Seoul Tour by Subway Line 1
Photo: Night view of Cheonggyecheon Stream
Seoul Subway Line 1 was the first metro line introduced in Korea. Beginning with a route from Dobong-gu, Seoul to Incheon, the line has now expanded to Uijeongbu and Dong-Ducheon in the north as well as Suwon and Cheonan in the south. Not only does the route itself have a long history, the line also passes through downtown Seoul and many traditional monuments. From flea markets to wholesale fish markets and outlets to department stores, travelers can satisfy a variety of shopping needs on this line. In addition, Seoul Subway Line 1 is connected to several parts of the Seoul metropolitan area, making traveling outside of the city not only possible, but easy!
<Main Attractions on Line 1>
Photo: Hongneung Arboretum
- ▶ Hongneung Arboretum: Hoegi Station, Exit 1, approx. 20-min walk
- Located 1.45 km west of Hoegi Station is the nation's first arboretum – Hongneung Arboretum. Built on the Hongneung burial site, which is the royal tomb of Queen Myeong-Seong, the garden boasts plants from both home and abroad, and is a representative forest located in the city center of Seoul. As the arboretum serves as a research center, managed by the Korea Forest Research Institute, it is not open on weekdays but is open on the weekends for free to the public.
- ※ Connecting Station: Cheongnyangni Station (Seoul Subway Line 1)
Photo: Seoul Medicine Market
- ▶ Seoul Medicine Market (Oriental Medicine Industry District): Jegi-dong Station, Exit 2, approx. 5-min walk
- From Exit 2 of Jegi-dong Station, you will find two alleys leading directly to Seoul Medicine Market, also known as Gyeongdong Medicine Market. As it is located close to one of the major train stations in Korea, Cheongnyangni Station, Seoul Medicine Market is home to the nation's largest gathering of wholesale and resale shops dealing with oriental herbs gathered from around the country. Also nearby exit 3 is Seoul Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Museum, a museum displaying oriental relics and samples of medicinal herbs.
Photo: Seoul Folk Flea Market
- ▶ Seoul Folk Flea Market: Sinseol-dong Station, Exit 10, approx. 5-min walk
- Seoul Folk Flea Market first originated from the flea market in Hwanghak-dong, where many street shops and vendors gathered around Cheonggyecheon Stream. It was moved to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park (formerly Dongdaemun Station) while Cheonggyecheon Stream was undergoing renovations, and was restored and modernized to its current state later. The first floor mainly offers antique tools, electronics, and household items, while leisure sports items and regional specialties can be found on the second level.
- ※ Connecting Station: Sinseol-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2)
Photo: Dongmyo Shrine (left) / Dongmyo Flea Market (right)
- ▶ Dongmyo Flea Market: Dongmyo Station, Exit 3, approx. 1-min walk
- Known as the outdoor version of Seoul Folk Flea Market, Dongmyo Flea Market has recently gained popularity among the younger generation, thanks to being visited by singer G-Dragon during filming of the popular Korean variety show "Infinite Challenge." Tourists can also get a taste of a unique and relatively cheap shopping experience! With just 10,000 won, you can buy some cool and interesting secondhand items including books, snacks and other vintage items.
- ※ Connecting Station: Dongmyo Station (Seoul Subway Line 6)
Photo: Heunginjimun Gate (left) / Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone (right)
- ▶ Dongdaemun Gate (Heunginjimun Gate): Dongdaemun Station, Exit 6, approx. 2~3-min walk
- Designated Treasure No. 1, Heunginjimun Gate is the easternmost gate of the eight gates in Seoul and was built in 1398 and rebuilt in 1869. The arched gate along with the two-story building display architecture from the late Joseon Dynasty. One of the special features of this gate is the presence of ongseong (small walls that protect the gate), making it slightly different from the other gates in Seoul.
- ※ Connecting Station: Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 4)
- ▶ Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone: Dongdaemun Station, Exit 7, approx. 5-min walk
- The Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone consists of both wholesale and retail markets. From Pyeonghwa Market and a variety of shopping complexes to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), this is an area with a wide assortment of shopping space. The biggest advantage that visitors can get here is the fashion boutiques of young and avant-garde high-end fashion designers. Gorgeous lighting at night and a wealth of cultural events add to the fun of shopping and for that, it is known as Seoul's representative attraction for midnight shopping.
- ※ Connecting Station: Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 4) / Jongno 5(o)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1)
Jongno 5(o)-ga Station
Photo: Gwangjang Market
- ▶ Gwangjang Market: Jongno 5(o)-ga Station, Exit 8, approx. 5-min walk
- Gwangjang Market began in 1905 and in 1962, the market was separated into Dongdaemun Market and the current Gwangjang Market seen today. Imported goods can mostly be found on the second and third floors while bindae-tteok (mung bean pancake), gimbap, yukhoe (beef tartare) and many other delicious street foods are notably found in the first level of the market. Although it is a traditional market, it is one of the most popular attractions in the Jongno area among the local youth and international tourists.
Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station
Photo: Jongmyo Shrine's Jeongjeon Hall (the main hall) (left) / Interior of Jongmyo (right)
- ▶ Jongmyo Shrine: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station, Exit 11, approx. 5-min walk
- The primary place of worship throughout the Joseon Dynasty and where the ancestral tablets of Joseon's kings and queens are kept, Jongmyo Shrine is Seoul's representative UNESCO World Heritage. Every year on the first Sunday of May, the Jongmyodaeje (Royal Ancestral Memorial Rite of Joseon) ceremony is held. It is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity element, Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 56 (Jongmyo Jerye), and Korea's Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 1 (Jongmyo Jeryeak). Commentary programs for the cultural assets are available and explained in English, Chinese and Japanese to help international tourists understand this important heritage in more detail.
- ※ Connecting Station: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 5)
Photo: Tapgol Park (left) / Ten-story Stone Pagoda of Wongaksa Temple (right)
- ▶ Tapgol Park: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station, Exit 1, approx. 5-min walk
- Emblemized as the first modern park to be built in Seoul, Tapgol Park was constructed in 1897 at the former site of Wongaksa Temple. Previously known as Pagoda Park and renamed Tapgol Park in 1992, the park is of great historical value and national spirit as it was the starting point of the Independence Protest on March 1, 1919. Another attraction of the park is the Ten-story Stone Pagoda of Wongaksa Temple (National Treasure No. 2), built in 1467.
- ※ Connecting Station: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 5)
Photo: Insa-dong Street
- ▶ Insa-dong: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station, Exit 1, approx. 10-min walk
- One of Seoul's representative tourist attractions is none other than the traditional streets of Insa-dong. Many shops selling books, antiques and traditional products can be found here. Visitors can also experience the traditional art culture as traditional houses converted into art galleries and museums are available, as well as the popular art street, Ssamzie-gil Road. Another attraction to not be missed at Insa-dong is the variety of delicious foods sold at traditional restaurants and street vendors.
- ※ Connecting Station: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 5) / Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3)
Photo: Cheonggyecheon Stream (top) /
Bosingak Belfry (bottom-left) / Jogyesa Temple (bottom-right)
- ▶ Cheonggyecheon Stream & Cheonggye Plaza: Jonggak Station, Exit 5, approx. 2-min walk
- Cheonggyecheon Stream stretches a total of 10.84km from Jongno-gu to Jung-gu, and has been at the center of Seoul citizens' lives for a long time. The Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project took place in 2005, and transformed the former neglected waterway into a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life. Plaques found here provide detailed commentaries on the 22 bridges that span the stream, as well as a number of graceful fountains that add to the ambience of the area.
- ※ Connecting Station: Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2) / Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5)
- ▶ Bosingak Belfry: Jonggak Station, Exit 4, approx. 1-min walk
- The Bosingak Belfry was used during the Joseon Dynasty to keep the time. Since 1985, a special ceremony is held at the Bosingak Belfry every New Year's Eve where the bell is rung 33 times in front of large crowds. From 2009, foreigners have been able to participate in the ongoing Bosingak Bell-Ringing Ceremony program.
- ▶ Jogyesa Temple: Jonggak Station, Exit 2, approx. 10-min walk
- Jogyesa Temple is the center of Korean Buddhism, and is well-known thanks to its location in the city. The locust trees and baeksong trees in front of Daeungjeon Hall, the main temple building, are about 400-500 years old. A templestay program is available and visitors who are interested in the religion may find out more at the Memorial Museum of History and Culture of Korean Buddhism, found within the temple grounds as well.
City Hall Station
Photo: Seoul Museum of Art (left) / Deoksugung Stone-wall Road (right)
- ▶ Seoul Museum of Art: City Hall Station, Exit 1, approx. 5-min walk
- Jeongdong-gil Road is a representative cultural street in Seoul. Conveniently located in the center, the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) is a Korean modern art museum where visitors can view a combination of modern architecture and art. Formerly the Supreme Court building, SeMA moved into the location in 2002. The old façade was preserved, while the building was renovated into a three-story building with 6 exhibition halls, a lecture hall for educational programs, and a library where a collection of 3,500 pieces of art from famous writers are available. An outdoor sculpture garden is also available, serving as a good promenade for a leisure stroll.
- ▶ Deoksugung Palace & Deoksugung Doldam-gil (Deoksugung Stone-wall Road): City Hall Station, Exit 2, approx. 1-min walk
- Originally called Gyeongungung Palace during the Joseon Dynasty, the name was later changed to Deoksugung Palace. Held in front of Daehanmun Gate, the Deoksugung Palace Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony is a tradition similar to the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace that offers a rare opportunity for visitors to experience the royal culture. With prior reservations, visitors can participate in the royal guard-changing ceremony as well. From Daehanmun Gate, the stone-wall road along Deoksugung Palace is also known as one of Seoul's representative walking trails. The site is particularly beautiful during the fall foliate peak, and is a top filming location for Korean dramas.
- ▶ Jeongdong Theater: City Hall Station, Exit 1, approx. 1-min walk
- Opened on June 17, 1995, Jeongdong Theater is historically significant in that it represents the restored Wongaksa, the first modern theater in Korea. Famous performances include pansori, followed by the traditional musical "Love Songs from Chunhyang," and as of now, “MISO: Baebijang-jeon," a series of traditional musicals created by Jeongdong Theater. The performances provide subtitles in English, Chinese and Japanese. Facilities at the theater include Ssamji Courtyard and an outdoor café. The main theater has a capacity of 282 seats, including 2 seats for the handicapped.
- ※ Connecting Station: City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 2)
Photo: Seoul Plaza (left) / Sungnyemun Gate (right)
- ▶ City Hall (Seoul Plaza): City Hall Station, Exit 5, approx. 1-min walk
- Seoul Plaza, located in front of Seoul City Hall, is a place loved by both local citizens and international tourists. It is also a well-known place where tens of thousands of Korean soccer fans gathered to cheer during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Games. It is used as a venue for various events and cultural festivals. Every winter, it transforms into the outdoors Seoul Square Ice Skating Rink. Also onsite is Seoul Metropolitan Library, providing access to a wide range of documents and materials about Seoul Metropolitan City.
- ※ Connecting Station: City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 2) / Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5)
- ▶ Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate): City Hall Station, Exit 7, approx. 10-min walk
- Sungnyemun Gate is National Treasure No. 1, and its unofficial name is Namdaemun Gate. It is the longest-standing stone structure in the city, and boasts a beauty acheived by balance and moderation. In 2008, Sungnyemun was destroyed by fire and the reconstruction was completed in 2010. A plaza is built around the Sungnyemun Gate where visitors can get a close feel of the majesty of the gate.
- ※ Connecting Station: Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1) /City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 2) / Hoehyeon Station (Seoul Subway Line 4)
Photo: Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
- ▶ Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market: Noryangjin Station, Exit 1, approx. 5-min walk
- If you want to smell the sea in downtown Seoul, pay a visit Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. With about 370 types of marine products available, Noryangjin is one of the largest seafood markets in Korea. Visitors can enjoy sampling the food while shopping to purchase fresh seafood and have it sliced into hoe (sliced raw fish) at one of the restaurants in the market. If raw fish doesn't appeal to you, have the fish cooked and prepared into maeun-tang (spicy fish stew), grilled fish, or one of the other variations. Open 24 hours all year-round, the market offers an authentic marketplace feel with bustling patrons no matter what time you decide to visit.
- ※ Connecting Station: Noryangjin Station (Seoul Subway Line 9)
Gasan Digital Complex Station
Photo: Gasan Digital Complex Shopping Outlet
- ▶ Gasan Digital Complex Shopping Outlet: Gasan Digital Complex Station, Exit 4, approx. 2-min walk
- Gasan Digital Complex is the name given to the industrial complex near the old Garibong-dong neighborhood. However, rather than the industrial complex, the area is well-known as a shopping haven among the youth. Recently, mega outlets opening in the area have created a fashion district, luring in young people from all over the country. Above all, famous brands are selling their products at 50% to 80% discounts, making the area even more attractive and worth a visit.
- ※ Connecting Station: Gasan Digital Complex Station (Seoul Subway Line 7)
Photo: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress (left) / Hwaseong Train (right)
- ▶Hwaseong Fortress [UNESCO World Heritage]: Suwon Station, Exit 4, approx. 20-min by bus
- Hwaseong Fortress, constructed in 1796, is an impressive and representative structure of the Joseon Dynasty. The fortress wall stretches for a total of 5.7km and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hwaseong Train is a tourist train that allows tourists to continue traveling from Yeonmudae Post to Hwahongmun Gate, Janganmun Gate, Hwaseomun Gate and on until Paldalsan Mountain. In spring, royal azaleas bloom along the walkway between Changnyongmun Gate and Paldalmun Gate. Visitors can participate in an archery experience at Suwon Hwaseong Museum, and visit Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, one of the filming locations of MBC TV Drama “Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum).” In addition, the Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival is held every October here.
- ※ Connecting Station: Hwaseo Station (Seoul Subway Line 1)
Photo: Night view of Paldalmun Gate
- ▶ Paldalmun Gate: Suwon Station, Exit 4, approx. 20-min by bus
- Paldalmun Gate is the southern gate of Hwaseong Fortress, designated National Treasure No. 402. A crescent shaped ongseong is built on the outside of the door. The ongseong here is unique in that it is detached from the main gate structure. The gate was able to survive the Korean War with minimal damage and is close to its original condition.
Photo: Incheon China Town (left) / Wolmido Island (right)
- ▶ Incheon China Town: Incheon Station, Exit 1, approx. 2-min walk
- The Incheon China Town area was formed with the opening of the Incheon Port in 1883. In the past, the area held many stores trading goods imported from China. Known for the invention of the Chinese dish, jajangmyeon (black soy bean noodles), the streets are lined with top-quality Chinese restaurants. The area also houses Jajangmyeon Museum, a special museum dedicated to the dish, introducing its history, progress in development, and the influence and value it effected on Korea. If time allows, drop by the Historical & Cultural Town located in the vicinity to learn more about the history and culture of the area.
- ▶ Wolmido Island: Incheon Station, Exit 1, approx. 20-min by bus
- Wolmi Traditional Park, cruises, culture streets, cafes, restaurants and great sea views are all available, making Wolmido island the perfect place for leisure strolls or a retreat from the city. Wolmi Theme Park, previously My Land, is a famous amusement park on the island. The park has various exciting rides, such as the 70-meter-high Hyper Shoot Drop, Tagada Disco, a two-story Viking Ship, a 115 meters high Ferris Wheel, and many others.
<Last updated on October 16, 2015>
* This column was last updated in October 2015, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.