As the capital and largest South Korean metropolis, Seoul is typically the first destination among tourists and travelers. With modern skyscrapers, historical sites, spectacular gardens, parks, and the best museums in Seoul, you can easily spend three days or a week in the city without getting bored.
However, the only way to discover more about South Korea and immerse in its rich heritage and long, complicated history is by taking one or two-day trips from Seoul. It will take you to numerous palaces, ancient castles and walls, idyllic islands, and national parks. Many intriguing cities are also just a train ride away, including Incheon and Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi Province.
Check out popular destinations like DMZ and Nami Island, but there are also many lesser-known spots worth visiting. Exit the major city in favor of the more secluded and remote areas to get a feel of what Korea is like away from high-rise buildings, imported cars, and high fashion. Trust Bounce luggage service in Seoul to take care of your belongings while you discover many of the country’s attractions within easy city reach.
How to get out of Seoul
The best way to reach most of Seoul’s day trip destinations is by car. Thankfully, South Korea has plenty of car rental companies offering different services for various prices. As long as you have a valid International Driving Permit, if you’re a foreigner, you’re good to go.
If renting a car is out of the question, the country’s public transportation is simple and easy to navigate. Buses are the most common mode of transportation, and virtually any city can be reached from one of the bus terminals in Seoul.
When traveling by train is your only option, the country’s high-speed bullet train, KTX, is the fastest way to get to your destination. It is extremely comfortable and allows you to see the countryside as you travel. Seoul Station can get you started on your journey.
From Seoul to Suwon
Have a historical tour of the ancient sites in Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi-do province in northwestern South Korea. It is situated around 18.5 miles (30 kilometers) south of Seoul. It was one of the four primary regional government centers during the Joseon dynasty.
The city is home to the Hwaseong Fortress, constructed to protect the town by King Jeongjo, the 22nd king of the Joseon dynasty. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring massive walls extending nearly six kilometers.
Hidden within the walls of Hwaseong Fortress walls are the royal residential quarters and the Haenggung Palace. It was a temporary palace where the royal family took refuge during a war. It’s also where King Jeongjo stayed during his trips to worship at the tomb of his father.
Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is open year-round. It welcomes visitors from 9 AM to 6 PM. It has also been a famous filming location for a number of top-rated Korean movies and dramas, including Rooftop Prince and Moon Embracing the Sun in 2012.
How to get to Suwon
There are several ways to travel to Suwon City from Seoul; the fastest is taking the KTX from Seoul station to Suwon train station. If you’re not in a hurry, you can take a subway from Seoul and get off at the train station at Suwon. The regular train ride takes about an hour.
From Seoul to Nami Island
Nami Island is a beautiful river island located east of Seoul, characterized by its half-moon shape. Depending on the season, it’s a fantastic spot for its greenery, maple leaves, winter trees, and cherry blossoms. The island is a famous destination for a day trip from the capital city, revered for its picturesque scenery.
When going on day trips from Seoul to Nami Island, plan what attractions to visit, as the island has a lot to offer. If you want to appreciate nature, stop by the Central Korean Pine Tree Lane, Maple Lane of True Love, and Metasequoia Lane. As for the parks and other attractions, visit the Dodamsambong Garden, Bike Center, and the First Kiss Glass Sequoia Bridge.
While in the area, why not include Petite France and the Garden of the Morning Calm in your day trip itinerary? Along with Nami Island, these famous tourist attractions are located in Gapyeong County and are common locations for renowned Korean dramas and films.
How to get to Nami Island
The recommended way to visit Nami Island from Seoul if you can’t drive is through the subway. First, go to Gangbyeon Station until you reach Sangbong Station. From there, transfer to get on the train to Geumgok Station on Nami Island.
From Seoul to Seoraksan National Park
Nature lovers will love a day trip to Seoraksan National Park. You’ll find it in Gangwon-do Province in northeast Korea, offering picturesque sceneries and excellent hikes for all skill levels. It was designated Korea’s fifth national park in 1970 and was selected by UNESCO as a Biosphere Preservation District in 1982.
Boasting some of the country’s loveliest trails, it’s no surprise hiking is most travelers’ favorite activity when visiting the National Park. As you reach the peak of Seoraksan Mountain, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking scenery. Besides the trails and natural beauty, visitors can also find two Buddhist temples at Seoraksan: Sinheungsa and Baekdamsa. Many believe that Sinheungsa is the world’s oldest Seon temple.
How to get to Seoraksan National Park
The easiest way to get to the National Park is by catching a bus from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal. Take a bus from Sokcho, which can take about two and a half hours. From the bus terminal at Sokcho, take bus 7-1 or 7 to Seorak-dong. It will take you to the Outer Seorak par entrance.
From Seoul to Korean Folk Village
Another recommended tourist spot for Seoul day trips is the Korean Folk Village at #90 Minsokchon-ro, Giheung-gu, Yongin, and Gyeonggi-do. It was established in 1947 and has been the center for presenting the nation’s culture for decades.
When going to the Folk Village, expect Joseon Period architecture, from the 270 houses to the nine traditional workshops. You’ll also see over 20,000 traditional instruments and tools used during the historical era. Besides these, there are more attractions, activities, and performances to look forward to in the traditional village.
The Folk Village is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, although the schedule is flexible and may change based on the season and weather. The admission fee ranges from $18 to $26, depending on the visitor category.
How to get to Korean Folk Village
The recommended route to get to this authentic Folk Village from Seoul is to go to the Nambu Bus Terminal Station and get off at Sanggal Station. The location is about one kilometer away, and you can reach it after a short walk. Alternatively, you can get a ride at the Seoul Express Bus Terminal to Singal, then walk to the Korean Folk Village.
From Seoul to DMZ
DMZ, or the Demilitarized Zone, is the border that separates North and South Korea. It’s 240km long and 4km wide, slashing across the peninsula. It’s the most protected border worldwide, separating everyone from what’s known as the most secretive country thus far, North Korea. Visiting this location is ideal if you want to learn more about Korean war history, society, and politics.
While DMZ is considered a combat zone lined with tank traps, electric fences, and landmines, it poses no threat to visitors. In fact, trips to the border are permitted and even encouraged. However, since DMZ is heavily guarded, you can only visit it during official tours, and rules must be strictly followed. It’s the tourist spot to go to if you want to add a unique experience to your Seoul day trips.
How to get to DMZ
From the City Hall Station in Seoul, get on the train to the Soyosan Station, where you can ride a taxi to DMZ. Otherwise, you can also take the bus from the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal and stop at the Gwanin Bus Terminal or Sincheorwon. Afterward, get on a taxi to reach the destination.
From Seoul to Paju Book City
Bookworms, historians, and literature enthusiasts will be excited to plan a day trip to Paju Book City. This vast cultural complex is situated in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, and managed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. It covers the intricate publishing process, including planning, printing, and distribution.
Check out the Asia Publication Culture and Information Center, which features used bookstores, book cafes, and restaurants. It also houses galleries and hosts different forums, exhibitions, events, and activities. You’ll also find an elegant traditional Korean house in the corner of the Center grounds, boasting modern touches and classic features. If you’re visiting Seoul with kids and want to come here, stop by the Tan Tan Story House, which often hosts child-friendly entertainment.
How to get to Paju Book City
The quickest way to get to Paju Book City from Seoul is by driving or taking a taxi, which takes a little over half an hour. Alternatively, you can take the Seoul subway to Paju Book City Samgeori. The journey takes an hour and a quarter.
From Seoul to Everland Resort
If you’re up for adrenaline-pumping adventures outside Seoul, bring your family and friends to Everland Resort. It’s proud to be Korea’s largest amusement park with fun rides for all ages. It boasts five unique themed entertainment, including American Adventure, Zootopia, European Adventure, Global Fair, and Magic Land. The park is decorated based on various themed festivals throughout the year, offering outstanding photo opportunities to guests.
Your mind will be blown by the astounding number of rides available, but one of the famous features is the T-Express. It’s the country’s first wooden roller coaster and one of the fastest in the world at 104 kilometers per hour. It boasts the highest drop of 46 meters and the steepest at 77 degrees. So if you’re feeling brave and seeking extraordinary thrill in South Korea, don’t miss the chance to ride the T-Express. For those just accompanying their fearless friends, you can explore Plantopia, a lovely botanical garden with trees, flowers, forests, and greenery.
How to get to Everland Resort
Choose from five ways to get to Everland from Seoul. You can hop on the public bus 5002 at Gangnam Station, with a travel time of about an hour, or go by shuttle bus, the easiest and fastest way from downtown Seoul to the amusement park. Other alternatives include a private car charter, the subway, or a taxi, which is the most expensive option.
From Seoul to Bukhansan National Park
One of the most prominent wildlife national parks in South Korea is the Bukhansan National Park. It’s a renowned destination for Seoul day trips for its granite peak, mountaintop vistas, and over 100 temples. Some of the best-known are the Jingwansa, Geumsunsa, and Hwagyesa.
Hiking is the most popular activity in the National Park. Its tallest summit at Baekundae reaches 836.5m, followed by the Insubong at 810.5m and Mangnyeongdae at 799.5m. The Bukhansanseong Fortress is also a must-visit while in the national park. It was built in 1711, following the Korean castle architecture during the Joseon period.
Entrance to the National Park, including the temples and the Bukhansanseong Fortress, is free. However, if you plan to stay inside one of the temples for a more immersive experience, it comes with a small charge.
How to get to Bukhansan National Park
This National Park is a frequently visited nature spot due to its proximity to the capital. In fact, if you’re driving to the location, it would only take around 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the line 704 bus from Seoul Station or Dongnimmun Station. Either of the two will directly bring you to one of the many entrances to the park.
Plan your Next Day Trip from Seoul
These are just a few of the many exciting day trips you can plan as you visit Seoul. They provide unmatched opportunities to experience the charm and beauty of South Korea’s countryside. From temples and parks to ancient villages and palaces, many remarkable destinations await you outside the buzz of the country’s capital!