Seoul, South Korea is really not as expensive as people make it out to be. I found there are many options for free activities that didn’t require me to spend a single Won outside of transportation (which was also inexpensive). It can be expensive if you want it to be but I found these free activities and sights to be great if not better than places I had to pay for.
The War Memorial of Korea
Korea has been through several wars. This museum has exhibition areas both inside and outside with educational history lessons. When I went, not many people were there which made for a pleasant stroll through the museum. My favorite part however were the exhibitions and monuments outside. Displayed are tanks, vehicles, and aircraft you can go inside. The monuments are huge. The most noticable ones are in the front enterence – The Korean War Monument and The Statue of Brothers.
Address: 1ga 8, Yongsan-dong
Subway: 5-minute walk from Samgakji Station (Exit 12), Subway Lines 4 and 6
10-Minute walk from Namyeong Station, Line 1
Bus: Get off at the War Memorial of Korea Main Gate/Samgakji Station, Ministry of Defense
The War Memorial of Korea Webiste
A great place to shop for souvenirs, antiques, and artworks. It spands through several blocks and many of the roads are blocked for pedistrations only. The streets are seen as mixing traditional and modern Korea. Between the main road of Insadong-gil, there are small streets with well decorated traditional looking restaurants.
Subway: Line 1,3, Jongno-samga (exit 1) or Line 3, Anguk Station (Station 6)
National Folk Museum of Korea
Located inside the Gyeongbok Palace and seen from anywhere inside the palace is the National Folk Museum(http://www.nfm.go.kr:8080/english/main.jsp). At the National Folk Museum, walk through Korean history, traditional life, art, relics, and ceremonies and festivals of Korea. The best way to visit the museum is going when they provide their free bilingual museum tours. It’s educational and definitely interesting.
Information: (822) 725-4503
The museum is free but can also be entered through the Gyeongbok Palace. If you’re not interested in going to the palace, you must go through the side entrance of Gyeonbok Palace.
Take subway line 3, Anguk Station (exit 1)
Thanks to Hongik University, the area of Hongdae is full of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping. Although those activities are not free, walking around the area at night brings for good entertainment. Street musicians roam in every corner and there’s several options for budget street food. Usually packed on weekends with both Koreans and foreigners.
Sangsu Station line 6 and Hongik University line 2.
In the center of Seoul sits a stream that goes down 3.6 miles that has been recently restored in 2005. The stream offers a beautiful park along the way with small waterfalls, walk ways, and an ambient atmosphere. It’s a popular attraction especially with couples. The stream also holds a lot of history and Koreans find this stream to be an important part of Seoul. It’s the Central Park of Seoul. I recommend seeing the stream at night when the waterfalls light up near the bridge.
There are many ways to get here. One way is taking Subway Line 1: City Hall Station, Jonggak Station, Jongno 3-ga Station, Jongno 5-ga Station, Dongdaemun Station, Sinseoldong Station. You can find more information on the official tourism site of Korea.