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I’ve been to South Korea more times that anyone should, both backpacking and teaching English, and it’s a great destination for both. English teaching steals most of the international press that South Korea receives, but it has more to offer than that.

gyeongbok palace seoul
Me pretending to be cool in Korea

South Korea is an awesome place to backpack, away from the tourist hordes in South East Asia, with a great infrastructure, plenty of awesome sites, unique accommodation and still being cheaper than the West, I’m always shocked so few backpackers venture out this far. Anyway, I shouldn’t complain, leaves more space for us! Anyways, check out the best 5 things to see in Seoul, Korea:


1)   Mount Namsam:

Not the biggest mountain in the world at 265m above sea level, but few mountains are found in the centre of a huge city like Seoul, so the views from up top are second to none. Also at the summit are the Palgakjeong Pavilion, Seoul Tower, and a marine aquarium so give yourself a couple of hours to enjoy them all. You can then go up the Seoul tower (almost 500m about sea level) for sunset and watch Seoul’s nightlife come alive.

To get up you can hike (hard work, speaking from experience!) or take the cable car.

seoul tower korea

2)   Gyeongbok Palace:

South Korea’s most famous palace is right beside the American embassy. They offer free tours in English three times a day, you’ll need at least an hour or two to wander around the entire complex. It’s only $3 for an enteance ticket too! (but it’s closed on Tuesdays so be warned!)

gyeongbukgung palace

3)   Insa-Dong:

It may be exceptionally tourist-orientated, but it does a good job at it. There are great traditional tea houses dotted around for you to sample some of the local brew. The streets are narrow and endless, and if you’re wanting to see some of the traditional culture of Korea, it’s all on show here, you can see it all without even having to leave the city.

insadong seoul

4)   Dongdaemun Market:

For those of you out of the Asia loop, Korea rules the roost for pop culture. Their singers, celebs, sports and fashion all permeate through the rest of the continent and Dongdaemun is the commercial centre of that.

You can shop for all of Asia’s newest trends for dirt cheap prices, it might not be a male traveler’s dream but the girls will need bigger backpacks after a visit here!

dongdaemun market seoul

5)   Namdaemun Market:

This is the real Asia with countless street vendors and more than 1000 stores all packed together so tightly you’d be excused for getting claustrophobic. There is also an endless supply of delicious food stalls so come hungry and leave satisfied!


I’ll be going back to South Korea soon, to organize recruitment for my English camps there. I’ve already hit up these sites a few times but I’ll definitely be revisiting the markets again and I can’t wait to find some more things to see, some more interesting rooms in Seoul, and some extra clubs to visit! Happy travels!



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4 thoughts on “Things to See in Seoul – Not Just For English Teachers!

  1. Hi, Johnny. I just started following you! Thanks for interesting articles about travelling around the world. Also, it’s interesting for me(you know, as a Korean) to see what foreigners thinks about South Korea. Recently, I’ve been reading really bad things about S.Korea on the internet. To me, it looks like most English native speakers think S.Korea is the place they can earn a lot of money for their trips to other countries(which is partially true, tho) and they don’t want to know about the country but complain about it with their own views. Well, when travelling by myself, I also have different personal opinions about countries I’ve been to and they can be different from others’, thus, I do respect all those opinions including bad ones. However, today I read yours and it looks like a definitely good one 🙂 As a trying-to-be-a-long-time-(Korean)traveller, I just hope every backpackers or foreigners visiting Korea have only great experience and feel hospitality like you did on the road. Safe Journey 😀

  2. Your right, Seoul is a great backpacking destination but it doesn’t the attention it deserves and most foreign visitors tend to stick to Itaewon or places catering to tourists. If your young, Seoul is one of the best cities to visit; there are many things to see and do, its pretty cheap, the people are awesome and the nightlife is among the best in Asia, you could easily spend a month there and not get bored or spend a lot of money. I recently spent 3 weeks there and have visited a few times before and I always have an amazing time.

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