It’s that time of the year again when children can take a long-awaited break from books, when adults can finally take a few days off from work to relax, and when airports are packed to the brim with both adults and children. They all yearn for that luxurious getaway before heading back to a mundane daily routine. As usual, popular travel destinations include Paris, New York City,and Islands of the Bahamas. Recently,however, due to extensive media coverage and growing popularity, a new destination has been on the minds of many- that is, Seoul and Incheon in South Korea. Generally known as an exquisite place of beauty, culture, and heart-wrenching television series, South Korea’s tourism sector has skyrocketed from just six million international visitors in 2006 to seventeen million visitors in 2016.
Located just to the South of China and to the Southwest of Russia, Korea has a multitude of tourist attractions designed for tourists of all sorts. If you are planning to go on a family vacation to Korea, but are worrying whether the children will have a good time, fret not! Here is a list of places in Seoul and Incheon that you can visit that are specifically designed for the entire family’s enjoyment, young children included.
- Lotte World
What child wouldn’t like the idea of visiting a theme park, especially one of the world’s second largest indoor theme park?Once a Guinness World Record holder, Lotte World is a major recreational complex built over one million square feet of the ground and is one of the top 10 best places to visit with kids in Seoul. It consists of two different sections, Lotte World Adventure, an indoor theme park, and Magic Island, an outdoor theme park, so visitors wouldn’t have to leave in disappointment if the weather changes for the worse. It has around thirty-five different rides for children of all ages, including boat rides, carousels, 360-degree roller coaster rides, a fairy-tale themed playground, bumper cars and so much more. When visitors are tired of going on rides, they can also enjoy the scenery by taking the monorail through both the theme parks, or visit the Folk Museum in Lotte World and learn all about the culture and history of Korea.
- Myeongdong Shopping Street
If your family prefers shopping as a recreational activity, then Myeongdong Shopping Street is one of the top 10 best places to visit with kids in Seoul. Crowded with food vendors and various branded clothes and skin product shops, Myeongdong Shopping Street is said to offer a wide array of products and consumables for modest prices, even though bargaining is allowed. The skin products and clothing shops there include The Face Shop, Forever 21, Etude House, Lacoste and many more; whereas, for food, there are many family restaurants to choose from, be it fast food, Western food, Japanese food, or even Korean food from food vendors.
- Cheonggyecheon River
For a more nature-based holiday, a family can choose to go for a walk by the Cheonggyecheon River. Situated in Cheonggyecheon Plaza, the river was originally swallowed by modernization and had a highway built above it after the Korean War and is one of the top 10 best places to visit with kids in Seoul. However, as part of an urban renewal project, Cheonggyecheon has since then been restored and winds through downtown Seoul for as far as 7 miles (10.9 km). Families can either join a walking tour down the stream or get to know the symbolism of various bridges connecting both sides of the river, or plan out a personal route by the river, handpicking the landmarks to visit.
- Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, on the other hand, is for families who crave to be awed by the marvelous architecture and intricate designs that Korea has to offer. Comprising of five halls, namely, Art Hall, Design Lab, Museum, Design Market and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the place to go to for up-and-coming Korean designs, exhibitions, conventions, creatively crafted souvenirs or even a glimpse of history and is among top 10 best places to visit with kids in Seoul. The Design Market hall, which nurtures a healthy mix of culture and shopping is open twenty-four hours a day, encouraging visitors to drop by any time that conveniences them. One can register for a tour of the architectural beauty on its website.
- Bukhansan Mountain
Lastly, we have Bukhansan Mountain, the tallest mountain in Seoul. For families of hitchhiking, bird-watching or rock-climbing enthusiasts, Bukhansan Mountain will provide the perfect getaway. The Bukhansan Peak, one of the three peaks of Bukhansan Mountain, has received excellent reviews for its beautiful scenery, and it is recommended that families bring a picnic or spend some time relaxing there. However, if there are family members with medical conditions that might prevent them from hiking, such as asthma, or if there are extremely young children, it is recommended to skip this attraction altogether, so as toprevent any unfortunate incidents from happening.
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- Muuido Beach
Besides being a perfect spot for sunbathing and relaxing, Muuido Beach provides visitors with a ton of activities to enjoy, such as swimming in the sea, a zip line, clam-catching, camping,and horse riding. Families can even go trekking around the entire island if they fancy. It is a trip that will take around three to four hours,so it is recommended that families pack lunch with them, or plan out a route including rests and food stop before they go on this trip. Adults and children alike will find that there is a lot to do here, and as a break from the bustling city life, families can also rent a hut or a hotel room there.
- Incheon Metropolitan City Museum
A vacation to a different country is never complete without a trip to a local museum, and in Incheon, the best museum to visit would arguably be the Incheon Metropolitan City Museum. Opened in 1946, Incheon Metropolitan City Museum is where the past, present,and future of Incheon meet. There are three exhibition halls in this museum, which are Ancient and Modern Times Hall, Incheon Miniature Hall, and IFEZ Miniature Hall, each on the first, second, and third floor respectively. In addition to that, the museum offers the experiences of a 4D theatre and a 5D theatre. There is no admission fee,and the museum is open every day from 9:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.
- Yeongjongdo Island
For a more cultural experience, a family can travel to Yeongjongdo Island to visit the Yonggungsa Temple. Situated on the top of Baekun Mountain, the Yonggungsa temple is one of the main tourist attractions of Yeongjongdo Island. Families need not worry about transportation to this island as there is an airport terminal built here, as well as a highway connecting the island to the mainland. Besides the temple, the island also has Yeongjong Skypark, which teaches children and adults alike to fly light planes, an experience that is rarely found elsewhere.
- Woongjin Playdoci Waterdoci
Woongjin Playdoci Waterdoci, on the other hand, is a theme park with various facilities designed to cater to the entire family. It offers an indoor skiing center, Korea’s largest water park, a spa, and shops selling a wide range of items. The water park can guarantee hours of fun for children and young adults alike, whereas if adults are not particularly interested in the water park, they can head on to the spa or shopping centers for some well-earned relaxation and entertainment. In addition to that, for some family fun, fitness centers are also included in the facilities of Woongjin Playdoci Waterdoci where entire families can sweat it out together.
- Incheon Chinatown
Lastly, Incheon Chinatown can also be a great place for the entire family to enjoy their time together. Incheon Chinatown is now inhabited by the second and third generations of early Chinese settlers who preserve the ancient Chinese culture. Families can take buses there to browse through souvenir shops and craft shops. There is also a variety of restaurants available there, from Chinese food to local cuisine. Besides that, there are spots in Incheon Chinatown where tourists can stop and dress up as old people for the sake of pictures. A museum, a park, and Max Arthur’s statue are also featured in or up the hill of Chinatown, where families can relax and walk around. However, visitors must be warned that walking up and down the hills may be quite tiring, especially for children or the elderly.
In conclusion for Top 10 Best Places to Visit with Kids in Seoul, there are a lot of family-friendly places to visit in South Korea, especially in Seoul and Incheon. The places mentioned above would provide a plethora of places for all kinds of purposes, be it family fun, picture opportunities, souvenir, clothing or face product shopping, mountain or water sports, various cuisines from all over the world. This will, in turn, provide a deeper understanding of the Korean culture, or just a place to laze around and relax.
There are, however, a few things to remember before you go on a trip to Korea. Firstly, the language barrier may hinder in most of your transactions in Korea, as not many vendors will understand English. Secondly, transportation via trains, taxis, and buses are considered quite cheap but do not be fooled by unethical taxi owners, who might try to extort more money than necessary from you. All in all, South Korea has designed many tourist attractions to serve different tourists, and will not let you down. Have fun in Korea!
For more info: english.seoul.go.kr