South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is a place vibrant with activity. From high-end malls to places of culture, heritage and cuisine, the place has it all, making it among the most-visited destinations in the country. However, it is also great for budget travellers, with several free and affordable options for everyone to explore. So, if you’re planning to visit, here are some of the things to do in Seoul, South Korea, which are free! By Anushka Goel
Things to do in Seoul, South Korea which is free
Walk around the Seoul City Wall
The Seoul City Wall, also called the Fortress Wall of Seoul, makes for a great place to hike. The popular dating spot for locals was built in 1396 and extends to almost 19 kilometres. The place makes for great hikes and evening strolls, offering expansive city views. The wall runs along the ridges of four mountains around the area – Bugaksan, Inwangsan, Naksan and Namsan. Entry to the place is free, and you’ll have a good time strolling and soaking in the sights.
Visit Bukchon Hanok Village
Among the many free things to do in South Korea is paying a visit to Bukchon Hanok Village, a neighbourhood that has many traditional Korean homes (called hanok). Some of these hanoks still house people, while many others have been converted into museums, cafes and more. The charm of the village is something that remains old-school to date, and even if you don’t want to spend at the cafes, a simple stroll around the region will transport you to Joseon-dynasty Korea!
Spend time at the Jeongdong Observatory
Jeongdong Observatory makes for a great place to soak in the views of Seoul. The place houses a cafe and is great to stop by for a coffee and some snacks, as you enjoy the skyline that is on display.
Walk from the Namsan Park to Seoul Tower
Cable cars operate between Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower, located on Mount Namsan. However, for those looking for some much-needed adventure (and physical activity), several walking tours take one to the top of the tower. The trails are filled with stairs, so be sure to carry water and have lots of stamina – but the views to the top, complete with stops at the trail that you take to catch a breath will be well worth the effort!
Explore the Yun Dong-Ju Literature Museum
The Yun Dong-Ju Literature Museum has been built in honour of the Korean poet Yun Dong-Ju. The three-room museum was a pressurisation facility in 2012 and is now dedicated to old photos and first editions of his poems. However, the real highlights of the place are its designs and the mood it imbues.
Experience theatre, music and more at Oil Tank Culture Park
The cultural centre is made out of transformed oil tanks from the 1970s, giving it its name. The Oil Tank Culture Park hosts free concerts, exhibitions and even lectures, making it a great place to visit for some free things to do in South Korea. And when no events are happening, be sure to check out the place and explore its many hidden nooks and crannies and watch musicians and photographers at work, which will easily help you kill hours!
Walk alongside the Cheonggyecheon Stream
Among the many stunning places that you can visit for free in South Korea is Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon stream. The man-made structure runs through downtown Seoul and is one of the ecological marvels in the country. Walk along the stream to unwind in the evening, soak in the lush greenery of the place, or witness the stunning Lantern Festival in November. What’s more, the Cheonggyecheon Museum is a great place to learn more about this place’s history!
Visit the Jogyesa Temple
Among the most popular temples in South Korea is Jogyesa Temple, located right in the middle of Seoul. The beautiful structure is covered with thousands of lanterns, adding layers of beauty to the place. What’s more, entry there is free and will make for a picturesque spot to visit!
Visit the Changdeokgung Palace Garden
The slightly less popular palace is home to a beautiful garden. While the palace itself has an entry fee, the gardens are completely free, and make for one of the most beautiful spots to visit!
Watch street performances at Hongdae
The Hongdae neighbourhood surrounds Hongik University and has several bars, cafes, galleries and more that attract not only students but tourists, too. The neighbourhood also hosts several live music performances, street art and more, which are completely free to see and make for a great local experience to have.
Know more about the culture of South Korea at the National Folk Museum of Korea
Like many other museums in Korea, the National Folk Museum has free entry. Located in Gyeongbokgung Palace, the museum provides information about how people used to live in the country and makes for a great learning experience.
Have a picnic at the Gyeongui Line Forest Park
The park is built on the 100-year-old train tracks that once went to North Korea. This park is a great destination for morning and evening strolls, and to witness guitarists and other musicians practise their sets. Running through several trendy neighbourhoods, the park hosts several picnickers on warm summer nights, and in good weather, the musically inclined can try their hand at the pianos that are kept out for performances!
Be part of one of the many free Seoul walking tours
There’s no better way to get to know more about a city or country than its streets, and Seoul Tourism organises city walks for tourists to get the experience. These walking tours are among the best free things to do in South Korea and will allow you to explore the city and its vibrant culture like nothing else can.
Sample free foods at Seoul Station’s Lotte Market
If all the walking around makes you hungry but you do not want to spend on a meal, head to Lotte mart inside the Seoul Station. The place is generous with its tasting samples and will offer you seconds in case you want. Be sure to head to the noodle aisle at 6:00 pm if you’re there on a weekday, for some delicious, slurpy goodness!
Hero and featured image credit: Stéphan Valentin and Yu Kato on Unsplash