There are some great day trips from Seoul. It’s easiest to base yourself in a cool neighbourhood in the big city, and then plan your Seoul day trips from there.
South Korea isn’t that big of a country, so if you stay in Seoul then you’ll have no problem exploring many of the other great spots. Most places are only a few hours by train and with reliable rail services in Korea, it makes it really easy to do a load of different day trips from Seoul.
But where to go?
– Templed out in the big city? Time for a Seoul day trip then…
So little time, so many cool places to see –there’s Jeonnam in the south, Gangwon in the north, the seaside towns, and then even the border with North Korea. Basically, you can wake up each morning and decide whether you fancy a bit of culture, beachtime, nature or relaxation.
8 Best Day Trips from Seoul
Remember, base yourself in the big city and do day trips from Seoul. That way you don’t have to lug your bags around, and deal with the faff of different hotels.
1. Day trip to Incheon
The city of Incheon is right by the main international airport so technically you visit it as soon as you land. It’s worth going back when you’re not jetlagged though, to really get a good look around.
Incheon is just 50 minutes on the train from Seoul, and is mainly known for its impressive Chinatown and the amazing food.
It’s also known for its Fairy Tale Village – probably one of the most random day trips from Seoul you can enjoy.
Every building at the Fairy Tale Village is hand-painted to look like scenes from your favourite fairytales. Kind of like a wackier version of Disneyland, it’s fun for a wander and a picture. If that’s not your vibe then there are plenty of parks in Incheon to check out too.
Or a South Korean windmill maybe? On a salt farm?
2. Korean Demilitarized Zone in Seoul
The DMZ is the area dividing North Korea and South Korea, and there’s nowhere quite like it in the world.
For obvious reasons, you can’t visit the border alone but there are loads of tour groups that give you a run down of the relationship between the two countries and get you up to speed on all the history.
Highlights usually include the infiltration tunnels, the Freedom Bridge, Nuri Peace Park, and the Mount Odu Observatory which lets you see into North Korea.
I was so tempted to do this day trip from Seoul when I was in the city, but there was an outbreak of swine flu in the area and so you had to go even further away than you would normally. I decided the journey wasn’t worth it, but I would’ve done it otherwise!
3. Day trip in Yongin
Just south of Seoul, the city of Yongin is known for housing the country’s biggest amusement park, Everland.
A typical day in Yongin includes hitting the slides and rides in the morning before venturing just outside the city to the Korean Folk Village. This is a living museum-cum-movie set that shows you what Korea was like hundreds of years ago. There are traditional buildings, temples and figurines that are all pretty cool to tell the story of Korean heritage.
Then, bizarrely, there’s a packed timetable of tightrope walking, dance performances, and traditional reenactments you can catch. I’m not sure where that fits in but hey ho, it’s fun to watch.
4. Day trip to Muuido Island
If you’re anything like me, a few days in a busy city and there’s a need for some nature. To the east of Seoul, and perfectly doable on a day trip, Muuido Island is a short ferry ride away. It’s a pretty island to spend the day on.
If you’re up for some activity and adventure, you can hike, bike and swim Muuido before climbing up the stairs to the Hadojeong Pavilion for epic sunset views.
Too much effort? Sunbathe on one of the beaches there like Hanagae or Mongyeo instead.
5. Busan day trip
Kind of like a cooler, quirkier sister city to Seoul, there’s loads you can do in the southern city of Busan.
I only had four days in Seoul, so actually decided against this. BUT, I wanted to include the Busan day trip as it’s one of the most popular from Seoul.
In Busan you can chill out on a beach like Busy Haeundae, explore the cliffs at Taejongdae Resort Park or visit impressive temples like Haedong Yonggungsa. One of the favourite things to do though, and something I’m always down for, is soaking in hot springs somewhere like the Cinner Spa.
Once you’re all steamed out, you can fill up on some of the city’s famous seafood. I know it sounds a lot and you could probably do more than a day here but do try and squeeze in some of the hip bars, art galleries and vintage shops too.
If you have the time on your trip, it could totally be worth extending your day trip to Busan to a few.
6. Day trip to Gapyeong
Gapyeong is all about Mother Nature.
You can jet ski across the Cheongpyeong Lake, cycle through the trees on Nami Island or find your zen at the Garden of the Morning Calm (great name). From forest to France, a favourite spot here is Le Petit France, another theme park (South Koreans seem to love them) but one that’s been decked out to look like a little French village.
Before jumping back on the train, you’ve got to try the local dish of dalk galbi. It’s kind of like stir fried chicken and Kko Kko Dakgalbi Chuncheon is said to serve the best. Write that name down.
7. Bukhansan National Park day trip
Another one if you fancy stretching those legs, Bukhansan National Park is just under an hour away and has loads of different hiking trails. You can choose to keep it easy with a gentle two hour hike or do your best to seriously burn off all the bibimbap with an 8-hour one either on the Bukhan-san side in the south or the Dobong-san side in the north.
It’s a tough choice because both have amazing peaks, streams and temples and will equally cause yours legs to burn.
Day trips from Seoul
See, lots of Seoul day trips for you to enjoy during your time in South Korea. Now, get out there and explore!