Explore beyond the city!
Whether it’s your first time visiting Seoul or your fifth time doing so, the city has plenty to offer. It seems however, they have been keeping a secret from everyone – Gyeonggi-do! While you may have not heard of this name before, you might have visited it previously and not even know it! So, where exactly is Gyeonggi-do and what can you do there? Keep reading to find out more.
Where is Gyeonggi-do?
All the avid travellers out there are probably all too familiar with South Korea’s magnetic capital, Seoul! Just a short hour drive away from the city, you’ll find yourself in Gyeonggi-do, also known as the ‘province surrounding Seoul’. You can easily visit the city on a day trip!
This underrated city is home to plenty of attractions from exciting theme parks to picturesque scenery, interesting cultural sights, and more. So, the next time you are planning a trip to Seoul, you have to include some of Gyeonggi-do’s top attractions!
Arrival at Seoul
Welcome to Seoul! It’s always nice to be back at this vibrant and exciting city. For the first-time travellers, you’ll find it that much more thrilling! The first order of business is to collect your SIM Card at the airport and then head to the hotel via your airport transfer.
Catch the view at N Seoul Tower
After you’re checked in, refreshed, and ready to go, make your way to the iconic N Seoul Tower perched atop Mt. Namsan. What better way to start your trip than with a panoramic view of Seoul. From the height of over 400m, the observatory is surrounded by clear glass windows for a 360-degree view of the cityscape below.
While you’re there, make sure you visit the bathroom to check out the view too. There are special glass windows that face out within the stalls! Now, that’s surely something you don’t hear about or see every day.
There are several ways to get to N Seoul Tower, the most popular being the cable car or by bus. For convenience and comfort, you can simply Klook exclusive N Seoul Tower combo with transfers from Myeongdong.
Watch the popular Nanta Show in Myeongdong
With you convenient Klook transfer back to Myeongdong, it’s time to liven up your evening with the captivating Nanta Show. A blend of acrobatics, martial arts, music and culinary skills, you really can’t find this unique combination elsewhere.
Throughout the 90-minute performance, you’ll catch a talented troupe of Korean performers cook up a storm in the on-stage kitchen peppered with a comedic flair. There’s no need to worry about the language barrier as it’s a non-verbal performance
Eat and shop till you drop at Myeongdong
After that jaw-dropping performance, it’s time to keep the excitement alive at Myeongdong. Bustling with action daily, a visit to Seoul is not complete without stopping by this famous shopping and street food area. From 5pm onwards, you can find street food vendors lining the streets of Myeongdong.
Get lost amongst the streets lined with more skincare and makeup shops you can count! Take short breaks between your shopping spree at the adorable LINE Friends Flagship Store or check out the Instagrammable CHUU store and Stylenanda Pink Hotel.
Spend a fun-filled day at Everland
Bet you didn’t know that the popular Everland, South Korea’s biggest theme park, is actually located in Gyeonggi-do! Home to exhilarating rides, exciting wildlife and safari zones, picturesque gardens and more – this theme park has something for everyone. The thrill-seekers would especially love T-Express, the world’s steepest wooden roller-coaster guaranteed to knock the wind out of you!
For fans of the wildlife, make sure you hop aboard the Safari Bus Tour, free for all Everland visitors. The only thing separating you and the free-roaming tigers and lions is just a glass! If you’re looking for an even closer interaction with those beautiful big cats, there’s an additional Special Safari Tour you can opt for. Taken on a private six-seat jeep, you’ll be inches away from the lions and tigers with the chance to feed them as well. Don’t worry, it’s completely safe but still incredibly exciting!
Come evening time, reserve your spot along the Parade Route and Carnival Square for a magical viewing of the Moonlight Parade. Extravagant parade floats all beautifully lit up by colourful LED lights and performers dancing along the route, it’s certainly a sight to behold! Make sure to stay till the end of the night for the fireworks display at Four Seasons Garden.
Spending the day at Everland couldn’t be easier with your discounted and direct-entry ticket from Klook. For ultimate convenience, you can also opt for the Everland combo package which includes admission tickets, hassle-free transfers, and skip-the-queue Q Pass.
Dinner at Saebyukjib
After a tiring and fun day in Everland, it’s time for your tastebuds now to go on a thrilling ride at Saebyukjib (also sometimes referred to as Saebyeogjib). A household name when it comes to BBQ, you’re bound to have a satisfying meal. Aside from the usual BBQ, they are also famous for their hangover stew, bibimbap, and yukhoe (Korean seasoned raw beef).
A popular after-drinking spot, this restaurant is open 24 hours daily, making it the perfect late dinner spot. Also, it’s been said that you might spot celebrities every now and again in Saebyukjib!
Snap the perfect IG photos at Nami Island
Photo Credit: ZipRider
This iconic destination about 1.5 hours from Seoul is a must-visit for most travellers. While you can get to the island with the complimentary ferry ride, why not opt to travel in style instead via the Nami Island Skyline ZipWire! Descending from an 80m-high tower to Nami Island, you’ll take in the breathtaking views of the island and the surrounding landscape on the ZipWire ride.
When you’re on the island, there are plenty of picturesque spots to grab the perfect IG shot, namely the famous Gingko Tree Lane. After getting your perfect shots, you can chill at one of the cafes, rent a bicycle to tour around the island, take a relaxing stroll and more. To return back from the island, you can board the complimentary ferry.
Enjoy a sizzling lunch of dakgalbi
One thing you’ll notice around the area outside of Nami Island is that there is no shortage of dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) restaurants! This unique dish is very popular in that area and is cooked at the table. You’re served a mixture of cabbage chicken, rice cakes, potatoes with a spicy gochujang sauce on a hot plate. Before you finish your dish, you can also add on rice or ramen to be stir-fried with the remaining ingredients and sauce!
Pedal and enjoy the view at Gangchon Rail Park
Less than 30 minutes away by car from Nami Island is an old train track turned rail park. In Gangchon Rail Park, you can get on a two-seat or four-seat rail bike and pedal along the 20-minute route.
It’s a slow and relaxing pedal all the way through, so there’s no need to worry about tiring yourself. Plus, along the discontinued train tracks, you can soak in the surrounding scenic views!
Take a relaxing stroll in The Garden of Morning Calm
Less than an hour drive away from the rail park is this hidden gem – The Garden of Morning Calm. A 30,000 square meters nature wonderland with 20 interconnecting themed sections, it feels like stepping into a storybook!
From well-manicured, colourful flowerbed to lush nature trail, and picturesque winding pathways, this is one garden you’ll remember for years to come. Make sure your camera and phone are fully charged – you’ll want to take plenty of photos!
The best way to visit all of the 3 popular destinations – Nami Island, Gangchon Rail Park, Garden of Morning Calm – is to opt for a day tour from Klook which takes the hassle out of planning and figuring out the transport. Alternatively, you can also get a private car charter to take you around for the whole day!
Dinner at Gwangjang Market
One of Korea’s largest traditional markets, Gwangjang Market is bustling with action from day to night. Lined with countless vendors and restaurants, you’ve come to the right place if you’ve got a hungry belly.
For those who watched Netflix’s ‘Street Food’ series, you can look out for the handmade noodle stall! A must-try in the market is bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) that you can find freshly-milled and prepared on the spot around the market.
Join a DMZ day tour
This one is for the history buffs out there! Allowing you to take a closer look into the long history between South Korea and North Korea, joining a DMZ day tour is as much educational as it if interesting. Since travellers are only allowed to enter the DMZ area via private or group tours with official operators, it takes the hassle of planning when you go with a day tour on Klook.
View from the Dora Observatory
Begin your journey at Imjingak Park before proceeding to the demilitarized zone (or DMZ for short) which includes the Dora Observatory and the 3rd Tunnel. You will get to look far beyond the landscape and get a glimpse of the elusive North Korea.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you bring along your passport for identification purposes when entering the DMZ.
Next up, you’ll be brought to Paju Outlet for your free lunch where you can do some shopping as well. Last but not least, stop for visit at Paju Provence, a quaint French Village. Look out for Bakery House, which is famous for their garlic bread. It’s hard to miss this 2-storey cafe right by the entrance. If in doubt, just follow the fragrant smell of the garlic bread!
Early dinner at Tosokchon Samgyetang
Hearty, warming, and good for you, samgyetang is the Korean answer to the quintessential chicken soup. However, you don’t need to be sick to enjoy a comforting bowl of samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) and apparently the best you can find in Seoul is in Tosokchon!
A favourite of the late President Roh Moo-hyun, Tosokchon’s samgyetang uses local birds, wild ginseng, chestnut, jujube, garlic, gingers, and a mix of nuts and seeds. Don’t be surprised to find a long queue during lunch and dinner hours. That’s when you know the food is really good! By going for an early dinner, you can skip the long line of waiting.
Get dressed up in a hanbok
Get ready to live out your favourite historical K-drama fantasy all decked out in a traditional Korean hanbok! A couple of minutes walk away from the restaurant is Hanboknam, a hanbok rental store. With over 500 hanboks of different styles and colour, you’re bound to find one that is perfect for you! Not just for the ladies, there are male hanbok costumes as well.
Inclusive of hairstyling, you can complete your look at the rental store. Besides that, you can also rent additional accessories like the daenggi to give a nice highlight to your braided hair. Make sure to take plenty of photos. Once you’re all dolled up, take a short walk to the Gyeongbokgung Palace for a special night viewing.
Visit the Gyeongbukgung Palace at night
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
While many are familiar with Seoul’s main palace, Gyeongbokgung, not many know about the special night viewing! Available periodically throughout the year, you’ll come across a very different view and atmosphere at night as opposed to the usual morning or afternoon visit. The moonlit palace grounds certainly feels more romantic and the perfect way to end the day.
Travel back in time at Korean Folk Village
Also known to many as Minsokchon, the Korean Folk Village is home to relocated and restored 270 real houses from different parts of the country from the Joseon dynasty. In fact, this is the only folk village where you can find this many historical artefacts and houses from all across South Korea.
Get a glimpse of traditional life in the country and immerse in the culture by wearing traditional Korean outfits or participating in a wide variety of folk activities. In fact, the Korean Folk Village is a popular filming location for K-Dramas like My Love from the Star (2013), Moon Embracing the Sun (2012), the hugely popular Dae Jang Geum (2003), recent Netflix hit series Kingdom (2019), and more!
Make sure to catch the folk village performance at 11:30am and wedding reenactment at 1pm daily. On any day, you can also find many local students on a day trip to the Korean Folk Village. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, visiting late afternoon onwards is your best bet. Located about an hour from Seoul, you can visit the village on a day tour or customise your trip with a private car charter.
Go underground with a tour around Gwangmyeong Cave
View this post on Instagram
Forget the notion of a dark, damp, and cramped cave because that is not even close to what you can expect at Gwangmyeong Cave! Once called Siheung Mine, it was the largest metal mine of the area for decades before becoming a shelter for residents during the Korean War.
After going through several transformations and serving different functions, It was only in recent years that Gwangmyeong Cave reopened after being transformed into a theme park inside a mine. Make sure to have your camera ready for the perfect #OOTD shot with the shimmering display of LED lights.
Also, it can get pretty cool in the cave, so bring a light jacket along with you! You can visit Gwangmyeong Cave and Korean Folk Village in a day on a tour or customise your own itinerary with a private car charter.
Browse and pose at Starfield Library
Perhaps the most Instagrammable library located in Seoul, the Starfield COEX Mall is not for just the bookworms! This public space is open to everyone, so feel free to browse, take a seat, and snap some photos on your visit. With a wide space and plenty of natural light from the glass windows, this relaxing space is #aestheticgoals.
Did you know, right by the library is the COEX City Airport Terminal? It’s a convenient one-stop departure services for early flight check-ins, luggage drop, immigration clearance, and limousine bus service to Incheon International Airport.
So, this means that you can get your baggage check-in and departure immigration done all before heading to the airport, allowing you more time to walk around the mall! When you’re ready to head to the airport, simply hop on the convenient and affordable limousine bus from Gangnam COEX to Incheon airport!
Klook your South Korea essentials!
To ensure that you have a smooth-sailing trip, remember to get your travel essentials all sorted out. Pre-book your 4G SIM Card and airport transfer. For days you want to explore Gyeonggi-do, look up day tour options on Klook with many to choose from! If you’re a proud holiday planner, then why not opt for a private car charter and have the driver take you around following your travel itinerary. Just sit back and enjoy the holiday you deserve!