5 Day Trips From Seoul Not In Your Guide Book

We all need a break from the big city from time to time. And now that you’ve been in Seoul for a while, you’ve exhausted all of the options in your guide book. Sound familiar? Where can you go that might be a bit more unique? We’ve chosen our top 5 day trips outside of Seoul that make an easy and enjoyable journey. Whether you’re a cafe lover or a nature enthusiast, we have a little something for everyone.

Yangpyeong Bukhan River | 양평 북한강

Are you the kind of person who writes ‘likes long strolls’ on your list of ideal partners? Maybe Yangpyeong’s tributary of the Han River, Bukhan River to be exact, is the perfect spot for you.

Located to the northeast of Seoul, Yangpyeong county takes about one hour to reach from the capital city via train or car. Yangpyeong is an incredibly large stretch of land, larger than all of Seoul, and mostly consists of forested hills and sprawling farmland.

If you’re looking for a more natural getaway from the big city, a lengthy walk and picnic along the river is undoubtedly a soothing retreat for your inner nature lover, while simultaneously not being too far from comfort.

HOW TO GET THERE FROM SEOUL

Train: Take the KTX from Seoul Station (서울역) to Yangpyeong Station (양평역). It takes approximately 45 minutes and costs around 10,000 won. From the station, turn right on the main road and continue until you reach the river.

Subway: Take the Gyeonghui Jungang (경희중앙선) line to Yangpyeong Station. It takes around 2 hours and costs around 4,000 won.

Car: Driving takes around 45 minutes without tolls.

Handicap Accessibility: Yes

*Make sure you don’t confuse Yangpyeong Station in Yangpyeong Country with the same station name located in Seoul.

Gwanggyo Café Street | 광교 카페거리

Sometimes I want to leave the city to do exactly what I already do in it – visit cafés and eat good food. Luckily I found the perfect place as one of our day trips outside of Seoul, just an hour away from the big city – Gwanggyo’s Cafe Street – located just at the edge of Suwon near lush gardens and historical landmarks.

The cafe street is small, bordering a thin stream that’s home to local wildlife. The walk that the water’s edge offers is an additional gift to match a gorgeous cup of coffee. Despite the neighborhood lacking an expansive square space, there’s still plenty to see and do.

Additionally, the apartments here all have a semi-European feel to them as seen through the twisted iron railings guarding windows on pointed-roof buildings. There’s also a luxurious aspect of the place – while you take a stroll, peek into plenty of bougie clothing and jewelry shops.

HOW TO GET THERE FROM SEOUL

Subway: Take the Shinbundang Line (신분당호) to Gwanggyo Jugang Station (광교중앙역) and depart from Exit 3. Head straight until you reach the first intersection. Turn right until you see a small stream with a bridge (10 min walk). Cross the bridge to reach the cafe street.

Car: Drive one hour and thirty minutes from Seoul station. The shortest route will cost around 4,000 won in tolls.

Bus: Take bus M5115 or M5121 from Seoul Station (서울역). Depart the bus at Prugio World Mark Station (차세대용합기술연구원). The ride will take approximately 50 minutes.

Address: Woncheon-dong, Suwon-si (원천동, 수원시)
Handicap Accessibility: Yes

Paik Nam June Art Center | 백남준아트센터

Want to learn more about Korea’s modern history? A great place to start is with the country’s most famous contemporary artist, Paik Nam June (백남준).

Paik is an internationally renowned sculpturist and performance artist whose work played a huge role in the international Fluxus movement. He’s most commonly associated with the term ‘electronic superhighway’ as his projects mostly focussed on telecommunications and the opening up of Korea to the outside world in the 1980s.

The art center is certainly a museum for Paik, but also features a second floor of current artists whose work is greatly inspired by or carries on Paik’s legend. The exhibitions change regularly, so even if you’ve been once before, you may be inspired again. There is also a small cafe and outdoor garden space offering great photo-opts.

HOW TO GET THERE FROM SEOUL

Subway: Take the subway to Giheung Station (기흥역) Exit 5 and follow the stream west until you reach a small bridge called Galchon Bridge (갈천교). Turn left and the Paik Nam June Center is just up the road.

Bus: Take bus 5000B or 5005 from Seoul Station (서울역). It takes one hour and fifteen minutes and the buses come at a 15-minute interval. It will cost around 4,000 won. Exit the bus at Lotte Castle Sky E And Dream (롯데캐슬스카이이앤드림) and follow the sign to the center. The walk will take about 5 minutes.

Car: Driving from Seoul Station will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes and costs 2,000 won in tolls.

Address: 10 Baengnamjulro, Sanggal-dong, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
Entrance Fee: Varies depending on the exhibition. Please check the center’s website.
Handicap Accessibility: Yes

Ilsan Lake Park | 일산호수공원

One of the most hip-hop-happening places in Ilsan, Ilsan Lake Park is a day trip with so much more to offer than a scenic water view. Located just beside the city center and surrounded by towering media companies, this getaway from Seoul is still located in a bustling location.

Ilsan Lake Park is the largest man-made lake in Asia and while you can spend hours in nearby shopping districts, I promise you can and should spend even more time here. Not in the mood to walk? Rent a bike at the entrance of the pond for a more breezy time.

For nature lovers, check out the flower patches like the rose garden, traditional garden, or lily pond. In the case of the more succulent inclined, pass these to reach the cactus hall. And for those seeking entertainment, head to the amphitheater for daily performances by buskers, street dancers, and paid performers alike. And lastly, a sight not to be missed is the Goyang Toilet Exhibition displaying toilets from various ages and countries.

HOW TO GET THERE FROM SEOUL

Subway: Take Line 3 to Jeongbalsan Station (절발산역) Exit 1 or 2. It takes approximately one hour and will cost about 2,000 won.

Bus: Take a bus from Hapjeong Station (합정역) to Ilsan Police Station (일산경찰서). When you get off the bus, head south towards the lake. It takes about 5 minutes on foot.

Car: Take a taxi from Seoul Station for about 30,000 won or drive yourself approximately 20 minutes.

Address: 595 Hosu-ro, Janghang-dong, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Handicap Accessibility: Yes

Paju Book City | 파주출판도시

“A book is a present that you can open again and again.” At least, that’s what someone said in a horrible film I watched once. But the quote stuck with me nonetheless, and it’s obviously the motto of the enchanting Paju Book City, located just 40 minutes outside of Seoul. Although the last on our list of day trips outside of Seoul, it was a definite must-add.

The Book City is more of a complex, really, that aims to publish, sell and promote Korean literature. If you’re a fluent Korean speaker, attending book signings here is a great opportunity to see who’s art the forefront. If not, come here to be enchanted by the stunning libraries and architecture that dots this particularly wealthier part of the city.

As I mentioned, this is an architect’s heaven. Some of the greatest stops for those with a keen eye for shape and design are as follows: White Block Gallery, Kyomunsa Publishers, and the Mimesis Museum.

HOW TO GET THERE FROM SEOUL

Bus: Take bus 2200 from Hapjeong Station (합정역). Depart at Eunseokgyo Bridge and walk straight for 3 minutes. The journey costs loss than 2,000 won and takes about 45 minutes.

Car: The drive from the center of Seoul is about 35 minutes and is free of tolls.

So, which day trips outside of Seoul would you choose first? Have you tried any before? What are some other suggestions off the beaten path? As always, leave us a comment below and let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

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