If you only have 72 hours to discover Seoul, where would you go and what to do? The following review article is about the 72-hour experience of exploring Seoul in my field trip. The time is short but still visiting quite a lot of points of interest in the beautiful Seoul. So, what to do in Seoul for 3 days and how to spend 3 days in Seoul (72 hours in Seoul) perfectly? Let’s check out our suggested Seoul itinerary 3 days (Seoul trip itinerary 3 days) through this Seoul itinerary blog to find out the answer!
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Seoul itinerary 3 days — Day 1: Incheon Airport – Gyeongbokgung Palace – Myeongdong Shopping Street
I fly from Hanoi to Incheon on VJ960 flight of Vietjet Air. On the plane before the time of landing, the flight attendant will issue an Immigration Form. Please pay attention to completing the declaration before landing to avoid being rushed. When line up for entry, remember to stand in the line for foreigners.
While waiting in line for entry, I take advantage of time to the install of Korean 4G Sim card that bought at home or you also can pick up at airports in Korea. After installing the sim, the phone recognize the SKT network provider, so you can use immediately. During my trip in Seoul, the internet speed of this provider was fast and smooth. Anywhere I go, it is also easy to look up the way, upload virtual photos on social networks.
I bought a 4G SIM card at Klook. They deliver sim very quickly. I chose the 4-day package with 100GB data for free, bought at 12.000 won (KRW). You can freely to use but will also not reach 100GB. Link to buy sim here: Prepaid SIM Card/4G Data SIM Card (KR Airport Pick Up) for South Korea (Unlimited Data).
Getting to Seoul city center
After completing entry procedures, I found the way down to B2F to find the AREX Express Train to getting to Seoul. There are two types of trains going to Seoul:
- AREX All Stop Train: The train will stops at 10 stations, traveling time more than 1 hour, non-reserved seats. Ticket price ranging from 4.250 won ~ 85.000 won.
- AREX Express Train: Train does not stop but go straight, travel time about 43 minutes, with reserved seats for each person. The ticket price I buy at Klook about 5.325 won. If you buy directly at the ticket counter is 9.000 won.
I recommend that if you fly at night and arrival Seoul in the morning, you should take the AREX Express Train to get your own seat (reserved seat), go quickly to avoid get fatigue. Traveling by the All Stop Train is seats similar that on the subway, if people are full seated then you have to stand during the trip. But the price of the two types of trains is not much different. Buying on Klook is both cheaper and you just bring your voucher (that sent via email) to the ticket counter to redeem ticket is Okay.
Links to book AREX tickets here: [Limited Offer] AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket in Seoul.
The timetable for AREX Express Train here. Usually flights to Korea of Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air are arrival at Incheon Airport, Terminal 1. There are many AREX Express trains running from 5:15 am to 10:40 pm.
After check-in the hotel and store my luggage, I took the subway to Gyeongbokgung, the largest palace in five grand palaces in Seoul. You can getting around Seoul by bus or subway by using T-money card, very convenient.
Link to buy T-money card and how to use them here: Klook Tmoney Card Pick Up and Delivery (ICN/TW/MY/TH/PH).
It was around noon time, so I feel hungry too. Near Gyeongbokgung is the famous Tosokchon restaurant (Address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Chebu-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea / Hours: 10AM–10PM) which famous for its Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup). Eating here is psychologically prepared, you may lined-up in a long queue. Price of 16.000 won per a chicken stew with ginseng (The restaurant menu has normal chicken and black chicken)
After a full meal, I start the journey to explore Gyeongbokgung Palace (Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea / Hours: 9AM–6PM; Tuesday: Closed). Admission for tourists is 3.000 won/adults. However, if you wear a traditional Hanbok costume, you can enter the entrance free of charge. Coming to the land of Kimchi, then definitely you have to try wearing Hanbok once, right? Please note that the Palace is closed every Tuesday, so avoid going on this day.
Around Gyeongbokgung there are various Hanbok rental shops. I saw on Klook there is a Hanbok rental service of Seohwa Hanbok, only 100m from Exit 4 of Gyeongbokgung Station. Seohwa’s available Hanbok rental package for 4 hours, but if you book via Klook, you will get an extra 2 hours. Link for you refer to and book here: Seohwa Hanbok Rental at Gyeongbokgung. Only Klook has this promotion ^^.
Dinner and have fun at Myeongdong Shopping Street
From Gyeongbokgung Station, you take the subway Line 3, Line 4 (change Line at Chungmuro Station) or take the bus 702 to reach Myeongdong. Myeongdong is famous and bustling neighborhood in Seoul. The whole paradise of food, cosmetics, clothes is waiting for you to discover it.
In Myeongdong, I have dinner at a noodle shop which was named Michel Kyoja, rewarded Michelin star. The shop is over 40 years old, very crowded but affordable. The menu of the restaurant featured Kalkuksu noodles, Cold noodles, Mandu dumplings. I went with 2 people, and plan to eat street food later, so I just order a bowl of Kalkuksu noodles and a Mandu plate. But the shop bring out a very big bowl of noodles. The two of us ate 1 bowl but it took a long time. Served with kimchi, each table has a bottle of cold water again. Mandu is hot, the filling is so delicious.
Our meal costs: The huge Kalkuksu noodle bowl: 8.000 won + Mandu dumplings: 10.000 won.
List for you refer to some good restaurants in Myeongdong:
Myth Jokbal: Traditional Jokbal stew pork leg of Korea (Korean braised pig’s trotters). This famous Myth Jokbal restaurant has two branches in Myeongdong and Hongdae. The menu has set meals for 2-3 people or 4-5 people. Jokbal has traditional taste and garlic flavor for you to choose. (Address: 78 Namdaemun-ro, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea / Hours: 11:40AM–3AM).
Budae Jjigae (Army Stew): In Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) has tokbokki rice cake, sausages and many side dishes. Army Stew shop is located on the 2nd floor of Milky Bee, opposite to Olive Young Myeongdong. Price is about 8.500 won/person. Go to Myeongdong Station and exit at Exit 8, follow the map and you willsee Milky Bee.
After eating, I wandering around Myeongdong Street. Walk around the streets that flower all eyes by the so many stores of cosmetics stores, clothing close together, very crowded and bustling. I want to buy everything. Beauty masks of many brands (The Face Shop, Nature Republic, …) sell super cheap and sell in sets of 20 pieces for only 10.000 won. There are many food stalls, vendors street food along the street, selling all kinds of foods: Friend chicken, ice cream, egg toast, rice cakes (tteokbokki), grilled beef, grilled lobster, long Korean fish cakes (odeng)…
What’s hot in Myeongdong? Read more: Myeongdong food blog — Top 12 Myeongdong best food & Myeongdong street food you must eat.
What to do in seoul for 3 days — Day 2: Dongdaemun Design Plaza – COEX Library – COEX Aquarium – Sinchon Street
Start a new day with Korean breakfast at the hotel. A light breakfast includes: Fried rice, fried meat with Korean sauce, sausage, pickled radish. Add a small bowl of soup and glass of milk.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
After breakfast, I prepare to going out. My first place is Dongdaemun Design Plaza. I use T-Money card to travel by bus. When you traveling by bus in Korea, remember to swipe the card in both cases: get on and get off. If you don’t have a T-Money card, you can buy it at convenience stores or vending machines at the subway stations. To make it easier to travel, before you make the trip, buy a T-Money card in advance and receive at home or Korean airports. Link to book here.
Lunch in Gangnam
Because I was planning to go to the Starfield Library and the COEX Aquarium before, both were at the COEX building in Gangnam area, so I had lunch in Gangnam too. The restaurant of my choice is Deulleum Jip, located right at Gangnam Station, Exit 5. There are many different Bibimbap types, affordable. Only from 7.500 – 8.500 won/dish. Delleum Jip restaurant was rated quite good by the diners, so I decided to come here to try ^^.
Starfield Library at COEX Mall
COEX Starfield Library since opening in 2017 has attracted a large number of visitors every day. The library impresses with shelves full of books tens of meters high reach the ceiling.
Starfield Library is divided into several areas: Reading area, laptop working area, cafe area for chatting with friends. Here you can read free books. The Library also occasionally holds book review or art exhibitions in that central lobby area. The nearest subway station is Samseong Station (Line 2, Exit 5-6) or Bongeunsa Station (Line 9, Exit 7).
COEX Aquarium is home to many of Korea’s largest marine species. The aquarium is located on the B1 floor, right in COEX Mall, near COEX Starfield Library so you can combine to visit them together.
Family with children going to Seoul to visit Aquarium for children to explore is very suitable. Although I am older, I still like to go to the Aquarium to watch fish, the sea turtles… I bought tickets in advance via Klook. Ticket price about 21.700 won. After payment, you will receive an E-voucher via email. On the day trip to of the Aquarium, you can redeem the voucher to tickets at the ticket counter outside the door for foreign visitors. I gave the E-voucher and finished. Link to book here: [Limited Offer: Free Hanbok Experience] Coex Aquarium Admission Ticket in Seoul.
Dinner in Sinchon
In the evening, I visit Sinchon and have dinner. Take the subway to Sinchon Station and exit at Exit gate and up to the ground is Sinchon. I went right on the occasion of Flower International Festival and Dance Cover contest of Korean students, so it was very happy. The music is very vibrant, exciting.
Going to Seoul, you definitely have to enjoy Korean barbecue. I eat barbecue at the Chakhan Pig Cafe – Sinchon (Address: 38 Hodong-ro 43beon-gil, Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju, South Korea). Buffet rate for adults before 5pm is 10.900 won/person and after 5pm is 12.900 won/person. Buffet here, besides meat, I see Korean-style fried appetizers, including pizza, spaghetti, sushi, kimbap, mashed potato salad, crab meat salad… all are very delicious. There is a water counter self-catering, drink out, let fill more: Peach tea, rice tea, Coca, Fanta, Sprite… Meat counter is arranged in a series of more than a dozen types of marinated pork and beef. If you like to eat any meat, take it out to the grill table.
The restaurant is crowded with people. When I arrived at the restaurant, the staff took out the waiting number and asked me wait a bit. Before me, there were two or three groups waiting but waiting for about 10 minutes, the tables are ready. The restaurant is crowded but the staff are fast and enthusiastic. Need to order something or replace the grill, only press the Call button on the table, the staff will come to your table immediately.
3 days in seoul — Day 3: Ewha Womans University Gwang Gwangjang Market – Sauna Jjimjilbang – Hongdae Street
Ewha Woman’s University
Ewha Womans University area has millions of beautiful virtual living spots for you to take photos until your camera is burn ^^. The cherry blossoms in the spring and the red leaves in autumn. Pick up your camera and go to Ewha Womans University now!
Address: 52 Ewhayeodae-gil, Daehyeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.
Gwangjang Market is a traditional market in Seoul. This is the food paradise. If you love Korean cuisine like me, do not forget to visit the market to enjoy Korean dishes.
Some must try dishes: Soondae (Korean Blood Sausage), Mayak Gimbap Roll rice, Bindaetteok Pancake, Fish cake (odeng), Spicy Tteokbokki, …
Address: 88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 4 (sa) -ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Jjimjilbang (Korean Sauna)
Surely everyone when watching Korean movies is familiar with the scene of Jjimjilbang public sauna, right? Going to Seoul, I am determined to try the sauna experience once. Surfing google and reading reviews, I found Seoul Dragon Hill Spa is the largest and famous sauna in Seoul. So famous that many film crews choose to film their movie scene. So I decided to reserve the sauna here.
Dragon Hill Spa has both sauna and spa. Each guest will receive a set of short clothes and a cute headband. Exactly the same on movies.
Address Seoul Dragon Hill Spa: 40-712 Hangangno-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In the evening, I go to Hongdae neighborhood. Hongdae is a famous neighborhood in Seoul. This is an area where young Koreans often gather, so hanging out here should be called a blind eye because of pretty boys and girls ^^.
In the evening, Hongdae gathers a lot of bustling street music and singing groups. This area also has many delicious milk tea shops, at the beginning of the street is Gongcha. Hongdae is a student area, so the clothing stores and fashion accessories here update new trends very quickly. You definitely have fun and freely shopping when coming here.
Where to stay?
Depending on budget you can choose a lot of areas to stay. Here are some areas:
Budget: Dorm rooms in Hongdae and Myeongdong areas.
Medium: Hotels in Bukchon Ancient Village, or hotels in Hongdae and Myeongdong areas.
Luxury: Hotels in Gangnam area.
Below are some best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- GLAD Mapo, 4-star hotel with room rates from $88/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- L7 Hotel Myeongdong, 4-star hotel with room rates from $124/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Lotte Hotel Seoul, 5-star hotel with room rates from $181/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Skypark Kingstown Dongdaemun, 4-star hotel with room rates from $94/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel PJ Myeongdong, 4-star hotel with room rates from $71/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Nine Tree Hotel Myeong-dong, 3-star hotel with room rates from $50/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- The Grand Hotel Myeongdong, 3-star hotel with room rates from $89/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Metro Hotel, 3-star hotel with room rates from $78/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Sunbee Hotel, 3-star hotel with room rates from $92/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Ibis Ambassador Seoul Insadong, 3-star hotel with room rates from $54/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Skypark Myeongdong III, 3-star hotel with room rates from $87/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from Seoul you can refer to
- Private Incheon International Airport Transfers (ICN) for Seoul
- Private Incheon Airport Transfers (ICN) for Seoul
- Incheon International Airport (ICN) Limousine Bus Transfers for Seoul (Gangnam District)
- Klook Exclusive Seoul 5 Day Pass
- Discover Seoul Pass (BTS Edition Available)
- [SALE] Instant Ticket! Korea Rail Pass (KR PASS) 2/3/4/5 Days to travel around the cities in Korea
- Private Incheon Airport (ICN) and Gimpo Airport (GMP) Transfers for Seoul by S.A Tour
- Everland Private Car Charter with Admission Ticket by Wondertrip
- KAL Limousine Bus Ticket for Seoul
- [Limited Offer] AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket in Seoul
- Bukchon Oneday Hanbok Rental Experience (4/24 Hrs)
- Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm, and Gangchon Rail Bike Day Tour from Seoul
- Seoul City Sightseeing Bus (Downtown Palace Namsan Course/Seoul Panorama Course)
- [Limited Offer] Incheon International Airport (ICN) Luggage Services (Between Airport and Hotel) by Safex
- 4G Prepaid SIM Card (SK Airports Pick Up) for South Korea
- [SALE] South Korea 4G Pocket WiFi (KR Airports Pick Up) from KT Olleh
- 4G WiFi (MY Airport Pick Up) for South Korea (Unlimited Data)
- 4G Portable WiFi for South Korea from Uroaming (Unlimited Data)
Are you looking for more Seoul travel guide and top things to do in Seoul: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Seoul travel blog — The fullest Seoul travel guide blog for a wonderful budget trip to Seoul for the first time.