Top things to do

Top Choice Palace in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Gyeongbokgung

Like a phoenix, Seoul’s premier palace has risen several times from the ashes of destruction. Hordes of tourists have replaced the thousands of government officials, scholars, eunuchs, concubines, soldiers and serva…
Top Choice Palace in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Changdeokgung

The World Heritage–listed Changdeokgung is the most beautiful of Seoul's five main palaces. You must join a one-hour guided tour to look around. English tours run at 10.15am and 1.15pm; if you don’t care about the c…
Top Choice River in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Cheong-gye-cheon

With its landscaped walkways, footbridges, waterfalls and a variety of public artworks, such as the enormous pink-and-blue shell entitled Spring in Cheong-gye Plaza, this revitalised stream is a hit with Seoulites. …
Top Choice Area in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Bukchon Hanok Village

Meaning ‘North Village’, Bukchon, between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, is home to around 900 hanok, Seoul’s largest concentration of these traditional Korean homes. It’s a busy tourist area, but it’s still a ple…
Top Choice Cocktail Bar in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Cobbler

This high-end bar is located inside a hanok within a nest of lonesome alleyways. Owned by Robin Yoo (a pioneer in Korea's cocktail scene), it has no menu; instead, the bartender recommends some excellent cocktails, …
Top Choice European in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Ikseon Dimibang

The converted hanok that houses this chic bistro in the revamped old neighbourhood of Ikseon-dong is Korean, but the dishes are contemporary European. Excellent scorched prawn risotto is served on bright metal plate…
Top Choice Vegetarian in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Balwoo Gongyang

Reserve three days in advance for the fine temple-style cuisine served here. Take your time to fully savour the subtle flavours and different textures of the vegetarian dishes, which range from rice porridge and del…
Top Choice Bar in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Sik Mool

Four hanok were creatively combined to create this chic designer cafe-bar that blends old and new Seoul. Clay-tile walls, Soviet-era propaganda posters, mismatched modern furniture and contemporary art surround a yo…
Top Choice Teahouse in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Dawon

The perfect place to unwind under the shady fruit trees in a courtyard with flickering candles. In colder weather sit indoors in hanok rooms decorated with scribbles or in the garden pavilion. The teas are superb, e…
Top Choice Books in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Kyobo Bookshop

Kyobo's flagship branch sells a wide range of English-language books and magazines (you'll find them on the left from the main entrance), as well as stationery, electronics, CDs and DVDs in its excellent Hottracks (…