From time to time, you might want to get out of Seoul and explore other places surrounding the city of Seoul. Maybe you’ve been in Korea for a couple of months and all you’ve seen is Hongdae, Itaewon, Hanam-dong, and Gangnam. You wonder if there’s more to see outside the city. Well, you’re in luck! From Incheon to Yangyang, there are many beautiful places that make for the best day trips from Seoul. Both educational and recreational, these places are the most common places to visit for Koreans and non-Koreans alike! This list will offer the best day trips from Seoul.
Best Day Trips From Seoul
Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
First, let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Yes, it is possible to go to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, more commonly known as DMZ. Historically, the DMZ was the only place in the whole Korean peninsula that has been peaceful. It served as a place for the two Koreas to have meetings and discussions. Today, during relative peacetime, the DMZ still serves as a place for peace talks between the presidents of North and South Korea.
The most recent meetings between North and South Korea were the submit meetings of 2018, as pictured above. In the picture, Presidents Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-In are shaking hands over the line that is the exact parallel that divides the two countries.
Besides history, the DMZ is also a fascinating place to visit. In fact, the DMZ is one of the most popular and best day trips from Seoul. On the guided tours, people can stop by Imjingak Park, the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, Freedom Bridge, and the Dora Observatory, where it’s possible to look across the border into North Korea. At the DMZ, people can also witness both North Korean and South Korean soldiers securing their respective borders.
One thing to keep in mind that you MUST have a guide, and you MUST book your tour at least a few days before your planned visit. At the DMZ, everyone is expected to dress nicely so keep your jeans, flip-flops, halter tops, and tank tops at your hotel, please!
Best Seoul Day Trips: Imjingak Park
Imjingak Park (임진각 평화누리공원) is located in Paju-si and is one of the stops on the guided DMZ tours. But I wanted to put a special notice on this location because it is quite a special place, making it one of the best day trips from Seoul.
Imjingak Park was built in 1972 with the hope of unification between the two Koreas at the heart of its blueprint. Complete with a coffee shop, a souvenir shop, several historical monuments, and documents telling the shocking reality of life in North Korea, Imjingak Park embodies its nickname “Peace World Park.”
One hauntingly beautiful building is the Dorasan Station, the most northern train station that serves the greater Seoul area. Many Koreans like me hope that one day, this subway station will be used for good when the two Koreas finally reunite and connected.
You can find more information about Imjingak Park and guided tours here.
Around Seoul Day trips: Hahoe Folk Village in Andong
For people who love learning about Korean culture, the Hahoe Folk Village in Andong is an inspirational place. Guided tours show the traditional architectural styles of the houses and buildings that make up the Hohoe Folk Village. From the Buyongdae Cliff, you’ll be able to see the village from a bird’s eye view, which is much more beautiful than you could imagine. You’ll come to see why the cliff was named ‘lotus’ as you realize that the shape of the village is of a lotus flower.
You can also visit a Confucian school and a Confucian temple, which is the biggest Confucian temple in all of Andong. While there, you’ll also learn about traditional art and dance that existed long ago, including the mask dance. The tour includes the Mask Museum.
You can find information about the Hahoe Folk Village here.
Hanok Folk Village in Bucheon
To get a taste of traditional Korean culture head to the Bucheon Hanok village just north of Seoul in Bucheon city. The serene and quiet village will take you back into historical times. The residential and non-residential traditionally styled buildings show you the wisdom and beauty of Korean architecture. The admission is free and there is also the Traditional Sculpture Craft Experience for a price of 10,000- 25,000 won. Moreover, experience Korean traditional food for 10,000 won- 20,000 won there. Korea has a handful of folk villages that serve as great tourist attractions, and the Hanok Village is one of the most famous folk villages located just outside of Seoul. It’s the perfect place to mark that you are traveling in Korea.
Another great experience at the Bucheon Hanok Village is the traditional wedding ceremony held from April to November on Saturday, Sundays, and public holidays. Come see how sacred traditional weddings were and the beautiful traditional Korean attires worn called hanboks. All are welcomed to view the ceremonies but note that due to weather conditions the ceremonies might be canceled. The traditional weddings at the Bucheon Hanok Village adds to the authenticity of a Korean lifestyle of an earlier time.
Out of Seoul Day trips: Yangyang
Many Koreans and non-Koreans like to get away from the city on their time off work. Yangyang is known to be the place of choice for surfers and people who love the beach. Located two hours east from Seoul, Yangyang is famous for its two beaches.
First, let’s talk about the beaches. Hajondae Beach and Surfyy Beach are both stunning beaches. Although both beaches offer good surfing, more people go to Surfyy Beach due to the waves being optimal for surfing.
Both Hajondae Beach and Surfyy Beach are usually not too crowded, despite it being considerably close to Seoul, which makes it a preferable vacation spot.
In addition to the beaches, Yangyang has many different coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, including Do Ma Blue, Matsu, and Cafe Hello Peace, among many others. The food, drinks, restaurants, and accommodations offered all over Yangyang feeds into the theme of relaxation, as many of these places boast a good view of the beachfront.
Lavender Fields in Goseong
Every country has its own special thing it loves to flaunt. For Korea, it is the cherry blossoms and the lavender. However, the lavender fields are far less known than the cherry blossoms.
When you arrive, you’re greeted by a massive field of purple lavenders, which makes the region as a whole that much more colorful. Since these flowers aren’t going to stick around forever, it’s rather exciting to snap photos of them before they disappear. Much like the cherry blossoms that Korea’s Jamsil region is known for, the lavenders have a mysterious, fleeting presence and appeal to them.
But these lavenders aren’t the only things in the area. A few minutes away is Songjiho Beach. After marveling at the beauty of the lavenders, you might also want to drink in the beauty of Songjiho Beach. With a long beachfront where you can walk, the beach is a great spot for you and your family to spend the day.
So as you can see, there are many places in and around Seoul that are really beautiful and make the best day trips from Seoul. Next time you have any free time, why not hit the Korean streets and explore somewhere you’ve never been before?
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