Seoul’s subway line number one has the distinction of being not only the capital’s oldest line but one of its lengthiest. Starting from the west to east, in the southwest corner of Seoul you’ll find many industrial neighborhoods such as around Gasan Digital Complex Station and Guro Station. Around here you’ll find various fashion outlet malls while Yeongdeungpo Station connects to the massive Time Square Mall.
Noryangjin Station is where you can access the famous Noryangjin Seafood Market, one of the largest and oldest seafood markets in Korea, for a lively time that is sure to end with a delicious, fresh seafood meal. Across the river you’ll get to Yongsan Station which is not only a major transportation hub that services both regular trains and the KTX- Korea’s bullet train- but also where you can find the Yonsan Electronics arcade with multiple floors of the latest in all things electronics.
A few stops away is Seoul Station, another major transportation hub that services trains, buses, KTX and the Airport Express to link Seoul with both Gimpo and Incheon International Airports. From here the next few subway stops enter some of Seoul’s most historic neighborhoods and attractions. City Hall Station, as its name implies, is home to the Seoul City Hall and City Hall Plaza but also where you can easily access historic sites like Deoksugung Palace and Sungnyemun, also known as Namdaemun Gate, and the very famous Namdaemun Market next to the gate. Also at City Hall Station, don’t forget to check out the beautiful Jeongdong neighborhood behind Deoksugung Palace which is home to many historic buildings and attractions like the Seoul Museum of Art and Jeongdong Theater.
The giant Boshingak bell at Jonggak Station marks the beginning of Jongno, also known as Bell Road, and the bell is where many Koreans gather on New Years to ring in the new year with good luck. Near Jonggak Station marks also one end of the restored Cheonggyecheon Stream which has garnered global attention as a success ecological initiative.
The area around Jongno 3-ga is a popular meetup and hangout destination around its Avenue of Youth for its many restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops. This is also where you can easily access the popular attraction of Insadong for its many antique shops, souvenir stores, tea cafes, and restaurants. Though often overlooked, the Nakwon Music Arcade is a music lovers paradise with almost all things music and instruments-related housed within, while the small but quaint Tapgol Park is nice for a stroll and to learn more about Korea’s history and fight for independence.
Those looking to visit Gwangjang Market, Seoul’s oldest and largest traditional market, will want to get off at Jongno 5-ga Station where all five senses will be amazed, perhaps in particular your taste buds, as the ample food choices is well known. After refueling yourself at Gwangjang Market, hop over just a station away to Dongdaemun where you can work up an appetite again by exploring Naksan Park, along the old Seoul City Wall, all the way to the quaint and charming Ewha Art Village or south along the Heunginjimun, or the Great East Gate, to the Dongdaemun Shopping Complex where you can shop all day and all night. Be sure to check out the massive Dongdaemun Design Plaza which is one of Seoul’s latest culture and arts center.
If you’d rather go treasure hunting, come out of Dongmyo Statoin for the Dongmyo Flea Market or Sinseoldong Station to get to the Seoul Folk Flea Market for a fun time of exploring and bargaining. Or, if you need some revitalizing, the Seoul Medicine Market at Jegidong Station has all your eastern medicine needs including eastern medicine clinics. And, if all the sights and activity of everything has been overwhelming and you just want a bit of peace, check out the Hongneung Arboretum, Korea’s first arboretum, which is a 1.4km walk from Hoegi Station. Please note though that Hongneung Arboretum is only open on the weekends to the public, though it is free.