Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is one of the most popular cities in the world for travellers thanks to the Hallyu (Korean Wave) phenomenon seen in everything from drama, music, movies, to online games and Korean beauty.
Besides, the city brims with a plethora of exciting tourism offerings tailored to every traveller’s needs. It is also a melting pot of modern and traditional, with swanky skyscrapers and colourful palaces sitting next to each other harmoniously. It can definitely be a little overwhelming, but don’t worry; this is where we come in.
Here are five unique experiences to help you enjoy the city at its best.
1. Have a taste of K-pop trainee life by joining an exclusive dance class
Unleash your inner star by participating in a K-pop dance class by well-known choreographers. There are many academies in the city that offer such experience, for instance, the Vroad Dance Academy. You’ll get to learn fun choreographies of the latest k-Pop songs, meet fellow like-minded travellers and even receive a certificate for completing the class.
2. Pretend like you’re in a period K-drama with the Bukchon Hanok Village Tour
Hanok is a vernacular Korean house that dates back to the 14th century. It typically features wooden frameworks and traditional roofs in the form of either giwajib (tiled roof) or chogajib (thatched roof). For a glimpse of this unique architecture in the city, you may visit Bukchon Hanok Village situated between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. Don’t forget to rent a hanbok at the nearby store for a more immersive experience! Just be sure to keep the noise low as this is an actual residential area inhabited by Seoulites.
3. Stuff your face with tasty street food at Gwangjang Market
Food is an important element in any trip, wouldn’t you agree? So when in Seoul, consider visiting the Gwangjang Market for the best access to an array of authentic Korean delicacies. You can find many locals’ all-time favourite snacks here, including ‘Mayak gimbap’(mini seaweed rice rolls), ‘Nokdu-jeon’ (mung bean pancake), ‘Tteok-bokki’ (stir-fried rice cake) and eomuk (fish cake). The best part is, most of them are reasonably priced!
4. Have a romantic stroll along the 600-year-old Hanyang Doseong
You may have noticed this iconic historical monument in one of the k-Drama series. It is called Hanyang Doseong, or the Seoul City Wall, built in 1396 along the ranges of Bugaksan Mountain, Naksan Mountain, Namsan Mountain, and Inwangsan Mountain in order to protect the city from any incoming danger. Today, the walls still stand strong and become an important legacy of the city’s colourful past. So when in Seoul, be sure to take a relaxing stroll along these charming walls as they are located near plenty of tourist attractions. It is also the best way to meet local Seoulites or just do people-watching!
5. Custom mix your own make-up products at AMORE Seongsu
The Amorepacific is the cosmetics manufacturer behind your favourite K-beauty brands, including Hera, Innisfree and Laneige. It has a chic flagship store called AMORE Seongsu located in the heart of Seongsu-dong where you can shop over 2,000 products and receive a make-over service from professional makeup artists. But if you’re feeling more experimental, you can also create your own foundation and lipstick colours to perfectly match your skin tone here. The second floor is occupied by the Osulloc Café where visitors get to admire the beautiful views of Seoul.
Exciting, right? These are only some of the activities to enjoy in Seoul; for more ideas on tourism experiences that are unique to the city, head straight to Visit Seoul and One More Trip websites and get started with crafting your personalised itinerary!
Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) has also announced a joint-marketing campaign with the global Online Travel Agency (OTA) platform, Klook, that will help you in ‘Finding Your Soul in Seoul’. Users can access Klook Malaysia’s webpage to get a full overview of the Seoul campaign promotion banners and Seoul tourism products, as well as get the chance to make online reservations.
This announcement was made during the recent ‘Soulful Seoul Night’ roadshow held by The Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) in Kuala Lumpur city centre, a first since the start of the pandemic. The programme was packed with interesting and exciting activities, including the Seoul Travel Mart that gathered Korean sellers and local buyers together; the introduction of Seoul’s tourism infrastructure as well as a K-pop performance by HOOK, a popular dance group that had appeared on the famous Korean TV show, Street Woman Fighter.
According to STO, Southeast Asian countries contribute to strong inbound tourism for South Korea. The number of Southeast Asian tourists visiting South Korea increased by about 60 percent over a five-year period (2015 – 2019) before the pandemic. Southeast Asian countries also topped the list of countries surveyed in 2021 that were shown to have the greatest number of potential tourists planning to visit South Korea. Among them, Malaysia showed a continuous growth trend in the number of inbound tourists to South Korea, steadily ranking within the top 10 prior to the pandemic.
Global Marketing Team Director of the Seoul Tourism Organization, Haeyjin Lee, said, “In order to revitalize the tourism industry in the post-pandemic era, the distribution channels for Seoul tourism products should be restored as quickly as possible. Through the Soulful Seoul Night campaign, we promote Seoul’s attractive tourism content to representatives from the Malaysian tourism industry and work to reinvigorate tourism business between Malaysia and Seoul, to proactively meet the global tourism demand, starting with Southeast Asia.”
The survey also reveals the dominance of group tours and a high level of interest in K-beauty, K-fashion, and K-pop among Malaysians, making the country an attractive target for STO to promote Seoul.