When visiting Asia, be sure to include a stop in Seoul on your itinerary. You won’t regret it for it has some of the most incredible experiences waiting for you. Set amidst towering skyscrapers, you’ll find ancient palaces and other historical treasures. Then there’s all the museums, entertainment, shopping, dining, and culture.

Unlike any other city though, Seoul has this uniquely quirky vibe that’s adorable and charming. Be ready for it to steal your heart away. Here are some experiences to make sure you have while there.

Taste the street food
In the subway stations underground, you’ll get so much bang for your Korean won when you pop by the street food stalls. Adventurous eaters simply must try the fish cakes but if you’re a little timid with your tummy, try the waffles. And if you can handle spicy, make sure you try tteokbokki, very spicy and saucy rice cakes.

Tour a royal palace
There are so many things to see in Seoul that it’s impossible to see all of it unless you move there, but you can most certainly try. The five grand palaces are an awesome place to start. Each one - Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace – is from the Choson (also Joseon) dynasty and they’re spectacular. If you have very limited time, choose Gyeongbokgung Palace as it has two museums on-site and was also the first of the palaces.

See the DMZ
If you’re going to take a day tour anywhere, get on board a DMZ tour. You get as close as you can to North Korea and delve into the history of the Korean War. It’s a fascinating day-long experience that takes you down the 3rd Tunnel and to the Yeolsoe Observation Deck, plus it includes a delightful Korean-style lunch, complete with all kinds of tasty banchan (those dazzling side dishes you get for free with your meal at every Korean restaurant).

Play around
Experience Seoul like a child, or with childlike wonder. Whether you’re a solo traveler or traveling with the clan, a stop by Lotte World is a must. Take the Seoul Metro to Jamsil Station and walk out Exit 4 and you’ll be fascinated by this Korean version of Disney World before you. It features a fantastic indoor amusement area as well as a larger outdoor area and is great fun for all ages.

Try temple food
Korean cuisine is one of the best things about Seoul. One aspect of it involves temple foods, embracing the Buddhist culture. It’s completely vegan but even meat-eaters will be completely impressed. There are many great temple food restaurants in Seoul, but the best are in Insadong, particularly Sanchon, which has a fantastic traditional drum show with dinner service.

Catch a show
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some theatre while you’re in Seoul. Even if you don’t understand a word of Korean, it doesn’t matter. Shows like Nanta or Jump use nonverbal communications to entertain and they’re truly spectacular. Both are very slapstick in nature and incredibly hilarious.

Head to a singing room
At night, Seoul really comes alive. One of the things Koreans love to do is go to norebang. This is their version of karaoke and it’s better than anything you’ve ever experienced. Instead of being forced to sing awkwardly in front of a room full of strangers, norebang (which literally means “singing room) is a facility that features numerous private rooms. Some places are more upscale than others, but they all have the same theme – sound systems, big play lists (even in English), and the ability to conjure up more booze and snacks with the push of a button.

Shop yourself silly
The biggest fashions and trends in the world usually start right here in Seoul. It’s a place where shopping is everywhere and fun, though the best deals are in the underground malls like the GotoMall in the Gangnum Terminal. Above ground, Myeongdong and Dongdaemun are great places to shop where you’ll find everything from shoes to bags and trendy clothes to jewelry plus loads of Korean kitsch that makes for great souvenirs.

Admire art
Insadong is a bit of a touristy street, but it’s a must-see. It’s lined with art galleries, cafes, and plenty of places to score some special Korean souvenirs. There’s also a huge following for crazy socks here so if you know someone back home that would love a pair of socks with K-Pop bands emblazoned all over it, this is the place to be.

If you want to be your most comfortable while in Seoul, book a big hotel chain so that you’re assured a find experience and one that comes with fluent English speakers to assist you. And to ensure you’re fully comfortable for your stay in Seoul, here are travel essentials you should take along:
Compact travel humidifier – this is so important in the winter because Koreans heat the floors. That’s cozy, but the air is so dry and it really dries you out. Use this to keep your nasal passages and your skin from drying out. Plus it could serve you as a white noise machine due to its soothing sounds.
Seasonal clothing – It gets cold in Seoul and snows a lot during winter so come prepared. In spring and summer, it can still be chilly at night, so a windbreaker is always a good idea.
Toiletries – Korea has some of the best cosmetics and skincare products on the planet and they’re worth shopping for, but don’t forget your basic grooming essentials, like toothpaste. You can of course find it in Seoul but it might taste very different than what you’re used to.
Medicines – Prescription or OTC, make sure you have what you need. You don’t want to wind up with heartburn from spicy food and have trouble trying to track down an antacid.

Leave some room in your bag when you’re packing because you’ll find so much you’ll want to take back home with you. By far though, the best treasures you’ll take back from Seoul will be the ones in your heart.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Edmonds is a creative and enthusiastic freelance writer who has been loving this gig for 8 years now. Her personal mission is to encourage a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life experience for people through her writing, and this is her true passion. She is very adept at details, produces only first-rate work, and avoids fluff as well as redundancy. Hannah's goal is for people to grow their knowledge so they can keep evolving and growing. She has gained a lot of experience and has honed her craft through several years of work with different websites and blogs. Aside from writing, Hannah absolutely loves to travel, read, and loves anything that pertains to sports.