The megacity that is Seoul is definitely where much of the hustle and bustle is at: looming skyscrapers, delicious cuisine, and some fascinating gems hidden amongst all that concrete. You could easily spend weeks on end without getting bored. But of course, with confining yourself to the capital, you, too, are limiting the amazing experiences you could have if you ventured further away.
Like other megacities such as Tokyo and Cairo, the South Korea metropolis is a treasure trove of all things cultural and modern. Once you’ve hit all the main attractions in the city center, you’ll find yourself wanting to know even more. Maybe exploring the DMZ came to mind, but you thought it too dangerous. Or else a visit to Jeju Island piqued your interest, but you are just not certain as to how to arrange it.
To settle your mind, we highly recommended going on a private guided tour with a professional and local guide. Local guides are by far the best and most up-to-date sources of information you may need whilst traveling.
What is a Day Trip?
First and foremost, it’s important that we have the same understanding of what a day trip is or can be. Think of it like this: it is an excursion wherein you can return to your main hotel by the end of the day.
A day trip destination should not take more than three hours to get back to your hotel. From Tokyo, that would be a day trip to Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. From Cairo, you will find yourself venturing towards the Greco-Roman wonders of Alexandria.
Now, the question is: what kind of day trip can I do from Seoul? Are you traveling with family? Your partner? Or are you looking for adventure and some Kpop enlightenment? Depending on your travel preferences, your day trip itineraries may vary considerably.
Fear not! For we at GoWithGuide have curated a list of the best day trips for every type of traveler.
For the Family Traveler
1. Yongin City
If you plan on visiting the Land of Morning Calm with children in tow, then it is highly recommended that you go to Yongin City just southeast of central Seoul. Here you will find Everland, one of the best amusement parks in Asia and the biggest in South Korea. With five themed areas such as Zootopia, American Adventure, European Adventure, Magic Land, and Global Fair, you and your little ones are sure to have never ending fun.
Depending on the dates you decide to go, tickets range from 62,000-68,000 won ($47-$52 USD) for adults and 52,000-58,000 won ($40-$44) for children.
Distance from Seoul: 36 km (22.4 mi)
- Bus (No. 5002) for 2,800 won ($2)
- Shuttle Bus - Check here for departure points and times and their corresponding prices.
- Car - Paid parking is also available near the park, with a free shuttle running to and from the parking lot and the park. This will cost you 15,000 won ($11.5) per vehicle.
For the Romantic Couple
2. Gapyeong City
Your trip to South Korea can be romantic if you let it. According to our local guides, some of the best and most memorable dates can be found in Nami Island. Throughout the seasons, Nami Island is lined with wonderful walkways. Depending on the season you visit, you will be welcomed by tall gingkos, sweet maple trees, or pointy pines in full bloom.
Together with your otherworldly trip to the half-moon shaped island, you might want to continue your nature immersion elsewhere. If you are looking for a picturesque scene straight out of a KDrama, then a stroll through Gapyeong’s Garden of Morning Calm will leave you speechless. Founded by Professor Sang-Kyung Han in 1996, the garden exhibits South Korea’s elegance and uniqueness.
To know more about Gapyeong day trips, book a private tour with our professional guides. Not only will you enjoy the scenery worry-free, but you will learn firsthand the ins and outs of the city’s history and beauty.
Distance from Seoul: 55 km (34 mi)
- Train - With a Korean Rail Pass, you easily get to Gayeong Station using the ITX. Check here for departure points and times and their corresponding prices.
- Car - It is only a 1 hour drive away from the city center.
3. Yeosu City
The coastal city of Yeosu is often overlooked for the bigger attractions in Busan or Jeju Island, but the peninsula and its islands hold much to be discovered. By day, a visit to Odongdo Island and Aqua Planet Yeosu will tickle your romantic fantasies. As the sun sets, be prepared for the amour of the seaside cityscape from up in the Yeosu Sky Tower.
Of course, if lazing about in sea air and sandy beach beds is more to your liking, then Bangjukpo Beach is a definite go-to destination. The water is shallow, the waves gentle, and the atmosphere utterly relaxed.
Distance from Seoul: 318 km (198 mi)
- Train - The ITX-Saemaeul Train to Yeocheon Station will get you to Yeosu in less than three hours. Check here for departure points and times and their corresponding prices.
- Plane - If you fancy taking to the skies, this city is less than an hour’s plane ride from Seoul.
For the Art Dilettante
4. Heyri Art Village
You will find an unassuming art community in Paju by the name of Heyri Art Village. Here, poets, artists, musicians, and lovers of art congregate, forming a beautiful aura. Scattered around the village, you will find cafes, art galleries, exhibits, and much more. If you are lucky, you might be able to join a workshop and be a part of the creation.
Distance from Seoul: 34.8 km (21.6 mi)
- Bus (No. 2200) - Take the bus from Hongik University. This trip will take you 50 mins.
For the History Lovers
Considered one of the top must-see attractions in South Korea, the DMZ is historical, political, and everything a history buff loves.
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This demilitarized zone between North and South Korea spans 250 km (160 mi) long and 4 km (2.5 mi) wide. Its history is amazing, tragic, and ultimately an interesting attraction for tourists from around the world. To safely visit the DMZ, we suggest going with a professional guide to assure you of your security.
If you do book a private local guide for your day trip, your planning woes will definitely dissipate in an instant. By having a local with you, worries about miscommunication, getting lost in a foreign land, or getting confused by the culture and nuances that come with traveling can be thrown out the window.
Distance from Seoul: 50 km (31 mi)
For the Food Connoisseurs
6. Noryangjin Fish Market
Conan O’Brian visited the fish market back in the day, and it did not disappoint. This wet market is THE place to go to for the freshest seafood near Seoul. Only a few minutes south of the city center, Noryangjin Fish Market is host to some of the cheapest and most delicious seafood to bargain for. For tips on how to get a good deal, visit the market with a local guide so as not to get swindled. Street food tours are also available at your convenience.
Distance from Seoul: 50 km (31 mi)
- Subway - Take the Seoul Metro to Noryangjin Station. Your ride will take 10 mins.
- Taxi - Cabs can be hailed for this short distance, and should not cost you a pretty penny, probably about 10,000-13000 won ($8-$10).
For the KPop Stan
7. HopeWorld Sculpture, Gwangju
Whilst the members undergo mandatory military service, the sensational music from Korean boyband BTS will have to wait. However, this does not mean that their legacy or importance dwindles. In fact, in the city of Gwangju, a HopeWorld sculpture reassures fans and reminds everyone to celebrate music everyday.
Distance from Seoul: 268 km (166 mi)
- Train - Using the KTX Honam, it should take you about 2 hours from Seoul. Check here for departure points and times and their corresponding prices.
Seoul is but the start of your South Korea journey. There is so much to do and see in the country that a trip is well worth having. Make sure to share these day trip itineraries with friends and be the hyung or unnie they have always wanted!