Samseong-dong

With one of Asia’s biggest underground malls, sky-high buildings and international brands, this glitzy Seoul district is also the unlikely home of several historic sites.

Visit Seoul’s Samseong-dong area to discover different facets of the South Korean capital’s character all at once. Home to the massive COEX Convention and Exhibition Center, the district draws countless suited men and women daily. Alongside the purposeful businesspeople, thousands of shoppers drift down the corridors of the underground COEX Shopping Mall. Elsewhere, peaceful sites of historic and religious significance offer a complete change of pace.

Whether or not you plan to spend money, a visit to the impressive COEX Shopping Mall is an entertaining activity. Wander the brightly lit hallways of one of the largest underground shopping malls in Asia, stopping in the many stores selling unusual items or unique local brands. When you get hungry, dine at one of the mall’s dozens of restaurants. Bring the kids and set aside time to meet the beautiful marine creatures that live in the COEX Aquarium.

There is no need to venture out of the complex to find after-dark entertainment. Enjoy a movie at the mall’s Megabox theater or see a live musical at the COEX Artium.

Above ground, explore streets lined with futuristic towering buildings. Look up and see office workers at their desks behind hundreds of windows. When you are ready to escape the urban environment, stroll through the leafy Seolleung Burial Grounds. As well as being very scenic, this green space has historic importance, as it was built for the Joseon Dynasty monarchs.

Another place to find peace in Samseong-dong is the beautiful Bongeunsa Temple, which is over 1,000 years old. Plan ahead and you can even stay here. The Bongeunsa templestay program allows visitors to sleep in the building and follow the daily rhythms of the lives led by Buddhist monks.

Reach all of Samseong-dong’s attractions easily from Samseong station, which is well connected to the rest of the city. Allow ample time to explore the subterranean reaches of this area, as their size is not to be underestimated.