Samcheong-dong is definitely one of our favourite places in Seoul! It is an interesting area where you will find a unique amalgamation of majestic palaces, artisan cafes, unique boutiques, stylish art galleries, and charming Korean traditional houses. You can reach the area from either the Anguk Station or Ggyeongbokgung Station. A decent hotel to stay here would be the CenterMark Hotel, which is located in a convenient location. In this article, we have compiled a list of five awesome things to do in Samcheong-dong. To get a clearer idea of the attractions’ locations, check out the map at the bottom of this article.
1. Explore the Majestic Palaces
Gwanghwamun Gate – Guard changing ceremony
Statue of of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin
We visited the Gyeongbokgung Palace (also known as Gyeongbok Palace), which is the largest of the “Five Grand Palaces” in Seoul. The palace consists of 3 main attractions: Gyeongbokgung Palace itself, Gwanghwamun Gate, and Gwanghwamun Square.
Built during the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung Palace was home to the different generations of Joseon Kings. Inside the palace, we found charming Korean ancient architecture and beautiful lakes with the shimmering reflections of the palace buildings glistening off the still waters. The adult admission fee is KRW3,000. Cheongwadae, the residence of the President of Korea, is located beside Gyeongbokgung palace.
The main gate of the palace is the Gwanghwamun Gate. It was an interesting experience to watch the guard changing ceremony here! Check out the daily schedule of the guard changing ceremony.
Outside the gate is the Gwanghwamun Square, where you will find the imposing King Sejong Statue. King Sejong lived between 1397 and 1450. He is known for his promulgation of the Korean alphabet Hangul (the current writing system of the Korean language), his involvement in various scientific inventions (the celestial globe, the rain gauge, water clocks, the sundial), and his effort to develop a distinct Korean system of medical knowledge. Today, his portrait is printed on the KRW 10,000 note. You will also find the towering Statue of of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, a legendary naval commander who lived between 1545 and 1598. He was renown for his naval victories against the Japanese navy.
If you like visiting such historical sites, you will be happy to know that the four other grand palaces – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonghuigung – are in Samcheong-dong as well.
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Korean address: 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
Phone Number:+82 2 3700 3900
Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Directions to Gyeongbokgung Palace and Gwanghwamun Gate: Alight at Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5
Directions to Gwanghwamun Square: Alight at Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2
2. Visit Bukchon Hanok
“Bukchon” is an area in Samcheong-dong where the aristocratic class stayed during the Joseon era, while “Hanok” refers to Korean traditional houses. We had to walk for quite a while to reach Bukchon Hanok, but it was definitely worth the effort. It was cool to see the clusters of traditional Korean houses, and we spent quite a bit of time here admiring the beautiful Korean architecture. Some of the hanoks have been converted into shops and tea houses, but many of them are still occupied by residents, so it is important to be quiet when visiting the area.
Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Korean address: 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37 (계동)
Phone Number: +82 2 2133 1371
Directions: Alight at Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Walk straight for about 10 minutes
3. Explore the Artisan Cafes and Unique Boutiques
We had a pleasant time strolling along the streets of Samcheong-dong and immersing ourselves in the vibe of the place. There were many pretty cafes and boutiques here. After a while, we took a break at the Cath Kidston Cafe, a colourful café with an interior deco that is reminiscent of Cath Kidston’s classic floral design. We ordered the Honey Grapefruit (KRW6500), which tasted delicious with its sweet and tangy flavours. We also indulged in the classic Cath Kidston Tiramisu (KRW 4800), which tasted pleasant without being cloyingly sweet.
Address: Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Directions 1: Alight at Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 1. Walk for about 10 minutes in the direction of Jeongdok Library
Directions 2: Alight at Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line # 3), Exit 5. Walk for about 15 minutes along the Gyeongbokgung Palace stone wall to the beginning point of Samcheong-dong Walkway
Cath Kidston Cafe
Phone Number: +82 02 722 4657
Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am – 10pm
Directions: You can refer to the map at the bottom of this article or this website’s directions to Cath Kidston Cafe.
4. Eat Ginseng Chicken at Tosokchon Samgyetang
Tosokchon Samgyetang is the restaurant that all tourists will visit in Samcheong-dong to eat the super famous Ginseng Chicken. We ordered the Chicken Stew with Ginseng (KRW15,000) and the Savoury Pancake with Spring Onions (KRW15,000). The Ginseng chicken stew tasted good but to be honest we were not blown away. Maybe it was because we had very high expectations after reading all the rave reviews online. On the other hand, the pancake was a pleasant treat with its delicious fillings of succulent prawns, eggs and fresh spring onions covered in crisp pancake skin.
Address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Korean address: 서울 종로구 자하문로5길 5 (체부동)
Phone Number: +82 2 737 7444
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 11pm
Directions: The restaurant website provides clear directions to Tosokchon Samgyetang in English.
5. Indulge in Korean Army Stew at Mukshidonna Tteokbokki
There is nothing more satisfying than indulging in hot, steaming one-pot-goodness in cold weather. And we did exactly that at Mukshidonna Tteokbokki in Samcheong-dong! This no-frills restaurant is famous for its Korean “Army Stew” where you get to choose your ingredients to cook in a single pot of delicious stew. All the stews are served with tteokbokki (Korean rice cake). For the main ingredients we ordered Seafood (KRW4,500) and Cheese (KRW4,500), and for staples we had Ramyeon (Korean instant noodles, KRW1,000), Odaeng (Korean Fishcake, KRW1,000) and Fried Rice (KRW2,000).
The result is a harmony of flavours that tasted so good and left us so satisfied. After we finished most of the stew, the rice was tossed into the pot and stir fried, allowing it to soak up the residual goodness of the savoury stew. Needless to say, the fried rice tasted great too. You would kick yourself for not visiting Mukshidonna Samcheong-dong if you are in Seoul!
Address: Samcheongdong, Jongno-gu, Anguk-dong, 17-18
Phone Number: +82 2 723 8089
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 8.30pm (Closed on certain Sundays)
Directions: You can refer to this website’s directions to Mukshidonna Tteokbokki.
This article is part of our completely free and fantastic Ultimate Seoul Travel Guide. Why spend days researching when all your holiday information is simply a click away? 🙂