There’re plenty of things to do in Seoul, but do you know it also makes an excellent base to explore the surroundings? Here are some of my favorite day trips from Seoul to fantastic destinations within easy driving distance.
You can enjoy the unique culture, tasty cuisine, and scenic landscapes with unforgettable experiences on these little getaways.
This place is also the setting of many iconic K-dramas, including the Winter Sonata movie, one of the best heart-stopping and sweetly romantic K-dramas ever.
Wandering or biking around the island’s walking trails is a great way to unwind and see more of the island’s natural beauty.
The most popular path is Central Korean Pine Tree Lane, which is dotted with towering Korean pine trees. I also love Metasequoia Lane with its rows of tall trees that turn a beautiful golden color in the fall!
Also, cultural activities such as traditional Korean music performances and crafts workshops will bring a lot of fun. Besides them, relaxing by zip-lining in peaceful surroundings is great too.
The Korean DMZ
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is excellent for those passionate about history, politics, and culture.
As a representation of the persistent schism between the two Koreas, it is widely recognized as one of the world’s most closely guarded military boundaries.
Make sure to stop at the DMZ Museum on your day trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone to get a sense of the history of political and military tension between North and South Korea.
The Joint Security Area (JSA), from which inquisitive South Koreans may see straight into North Korea, is another appealing alternative.
Moreover, it is worth taking a memento picture and reading about the aspirations for a reunion at Dorasan Station, the last train stop in South Korea, before crossing into North Korea.
However, make sure that you plan ahead and book a trip in advance since access to some parts of the DMZ is limited and requires a guide.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
Suwon is one of the most popular day trips from Seoul within easy traveling distance.
The best attraction here is Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, a spectacular historic attraction constructed in the late 18th century and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You should take a walk along the fortress walls to find your inner peace and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding areas.
The day trip here will be more enjoyable with a delicious local Korean food experience in the Paldalmun Market. How aromatic the three most famous cuisine here, including beef, Galbi, and Haejanguk, can amaze you a lot.
Also, you can admire the royal living quarters and learn about the Joseon Dynasty through artifacts displayed in Hwaseong Haenggung Palace. It was built inside the fortress walls and served as a temporary residence for the king.
I recommend seeing the Changing of the Guard Ceremony that takes place in front of the palace, which features soldiers dressed in traditional clothing and performing a ritual passed down for centuries.
If you desire more Korean cultural activities, come here in late September or early October and attend the Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival.
Just two-hour by intercity bus (East Seoul Terminal), a day trip to Alpaca World, one of Korea’s largest forest experience farms can bring you a blast.
You can feed them or even take them for a walk in a scenic environment surrounded by mountains.
Besides the fascinating creatures, Alpaca World offers many stunning hiking trails. If you enjoy hiking, take a guided hike through the farm’s property to enjoy the fresh environment.
Some alpaca farms offer workshops or classes on topics such as spinning, knitting, or felting. This could be an excellent opportunity for hands-on experience with soft and tender alpaca fiber.
Get the most out of your visit by dressing accordingly. Alpacas are gentle animals, but they are still animals, and you’ll want to wear comfortable shoes and clothing that can handle a bit of dirt and mud.
And remember your camera! You’ll want to capture memories of these adorable and unique animals.
Gwangmyeong Cave is a cave park with many fun attractions like fish, laser shows, and photo spots.
A day trip from Seoul is just 30 minutes by train and offers an exciting and memorable experience exploring the cave’s features.
The cave has a unique microclimate that is ideal for aging wine, and you can take a guided tour to learn about the winemaking process, get a sample, and purchase a variety of wines.
I love a colorful light show that illuminates the various tunnels and chambers. It is a virtual reality experience to explore the mine and learn about the cave’s past.
Everland Theme Park
Located in Yongin, which is 40 km from Seoul, a day trip to Everland Theme Park offers a wide variety of attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and animal exhibits.
To avoid waiting in long lines for popular rides, consider purchasing a Fast Pass. This will allow you to skip the line and go straight to the front of the queue.
The park has five distinct areas: Global Fair, American Adventure, Magic Land, European Adventure, and Zootopia. They all provide various shows throughout the day, including parades and musical performances.
If you travel with family or children, check out the animal exhibits to see more than 200 species on a guided car ride.
Do not forget to try T-Express, one of the fastest wooden roller coasters in the world. Its remarkable speed of 104 km/h and the highest drop at 46m will bring you an addictive experience.
However, staying hydrated and fueled after this excitement is important, so you should prepare plenty of water and snacks in advance.
Yongin Korean Folk Village
Another day trip from Seoul you can take is to the magnificent Yongin Korean Folk Village, which is situated against a background of stunning mountains.
You can enjoy the sights of traditional Korean village life during the Joseon Dynasty period.
The village is famous for its filming location of many hugely popular historic K-dramas, such as Dong Yi, Moon Embracing the Sun, and Dae Jang Geum.
Come here in autumn and try on Hanbok. It’s great! You can immerse in the tranquil atmosphere in traditional Korean clothing and capture photogenic scenes with colorful hues of leaves.
Also, don’t miss the exhibition halls to learn about the Joseon Dynasty through cultural artifacts! Otherwise, a traditional crafts class is another nice option for hands-on experience.
Seoraksan Mountain is just a 3-hour trip from Seoul. Known as Korea’s most prominent mountain, it deserves a whole day’s visit as you can reach the tallest peak in the country.
Its trails will take you about 3-4 hours to hike. I suggest dressing appropriately and checking the weather forecast in advance to prepare for a long walk.
Once at the top, you will see a truly breathtaking view of a waterfall with beautiful valleys and vibrant flora.
However, your visit will be more enjoyable during winter with the frozen waterfall, snow-capped mountains, and icy atmosphere.
Jeonju Hanok Village
If you want to have a glimpse of Korean culture and history, take a day trip to Jeonju Hanok Village.
It is a traditional village that has preserved over 800 traditional Korean Hanok houses with winding alleyways and many small shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.
The town is famous for its bibimbap, a must-try traditional Korean rice dish with various vegetables, meat, and spicy sauce.
To see panoramic views of the village, take a hike on Omokdae and Imokdae to enjoy the scenic view or just relax.
There are many cultural experiences available in the Hanok Village, such as traditional Korean tea ceremonies, calligraphy classes, and traditional paper-making workshops. These activities offer a unique insight into Korean culture and are a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Furthermore, it is worth visiting the Gyeonggijeon Shrine. This historic site houses the portrait of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, offering a peaceful atmosphere and stunning architecture.
Oak Valley Ski Resort
Oak Valley Ski Resort is fabulous for a day trip if you are in Seoul in winter.
It is a famous ski resort located in Gangwon Province. Participating in snow activities such as sledding, snow tubing, and snowmobiling can bring much fun for families and groups.
Beyond ski-related activities, the resort offers a spa where you can unwind after a day on the slopes.
There are various options to choose from, such as a hot tub, sauna, or massage to soothe sore muscles.
You can also take a break to soak in the majestic view of the surrounding mountain.
Bukhansan National Park
Located in Seoul, Bukhansan National Park is a popular natural park with many engaging outdoor activities for a day trip, such as camping, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
Consider climbing Baegundae Peak, the highest peak in Bukhansan National Park standing at 836 meters above sea level. From here, you will be amazed by the stunning panoramic views of the park and the city.
It also offers many historical sites to visit. The two most famous ones are Bukhansanseong Fortress, a defensive wall built during the Joseon Dynasty, and Seungasa Temple, a Buddhist temple founded in the 9th century.
Not to mention the park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including over 1,300 plant species and 100 animal species, which is wonderful for nature lovers.
Yangpyeong Dumulmeori is excellent for a breathtaking one-day excursion into the countryside, 90 minutes away by subway line from Seoul.
The term “Dumulmeori” means “two-water area” as the confluence of the Bukhangang River and the Namhangang River, offering a stunning view of the natural beauty.
I love exploring the expansive gardens and fields and taking in the natural beauty of the region, which is also famous for serving as a filming site for many Korean television shows and movies.
At the sheep ranch, you’ll have many photo opportunities while making friends with some adorable and cuddly sheep.
Also, you should try some local rice dishes since Yangpyeong is well-known for its agricultural products, especially high-quality rice. Some must-try dishes are Makguksu, Ogokbap, and Yangpyeong Gondeure Bap.
I hope you can make the most of your day visiting from Seoul with my suggestions above!