The Discover Seoul Pass is a tourist’s dream come true.
Imagine no waits for ticketing or fumbling through your wallet for cash and unfamiliar coins. No bargaining for student rates or purchasing the wrong exhibit tickets.
You can purchase the Discover Seoul Pass at Incheon Airport; upon arrival you can purchase the pass for later use but may begin utilizing it as your T-Money (Seoul Public Transport Card).
In the course of a single day I visited:
Trickeye Museum 트릭아이미술관 (Hongdae)
Grevin Museum Seoul그레뱅뮤지엄 (Eujilro-ilga)
Alive Museum박물관은 살아있다 (Insadong)
Kimchi Kan Museum 뮤지엄 김치간 (Insadong)
Seoul Modern and Contemporary Art Museum 국립현대미술관(Gwanghwamun)
Leeum Samsung Museum of Art 삼성미술관 리움(Hannamdong)
Figure Museum 피규어뮤지엄 (Cheongdamdong)
Altogether, admission to these museums would have cost me 79,000W, but the Discover Seoul Pass is one flat rate of 39,000W (a 50% discount)! The glamorous Leeum Samsung alone is 15,000W for entrance, so I was extremely happy at this price.
So here starts my Discover Seoul Pass journey.
Downloading Seoul Pass App
I searched ” Discover Seoul Pass” under the App store, and it was the first application to pop up. After downloading, it brings you to a home page with a variety of different deals and passes on sale similar to Groupon.
Reserving Your Pass Through The App
Scroll down a little bit and you will find the “Discover Seoul Pass” 39,000W as one of the home page offers. Choose the date and time you would like to reserve Passes for pickup.
From here, you put the Discover Seoul Pass in your shopping cart and then create an account with Discover Seoul.
Through the app, you can reserve Passes starting the next day (or any later date). I reserved 1 Adult Pass for pickup at 11:00-1:00pm and paid via credit card on the app.
A few minutes later I received confirmation from Discover Seoul and the payment processing company. Simple, honest, and no money changes hands on the day of your travel.
I started my day by picking up my Seoul Pass card from the Myeongdong tourist center during my reservation time 11:00am-1:00pm.
I chose an earlier start since I like mornings, but the Discover Seoul Pass is valid for any time 24 hours after you visit your first location.Since most museums open 9 or 10am, I could even use my pass the next morning!
Make sure to bring your passport (Discover Seoul Pass is only available to foreigners) as well as the confirmation email or QR Code on your Seoul Pass App.
First up was the Grevin Museum, a 2-minute walk away from the Tourist Center and a straight walk from Eujil-ro Il-Ga Exit 1-1.
Originally a famous beeswax figurine museum in Paris, this is the Grevin Museum’s fourth established location with a delightful Korean twist. It was only opened in 2015 to much fanfare, and currently has 80 wax statues of which 30 are Koreans.
Throughout the four floors of photo-mania, interactive exhibits, and themed wax galleries I got to see many famous Korean figures in history and modern-day society alongside Obama, Albert Einstein, and E.T. and other popular figures.
One television studio-themed room is titled “Hallyuwood”. It features all the popular Korean actors and actresses from the latest cultural wave, such as Kim Soo-hyun, Park Shin-hye, Lee Min-ho, Jang Keun-suk and Hyun Bin posing in glamorous attire while filming their TV’s and movies.
There are also pop art photo booths and an interactive gallery where you can create yourself as a virtual wax figure using 3-D scanning technology and touch screens to decorate and clothe your avatar.
Another room features current singing sensation and Olympic champions.
Spot Psy, G-Dragon, Kim Yuna anyone?
The museum allows you to get up close and personal with the impeccably crafted wax figures and take photographs to your heart’s desire.
Launched in 2013 in the former Defense Security Command Site, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary art beautifully reimagined the industrial warehouse space into cavernous galleries, collaborative art spaces, and performance art gymnasiums for all of Seoul to flock.
If I had one day to take a friend out, I would take them to Gyeongbukgung palace and here. Each time I’ve been it has had remarkable exhibits of contemporary, modern, and post-modern Korean artists and at least one foreign traveling exhibit that creates quite a spectacle.
I was again relieved to see the Discover Seoul pass sign clearly on display! I was walked to a separate counter and given my ticket with a smile after a quick scan of my pass.Currently installed in the courtyard is a collaborative project between the Seoul MMCA and the Young Architect’s Project, “Temple’L”.
“Temple’L” is made recycled steel parts of a rusted ship’s hull that have been stitched together and filled with lovely woodwork and greenery to create a resting space for museum visitors. The artist hand selected 19 pieces from a Mokpo shipyard to weld together this important statement piece.
By recreating something rusted and retired into something useful, it sheds light on the waste of retired ships while also reframing something from trash to something useful and beautiful as well.
Families and couple enjoying the shade and the spectacle. There is a second-floor look-out point hidden by the canopy of the trees as well.
Another temporary installation for the Hyundai Motor Series 2016, Archive of Mind seeks to transform exhibition art into a tactile interaction between the art and its viewers.
When entering the exhibit hall, each is instructed to break off a hunk of clay, roll into a sphere, and contribute their little ball to the large ,oblong table in the center of the hall.
By requiring this of her viewers, artist Kim Soo-ja explores temporality of an artwork (ever changing , constant contribution) and temporality of a medium (malleable clay).
These sorts of interesting audience participation exhibits are very common to MMCA, it was great to have an excuse to play with clay again and also reflect upon the enormous, galaxy-like table.
(35-4, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul)Insadong is only a quick walk from the MMCA, simply follow the signs to Anguk Station and you will find yourself at the start of Insadong Main Street.
I consulted the Insadong Tourist Center to make sure of the locations and found the Kimchi Kan Museum was on the 5th Floor of the Insadong Maru Mall.
Nestled in the heart of Insadong, the Kimchi Kan Museum is a can’t miss attraction on the Discover Seoul Pass list.It was recently selected by CNN as one of the world’s top 11 Food Museum and will teach you everything there is to know from its origin to which types of kimchi can remedy certain ailments.
Upon arrival, I was given a bottle of Jeju Island Sparkling Water and a fun postcard blank to decorate with Kimchi theme stamps as shown above.
I’m not sure if this was a Seoul Pass-only perk, but it was definitely a nice way to enter a museum. I started getting used to the simple ease of presenting my card with no wait… no student ID, no cash , and no Korean skills needed either.
Learning about the nutrition and digestive effects of Kimchi from a fun and interactive children’s display. This museum is great for kids but also is chockful of interesting information for adults. All of their displays are available in English, Chinese, and Korean.
Traditional Clay pots used to storing kimchi as well as traditional Korean clothing in the corner. Typically, Koreans and Tourists alike will travel to Insadong to rent this clothing just to try on or have a special photoshoot.
At the Kimchi Museum they offer this service for free; you can even wander the museum in head-to-toe Korean gear! Childrens and Adult sizes are available.
Lots of fun children activities here. On the above floors you’ll find a beautiful kimchi storeroom, art activities room, and a kimchi-making kitchen in which you can take classes or sample different varieties of this fermented red pepper paste treat.
Another four-minute walk down Insadong main street and you will find yourself at the Alive Museum and Dynamic Maze. This is another pricier exhibit that attracts dozens and dozens of couples and school groups for its fantastic optical illusion exhibits and light show displays.
Beautiful mural at the entryway. Before you even enter the museum the notion of “seeing is believing” is tested with these crazy designs and sculpture benches.
Entering the museum is very much like entering a carnival fun house, with many funny statues, face-in-hole photo opportunities, and coin arcade games to play wiht at the entry!
Above is part of their 1200 sq ft. optical illusion exhibit. In this one, “Mother and Child” you can crawl into the “womb” (and open wooden box) and take gag photos to share with family or social media.
The shading of the paint and glossy lacquer work to make your photos look super realistic, that is in photographs, you really are in the womb!
“Black Wonderland” is another hit within the Alive Museum. A cross between a haunted house and a disoriented light and mirror maze, the exhibit starts out as you walk down an LED-lit hallway that shrinks until you find yourself in a very very tiny house.
From there, there are a series of rooms and corridors from sparkling enchanted forests to pitch-black rooms with hanging furry ropes. There are death-defying floor spectacles like above and special neon-photo backdrops that glow when you use flash photography too.
This one is a special treat on the list. The Leeum Samsung Museum is rated the most beautiful gallery space in all of Korea with a gorgeous modern minamalist-style house for its contemporary collection and a cool, serpentine gallery for its traditional arts collection.
The Museum is carried by the Samsung Cultural Foundation
A single-entry ticket is 15,000W alone, so the Pass definitely saved me a lot on this one! Once you are in the museum, no photos are allowed but checking your bag/camera are free with admission.
The permanent contemporary collection features works from Anthony Warhol, Damien Hirsten, Anish Kapoor, and many more famous foreign artist. Contemporary Korean artists are presented as well, many of which who use hanji ,a traditional Korean paper, to add texture and form to their canvases.
The traditional collection is seldom altered, but features some of the most beautiful celadon pottery I have seen (all of which is immaculately preserved). The audioguides not only explain the design and function of each houseware, but also the symbolism in the designs and artistic style of the era.
If you haven’t already been tempted away by all the delicious Insadong street food, the Hannam area south of Leeum Samsung is a great spot to grab a meal.
Any concierge or museum worker will recommend this newly-opened Korean kitchen “Parc”, which is based off the owner’s mother’s traditional recipes. Each of their side dishes is prepared fresh and in-house using ingredients of the utmost quality.
A lunch set here will cost 8,000-14,000W with a starter of soup and several side dishes. The menu rotates daily, but there will always be one vegetarian, one fish, and one meat option as well as a few seasonal dishes to choose from a la carte.
Most popular here is the Grilled Mackeral with Purple Rice and Dried Pollack Soup. I had the Pan-Seared Tofu but was too full to finish all my side dishes, much less try another dish!
Taking Bus 470 from Hannamdong to Cheongdamdong will have you about five paces away from the Figure Museum! The name tells it like it is for this place. Every figurine, limited-edition collectible, Marvel super hero or super villain I have seen in my life was in this place.
Many rare items housed in custom-made display cases, with collections divided by Japanese and American-made figures as well as miniatures to life-size statuettes.
I could only like the experience to going into the playroom of the most wealthy and sophisticated eleven-year old ever. It was certainly the coolest toy room I have ever gotten the chance to see.
The Permanent collection on the upper-level floor features a medley of Japanese and American-made figures. Marvel Superheroes made an appearance on every floor.
Life-sized statuettes offer fun photo opportunities throughout your museum crawl. Not pictured is the life-size figure of The Joker nearby.
Of course, there is also an “exit through the gift shop” where you can purchase your own favorite figurines or Marvel merchandise like Vintage Spiderman lunch boxes and Wonder women pencils.
The last floor of the Figure Museum is a Toy Shop and Interactive Coin Arcade, featuring old-school American Games like Street Fighter II. You can also try your luck with bubble prize machines or order some cheesecakes and coffee at their cafe.
Last, but not least, I headed to the Trickeye Museum in Hongdae. This is the museum that is open the latest, as the youthful college-town area boasts crowds late into the night and is a great spot for late-night eats.
Possibly the most Instagrammed location of all the museum destination, the Trickeye Museum of Hongdae makes paintings come alive in your photographs.
This past year it has been voted the best Trick Eye Museum (against other major metropolises such as Phukhet and Hong Kong), as well as one of the Must-See Seoul Activities by Trip Advisor after its exhibition update.
The murals and wood work quite literally “trick the eye” or Trompe-l’œil as the French say into believing you are upside-down or in a dancer in New York City Ballet’s Swan Lake
The museum makes promises to awaken all of your senses with the Visually Active Trickeye, Sounds and Smells of Carnival Street, Chilled Ice Museum, and Blush-inducing Love Museum.
Usually, you have to pay for each event separately, but the Seoul Pass includes admission to the Carnival Street, Trickeye Museum, and Ice Museum. The Love Museum ,however, is extra cost as it only admits those 18+years old because of its graphic content.
Overall, I thought the Discover Seoul Pass was super easy to use and great decision economically.
Normally, I would be a lazy local and only visit one museum for a certain exhibit but the 24 hour pass encouraged me to go out and see a wide range of places!
The whole experience was so simple; since I only needed one card to board buses/subways and enter museum it was always in my front pocket.
For any other tourists, I would say this is a must-have item. If you’re in Seoul for more than three days, chances are you’ll be visiting more than one palace or museum and purchasing a T-money Transport Card to get around as well.
The Pass also functions as an Express Pass of sorts, since you don’t have to wait for ticketing at many attractions including N. Seoul Tower and Gyeongbukgung palace.
I would highly recommend anyone else to plan out your itinerary before use so you can take advantage of all the attractions available at your fingertips. In addition, comfortable walking shoes, an umbrella for the rainy season, and maybe an iced americano or two are a must.
Most foreigners arrive at the airport and buy a T-money card at the convenience stores which costs ₩4,000. But now that Discover Seoul Pass is available, you won’t need to purchase a T-Money card anymore!
Because Discover Seoul Pass is not only your ticket to many attractions around Seoul City it’s also your public transportation companion. (including: bus, subway, taxi and AREX [Airport Express])
Discover Seoul pass provides up to 74% discount from the total entrance fee and don’t forget that you are getting T-Money for free!
Charging limit is ₩1,000~ ₩90,000 at a time, maximum of charging amount is ₩500,000.
You can find Discover Seoul Pass and charge in any place that has a T-money sign (convenience stores, subway stations, street vendor).
All T-Money and Seoul Pass charge station locations are listed here.
In addition, remember that your card not only serves as your public transport pass, it also acts as a “debit card” so you can purchase items from convenience stores, bakeries, bars, and shops that have a T-Money sign in their window.
Once you top up the money to this card, you’re good to go.
More information on stores that accept T-Money here.
Finally, if you’re returning home and haven’t used up your T-Money cash, there is another to worry about! A
Any refund below ₩20,000 can be processed for a ₩500 service fee at a partner convenience store (GS 25, CU, 7-Eleven, Mini Stop, With Me, Buy The Way) bearing the T-money logo.
If the amount exceeds ₩20,000, you will have to visit T-Money office to receive your refund in cash. For more information, check the links below. Tmoney.co.kr VisitKorea.or.kr
Recommended Courses by us & Discover Seoul:
Incheon airport to Gangnam Course (w 99,000 => w39,900/≈60% off discount)
Course☞ MBC WORLD ~ Trickeye Museum ~ GREVIN SEOUL ~ K-Live ~ Figure Museum
Museum Course (w79,000=>w39,900 /≈50% off discount)
Course ☞ Trickeye museum~ Grevin Seoul ~ Alive Museum ~ Museum Kimchikan~ National Museum(MMCA) ~ Leeum, Samsung museum of Art ~ Figure Museum.
Big 5 Course (w74,000=>39,900 /≈46% off discount)
Course ☞Gyeongbokgung Palace ~ Grevin Seoul ~ K-Live ~ Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art ~ N. Seoul Tower
Bukchon Area Course (w83,000=>39,900/≈25% off discount)
Course ☞ Gyeongbokgung Palace ~ National Museum(MMCA)~ Changdeokgung/Changgyeonggung Palace ~ Jongmyo Shrine~ Alive Museum ~ Grevin Seoul ~ Deoksugung palace ~ N. Seoul Tower
Two Days & 1 Night Course (w41,000->w39,900/≈ 3 % off)