8 Reasons to Visit Seoul With Your Family is a guest post written by Karen. For more information about her, please check out her social channels at the end of the post.
It’s no secret that Seoul, South Korea has become one of the top travel destinations in Asia in recent years. With the popularity of all things “K”, K-Pop, K-Drama and K-Beauty, travelers from all over the world are drawn to Seoul, eager to experience what this metropolitan city has to offer. For families who are looking to spend some quality and fun family bonding time, Seoul is the perfect destination. From food to theme parks and travel convenience. Everything that you need and want for your family vacation can be found in this amazing city. These are eight reasons to visit seoul with your family!
CLEAN AND SAFE
Safety is definitely on top of any traveler’s concerns and that’s one less thing to worry about while you are in Seoul. Violent crimes are rare and although petty crimes such as theft and pick-pocketing are not uncommon, it can be completely prevented by exercising normal safety precautions when in Seoul. Leave your valuables at home and look after your belongings. Also, most major tourist spots are patrolled by police so you can get assistance anytime it’s needed.
Seoul is not spotless clean like let’s say, Tokyo, but it’s definitely one of the cleanest cities in the world. They maintain a high level of cleanliness from the streets to public transportation and restrooms, which is very reassuring for every foreign visitor.
EXCELLENT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
Seoul’s subway system is so extensive that you probably won’t need to use any other form of transportation during your visit. The only exception is if you are going out of the city for a day trip, in which case you can easily book a bus tour for convenience. And you don’t even need to choose a hotel in the central area. Anywhere in Seoul is acceptable. Most of the time you’ll end up in an area that has access to at least two subway stations, making it easier to travel just about anywhere.
And while I encourage the use of subway to tourists, I recognize that it may not be for all especially for families travelling with babies or toddlers. But fret not because as an alternative, you can always take a taxi. Taxi fares are reasonable and are available in all parts of the city.
And the best part of all this, the ease of payment. T-money cards can be purchased at convenience stores and subway stations. You can use it on the subway, public bus and taxi, and it’s also an acceptable form of payment for some convenience stores and attractions. Reloading the card is fast and easy, you get a slightly discounted transit fare, and you don’t have to get the refundable 500 won deposit on single journey tickets every time you get off the train.
THE PEOPLE YOU MEET
Don’t let their non-smiling faces fool you. Koreans can be a bit intimidating at your first approach but they are actually incredibly friendly and you’re guaranteed to meet some of the most fun-loving people in the world when you’re in Seoul. They are generous, hospitable and just enjoyable to be around. They work hard but they also play harder. If you want to have a good time, they will give you a great time. My experiences in Seoul (and in Guam when I was a hotel intern) will not be the same without the company of these amazing friends that I intend to keep for life.
What’s more is that they value families and love children. Koreans, especially the elderly, are known to be accommodating and affectionate to children. It’s not uncommon for them to give special attention to kids, whether you’re just walking down the street and even more so when it’s meal time at local restaurants.
Also, over the years, more Koreans are becoming fluent in spoken English. Asking for directions or ordering a meal is now a less-awkward interaction for all. Plus, they are so used to tourists coming into their vibrant city all year round that you can even expect to find tourism officers stationed at the city’s popular spots
CULTURE AND HISTORY
Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the many great historical sites around the city.
No trip to Seoul is complete without learning a bit of its history. Koreans are proud of their heritage and are very nationalistic. A lot of their customs and traditions are still being practiced today which is quite admirable.
Seoul invites its visitors to experience the Korean culture first-hand. They even encourage the tourists to wear hanboks, the traditional Korean attire, offering free admission to palaces and historic sites if you are wearing one. This is definitely an interesting way to learn about who they are and immerse oneself in their culture.
And kids can have as much fun as you because Seoul actually have museums specifically designed for kids. You can find one inside the National Folk Museum of Korea behind the Gyeongbokgung Palace or take a special trip to the Seoul Children’s Museum.
If you haven’t tried any Korean food yet, let me just say that you are missing out on something. It’s the only type of cuisine where the side dishes are the actual star of the meal. Bibimbap, bulgogi, kimchi and grilled meat, are the most recognizable dishes but seriously, that’s just the tip of the Korean food iceberg. I haven’t even mentioned any of their street food!
But of course, we can’t expect everyone especially kids to automatically love the unique taste of Korean cuisine at their first bite. Luckily, Seoul’s food options are endless and contrary to what most people believe, not everything is spicy. Eat at one of those BBQ joints or maybe some Korean-style fried chicken. If you are looking for some comfort and familiar food, there are plenty of international food chains to choose from and various cuisines that are bound to satisfy your craving.
If you are considering visiting Korea you may also find these books helpful.
Lonely Planet Korea – Lonely Planet is known for being one of the best guide book creators out there. I have to agree as I think this book is great for anyone considering coming to Korea.
Lonely Planet Seoul – Lonely Planet once again, this time the book just focuses on Seoul though. Definitely worth it if you are only visiting Seoul.
Insight Guides Korea – Another very helpful guide that is useful to anyone visiting Korea. This is less of a book about places to stay and things to do (Lonely Planet is better), and instead covers a lot of the background of Korea and certain locations.
These are affiliate links and purchasing these books via the links will provide me with a share of the purchase. This comes at no extra cost to you and supports me at the same time.
You can’t go to Seoul without doing even just a tiny bit of shopping. After all, this is where hip fashion trends are born and where face masks are sold by the bulk.
Underground malls, outdoor markets and rows of mid to luxury department stores, there’s nothing that you want or need that you can’t buy in this city. Pick up a couple of traditional items and souvenirs at Insadong, bargain-hunt at Dongdaemun or shop until you drop at the very tourist-centric Myeongdong. Everyone in the family can take home a little something.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
What better way to enjoy time with family than to spend a few hours strolling in one of Seoul’s numerous parks. In between the skyscrapers and modern buildings are beautiful parks and other natural attractions that will make you forget that you are in the middle of a concrete jungle.
Enjoy a family picnic near the Han River or let the kids play at any of the open playgrounds you will see as you explore the city.
ENDLESS ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR FAMILY
Why not use some of your spare time to check out a board game cafe?
Trust me when I say that you will never run out of activities when you’re in Seoul. The city alone has several amusement parks and centers that should keep you busy for a few days. Surely, there will always be something that you can do that would interest everyone in the family and for any weather condition. After all, spending time with the family is the main reason why you are all in this family vacation.
Most major attractions have facilities for kids, babies and toddlers and pregnant women. Strollers are also commonly available for tourists to borrow or rent.
Do you want a uniquely Korean experience that is fun for the whole family? Spend a few hours at a Jjimjilbang. A Jjimjilbang is a public bath house furnished with saunas, hot tubs, swimming pools, a recreation center and a sleeping area. While the rest of the world’s idea of a spa is that it’s an adults-only affair, Koreans made sure that it can be a fun family activity as well. Not all Jjimjilbangs are created equal though but Seoul, being a big city and all, you can be assured that you’ll find a Jjimjilbang that would suit the needs and welcome every member of your family.
About the Author
Karen is a part-time blogger and full-time SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). She loves to cook, eat, travel and binge-watch Korean dramas. Seoul is one of her favorite cities in the world. Read more about her travel adventures and tips at kgbinwanderland.com.