Table of Contents

17 Top Seoul Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for seoul
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Seoul is one of the most incredible cities in the world, offering so much in a single destination. From the pinnacle of nightlife to cultural & historical sites that rival anything in the region, there is something for everybody, and it’s all in one safe, affordable, and friendly city.
As with any destination, making the most of your trip requires coming prepared, and we’ve put together everything you’ll need to make your trip to Seoul unforgettable. From the absolute must-haves to learning how to dress for the occasion, this guide has everything you’ll need to be ready for your visit to Seoul!

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What to Pack for Seoul – 17 Essentials

  • 1. Universal Travel Adapter

    Like many East Asian cities, Seoul is a hub of technology. To keep all your electronics charged and ready to go, you’ll likely need a travel adapter. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend getting a universal travel adapter suitable for your trip to Seoul and beyond!

    Peru power adapter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Daypack

    For a long day out in the city, you’ll likely want to bring along many different items. From phones & cameras to umbrellas & water bottles, depending on your plans for the day, it may require more than just the essentials. To keep everything safe, organized, and easy to carry, bring along an all-purpose daypack!

    Daypack

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Packing Cubes

    Seoul is a densely populated yet highly efficient place, and the same should be said about how you pack for a visit to this amazing city. To help you organize all your belongings, utilize packing cubes to make both packings and unpacking a breeze. Easily separate and categorize all of your possessions, and stop being afraid of that last-minute opening of your suitcase!

    Packing Cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Sunscreen

    In Seoul and many other places in East Asia, people go to great lengths to protect their skin from the sun. We recommend following this cultural norm, as even in a city like Seoul it’s important to protect yourself from the harsh solar radiation. A simple sunscreen being regularly applied is all you’ll need to stay safe and healthy!

    Sunscreen

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Luggage Locks

    You’ll likely be taking many trains and planes during your trip in Seoul. The best way to keep your luggage secure is with a set of luggage-locks. These are TSA-approved so you won’t have any problems going through airports.

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Portable Charger

    For most people, a trip to Seoul will make regular use of their phones, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices. While it’s important to start the day charged and ready to go, sometimes you need that extra bit of juice. To make sure that you aren’t left without access to your devices while on the go, bring along a portable charger for fast charging of your devices.

    Portable Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Cooling Towel

    Seoul’s picturesque cityscape and endless cultural beauty will have you exploring the city day and night. From walking through perfectly manicured parks, to winding street by street in search of hidden gems, you’ll find yourself constantly on the go. Stay cool and dry on your adventures with the help of a cooling towel and stop letting the heat hinder your adventures!

    cooling towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Travel Insurance

    We believe travel insurance is essential regardless of the destination. Whether it be the safest or most dangerous place on Earth, it’s always best to protect yourself in case of accident or emergency. A key part of doing this is to make sure you have a travel insurance plan that has you covered in any event. We use TravelInsurance.com to compare policies from top companies to find the best one for our family and travel plans.

    Travel Insurance

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

  • 9. Neck Wallet

    One of the many wonderful aspects of Seoul is its safety, with remarkably low crime rates and a very friendly population. That being said, even in the safest of places it’s a good idea to take precautions to assure that your most important possessions are safe and sound. For this reason, we recommend using a neck wallet to guarantee the protection of your finances and identifying essentials.

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Water Bottle

    While certainly far from the hottest destination in the region, Seoul can still be hot and humid enough to quickly leave you dehydrated. Especially while spending long days exploring the city, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. To help stay hydrated and reduce your use of disposables, be sure to have a water bottle that can support you on your trip to Seoul and beyond.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Whether while at the airport, on the plane, or out in the city, traveling can often leave you begging for a shower. To help you clean off in a pinch, or get some relief from the heat, using a quick-dry travel towel will help you stay dry and comfortable in any circumstance.

    travel towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Like much of East Asia, and especially in big cities like Seoul, space can be tight. This is even more so true for accommodation, and especially in the bathroom. To make use of that often-unused vertical space, a hanging toiletry bag allows you to free up the counter and give you that much more breathing room.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Seoul isn’t the rainiest city, but it’s also far from being the desert. Especially in the warmer months, rain makes a regular appearance and can be much more than just a drizzle. To give you and your items the protection they need while moving about the city, we recommend bringing a windproof travel umbrella.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Film Camera

    Like disposable cameras, film offers a way to capture the feeling of places with much more accuracy. While film cameras can be more difficult to use, they offer improved photo quality and an even more enjoyable user experience. If you haven’t used this type of camera before, give it a try on your trip to Seoul and you’ll see why so many people now take their film camera everywhere they go.

    Film Camera

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Fanny Pack

    Sometimes even a small daypack can be a bit too much for certain activities, and it’s always convenient to have a smaller and lighter means of carrying your essentials. Fanny packs are a perfect solution, keeping your items visible and accessible while being even lighter and more comfortable than even a small backpack.

    Crossbody Daypack

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. VPN

    While crime rates in Seoul are incredibly low, the prevalence and quality of technology puts you at increased digital risk. To protect your online safety and security, make use of a virtual private network (VPN). This allows you to assure your privacy and protection from those seeking to steal information while you’re connected to public networks.

    vpn

    View options at NordVPN ➜

  • 17. Deet-Free Insect Repellent

    People often assume that they are safe from pesky insects while in the city, but sadly this is not always the case. In the hot and humid summer climate, even the concrete jungle of Seoul isn’t free from mosquitos and other pests. Don’t risk having to deal with painful and itchy bug bites by using some Deet-free insect repellent.

    Deet-Free Insect Repellent

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear in Seoul

Koreans are very fashionable people and go to great lengths to update and maintain their style. While it’s important to dress for comfort and convenience, enjoy expressing your style in this fashion-forward metropolis.

Whether your style is streetwear or vintage, there is a place to express yourself. From art galleries to nightclubs, Seoul is an opportunity to indulge your tastes and dress to impress. Below we’ve curated suggested items for both men and women to wear on a trip to Seoul.

What Should WOMEN Wear in Seoul? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Seoul’s mild climate and open atmosphere allow for almost every kind of dress. Even so, we still recommend prioritizing comfort above all else, and to come prepared for a variety of weather and activities. For exploring the city and doing any exercise, stylish activewear is perfectly suited. In case of rain or cold, light jackets will be enough to assure your comfort. As always, accessorizing is key, with purses, backpacks, and other extras being a stylish way to add functionality to your travels.

What Should MEN Wear in Seoul? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

For a trip to Seoul, dressing for men is especially easy. From a simple t-shirt and shorts to formal dress wear, you’ll see a little bit of everything and will easily fit right in it. Regardless of your style, it’s always good to bring the basics including jeans, sneakers, and a jacket.

Packing for the Seasons in Seoul

Wet Season – May, June, July, August, September, October

The warmer months in Seoul are quite long-lasting, wet, and warm. However, compared to much of the world, even the peak summer temperatures are relatively mild, with highs of only about 91°F (33°C). To stay cool during your summer visit, be sure to bring light and airy clothing including shorts, tank tops, and athletic clothing. The warmer months are from May to October, with the hottest period being from the end of May to the end of September, with average daily highs above 75°F (24°C). The single hottest month is in August which has average highs of ~84°F (29°C).

 

Dry Season – November, December, January, February, March, April

The winters in Seoul are similarly mild as the summers, with many people coming with much more winter gear than they’ll ever need. That being said, it can still certainly get cold and it’s important to have sufficient warm dress. We recommend coming prepared with winter simple and relatively light winter gear, including a jacket, boots, and long pants.

Of course, while going around the city you’ll want to also be able to move about easily and comfortably, so it’s important to strike the balance between comfort and convenience. The cold season lasts for roughly 3 months, approximately from the beginning of December to the end of February, with average daily highs below 44°F (~7°C). The single coldest month is in January, with an average low of 22°F (-6°C) and a high of 34°F (~1°C).

Dressing Appropriately for the Activity – (Click to expand)
Nightlife: Korea and Seoul in particular have quickly become one of the East’s best nightlife destinations. From unique boutique bars to some of the best clubs in the world, Seoul will impress even the most seasoned nightlife veteran. Most bars and clubs have no strict dress code, and you will find a huge variety of styles from both locals and other travelers. Depending on your interest, whether it be hip hop, K-pop, or even country, bring along clothing best suited to what suits your own interests! For those who’d like some more guidance, we recommend simple clothing such as jeans, fitted t-shirts, and sneakers.

Temples, Museums, & Historical Sites: Like many of the cultural and historical sites in the region, many places require a more modest dress for entry. While this will vary by location, and often will permit most forms of dress, if you plan to make these sites a big part of your trip, we recommend bringing along comfortable clothing that will cover your shoulders and knees. This includes simple dress including jeans, t-shirts, or more formal attire.

Walking & Exploration: There is so much to see in Seoul that can’t be boiled down to a single location or activity. Much of the beauty and enjoyment comes from wandering the city and seeing what you can find. To dress for this, we recommend leaving fashion behind and dressing by prioritizing your comfort. A comfortable pair of sneakers and athletic clothing such as quick dry t-shirts and shorts will leave you well-equipped to take on a long day of exploring.

What NOT to Bring to Seoul

  • 1.DON’T Bring Outdoor Gear & Equipment

    While there are certainly a few fantastic hikes and outdoor activities within reach of the city, Seoul is primarily an urban metropolis. While you should bring along the basics suitable for hiking and exercising within the city like athletic socks and some durable shoes, there’s no need to bring any specialized equipment for harsher environments.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Food & Drink

    As with any foodie destination, unless you have a relevant health condition or dietary restrictions, bringing along anything to eat or drink would be a travesty. Seoul is famous for its street food, fine dining, and everything in between. Making the most of your trip means trying as many incredible Korean dishes as possible!

  • 3.DON’T Bring Books

    We hope you won’t have the time to be reading during your trip to Seoul, as it’s as active of a city as can be. Even so, if you’re looking to delve into a good book on your way to and from the city, on public transportation, or to help you get ready for bed, we strongly recommend bringing along a digital reading tool like the kindle instead of the often heavy and cumbersome books.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Too Many Clothes

    While Korea is a stylish place that will have you wanting to dress your best, you won’t need too much clothing overall. Much of what is suitable for daily exploration and cultural sites is also often suitable for nightlife, making it easy to pack light while still having everything you’ll need.

  • 5.DON’T Bring Water Gear

    Except for perhaps the hotel pool, there’s little opportunity to get in the water in Seoul. While other parts of Korea have fantastic beaches that you won’t want to miss, in Seoul you’re more than prepared with a bathing suit alone. Leave the diving equipment at home for this trip and enjoy having that much less gear to pack and manage!

  • 6.DON’T Bring Excessive Warm Clothing

    While the winters can certainly get chilly, you won’t find the bone-chilling cold that you might in other places in the region. Even in the warmer months, it’s important to bring along at least some warmer clothing like a light jacket, and even in the winter, it’s best to leave your heavy-duty winter coat at home, along with similarly warm clothing.

What NOT to Wear – (Click to expand)
Seoul is an open and accepting place where most people can dress as they would at home and find themselves dressed appropriately. It’s best to wear more modest clothing in general, to assure that you’ll never be denied as a matter of dress code. If traveling in the winter, avoid wearing clothes that are designed for especially cold climates, as the winters are ultimately quite mild.

FAQs about Visiting Seoul

  • 1. Is Seoul a safe city?

    Is Seoul a safe city?

    Seoul and most of South Korea are incredibly safe, with some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Whether you’re traveling alone, with children, or under any other circumstances you should have little worry about falling victim to crime of any kind. That being said, rules of common sense apply, and it’s regardless important to stay vigilant and take precautions to keep yourself safe.

  • 2. Is it easy to get around?

    Seoul is a massive city, both in terms of area and population. Thankfully, they have developed a world-leading public transportation system, including one of the most expansive metro systems in the world. While navigating the city this way can initially be a bit confusing, it quickly becomes simple and makes getting around quick and cheap.

  • 3. Are there any outdoor activities available?

    Are there any outdoor activities available?

    Seoul is a modern metropolis, with most of the best things to do being in an urban setting. That being said, there are still several outdoor activities that will make you feel like you’ve long left the city. This includes enjoying Seoul’s expansive parks, where you can cheaply and conveniently rent bicycles, grab a bite to eat, or sit by the water. On top of this, there are easy-to-access bus routes that will take you a short distance out of the city to some of the best hiking in the country.

  • 4. Where is the best nightlife in Seoul?

    Now famous for its nightlife, it can often be difficult to decide where best to go. Foreign visitors typically spend most of their time enjoying the nightlife in Itaewon, which is considered the foreigner district. While certainly worth taking the time to investigate, other incredible destinations include Hongae & Sinchon, which are two younger areas of the city situated around universities.

  • 5. What is there to eat?

    What is there to eat?

    Korean food is considered by many to be some of the best in the world, with many famous foods including Korean BBQ, Korean fried chicken, and many delectable traditional dishes. Although, while it is a meat eaters paradise, Korea can be a challenging destination for those who abstain from having meat in their diet.

  • 6. Is Seoul a friendly city?

    Korean people are famously hospitable, and especially in Seoul readily welcome visitors. From waiters and waitresses to the police, you’ll always find a helping hand and a smiling face in Seoul as well as in the rest of the country.

  • 7. Is Seoul expensive?

    Is Seoul expensive?

    For its size, safety, and desirability, Seoul is a relatively inexpensive city and is significantly cheaper in many respects. Especially compared to many of its neighboring cities to which it’s often compared, Seoul offers a myriad of inexpensive accommodations, foods, and shopping. Of course, there are plenty of luxury options also available in Seoul, with some of the most luxurious sites in Asia. Whether you’re looking for a budget holiday or an indulgent celebration, Seoul has it all.