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Seoul tours and excursions

Seoul tours

Bus tours

Seoul City Tour Bus is a 41-seat luxury hop-on, hop-off bus which takes in the city's major sites, attractions and shopping venues. The buses have personal LCD screens and audio systems with a recorded commentary on board, including in English, and are wheelchair accessible. They depart every 30 minutes from stops around Seoul.

Tel: +82 2 777 6090.
Website: http://en.seoulcitybus.com

Walking tours

Seoul Walking Tours offer various accompanied and self-guided walks. For an unusual, eco-friendly walk, join locals on portions of the Cheonggyecheon Stream, an 8km (5-mile) walkway to Seoul Forest which slices through the city just below street level. 'Transit Tours', which range from city tours to golf, casino, spa and the DMZ, are operated from the second floor of Incheon Airport by East-West Travel Service.

Tel: +82 2 6925 0777.
Website: http://www.visitseoul.net

Seoul excursions

Temple stay

Zen meditation, chanting, communal meals, community work and the traditional tea ceremony can be experienced in a Buddhist temple on the city's outskirts. Stays range from half a day to four days and can include learning traditional crafts or Buddhist martial arts. Shorter activities, such as lantern making, are possible at Jogyesa Temple.

Templestay Information Centre
56 Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Tel: +82 2 2031 2000.
Website: http://www.templestay.com

DMZ

Panmunjeom, 50km (31 miles) north of Seoul, is the joint security area in the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a buffer between North and South Korea since 1953. Curious visitors walk through UN exhibitions, gaze at North Korean soldiers just paces away and even walk through the infiltration tunnel on this unique day-long bus tour.

Tours depart from the International Cultural Service Club
Floor 6, Lotte Hotel, 1 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

Tel: +82 2 755 0073.
Website: http://www.tourdmz.com

Featured Hotels

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K-POP Hotel Seoul Station

Only a short walk from Seoul Station, this hotel ticks all the boxes when it comes to a central location and low price. The rooms are tiny, it's true, but they are light and modern and offer underfloor heating, minifridges and flat-screen TVs. There's also a lounge area, a basement cafe and rooftop terrace. Laundry facilities don't include dryers, though.

Ibis Seoul Ambassador Gangnam

A good value mid-range hotel in Seoul with smart facilities in a central location. Amenities include a restaurant, a rooftop garden and underground parking, plus there's a sauna and fitness room. The COEX convention centre and shopping mall are nearby.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

The refurbished wing of this huge super-deluxe hotel in Seoul is a good bet for those who want to stay in the heart of the city and close to shopping areas – there's even a large duty-free store on site. A good choice of dining includes French and Italian restaurants. A personal trainer and sports lab analysis are available in the fitness centre.

Grand Ambassador Seoul

This good, centrally located deluxe business hotel offers great views over the Seoul cityscape. There's easy access to the main markets and historic palaces, and facilities include six bars and restaurants plus a health centre with hydrotherapy pool.

JW Marriott Dongdeamun Square Seoul

This hotel's relatively small size - 170 rooms on 11 floors - and the elegant, luxe room decor makes for more of a boutique feel than you'd expect from a chain hotel. It's located in Seoul's premier shopping district, close to Dongdeamun Design Plaza, and amenities include an indoor pool lit by chandeliers, a large fitness centre and two restaurants. The rooftop bar has views of Dongdaemun Gate, an iconic landmark in the city.

The Shilla

Celebrities, royalty and heads of state have stayed at The Shilla, which is set in 9 hectares (23 acres) of woodland yet known for its state-of-the-art technology. Modern public areas belie traditionally furnished rooms. The restaurant, La Yeon, has three Michelin stars - the first restaurant to receive such an accolade.