Last updated on December 13th, 2018
Hey guys, in this post, I wanted to tell you about the best things to do if you have a layover in Seoul, South Korea. Layover means you’re staying in Seoul at least overnight, so please don’t confuse it with the stopover. If you only have a short stopover in Seoul (less than 5 hours), it doesn’t make sense to leave the airport, as the airport is located very far away from the city, however, if you have 6 hours and more, you can try the free transit tour that is offered to all transit passengers using Incheon Airport.
However, in this post, I’m going to talk about a quick itinerary for a layover in Seoul. We had one not so long ago when we were flying to Japan (read the post about our itinerary in Japan) via Seoul with Asiana airlines (I loved Asiana airlines and would wholeheartedly recommend it). We arrived about 5 pm in the evening and got until 4 pm the next day. Given the long commute to the airport (1.5 hours), we didn’t have that much time during our layover in Seoul, so we went to explore the city right after arriving at the hotel.
Layover in Seoul: where to stay
Your first thought would probably be staying at the airport hotel, and it would make sense if you’re arriving very late. However, we arrived at 5 pm, as I already mentioned, so it was enough time to get to the hotel in the city centre and explore the nightlife/shopping life of Seoul. For this reason, we chose to stay in Myeongdong, one of the trendiest and busiest districts of Seoul.
In Myeoungdong, we stayed in the Lotte City Hotel Myeoungdong and overall, I liked this hotel. We got the room almost on the last floor (25 or 26), so the view from our window was great (sunrise in Seoul was beautiful). On the last floor of the hotel, there’s a, and the breakfast is served there. I was positively surprised by the variety of dished during breakfast. Also, there was even an udon soup cooking station with a chef. How awesome is that!
Layover in Seoul – where to go in Seoul at night. Itinerary for Seoul
If you’re wondering, where to go in Seoul at night or in the evening, I would definitely recommend Myeongdong. Myeoungdong is famous for shopping, and it has more cosmetic shops that the entire London (it’s just an estimate, but I think it could be actually true).
If you buy things in the big cosmetic stores, e.g. Olive Tree, you will get a discount at the cashier when you show your passport, so no need to collect cheques and wait forever at the Duty-Free in the airport.
Myeoung Dong also had a great selection of street food – we had a chance to try a lot of new for
Best things to do in Seoul during a layover
One of the best things to do in Seoul during a layover is to head to the Gyengbokgung Palace and observe the change of guards that happens 4 times a day. We witnessed the change of guards at 10 am, and it’s accompanied with instructions in English, so you really know what’s going on. You can check the latest schedule on the official website.
You can also walk inside the Gyengbokgung Palace complex and explore the different areas of the Royal complex.
Another thing to do in Seoul during layover that doesn’t require much time is exploring the famous Gangnam district and shopping for some unique street-style clothing shops. South Korea is really great for shopping, so if you have a budget and a bit of time for that, you can totally explore the shops of Gangnam.
Other things to do in Seoul
If you still have time left, you can head to the N Seoul Tower for the fantastic panoramic views of the city or explore the traditional Bukchon Hanok Village.
There are plenty of other things to do in Seoul, however, during a layover, you have to be picky with what you want to visit, as you generally don’t have much time.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post. In case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!