. It’s the perfect place to shop for traditional Korean souvenirs such as hanbok (traditional clothing), ceramics, calligraphy materials, and tea. Don’t miss the traditional street performances and cultural events that frequently take place here.


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