Essential Seoul

Tour Creator

David has lived in South Korea for 35 years, fascinated by exploring its sites and history.  He is currently serving as a Professor of Cultural Tourism at Sejong University in…Read More Bio »



Remote Tour Included



On our Essential Seoul tour, we’ll explore the city’s governmental and commercial power throughout early modern Korean history. Along the way, we’ll see monuments dedicated to Korea’s brilliant renaissance era, tragic colonial era and democracy-gaining eras.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Expert-created Tour

Written by a Professor of Cultural Tourism at Sejong University

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Shrine of Joseon King Gojong, Gwanghwa-mun Square and Cheonggye-cheon Stream

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home


Essential Seoul

  1. Old Seoul City Hall - Here we begin on Seoul Plaza, in front of City Hall, with some good views of what was Hanyang, Korea’s capital since 1392. We'll discuss the significance of Japanese Imperialism in Korea.
  2. New Seoul City Hall - We'll explore the impressive ultra-modern architecture.
  3. Power Center of Seoul - Now we have views of the “Power Center of Seoul, with the Press Center and Finance Buildings, the Koreana Hotel and the Blue House presidential residence.
  4. Cheonggye-cheon Stream - Here we are at the origin of the restored Cheonggye-cheon Stream, and we’ll learn about its geomantic significance of it in this area becoming Korea’s capital.
  5. Stream Waterfall - Now you see the Cheonggye-cheon Waterfall and you will hear about the dramatic rise-and-fall story of Mayor then President Lee who built all this.
  6. Shrine of Joseon King Gojung - This is the 40th Anniversary Monument Shrine of Joseon King Gojong, the Joseon Dynasty’s final monarch, with a tragic story of losing his kingdom to Japan.
  7. Gwanghwa-mun Square - This is the Symbolic Political Center of the Nation, the great intersection of main-streets and the foot of Gwanghwa-mun Square, site of so many great modern events.
  8. Sewol Ferry Tragedy Memorial Shrine - You are now at the Sewol Ferry Tragedy Memorial Shrine, and will learn the controversial tales of Korea’s first woman-president and her father, the Great Dictator.
  9. Admiral Yi Sun-shin Monument - Here we are at the famous statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin, one of the top national heroes from more than four centuries ago, that dominates lower Gwanghwa-mun Square.
  10. Great King Sejong Monument - This is the golden statue and scientific invention monuments of Great King Sejong, simply the best king that Korea ever enjoyed having.
  11. Behind Great King Sejong Monument - Beside and behind King Sejong the Great’s monument, we can learn about the Korean alphabet and other many accomplishments that made him such a great monarch.
  12. Gwanghwa-mun Square - Now for a few more interesting sites of Gwanghwa-mun Square, the 600-year history water-stream monument, a strangely decrepit embassy, and the new National Museum of Contemporary History.
  13. Gwanghwa-mun Gate - Here at the end of the long plaza, we can see the actual Gwanghwa-mun Gate with its guards and Haetae Statues, and consider where you might go next.

Check out a free sample of this tour!

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