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You may be pleasantly surprised to hear just how many free things there are to do in Seoul and although not everything is free, there are some awesome cheap things to do in Seoul too!
I spent 3 days exploring Seoul – the Capital City of South Korea on my 10 Day Backpacking trip in South Korea and I really enjoyed my time in the City!
Seoul is big but it’s not huge. It’s really easy to get around Seoul on the metro. It’s cool and modern but traditional too! The recipe for a great city!
So let’s get into it, here are some great free things to do in Seoul and budget things to do in Seoul which can easily be seen during two or three days in Seoul! In the middle is a map to help you work out how to spend your days in Seoul and how to split the city up so you see everything!
Free Things To Do in Seoul!
1. Jeongdong Observatory
Let’s start with a free observatory and free viewpoint in Seoul!
Jeongdong Observatory is not the best observatory I’ve ever seen as it’s just one-sided and home mainly to a cafe but if you want a coffee with a view or just a good free view of Seoul you need to head here for free things to do in Seoul!
It’s located in Seoul City Hall Seosomun 1 building, not to be confused with the actual City Hall building! From outside you’ll see signs to the observatory on the 13F so you’ll know you’re in the right place!
2. Namsan Park to Seoul Tower Walk
Seoul Tower is located on the top of Namsan Park. There is a cable car to get to the top for 9500won / £6.30 / $8.00, or you can walk for free.
The walk up is quite tough- it’s just a lot of stairs! But the view of the city for the majority of the walk is really nice and it’s a nice walk through nature.
At the top of Namsan Park is not only the tower but restaurants and cafes, seating areas and live performances (at least there were performances on Sunday when I visited). On a sunny Sunday afternoon with lots of locals up there, it was a really nice place to be.
The cost of the Seoul Tower is also 9500won / £6.30 / $8.00 however there are so many viewpoints from the park with incredible views I can’t imagine the tower gives you that much more of a different perspective so this is two free things in Seoul in one!
3. Tongin Market Street Food
– Cheap Food – 5000won per plate
If you’re looking for a good and cheap street food Tongin Market located very close to Gyeongbokgung Palace is the place to visit.
I went twice- on a Saturday lunchtime which was busy but in a good way, and Monday lunchtime which was quiet in a bad way! I feel like Monday’s are quite quiet in Seoul so if you can go during the weekend or on Thursday or Friday it will be better.
On Saturday everyone was walking around with these black trays (pictured below), the deal is that you go to the back of the market and buy a tray for 5000won / £3.30 / $4.20 USD (or 10000won if you want more food) and along with the tray you are given fake money. Each of the stalls will have detailed how much each item is in coins making it a really easy and efficient process.
They also accept won if you want just one or two things but I felt that it was cheaper buying the 5000 deal than paying individually for items in won so add this onto your list of cheap things to do in Seoul!
4. Gyeongbokgung Palace
– Budget Entry – 3000won
You do need to pay to go into Gyeongbokgung Palace but seen as it’s the most popular place to visit in Seoul I feel that paying is ok and it isn’t much at 3000won / £2.00 / $2.50 USD so it makes for one of the cheap things to do in Seoul and helps with visiting Seoul on a budget.
If you want to get dressed up in traditional Korean Outfits Gyeongbokgung Palace is the place to do this, this is also one of the good things to do in Seoul with teengers to teach them about Korean Culture.
So many people were dressed up and I read that if you hire the costumes you get in for free.. so that’s a bonus and helps become one of the free things to do in Seoul!
5. Bukchon Hanok Village
This village is home to lots of traditional Korean houses and is one of the great free things to do in Seoul. I found my way to the museum which was good and I thought that was it so I left, however on looking back I seem to have missed the actual village which is much bigger than the museum so make sure you visit the right place!
Map of Seoul
Here is a map with all of the places detailed that are mentioned in this post detailed! I love seeing maps of Cities and areas that are new to me to help me plan my route and where to visit so I hope this helps you too!
6. Changdeokgung Palace Gardens
Changdeokgung Palace is the second Palace in Seoul. It’s not as popular as Gyeongbokgung Palace but if you thinking of what to do in Seoul it’s another good place to visit. It costs 3000won / £2.00 / $2.50 USD to enter, however unlike Gyeongbokgung Palace its gardens are free so if you’re on a budget in Seoul you could just visit the gardens!
7. Insadong Shopping Street
If you want to buy some souvenirs, this is a great street to come to, it’s also bustling with people and other shops and restaurants!
8. Jogyesa Temple
Jogyesa Temple is the most important temple in South Korea and it’s located in the middle of Seoul in the Insadong area. It’s a really beautiful area covered in so many lanterns- more than I have ever seen before and it’s free to enter.
Jogyesa Temple also hosts overnight temple stays. Temple stays are popular in many Buddhist Temples in Korea but being able to do one in Seoul without heading out into the Country is really unique. This is not free but a once in a lifetime experience if you fancy it.
9. Hongdae Street Performances
A cool area of Seoul to visit is Haedong. This is also a popular area to stay in as accommodation seems a bit cheaper than the centre. You can come to the Hongdae area and Hongdae pedestrian street for cool independent shops, restaurants and live music. When I visited on a Saturday evening the streets were packed with people and many different buskers singing, dancing and playing music.
Related Post: Going to Busan too? You need to visit the Gamcheon Culture Village!
10. Myeongdong Area
– Free & Budget
Myeongdong Street Food is some of the best Korean Street Food in Seoul so make sure you head to the Myeongdong Shopping Street. The prices do add up if you have quite a few pieces but it’s a great place to visit for a snack or to pick a few bits instead of having lunch or dinner in a restaurant and so works well as one of the budget things to do in Seoul.
11. Cheonggyecheon Stream
This is a really cool area of the stream that runs through the City. In some parts, it’s lit up which make it really cool at night. When I walked passed it on a Sunny Saturday afternoon though it was full of locals sitting by the water, children playing in the water and some groups of singers. It was a really nice place to be and a good place to visit to relax in Seoul.
12. National Folk Museum of Korea
Located in Gyeongbokgung Palace but free to enter even if you don’t pay for the Palace, this Museum provides lots of history on how people used to live in Korea. It was a really great free museum in Seoul to visit I thought.
In fact, many of Seoul museums are free. I was silly and decided to leave my Museum visiting to Monday as the forecast said it would rain, it did rain however like with many cities, most of Seoul’s museums were closed on Monday so I couldn’t go!
Here are 4 more free museums in Seoul to visit:
13. National Palace Museum of Korea
14. National Museum of Korea
15. Seoul Museum of History
16. War Memorial of Korea
These things will keep you busy for two days in Seoul at least and you could drag them out over three days in Seoul too!
- For more of my posts from South Korea see:
- My 10 Day South Korea Itinerary!
- Eye Opening Tour to the DMZ from Seoul
- How to Visit Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan
- How to see Jeju Island Without a Car
- All South Korea Posts