I’m one of those culture nerds who loves museums. And though I haven’t been to every museum in Korea (yet), I knew I had to head to The War Memorial Museum, which Trip Advisor named as the #1 place to go to in Seoul.
Compared to the elaborate trip I went on for Christmas, my New Year’s Eve was especially unexciting.
Instead of going out and partying, I chose to stay in my apartment.
Like Christmas, New Year’s isn’t a big holiday in Korea. Sure, some places are closed and I do get a day off, but it isn’t as exciting as it is in the States. However, Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year in February which is a HUGE deal.
Because I did get one day off from work this past New Year’s, I decided to spend it crossing off some of my Korean Travel Goals!
I woke up early on New Year’s to seize the day! For some reason, I’ve become a morning person. I think it all started at my data entry job with Xerox before I moved here. There was a time where I had to be at work at 6:30 in the morning. Thank God those days are over.
Knowing I was going to spend a lot of my day at a museum, I figured I’d better start it off with lunch. I was CRAVING a good burger and found a place online that mentioned you could get a tasty one at a pub in Itaewon.
The burger was just okay but the french fries were heavenly. Goodness, I miss good french fries.
After lunch, I walked a few blocks to The War Memorial of Korea.
I know. Museums can seem pretty boring, especially if they have the word “war” in front of them.
But I can honestly say that this museum was one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. First of all, there are really cool planes and tanks you can explore. You can even go inside some of the tanks and pretend you’re in the military. The kids really seemed to enjoy that.
One of the coolest things you can go on is an old Navy battleship.
The front of the museum also looks really cool and gives off a Hunger Games vibe. I felt like I was walking in The Capitol.
Inside the museum are 3 floors. Each floor has several sections and you could easily spend a full afternoon here. At most museums, I can see things in an hour or so. But I think I ended up staying at the War Memorial for about 4 hours. And even then, I missed the special exhibits they hosted.
The War Memorial of Korea is THE place to learn about the Korean war. Usually, museums just have a few artifacts with descriptions on the wall. But this museum went above and beyond that. The rooms were organized clearly and with so many places to interact, you actually feel like you’re a part of the war. This was really cool, but I also thought it could be scary for children.
In the museum, there were multiple 4D theatres, tons of videos to watch in small little rooms, and even a virtual shooting range!
There was also this really cool tree full of words of encouragement to Korea.
I couldn’t believe that Korea made such a great museum in such a short time, as the Korean war only ended in the 1950’s.
I left fully impressed.
And one of the best parts? This museum is free!
I would definitely recommend checking out this museum before going on a DMZ tour. It’s the perfect introduction to Korean history.