Late October may not still be the best time to see the beautiful autumn foliage in Seoul. But the yellowing leaves of the tree lining the many streets and footpaths of the city were already showing promise of the breathtaking sight to come. The cool weather make meanderings in the Land of the Morning Calm’s capital make for a pleasant experience.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (Northern Palace)
Gyeongbokgung Palace is a popular tourist attraction located in Jongno-gu (Jongno District). The district itself is teeming with sightseeing spots, which makes it an excellent destination for tourists. In fact, just across the street from Gwanghwamun Gate, which is the main entrance to the palace, sit Gwanghwamun Square and a section of the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream nearby. Inside Gyeongbokgung Palace are numerous other sights with each one just begging more than just a passing look. The Geunjeongjeon (Imperial Throne Hall), Gyeonghoeru (Pavilion), and the changing of the guards at Gwanghwamun Gate are just some of the things to see and do when meandering inside the palace.
Still within Jongno-gu is a neighborhood that attracts its share of tourists. Insa-dong is only a few minutes’ walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gwanghwamun Square and an excellent place to explore, especially for art and culture lovers. The neighborhood is teeming with traditional crafts and products like hanji, hanbok, pottery, and more. Prepare to walk slowly along the stretch of road to better enjoy the interesting folk crafts and souvenirs on display inside and outside the shops lining the street. The cozy cafes and restaurants make for delicious distractions from a sightseeing trip in Insa-dong.
A short subway ride away from Insa-dong is one of Seoul’s top tourist destinations for shopping. Myeong-dong is a bustling place teeming with cosmetic shops, clothing stores and boutiques, and hawkers along the street selling a wide range of trinkets and souvenirs, and scrumptious foods and treats. South Korea’s reputation for quality cosmetics and fashion is very much on display in Myeong-dong’s shops.
Hapjeong-dong has been referred to as “Seoul’s Trend Mecca” and “hipster’s paradise”. It draws locals and tourists who want to explore the neighborhood’s fashion and dining scene. It is a great place to unwind or relax in one of the many coffee shops that boast of interesting designs and themes. There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from that serve delicious traditional and international cuisines. Quaint, artistic, and brimming with entrepreneurial vibe makes Hapjeong-dong an excellent getaway from the hustle and bustle of Myeong-dong and other busier parts of Seoul.