If you’ve been wanderlusting about South Korea, I feel you. It’s a destination I used to make annual pilgrimages to — indulging in delectable Korean food, shopping the latest K-beauty products and fashion trends in Hongdae, and catching a concert by my favourite K-pop band, BTS. But there’s honestly so much more to the city than what you may already know. Make the most of your trip by stretching your hours into the night at these hotspots.
1. Hangang Park: Indulge in iconic South Korea food and local arts and crafts
If you love the outdoors, this iconic park offers you a variety of things to do, from renting a bike and cycling through the park to admiring the abundant flora. When hunger pangs strike, head to a convenience store and make your own “aluminium tray ramen” or, unleash your inner masterchef to whip up a meal by picking out handy packets of cheese, kimchi and crabmeat to enhance your noodles or instant rice. Prefer to be served? Order some Korean fried chicken hand delivered to you (yes, right in the middle of the park!) as you sit back, enjoy the night breeze and admire the Hangang Bridge lights.
Travel Tip: If your visit falls between April and October, definitely hit up Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market. You’ll be able to try a wide array of food, shop for local arts and crafts, and take in cultural performances. The night market is set up at several locations across Seoul, with two being along Hangang Park. Click here for opening hour updates.
2. Seoul Fortress Wall: For a romantic night view of the city
With K-dramas being more popular than ever with Singaporeans, we’re naturally drawn to locations and attractions seen in our favourite TV series.
One location that has firmly secured its spot on the must-visit list is Seoul Fortress Wall, accessible via Namsan Park. A great spot to take in a panoramic night view of the city, it is the perfect place to unwind after a hectic day out and about.
It is also a popular spot to film dramas — including the top Netflix drama, Itaewon Class; the wall is a backdrop for several scenes: where Park Saeroyi (played by heartthrob Park Seo Joon) and director Kang Min Jung talk business, where he meets his past love Oh Soo Ah, and at the series finale, where he shares a heart-fluttering kiss with Jo Yi Seo.
Travel Tip: If you feel that the night is still young, head to Dongdaemun (a 10-minute cab ride away) for a street food supper and continue to shop to your heart’s content with some malls open till 5am.
3. Gangneung: Perfect for Hallyu fans and stargazing on the beach
If you love Gong Yoo or BTS, the two-hour train ride out to the city of Gangneung will be worth it. It is filled with iconic spots such as the Jumunjin Breakwater — as seen in Goblin where Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) meets Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) for the first time — as well as Hyangho Beach Bus Stop featured on the ‘You Never Walk Alone’ album cover and ‘Spring Day’ music video of boyband BTS.
The perfect way to end your trip to Gangneung is a visit to Gangneung Gyeongpo Beach. Take a relaxing walk, sip on a refreshing can of ice-cold beer or sit on the fine white sandy beach and gaze into the starry night sky.
Travel Tip: Grab a couple of fireworks before heading down to Gangneung Gyeongpo Beach and you’ll be sure to have the experience of a lifetime lighting up the night sky! If you’re lucky enough to be crossing the new year in Gangneung, new year festivals are held on this beach — with activities such as sending lanterns into the sky with your well wishes for the new year and DJs driving the celebratory atmosphere throughout the night.
4. Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond: Learn a little South Korean history amidst grandeur
Deep dive into the rich cultural history of South Korea by heading to Gyeongju, a three-hour Korea Train Express ride from Seoul. Spend your day touring the historic areas that are Unesco-designated sites and end it by visiting Donggung Palace, featuring Wolji Pond.
You’ll be able to have a taste of royalty life from ancient times as Donggung Palace was previously the secondary palace used by the Silla Kingdom’s crown prince, and also served as a banquet site for esteemed visitors and important national events.
At dusk, the lights at Wolji Pond brings the beauty of the Donggung Palace to its peak. It’s no wonder Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond have become such famous night-time attractions (with a last admission time of 9.30pm).
Travel Tip: Those in-the-know purchase their entrance tickets to Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond tickets in advance. Alternatively, venture on a night tour to discover more of Gyeongju’s top illuminated attractions.
5. Daegu Seomun Night Market: Eat to your heart’s content
Grilled pork belly kimbap, ramyeon hot dog, cubed steak — these are just one of the few treats you’ll find when venturing into this bustling night market filled with mouth-watering aromas. Having also been featured in the Korean variety show, Running Man, this 350m-long night market is filled with over 80 kiosks, and is South Korea’s third largest night market. You will be able to feast on your small buffet of snacks while enjoying cultural performances. With so much variety available, you may need to schedule a second trip back so you can conquer more stalls and yummy food!
Travel Tip: Be sure to visit Daegu Seomun Night Market on an empty stomach! This market is filled with delectable, mouth-watering dishes and an interesting one to keep an eye out for is their fried milk. You read that right! These balls of fried milk topped with icing sugar are perfect to end your feasting for the night, or if you're just craving for something sweet before round two of stall-hopping.
6. Hantangang Sky Bridge: Stand where Hyun Bin stood
Take a breather from the hustle and bustle of city life by visiting this iconic landmark featured on one of the top K-dramas of this year: Crash Landing on You. Located in the city of Pocheon, in the north-east province of Gyeonggi, this bridge is where Ri Jeong Hyuk (Hyun Bin) and Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) come to realise that fate has brought them together.
Not for the faint-hearted, this bridge opened in mid-2018 and sits over the Hantan River. With panels of glass flooring and a view of the basalt canyon below, the Hantangang Sky Bridge is situated 50m above ground and stretches 200m in length, giving you a kick of adrenaline every step of the way. Just imagine standing on this bridge, taking in the magnificent view and catching the sunset — what a way to end a day of adventures!
Travel tip: Accessible 24/7, time your trip to catch the magic hour of sunset on the bridge. With the Bidulginang Waterfalls situated just a few steps away from this bridge, you can consider conquering two magnificent attractions while you’re in this vicinity.
Sarah Swee is an avid K-pop and K-entertainment fan. She has managed South Korean models and personalities in a previous role.