Seoul is the metropolitan capital of South Korea. Home to nearly 10 million residents, it is a city notorious for its fashion, food, music, and of course -- iconic sites. Whether it is your first time stepping foot in the city or if you're a resident, you'll never run out of places for those perfect Instagram shots. After all, we all know that upping your Instagram feed is one of the top priorities during any trip.
If you're looking to check out the fashion districts, old style Hanok villages or maybe just some cute cafes -- Seoul's got you covered. With the land space of 234 square miles, there are a number of different boroughs in Seoul, each with their own flair. Whether your aesthetic is posh, outdoorsy, or whimsical, there are sections in the city that can accommodate anyone's Instafeed. If there was a city that was made for Instagram, Seoul is definitely it. Keep reading to find out some of Seoul's most Instagram-able locations.
Let's start off with Ihwa Mural Village. An art lover's oasis. Covered from top to bottom are murals that go own for literally dozens of and dozens of blocks. The murals were created as part of the Ihwa-dong Naksan Project in 2007. It was a project that came to life with the help of 70 artists. And ever since, the entire neighbourhood has steadily turned into the inside of your favorite street art Instagram feed.
Set aside an afternoon to explore the entirety of this artsy neighbourhood. Grab your best mate, tripod or your selfie stick and go nuts. Located just outside Hyewha Station (exit 4) is a quick 500-meter walk and you'll find signs for the Ihwa Mural Village. Extra bonus: if you go on a Sunday you'll get a chance to visit the Daehango Philippines Market for some delicious eats.
For the quirkier side of Seoul, you can step into the Insa-dong district. This area is also known for its artsy vibe. The streets are piled with art vendors selling their creations. From paintings, sculptures, clothing and other handmade goods -- this area is perfect to pick up unique souvenirs and gifts. Or maybe just a little something for yourself. You'll also find cute stationary shops and local jewellers.
Within Insa-dong, you can also find Ssamziegil -- a four storey retail centre with all kinds of stylish handicraft goods. Ssamziegil is also where you'll find the popular Ddong Cafe aka Poop Cafe. Where everything you purchase is, well, in the shape of poop. This cafe sells cutely shaped poop emoji bread and your favourite latte served in a toilet-shaped mug.
Right in the middle of this thriving modern city, visitors can find old-fashioned Hanok homes. Hanoks are traditional Korean homes that were first designed and built in the 14th century. It's truly a sight to see the combination of old and new. You'll see tourists dressed in traditional hanboks. Once you're on the main street, you'll even be able to catch sight of the Namsan Tower in the distance.
Although, Bukchon Hanok Village is a busy tourist site, be sure to keep in mind that there are actual residents that still live in the traditional Hanok homes. Once you get there, you'll notice signs all over the neighborhood reminding tourists to keep their voices down and be respectful towards residents in the area.
Common Ground Creative Connection is a pop-up mall made out of recycled shipping containers. Located in the heart of the city is actually the largest container shopping mall in the world. There are 200 massive shipping containers that have been stacked on top of each other and are each filled with different shops and food stalls. With a magnificently royal blue backdrop for all your Insta posing needs, it honestly makes up for an incredibly fun photo adventure.
Once your photo-session is over, you can take a break and grab a bite to eat. Don't forget those #foodporn pics as Common Ground also has a sizable food truck section. There are over 30 shops to browse through -- keep in mind the products are aimed mostly towards young women. End your night by sitting on the terrace and watch the outdoor lights twinkle as you enjoy a nice cold bevvy.
The Cheonggyecheon Stream runs through the middle of Seoul and it is nearly 11km long. A popular site for both young and old is also a place for all sorts of events are hosted here throughout the year. Including the Lotus Lantern Festival that is usually held sometime in May. Here, you'll also find talented buskers as they sing or play the guitar with their tunes travelling down the path of the stream.
During hot summer afternoons, you'll often see ahjussi's (an older man) sitting underneath the bridges with their feet soaking in the water hiding from the burning sun. Both kids and adults hop along the giant rocky pathway to get to the other side of the stream. It's a really peaceful area that is great for a relaxing stroll any time of the year.
For more outdoorsy lovers, Han River Park is a must see when you're in Seoul. The Han River, or Hangang River, is one of the longest rivers in South Korea and it is approximately 500km long. The number of things to do is honestly endless in this area. You could capture the light show at the Banpo Bridge, watch some impressive dancing buskers, or even listen to some talented singers while sitting along the river.
It's a popular space where residents of Seoul like to escape for a nice dose of nature. Here, you'll even find one of the city's iconic "I Seoul U" signs you can strike a pose with. Bike rentals are also available for a small fee. Or make some delicious hot ramyeon outdoors as you've seen in the K-Dramas. It's easy to spend the entire day at the river just to sit and relax as you watch the sunset over the city.
It is impossible to visit Seoul without stopping by one of the royal palaces. Lucky for you, most of them are within the same area or a few stops on the subway away from each other. The most famous of the palaces would be Gyeongbokgung Palace; it was the main royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty. Pro tip: Ditch the flock of tourists and head towards the main ticket book before it opens. This way you'll be able to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful walk through the palace, and even better, no tourists in your shots.
If you're looking for a more hidden gem, Changgyeong Palace may be what you're looking for. You can appreciate the colourful windows and giant wooden doors without having to fight your way through the crowds. Rent a hanbok and channel your inner royal as you wander the palace grounds.
For some more traditional sights in Seoul, you can visit Ikseon-dong district. This area has transformed traditional Hanok style homes into a new trendy location for shops and fancy restaurants. You'll see chic outfits and cute couples strolling through this neighborhood. The area has been revamped by young business owners who have opened up restaurants and handicraft shops in the city's oldest neighborhood.
It's easy to get lost in the colorful labyrinth of narrow alleys. This little village has tons of character. Each shop has adorable displays of its products welcoming any passerby to peek in. Ikseon-dong also carries a number of attractive cafes, decked out with its own little personality. Every corner offers a charming backdrop for snapshots, you'll never get bored exploring this neighborhood.
Seoul Botanic Park is a beautiful park that was just newly opened earlier this year. For plant lovers, botanists, or Instagrammers trying to capture that OOTD, it's definitely the ideal place for photographs. The entire building is made up of glass windows allowing in the natural light to brighten every flower, seedling and succulent.
You won't even feel awkward whipping out your selfie-stick to capture those 100 attempts of the perfect picture, because you'll quickly notice the dozens of other people doing the exact same thing. Residents of Seoul take their Instagram game seriously. Botanic Park even has a few coffee shops inside to quickly pick up something refreshing to drink. Don't miss the side entrance either as there are dozens of brightly coloured, flower-shaped umbrellas hanging as you look up.
Namdaemun Market is the most famous traditional market in the centre of Seoul city. It is home to over 1, 000 shops and street vendors. It's loud. It's crowded. It's wonderful. Although the building is stacked with all kinds of stores, where it really gains its character are through the rows of street vendors lined up along the streets and alleyways. So what kinds of things are sold at Namdaemun Market? Literally everything. From jewellery, clothing, luggage, cameras, you'll find anything you need.
Be sure to bring your camera and your appetite. Explore the maze of vendors for a real taste of Korean food. The food vendors sell all sorts of street food. The vibe here is incredibly lively as locals and tourists hunt for the best place to eat. If you're familiar with Korean staples, you'll recognize snacks like mandu (Korean dumplings), tteokbokki, and hotteok. Even if you've never heard of these treats, keep an open mind and empty belly to sample some street food sold at Namdaemun Market.