Welcome to our METRO series: a guide that aims to take you on a journey through Seoul by literally using the metro as your map.
The Seoul Metro has been consistently voted as one of the best transport systems around the world. This is due to a number of factors including its frequent service, cleanliness, low cost and general ease of use. It’s no surprise then that, when travelling around Seoul, the metro is the easiest and best way to travel, especially for first time visitors.
In this series, we’ll be covering our six favourite lines and how you can utilize them as an easy itinerary. In our second edition, we’re covering the wide expanse of Line Four and all it has to offer. Line Four is home to many shopping destinations throughout Seoul, making it the perfect line for this month’s FASHION magazine. Starting off at Hyehwa station in northern Seoul, we aim to take you across the city passing through central Seoul, all the way to Ichon in the south, showing you the best locations for shopping and sightseeing along the way.
Hyehwa Station (혜화역)
Our first stop on Line 4 is Hyehwa station (혜화역). The station is located a short walk from Ihwa Mural Village (이화 벽화마을). Ihwa Mural Village is a public art project that began in 2006. The village features many walls with large paintings and sculptures that are free to walk amongst. The village is also home to many independent shops, boutiques and cafes. It’s a great place to find hand-crafted gifts and accessories. There are also shops allowing you to hire a traditional Korean school uniform. It’s very popular amongst Koreans and tourists to walk around the Mural Village wearing them; a great mix of modern and past Seoul.
Dongdaemun Station (동대문역)
Our next stop is Dongdaemun station (동대문역). Dongdaemun is famous for its market. In the 1970s, Dongdaemun market (동대문시장) was the centre for Korea’s textile industry and that legacy is still prevalent today. Dongdaemun market sells a variety of products from food to pots and pans, but its main focus is still on clothes and fabrics. If you are keen on crafts and dressmaking – Dongdaemun market is a must visit. There are many high quality products for extremely low prices. You will also find souvenirs and gifts at much lower prices than other tourist locations.
Myeongdong Station (명동역)
Our third stop on Line 4 is Myeongdong (명동역). Myeongdong is the number one place for street food, clothes and cosmetics in Seoul. The streets are lined with shops on either side, and street food crammed into the middle. The shops stay open late along with the street food stalls, so it’s a great place to visit even after dark.
In Myeongdong you’ll find a shop for every Korean brand you might have heard of, and be sure to take a picture with the giant Line Friends bear at the Line Friends Store. Away from the busy streets, Myeongdong Cathedral (명동대성당) is also worth a visit. The impressive building is the national Catholic cathedral in Korea, and it boasts some beautiful architecture.
From Myeongdong you can also easily reach Namsan Tower. The tower is located on top of a large mountain so you can either take a bus to reach the top. The tower offers the best views across Seoul and is a must visit on any Seoul trip.
Hoehyeon Station (회현역)
Our next stop is Hoehyeon station, the home to Namdaemun market (남대문시장). In Namdaemun market you can find almost anything you can think of. From freshly prepared food to shoes and clothes, you will find it at Namdaemun market.
The market is over 600 years old and is the largest of its kind in Seoul. The market has many street food vendors so even if you’re not looking to buy any goods, it’s a great place to visit when you’re hungry. You can eat your way around the market with its various street food stalls at extremely cheap prices.
Just a few minutes away from Namdaemun market is Dongdaemun Gate (동대문) also known as Heunginjimun Gate (흥인지문). This is one of the eight gates that formed part of the Fortress Wall of Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. The gate was originally built by King Taejo in 1398, but the current gate is one that was rebuilt in 1869. The gate is very impressive and its traditional architecture make it interesting to photograph in amongst many high and modern skyscrapers.
Seoul Station (서울역)
Fifth on our list is Seoul Station (서울역), the most central station in Seoul. Surrounding the station are many department stores and many of the famous high street shops we all know and love. There is a large Lotte Outlet (롯데아울렛) store attached to the south side of the station. This store offers branded clothing and other products at hugely discounted prices, so it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for high quality clothing at cheaper prices.
Right next to exit 8 of Seoul Station is Seoullo 7017, Seoul’s sky garden. The sky garden is elevated above the road on an old disused highway overpass. The garden stretches about 1km in length and features over 24,000 plants, showcasing species from both inside and outside of Korea. At night Seoullo 7017 is illuminated with blue LED light giving it a fresh modern feel. We recommend visiting at night for the best experience.
Samgakji Station (삼각지역)
Next on our list is Samgakji Station (삼각지역), home to the War Memorial of Korea. Opening in 1994 on the former army headquarters site, it stands as a symbol of Korean war history, and to remind future generations of the importance of preventing future wars.
The site also has a large war museum with six indoor exhibition rooms and an outdoor exhibition centre featuring planes and other military vehicles and memorabilia. The museum is free to enter and is open from 9:30 to 18:00 every day excluding Mondays.
Ichon Station (이촌역)
The final stop on our list is Ichon Station (이촌역), home to the National Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관), the biggest museum dedicated to Korean history and art. It is one of the largest museums in Asia and is continuously voted as one of the top attractions in Seoul due to its large variety of exhibitions. The exterior of the museum is a very impressive building with a modern design, and the entire museum complex lives inside Yongsan Park (용산공원), making the outside of the museum just as interesting as the inside. The museum is mostly free, with a small charge for special exhibitions, and the opening times are as following;
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00-18:00
Wednesday & Saturday 10:00-21:00
Sunday & Public Holidays 10:00-19:00
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Featured Image: ©Elizabeth Shiers, 26.05.19, inspiremekorea.com