Instagrammable places in Seoul range from towering observatories atop unspoiled mountains to secret gardens, botanic parks and even quirky statutes in the heart of town. Seoul, with its eclectic culture, colourful city streets filled with murals and public street art, museums, architecture and cultural sites juxtaposed next to intricately-tended gardens and unspoiled wilderness, is a city of deep culture that's a hidden gem of the world's photogenic sites.

    Whether you're on a family holiday, a couples' romantic getaway or you're just looking to do some cultural exploration, this is a city that will give your Instagram feed a makeover. Check out some of the best Seoul spots for stunning photos.

    1

    Jogyesa Temple

    Visit the heart and soul of Korean Buddhism

    Jogyesa Temple is in the heart of the Seoul city centre and is the heart of Korean Buddhism, offering colourful and serene grounds with ancient trees and quirky, amusing statuary. Buddhism is all about celebrating life and the simple things and taking joy in the smallest blade of grass, and the statues and gardens here exude that very same joy in all things. Visit during October when the temple hosts its annual flower festival and you'll get to snap extra photos of stunning topiary in the shape of animals, Buddhas and dragons.

    Another good time to visit is the Lotus Lantern Festival celebrating the Buddha's birthday. During this time the courtyard is decorated with spectacularly-coloured paper lanterns.

    Location: 55 Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Phone: +82 2-768-8600

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    2

    Namsan Seoul Tower Observatory

    Capture unimpeded mountaintop city views

    Namsan Seoul Tower Observatory was the very first multipurpose tower in Korea and offers the chance to capture breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. The tower has served for 4 decades as an iconic landmark and popular visitor draw, which you reach by the equally iconic Namsan Cable Car running from the foot of the mountain to the tower's base.

    You can reach the cable car with a shuttle bus from the heart of downtown Seoul. The tower is open 7 days a week all year long, and you can take guided group tours with English-speaking guides. Best of all, with advance reservation, the tower is free to visit.

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    Location: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +82 2-3455-9277

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    3

    Starfield Library

    Visit a vast library filled with colourful aisles

    Starfield Library in Coex Mall in the heart of Gangnam offers the chance to be surrounded by towering shelves stuffed with books from ancient dusty tomes to the newest bestsellers. The library's multiple floors are accessed by escalator and the collection encompasses some 50,000 books. People come here and spend all day riding up and down, photographing every nook and cranny they can find in this library. You can easily fill your feed with colour and a perfect mesh of modern and old in the rows, shelves and collections here.

    Whether you're a bibliophile or you just want an iconic photo, the library offers colour, history and selfie ops galore. It's about an hour south of the city centre.

    Location: South Korea, Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Samseong-dong, Yeongdong-daero, 513 스타필드 코엑스몰 B1

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +82 2-6002-3031

    Map
    4

    Statue of Gangnam Style

    See a giant set of bright bronze hands

    The Statue of Gangnam Style celebrates the famous song that made its namesake district famous and stands outside of a vast shopping centre. The statue, which is two gigantic golden hands folded over the top of one another, cast in bronze and standing five metres high and eight metres wide, draws thousands of people who capture photos of themselves beneath the hands mimicking the famous horse dance from the now-iconic music video by Psy. Even better, when you approach the statue, the song plays so you can dance to the rhythm.

    At night, the statue is brightly illuminated, offering a completely different look. It's about an hour to the south of the city centre.

    Location: 524 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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    photo by Travis Wise (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Seoul Sky

    Climb one of the world's tallest buildings

    The Seoul Sky observatory at the top of the Lotte World Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the world and offers stunning 360-degree aerial views of the city. The tower stands 555 metres and 123 storeys high, with a wide range of experiences inside. As if the amazing photos aren't enough, here you can see museum exhibits surrounding 'The Pride of Korea', grab a bite in a café among the clouds and go shopping in a gift shop offering all sorts of quirky souvenirs themed around the tower.

    The most striking thing about the view is how it changes based on the time of day and the season. It's an hour south of the city centre.

    Location: South Korea, Seoul, Songpa-gu, Olympic-ro, 300 117~123층

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +82 2-1661-2000

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    6

    Seoul Botanic Park

    See plant life from all over the world

    Seoul Botanic Park combines a public-use park with a tended botanical garden in one space where you can find forests, flower beds, lakes and marshlands all next to each other. This park offers the chance to capture photos of various ecological areas within a few minutes walk of each other. It's also connected to the Seoul subway station so it's easy to access from just about anywhere in town. The park was created to highlight the urban ecology and expand city green space and includes exotic flora from all over the world.

    Besides peaceful surroundings and fantastic photos, the park offers cultural events and educational programmes. It's just 17 minutes south of the city centre.

    Location: 161 Magokdong-ro, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9.30 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +82 2-2104-9716

    Map
    7

    Secret Garden

    Explore the former home of the Royal Family

    The Secret Garden at Changdeokgung Palace offers the chance to photograph a UNESCO World Heritage site and a former 15th-century haven for the Korean Royal Family. It's dotted with pavilions and pagodas where you can kick back, relax and capture iconic historic photo opportunities amidst verdant and lush surroundings. Note that while you can take tours of the palace and gardens, the tickets to the two attractions are separate. Tours will educate you on the history of the gardens and their importance to the local legacy.

    You can also choose to wander the gardens at your own pace, which allows you to capture all the photos you like. It's just 30 minutes north of the city centre.

    Location: 99 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +82 2-3668-2300

    Map
    8

    Dongdaemoon Design Plaza

    Visit the stunning LED rose garden

    Dongdaemoon Design Plaza, locally and colloquially referred to as The DDP, is a wildly popular Instagram destination with fantastic architecture and tons of unique galleries and shops inside. Here you can capture a stunning example of minimalist architectural design with an iconic staircase. At the top, you can explore an LED rose garden where at sunset the roses are lit with dazzling and mesmerising illumination. Inside, the galleries host tons of creative exhibitions highlighting some of the most exciting up-and-coming artists from all over.

    Architecture fans will note that the plaza is the brainchild of famed designer Zaha Hadid. It's located just 20 minutes to the east of the Seoul city centre.

    Location: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Phone: +82 2-2153-0000

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    9

    Heunginjimun

    View one of Seoul's oldest traditional gates

    Heunginjimun is one of the oldest traditional gates in Seoul and one of its most stunningly beautiful landscapes, offering an iconic Instagram opportunity for visitors from all over the world. You can capture stunning photos of this towering, majestic structure any time, but it's generally considered best photographed after sundown. During the night hours, it's lit with hundreds of brilliant lights that highlight the colours and shadows of the gate, and the traffic zipping past creates fantastic long-exposure images for your feed to add a true sense of motion.

    If you're a history fan, this site may be among the most important spots in Seoul to add to your social media. It's just 22 minutes east of the city centre.

    Location: 288 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Phone: +82 2-2148-4166

    Map
    10

    Bukchon Hanok Village

    Visit a traditional historic residential area

    Bukchon Hanok Village is part of Old Seoul, the city's historic district, and offers the chance to photograph picturesque traditional hanok houses and narrow, winding streets. Many people love to come here to pose in traditional Korean dress in front of the gorgeous architecture and picturesque pedestrian alleys. The district dates to the Joyston Dynasty hundreds of years ago and carries a true sense of eastern history with it. It's important, however, to respect the authenticity of this place. Unlike many hanok villages, it was not created for the benefit of visitors but is a genuine residential neighbourhood.

    You can also explore small art galleries, workshops, restaurants and gift shops here. It's all 28 minutes north of the city centre.

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    Location: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, 계동길 37

    Phone: +82 2-2133-1371

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    11

    Common Ground

    Explore a colourful shopping district

    Common Ground is a vast and colourful shopping district filled with converted shipping containers and loaded with a young, hip and fun crowd for shopping, dining and entertainment. This area was created when 200 metal shipping containers were brought in and arranged to be converted into storefronts, eateries and entertainment venues. The end result was a vibrant, brightly-coloured destination. The photo ops here are endless and unique—this isn’t your grandma's shopping mall and the storefronts each exude a unique personality.

    If you're looking for edgy photos that will stand out among your feed while at the same time finding great deals on big-name and souvenir goods, this is the spot. It's about 38 minutes east of the city centre.

    Location: 200 Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +82 2-467-2747

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