12 Best Non-Touristy Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea - Updated 2024

non touristy things to do in seoul
Chandana
Chandana 
Updated
| 4 min read

Seoul, the sprawling capital of South Korea, sits on the Han River. This metropolis is an amalgamation of the old and the new; where modern skyscrapers rub shoulders with historical landmarks and green spaces. From hip cafes and themed hotels to museums and five UNESCO World Heritage sites, a whole range of experiences awaits you in Seoul. The excellent inter-city public transportation system comprising an extensive bus and urban rail network makes it easy to get around the city’s different districts brimming with luxurious accommodations such as 5-star hotels. Known for its many pop bands, Seoul has a thriving nightlife that is to be experienced to be believed! You can spend a week or a month and still have plenty to see and do. Take a look at some of the best non-touristy things to do in Seoul, South Korea.

1. Seoul Eland Hangang River Cruise (from USD 9.55)

The Seoul Eland Hangang River Cruise offers a delightful and scenic experience along the iconic Hangang River in Seoul, South Korea. This river cruise is a popular activity that allows visitors to explore the city from a unique perspective.

The cruise takes passengers on a leisurely journey, providing breathtaking views of Seoul’s skyline, picturesque bridges, and riverside landmarks. The panoramic vistas offer a captivating backdrop for capturing memorable moments and enjoying the city’s beauty, whether during the day or at night.

The Eland Hangang River Cruise offers various options, including sightseeing, dinner, and even themed cruises during special events or holidays. Passengers can relax in comfortable seating areas, enjoy onboard amenities, and savor delicious meals while cruising the serene waters. Beyond the stunning views, the cruise also offers cultural performances, live music, and interactive experiences, adding a touch of entertainment and cultural enrichment to the journey.

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Seoul Eland Hangang River Cruise

2061 reviews

2. Go on a gastronomical journey at Gwangjang Market

Bindae-tteok[1] (빈대떡) or mung bean pancake[1] is a variety of buchimgae, Korean pancake. It is made by grinding soaked mung beans, adding vegetables and meat and pan-frying it round and flat

Posted by Gwangjang Market on Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Take in the aromas and flavors that assail you as you set foot into Gwangjang Market. One of the oldest and traditional of all street markets in the country, there are over 5,000 shops with more than 20,000 employees! Food stalls are an integral part of this market which sells everything from flowers to wedding dresses. Sample exotic delicacies such as potato pancakes, raw beef, pigs’ feet, and even live octopus!

Gwangjang Market

Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea

Website: Gwangjang Market

Opening hours: 8.30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Entry free

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3. Bask in the traditional aura of Bukchon Hanok Village

Area west of Bukchon Hanok Village B
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sakaori used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This charming village has been preserved in its original form for over 600 years. The hanoks or traditional Korean houses first made an appearance in the 14th century as the residences of noble families and senior government officials. Surrounded by two palaces and a shrine, this must-visit place in Seoul has a lot to offer in its expansive grounds.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gahoe-dong

Website: Bukchon Hanok Village

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 5pm

Price: Entry free

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4. Enjoy stunning views from the cable car to Namsan Tower

Posted by Seoul Korea on Thursday, 28 March 2019

The Namsan cable car is a great way to enjoy panoramic views of Namsan Mountain and the city of Seoul. In operation for more than 60 years, the all-glass cabins can accommodate over 40 people at a time. At N Seoul Tower, you will find food stalls, bars, and an observation deck which can be accessed by paying a fee. Namsan Park and Namsan Botanical garden are also in the vicinity.

Namsan Cable Car

Address: 83, Sopa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (Hoehyeondong 1-ga)

Website: Namsan Cable Car

Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (daily)

Price: 6 USD onwards

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Seoul Tour Guide

Raymond Pahk

Raymond Pahk

<p>Discover a vibrant mix of past, present, and future of Korea on a journey you&#39;ll never forget. Our tours unlock the secrets of Korean history and culture, offering a profound understanding of the people who make this nation unique.<br>Explore ancient temples, bustling markets, and iconic landmarks, each whispering stories of Korea&#39;s fascinating past. <br>Immerse yourself in traditional practices, savor delicious cuisine, and witness the dynamic modern scene.<br>Engage with warm and welcoming Koreans, gaining insights into their lives and perspectives.</p><p>Share your interests, and we&#39;ll tailor a personalized experience that ignites your passion.<br>Join us and create unforgettable memories in Korea. Let us guide you on a journey that will touch your heart and enrich your soul.</p>

5. Have fun exploring the Yangsu Bike Trail

Bicycle path of Han River, Seoul
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 고영탁 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Situated about one hour outside Seoul, this trail passes over bridges and tunnels providing you with stunning mountain views along the way. Bikes can be rented at the trailhead and being flat country, the trails are pretty easy to navigate. Plenty of restaurants are available along the way and you can stop whenever hunger pangs assail you.

Yangsu Bike Trail

Address: Starts at Yangsu rail station

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Entry free

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6. Watch the spectacular sunset from EMart 24 Café on Dongjak Bridge


Sitting in the middle of the bridge, this café is a vantage point to watch the sun go down. Sip a refreshing beverage and munch on some snacks as you gaze at the sky turn into a riot of colors. They have an outdoor patio and if you time it right, you might also be able to catch a fireworks show to make it an unforgettable experience. There is a book store too and a reading area at this café.

EMart 24 Café on Dongjak Bridge

Address: 316-3 Dongjak-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 6am - 12am (daily)

Price: Entry free

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7. Catch a ferry to Muuido Island


Visiting Muuido Island is certainly one of the fun things to do in Seoul. Situated off the coast of Incheon, this small island is accessible only by ferry. Hanagae and Silmi are the two beaches this island is known for and are good spots to enjoy a picnic lunch and have some fun in the surf and sand.

Muuido Island is now connected to another island Somuuido by a bridge and it will take you only about 15 minutes to walk over. Doing so will enable you to enjoy stunning views of the East Sea from different angles. There are plenty of hiking trails on all of these islands for a splash of adventure.

Muuido Island

Address: 310-11, Daemuui-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon

Website: Muuido Island

Opening hours: 24/7

Price: Entry free

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8. Enjoy a romantic trip around Samcheongdong

Hello Kitty cafe Samcheong-dong
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michaela den used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This locality is perfect for a leisurely stroll and exploring at your own pace. Home to two ancient palaces with mountains beyond, this tranquil attraction in Seoul, South Korea, allows you to step back in time on the fringes of the city. It is a perfect blend of the past and the present where chic restaurants, galleries, and boutiques rub shoulders with traditional Korean houses.

Browsing through the many stores for unique souvenirs to take home is sure to keep you engrossed for hours.

Samcheongdong

Address: Samcheongdong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Website: Samcheongdong

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Entry free

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9. Create memories with a professional photographer (from USD 299.0)

Memories are what you cherish of every trip, of every city you’ve ever visited, and the experiences that you have had there. What better way to capture these forever than with high-resolution photographs. Have a professional photographer capture some great pictures of you with famous landmarks and attractions in Seoul. Choose from fixed routes or come up with your custom route.

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Private Vacation Photography Session with Local Photographer in Seoul

Duration: 1 hour

1 review

10. Dongdaemun Market

Seoul-Dongdaemun.Market-01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Neaners used under CC BY 2.0

Dongdaemun Market is a bustling and vibrant shopping district renowned as one of the country’s largest and most diverse wholesale and retail markets. This dynamic market opens nicely into the night, catering to locals and tourists seeking an immersive shopping experience. The market is divided into various sections, each offering a unique selection of goods.

Apart from its extensive shops, Dongdaemun Market is famous for its street food stalls and traditional Korean restaurants. Visitors can indulge in various delectable treats while exploring the market’s vibrant atmosphere. Dongdaemun Market is not only a shopping destination but also a cultural hub. The area is dotted with historical landmarks, including the iconic Dongdaemun Gate, a 600-year-old fortress gate symbolizing Seoul’s rich heritage.

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11. Head to weird and whacky Poopoo Land (from USD 6.0)

non touristy things to do in seoul | head to weird and whacky poopoo land
Source: www.viator.com

Yes, you read it right! This is a unique museum dedicated to the human digestive system! Seoul has plenty of museums for art enthusiasts and history buffs. But this is a fun place for kids and adults alike that promises you some funky pictures to show off.

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Poopoo Land Attraction Ticket

12. Witness Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

non touristy things to do in seoul | witness jinhae cherry blossom festival
Source: www.viator.com

This is the country’s biggest spring festival and a great way to enjoy the cherry blossoms to the maximum. Be sure to cross over the Romance Bridge with a gentle stream flowing under. Colorful umbrellas and beautiful lanterns turn the place into a wonderland as night falls. Even the food available is themed around cherry blossoms!

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Jinhae Cherry blossom Festival Day Tour

Getting to know the city

Simply visiting the main tourist attractions in South Korea’s capital city wouldn’t be as enriching as one can expect. In order to actually know a city well, it is essential to go off the beaten track a bit. Pursuing these unique things to do in South Korea’s vibrant Seoul can be one way of going about it when you are visiting for a minimal time.

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Frequently asked questions about the best non-touristy things to do in Seoul, South Korea

1. What are some of the hidden gems that tourists can visit in Seoul?

For the best and most unconventional time in Seoul, make sure to pin your map to these destinations in the city: i) Gwangjang Market, ii) Bukchon Hanok Village, iii) Muuido Island, and iv) EMart 24 Café on Dongjak Bridge.

2. Which unique activities in Seoul are great for couples?

Make your trip with your beloved more memorable with these activities: i) have your travel moments captured by a professional local photographer, ii) enjoy a romantic trip around Samcheongdong, iii) cruise onboard a ferry to Muuido Island, and iv) marvel at the stunning views from the cable car to Namsan Tower.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Chandana is a versatile writer with nearly two decades of experience in media, spanning clients across the globe. An avid traveler, she enjoys experiencing every new place to the fullest. Having...Read more

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