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Seoul Searching | What to Do in Seoul During Chuseok.

Chuseok 추석 is one of the biggest and most-awaited holidays in South Korea. Also known as the mid-autumn / harvest festival, Chuseok is the equivalent of Thanksgiving Day in America and is usually celebrated for three days. However, this year's Chuseok holiday will be observed for four days - from  Thursday (September 12) all the way 'til Sunday (September 15).

Chuseok is one of the few times of the year when Koreans take time off from work, travel to their respective hometowns to spend time with their families, and hold memorial services for their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Many business establishments will close down in observance of the holiday, so expect Seoul to be a bit more tranquil and peaceful during this time. However, there will still be a handful of places to visit and lots of things to do for the expats and tourists who will be coming to Korea during the Chuseok holiday.

Visit a heritage site. 
Korea is world-renowned for their cultural heritage sites, and a great number of them can be found in the Seoul metropolis.

One of the more popular heritage sites is Jongmyo Shrine, the royal shrine which houses the 'spirit tablets' of the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. On regular days, visiting Jongmyo Shrine would require a reservation. But on Chuseok, the shrine will be open to the public, with free admission at that.

Ancestral rituals will be held at the shrine during the holiday, and visitors can get the chance to witness these first-hand.
Yue at the entrance to the main hall.
Jeongjeon, the main hall of Jongmyo Shrine.
Tour the Grand Palaces of Seoul.
Like Jongmyo Shrine, the Grand Palaces of Seoul will remain open during the Chuseok holiday, free of charge. However, you have to pay the regular rates should you wish to visit the Huwon (Secret Garden) in Changdeokgung or join the nighttime tour of Gyeongbokgung.
Changing of the guards at Deoksugung Palace.
Plenty of cultural experience programs await visitors during the Chuseok holiday. Musical performances and a tasting of royal tea and snacks will be held at Gyeongbokgung, while traditional mask dances and tightrope walking will be done at Changdeokgung. Musical performances will also take place at Changgyeonggung. Deoksugung, on the other hand, will present a re-creation of the welcoming ceremony for foreign envoys by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon era (1392-1910).

Get a great view of the city.
Standing 555 meters tall with 123 floors is the Lotte World Tower - the tallest building in Korea and the fifth tallest building in the world. This majestic tower houses galleries, cafés, and a luxury hotel, in addition to a skywalk and an observation deck.
Come on up to Seoul Sky!
Lotte World Tower.
The view from above.
Going all the way up to Seoul Sky is one of the best ways to get a clear, breathtaking view of the city. The cityscape becomes even more majestic by sundown, with the glittering city lights and all.

Check out a non-verbal performance.
Spice up your holiday by going to a cultural/musical performance. It doesn't matter if you're well-versed with Hangeul or not as these shows are non-verbal, and will only require tickets, your enthusiasm, and your attention.
The cast of Jump.
Photo credit: Jump official site.
If you're a martial arts enthusiast like me, you'll definitely enjoy 'Jump' an award-winning performance packed with humor, taekwondo, and other forms of martial arts. Since 2003, the show runs everyday at Myeongbo Art Hall in Jung District, Seoul

Another noteworthy non-verbal performance is 'Cooking Nanta', which runs everyday at Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Hongdae Nanta Theatre. This show incorporates traditional percussion and humor , and has long been a popular staple since 1997.

Enjoy the great outdoors. 
Because most of the locals leave the city to travel to their hometowns during Chuseok, Seoul becomes less crowded and blissfully empty. This makes hiking trips more enjoyable and less stressful, and cycling routes become easier to navigate. Go on a bike ride along Han River, take a stroll at Seoul Forest, or if you're traveling with kids, take them to Seoul Grand Park for the Seoul Zoo Korean Thanksgiving Festival.
Autumn colors at Seoul Forest.
Seoul Grand Park.
Children's Park.
Chuseok jal bo nae sae yo! Have a wonderful Chuseok!
Here's hoping that you'll have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holidays!

13 replies:

Mayuri Patel said...

Korea is definitely such a beautiful place, would love to visit the county one day. Hope you have good ThanksGiving Day.

kevin Akidi said...

I love learning about other cultures and visiting cultural sites. Soeul seems like a great place. I have not had the chance to visit but it is on my bucket list. beautiful pictures.

GiGi Eats said...

Korea is definitely on my TO TRAVEL list! And now I am thinking I want to go during this harvest festival!

Adriana Lately said...

I would love to visit there some day. Seems like there are so many things to do there.

Valerie said...

The scenery in the Forest and Park looks so colorful. I have a friend that went there last year and said it was super interesting.

Celebrate Woman said...

What a great country to explore! I would love to see it in person. So much to take in!

twinspirational said...

Thanks for sharing a little about their culture, the children's park and autumn forest looks so wonderful..!

Olya Amanova said...

Many places to visit. Lots of activities to perform. One will be busy when visiting this destination. You've managed to combine the best sights for sure.

Joanna said...

Chuseok sounds like a wonderful holiday in which families get together and enjoy each other's company. You have suggested some lovely family activities to do in Seoul during that time of the year.

mudpiefridays said...

This looks really delcious. Will make this during the weekend and see how the kids enjoy it

Elizabeth O said...

I love the Seoul forest. Just look at that colors, they are so lovely.It must be so nice to walk around it.

Kiwi said...

My travel bucketlist is to go to Seoul! I would love that and rack up on Korean beauty products.

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