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South Korea Travel Guide

Last Updated: July 17, 2023

A colorful temple in South Korea near a cherry blossom tree on a bright sunny day

Though South Korea is small (about the size of the US state of Indiana), it punches well above its weight in terms of things to see and do. Boasting a vibrant culture, incredible history, natural beauty, delicious food, and a wild nightlife, it’s home to both major cities and untouched nature, offering something for every traveler.

Seoul, the capital city and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the world (over half the country’s population of 50 million is concentrated here), is a lively hub for food lovers and partying. But while it gets all the attention, there is much more to explore, including 22 national parks, lush Jeju Island, and the infamous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bordering North Korea.

Best of all, since South Korea is a manageable size, you can see a good portion of it in a limited amount of time. The transportation here is modern, clean, and efficient, so it’s easy to get around quickly.

The country is also a foodie’s paradise, with cheap street food and delicious dishes like bibimbap, kimchi, and the famed Korean barbecue.

It’s one of my favorite countries in the world and one that I think is super under the radar and often overlooked by travelers. You never see the tourist crowds found in other Asian countries.

This travel guide to South Korea can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your visit.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on South Korea

Top 5 Things to See and Do in South Korea

Historic buildings along the rugged coast of South Korea

1. Explore Seoul

Korea’s capital has a little bit of everything. It’s a bustling metropolis and global technology hub, with sleek and modern neighborhoods like Gangnam and iconic sights like the Lotte World Tower, the sixth-tallest building in the world. Yet there is a lot of history here too, including many museums, palaces, and temples, among them five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. When you’re done exploring for the day, Seoul has a robust street food scene, countless trendy restaurants, and fast-paced, soju-driven nightlife. You could easily spend weeks here and never get bored.

2. Tour the DMZ

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separates North and South Korea and, despite the name, is the most militarized border in the world. You can only visit the Joint Security Area (JSA), which has military personnel from both sides, on a guided tour, but it’s a unique experience and an important way to learn about this ongoing conflict (the war started in 1950 and has not officially ended). On the tour, you’ll be able to actually stand in North Korea, visit the Third Tunnel of Aggression (which North Korea dug to sneak soldiers across the border), see the Freedom Bridge, and catch glimpses of North Korea from the Unification Observatory. Guided tours of the DMZ start from 80,000 KRW.

3. Visit Jeju Island

This volcanic, semitropical island is a popular domestic vacation spot. It’s accessible via cheap daily flights from Seoul that take just one hour. Known as “the Hawaii of Korea,” it’s a natural paradise, home to the tallest mountain in Korea (Mount Hallasan), lava tubes, beautiful beaches, and countless hiking and walking trails. Other attractions include visiting mythic Jeju Stone Park, wandering the Yeomiji Botanical Gardens, and watching the haenyeo divers — women who dive without any protective equipment to gather underwater treasures like shellfish and seaweed, which they then sell on the beaches. You can visit the Jeju Haenyeo Museum as well to learn more about this cultural practice that dates back centuries.

4. Sing karaoke

Known as noraebang , this is a cultural phenomenon and something worth experiencing at least once while visiting Korea. While the karaoke machine was originally invented in Japan, Koreans have adopted the pastime and made it their own. Here, you rent out a private room with a group of friends (instead of singing in a public bar, as is often the case in Western countries). Pricing is determined by the hour, with rates varying wildly depending on the number of people, time of day, day of the week, and whether snacks and drinks are included. Average group karaoke rates range from 5,000 to 15,000 KRW.

5. Step back in time at a hanok village

Other things to see and do in south korea, 1. visit changdeokgung palace.

One of the Joseon dynasty’s Five Grand Palaces, this 15th-century complex in Seoul was built in harmony with the natural environment at the foot of Bugaksan Mountain. Changdeokgung, or “Palace of Prospering Virtue,” was the main royal residence for 13 kings over the course of three centuries. The complex sprawls over 110 acres, 60% of which is taken up by the beautiful Huwon Secret Garden, home to over a hundred species of trees, flowers, and other plants (some of the trees here are over 300 years old!). The main draw is wandering around the exterior, with its restored buildings and gates, though you can also go inside Injeongjeon Hall, the palace’s throne room. Admission to the complex is 3,000 KRW; the Secret Garden is an additional 5,000 KRW. There are guided tours in English as well.

2. Explore Busan

Korea’s second-largest city is located just two hours from Seoul on the KTX high-speed bullet train. A coastal city, Busan boasts great beaches, such as Haeundae Beach, with its miles of sand, and Gwangalli Beach, known for its sunsets. Gamcheon Culture Village, the “mural village of Korea,” is a hillside neighborhood rich in street art and covered in murals, and nearly all the houses are painted bright colors. It’s a great place to wander around for a few hours, popping into the unique shops, cafés, and restaurants.

3. See the National Museum of Korea

If you visit only one museum in Korea, make it this one. Located in Seoul, it covers all aspects of Korean culture, art, and history, from prehistory to the early modern era. It also contains many national treasures and artifacts that have been designated as having special importance and value in Korean culture and history. Some of the most important ones include the sixth-century inscribed Bukhansan Monument, detailing military expansions; sixth-century gilt-bronze Buddhist statues; and the 10-story Gyeongcheonsa Pagoda, which dates to the 14th century. Don’t miss the exterior gardens, which feature indigenous plants, reflecting pools, and traditional Korean sculptures and lanterns. Admission to the main exhibitions and children’s museum is free.

4. Take a food tour

As a foodie, learning about a culture through its food is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. Korea has an incredible variety of amazing dishes to try, as well as a bustling (and delicious) street food scene. Taking a food tour with an experienced guide is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of Korean cuisine. O’ngo Food offers a variety of tours in Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, and Jeju, with prices starting from 70,000 KRW per person.

5. Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace

Originally built in the 14th century by the kings of the Joseon dynasty, this palace in Seoul served as the seat of the government for two hundred years until it was destroyed by a fire and abandoned for centuries. Since the 19th century (and still today), it has been undergoing renovations to restore the complex to its former glory. It is considered the most stunning of all five royal palaces in Seoul, featuring grand gates, open courtyards, and terracotta-topped buildings set against the backdrop of Mount Bugak. In addition to wandering through the complex, you can also go into the many administrative halls and residential chambers set up to resemble the palace’s heyday. You can watch the changing-of-the-guard ceremony as well, every day except Monday. The National Palace Museum and the National Folk Museum are also located in the complex. Admission is 3,000 KRW.

6. See the cherry blossoms

While cherry blossoms are often associated with Japan, festivities surrounding the blooms are incredibly popular in Korea as well. Here, the season runs from late March to late April, with many festivals throughout the country. Just be prepared for crowds at the more popular ones, like the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival in Seoul.

7. Try taekwondo

Korean’s native martial art, taekwondo, is characterized by high kicks and punches and, like all such disciplines, emphasizes mental training. An Olympic event since 2000, taekwondo has only grown in popularity in recent years and is a point of pride in Korean culture. Kang’s Global Taekwondo in Seoul offers classes to adults and foreigners that cost around 43,000 KRW for one hour.

8. Learn to cook classic Korean foods

If you’d like to take your knowledge of Korean food one step further, take a cooking class, where you’ll learn to prepare classics like bibimbap, kimchi, bulgogi, and Korean pancakes. Hello K Cooking in Seoul offers a class where you’ll learn how to cook three main dishes and one stew — recipes and skills that you can bring home with you. Classes are 107,000 KRW.

9. Go hiking

Korea is an incredibly mountainous country, so hiking is a favorite pastime for locals. Be sure to immerse yourself in nature while visiting this lush land. There are even hiking spots near the bigger cities if you don’t have enough time or don’t want to venture too far afield. Bukhansan National Park, just outside Seoul, is a popular place to go hiking, offering panoramic views over the capital (expect crowds due to its proximity to the city, though). Yet with 22 national parks spread across the country, there are plenty of opportunities to escape the crowds (including lots of guided hikes if you don’t want to organize one yourself). For a multiday hike, the Jirisan Ridge Trek in Jirisan National Park is one of the most famous — a four-day walk from mountain shelter to mountain shelter.

10. Wander around Seoul Olympic Park

In 1988, Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics, which was only the second time the summer games had been held in Asia (the first was in Tokyo in 1964). Today, you can visit the massive park where the games were staged, and while Olympic Park does have many sports facilities, there’s much more to explore here as well. The park is divided into four sections, focusing on the arts, history, nature, and sports. In the arts section, you’ll find the SOMA Museum of Art and a park with over 200 sculptures, while in the history section, you can see the third-century defensive Mongchontoseong Earthen Fortifications, excavated dugout huts and storage pits left in the state in which they were uncovered. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here. Admission to the park is free.

11. Discover Jirisan National Park

Located in the southern part of the country (Namwon is the nearest city), this park is named after Jirisan (Mt. Jiri for short), the tallest mountain on mainland Korea. As it’s South Korea’s first national park (as well as its largest), hiking trails and cultural sites abound. You can visit seven major Buddhist temples and see several of Korea’s national treasures of ancient carved stonework from the seventh to the tenth centuries. One of the most important sites here is Samseonggung, or Three Sages Palace, a mountainside shrine dedicated to the legendary founders of Korea. Admission to the park is 1,600 KRW.

South Korea Travel Costs

Locals and tourists on a busy street in Seoul Korea at night with lots of bright signs

Cheap hotel rooms start at 28,000 KRW for a room that sleeps one, while a double room generally costs at least 40,000 KRW. Expect basic amenities like Wi-Fi, a TV, air conditioning, and an electric teapot. Breakfast is usually not included at budget hotels.

Airbnb is available around the country, with private rooms starting at 25,000-30,000 KRW. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay at least 50,000-70,000 KRW per night.

While wild camping is illegal in Korea, there are plenty of campgrounds should you want to pitch a tent. Expect to pay 7,000-20,000 KRW for a plot with access to bathroom and shower facilities, and usually even Wi-Fi.

Food – Korean cuisine has developed its own traditions and flavors over the centuries, with a unique emphasis on using uncooked, fermented, and pickled vegetables. Traditional Korean meals are often composed of a variety of side dishes, eaten with short-grain rice. A meal isn’t considered complete unless there’s kimchi on the table.

Common dishes include bulgogi (marinated, grilled beef), samgye-tang (chicken and ginseng soup), bibimbap (a mixed rice bowl), chap chae (a glass noodle dish), and many other noodle and rice dishes. Popular street foods include hotteok (a sweet, filled pancake), tteokbokki (spicy cylindrical rice cakes), and bungeo-ppang (a fish-shaped pastry filled with red bean paste).

Dining out in South Korea is relatively inexpensive. A meal at a casual restaurant serving traditional Korean food is around 9,000-15,000 KRW, while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant is around 25,000-30,000 KRW. Expect higher prices in larger cities.

Western food is more expensive. Expect to pay at least 20,000 KRW for a pasta dish at an Italian restaurant.

In terms of fast food, a combo meal (think McDonald’s) is around 7,000 KRW, while a burger is around 4,500 KRW. A typical Korean street food dish is 1,500-3,000 KRW.

A pint of beer is 4,000-5,000 KRW, a glass of wine is 6,000 KRW and up, and a cocktail is 7,000 KRW and up. A latte or cappuccino is 5,000 KRW.

If you cook your own food, expect to pay 50,000-70,000 KRW per week for basic staples like rice, pasta, vegetables, and some meat. Shopping at local markets is the best way to get great fresh produce for cheap.

Backpacking South Korea: Suggested Budgets

On a backpacking budget of 75,000 KRW per day, you can stay in a hostel dorm, cook all your meals, use public transportation and intercity buses to get around, skip the alcohol, and do mostly free activities like walking tours and hiking.

On a mid-range budget of 135,000 KRW per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb or cheap hotel, eat out for most meals at casual restaurants, enjoy a few drinks, take the occasional taxi as well as trains between cities, and do more paid activities like museum visits and food tours.

On a “luxury” budget of 255,000 KRW or more per day, you can stay in a nicer hotel or entire Airbnb apartment, eat out pretty much anywhere you want, drink at the bar, get a high-speed rail pass, and do as many guided tours and activities as you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury, though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in KRW.

South Korea Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

I find South Korea to be one of the best value countries out there. It’s a really affordable place to visit. Accommodation can add up but food and drinks are generally cheap. Here are some ways to save money when you travel around South Korea:

  • Visit the free attractions – With countless museums, shrines, temples, historic neighborhoods, and parks, Korea is filled with opportunities to become immersed in its culture. Many of the nation’s museums and cultural attractions are free, so don’t pass them up!
  • Purchase a KORAIL Pass – If you want to travel by train, getting a rail pass is the most economical way to do so. You’ll get unlimited train travel for the time period you choose (2-5-day increments). Prices start at 121,000 KRW.
  • Get a transit pass – Most major cities in Korea offer a day pass for public transit, which means great savings if you plan to hop around using buses and subways. Seoul’s day pass costs 15,000 KRW, though the longer you stay, the more you’ll save (a seven-day pass is 64,500 KRW).
  • Buy a city pass – If you plan on visiting a lot of attractions, buy a city pass . Seoul and Busan both offer ones that include admission to popular sights, a transit pass, and discounts to restaurants and other attractions. A one-day pass starts at 33,000 KRW.
  • Eat from the convenience stores – Convenience stores in Korea offer not only snacks and drinks but prepared boxed meals and cheap alcohol. If you’re on a tight budget, shop in those.
  • Take the bus – While the trains are fun, the cheapest way to get around Korea is by bus. They take longer but are much cheaper, so if you have the time, opt for long-distance buses. Just show up at the bus station to reserve your tickets in advance, as most websites and apps are in Korean.
  • Stay with a local – Couchsurfing lets you stay with a local for free, cutting your accommodation costs drastically. You’ll get to spend time with someone who can share their tips and advice in exchange for your own travel stories and culture. You can also use the app to meet people for activities (coffee, museum visits, etc.) if you don’t feel comfortable staying with a stranger.
  • Drink like the locals – Soju, the national alcohol of Korea, is incredibly cheap, as is domestic beer. Just be careful to not let it sneak up on you — both monetarily and physically. Korea’s drinking culture is infamous!
  • Stay in capsule hotels – If you don’t want to Couchsurf or stay in hostels but still want to save money, capsule or pod hotels are great options. These offer just what you need to sleep (a small, basic pod) yet can be surprisingly comfy and much more affordable than a traditional hotel. Prices start as low as 45,000 KRW per night.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand, as its bottles have built-in filters to ensure that your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in South Korea

South Korea has plenty of budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. Here are some of my recommended places to stay when you visit:

  • Time Travelers Relax Guesthouse (Seoul)
  • Zzzip Guesthouse (Seoul)
  • Time Travelers party Hostel (Seoul)
  • INSIDE Busan (Busan)
  • Jeju Hiking Inn (Jeju)
  • Backpacker’s Home (Jeju)

How to Get Around South Korea

The rugged mountains and greenery of South Korea

Bus – Taking a long-distance bus is the cheapest and most popular way to get around the country. There are two types: express (which makes few to no stops) and intercity (which travels between smaller destinations and makes more stops).

Your best bet for reserving tickets in advance is to go directly to the bus terminal, as most bus websites and booking apps are in Korean and only accept Korean credit or debit cards.

Pricing depends on what class ticket you choose: standard, luxury, or premium. The four-hour bus ride from Seoul to Busan costs around 36,000 KRW for a standard ticket, Incheon to Busan takes just over four hours and costs 38,000 KRW, and Seoul to Daegu is 29,000 KRW and takes just under four hours.

Train – South Korea has a robust train system that can take you all over the country. Korean Train Express (KTX) is the country’s bullet train, regularly running at speeds up to 305 kilometers (190 miles) per hour. However, these only go between major cities, have limited schedules, and are more expensive, so KTX may not always be the most convenient choice.

KORAIL (the national railway service) operates slower-speed, intercity trains that offer a wider range of schedules and destination choices. You can also get the unlimited KORAIL Pass, which is offered exclusively to international tourists. A two-day adult pass is 121,000 KRW; a five-day adult pass is 210,000 KRW.

As a comparison of the two train types: the journey from Seoul to Busan on a KRX train costs around 90,000 KRW and takes 2.5 hours, while on a regular intercity train, it takes 5.5 hours and costs 47,500 KRW.

The further out you book, the cheaper KTX train prices get, while intercity prices stay about the same. You can book up to a year in advance.

Flying – South Korea is so small that flying around the country doesn’t really make sense. Trains can get you anywhere pretty quickly. However, if you’re very pressed for time and have cash to burn, there are a few budget airlines offering domestic flights between major cities. Most are around one hour long.

The flight from Seoul to Busan is around 30,500 KRW, Seoul to Jeju is 55,000 KRW, and Busan to Jeju is 22,000 KRW. However, you can find flights even cheaper when you book further in advance.

Low-cost airlines in South Korea include the following:

Car rental – Renting a car isn’t incredibly cheap in South Korea. However, it is one of the best ways to explore all the natural wonders that the country has to offer, many of which are inaccessible by public transportation. Expect to pay around 50,000-55,000 KRW per day on a multiday rental. Drivers need to be at least 21 years old.

When to Go to South Korea

Generally, the best times to visit South Korea are March-May and September-November. During these periods, the weather is mild, with temperatures of 10-24°C (50-75°F); prices for accommodation and transportation are lower; and there are fewer crowds.

In the spring, the cherry blossoms are in bloom all over the country, while the fall brings the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. Also, if you plan on doing a lot of hiking, the fall is the best time to visit.

The summer starts with monsoon season, from June through mid-July, and the rest of the summer is hot and humid in the cities (though it cools down in the mountains and along the coasts). Prices for accommodation are also very high during this time.

Winters in South Korea get very cold, with temperatures dipping as low as -6°C (21°F), so unless you plan on skiing, visiting from December through February might not be the best option (though the temples and landscapes look beautiful covered in snow).

How to Stay Safe in South Korea

South Korea is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel around. Petty crime is rare here, though it never hurts to be cautious on public transportation and around popular tourist landmarks. Always keep your wallet and valuables secure and out of reach, just in case. Violent crime is even more rare.

Solo female travelers should feel safe here. However, the standard safety precautions apply as always. For specific tips, consult one of the many solo female travel blogs on the web.

While scams are super rare in South Korea, to avoid getting ripped off, you can check out this list of common travel scams to avoid .

When hiking, always bring water and sunscreen. Be sure to check the weather before you depart and dress accordingly.

Earthquakes occur regularly in the region, so it’s best to be prepared and download the Emergency Ready app, which the Korean government developed to provide information in English to foreign residents and tourists. It has all kinds of advice and tips for natural disasters, shows you where nearby emergency shelters are, and sends out warnings and notifications should a disaster occur.

If you do experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID, and forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

South Korea Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

South Korea Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Asia travel and continue planning your trip:

The 4 Best Hostels in Singapore

The 4 Best Hostels in Singapore

Where to Stay in Singapore: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Singapore: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The 13 Best Things to See and Do in Taipei

The 13 Best Things to See and Do in Taipei

The 23 Best Things to Do in Hong Kong

The 23 Best Things to Do in Hong Kong

17 Things to See and Do in Taiwan

17 Things to See and Do in Taiwan

How to Get Around Southeast Asia on the Cheap

How to Get Around Southeast Asia on the Cheap

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  • Where To Stay
  • Transportation
  • Booking Resources
  • Related Blogs

Wapiti Travel

EPIC 7 days Korea itinerary for first-timers

By: Author Kris

Posted on Last updated: January 8, 2024

Are you heading to Korea and looking for the perfect 7-day Korea itinerary? You came to the right place. Here we share what to do and where to go when you have 7 days in South Korea.

South Korea is a fascinating country. It has a rich history and offers its visitors everything from the ultra-modern capital city of Seoul to villages like Andong where it seems that time has stood still. 

The country has countless National Parks, one of them even adjacent to Seoul, where we did some impressive but exhausting hikes. The park is very mountainous…  

So, there’s a lot to explore in South Korea and the hospitable Koreans made our stay impeccable. 

In this Korea trip blog post, we share our complete day-by-day South Korea itinerary for 7 days. We end with some travel tips for South Korea.

Perfect for your first time in Korea.

Wapiti Travel icon

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

In a hurry? Here we share our South Korea itinerary overview

If you don’t have time to read through the full 7-day Korea itinerary,  use this overview to get an idea of the things to do each day and save it for later.

  • Day 1-2 Seoul: Palaces, Insadong, traditional Hanok houses, Gwangjang market, Myeongdong, DMZ
  • Day 3-4 Gyeongju: Andong Hahoe Folk Village, Royal tombs, Bulgasaka temple
  • Day 5-6 Busan: Haeundae beach, Gwangandaegyo bridge, Taejongdae Resort Park, Jagalchi Fish Market, Busan Tower, Water Temple, Gamcheon cultural village
  • Day 7 Seoul: Seoul tower, Bukhansan National Park

Table of Contents

How to travel around South Korea

We rented a car and went on a road trip in South Korea.

You won’t need your car in Seoul so our advice would be to pick up your car from one of the many downtown locations when you leave for Gyeongju.

You can rent a car from , QEEQ , or Klook.

Here is all the information you need about renting a car and driving in Korea.

If you prefer not to drive you can use the train. Both Gyeongju and Busan have good train connections. If you travel this itinerary by train you will save with the Korea Rail Pass .

1 week in South Korea: Our South Korea itinerary 

Most international flights arrive in Seoul. This makes it the logical city to start our tour.

Day 1 -2: Seoul

Seoul represents the futuristic race the country has run over the past years.  The pace at which this city has been undergoing development is similar to that of Chinese cities. 

Seoul expanded enormously over the years and now houses almost 12 million people. It borders Incheon in the West and Bukhansan National Park in the North. 

The highlights can be visited in a few days but you will need weeks to discover all areas of this stretched-out megapolis.

Seoul Cheonggycheon river walk, South Korea

Seoul city walk

Depending on what time you arrive in Seoul you can do (part of this) walk to get a good first impression of this fantastic city.

The city counts 5 palaces.   We visited Gyeongbokgung Palace, the most popular one, to watch the changing of the guards. Later on, we also went to Unhyeoungung Palace and Deosugung Palace. Those palaces are not as popular which makes them ideal for a complete and tranquil visit. 

From Unhyeoungung you can continue to Bukchon Hanok Village, one of the most beautiful places in South Korea to stroll between the traditional Hanok houses. 

From Bukchon it’s not far to Insadong , one of the most traditional and cultural districts in Seoul and a great place for lunch. 

Make sure to drop by the beautifully decorated Jogyesa temple.

A little bit further out, but worth the detour, is Gwangjang market.  

This is a traditional street market where you can mingle with the Koreans to taste some of the local street-food delicacies.

Have a look at the stalls that sell San-nakji which is raw octopus that is killed by cutting it into pieces on your plate so that the tentacles are still moving while it is served. 

I can assure you that we did not try this either but there’s a lot more you can enjoy like the Soonday (blood sausage), different kinds of rice rolls, and bindaetteok, a kind of pancake.

Seoul, Gwangjang market, South Korea

Coming back from Gwangjang take a left at the futuristic Jongno tower towards Myeongdong . 

Where you cross the Cheonggyecheon River, you will find several food trucks. 

After you have discovered the Myeongdong shopping district you can make your way to the modern city hall and walk along the wide Sejong-daero boulevard back towards Gyeongbokgung palace.

Seoul Itinerary

Now that you’ve already got the first impression of this thriving capital it’s time to explore it further.

You can easily spend a day exploring the city’s palaces and Bukchon Hanok Village. A second day can be spent going to Namsan Park where you can go up the Seoul Tower. Afterward, you can visit Myeongdong and Hongdae.

If you ask us, the DMZ is also something not to be missed.

As you can see there is more than enough to do for 2 days.

We won’t go into more detail here. Instead, have a look at our detailed 3-7 day Seoul Itinerary . Our recommendation would be to focus on the first 2 days of this itinerary, but of course, you are free to create your own itinerary based on the different activities that we describe.

The ultimate Seoul itinerary for 3-7 days, 39 of the best things to do in Seoul  and the 4 day Seoul itinerary.

Take our Seoul E-guide with you 

travel blogs korea

For the price of a single cup of coffee, you can get our 3-7 days Seoul itinerary as a nicely formatted PDF document.

You can print it or store it on your phone so you can access it anytime during your visit to Seoul.

Have a look here for more information and a preview.  

Organized Tours in Seoul 

Here is an overview of the best-organized tours in Seoul.  An organized tour saves you time and, moreover, the tour guide will enlighten you about the different sights you visit.

We partnered up with GetYourGuide and Klook for these activities. 

We love GetYourGuide because they’re flexible.  Sometimes your plans change last minute and then you want to be able to cancel your tickets and get your money back.  It’s also good to know that GetYourGuide has your back when the local tour operator doesn’t show up or cancels your trip.

Klook is a trustworthy travel company headquartered in Hong Kong that teams up with local operators to offer all kinds of travel experiences.

We selected 3 excellent tours in Seoul just for you.

Visit the DMZ 

Dorosan train station, DMZ, Seoul

Visiting the DMZ is a must-do when you are in Seoul. The DMZ area is located around 60 km up north of Seoul and can only be visited with a guided tour.

Make sure to book your tours well in advance as they often sell-out.  Trips to the DMZ run Tuesday to Friday.

Book a full-day tour that includes the JSA , the Joint Security Area, the place where the 2 countries meet, and where you can step across the border and be in North Korea for a few minutes.

You can read more about the DMZ in day 3 of this itinerary and we have a full article online that compares the different tours that you can book to visit the DMZ.

Join a Seoul City Bus Tour

Seoul, Jogyesa temple, South Korea

If you want to discover the highlights of Seoul but you are short on time, this bus tour is for you. Hop on the bus and discover the top city attractions with ease.

Perfect for first-time visitors.

Check prices and availability: Seoul City Bus Tour

Experience a Nanta show in Myeongdong or Hongdae

Nanta show Myeongdong Theatre

If you are looking for a fun night out in Seoul this nonverbal Nanta show is perfect for you. The narrative centers around 3 charismatic chefs and integrates the traditional rhythms of Samulnori  with comedy and drama. 

Lots of fun and perfect for the whole family.

For this activity, we decided to partner up with Klook because they often have the cheapest tickets for the Nanta show.

Check prices and availability: Nanta show

Where to stay in Seoul? 

Seoul is a large city with lots of districts each with its own styles and attractions.

Here we share the best places to stay for tourists and first-timers based on our own experience.

Myeongdong – City Center

Myeongdong is right in the heart of Seoul’s city center.

This is one of the most popular places to stay. 

The district does draw large crowds of tourists as well as shoppers and once the sun settles people flock to the streets to stroll along the pop-up food stalls and enjoy some of the best street food that Seoul has to offer. 

You will also find plenty of restaurant options, we had some of the best dakgalbi in this district. 

By staying in Myeongdong you are close to the Namsan Seoul Tower and the Namdaemun Sungnyemun gate.

Metro hotel

Metro hotel Myendong South Korea

The Metro hotel is within walking distance of shopping areas, street food, and public transportation. 

The rooms are small but clean and all have complimentary water, tea, and coffee facilities.

The hotel offers a complimentary smartphone which you can use to make local calls and take out when exploring.

The hotel offers a free massage chair to use in the main lobby which is nice after a tiring day sightseeing.

Check prices and availability:

Insa-Dong – Palace Quarter

Insa-dong is one of the most traditional and cultural districts in Seoul and a very touristy district.  The streets are lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, and tea houses.

You are within walking distance of most palaces, the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, Bukchon Hanok village, and Gwanghwamum square. 

This is probably the best location if you’re short on time and want to visit the highlights on foot.

Sunbee hotel

Sunbee Hotel Insadong South Korea

The Sunbee hotel is close to 2 subway stations, the Bukchon Hanok Village, and Seoul’s city center.

There are many nice restaurants, tea houses, and cafes near the hotel.

This is an excellent location for sightseeing.  The rooms are large and have good beds.  

The hotel staff is always friendly and willing to help and most of them speak English.

We stayed in Gangnam the commercial district of Seoul that attracts the rich and young crowds who come here to spend their hard-earned money in the many exclusive bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues. 

Its huge boulevards are lined with skyscrapers and are best enjoyed after dark when Gangnam comes alive and the huge billboards lighten up the neighborhood.

Gangnam is a little outside of the traditional tourist spots and might not be ideal if this is your first visit to Seoul.

Seoul has one of the world’s largest subway networks and the trains run frequently.  Still, it took us 45 minutes to get from Gangnam to Anguk, one of the major stations in InsaDong, the Palace District.

The advantage of staying in Gangnam is that the hotel rooms tend to be a tad larger here compared to the city center.

Aloft Seoul Gangnam

Seoul Aloft Gangnam, South Korea

Aloft Seoul Gangnam is about 5 mins walk to Cheongdam station (line 7). The subway system takes you relatively easy and fast to all the places of interest.

The hotel is very easy to reach from Incheon airport (Airport Bus 6006 literally stops in front of the entrance) and is in the nice Cheongdam Area with a bunch of good food options and coffee shops.

Nice rooms with great service. Friendly and helpful staff.

If you aren’t convinced of the above-mentioned hotels have a look at our other Seoul accommodations posts.

  • Where to stay in Seoul: our post on the best areas and hotels to stay in Seoul
  • Coolest hotels in Seoul: an overview of cool hotels in Seoul
  • Best Airbnbs in Seoul: for those who prefer staying in an Airbnb in Seoul

travel blogs korea

How to get from Incheon or Gimpo airport to Seoul

There are 2 international airports in Seoul,  Incheon International Airport   and  Gimpo airport.

How to get from Gimpo Airport to Seoul

Gimpo airport  is Seoul’s smallest airport and lies about 50 minutes from downtown Seoul.

It is often used for domestic flights and offers a shuttle service to  Tokyo.

Gimpo Airport can be easily reached by subway Line 5 and with  the all-stop A’REX Airport Express.

How to get from Incheon airport to Seoul

Most international passengers will arrive at Incheon International Airport.

South Korea’s largest airport is 47km from  Seoul Station , which is considered to be the center of Seoul.  The airport is well-connected to this station.

Some hotels have courtesy shuttles to Seoul station but if they don’t you could continue your journey with the subway, the train, the limousine bus, or organize a private transfer.

The fastest and cheapest way 

The fastest and cheapest way  to get from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station is using  the A’REX Airport Express.

Check prices and availability: A’rex Incheon Airport Express Train Tickets

The limousine bus

Another option is taking  the limousine bus.  There are 4 lines that stop at various places in Seoul.

  • 6701 Airport: Seoul City Hall
  • 6702 Airport: Dongdaemun/Namsan
  • 6703 Airport: Gangnam/COEX
  • 6705 Airport: Jamsil/East Seoul Bus Terminal

The buses run from early in the morning until the evening.

Note that the schedule for all buses is different, so definitely check the bus hours before booking a ticket.

Check prices and availability: Seoul K lImousine Bus

Take a private and direct transfer

Depending on the location of your hotel and the length of your flight (and the amount of sleep you could get) you might not be looking forward to train and subway rides in your first hours in Seoul. 

After a long flight, a  private and direct transfer from the airport to your hotel  will be a lot more comfortable.

Check prices and availability: Incheon Private Transfer

Tourist is waiting the bus in Seoul, South Korea.

How to get around Seoul? 

The easiest way to travel around Seoul is to use   the subway. 

Seoul’s subway is well-connected and quite cheap.

Single-ride cards  can be purchased on vending machines with coins and bills, credit cards are not accepted.

T-money recharge card

To avoid the hassle of buying tickets for each and every ride you can opt for the  T-money recharge card .

Korea tour card

If you are visiting more places in South Korea, we advise you to buy a Korea Tour Card. This is a T-money card that can be used in the whole of Korea.

In addition to the comfort of just having to tap the card whenever you use public transportation, you also get discounts at a number of popular attractions, including Lotte World, Everland, and several more.

If you have an Android phone, you can even use a digital version of the T-money card. 

This card is a great deal as it is even cheaper than a regular T-money card. It costs ₩6000 and has a ₩5000 value that can be used towards rides.

Check prices and availability: Digital T-Money Tour Card for Android

Korail railPlus transport card

In addition to the subway and busses, this card can also be used on Korail’s intercity trains, including the fast KTX trains.

Some taxis also accept the Rail+ card and you can also pay your highway toll fees with this card.

Check prices and availability: RailPlus card

travel blogs korea

M-pass card

This is a transportation card exclusively for international tourists traveling in the Seoul metropolitan area.

M-PASS comes in five different durations: 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day passes. 

You can buy your M-pass card on weekdays at the Seoul City Tower. (close to exit 10 of Seoul Station) Cash only.

Discover Seoul Pass

If you plan to visit a lot of Seoul’s tourist attractions then the above-described Discover Seoul Pass   is your ideal travel companion. 

The pass has a 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day variant and gives you discounted or free access to many top tourist destinations.

It also has a T-money function that will save you ₩2,500 from buying a separate T-Money card. As an extra benefit, you get one free one-way A’rex Express train ride.

Note that The Discover Seoul Pass is not always available.

If it isn’t, you can see if they have the BTS edition. It’s a 24hr edition of the Discover Seoul Pass without the T-money option.

Instead, you get a Korea Tour T-money Card as a bonus.

The BTS edition covers the same attractions as the regular Discover Seoul Pass.

Discover Seoul Pass BTS (24h+Korea Tour Card)

Sunset on Wolji pond Gyeongju South Korea

Day 3 -4: Gyeongju

The next stop on our 1-week Korea itinerary is Gyeongju.

As soon as you leave Seoul you will find yourself surrounded by high mountains and idyllic countryside. A stark contrast with the urban jungle of Seoul.

For the next 2 to 6 hours you will see endless green landscapes that occasionally have to make way for rugged mountain tops.

Gyeongju used to be the capital of Korea during the Silla dynasty and today it is still recognized as the cultural capital of the country.

This makes Gyeongju a must-visit on your 7-day Korea itinerary.

How to get to Gyeongju from Seoul

The fastest and easiest way is by KTX train . KTX trains travel between Seoul station and Singyeongju Station. The journey takes around 2 hours. From Singyeongju you can take a bus to Gyeongju. The bus ride adds another 30 minutes.

Don’t forget to buy a Korea Rail Pass . If you do the round trip between Seoul and Singyeongju, with a stopover in Busan, you will save with a Korea Rail Pass .

Having a rental car offers more freedom but you won’t be able to beat the time it takes for the train to reach the city. Using turnpikes the journey takes 4 hours, if you want to avoid tolls it will take somewhere between 5 and 6 hours.

The advantage of self-driving is that you can enjoy the beautiful landscape at your own pace, and make a stopover in the Andong Hahoe Folk village.

South Korea Gyeongju Donggung Palace Wolji Pond

The Andong Hahoe Folk Village

On your way from Seoul to Gyeongju, you will pass the Andong Hahoe Folk Village.

Allow 2 hours for a visit to this folkloristic village. We had mixed feelings about our visit.  This well-preserved village forms a valuable part of Korean culture and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. But it is not an open-air museum.

All houses are inhabited and most are hidden behind high ramparts and closed gates.  Therefore you cannot visit the houses, you can only stroll through the streets or drive through them with a golf cart as many Asian tourists do. 

It feels strange to pay an entrance fee just to walk through the streets of an inhabited village. 

I hope our entrance fee helps the inhabitants to conserve their village but as a visitor, I would have loved to see the inside of some of these houses and some more historical context like you get in most folk villages.

That’s why I would recommend taking a guide who can give you some context about the things you see. He or she can teach you all kinds of things about Korean culture, architecture, and religion. I’m sure we would have appreciated our visit more with a guide.

If you want to visit the Andong Hahoe Folk Village but don’t want to drive there yourself you can join an organized day tour from Seoul. If you’re a party of 3 or more you can arrange your own private group trip.

Individual tour

Private group tour

Gyeongju Woljeonggyo Bridge, South Korea

Things to do in Gyeongju

Gyeongju is a relatively small town and most sights are within walking distance.

You can see most of the highlights of Gyeongju by walking from the city center past the Royal Tombs (often compared to Teletubbies houses) and the observation tower to the Donggung Palace with the Wolji Pond. 

The most charming moment to visit the Palace is after dark when the reflection of the palace in the water turns your visit into a fairytale story.

Still, it is a good idea to buy your tickets during the day so that when you come back in the evening you can walk straight in and skip the huge lines at the ticket machines.

Bulgaksa is a popular temple near Gyeongju.  Recognized as Unesco World heritage it houses 7 of South Korea’s national treasures. 

From the temple, you can hike to the nearby Seokguram Grotto which is part of the temple and also recognized as Unesco World heritage. 

It’s a scenic 45-minute uphill walk.  It is a small but peaceful temple with a stone-carved Buddha in the cave. 

No photographing is allowed and a glass wall has been put up to protect the interior of the cave.

Where to stay in Gyeongju

Gyeongju gg tourist hotel.

Gg tourist hotel Gyeongju South Korea

We stayed at the Gyeongju GG Tourist Hotel. The hotel lies in a good location right in the city center near the bus terminal.

It’s easy to walk to the Royal tombs as well as the other UNESCO World Heritage sites in the ancient tomb complex.

The hotel has spacious and comfortable rooms with a big bathroom.

The only negative that we can say is that the walls of the room are quite thin. We had a lot of noise from our neighbors who were arguing until late at night. But I suppose we were just unlucky with our neighbors this night.

If you have a car you can also opt for a hotel near Bomun lake where you can take long walks around the lake.

Hotel Lahan Select Gyeongju

Hotel Hyundai Gyeongju South Korea

Hotel Lahan Select Gyeongju offers comfortable rooms with a balcony.

The hotel is in a great location next to the lake, a stroll around the lake is lovely, certainly during the cherry blossom season.

The hotel has a buffet restaurant, Chinese restaurant, coffee shop, bakery & wine shop, kids’ play area, and video gaming room. 

The professional hotel staff speaks English.

Busan Haeundae Beach, South Korea

Day 5 – 6: Busan

Next on our list is Busan , South Korea’s fastest-growing city. A fishing village bursting at the seams.

Getting to Busan

If you travel by train, the journey from Gyeongju to Busan takes about 1 hour.

You will first need to jump on the bus to Singyeongju station where you can board a KTX train for Busan.

If you drive yourself it will take 2 hours if you use the toll roads or 30 minutes more if you avoid them.

Things to do in Busan

Busan is located along South Korea’s southeastern coast. It has some wonderful beaches and draws huge crowds during the summer months. 

Haeundae beach is a nice place to stay if you fancy a romantic stroll on the beach before you retire to your hotel room.

The nearby Dongbaek park offers splendid nocturnal views on the 7-km long Gwangandaegyo bridge, better known as the Diamond bridge.

Busan Diamond Bridge Gwangandaegyo, South Korea

On hot days you can cool down in the Shinsegae Centum city shopping center. 

Holding the record of the world’s largest shopping complex you will be able to tie on your ice skates and practice some rounds on the ice rink or relax in Spa Land.

An enormous spa complex with 22 different spas and a mixture of 13 different  Korean traditional ‘Jjimjil-bang’ saunas and saunas from all over the world.

Busan’s Sea Life Aquarium is also in Haeundae. It’s highly regarded, certainly by couples with kids.  If you visit the aquarium you can save a lot of money by buying discount tickets online here.

There are over 3500 islands to discover in South Korea. One of the most famous and beautiful is Jeju island.

In the center of Busan, you will find the Busan tower and the Nampodong & Jagalchi markets.

A little outside of the city is Taejongdae Resort Park, a peninsula that offers breathtaking views, and the Instagram-worthy Haedong Yonggungsa temple.

Also worth mentioning is the colorful cultural village of Gamcheon.   Due to the photogenic stacked houses, this place is very popular with tourists.

Busan has loads more to offer. We recommend that you follow our 2-day Busan itinerary .

  • We wrote a complete article about what to do in Busan, you can find it here.
  • If you are looking for a Busan 2 day itinerary, click here.
  • Wondering what to do in Busan at night, click here.
  • If you have still some time left in Busan, you could consider making a day trip. Here is an overview of the best day trips from Busan. 

Organized Tours in Busan

Busan lacks the efficient public transportation network of Seoul. There is a metro network but many of the tourist sights are far from the subway stops and will require a ride by bus. A car is therefore still useful in this city.

For those who do not have a rental car, we share some organized tours below. With these organized tours, you can efficiently visit the different sights.

You will not need to plot out your own itinerary and you won’t lose time waiting for the bus.

Busan Private Tour with a Local

Lotte Department Store Seomyeon Busan South Korea

If you are like us and you don’t like group tours, this private tour might be something for you. 

With this tour, you will have the chance to explore Busan with a local guide who will customize your tour in line with your personal interests.

Perfect if you want to learn more about Busan but you don’t like group tours.

Check prices and availability: Private customizable Busan Tour

Busan Night City Tour 

Busan by night, South Korea

Busan is well known for its amazing night views. This tour is for you if you want to discover the city at night and take awesome night pictures.

Check prices and availability: Busan night tour

If you didn’t find what you were looking for, take a look at our overview with the best Busan day tours. 

Where to stay in Busan

Here’s a complete list of excellent places to stay in Busan .

Below is the hotel where we stayed during our last visit to Busan.

  Shilla Stay Haeundae

Busan Haeundae Shilla Stay, South Korea

We stayed in the brand new Shilla Stay Haeundae hotel, located right in front of Haeundae beach.

The hotel has soberly decorated modern and comfortable rooms.

They have a rooftop bar which is a great place to hang out. The hotel is within walking distance of many restaurants.

  • Here’s our complete guide about where to stay in Busan.
  • If you prefer Airbnbs, have a look at our post in which we share the best Airbnbs in Busan. 

Bukhansan National Park, South Korea

Day 7: Seoul

The last day of your 7-day South Korea travel itinerary takes us back to Seoul to spend more time in this huge metropolis.

Seoul, Seoul Tower Love locks, South Korea

Several viewpoints offer dramatic views of the vastness of Seoul.  

The Seoul tower and Seoul sky (in the Lotte world center) are perhaps the 2 most known and most accessible while the vistas from Bukhansan National Park are not as widely known.

The views from the park are at least as good and we absolutely recommend that nature lovers reserve some time to visit the park.

The trail that leads up to the Bogungmun gate of the old fort is tiring but once you reach the top you are rewarded with a beautiful view of the park and the vast city.

From here you can follow the ramparts of the old fort to the Daeseongmun gate where you can go back down via another path.

You can also use your last day for a great day trip (or weekend trip) from Seoul. 

Here is an overview of more fun things to do in Korea.

If you have 2 weeks in South Korea, check out this post.

South Korea travel tips

Let’s end this Korea itinerary blog with some Korean travel tips.

What’s the best time to visit South Korea?

May, September, and October are the best months to visit South Korea. 

June, July, and August are rainier and hotter with temperatures reaching 25 to 30 degrees.  Moreover, the risk of typhoons is also greater. 

In May everything starts to bloom and in September and October, the autumn colors make the landscapes very photogenic.

We visited South Korea in April and had 2 rainy days over the course of 2 weeks and a half.

Here is a step-by-step guide to planning your trip to Korea.

Going independent or joining an organized tour

We found it easy and straightforward to create our own travel itinerary for South Korea. Korea is a very modern country, we could book and arrange everything online.

We also found it pretty easy to travel around the country independently. 

But if you don’t want to travel independently you could join an organized tour. TourRadar is a trustworthy company where you can book an organized tour. 

If you prefer an organized tour, have a look at our overview of the best Korea package tours. 

Cheap flights to South Korea

If you want to score  cheap flights  to Korea we advise you to have a look at  Momondo and  Skyscanner .  

Both are flight aggregators that compare several hundreds of booking sites and give you an overview of the best flights and the cheapest sites to book them. 

Momondo and Skyscanner are both very good at finding good deals, of the two, Momondo is probably the one with the most intuitive user interface.

Wondering how to find a cheap flight? Have a look at this post. 

Do I need travel insurance for Korea?

Travel Insurance is something that can be overlooked when you prepare for your vacation. 

Certainly when you’re traveling to a safe and civilized country.  We didn’t get travel insurance for our first vacation. 

A few years later we both took out new credit cards that came with travel insurance and relied on those.  We know better now…

Overall, chances are slim that you will encounter any problems while traveling through a civilized country such as Korea. But when things go wrong in civilized countries, the medical costs can be high. 

We learned it the hard way when we once had to visit a hospital in the United States.  The medical care was excellent but we had high out-of-pocket expenses as it turned out the insurance that came without credit cards didn’t cover these costs.  It turned out we were underinsured.

Drawing up a travel insurance policy may seem expensive at first but it can potentially save you a significant sum, significantly more than the small insurance fee. 

Good travel insurance, such as the one from SafetyWing and HeyMondo , covers things like medical expenses, trip cancellation, overseas medical costs, evacuation, baggage damage or loss, and theft.

Exploring South Korea by car

We would encourage you to explore South Korea by car. There’s nothing wrong with the public transit system in cities like Seoul. But there’s nothing that can beat the freedom of having your own car. 

You’re the master of your own schedule and you just need to load your bags in your trunk. 

Taking the train often means that you will be dragging your bags up and down several flights of stairs.

Yes, there’re elevators but they’re not always very easy to find.

So here we will share what you need to know to do the perfect South Korean road trip. 

Money in South Korea 

Cash is king for visitors.  Koreans can swipe their cards everywhere but foreign cards are not always accepted.

There were many ATMs at Incheon airport and it took us at least an hour to find one where we could withdraw cash.  Most tourists were helping each other by pointing out other ATMs to their fellow tourists. It seems all foreigners were having the same problems.

Once we had left the airport things didn’t get better.  It was always a hit or miss with the ATMs we tried. 

Most wouldn’t accept our cards, but some did. Usually, we never suggest bringing cash but it looks like it may be a good idea to bring some cash to South Korea.

And once you have found an ATM that gives you cash make sure to withdraw enough! We couldn’t use our credit cards for toll fees.  We had better luck in restaurants and gas stations where our cards were usually accepted.

Seoul, Bukchon Hanok Village, South Korea

Safety in South Korea 

We didn’t encounter any problems whatsoever (except getting cash :-)) during our week in Korea but if you would you can call the travel hotline in 4 languages (Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese) 24/7.

Internet in South Korea 

South Korea has the fastest internet in the world. A lot of places offer free WiFi. We don’t know why, but we didn’t always manage to get on the wifi.

Because we used quite a few apps to help us to travel around Seoul and to check for the best places to eat we bought a  local sim card.

This way we were certain that we always had internet.

You can purchase your  SIM card  here or read our full post about  what’s the best SIM card for tourists.

We used our own  Pocket WIFI device  to share the 4G connection but if you don’t have a device of your own you can also  rent one online  and pick it up at the airport. 

Rent your Pocket WIFI device  or read our full post about  the best Pocket WIFI  device.

Handy South Korean apps

Mangoplate is the app to check for restaurant reviews and the best places to eat.

Naver Maps is your GPS companion for your road trip. 

Google Maps navigation is not working in South Korea and despite some people reporting that Waze was working for them, it was not for us. 

The Naver Maps app is available in English (their website is only in Korean) and the app’s look and feel is very intuitive and very much similar to any other GPS app.

Available on: Google Play – Apple (This app is not getting much love for its Apple version.  We used the Android version which worked like a charm)

Korea Seoul Metro Navi

Korea Seoul Metro Navi will guide you quickly and efficiently through Seoul’s extended subway system.  The app calculates the fastest route to your destination.

Available on: Google Play – Apple

If you plan on taking taxis, we recommend that you use the Kakao Taxi app.

Available on: Google Play , – Apple

Here is a list of more travel tips for Korea.

Did you ever visit Korea? What do you think is the best itinerary for South Korea? 

Let us know in the comments. 

If you like this article, pin it

7 days South Korea itinerary

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

Great guide, thanks very much. I've been looking for a good week-long itinerary to recommend to people visiting Korea.

We do our best to provide in-depth information.

Monday 29th of April 2019

Very well written and it helped me a lot! I am planning a 1-week trip to South Korea this September.

Thanks Margaux, glad you love it. Enjoy your time in South Korea!

Thanks, we do our best to provide in-depth information.

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South Korea Travel Guide

South Korea

South Korea is known to be a place of wild contradictions and stark contrasts. It’s where you will see ancient temples beside skyscrapers; experience the hustle and bustle of the city life with the serenity of nature nearby, and where both technology and tradition coexist.

While teaching English through the EPIK program, we have traveled many parts of this amazing country. From Seoul to Busan, and numerous hiking treks and festivals, we wanted to experience everything South Korea has to offer.

South Korea Travel Guide Contents

Important Info    |    Best Time to Visit    |    Things to Do    |    What to Eat    |    Typical Budget

Travel Tips    |    What to Pack    |    South Korea Articles    |    Book Now

South Korea Travel Guide: Korean Flags

Important Information about South Korea

South Korea at a Glance:  South Korea is home to some of the friendliest people on Earth. Here, you will find colorful hanboks and historical places in the middle of Seoul, South Korea’s capital. All around the country, you will also see temples, fortresses and palaces. When it comes to nature, South Korea boasts a lot of hot springs, sandy beaches, mountain peaks and national parks.

Currency in South Korea:  won | 2018 Conversion Rate: ₩1000 = $0.88 USD

Tipping in South Korea:  Korea has a no-tip culture . Everyone from cab drivers, hotel and restaurant staffs don’t expect any tip.

 Language & Helpful Phrases:  Korean 

Hello =  an-nyeong-ha-se-yo

Thank you =  gam-sa-ham-ni-da

Beer =  maeg-ju

Delicious =  mas-issneun

Where’s the bathroom =   hwa-jang-siri eodiyeyo

How much? =  ige eolmayeyo?

Too expensive  = neomu bissan

Don’t want =  wonhaji anh-a

Religion and Culture:  While a little less than half of South Koreans practice a religion, there are a few throughout the country. The major three are Protestant Christianity, Catholicism and Buddism.

Transportation around South Korea:  Transportation in Korea is excellent, probably one of the best in the world. Buses always leave on time, the trains are really cheap and metros are super clean. Most signs in are in English as well as Korean, so it is very easy to travel in Korea.

South Korea Travel Guide: Cherry Blossoms

Best Time To Visit South Korea

Climate in south korea.

Korea experiences all four seasons and each one of these bring different experiences. If you want to see the cherry blossom season, plan your trip around the first two weeks in April.

Seasons are similar to most northern hemisphere countries:

Spring:  March to May

Summer:  June to August

Autumn:  September to November

Winter: December to February

Peak season for tourists   is in summer. Most, if not all, things in the city get pricier and busier. The month of August is typically summer vacation from school so expect that there will be a lot of people.

Times to avoid traveling in South Korea

By all means, avoid going to South Korea in summer, especially in August. It’s the most expensive and crowed time of the year. Not only that, but the weather tends to be humid.

Major Festivals in South Korea

Andong International Maskdance Festival ,  late September to early October: During this festival a massive display of mask dancing takes place. People from all over the world come here to showcase different traditional mask dances.

Boryeong Mud Festival, second weekend of July: Experience something unique during this festival by taking a dip in a mud bath, try mud wrestling and mud sliding.

Namwon Chunhyang Festival,  April: Basically, this festival is a celebration of one of the most famous Korean folk story characters – Chunhyang from Chunhyangjeon.

Seoul Lantern Festival, First Friday of November: Every year, the theme here changes. As a lantern festival, you can expect to see many lanterns light up the Cheonggyecheon area of Seoul.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival , January: This festival is voted to be one of the best in Korea. Celebrated during winter, activities during this time include catching fish with bare hands, sledding and ice sculpting.

*These festivals follow the Lunar calendar, so the exact dates vary each year

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South Korea Travel Guide: Seoul

Top Things to Do in South Korea

Get naked at a jjimjilbang.

A jjimjibang is one of the spa retreats that you should try when going to South Korea. Here, you can relax at different temperature hot tubs or try an exfoliating body scrub. You won’t regret it when you see how smooth your skin will become. Read about our jjimjilbang experience in Busan .

Sing in a Noraebang

One of the best ways to feel Korean is to get a group of friends together (and some beers) and sing your hearts out in a Noraebang, a Korean karaoke room). You’ll have a wide variety of songs to choose from, mostly 90’s favorites, and take turns belting out the lyrics along with your friends.

See the Cherry Blossoms in Bloom

Just like Japan, Korea has its fair share of cherry blossoms, and it’s typically less expensive to see them compared to Japan. Annually, for two weeks in April, South Korea becomes a tourist spot for its cherry blossoms.

Explore Jeju Island

Most famous for its blue turquoise waters and mountain views, Jeju Island is one of the most popular places in South Korea. Here, you can experience swimming in a naturally formed swimming pool, hiking to a volcanic crater and chase waterfalls. Read about our experience in Jeju for a weekend .

Eat Live Octopus

If you love taking a bite of exotic food, you shouldn’t miss the chance to try eating a live octopus.

Insider Tip: You can head to any fish market in South Korea and ask for some ssanakji. They will give you a live octopus and give you details to a nearby restaurant where it will be prepared and served to you with some side dishes. We have more details in our Top Things to Do in Korea article.

Are you thinking about teaching English in Korea? Check out our guide to Teaching English Abroad and how to get your TEFL Certification.

South Korea Travel Guide: Korean Barbeque

Best Food to Eat in South Korea

All around Asia, South Korea has one of the best cuisines. Often, the first things that come to mind when you think of Korean food is Korean BBQ and Kimchi. These are a must try, but trust us, there is so much more!

When it comes to Korean cuisine, the typically meals are a combination of rice, vegetables and meat. So without further ado, here are some of our favorites:

Samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ):  To eat samgyeopsal, you are the grill master and you’ll doing the cooking from the grill on the table. You can either order pork or beef and many side dishes will also be served here.

Jjim dak:  Created in the historic city of Andong, jjim dak is a mix of flat noodles, potatoes, delicious sauce, chunks of chicken and some peppers. You can also add some cheese for that heavenly taste.

Kimchi:  Kimchi is probably the only food in Korea that you’ll see everywhere you go. It’s the staple food served with every meal all year round.

Bulgogi:  For all you meat lovers out there, you’re definitely going to love bulgogi. This is a pile of marinated beef and mixed vegetables that you grill at your table.

Bibimbap:  When roughly translated, bibimbap means ‘mixed rice’. It is typically a mixture of greens, mushrooms, radishes, carrots, bean sprouts, gochujang sauce, and of course, rice.

Kimbap: Kimbap are Korea’s rolls of goodies. It can be considered as the sushi of Korea and comes in several varieties like bulgolgi and shrimp. Great for a meal on the go or picnics.

South Korea Travel Guide: Korean Won Currency

Typical Budget for South Korea

The cost of living in South Korea is relatively low, but it is increasing. Travelers can find many options to suit their travel budgets.

Good to know:  For transportation, you can save some money when you get yourself T-Money to pay for your fares on the bus, taxi and subway.

How Much to Budget in South Korea Per Day

Budget traveler:  If you are on a tight budget, watch your spending closely, $30 – $40 could be a sufficient budget.

Mid-range traveler:  If you want to have a few splurges and stay in nicer accommodation, plan to budget $50 – $100 per day.

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Dorm bed = $18-$30

Jjimjilbang = $6-$13

Budget room = $40

Mid-range = $60

Luxury hotel = $170+

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Street food = $1-$5

Restaurant = $5-$17

Local beer = $3-$9

Soju = $1-2

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

Train = $6-$7

Subway = $1-$2

Taxi = $3-$4

Travel Guide | Two Wandering Soles

DMZ Tour = $50-80

Jjimjilbang (Scrub and Massage) = $20-$70

Everland = $50

Lotte World = $45

Nami Island = $7

South Korea Travel Guide: Green Tea Fields

Responsible Travel Tips in South Korea

We are passionate about sharing tips anyone can use to  travel more responsibly . Here are some easy ways you can travel better in South Korea.

1. Leave no trace

Only leave your footprints. Nothing else. Bring all your waste and dispose them properly. There are tons of trash bins in the bigger cities in Korea. However, in smaller towns street cleaners come by frequently to collect trash piles. If you have rubbish and you can’t find a trash can, please place it in a trash pile. (I know, not ideal, but it is part of their culture.)

2. Be aware

Check the restaurants and shops before buying or eating there. Only choose ones that don’t promote exploitation or cruelty of endangered species.

Before you leave your accommodation, check that appliances and lights that are not in use should be unplugged. Please turn off your A/C as well.

4. Hang hotel towels

That’s right. Do you even need them replaced every day? Help conserve water by hanging your towels to reuse them during your shorter stays.

5. Do your research

While this is a travel guide, you can tweak it to your liking. Also, read about the country’s culture, religion, language and rules before your trip.

Related Article :   Eco-Friendly Travel Gear Packing List

South Korea Travel Guide: Korean Temples

What to Pack for South Korea

You might feel a bit overwhelmed about which stuff to bring when planning your perfect trip. Don’t worry, we got you covered. And if you’re moving to South Korea to teach English, we have exactly what we brought (and what we wished we left at home) in our Moving to Korea Packing List .

Here are some South Korea-specific items we’d recommend packing:

bug repellant  (solids are the way to go)

plug adapter

reef safe sunscreen

insulated water bottle (we love our Hydro Flasks )

reusable straw & reusable bag ( say no to single-use plastic! )

fleece jacket (for fall or spring)/hardshell jacket (for winter)

rain jacket (it can rain during any season, so you’ll want to be prepared!)

Skyroam Pocket WiFi (10% off Coupon Code: TWOWANDERINGSOLES)

Chaco sandals (we’d recommend these instead of hiking boots as they are less bulky and are good for walking through water)

Ultimate Long Term Packing List

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I am Aileen

Seoul Itinerary: Ultimate DIY Travel Guide for South Korea for 5 Days (More or Less)

by Aileen Adalid Itineraries , South Korea 134 comments

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One of my recent adventures was to the dynamic metropolis of Seoul in South Korea — a bustling city that not only holds a strong presence in Asia but also in the rest of the world. To date, this influence is largely due to Seoul’s cutting-edge technology, a strong economy, and vibrant culture (I’m sure that a majority of you have encountered K-pop , K-dramas, Korean cosmetics, and Korean food among many others at least once in your life!) (Seoul Itinerary)

TRIVIA : Seoul has 25 districts ( gu ) that are further subdivided into 522 sub-districts ( dong ), and with the Han River that runs through the middle of the city, there are distinct 2 sections: Gangbuk (the northern area that’s more traditional) and Gangnam (southern area that’s more modern). But… asking for the “center” of this whole metropolitan area is a difficult thing to answer because Seoul’s districts can somehow each function like a city center itself.

It actually baffles me that I didn’t go to Seoul sooner; nevertheless, the important thing is, I’ve finally seen this city for myself, and well… I just LOVED it! I am totally smitten about how it is constantly brimming with incredible things-to-do of sorts — all of which are enough to satisfy any kind of traveler out there.

Where to Stay in Seoul?

Come and check out my list of the ‘ Best Hotels in Seoul ‘ which features the top recommended choices for cheap to luxurious accommodation choices PER district.

Clearly, the days I spent there were not enough and I would have absolutely loved to stay longer. And now, as I recall the vast array of activities and sights that could be done and seen, I’ve decided to whip up this comprehensive Seoul itinerary travel guide that spans 5 days/nights to help travelers (like you) to plan a trip with ease and speed.

Rest assured, the Seoul itinerary below is totally customizable to fit any number of days that you might be spending — but first, here are some important tips for your travel to South Korea!

Table of Contents

South Korea Travel Guide

» quick travel planning.

  • Top tours & experiences
  • Find flights to Korea
  • Visa requirements
  • Best hotels & hostels
  • Travel insurance (5% discount)
  • Stay connected

– – –

» Best Time to Visit

I suggest coming during autumn to see the amazing fall foliage , but of course, if you want to witness cherry blossom season then spring is a considerable option too.

  • Spring : The city becomes a hit with all the flora that start to bloom and bud. And of course, much like Japan, the city has cherry blossoms which tourists often seek. Given this demand, there tends to be a slight increase in costs, but the weather and season are quite desirable.
  • Summer : This is arguably the peak season in the city so things get busier and costlier. It doesn’t help either that this is the vacation month of schools and Korean companies so everyone is out and about. That’s why if I were you, you should avoid these months — also because the weather can get quite humid with occasional downpours.
  • ★ Autumn : (This is the best time to visit Seoul because the weather is pleasant, prices are more affordable, and crowds are thinner. Not to mention the number of great destination must-sees for viewing vibrant leaves of autumn in South Korea . However, do take note to avoid Chuseok or Korea’s autumn harvest festival.
  • Winter : As the temperatures drop, prices and airfare also drop. Take note though that it can get very chilly; but, supposing you’re not that sensitive to the cold, this can be a fun time given all the amazing ski resorts and festive atmosphere.

Other South Korean blooms to watch out for?

See this list of the most popular spring flowers in Korea — when to see them and where to go!

ADDITIONAL TIP: Arrive and start your Seoul itinerary before the weekend. For example, if you’re visiting for 5 nights, make sure to come from Wednesday to Sunday. I say this because most places, museums, and shops close on Mondays and Tuesdays. Moreover, a lot of cosmetic stores hold sales starting on Thursdays and up to the weekend .
  • WINTER: Dec to Feb
  • SPRING: March to May
  • SUMMER: June to Aug
  • AUTUMN: Sept to Nov

» Getting in to South Korea

International visitors typically arrive at the main airport called Incheon International Airport (ICN) . To get here, I recommend browsing through Skyscanner to find the best flight deals from your point of origin. If you’re from the Philippines like me, Skyscanner also scans through budget airlines such as Air Asia and Cebu Pacific in order to find which of the 2 has the cheapest rate on the dates you choose.

From ICN, below are the following modes of transportation to get to Seoul…

By train. AREX (Airport Railroad Express) or ‘airport train’ connects ICN to Seoul station and Gimpo Airport, operating from 5:20AM to 12:00AM (midnight). There are 2 types of AREX, namely ‘express’ and ‘all-stop’. As the name suggests, ‘express’ is fast as it goes directly to Seoul Station (43 minutes) whereas ‘all-stop’ will arrive at 12 stations before finally arriving at Seoul Station (53 minutes). ‘Express’ tickets typically cost ₩8,000 but if you purchase online , you can get it at a discount for about ₩6,500~ only — and if you use code AILEEN5OFF , you’ll get an additional 5% off! Contrarily, in case you hold a Discover Seoul Pass , you can avail of one (1) FREE one-way ride.

By private transfers . If you want the utmost convenience and ease, especially without having to drag your luggage around, I recommend booking a private transfer to your hotel for only $63~ (or Php 3,300~ / ₩67,000~). This works best if you’re coming together with other people so that you can share the cost and save more. Otherwise, there are taxis at the airport that charge around ₩60,000 to ₩90,000 depending on your destination (take note that if the taxi passes by a road toll, you’ll have to pay for it).

By airport limousine/bus or shared transfers. There are limousine buses that travel directly to major areas and big hotels in Seoul and are a great option when you’re traveling with a lot of luggage. To get a discounted rate on this at about ₩14,000~ only, book with KAL or via shared transfer .

» Visa for South Korea

If you’re NOT a citizen of any of South Korea’s exempted countries , you are then required to avail of a visa beforehand. (If you’re from the Philippines, you can read my guide on how to get a South Korea visa in Manila here .)

  • Check full visa requirements here as per your nationality.

» Where to Stay (South Korea Accommodations)

To search for the best hotel accommodation in South Korea at the best prices, I suggest cross-checking hotel prices between Agoda and . But if you’re rather interested in renting comfortable houses or apartments, you should search through AirBnB .

Otherwise, if you’re interested in seeing the top picks per district in Seoul, see here .

» South Korea Currency

South Korean Won (KRW / ₩) wherein KRW 1,000 is equal to about USD $0.9~, €0.7~ or Php 49.00~ (this is as of May 2021). In the event that you want to exchange your money for KRW, I highly advise that you do NOT exchange your money at the airport since the rates there are not competitive.

  • How to best exchange your currency? Either exchange your money at a bank or at a money exchanger in your home country or in Seoul’s city center. Better yet, just withdraw from an ATM with your debit/credit card (do one big withdrawal to minimize fees with your bank) . Speaking of cards, a lot of Seoul’s establishments accept credit cards but it’s always advisable to have cash on hand.

» Cost of Travel in Korea

While the cost of living in South Korea is far from being cheap, your trip doesn’t have to break the bank! To give you an idea, you should expect to travel in South Korea with an average daily cost of about USD $35~ per person on a budget, or at least $100~ if you want to experience more comfort on activities, tours, hotels, and more. (Values below show low budget to medium budget ranges).

  • Hotels: $20 to $100 USD / day
  • Food: $10 to $30 USD / day
  • Fun: $10 to $25 USD / day
  • Transport: About US$1 per subway ride*

*Buy a T-Money card that saves you ₩100 on all trips.

» How to Get Around Seoul

I would recommend using Naver Map ( iOs / Android ) for researching your day-to-day route on your Seoul itinerary because it will show in detail the fastest connections you can do (by walking, by car, by bus, and by subway). To make this work, get your own pocket WiFi or SIM Card .

You might be wondering why I am not recommending Google Maps which is the app that I typically use in my travels. Well… this is because Google Maps’ driving and walking directions don’t work in South Korea. This is mainly due to the country’s old security laws that were set after the Korean War (I guess, as a way to protect their detailed topography from North Korea).

By subway . Seoul’s metro is impressive, well-connected, and cheap. To save time and make the most of the fares during your stay, it’s best to buy a T-Money card which is basically a stored value smart card that you can recharge and use between buses, trains, and subways while saving you ₩100 on all trips. You can buy this online beforehand at a cheaper rate — otherwise, it can be purchased at most of Seoul’s subway stations, newspaper kiosks, and convenience stores.

Take note that a T-money card is applicable to other locations as well in South Korea such as Gyeonggi-do, Incheon, Busan , Daegu, Daejeon, and Gwangju buses — plus Incheon, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Gwangju Metropolitan Subway networks.

However, if I may give you a tip, you can actually avoid paying the cost of acquiring this card (₩3,000) if you have a Discover Seoul Pass (which I will discuss in the next section below).

NOTE : Single-ride cards cost about ₩1,200~ and they can be purchased on vending machines which accept coins and bills only. Reloading your T-Money Card can also only be done with cash. Meanwhile, remember that the last train usually departs by midnight (the subway does NOT operate for 24 hours).

By bus. The city also has an extensive and well-connected bus service that similarly makes use of the T-Money card. Just always remember to tap your card before exiting the bus or else you’ll be charged the maximum fare possible on that bus’ route. If you’re rather looking for an unlimited hop-on-hop-off bus to the city’s major spots, you can check this out.

By foot . Seoul technically isn’t too huge of a place and most of the city highlights can be reached by foot.

By taxi. There are various taxi types in Seoul and in order to learn more about them and their corresponding fares, read here . (It’s also possible to book an Uber car) .

» Money-Saving Tips in Seoul

I advise that you purchase a Discover Seoul Pass for your Seoul itinerary because it is an amazing cost-effective card that is offered only to foreigners. To illustrate, below are the range of benefits that you can get from this pass:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Changgyeonggung Palace
  • Changdeokgung Palace
  • Jongmyo (Royal Shrine)
  • N Seoul Tower Observatory
  • Seoul City Tour Double-Decker Bus
  • COEX Aquarium
  • TrickEye & Ice Museum
  • Hello Kitty Island in N Seoul Tower
  • PooPoo Land
  • Lotte World Adventure
  • Eland Cruise
  • LOTTE Duty Free
  • NO WORRIES! Using your Discover Seoul Pass as a T-Money card for public transportation does NOT activate it. The Discover Seoul Pass will only activate when you first use it on its listed attraction s.

To get the best rate for a Discover Seoul Pass, you can purchase it online (it’s available in 24H and 48H options), and then pick it up either at Incheon International Airport or at Myeongdong’s Tourist Information Center.

  • TIP : The last Wednesday of each month has been designated as a “Culture Day” in Korea since 2014. During this day, participating museums, galleries, and other cultural facilities will offer FREE or discounted admissions. Examples are the royal palaces, Jongmyo Shrine, National Museum of Korea, Korean National Ballet etc.

» Staying Connected in South Korea

South Korea is said to have the fastest internet in the world (and yep, it’s true!) so you’ll be assured of great connection wherever you go. To add, most places even offer FREE WiFi — but in order to consistently stay connected online during your Seoul trip, I recommend getting your own pocket WiFi or SIM Card ; otherwise, consider getting an eSIM for a hassle-free experience.

» Safety in South Korea

The Republic of Korea or South Korea remains to be one of the safest countries in the world — and also one of the safest countries for solo female travelers . Petty theft may happen but they are quite rare; so, just practice common sense at all times and you’ll be fine!

  • HOW TO: Find the right travel insurance for you

» Helpful Korean Phrases

English is not widely spoken in South Korea even if it is taught in a lot of schools, but you’ll have better luck in the capital of Seoul where a lot of people put time, effort and money in learning English. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to learn a bit of the local language!

  • RELATED READ: Best translation apps for travel

Hello (formal): Annyeong haseyo Hello (informal): Annyeong Thank you: Gamsahamnida You’re welcome: Cheonmanyeyo Yes: Ye/Ne No: Aniyo Goodbye (to person leaving): Annyeonghi gaseyo Goodbye (to person staying): Annyeonghi gyeseyo Goodbye (informal): Annyeong

Excuse me (getting attention): Sillyehamnida I’m sorry: Joesonghamnida Is there someone here who speaks English?: Yeogi-e yeong-eoreul hasineun bun gyesimnikka? Help!: Dowajusipsio! Cheers!: Geonbae!

Other F.A.Q.

It is not customary in South Korea to tip, and sometimes, much like in Japan, they consider it as an insult so tipping is not recommended at all. In hotels and some restaurants though, you will sometimes see a 10% service charge on your bill.

South Korea typically uses type F (two round pins). The country operates on a 220V voltage and a frequency of 60Hz.

 Please check their  latest travel advisories  page for more details.

All visitors to South Korea must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the period of their intended stay (as well as have 2 blank pages).

There is and you can easily claim a tax refund for being a tourist; simply read this page for more info.

It is legal to fly a drone in the country but one of the top restrictions is to NOT fly above 150 meters and if your drone is more than 250 grams, it needs to be registered. For more info, see here .

Seoul Itinerary Guide

Take note that the 5-day Seoul itinerary below does not take into account your arrival day in Seoul — at any rate, if you’re staying longer in the city, you can make use of the last tab called ‘ Extra Days ‘ to see the other activities or trips you can do for filling up the rest of your vacation days.

TIP: It’s best to arrive and start your Seoul itinerary trip before the weekend. So for example, if you have 5 whole days, make sure to arrive on Tuesday and then start your whole tour from Wednesday to Sunday . I say this because most places, museums, and shops close on Mondays and Tuesdays. Moreover, a lot of cosmetic stores hold sales starting on Thursdays and up to the weekend so it would be a good idea to take advantage of that.

NOTE: The following section is in a tabbed format; so, in order to see the next day’s contents, just click the headings below.

DAY 1: Explore and enjoy Korean culture in a hanbok!

Seoul Itinerary: Gyeongbokgung Palace

Photo by: Shutterstock

◘◘ Rent a hanbok and explore some of Seoul’s cultural highlights

(Nearest subway station: Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit #4) You must never leave the city without trying on the elegant Korean traditional clothing called ‘ hanbok’! Much like how Japan has kimono rental shops, South Korea has hanbok rental shops for tourists. Through these places, you can borrow and wear hanbok for a day (or more ) whilst you venture out to the cultural spots in Seoul to snap wonderful photos.

This is certainly a MUST-do activity in your Seoul itinerary because aside from the fact that you can have the chance to feel as though you’ve been transported back to the Joseon period or to a set of an old K-drama, the experience itself is also supported by the Koreans as a part of promoting their history (so yes, it’s one way of immersing yourself with their vibrant culture too). And if those reasons are not enough, wearing a hanbok grants you FREE entry to the palaces in the city!

TRIVIA : The term ‘hanbok’ literally means “Korean clothing” but it just basically refers to the traditional clothing for both men and women from the Joseon period.

There are a LOT of hanbok rental shops in Seoul but if you want the best, I highly recommend renting with Seohwa Hanbok . Apart from its prime location, it has more intricately-designed hanbok garments that are set at an affordable price! For a more comprehensive guide on this, read my ‘ Hanbok Rental ‘ post here .

Seoul Itinerary: Hanbok Rental

As you would see on the online booking platform , Seohwa Hanbok has 3 rental options: 4 hours, 1 day, or 2 days .

NOTE: If you have purchased the Discover Seoul Pass (no matter if it’s the 24H or 48H option), it’s preferable that you do NOT activate it on this day because you’ll already be given FREE entry to 4 of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ if you’re wearing a hanbok. Not to mention that this whole hanbok activity will already likely fill up your whole day, so it’s best to activate the pass the next day. . Unless of course, you plan to avail the FREE hanbok rental use instead that’s under the Discover Seoul Pass’ perks. Personally, I think it’s best that you avail a hanbok rental separately for longer hours because the free hanbok rental under the pass is only for 90 minutes).

Once you are clad in a hanbok of your own choosing, I recommend doing the following route:

  • The Changing of the Royal Guard ( Sumunjang ) ceremony is held for FREE daily, except Tuesdays, at 10:00AM and 2:00PM in front of Gwanghwamun or the main gate of Gyeongbokgung. If you can’t make it to these time slots, you can also witness a Guard-on-Duty Performance at Gwanghwamun gate at 11:00AM and 1:00PM or a Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training in Hyeopsaengmun Gate at 09:35AM and 1:35PM.
  • If you’ve got time, you can check out the huge golden King Sejong Statue at the nearby Gwanghwamun Square. (King Sejong is best remembered as the inventor of ‘Hangeul’ or the Korean alphabet.)
  • ★ Changdeokgung: This was the 2nd palace that was built after Gyeongbokgung and it has since been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997. An interesting feature of this place is its ‘Secret Garden’ because there are only a limited number of admission slots per day that are given out. If you’re lucky, you can get the chance to go in if you want to!
  • Deoksugung: This palace is famous for its picturesque stone-walled road (which is often featured in K-dramas like Goblin). And much like Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung Palace has a Changing of the Royal Guards Ceremony and it is held at 11:00AM, 2:00PM, and 3:30PM daily, except on Mondays.
  • Changgyeonggung: This used to be the residential quarters for queens and concubines of the king, and it later became a park with a zoo and a botanical garden during the Japanese colonial rule (today though, the zoo and garden are relocated to Seoul Land ).
  • Gyeonghuigung: Located near Deoksugung Palace, this site served as the secondary palace for the king in the latter half of the Joseon period. For a time, Gyeonghuigung was of considerable size but most of its major structures have long been disassembled and moved to other parts of Seoul. .
  • To get here, look for Bukchon-ro street. It will be hard to miss because the tourism board had recently appointed staff there in red clothing to help tourists and distribute maps. Basically, there are 8 major viewpoints to see in Bukchon Hanok Village and those that you must NOT miss are the Gaehoe-dong areas that are typically appointed as Views #3 to #7. If you’re coming with elderly companions, take note that there are a few uphill climbs in this area.
  • Unlike other hanok villages (like Namsangol Hanok Village), Bukchon was not built for tourists as it is rather a residential village inhabited by Seoulites. Therefore, make sure to keep quiet so as not to disturb the locals.
  • As you leave Bukchon, drop by the nearby neighborhood of Ikseon-dong . Much like Bukchon, it’s one of the oldest hanok villages in Seoul; but in case you want to escape the crowds, it would be a great idea to explore this hidden gem! .
  • Lunch: You can either have it at Bukchon Hanok Village or at Insa-dong. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants in these areas so you won’t have a difficult time picking a place; though if I may put in my two cents, do check out Jokagbo at Bukchon (across the street near the entrance to the village) or Gogung at Insa-dong for their bibimbap (mixed rice bowl). For other food or restaurant options, click the “Extra Days” tab on top of this section — or go to this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals. .
  • Drop by Insa-dong: (Nearest subway station: Anguk Station, Exit #6) As you make your way to the last stop of this route, you must not skip on the neighborhood of Insa-dong in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul. After all, its streets are one of the best places in Seoul when it comes to culture and crafts (perfect for souvenirs!). If I may also share another tip, try to stop by Ssamziegil which is a unique building wherein each of its levels is connected in the form of a spiraling walkway! .
  • (OPTIONAL) Visit Namsangol Hanok Village: (Nearest subway station: Chungmuro Station, Exit #3) Located at the foot of Namsan, this village was built to feature 5 traditional houses of different social classes from the Joseon era, all relocated to this spot from different locations in Seoul in order for guests to understand the daily lives of its past people. Of all these 5 houses or hanok, only one is open to the public which is the house of Yoon-ssi of Okin-dong. It has been transformed into ‘Yoon’s Tearoom’ where visitors can learn about Korea’s tea culture. If you’re interested, you could join the tea ceremony program for only ₩7,000. (For a list of other activities in this village, see this link ).
Is it possible to just try on a hanbok for FREE? Yes. If you hold a Discover Seoul Pass , you can wear a hanbok of your choice outdoors for 90 minutes via HANBOKNAM, or take photos with a hanbok in the indoor studio of Namsan Seoul Tower Hanbok Experience Center . However, if you do not have a Discover Seoul Pass, Korea Tourism Office’s Main HQ allows you to wear simple hanbok and take shots of yourself in it indoors. . Is there a service where I can just rent a hanbok indoors and have a professional photographer take photos of me? Of course! You can book this kind of experience online for just ₩15,000~ (or USD$14~ / Php 730~). It even has the option of doing outdoor shots.

◘◘ Visit the awe-inspiring structure of Dongdaemun Design Plaza

(Nearest subway station: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit #2)

Seoul Itinerary: Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Also called “DDP”, this structure is a new major urban landmark in the heart of Seoul which has a distinctly futuristic design made by world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid. As such, it’s not strange that it is one of the most Instagrammed locations in Korea.

Other than enjoying its grand outer architecture for your Seoul itinerary, you can also stroll through DDP’s huge 5 halls namely, Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market, and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park — places where you can shop and watch various exhibitions, fashion shows, and performances among many others.

  • From late May to late October every year, Seoul Bamdokkaebi (Goblin) Night Market will open in DDP from 6:00PM to 11:00PM, so don’t forget to make a stop here to not only buy a variety of food and goods but to also enjoy the various performances made available during this event.
  • TRIVIA : This display was first put up on National Liberation Day in 2015 which is in celebration of Korea’s 70th year of independence. Hence, the number of 25,550 comes from 365 days multiplied by 70.
BONUS: If you still have some time, drop by Ihwa Mural Village, a picturesque neighborhood in Seoul that is famous for its amazing murals — as well as for its fascinating cafes and shops. It’s no wonder that a lot of K-dramas and movies have started to do their filming here. You can basically find this near Naksan Park (which also yet another hidden gem that provides great views of the cityscape).

◘◘ Eat and shop through any of Seoul’s night markets


Like the rest of Asia, Seoul has no shortage of vibrant night markets, so for dinner, go and drop by any of the following spots ( it’s best to choose only one! )

  • Bamdokkaebi (Goblin) Night Market: (Nearest subway station: *various spots*) Like I’ve written above, this night market opens from May to October. It originally opened in Yeouido (Yeouinaru Station, Exit #3) but has since expanded to several locations such as DDP. The other remaining places would be Cheonggyecheon Stream (Jongno5(0)ga Station, Exit #7) and Banpo Hangang Park (Express Bus Terminal Station). .
  • Dongdaemun Night Market: (Nearest subway station: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit #4) Take note that this is different from the night market found in DDP. Apart from the retail haven found in this vicinity, you will also find the ‘Open market’ with its bright yellow tents, all selling various apparel, souvenirs, and items at affordable prices starting from 10:00PM up to 5:00AM. If you’re rather looking for delicious Korean eats during your Seoul itinerary, drop by Mukja Golmok (“Let’s Eat Alley” at exit #8 of Dongdaemun Station) to feast on snacks like tteokbokki (rice rolls). .
  • ★ Myeongdong Night Market: (Nearest subway station: Myeongdong Station, Exit #7) Even if this is not one of those ‘traditional’ night markets, it remains to be a popular destination for travelers as it is set in the bustling shopping district of Myeongdong that holds some of the biggest stores like Lotte and Shinsegae as well as cosmetic brands of all kinds. Starting from 5:00PM and onwards, you will start to see food stalls filling up the main street with fares like gyerangbbang (Korean egg bread), dak-galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken), etc. .
  • ★ Namdaemun Night Market: (Nearest subway station: Hoehyeon Station, Exit #5) Open from 11:00PM till 4:00AM, this traditional night market is the largest in Seoul and it holds every possible thing that you can think of — from food to clothing, they have it all! .
  • Gwangjang Market: (Nearest subway station: Jongno 5(o)-ga Station, Exit #8) If Namdaemun is the largest, then Gwangjang would be the oldest in Seoul, making it a common go-to place for many Korean shoppers. You can actually find this close by Dongdaemun and DDP so it’s possible to check off several of those night markets in the same night if you will it so! (TIP: This place is best if you’re looking to buy a hanbok for yourself). .
  • ★ Noryangjin Fish Market: (Nearest subway station: Noryangjin Station, Exit #1) Operating 24 hours a day, this place is more than just a night market. If you come in the early morning, you can witness a bustling fish auction (reminiscent of Japan’s Tsukiji Fish Market). Anyhow, the fun part about this place is that you can buy some fresh seafood and then have it cooked by a restaurant located on the 2nd floor — and if you’re brave enough, maybe you can try the infamous Korean activity of eating a LIVE octopus?
TIP : Want a hassle-free foodie experience? With the help of a local guide, you can join a Korean Food Walking Tour or a Korean Night Dining Tour .

◘◘ Watch the famous Nanta Show


If there’s one show that you should NOT miss for your Seoul itinerary, it will be witnessing the award-winning long-running NANTA Show at Myeongdong Theatre. This is basically a non-verbal comedy show (so it’s fine even if you don’t know Korean) that incorporates traditional ‘ samul nori ‘ rhythm (which is a genre of percussion music distinct to Korea) as they do a slapstick play that mimes the story of cooks who are preparing for a wedding.

I’ve seen this show myself and it was quite entertaining as I saw knives fly and fire blasting from pots — but don’t worry, it’s all safe! But I must say that it did have a distinct sense of humor that may or may not work for you. Either way, it’s an energetic performance that has garnered distinctions and awards from Edinburg Fringe Festival and on New York’s Broadway, so I say: give it a try!

NEAREST SUBWAY: Myeongdong Station, Exit #7 BOOK: Online to get 30% off on tickets

DAY 2: “Discover” more of Seoul!

NOTE: If you have purchased the Discover Seoul Pass (no matter if it’s the 24H or 48H option), this would be a good day to start its activation.

◘◘ Explore and shop in Myeongdong and Hongdae

Seoul Itinerary: Hongdae

Myeongdong: (Nearest subway station: Myeongdong Station) This is is arguably the shopping mecca of Seoul and its 2 main streets meet in the center — the first spanning from Myeongdong Subway Station and the second from Lotte Department Store at Euljiro.

For the shopaholics, there is a wide range of branded shops and department stores that line Myeongdong’s streets and alleys (e.g. Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Noon Square, etc.), and they are often set relatively cheaper than the other shopping areas in the city like Cheongdam-dong.

Of course, let’s not forget that Myeongdong is a beauty lover’s dream too given the number of Korean cosmetic stores that regularly hold insane sales for their high-quality products.

As an example, I went here to shop for face masks and one piece averaged at only USD$0.40~ or Php 20~! Some of the top stores you need to check are: Innisfree, Nature Republic, Holika Holika, Tony Moly, Nature Republic, and Laneige. (If you have heard of the Instagram-famous place called as Style Nanda Pink Hotel , you can find it here in this neighborhood or ‘dong’).

TIP : Try to NOT buy from the first shop that you set foot into because most of the time, they will hand out free samples and masks, which could be quite a treat! In fact, I know that some people would hop from store to store just to collect samples, haha. Anyhow, in case you want to check out other places because you’ve got some time, shops in Hyehwa and Sincheon neighborhoods can have cheaper cosmetic products too. And oh, of course, do NOT ever forget claiming your tax refund!

Hongdae: (Nearest subway station: Hongik University Station, Exit #9) It’s no surprise that this area is often compared to Japan’s Harajuku because of its hip and youthful ambiance — with a dash of unique cafes and indie fashion shops here and there. Aside from strolling through ‘ Hongdae Walking Street’, ‘ Picasso’s Street ‘ and ‘ Club Street’ , below are some of the places in and around Hongdae that you should consider stopping by for your Seoul itinerary:

  • Hongdae Free Market: Open on Saturdays from March to November at Hongik Children’s Park. You will find here an array of local artist works.
  • Trickeye and Ice Museum: TrickEye museum is an interactive 3D space that gives off impressive optical illusions; whereas Ice Museum, as the name implies, is a space where you can enjoy a cool icy environment (e.g. a living room with a TV and couch made of ice and more). Entering these places is free if you hold a Discover Seoul Pass , but if you don’t have the pass, you can reserve your tickets online .
  • If you’re looking to spend some time in cute cafes, go to ‘ Chuu ‘ or ‘ Zapangi’ .
BONUS: Ewha Woman’s University is an educational institute with picturesque grounds, but more than this, it’s actually smacked in a shopping area that sells a variety of affordable and stylish clothes for young people; therefore, this is also a good place to shop.

◘◘ Get lunch

It’s time to feast on a delicious Korean BBQ meal! While you’re already in Hongdae, try out either of these places: Gogigo or Old House Charcoal Meat Restaurant .

For other food or restaurant options, click the “Extra Days” tab on top of this section — or go to this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals.

◘◘ Make full use of your Discover Seoul Pass

MBC World

If you’ve followed my advice and got yourself a Discover Seoul Pass , you can enter any of the establishments below for FREE during your Seoul itinerary! Take your pick from any of the following to fill up the rest of your day ( best to pick 2 at most ).

For a complete list of FREE admissions under the Discover Seoul Pass, you can also visit this page .

  • MBC World: (Nearest subway station: Digital Media City Station, Exit #9) Are you a fan of K-pop, K-dramas, or Korean stars — or just ‘ hallyu ‘ (Korean Wave) in general? Then MBC World is a great destination for your Seoul itinerary, as it will give you the chance to experience hologram K-pop concerts, virtual reality drama sets, and more. (If you don’t have the Discover Seoul Pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here ) . .
  • SM Town Museum: (Nearest subway station: Samseong Station, Exit #6) Still in line with the ‘hallyu’ fever, this place is dedicated to famous K-pop artists under the powerhouse of SM Entertainment in South Korea. Avid fans can tour through their training rooms, recording rooms, and so much more. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket for this, go here ) . .
  • Grévin Museum: (Nearest subway station: Euljiro 1-ga Station, Exit #1) This is like Korea’s version of Madam Tussauds. You can find about 80 wax figures of Korean and international celebrities, as well as several thematic interactive experiences. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here ) . .
  • 63 Square: (Nearest subway station: Yeouinaru Station, Exit #4) Other than gaining access to panoramic views of Seoul, you can also enter in 63 Square the first aquarium in Korea called Aqua Planet 63. If you’re a K-drama fan, this is actually the aquarium used in ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ and where a Mermaid Show is regularly held. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here for combination tickets or here for the aquarium only. .
  • COEX Aquarium: (Nearest subway station: Bongeunsa Station, Exit #7) This place has the largest collection of marine life in Korea and you can watch feeding shows and interactive exhibits here too. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here ). .
  • Seoul City Tour Double-Decker Bus: Go on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour through the center of Seoul to get a glimpse of all of its past and present glory. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here ). .
  • Alive Museum: (Nearest subway station: Euljiro 3(sam) Station, Exit #1) This place is similar to TrickEye Museum but it is arguably larger with several other exhibits such as the ‘Dynamic Maze’ (where participants must work together to overcome challenges) and the ‘Black Wonderland’ (where fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland, Frozen, Cinderella and Aladdin can be experienced in the dark ). If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here . .
  • Seoul Zoo and Skylift: (Nearest subway station: Seoul Grand Park Station, Exit #2) Seoul Zoo is South Korea’s largest zoo with over 330 species of animals, inclusive of a botanical garden and a forest park. The icing on the cake? You can even ride the Sky Lift which can transport you to several places such as the Seoul Land theme park and more. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket for your Seoul itinerary, go here ). .
  • Running Man: (Nearest subway station: Euljiro 1-ga Station, Exit #3) Do you want to be a part of Korea’s popular variety show, Running Man? Well with this thematic experience, you can do so! This will surely be a hilarious and fun adventure for you and your travel companions as you make your way through 6 zones, including Maze Battle. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here ). .

◘◘ Visit Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower

(Take Namsan Shuttle Bus, Circulation Bus No. 2, 3, or 5)

Seoul Itinerary: N Seoul Tower

Mt. Namsan’s Namsan Park is a symbolic place in the center of Seoul. To get up here, you can ride a cable car, a bus, or just simply walk up its stairway path. Most visitors come to this place to enjoy nature, to see the city skyline, or to do some of the hiking trails — but a majority makes a stop at the famous N Seoul Tower which is the first tower-type tourism spot in South Korea.

Rising at almost 480m above sea level, it is certainly one of the tallest towers in Asia. Once you set foot on its premises during your Seoul itinerary, you can explore its other attractions such as the LED tunnel, Hello Kitty Island, Ssentoy Museum & Showroom, and more.

  • BOOK: Online to get a discounted ticket to the tower’s observatory as well as grab great combo deals.
  • TIP : Other than N Seoul Tower, you can also find Palgakjeong Pavillion (octagonal hall) and Bonghwadae (beacon mounds that were used to signal incoming enemy invasions in the past).

◘◘ Grab dinner

I have two options for you, depending on what you fancy:

  • A traditional royal Korean cuisine dinner: Feast on fresh and high-quality Korean cuisine set in a traditionally-styled restaurant called Myongdongjeong . What’s more? You can also rent their hanbok for free while eating to really feel as though you’ve been transported to a royal palace. .
  • A cruise buffet dinner through Hangang River: Hangang or Han River is a major river in South Korea, and it is best enjoyed during the night with Eland Cruise as you glide through the waters and taste a delectable food buffet. Before the end of your cruise, you can even witness a firework show and a front-row view on the colorful Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain Show. To reserve your spot, go here .

For other food or restaurant options, click the “Extra Days” tab on top of this section — or go to this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals for your Seoul itinerary.

◘◘ Walk through Cheonggyecheon Stream

(Nearest subway station: Jongno5(0)ga Station, Exit #7 )

Seoul Itinerary: Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon is a picturesque 11 km-long modern stream that runs through a total of 22 bridges before flowing into the Hangang or Han River. Some examples of the beautiful bridges that it has are the Narae Bridge (which represents a butterfly) and Gwanggyo Bridge (depicting the harmony of the past and the future).

A lot of Seoulites wind down to this spot to chill and bask under the city lights, the lush ambiance, and the surrounding man-made waterfalls, if not partake in the Bamdokkaebi (Goblin) Night Market from May to October — so why not do the same during your Seoul itinerary?

DAY 3: A chill kind of day

◘◘ Do a “ Discover Seoul Pass ” or “Extra Days” activity

Ewha University

I recommend that you pick up an activity that you prefer from any of the previously listed things to do that I’ve written under Day #2’s ‘Discover Seoul Pass’ options of this Seoul itinerary. If not, you can also browse through the “Extra Days” tab above.

If you ask me, doing a cooking class , a kimchi class or a K-pop dance class will be a LOT of fun! (Read more about my Kpop dance class experience here ).

Did you ever want to try spending a day with a Korean ‘oppa’ (older brother)? Join this walking tour that’s led by a local guide!

◘◘ Grab lunch

  • Hangaram: (Nearest subway station: Express Bus Terminal Station) Hangaram is a great choice if you want to taste some of the beloved Korean staples like bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), bulgogi (stir-fried beef), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), kimchi (fermented vegetables) , etc. .
  • Tosokchon Samgyetang: (Nearest subway station: Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit #2) Another Korean dish that you need to taste is samgyetang or ginseng chicken soup, and this restaurant is often lauded as the BEST place to eat in.

For other food or restaurant options, click the “Extra Days” tab on top of this section — or go to this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals for your Seoul itinerary .

◘◘ Shop for highly discounted Korean food and snacks at Lotte Mart!

(Nearest subway station: Seoul Station, Exit #4 ). Naturally, going through any of the night markets I’ve listed under Day #1 will already grant you access to the cheapest food and snacks possible. However, other than those, I think that you should also go on a crazy chow shopping spree at Lotte Mart’s Seoul Station Branch! Why so? Well… as one of the leading discount store chains in South Korea, they sell ridiculously low-priced goods.

I swear to you, I bought only USD$20-worth of snacks here, yet it was enough to gift them to more than 20 people! (On top of the discounted items, you can get at most an 8% tax refund, and more to that, they also provide a free self-packing station so that you can pack all your purchased items in sealed boxes).

  • For the must-buy snacks? It would be tteokbokki junk food, Binggrae banana-flavored milk, choco pies, yogurt jelly, honey butter chips, fire noodles (called also Buldak Bokkeum Myeon ), Lotte stick biscuits, and honey butter almond among many others!
  • TIP: While you’re here, don’t miss dropping by the nearby newly-opened sky garden walkway called Seoullo 7017!

◘◘ Walk around Gangnam

(Nearest subway station: Gangnam Station)

Gangnam, Seoul Itinerary

There’s probably not a soul in this world who hasn’t heard of ‘Gangnam’ (and we have PSY to thank for that) .

For your info, Gangnam is Seoul’s upscale modern center that is home to high skyscrapers, designer brands, high-end restaurants, and pulsating nightclubs — so yes, it’s the home to many wealthy Koreans. In fact, you can think of it as the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Seoul. To make the most of your visit here during your Seoul itinerary, stop by the following ( it’s best to pick 3 at most ).

  • Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Centre: You’ll find this from the moment that you step foot in Gangnam Station’s subway. With an array of accessories, clothing, cosmetics, and shoes, I have found a lot of sweet bargains here myself! .
  • Gangnam Square: Right outside Gangnam Station’s Exit #5 is the spacious Gangnam Square which has a small section built as a tribute to PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ hit song, as well as the Gangnam-daero Road that’s speckled with various shops. .
  • Apgujeong Rodeo Street and Cheongdam Fashion Street: (Nearest subway station: Apgujeong Rodeo Station, Exit #1 and Exit #3 respectively.) If you haven’t had enough of shopping but are looking for more upmarket shops. .
  • Hallyu K-Star Road: K-pop fans must not skip this! Found between Apgujeong Rodeo Station and Cheongdam Station are adorable GangnamDols that are each autographed by K-pop groups like EXO, BTS, Super Junior, and more. For a detailed list, you can check here . .
  • Garosu-gil Road: (Nearest subway station: Sinsa Station, Exit #8) This Gingko tree-lined street is a popular, trendy street in the city of Seoul and it is even often called an ‘artists street’ due to the number of quaint cafes and designer stores. Some charming cafes that you can choose from are Gingko Avenue, Line Friends Cafe, Cafe de Paris, and IKOVOX . .
  • Starfield COEX Mall: (Nearest subway station: Bongeunsa Station, Exit #7) This mall is a shopping mecca, but more than this, it has interesting amenities too that are not limited to the COEX Aquarium and the Starfield Library. The latter is the newest built facility on the premises and it features 50,000 books and magazines in a grand yet relaxed setting. .
  • SM Town Museum: (Nearest subway station: Samseong Station, Exit #6) This place is dedicated to famous K-pop artists under the powerhouse of SM Entertainment in South Korea. Avid fans can tour through their training rooms, recording rooms, and so much more. (If you don’t have the pass and want to separately book a ticket, go here ) . .
  • Lotte World: (Nearest subway station: Jamsil Station) As Seoul’s largest indoor and outdoor amusement theme park, you will actually need a full day to enjoy this place — but I still felt like including this here, just so you know that it’s located in this Gangnam area. So if you have a spare day in your Seoul itinerary, it would be great to visit Lotte World. Another theme park choice would be Everland , but if you want other options, check the “Extra Days” tab above.

◘◘ Go up to Lotte World Tower

Lotte World Tower

Towering at 554 meters, this new 123-floor skyscraper just opened last 2017 and it is currently the tallest building in Seoul and the 5th tallest in the world. It contains several cafes, galleries, a luxury hotel, a skywalk, and an observation deck.

Obviously, this is the best place for viewing panoramic views of the cityscape and I highly suggest that you go up to the observatory not only to enjoy the view with a cup of coffee but to also experience its glass floors! Though it was nerve-wracking at first, it was really cool to feel as though I was floating up in the air like that! (Another thing you can enjoy nearby is Lotte World Mall).

NEAREST SUBWAY: Jamsil Station, Exit #2 BOOK: ₩27,000 for adults and ₩24,000 for children (Pay less if you book online ).

BONUS : From April to October, head over to the Han River’s Banpodaegyo Bridge by 8PM (plays every 20 minutes until 9PM) to watch their famous Moonlight Rainbow Fountain show.

I think it’s time to have a meal with the guidance of a local during your Seoul itinerary, so why not try a Seoul street food tour for instance? If you’re not game for that, you can find other food or restaurant options under the “Extra Days” tab on top of this section — or go to this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals for your Seoul itinerary.

DAY 4: All About JSA

◘◘ Visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

Seoul Itinerary: DMZ Tour

It’s no news that the Korean peninsula has long been divided into two countries: North Korea and South Korea. Unfortunately, it was not at all a peaceful separation given the infamous 250km-long buffer zone of the Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ ) that separates the two since 1953.

Today, it is referred to as the most heavily guarded area in the world with battle-ready armies, fences, landmines, and fences on both sides — it’s absolutely one of the scariest places in the world! …And yet, it continues to be a popular major tourist attraction in South Korea that attracts a lot of history buffs and curious folks worldwide who are seeking to witness this surreal land for themselves (people like me).

The available tours currently being held are as follows:

  • Panmunjom Joint Security Area (JSA) Tour: This is the most sought-after tour by travelers to South Korea’s DMZ because this is the closest place to North Korean soil that anyone can step into without getting arrested or shot. A tour to JSA will only be possible through an organized tour that is approved by the government and it will basically take the guests to the iconic blue UN building that is smacked on the border — with both North and South Korean soldiers facing one another (as if they’re on a staring showdown). .
  • North Korea Center of Unification Board: Shows over a hundred photos and documents showing the stark reality of North Korea.
  • Mangbaedan Alter: The spot where Koreans separated from their families in the North. Koreans typically visit this place on New Year’s Day and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) to perform ancestral rites to their home and relatives in the North.
  • Bridge of Freedom: Where South Koreans crossed when they were released from North Korea. You will witness a lot of ribbons tied to the fences that each contain messages of hope, peace, and love.
  • Dora Observatory: From here, visitors can look closer into North Korea with binoculars as they witness things like the North Korean propaganda village, Kaesong city, and others.
  • Dorasan Station: This is the northernmost train stop on South Korea’s railway line and locals hope that it would one day connect North and South Korea when peace finally prevails.

It is possible to combine the two tours above for a whole-day experience during your Seoul itinerary (see here ).

BOOKING LINKS (use promo code AILEEN5OFF to get a 5% discount ) :

  • Panmunjom Joint Security Area Tour (JSA) only = ₩85,000~
  • Third Tunnel of Aggression only = ₩63,800~
  • Panmunjom Joint Security Area Tour (JSA) & Third Tunnel of Aggression combo = ₩130,000~

◘◘ Visit a spa or a jjimjilbang

Korean Spa

After your tense morning tour to DMZ, how about you relax and pamper yourself with Korea’s well-liked spa services? Apart from getting a Korean massage , I urge you to experience jjimjilbang or a large gender-segregated public bathhouse complete with hot tubs, showers, traditional Korean kiln saunas, and massage tables.

If you’re a fan of K-dramas, you will probably be familiar with this because it’s a common place that Koreans frequent for spa services. For this, you can visit Dragon Hill Spa (or if you hold a Discover Seoul Pass , it gives you free admission to Sealala jjimjilbang).

NEAREST SUBWAY STATION: Itaewon Station, Exit #3 BOOK: Go to this link to get a discounted rate

ALTERNATIVE : If you rather want to relax in nature during your Seoul itinerary, go over to the World Cup Park, a humongous space that used to be a landfill but has now been turned into a park with 5 different sections: Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park, Haneul (Sky) Park, Noeul (Sunset) Park, Nanjicheon Park, and Nanji Hangang Park. A crowd favorite would be Haneul Park as it’s the highest elevation of the five parks.

I have two options for you for your Seoul itinerary, depending on what you prefer:

  • Buffet: Taste all kinds of gourmet food at Tavolo 24 .
  • Korean gopchang: Taste the popular stir-fried Korean dish made up of small intestines from cattle or pork (often best paired with soju ) at Aunt’s Grilled Intestines Restaurant .
TIP : You can also check this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals.

DAY 5: Day tour to Gapyeong County

◘◘ Explore Gapyeong County’s wonders

Seoul Itinerary: Nami Island Seasons

It’s time to venture out of Seoul’s busy metropolis to get some fresh air and tranquility. For this, a day trip to Gapyeong County’s top attractions is recommended for your Seoul itinerary!

READ: My detailed guide on this tour by clicking [ here ].

  • Petite France: This is a charming place that serves as both a cultural village and a youth training facility with over 16 French-styled buildings. Petite France is also recognized as a top filming location for Korean dramas like ‘Secret Garden’ and ‘My Love from the Star’. With its European ambiance, it is also somewhat of a tribute to Saint-Exupery, the author of the famous French Novel: ‘Le Petit France’. ~Entrance fee: ₩10,000 adults / ₩5,000 children .
  • Nami Island: A half-moon-shaped island nestling inside an artificial lake known for being the filming grounds of the well-known K-drama ‘Winter Sonata’. Nami Island is home to rows of majestic trees, roaming animals, and art exhibits, making it a sought-after destination in every season! I highly recommend that you rent a bike when you’re here; otherwise, there are other activities you can do such as water sports, trying on the roller skating rink, going to the shooting range, and more. ~Entrance fee: ₩13,000 .
  • Garden of Morning Calm: This grand 30,000 sqm garden is open all year round and it is regarded as the oldest private garden in Korea with an artistic space that’s sure to leave anyone in awe. The Garden of Morning Calm becomes even more magical during winter (December to March) when they set up hundreds of multi-colored lights to create themed gardens, so make sure that this is on your Seoul itinerary! ~Entrance fee: ₩9,500 adults / ₩6,000 children .
  • Gangchon Rail Bike: Built on a discontinued trail line, Gangchon Rail Bike is a fun attraction where you can pedal through old railroad tracks while taking in the amazing Bukhangang River scenery. Rest assured, it doesn’t require much effort to pedal the makeshift carts because the rail lines are slightly sloping downhill. ~Entrance fee: ₩30,000 for a two-seater .
  • Edelweiss Park: Edelweiss Park is similar to Petite France, but instead, it focuses more on being a Swiss-based cultural village, so it’s filled with Swiss architecture, establishments, and sceneries. ~Entrance fee: ₩10,000 .

For a hassle-free experience on your Seoul itinerary, it would be advisable to go on a guided tour. Nowadays, there are different packages so feel free to take your pick from any of the combinations below (they often already include a delectable dak-galbi lunch, but there is also a halal option ; don’t forget to use promo code AILEEN5OFF to get a 5% discount ):

  • (2 stops) Nami Island + Alpaca World
  • (2 stops) Nami Island + Petite France
  • (2 stops) Nami Island + The Garden of Morning Calm
  • (3 stops) Nami Island + Alpaca World + The Garden of Morning Calm
  • (3 stops) Nami Island + The Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Bike
  • (3 stops) Nami Island + Petite France + The Garden of Morning Calm
  • (3 stops) Nami Island + Petite France + Gangchon Rail Bike
  • (3 stops) PRIVATE TOUR: Nami Island + Petite France + Gangchon Rail Bike
  • (4 stops) Nami Island + Petite France + The Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Bike

If not, you can take the ‘Gapyeong Tourist Bus’ which can bring you to all of these locations for only ₩6,000 — the downside though is that the buses run only once every hour, and with the crowds that go to all of these places, it’s likely that the spots get filled quickly. (This is why I suggest going on a guided tour instead.)

I have two options for you, depending on what you prefer:

  • Samgyeopsal : Taste this hearty grilled pork belly dish at Palsaik which is very popular with locals.
  • Jokbal: Try this Korean dish consisting of soft pig’s trotters cooked in soy sauce and spices at Manjok Ohyang Jokbal .
TIP : You can also check this link to see a list of restaurants that you can book online at special deals for your Seoul itinerary. (Use promo code AILEEN5OFF to get a 5% discount).

Explore other TOP destinations in South Korea

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BUSAN Known for its colorful houses, mountains, and the largest fish market in Korea!

travel blogs korea

JEJU ISLAND South Korea’s top island destination beloved by tourists and locals alike.

TIP : Check out all of the top Instagram spots in Busan to fill up your feed and Seoul itinerary!

◘◘ Family Fun ◘◘

Seoul Itinerary: Everland Park

Everland Park South Korea’s largest attraction park.

Seoul Itinerary:  Lotte World

Lotte World Large indoor and outdoor theme park.

Poo Poo Land

Poo Poo Land Unique and fun place for photo-ops and learning.

Love Museum

Love Museum Seoul’s first and only museum for adults!

◘◘ K-Drama & K-Pop ◘◘

MBC Dae Jang Geum Park Tour

MBC Dae Jang Geum Park Tour Largest historical drama open set in Korea.

Seoul Itinerary: KPop Dance Class

K-pop Dance Studio Class Learn popular K-pop dances and choreography.

Seoul Itinerary: Seoul Hallyu Kpop Tour

Seoul Hallyu Kpop Tour Ultimate KPop experience for your Seoul itinerary!

SBS MTV "The Show" Package

SBS MTV “The Show” Package Backstage access to live sets and broadcasts.

K-Pop Song Recording Experience

Everland Park Record your own K-Pop song at King Studio.

Korean School Uniform Rental

Korean School Uniform Rental Day rental of a Korean school uniform.

Seoul Itinerary: "Oppa" Tour

“Oppa” Tour Tour Seoul with an attractive “oppa”!

◘◘ Korean Performances ◘◘

Fireman Show

Fireman Show Action-comedy show full of stunts.

CHEF: Bibap Show

CHEF: Bibap Show One of the best Korean musical shows..

The Painters HERO

The Painters HERO Famous live painting non-verbal performance.

Finding Mr. Destiny

Finding Mr. Destiny Korean musical with subtitles.

Jump - Martial Arts Show

Jump – Martial Arts Show Seoul’s favorite martial arts theatre show.

Fanta Stick Show

Fanta Stick Show Powerful percussion show.

◘◘ Beauty ◘◘

KPop Shoot & Makeover

KPop Shoot & Makeover Full makeover at a famous studio.

Seoul Itinerary: Pre-nup Photoshoot

Pre-nup Photoshoot Pre-nup shoot with makeup, hair, and clothes.

Korean ID Shoot

Korean ID Shoot ID shoot in Korean style makeup and hairstyle.

Korean Salon Service

Korean Salon Service Style your hair in Gangnam’s top salon.

Professional Korean-Style Beauty Consultation

Professional Korean-Style Beauty Consultation Learn about your own personal color based on your skin, etc.

◘◘ Workshops ◘◘

Cooking Class

Cooking Class Cook authentic Korean dishes with a local.

Perfume-Making Class

Perfume-Making Class Create your own signature scent.

Ring-making Workshop

Ring-making Workshop Create your own unique accessories!

Seoul Itinerary: Kimchi Class

Kimchi Class Learn how to make kimchi and topokki!

Handmade Jewelry Experience

Handmade Jewelry Experience Learn hands-on exquisite art of jewelry making.

Handmade Stamp Engraving

Handmade Stamp Engraving Create your own Korean-style hand engraved seal.

◘◘ Food & Restaurants ◘◘

Assorted Grilled Beef

Assorted Grilled Beef Enjoy a Korean BBQ meal

Budae Jjigae

Budae Jjigae Try budae jjigae, the iconic Korean ‘Army Stew’.

Gogung Bibimbap

Gogung Bibimbap Specializes in authentic Bibimbap dishes!

Puffer Fish Set

Puffer Fish Set The first puffer fish restaurant in Seoul.

Korean Street Food

Korean Street Food Experience Korean eating and drinking culture!

Seoul Itinerary: VIP Seoul Pub Crawl

VIP Seoul Pub Crawl Experience Seoul’s vibrant nightlife!

◘◘ Day Trips from Seoul ◘◘

Minsok Korean Folk Village

Minsok Korean Folk Village + Gwangmyeong Cave & Uiwang Rail Bike Day Trip.


Busan Experience the best of Busan.

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck the prices with other popular travel insurance providers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)! . However, take note that a travel insurance’s affordability typically means lesser coverage; so please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

The Best Tours in South Korea?

Come and check out this list of the top things to do in South Korea which features the best activities and tours to do in Seoul, Busan, Jeju and more!

DIY Trip Seoul Itinerary & Travel Guide: 5 Days (More or Less)

There’s still so much to see in Seoul! …But I believe that my Seoul itinerary travel guide here is already a good start.

Please feel free to tweak this itinerary and make full use of my extra activity suggestions in order to make your trip shorter or longer and better fitting for your travel style. Enjoy and do let me know how your trip goes!

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Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid. At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful  digital nomad  (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission?  To show you how it is absolutely possible to  create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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How to start a successful blog, up for grabs, 134 comments.

Maria Rose

Your Seoul itinerary guide is a dream come true for wanderers like me! Planning a trip can be overwhelming, but your detailed 5-day plan simplifies everything. From activities to sights, you’ve covered it all. Seoul, here I come—thanks to your fantastic guide! ❤❤❤❤


Going to Paju would be another great option for a day trip from Seoul, especially during the week. It is close, easily reached by bus, and offers amazing landscapes no matter the season.


Seoul is one of my favorite cities in the world! I’m dying to return and explore it more.


If I was given a chance, I would love to go to Seoul. Seoul is one of my dream places to go in the near future and your blog really helps and encourages me to never stop dreaming. Thank you for this :))

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Your Curated, Wanderlust-inducing, Insider's Travel Guide of South Korea


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South Korea Itinerary: 2 Weeks Or Less (From A Local)

Updated: Dec 14, 2023 by Max · This post may contain affiliate links · 48 Comments

This two weeks in South Korea itinerary is based on my three years living in Korea, discovering the country's beautiful places and the people who live there. Since I left, I've also been back to visit several times, most recently last year.

So while I could write a South Korea 10 day itinerary or 14 day itinerary centered only on Seoul and Busan , maybe even Jeju , I'm not going to do that. This country deserves so much more attention to detail, and so do you. So this guide actually covers five different cities in Korea to check out on your visit.

Even though there's no such thing as the perfect itinerary for Korea, the country is small enough that two weeks is enough time to adjust to the culture change and still have time to enjoy most everything. But if you only have 10 days in Korea (or even fewer), then I highly suggest you start in Seoul for 4 days, at least.

Starting with 4 days in Seoul, you can see the basics for tourists & build out your itinerary from there, as I mention in the South Korea sample itinerary section. So let's get to planning!

Buy a PDF Version of This Post!

gwangju temple

Planning Vacations in South Korea (2023 Update)

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Those of you looking to visit South Korea are probably as confused by all the changes as I was before I visited again post-covid. But as of January 8th, 2024, masks are still required in medical settings like hospitals but are NO LONGER REQUIRED in all other indoor public places, including public transport.

Here are what document you need to visit Korea as a tourist:

  • K-ETA ( Korean Electronic Travel Authorization , applied for at least 72 hours before departure) OR Visa to visit Korea (countries which previously had a visa exemption now need to apply for a K-ETA). From April 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024, passport holders from 22 countries will also temporarily NOT need a K-ETA or visa to visit Korea (includes: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Macao, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, US (including Guam)). If you're a valid ABTC card holder (APEC card), you are not required to apply for a K-ETA [excluding Americans & Canadians].
  • Q-Code (can also be filled out upon arrival) : visitors need to fill out information for the Korean quarantine system, known as Q-Code . Note that all travelers are now allowed in regardless of vaccination status, but you do need to have filled out your Q-Code before going through immigration. The system will be suspended from 1/1/2024-1/2/2024.

If for some reason you need to take a covid test in a South Korea airport, the cost of a covid test in Incheon Airport is currently ₩80,000 ($60USD), with some options within Seoul as inexpensive as ₩65,000 ($50USD). There's no testing requirement to leave South Korea.

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I've included a FAQ section including the most common questions I've been asked in the last 3 years, by friends, family, and complete strangers. Hopefully this answers the majority of your questions!

In Korea we use the Korean won (KRW), written as ₩ or 원 in Korean. ₩1000 is roughly equal to $0.75USD or ₱43. The won used in South Korea is different from the won used in North Korea.

This depends on your style of travel, but a mid-range budget for a solo traveler spending 10 days in South Korea would be about $65USD per day. If you're willing to stay in cheap hostels, stick to more free activities in Seoul, and eat local foods, then you could get it down to maybe $40USD per day. So I'd say that traveling Korea is really quite affordable, though you can always upgrade your trip, and the longer you stay the cheaper it will be per dium.

As you might expect, Korean people speak the Korean language , but many people in more urban areas also speak decent English, especially younger people. But the written language of Korea is called hangeul , and it's similar in number to the roman alphabet, but the appearance and pronunciation is different. You will not be able to read Korean unless you study some beforehand (if you're interested, I recommend Talk To Me In Korean ).

The internet is generally great in Korea. You can find free public wifi in basically every major point of transit, tourism, and general town hub (even in my little countryside area). But if you want to be connected constantly, you can rent a wifi egg as soon as you land at the airport, or buy a pre-paid sim card for trips longer than a week (I recommend KT/Olleh sims; it's what I've used all three years here).

South and North Korea are technically still at war. That said, there is no sense that this is a country at war, as the last few decades have been relatively quiet on that front. In fact, Korea and Japan are two of the safest places I've ever been; the biggest peril I've ever felt is from potential alcohol poisoning (the drinking culture here is insane; the local liquor of soju is the most popular beverage in the world ). I'd feel comfortable telling anyone they could walk around here at night, though unfortunately women should be extra vigilant with their drinking.

I agree with the general consensus that May, September, and October are the nicest months of the year, weather wise. They have nice sunshine, beautiful foliage, and outside of major holidays, they're light on domestic tourism. But if you want to find the shoulder season, come in April or June. They're either a bit colder or warmer than you might like, but the kids are still in school and the pollution will be less heavy than it would be in May or October. However, winter is food festival season in Korea, with coffee festivals and chocolate festivals happening across the country.

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What should I wear in Korea during winter, spring, summer, and fall?

From mid-November to mid-March, it could definitely snow and you'll want a heavy winter jacket and some heat-retaining leggings for under your pants. From mid-March through early May & early October through mid-November, there's still the possibility of chilly nights. So bring pants and a jacket for the nights, and t-shirts for the days.

Pack more conservative tops to take to Korea, as showing your collarbones can be cause for staring, especially in smaller towns. Respect is very important in Korea. Early May through early October is a toss-up between extremely hot and warm with a breeze, but it will definitely be humid.

What do I need to bring to Korea?

Other than the basics you'd always pack for yourself, remember to bring higher-cut shirts, as Koreans are more conservative in their dress than most westerners. Women should be sure to bring tampons and pads, as there was recently an issue with domestic pads & tampons are extremely hard to come by.

Many readers have told me that purchasing a sim card and attraction pass (like the Discover Seoul Pass ) helped them make the most of shorter visits, and those are simple things to arrange in advance and take to Korea.

Do I need a visa to visit Korea?

While there are still 112 countries whose citizens don't need to apply for visas before visiting Korea for 30 to 90 days, as of September 2021, ALL visitors from those approved countries still need to have an approved K-ETA before arriving in Korea, even if you just have a long layover in Incheon .

K-ETA stands for Korea-Electronic Travel Authorization. You can check if yours is one of those visa-exempt, countries and how long your visa lasts for, here . Common countries: USA (up to 90 days), Canada (up to 6 months), South Africa (up to 30 days), Malaysia (up to 90 days), Singapore (up to 90 days).

But remember, even if you don't need to apply for a visa, from now on you do still need to apply for a K-ETA , which is good for two years form the date of approval. If you already need to apply for a visa, you do not need to apply for a K-ETA .

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How can I get to & around Korea?

Since South Korea is on a peninsula off the southern coast of China, you have to fly in. Note that if you have a layover at Gimpo Airport for some reason, the airport closes each night from 12am-4:30am. Theoretically you could also arrive by boat from China or Japan, but that truly sounds awful to me.

As for actually getting around Korea, that's a much easier question. Getting between the cities is best done by bus, or train if it's a very popular route. Some people prefer to fly between Seoul, Busan, and Jeju, though you can also go via bus & boat.

Within the major cities, buses and metro and taxi are all reliable and safe forms of transport (just make sure your taxi uses their meter). In smaller areas, buses and the occasional taxi are the way to go; taxis are very affordable in South Korea.

How many days in South Korea is enough?

I think two weeks in Korea is ideal for getting a taste of the coast, the nature, and the overall urban lifestyle. But if you have less time on you vacation in South Korea, you can get a condensed version of all of that with just 5 days in Seoul (yes, even the beaches!).

If you have fewer than 5 days, I really do think it will be tough to get a good sense of the culture and people and cuisine.

Which apps should I download before visiting Korea?

My most used apps have been: Kakao Talk (like Korean WhatsApp), Naver Maps (Google Maps is trash here, so you'll want to download this local equivalent), Google Translate (the speaking function is a lifesaver; just remember town download Korean offline), and a Seoul Subway App (mine is in Korean, but there are plenty out there in English).

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South Korea Trip Itinerary Examples

The whole idea of this guide it to give you an idea of where to visit in Korea and how long you want to spend there. Tourism is on the rise in Korea, and having a unique experience is becoming more important than ever for visitors.

So in true DIY spirit, here are some route examples for a 2 weeks in Korea itinerary or less, for each of the following lengths.

  • Seoul (Days 1-4)
  • Jeju (Days 5-7)
  • Busan (Days 8-9)
  • Suncheon area (Days 10-12)
  • Jeonju (Days 13-14)

See below for more information on each city.

  • Suncheon area (Days 8-10)

Click to check current hotel prices in Korea.

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  • Suncheon area (Days 5-7)
  • Seoul (Days 1-3)
  • Jeonju (Days 4-5)

Seoul. Just spend 2 days exploring all you can in Seoul, and then spend your middle day doing a day trip from the city, maybe to nearby Chuncheon .

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Seoul : the capitol city, the darling of K-Pop fans, and one of the most populous cities in the world. Seoul is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can handle serious crowds, Seoul can be most anything you want it to be.

Almost everyone planning South Korea vacations will end up either starting or ending here, and they're lucky to do so. It's a great base from which to travel the rest of the country, or even spend a week or so experiencing all of the different neighborhoods & their vibes.

Seoul is great for culture, food, nightlife, and just about anything else you want in a trip to Korea, except for peace and quiet.

Busan : possibly best known outside of Korea for the movie Train To Busan , this port city is thought of domestically as the seafood and cinema capitol of the country.

Even though it's incredibly urban in its own right, people also think of it as more laid back, with beach vibes and ocean views for days. Busan is perfect for seafood lovers looking to spend time at the beach and indulge in some cinematic activity.

A view of Hallasan from the coast, visible even in fog. | #travel #korea #jeju #island #itinerary

Jeju : the Hawaii of Korea, as it's often called, Jeju is known for its beaches and seafood and nature. The entire island comes from a single volcanic explosion thousands of years ago, and you can actually see the peak of that volcano from any point on the island.

Jeju is ideal for those looking to get a taste of Korean culture and cuisine, but with much more tranquility and beach vibes than you'd find anywhere on the mainland.

Jeonju : this lesser-known Korean destination is where Koreans go when they want to experience the "olden times" of Korea. Jeonju is one of the oldest cities in Korea , famous for its spicy bibimbap, traditional hanok houses, and many unique festivals.

Come to Jeonju if you want to soak in a whole city happily dedicated to maintaining traditional Korean culture, one bowl of spicy bibimbap at a time.

Suncheon : truly off-the-beaten path, Suncheon is a gorgeous region full of flowers, agriculture, and stunning natural landscapes. Domestic tourists most often visit in the springtime to see the green tea fields & cherry blossoms, but Suncheon is also a great base from which to explore a few nearby cities.

Visit Suncheon if you want to see a less-touristed side of Korea's natural beauty, with an emphasis on local agriculture.

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For a more in-depth look at Seoul, check out my massive Seoul Guide .

Seoul has everything you could want in a destination. It's one of the biggest cities in the world, and despite being the center of international cultures in Korea, it's still very much culturally Korean. It's for this reason that I think Seoul is the perfect place to put at the beginning of your Korea itinerary.

You'll probably arrive here, anyway, since Incheon Airport is one of Asia's biggest transport hubs. Many people even plan a Seoul itinerary for 10 days for a taste of the Korean dishes which have become so popular around the world.

Others come for the world-class shopping and cosmetics selection, or even for medical tourism . But I think that the most worthy reasons to write Seoul into your Korean itinerary are the natural beauty , historic temples , and little cultural quirks which all add up to an ambiance that's purely Korean.

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I won't list out everything you can do or see in Seoul, since that could fill a whole book (and probably has). But here are 7 things you can't miss seeing in Seoul , since 7 is a lucky number here. Click here for more ideas of what to do in Seoul, with entrance fees, Korean translations, and hours .

Go to the spa. The spa, or sauna, is an important pastime for Koreans of all ages, and it's most common to go on the weekends as a family. A Korean sauna, however, is divided by gender and has you completely naked.

While you could visit a sauna in most any city in Korea, Seoul is going to have the most options for different types of baths and treatments, and it's going to be the most foreigner-friendly. I highly recommend Itaewon Land Spa.

Walk to Namsan Tower. This landmark is rather characteristic of Itaewon and the whole HBC area, located in central Seoul and considered the international hub of the city. Namsan Tower is set in a very green park, and right around the tower itself is a temple and a gate with “love locks” attached to it, but the Tower is best known for having an amazing view of the city.

It’s a bit of a walk from Itaewon’s downtown area, but there’s a bus if you get tired, and a cable car to take you to the top. I think the view is just as good from the cafe right before the top floor, so I wouldn't recommend paying for the cable car.

Visit Gyungbokgung , one of the 5 royal palaces in Seoul. Of the 5, Gyeongbokgung is the most accessible by public transportation, located just outside of a subway stop. I also think it’s the most beautiful, but I’ve had the chance to visit in both fall and spring.

Those are the seasons when the colors of the palace grounds come to life; in summer and winter it's a bit less colorful. The grounds of Gyeongbongung are large, but you could spend anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours exploring each corner of the grounds.

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Sing in a Noraebang . Literally translated as "song room," noraebang are the quintessential nighttime activity of the Korean public. In English we usually know then by the Japanese name karaoke .

From middle school onward, on any given night you can find a noraebang full of Korean students hanging out with friends, or adults drinking with co-workers or family. In Seoul it's easy to find either coin noraebang, in which you pay per song, or regular noraebang, in which you rent a room by the hour & buy snacks .

Hike Bukhansan. Just a half hour north of Seoul is one of Korea’s many national parks. Hiking is a national pastime, so every day of the week you’ll see groups of older people geared up for a trip up Bukhansan. On the weekends there are visitors of all ages, usually ending their hikes with a picnic and drinks at whichever peak they decide to stop on.

Explore Gana Art Center . Gana is known across Seoul for its beautiful think pieces. Amidst all the traditional Korean food and aesthetics of northern Seoul, walking around Gana Art Center gives you a different perspective on the current events in Korea.

Luckily, you don’t have to speak any Korean to get the gist of real art, though it may be helpful to know some about Korean culture in order to get the full impact. The permanent exhibits are free, but you may have to pay to enter the special exhibits.

Wander Bukchon Hanok Village . A hanok is a traditional Korean house, a small building with a thatched roofs and beautiful painted walls & roof. In the spring and fall the foliage creates a stunning backdrop for photos, so that’s the perfect time to enjoy the village in traditional garb.

Note that Bukchon Hanok Village doesn’t actually close, but between the hours of 11pm and 5am there’s nothing going on.

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In case you only have a few days in Seoul, this is where you'll get to sample a range of uniquely Korean foods. And hopefully also visit some of Seoul's dozens of delicious chocolate shops . So while you're in Seoul, be sure to look out for these top 5 Korean foods, particular to the country, but not to any specific region.

Japchae (잡채). A noodle dish containing thinly chopped vegetables, sweet potato starch noodles, and sometimes a little bit of meat. It’s great served warm as a main dish, but it’s often served as a side dish, tossed in sesame oil and soy sauce.

Hoddeok (호떡). This cinnamon sugar-filled fried rice cake is my absolute favorite treat. It's one of the few traditional sweets in Korea, but it's most easily found in the colder months, from October to April (I'd recommend you get it in the neighborhood of Insadong).

Samgyupsal (삼겹살). This is Korean pork belly, the most popular meat of choice in the country. It's just one of many types of meat you can have for Korean barbecue , which is basically a particularly communal style of cooking meat in the center of a table. If this is your only trip to Korea, you need to try this before you go!

Mul Nangmyeon  (물냉면) . Translated as "water cold noodles," this chilled dish is made with buckwheat flour, and served with sliced cucumber & half a boiled egg on top. The dish is made with a meat broth and most commonly eaten right after barbecue, preferably with meat hot off the grill.

Samgyetang  (삼계탕) . Quite possibly my favorite Korean meal, samgyetang is basically Korean chicken soup. The main part of the dish, thought be very healthy, is a whole chicken stuffed with rice and a bit of ginseng, jujubes, & ginko beans. You eat these with the side dishes and the meat & soup, after you dip it in the salt they serve on the side.

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There are hundreds of lovely guesthouses and hotels throughout Seoul, and there are equally as many crappy ones. Most egregiously, some of them are both expensive and crappy. So here's my selection for the three best places to stay in Seoul . Each spot is centrally located, high quality, and  foreigner-friendly. These are listed in order from least expensive to most expensive.

Budget: G Guesthouse

There's a reason this is always the recommended guesthouse in Itaewon. Not only does it always come in under budget, but the facilities are clean, the staff is helpful but unobtrusive, and the beds are comfortable. They even provide towels, a luxury not as common as you'd like.

Although you can't control what other guests do or what time they come back, my friends & I have always found that G provides a quieter environment for late-night entries than the other hostels in the area. Pro tip: the kebab place just down the street has the best kebabs in Seoul hands-down.

Mid-Range: Solaria Nishitetsu Seoul

Voted a traveler’s favorite in 2017, Solaria Nishitetsu is part of a Japanese hotel chain which combines comfort & convenience at a reasonable price. Guests love the huge rooms and large, firm beds, a real find in the heart of Myeongdong.

Because of its popular with business travelers, there are lots of harder-to-find amenities for digital nomads and other business people on-the-go, like work spaces and less-expensive single rooms.

Luxury: Signiel Seoul

Located in the top floors of Lotte Tower, Signiel is truly in a league of its own. Its sauna, gym, and pool facilities are world-class, with a staff and suites to match. Each room has a spa-style bathroom and a cozy place to rest your head, in addition to their unparalleled views of the city.

There are even free drinks and appetizers for guests in the hotel lounge, at all times of day. The Signiel is truly the place to get pampered, perfect for those looking for a honeymoon hotel .

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For a more in-depth look at Busan, check out my massive Busan Guide .

Even though it's the second-largest city in Korea, and a metropolis in its own right, Busan doesn't get a lot of love from tourists. Most people think of it as a smaller version of Seoul, with a lot of the same cultural attractions but just harder to get to.

They have a point; Busan and Seoul are both massive port cities with cosmopolitan & hipster neighborhoods, alike. However, I'd argue that the feel of a place and its unique natural landscape plays a big role in your experience there.

In that regard, Seoul and Busan are more comparable to LA and San Diego. Seoul has glitz & glamour and a little of everything, while Busan has a more relaxed ocean-side vibe with lots of fresh seafood & quick flights to neighboring Japan .

As one of Korea's most popular weekend destinations, 3 days in Busan is plenty to see the city's highlights and get a feel for the ancient seaside temples , the beaches , and the local importance of cinema .

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I won't write up everything you can do or see in Busan, since that'd take hours for you to pour through. So here are 7 things you can't miss seeing or doing in Busan (since 7 is a lucky number). Click here for more ideas of what to do in Busan, with entrance fees, Korean translations, and hours .

Lounge on Haeundae Beach. Undoubtedly the most popular beach in Korea, Haeundae is always packed in the summer, especially with families. But public schools don’t actually let out until mid-July, so if you time your visit well, you may just have a patch of sand to yourself.  Note that beaches are only open for swimming from June to August.

Skip down Cheongsapo Daritdol Skywalk. This unique attraction has become quite popular over the last few years. It's basically a see-through bridge out over the ocean, perfect for showing off the ocean without you having to get in it. There’s also an observatory in the area, one of just 3 in the city. The skywalk is located a short walk from Haeundae Beach.

Explore Busan Cinema Center. As home to the Busan International Film Festival, which is held each fall, this is a great introduction to the film culture for which Busan is famous within Korea. The center has 3 buildings containing theatres of varying sizes, each offering daily tours & lectures. There are restaurants and cafes on-site.

Have a photoshoot in Gamcheon Culture Village. Probably the most popular photo backdrop in all of Busan, "GMC" has become known as a sort of Korean Cinque Terre . The calming blue houses look right out over the ocean, and are actually still people’s homes.

You'll see many an older person drying their laundry on their balconies and chatting on rooftops on sunny afternoons, so remember to stay respectful of the residents.

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Have a meal at Jagalchi Market. This is the largest open-air seafood market in Korea, often compared to Noryangjin Market in Seoul. It’s actually become so famous that each October the city holds the Jagalchi Cultural Tourism Festival.

But even if you can’t make it on time for the festival, seafood lovers will have a blast walking through the market and exploring the diverse sea life found in Busan’s waters. The entire first floor is a wet market, while restaurants and the like are found on floors 2-7.

Wander the grounds of Taejongdae. Of all the things to do in Busan, this is by far one of my favorites. Equal parts resort & park, Taejongdae has become famous for its beautiful views and colorful tourist train.

The area's temples are accessible within an hour's walk, but even right around the entrance you can hike down and reach the shore in less than 10 minutes. Basically no matter where you go on the grounds, you’ll find a great view. Note that while it’s free to enter the grounds, this is likely to take up half of your day since it's so far south of downtown.

Watch sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. In case you don't have the time to spare for a visit to Taejongdae, this is your alternative glimpse at Korea's ancient seaside temples. Most of Korea's temples are in the mountains, offering tranquility and spectacular views of life below.

But Haedong offers a broader view of the life going on below, focusing on the deep blue sea rather than countryside valleys. Some people come here to watch the sunrise, which is a spectacular choice considering it's on the east coast & opens at 5am!

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Busan is not a city for vegetarians or non-adventurous eaters, unless you're looking for chocolate in Busan , that is. The region's most famous foods are definitely of the sea variety, and thus, so are most of these 5 foods you should try in Busan. I have included a couple of land-based options for those who aren't into eau de ocean , however.

Sannakji : likely one of the most famous Korean foods, sannakji is often translated as “live baby octopus.” Cut & served immediately after being pulled from the water, sannakji are squirted with sesame oil & acidic fruit juices, making the tentacles continue to move around for minutes after death.

Haemul Pajeon : this is a seafood pancake, basically, but a Korean version (made with rice flour). They usually include tiny octopus, and are especially popular as a drinking snack, though many people come to Busan’s fish markets to enjoy them with family and friends.

Busan Jokbal : I don’t think I’ve ever met a Korean who didn’t like this dish. The jokbal , or pig’s feet, are cooked in a sweet cinnamon & honey mixture which reminds me of spiral-cut ham on Christmas. They're then served cut-up and ready for eating; the meat is fatty and rich, so don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Dwaeji Gukbap : this is a very hearty pork-based stew, prepared by slowly boiling pork bone into a broth & adding tender little pork bits. It’s served with rice and side dishes; you plop the rice into the stew and then eat it with side dishes of your choosing. It’s popular year-round, but is a must-try in winter. 

Mulhoe : hoe literally means raw seafood, while mul means water. Mulhoe is therefore a raw fish soup, served cold & spicy with a variety of noodles and veggies. I'd only recommend it if you're eating somewhere right off the coast, like in Busan's Jagalchi market.

There's a reason Busan is such a popular weekend getaway for Korean locals and expats. So when deciding where to stay in Busan or what to do when you're there, look no further than this mega guide, written by an expat who's fallen hard for Busan's charms. Map & 2 Day Itinerary included, of course! | #busan #south #korea #travel #asia #weekend #itinerary #places #blog #food #what #to #stay #eat #see #hotels #hostels #bnb #guesthouse #hotel

Domestically, Busan is just as much of a tourist destination as Seoul is, since most of the people who travel around regularly are actually coming from Seoul. So Busan has hundreds of quality guesthouses, and probably an equal number of not-so-great ones. 

So here's my selection for the 3 best places to stay in Busan , because there's no reason to suffer through a crappy, expensive hotel. Each of these spots is centrally located, high quality, and  foreigner-friendly. These are listed in order from least expensive to most expensive.

Budget: The Bay Guesthouse

The Bay has become my go-to guesthouse in the warmer months, just 3 minutes from the beach & 2 minutes from the metro. It’s centrally located, the beds are large & comfortable, and the style is as a cross between a capsule hotel and a more typical hostel.

Every morning the manager even cooks breakfast for the guests, and there’s coffee brewed in the dining room.

Mid-Range: Stanford Inn Busan

Stanford Inn is a relatively new addition to Busan's "affordable luxury" lineup. But in the few years since it's opened its doors, guests have been very impressed with the high quality of the rooms & breakfast buffet.

Port-side suites garner the most praise, with guests impressed by the view and the proximity to the metro, just a few blocks in either direction.

Luxury: Lotte Hotel

Though best known internationally for department stores & perishables, domestically Lotte is known for offering a variety of luxury experiences; this includes their chain of hotels. Each suite in Lotte Hotel offers big fluffy beds and a spacious bathroom, as well as a bevy of modern furnishings.

Lotte Hotel is especially popular with families, thanks their reputable spa & restaurant facilities.

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For a more in-depth look at Jeju, check out my massive Jeju itinerary & guide .

A few days after one of my trips to Jeju, a Korean friend told me he was jealous that I went without him, because Jeju is his "stereotype of a beautiful place." Well to be honest, it's mine, too. Jeju is breathtaking in the spring & fall, and somehow a haven from the mainland's overwhelming weather in winter & summer.

The route from Seoul's Gimpo Airport to Jeju is actually the most traveled route in the world . That's how much Koreans love visiting this idyllic little island off their southern coast. But tourists? Not so much. Every time I visit Jeju, mine is one of the very few foreign faces I see.

But Jeju Island has so much to offer, from gorgeous hikes to unique local foods , that there's no reason it shouldn't be on every South Korea travel itinerary. Jeju is the place for you if you love exploring natural beauty , learning about sea life , and relaxing seaside .

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There is such an incredible number of things to do on Jeju, in every season, that you could spend hours researching. But to give you an idea of some of the many things you can do across the island, here are 7 things you should do or see on Jeju Island. Click here for more ideas of what to do on Jeju, with entrance fees, Korean translations, and hours .

Pose in Love Land (erotic museum). This is often one of the most unexpected sites to find in Korea: a park full of penises & other various erotic sculptures. The park was opened in 2004 by a group of art students from Seoul’s prestigious Hongik University, and since then the park has been a surprising success, where selfies abound. Note that you must be at least 18 to enter the park .

Watch sunrise at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong. Is this in Korea or the Highlands of Ireland? The immensity of the green and the brightly colored flowers that greet you in the spring could very well distract you from ever climbing to the top of Seongsan.

From the hike to the viewpoint, horseback riding, and boating, you could easily spend half a day here. If you’re lucky, this is also where you’ll catch site of some of Jeju’s famous women divers, though you may see some on the walk over.

Hike around Seopjikoji. Just across from Seongsan Ilchulbong is Seopjikoji, an area famous for being the filming location for several dramas, and just a stunning place in general. The stairs built into & walking trails leading along the cliffs can get a bit crowded on weekends in the summer.

But if you get too hot, there's also a sea side restaurant at the top of the climb. Seopjikoji's most gorgeous scenes are in the spring, when the hills are vibrant green and dotted with bright yellow canola flowers.

One view from the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong | #travel #korea #jeju #island #itinerary

Stare in awe at Jeongbang Waterfall. Jeongbang’s claim to fame is that it's the only waterfall in Asia to fall directly into the ocean. It's honestly a cool sight to see, basically from the parking lot, making it my pick for the best waterfall in Jeju.

There’s even a tiny beach in front of it, just before the vast ocean extending way beyond. The shops just along the parking lot will also be selling souvenirs, oranges, and Jeju chocolates.

Walk the Jusangjeolli Lava Cliffs. Often compared to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Island, Jusangjeolli is another act of nature bestowed upon Jeju by the volcano from which it was forged. Less than 5 minutes from the parking lot, the cliffs are deep grey rectangular formations jutting out into the ocean.

It almost looks as if they were formed by a child slowly stacking blocks. They’re quite the popular photo spot, and certainly worth a stop, though lines for selfies can get long on weekends.

Bathe in Sanbangsan Carbonate Springs. This will be one of the strangest experiences of your life, if you’ve never been to a Korean sauna. Everybody here is separated by gender, and then strips themselves buck naked. It takes some getting used to, but when you do, it’s glorious. These hot springs are divided by each temperature and healing properties, making for a very soothing way to spend an evening.

Sip on a cup of tea at O’Sulloc Tea Fields & Museum. The museum is tiny, but if you came to the fields for the tea products, then this is your spot. The aforementioned museum is attached to a massive cafe serving up a variety of teas from their farm, plus coffee and desserts.

The entire complex is located next to a cosmetics shop & a second cafe. But the best part for most people will be the tea plantation itself, situated across the street from the museum, and laid out with pictures in mind.

OSulloc Green Tea Fields in Jeju | #travel #korea #jeju #island #itinerary

Like all other provinces and cities in Korea, Jeju has a few foods it's famous for, but unlike most of those other regions, Jeju is famous for them because they're actually grown there. A few of these products have turned into a whole range of foods, all focused on that one crop. Take a look.

Abalone (Sea Snails). I know the translation doesn't sound very appetizing, but abalone are actually shellfish, more like oysters than snails (but don’t go looking for any pearls). They’re one of the many sea foods caught by the women divers of Jeju, and are caught & served fresh daily. Local favorites are abalone rice porridge and grilled abalone.

Black Pork. This is meat from a specific type of pig raised mainly on Jeju Island , and I find it to be a softer & more flavorful version of the meat found on the mainland. If you’re looking for easy pickings of a variety of black pork restaurants, check out Black Pork Street in Jeju City.

Hallabong (those big oranges grown throughout the island). The season for hallabong is actually winter time, but some of the groves manage to grow oranges year round. So you’ll see these thick-skinned beauties for sale in boxes along the side of the road, and at gift shops in most of the major tourists sites. Keep an eye out specifically for hallabong tea.

Green Tea  Anything . Home to the well-known O’Sulloc tea fields, you’ll see green tea-flavored things for sale throughout Jeju. But nowhere is there a higher concentration of tea-flavored items than at the O’Sulloc tea museum, itself, which is profiled above. 

Peanut Ice Cream. Depending on where you get it from, the cream flavor can be more or less intense, and the ice crystals can be very strong. But peanuts are actually grown on Udo, an island off the coast of Jeju, making it a truly local food. Though honestly, most people just buy it for the cute pictures.

Udos famous peanut ice cream | #travel #korea #jeju #island #itinerary #food #foodie

Since so much of the Island's economy depends upon tourism, you'll have your pickings of Jeju accommodation, especially in Jeju City and the southern city of Seogwipo. But there are some hidden gems, so allow me to shine light on 3 of the best places to stay on Jeju . Each spot is centrally located, high quality, and  foreigner-friendly. These are listed in order from least expensive to most expensive.

Budget: Yeha Guesthouse

Seoul is famous for their inexpensive accommodation, but Jeju City really puts up a fight. Yeha is the best choice for backpacking or budget-minded visitors, with a solid 9/10 rating for their dorm beds, and a good connection to island's public transporation.

To top it all off, they’ll happily store your luggage for you if you want to explore a bit before your flight back.

Mid-Range: Color In Jeju

If you’re looking to stay on the eastern coast and want to splurge a bit, Color In is the move. They’ve got immaculate rooms, a small outdoor pool, and the rugged surroundings typical outside of the big cities. Front desk hours are limited, but that’s easily overlooked once you get to the pool.

With just 6 guest rooms in the entire place, odds are good that yours will be poolside.

Luxury: Kensington Hotel Jeju

One of the highest-rated hotels in Jeju, the Kensington contains all the opulence one expects from a 5-star hotel, infinity pool included. If the layers of indoor & outdoor pools isn’t enough, however, consider the superb staff and various on-site restaurants; their breakfast buffet is included in your stay.

Within walking distance of the hotel are a botanical garden and the teddy bear museum.

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Of all the cities in this Korea itinerary, Suncheon is probably the least famous internationally. The city has just a few hundred thousand residents, quite small by Korean standards, but each spring the county is flooded with domestic tourists chasing beautiful flowers and stunning natural landscapes .

But despite its size, I'd recommend Suncheon because of its great potential as a base from which to explore the rest of southern Korea. Just south of Suncheon are Boseong, where most of the country's green tea is grown, and Yeosu, a beautiful island with lots of attractions in its own right.

Northeast of Suncheon is Gurye, whose spring flower festival & fall cherry festival are famously striking. Simply put, people visit Suncheon in order to revel in the beauty of nature , get away from the big cities , and enjoy the festival culture of small Korean communities.

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As just one of four great cities to explore in southern Korea, it's difficult to distill Suncheon attractions into one post. But in order to lend an idea of some of the things you can do around Suncheon, here are 7 things you should do or see near Suncheon City.

Learn hands-on at Naganeupseong Folk Village. With remaining residents numbering in the hundreds, calling this a village is a bit of a stretch. But Naganeupseong is more like a demonstrative village, offering visitors performances and traditional experiences you couldn't find even in Seoul.

Each region of Korea has their own unique traditions that they've chosen to keep alive and highlight here. This means that for as vast & varied as Seoul is, you won't find as many ways to experience southern Korean culture up there.

This is honestly in large part because most Seoulites see Korea's southernmost areas as countryside and backwards and unworthy of a visit. However, I think that each is gorgeous (including my own countryside town), and this one in particular is worth a trip.

Hike the Suncheon Bay Wetlands. Small crabs reach up at you from the mud, wheat whispers in the wind, and old people are probably yelling from just behind you. So go the wetlands. Starting from the parking lot and continuing on through the carefully-curated gardens, you'll reach the wetlands themselves.

From there you can cross the gardens via a long bridge. On the other side is a small mountain, which you can take about half an hour to hike up, or you could stop and turn around where you are, admiring the other side of the wetlands' natural beauty.

Picnic at Suncheon Bay National Gardens. When I think of gardens, I think of somewhere well-kept and brightly-colored, maintained within a specific small area. Suncheon's National Gardens are a vast and impressive version of that, including not just flowers but also sculptures, a bridge covered in hangeul , and a variety of cafes & eateries on site .

In peak bloom season, from around mid-March to mid-May, you could easily spend a whole day walking across the ponds and admiring the colorful fauna, wondering why you didn't come here sooner.

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Relax at Jirisan Spa Land. If you've never been to a Korean sauna, you are missing out. Spas are a national past time here, and they're also quite affordable, and fun in a group, couple, or solo. Jirisan is particularly well-known because it features hot springs-supplied baths. Keep in mind that like all Korean spas, the indoor regions of the spa are separated by gender and have a no-clothes policy.

Do a photo shoot amongst Gurye Cherry Trees. These bright yellow blossoms have taken up root throughout the village of Gurye, bringing hoards of people (& tourism dollars) to town every spring. In the fall, the trees' cherries cover them in color once again, this time a deep red . If you manage to visit in March (outside of festival time), you may even find this to be the perfect spot for a photo shoot.

Ride the Yeosu Cable Car. Especially beautiful around sunset, Yeosu's cable car takes you across the bridge which connects Yeosu to the mainland. From an incredible height it gives you a look at the still-active port area and many smaller surrounding islands. Not to mention it saves you a taxi ride!

Drink up at Boseong Green Tea Fields. The green tea fields of Boseong hit their peak around mid-May, but they start turning a deep green color as early as March, continuing to lighten until late September. Koreans come to visit the main green tea plantation in order to hike up to the top of the hill on which the tea trees are planted.

Most people end up taking selfies and enjoying the view of everyone walking around far below them. At the plantation, other than the tea itself, you can enjoy green tea-flavored churros, lattes, and even a few savoury dishes (though don't expect much tea to be put in those).

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Suncheon is often hailed as the foodie capital of the southern part of Korea. Located near the coast, in Jeollanam-do, local restaurants in Suncheon will serve all the classics, but with a southern twist. Popular themes include seafood, fresh local vegetables, and abundant side dishes.

Mudskipper Soup. Arguably the most popular way to consume this local fish, the soup is prepared using boiled fish, radish leaves, and soybean paste. It's a very strong flavor, but all the side dishes it's served with temper it beautifully.

Kongnamul Gukbap . Literally "soybean soup rice," you can find gukbap all over Korea; I actually recommend trying a hearty pork or beef version in Busan. But each region has their own special recipes for the soups and when they add the rice and where they source the ingredients. In the case of Suncheon's gukbap , the soybean sprouts add beautiful crunch to a very traditional Korean dish.

Sannakji Bibimbap. Another dish I sort of recommended in Busan, sannakji is basically the freshest form of raw octopus you could eat, served with lemon juice and seasoned with sesame oil. This iteration is less of a snack and more of a full meal, incorporating fresh vegetables and rice. Look for 산낙지비빔밥 on a menu.

Green Tea Churros. I couldn't recommend visiting the green tea fields of Boseong without also recommending the snacks! Only available on the weekends, these churros are nice when paired with a cup of green tea soft serve ice cream.

Grilled Duck. Suncheon famously raises about half the duck in Korea, meaning that finding a local duck dish is more likely than not. If you can find it, my favorite is Yangnyum Ori (양념오리).

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Suncheon is quite the hot spot for domestic tourism, so most of the places to stay in Suncheon are Korean-style. This means that you sleep on the floor, and usually call to book directly. But there are some nice western-style guesthouses to choose from, three of which I've listed below. If you're visiting Suncheon between April and June, I'd recommend booking a guesthouse in advance!

Budget: Suncheon Namu Guesthouse

You can't get much closer to Suncheon bus terminal than Namu Guesthouse. No matter what time of day or night you arrive (or depart), if you stay at Namu you're just a few minutes from the city's bus terminal.

The beds are pretty standard for Korea, on the hard side, but the shared space is very homey and comfortable. At just $16USD a night for a dorm bed, it's the perfect spot for those planning to stay awhile and do a lot of day trips.

Budget: Baguni Hostel

It's rare to find a hostel with affordable dorm beds and a decent sense of privacy, but Baguni manages to strike this balance with grace. The dorm beds are each in their own little cubbies, with privacy curtains and fluffy bedding.

But the building itself makes use of lots of white and neutral tones, choosing to focus mainly upon providing a clean, comfortable, and affordable environment for guests.

The hostel is located right in the city center, a short walk from the bus terminal, making it a great choice for visitors who can't or choose not to rent a car. Single hostel beds start at $18USD a night.

Mid-Range: Hotel Iam

Every room at Iam includes an en-suite bathroom and complementary breakfast in the dining room. For those looking to upgrade their stay in Suncheon, this is an affordable hotel with comfortable beds, a nice staff, and a central location.

It's family-friendly, but more popular with couples looking to get away from hostels without breaking the bank. Double rooms start at $40USD.

Click here to check out prices for other hotels in Suncheon

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Despite being just 1.5 hours from Seoul, Jeonju rarely features on a Korea itinerary, and that is a mistake. While you can easily visit Jeonju on a day trip from Seoul, I humbly recommend you spend at least two days in the city.

Preferably while staying in one of the historic houses & enjoying traditional Korean dishes in Korea's "Foodie Capital." Unlike Suncheon, most of the things to see in Jeonju are within the city itself, making it walkable and perfect for any wintertime Korea itinerary.

Seoulites tend to visit the city on the weekends, so take a couple of weekdays to discover the city whose name literally translates as "perfect region." While you're there, make the most of your time with visits to local galleries and walks around the city's many parks and green spaces. 

Jeonju is seen as a very spiritual city, a place of historical importance for its maintenance of traditional foods, architecture, and those intangible parts of Korean culture we all strive to experience in a new place.

Jeonju is a great place to just walk around, similar to some of the neighborhoods in central Seoul, but it's always nice to have a destination in mind. So in order to give you an idea of some of the things you can do in Jeonju, here are 7 things you should do or see in the city.

Photoshoot in Jaman Mural Village. Somewhat similar to Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan or Rainbow Village in Taiwan , Jaman has become a symbol of revitalization for older parts of the city.

While the nearby hanok village has become well-known, just beyond the overpass is Jaman, a neighborhood painted up & beautified by local artists. The uphill scene is worth the trip, and makes for some very cute photos, especially for families and couples.

Tour a Hanok . A hanok is a type of small house, traditionally one story tall, which were the main type of dwelling in Korea for centuries. Due to Jeonju's ancient status, it was designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, and as a result, the rest of the city has also been well-preserved.

One thing that sticks out in Jeonju compared to Seoul or Busan is the height of the buildings. It can be hard to put your finger on at first, but you'll quickly notice how short most places are, and how it opens up the entire city.

This is due in large part to the city's hanoks . Places feel greener, even when you visit Jeonju in the winter. While you can tour a hanok ( hopefully stay in one, too! ) just by walking by, I'd also recommend checking out Gyeonggijeon Shrine for a more holistic look at how hanok culture shaped contemporary Korea.

Eat Street Food at Nambu Night Market. You can't recommend a visit to Jeonju without also recommending a trip to a night market. Korean night markets are notoriously boisterous affairs, with locals loudly hawking their wares from the safety of their booths, wafting any number of smells your way. The market is open every day, but Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest of all.

Some delicacies to enjoy once you've feasted your eyes are the grilled meat skewers, daepae saewoo (pork-wrapped shrimp), and hoddeok (honey cinnamon-filled rice cakes), though there are many international dishes, as well.

travel blogs korea

Try Dolsot Bibimbap With Makgeolli . Those little gold bowls full of translucent white liquid have become a staple in my life. Anytime staff at my job went out to dinner together, we always had makgeolli (rice wine), usually served from a big pot in the center of the table.

This is the most traditional way to consume the traditional rice liquor, and it's a great accompaniment to Jeonju's famous version of bibimbap (mixed rice). Try it almost anywhere in the ancient village, and I guarantee a smile.

Wear a Hanbok Amongst Hanok. Similar to the beautiful hanbok (traditional Korean outfits) you'll see in Seoul and Busan, it's almost a rite of passage to wear a hanbok around Jeonju. If you want a more unique experience in the city, this is the move. Rentals start from ₩8,000 (~$7USD), and range from 1-4 hours.

Have Tea in an Ancient Cafe. Or at least in a cafe that looks ancient, as many of the cafes in Jeonju's downtown area have been styled to look.

Some of the cafes are even in a hanok , which makes the tea-sipping feel all the more event-like. Some great cafes in Jeonju are Café Haengwon and Swan Park Cafe, but just remember to have a translation app on hand for the menus.

Admire the Flowers in Deokjin Park. One of the most popular gathering places in Jeonju, Deokjin Park has now become a draw for visitors, as well. In the spring there are flowers everywhere, while the summer sees the lotus blooming on the lake & fall brings changing colors to the leaves.

If you visit from July to August you'll notice crowds of locals taking pictures with the lotus flowers, as the high season coincides with kids' summer break.

travel blogs korea

Despite the popularity of Suncheon as Korea's underground foodie capital, Jeonju is the official foodie capital of the country. In fact, in 2012 it was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Domestically, Jeonju is known for its fresh vegetables and locally-grown rice, as well high levels of spice, so prepare your palate.

Legit Choco Pies. The infamous Korean treat of Choco Pies, which my students simply adore, were actually born at a bakery here in Jeonju. The bakery, PNB, has branches throughout the city, where you can find the layered chocolate and marshmallow pastry in multiple iterations.

Grilled Imsil Cheese. Korean cheese is notoriously gross. But many years ago, in a town just outside of Jeonju, one company faced this problem head-on: Imsil. In street food regions throughout the city you can find thick skewers of carefully grilled Imsil cheese, lightly sweet and crispy on the outside, halloumi-like in texture.

The brand also makes some delicious yogurt, and if you took the bus to & from Jeonju, you may even stop at an outpost where you can buy some of their cheese & yogurt. Go for the blueberry flavor; you can thank me later.

Jeonju Royal Court Cuisine. Gung hanjeongsik , as it's called in Korean, is the modern retelling of the special food eaten at the King's palace during the Joseon Dynasty. Even back then it was so intricate to prepare that it was only consumed once a month. One of my friends insisted that we try this type of meal when we went to her hometown, and it does not disappoint.

The setup is basically three tables covered in dozens of side dishes and a few main meals, all emphasizing local specialties from different parts of the country. This special meal is an investment, maybe $45USD per person. But it's seriously worth it.

Ddeok-galbi. Another local recommendation, these short rib patties will make your mouth water. They're prepared using marinated galbi , usually pork, and onion, garlic, ginger, and a umber of other spices. The meat is ground and then reformed into thin patties before being grilled on skewers or back on the bones; they're served with white rice and numerous side dishes.

Dolsot Bibimbap. While bibimbap (rice with steamed vegetables) is common throughout Korea, this version is unique because it's prepared in a piping hot stone bowl ( dol is Korean for "stone"). The rice is allowed to crisp up on the bottom, adding a delightfully different texture to the mix of ingredients.

This mix almost always includes fresh vegetables, kimchi, oak jelly, a small amount of beef, and a raw egg to stir into the steaming hot dish. Jeonju is so synonymous with bibimbap that there's now Bibimbap Festival every year. Just don't touch the bowl!

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One of the main reasons people choose to visit Jeonju over any other destination in Korea is for the hanoks (traditional Korean houses). All of them are now also equipped with ondol , the typical Korean floor heating system, making them quite comfortable even on the coldest of nights.

So most visitors do opt to spend the night in one of these beautiful guesthouses, most all of which are clustered in the famous Jeonju Hanok Village (in the southeastern part of the city).

But I'm not a huge fan of sleeping on thin blankets on a hard wooden floor, despite having done it a few dozen times. So here I've recommended just one hanok -style guesthouse, the two other being more western-style accommodations.

Budget: 24Guesthouse Jeonju

24 is a popular guesthouse chain, and I've stayed in several of their locations throughout Korea. They offer affordable double rooms with en-suite bathrooms, as well as 3- to 4-person hostel-style rooms for some of the cheapest prices around. A simple coffee & breakfast is included.

The guesthouse is a few blocks north of the Hanok Village, allowing you to be near but not right inside all of the action. At just $14USD a night per dorm bed, it's hard to beat the price if you're visiting Jeonju on a budget.

Hanok: Bu Kyung Dang Guesthouse

This is one of the most beautiful and most-loved hanoks in the whole village; no exaggeration. The entirety of the property consists of just 8 rooms, surrounded by greenery, which is found in full bloom if you visit in the spring.

On the outside is the traditional slatted doors with a paljak roof and paper lanterns around the perimeter. But heading inside you'll find a beautifully refurbished stone-tiled bathroom and wide open rooms. Grab a blanket from the stack and settle in for the night. Rooms start at just $32USD per night.

Mid-Range: N Bridge Hotel

Non- hanok accommodation in Jeonju is incredibly hard to come by; most people want to stay the night in the famous Hanok Village, and seem to have no problem sleeping on the floor. But for my fellow non-floor sleepers— at least those not on a budget— I'd recommend N Bridge.

It's got big fluffy beds, 24-hour service, and a fridge in every room. Unlike most of the hanok options, it also has multiple floors and a marble bathroom in every suite. Just be sure you don't book their futon room unless you actually do want to sleep on the floor, Korean-style. Double rooms start at $74USD.

Click here to check out prices for other hotels in Jeonju

travel blogs korea

Of all the countries in East Asia, I'd argue that South Korea has become the most affordable to visit. There are many extremes to be found in the ROK (Republic Of Korea), a fact which extends to my daily life here over the last few years.

Visitors could stay in super cheap dorm beds booked way in advance for about ₩12000 ($10USD) a night, eat street food for another $10USD a day, and otherwise spend money only on transportation. I wouldn't recommend it, but it's doable.

On the other hand, Seoul is a massive city with plenty of hotels always ready to take your money. $500USD a night hotel rooms aren't the norm, but they're there. The key is to find a balance, and if you're looking to travel Korea on a budget, then make a list of priorities.

Do you most want a nice place to sleep? Fancy meals? Involved day trips? Budget travel in Korea is 100% possible, but it takes planning. So here's a rundown of the costs of traveling in Korea.

Note that this South Korea travel guide covers such a wide range of days that the budget below is a snapshot of how much you could spend in one day. My dad would call them "guesstimates." It also covers the cost of basic activities which most everyone would do. Remember to multiply this Korea travel budget by the number of days you'll be visiting us for!


  • Visa Fee : ₩30000 (to check if you need a visa, click here )
  • Day Tours : ₩70000 (some day tours cost more, but these kids of trips include visiting the DMZ , Nami Island, and Jeju tours)
  • * Each Trip To A New City : ~₩30000 (one way; this is an average)
  • * Round Trip Airfare to Jeju : ₩80000 (if booked well in advance)

Decent Guesthouse : ₩25000

Meals & Snacks : ₩20000

Attractions & Activities : ₩10000

Transportation : ₩5000 (4 trips on the subway or bus)

Souvenirs & Cafes : ₩5000 (coffee or tea)

Average Cost Per Day : ₩ 65000

travel blogs korea

  • Metros aren't very accessible but the buses and taxis are. So if you're in a hurry or disabled, then you should take a taxi. They're very cheap and fast, though during rush hour they'll take as long as the metro. Most shops (like Korean chocolate shops ) are clustered right around metro stations anyway, so even if your driver doesn't speak much English you can tell them the name of the metro station closest to where you're going.
  • Korean winters are not for the faint of heart . My friends from Vietnam visited me last winter and spent their first day alone— they were shivering for hours after we came inside. Even my sister was not very happy with all the snow over New Year's when she visited a few years ago. It can get brutal, thanks to winds coming down from Siberia.
  • Also not for the faint of heart, entitled old people . They will push you, publicly and without shame if they think you're in their way. I understand that they act this way because they don't think young people respect their elders like they should, and they don't, in my opinion. But no matter how you think, it is something to be aware of.
  • Korea is basically a cashless society , except for in the markets. This means that you can use your credit card most everywhere, but international cards aren't always accepted, so still keep some cash on hand.
  • Along similar lines, in Korea you should expect late nights and late mornings . Cafes, restaurants, and shops are open very late, usually between 10pm and midnight, but rarely open before 11am. If you want morning coffee if Korea you'll have to either be at the airport or grab canned coffee from a convenience store.

travel blogs korea

  • Even though it's a more developed country, Korea has their share of travel scams. One of the most common is the fortune teller scam , in which a woman stops you on the street and offers to take you to have traditional experiences, only to scam you out of money. Either way, if someone stops you on the street, 95% of the time they want your money or to convert you. NYC rules apply.
  • Pollution is horrible. Sometimes the skies aren't as bad, but spring 2018 and winter 2019 were particularly harsh, with many days seeing pollution levels as high in Seoul as in Beijing, China. Bring a mask, or buy one, especially if spending 2 weeks in South Korea, or longer.
  • Naver Maps will tell you which door of the subway you should go to for the faster arrival at your next destination.
  • If you're a bigger person , look for handicap-accessible or family bathrooms, as Korean public bathroom stalls are made for small people, especially the women's bathrooms.
  • Look up . If you're looking for an office or guesthouse or restaurant, and you'd swear you're at the right address, just look up. It's probably just on a much higher floor, like the 11th or 32nd.
  • However, when you do look up, don't make eye contact unless you want to start a conversation or get stared at as you walk away (though that might happen anyway, in the countryside).
  • Hospitals are for everything , even if you're a visitor taking various South Korea tours and end up with a cold. The hospital is like the doctor's office, and in small towns like mine, they're open 9 to 5 like everything else.
  • Always count to 5 before crossing the street , because without fail, at least once a week I watch someone go after the light turns red, be it a car or a motorbike. Better safe than sorry.

travel blogs korea

Hello //  An-nyeong-ha-se-yo . (안녕하세요.)

Thank you //  Gam-saahm-ni-da . (감사합니다.)

How much is it? // Eegaw eol-ma-yeh-yo? (이거 얼마예요?)

Do you speak English? //  Yeong-aw jal-hae-yo?  (영어 잘해요?)

I don’t speak any Korean. //  Han-guk-aw jal-moat-hae-yo.  (한국어 잘못해요.)

One of these, please. //  Ee-gaw ha-na ju-say-yo.  (이거 하나 주세요.)

It’s to-go/takeout. //  Po-jahng ee-eh-yo  or  Tae-ee-kow-shi-yay-oh.  (포장 이예요.)

Lesson complete! Now let’s get packing.

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Reader Interactions

Happy Travelers

January 13, 2024 at 4:42 pm

Thanks for creating a 14 day with Jeonju! We will be in Korea feb 7-21 and obviously plan on seoul, busan, and jeju. We really wanted to hit Jeonju but was reading about doing a drive from seoul east and then south to hit Chuncheon, Sokcho, Gangneung, Samcheok, Andong, Gyeongju, Seokguram and skipping Jeonju.

I was wondering since we will be there in the Winter, which would you recommend the Jeonju plan or the east plan?

January 14, 2024 at 2:46 pm

Thank you for the kind words! At that time of year, you'd be better off giving Jeonju a visit since the warm weather that would make the east coast drive so pleasant & beautiful would be nonexistent right then. You'll also be overlapping with Seollal, or the Lunar New Year (weekend of Feb 10), with those dates, so renting a car may be a bit harder and traffic will be CRAZY heading out of the city all weekend (everyone is taking their fmailies back to the countryside to see parents/extended family). However it will be just one weekend out of two, so I recommend you just plan around that, and definitely give Jeonju a few days!

August 18, 2023 at 4:02 am

Thank you for your post. I wonder how to use 'Kakao talk' app during travel in Korea. Is there any way to use it?

August 20, 2023 at 5:55 pm

My pleasure, Kim! You can download Kakao Talk before your trip, but since it's connected to your phone number, if you need to get a local sim card in Korea, you'll just need to make a temporary new account for use in Korea. So unless you'll use your phone's regular sim card while in Korea, I recommend waiting until you're IN Korea to make your account for use during travel in Korea. Then you can use it to communicate with taxi drivers, food delivery, Air BnB hosts, local friends, etc.

August 07, 2023 at 6:14 am

Thanks for your great posts! I used this one (and a few others including the Seoul and Jeju one) to help me when I went to South Korea for two weeks. I read a few blogs on the internet, but your style and interests most closely matched me. Hope you are doing well one your new adventures 🙂

August 10, 2023 at 9:26 am

Thank you for the kind words, Kim! I'm glad you've found it all helpful. 😀

August 04, 2023 at 5:48 am

Hi, we are going to prepare a tour with golfers to Korea and beside of golf your information are very helpful. Do you live in Korea and work as DMC?

August 04, 2023 at 1:36 pm

That sounds like a very fun tour indeed, but unfortunately I don't like in Korea anymore, nor have I ever worked as a DMC. But good luck with your search, and enjoy your trip!

June 13, 2023 at 11:05 pm

What a great post! Thanks for sharing. We are planning to come from June 29th to 9th July. What do you think about the weather? Can we come now or delay due to rain and heat? Also, in Seoul what is a good location for a family stay - Four Seasons and something in Gangham?

June 14, 2023 at 12:40 am

My pleasure, VK! And since it's monsoon season, it's honestly pretty unpredictable as to which days might be nice, but with such a long stretch of time, you're bound to get some good weather days and maybe a bit of rain. I have a post covering 100+ things to do in Seoul , so I recommend looking through that and over the map on the bottom to note some things that look interesting & rain-proof, as well as some options for stuff close to where you choose to stay.

Speaking of, the Four Seasons is lovely, but I was also incredible impressed with VOCO Hotel in Gangnam . It's an affordable IHG property a block or two from the metro, and I felt like royalty for much cheaper than the Four Seasons (like 1/3 of the price)! But it's always worth comparing the two side-by-side, as the Four Seasons would offer slightly different amenities and is in an arguably more central tourist location. Either way, summertime will be warm in Seoul, but everythng is open and tends to have longer hours due to the increase in domestic tourism.

Enjoy your trip!

June 14, 2023 at 8:34 am

@Max, Thank you so much for your kind response and the details provided. I am planning to do 4 nights in Seoul, 2 nights in Busan, and 4 nights in Jeju. Is that plan correct? Given a choice you would me to skip summer and rain and come later or it is still okay to come from 27th June - 7th July? As we don't to come and spoil the trip - I hope you understand :).

The Hotel option you gave is great. I will definitely have a look. Is it better to stay in Gangnam or the area where the Four Seasons are? I know I am asking too much but if you have any recommendations for Busan and Jeju as well - would love to take your feedback.

Thanks so much again.

Regards, VK

June 14, 2023 at 5:24 pm

That's how I'd plan it out! And honestly, you can't predict the weather well enough to say whether it will rain half the days or just one or none. It can be rainy from June to September, and it gets quite cold after that, so sometimes you just have to roll the dice. If given the option, summer would be my pick over winter, but even if I knew the other times you'd be able to go, we'd still be in the same predicament about not being able to know for sure how the weather will be.

If the price difference doesn't matter as much, the Four Seasons would be my pick for a first-time visit, because it's truly in the middle of the touristy area with a large chunk of the museums, hanok (traditional) houses, souvenir shopping, royal palaces, and a ton of restaurants with great Korean food and mostly translated menus. Voco (and Gangnam as a whole) is about a half hour metro ride from that area, and while it's great for fancy shopping, visiting Lotte Tower, and some fabulous meals (if you eat beef then definitely try hanu , or Korean domestic beef, while you're there), it has a few tourist-friendly museums and not so much else. But what you save in staying there would more than pay for taxis all throughout the city! So each has their pros, and you should pick the one that's right for your preferences.

As for the other two, I spent many hours compiling accommodation guides for both Busan and Jeju Island , and you can read about the various neighborhoods/parts of the island in each, and make the best pick for each based on what you plan to do there. Again, since I'm not sure what attractions you're most interested in, I do think it would make more sense for you to look through those for the best picks for you personally, rather than booking only based on my recommendation. And if you do still have more questions after reading through those two posts, just leave another comment and I'd be happy to answer them there.

I never mind answering questions, as frustratingly few bloggers seem to still do so. But if you've found any of the info helpful, I always appreciate it if you book through my affiliate links. I specifically work with Agoda for hotels because I've always found that they have the best prices on accommodation throughout Asia, and always throughout Korea. But if you don't, no big deal; just wanted to mention it as a free way to say 'thanks'! 🙂

June 14, 2023 at 10:02 pm

@Max, Thank you so much for your kind help and answering questions. This really helps a lot. I will definitely use the affiliate links:)

May 02, 2023 at 7:31 am

Hi Max! First of all, thank you for your amazing collection of information. I'm currently trying to make up my mind in terms of how I should plan my South Korea trip. Maybe you can help me out a bit: I'm thinking of either going end of this Month so around 23rd of May or wait and flight there during September. What would you suggest? Are there any advantages/disadvantages ?

And the next question is whether I should do 3 weeks in South Korea or 2 weeks and ad 1 week in Tokyo to that.

It's so hard for me to decide ...

Thanks a lot in advance!!

May 02, 2023 at 10:32 am

Hi, Claudia! It's a long trip, so I can understand the trepidation. As for timing, end of May can get quite warm, but September will be HOT. Kids will be in school both times of year, though particularly in early September there is kind of a lot of movement-- new students coming in, new English teachers, certainly tourists. I think you could have a good time no matter what, but I'd generally opt for May because I think it's also the most beautiful time to be on Jeju Island and see all of the blossoms and herbs around the country.

As for a week in Tokyo/Japan, it's a farther trip than you may expect (3 hour flight from Seoul, plus to/from both airports) and will definitely be a hit to your budget. But it will be different foods and a different array of activity options and a somewhat different vibe. While I think you could easily spend a month in Korea and be nowhere near done, it depends on how much you want to see Japan + how willing you are to spend the extra time & money for the experiences you could have in Japan vs. Korea.

Personally, I've been to Japan 4 times (each a different region) and it's cool, but I'll always enjoy going back to Korea more, and I don't believe it's just because I lived there (though that certainly plays a role!).

May 02, 2023 at 11:04 am

@Max, Thanks so much! Going to Japan/Tokyo would basically just be some sort of "teaser" for me as I've always planed to spend at least 2 month there at once. So it was me thinking "okay, if I'm already over there, might as well get a first taste" - that sort of thing 😛 (I'm travelling from Austria). I'm travelling alone, so all responsiblity of making the final decision lies with me unfortunately.

What extra places would you recommend for a 3 weeks trip? Would you add something or just extend the 2 weeks itinerary a bit?

And quick side question regarding Jeju: How much in advance did you go to the airports for the flights? Is it like any other flight (2h)?

Thanks a ton!

May 02, 2023 at 1:41 pm

Ahhh gotcha. Well that's definitely a different scenario. If I were deciding between the two, I would indeed spend the other week in Japan, and try to get a sense of which I like better. If I were spending 3 weeks in Korea, I'd extend the amount of time I spend in each place depending on which one appeals to me the most. Oh, and for Jeju 1.5-2 hours to even as little as an hour for the flights from Gimpo, but I generally err on the side of caution. Enjoy your trip, Claudia!!

April 16, 2023 at 6:14 am

Hi Max, I am planning a trip to Korea in 30 Sept to 10 Oct, tentively as below: 30/9-2/10-Seoul 2/10-4/10-Gyeongu 4-7-Busan 7-8-Boseng green tea plantation 8-9- Sucheon 9-10-Jeonju 10-Back to Seoul and departure in night

Do you think above days allocation in each city, are appropirate to see the main sights in each city without feeling too rush? which is why I allocate 2 nights in Gyeongu and 2 nights in Sucheon. 3 days in busan and 2 and a half days in Seoul (include last day in seoul).

Secondly, is it ok to see Boseong Green Tea planation first and spend a day there, and next day go back to Sucheon and spend a night in Sucheon? Or the other way round?

April 16, 2023 at 10:29 am

Hi, Su! You'll be doing a lot of running around and hauling luggage, so I'd pack light and wear your good walking shoes, but I'd also probably switch and go to Suncheon first, yes, as Boseong will be a slightly longer trip to arrive there from Busan, and it's relatively easy to get to Jeonju by bus from either city/area.

July 22, 2023 at 6:13 am

@Max, thanks Max

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45 Best Korea Travel Blogs and Websites

travel blogs korea

  • Trazy Travel
  • Koryo Tours
  • KKday Blog | Korea
  • The Soul of Seoul | Adventures In Korea
  • KoreaTravelEasy
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  • Live Learn Venture | South Korea Travel Adventure
  • Saranghae Korea
  • Be Marie Korea - Seoul Secrets
  • Gina Bear's Blog | Korea
  • Travel-Stained | Korea
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  • 안녕 Si Hui ❤ | Your Best Travel Guide To Korea
  • In My Korea Blog
  • Wooree Tea Blog
  • Korean Experiences
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  • Seoul Searching | Travel Culture In Korea
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  • My Korea Trip
  • HaB | Magazine HaB Korea
  • Wee Gypsy Girl
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  • Travel & Teach
  • Top 100 places in Korea
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  • Inspire Me Korea Blog | Korea Travel
  • A Korea Travelogue | Your Insider's Guide to Korea: Local Hideaways, Food & Lifestyle
  • Tongil Tours
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Here are 45 Best Korea Travel Blogs you should follow in 2024

1. Trazy Travel

Trazy Travel

2. Koryo Tours

Koryo Tours

3. KKday Blog | Korea

KKday Blog | Korea

4. The Soul of Seoul | Adventures In Korea

The Soul of Seoul | Adventures In Korea

5. KoreaTravelEasy


6. Runaway Juno

Runaway Juno

7. Live Learn Venture | South Korea Travel Adventure

Live Learn Venture | South Korea Travel Adventure

8. Saranghae Korea

Saranghae Korea

9. Be Marie Korea - Seoul Secrets

Be Marie Korea - Seoul Secrets

10. Gina Bear's Blog | Korea

Gina Bear's Blog | Korea

11. Travel-Stained | Korea

Travel-Stained | Korea

12. gowonderfully


13. Lingua Asia

Lingua Asia

14. 안녕 Si Hui ❤ | Your Best Travel Guide To Korea

안녕 Si Hui ❤ | Your Best Travel Guide To Korea

15. In My Korea Blog

In My Korea Blog

16. Wooree Tea Blog

Wooree Tea Blog

17. Korean Experiences

Korean Experiences

18. Happydalkis


19. Seoul Searching | Travel Culture In Korea

Seoul Searching | Travel Culture In Korea

20. Jeju Tourism Organization's Travel Blog

Jeju Tourism Organization's Travel Blog

21. My Korea Trip

My Korea Trip

22. HaB | Magazine HaB Korea

HaB | Magazine HaB Korea

23. Wee Gypsy Girl

Wee Gypsy Girl

24. Miga's Travel Blog | Korea

 Miga's Travel Blog | Korea

25. Travel & Teach

Travel & Teach

26. Top 100 places in Korea

Top 100 places in Korea

27. Bobo and ChiChi Korea

Bobo and ChiChi Korea

28. Inspire Me Korea Blog | Korea Travel

Inspire Me Korea Blog | Korea Travel

29. A Korea Travelogue | Your Insider's Guide to Korea: Local Hideaways, Food & Lifestyle

A Korea Travelogue | Your Insider's Guide to Korea: Local Hideaways, Food & Lifestyle

30. Tongil Tours

Tongil Tours

31. OnedayKorea Travel | South Korea Travel Insights

OnedayKorea Travel | South Korea Travel Insights

32. The Toronto Seoulcialite | Seoul

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Joel's Travel Tips Background 1

Welcome To Joel’s Travel Tips

Hi! I’m  Joel . I’ve loved travelling and exploring this beautiful world ever since I first went backpacking at the tender age of 18 – a whole lifetime ago!

I knew I was never meant to spend my life cramped up in a cubicle at work. I wanted to see more of this world, one country at a time. So I decided to quit my job and spend my time working, travelling, and living overseas. 

That was back in 2006 and since then I’ve been travelling slowly around this world, living in five other countries whilst visiting dozens more.

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“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back” Paul Theroux

Cherry blossoms and the Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Seoul

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This website is here to provide all the most detailed and useful information to help you plan your adventures to Korea and the rest of the world.

You’ll find loads of informative articles about how to travel, what to see, ways to save money, and things you really can’t miss out on.

Right now I’m living in Korea and am writing a wealth of articles to help you plan your dream trip to Korea. I’m also writing about my experience living and working overseas as an expat.

Whatever you’re looking for, I hope you’ll find it here. If not, please feel free to send me a message and get in touch on Facebook , Pinterest , or Instagram .

Korean temple in autumn: One of the best times to visit Korea

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I’ve lived in Korea since 2015 and love the food, culture, lifestyle, sights, sounds, tastes and so much more here.

I want to share this with the world and have created dozens of articles about how to travel in Korea, what to see, when to travel, the best food and drinks, how much it costs, and lots more.

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Ever wanted to make the leap overseas but not sure how to do it? Want to know how and what you can do about working, living, travelling, and exploring a new country?

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In today’s global world, many people want to explore outside their own borders. Hopefully these articles will help you plan your first step overseas.

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Here you’ll find all the latest articles on all the various subjects that I cover here on Joel’s Travel Tips.

I’m currently living and working in Korea and travelling about the country as often as possible to bring you the best insights into Korean travel, culture, and history.

Once world travel becomes possible again, I’ll be sharing a lot of other travel tips about places I can’t wait to see again or discover anew.

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Ultimate 2 week South Korea Itinerary: Best Places (2024)

Are you planning a 2 Week South Korea itinerary in 2024? This is our in-depth guide on how you can travel 2 weeks in South Korea visiting beautiful temples, eating the best food and learning about the Korean culture.

We’ll show you the best places to visit in South Korea and the best things to do in each place – tips on how to get around the country, what apps you need and how to budget for a 2 week South Korea trip. Let’s explore what to do in South Korea and create your South Korea route!

Ultimate 2 week South Korea Itinerary: Best Places (2022)

This post may contain affiliate links. We will receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no additional cost to you .

Quick Tips for 2 weeks in South Korea

Table of Contents (Skip to a section!)

  • Currency – Korean Won (compare to your own currency here )
  • Language – Korean (한글)
  • Cuisine – Korean Cuisine (noodles, rice, bbq & kimchi)
  • Apps – NaverMaps (like GoogleMaps) & Kako Talk (like GoogleTranslate)
  • Transport Card – T-Money Card (the easiest way to use public transport in South Korea)
  • Korea Power Voltage  – Plugs C & F (220 V)

Simcard options for South Korea

E-Sim  – A great option if you don’t need a Korean number! Purchase the sim online and with instructions you can install the sim on your phone settings! Here’s a  12 Day E-Sim . (£9.50 for 12 days)

Prepaid Sim  – This may be preferred if you also want a Korean number as well as data. Price changes depending on the length you want the sim. Find a sim card on Klook here ! (£15 for 10 days) Pick up at the airport.

Portable Wifi  – A great option if you want to connect more than just your phone! Find a  portable Wifi on Klook here ! (£20 for 10 days) Pick up at the airport.

We also recommend having a portable charger for your phone so you always have enough battery to last the day and still use wifi! We recommend this one – Anker Power Bank !

Best time to visit South Korea

The best time to visit South Korea is around March – June (Spring) and September – November (Fall)! This doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy visiting in other months however the winter will be very cold and the summer will be very hot and humid!

Visiting South Korea in the winter means you have a chance to see snowfall and join in with winter activities. But in Spring you can see the cherry blossoms and in Fall you can see the autumnal foliage.

2 Weeks in South Korea Itinerary bukchon village

How to get around South Korea

South Korea is one of the easiest countries to get around – there are speed trains, well-connected cities, intercity buses and local buses! In the big cities, there are also metros to help you get to your destination. A Korea Rail Pass is a discounted train ticket that can help you get around the country – Find tickets on Klook here !

Trains – The fastest way to get around South Korea ( Korail tickets here ) ( Korea Rail Pass here)

Express & Intercity Buses – Another easy way to get around & cheaper than trains! ( Kobus tickets )

Flights – Flights to Jeju Island from Seoul or Busan – Check Skyscanner  for flight times and prices !

2 Week South Korea Itinerary

Now that we’ve explained a few things about arriving in South Korea, let’s get down to the South Korea 14 day itinerary! We have written separate in-depth guides about most of the places on our list , so check out our page after you’re finished with this 2 weeks in South Korea route!

Day 1 – 5 | Seoul

The best way to start your 2 week South Korea itinerary is in the capital – Seoul! This city has a lot to offer and it’s one of the best places to learn about Korean culture whilst you get settled into the country.

How to get to Seoul

It’s likely you’ll be arriving at Incheon Airport which is just outside of Seoul. The best way to get to the city centre is to take the Airport Rail Road on the AREX Line. You can buy a ticket at the machines ( there’s an English option! ) and just follow the signs for the platform heading to Seoul Station. Find tickets on Klook here .

You can also buy a T-Money Card from a convenience store at the airport and top up here too ( 10,000 is a good starting point !). You’ll definitely want one for travelling around Seoul, so it’s best to buy one now!

Once you arrive at Seoul Station, you can head to your accommodation using buses or the metro. Naver Maps will be the best app for directions!

Views from Namsam Park: Places to visit in South Korea

What to do in Seoul

There are many things to do in Seoul and you could honestly spend 2 weeks in South Korea just exploring the different areas of this capital city! We recommend 5 days or 5 nights in Seoul as this gives you the best amount of time to see what the city has to offer whilst not rushing around too much. Here’s a list of some of the activities to do in Seoul! (Also check out our 5 Day Seoul Itinerary travel guide here! )

Explore Insa-dong & Ikseon-dong

Insa-dong is one of our favourite neighbourhoods in Seoul. The area is filled with cosy restaurants, lovely teahouses and independent shops. The area is known for its historic art presence and you’ll also find galleries in between the alleys. If you’re hungry, enjoy a traditional Korean lunch or dinner at Osegye Hyang ( location ) in the beautiful streets of Insadong.

Nearby Insa-dong is Ikseon-dong – a hanok village full of trendy cafes, photo booths and cute shops! It’s a beautiful area to explore on your 2 weeks in South Korea itinerary.

Exploring Ikseon-dong

Shop in Myeong Dong

Myeong Dong is the main shopping area in Seoul, there are luxury shopping malls, known fashion brands and so many cosmetic stores! The Myeong Dong Walking Street ( location ) is the main strip and you’ll find street vendors around this area too. It’s a great option for dinner or you can find one of the many restaurants in the area.

Check out some of Seoul’s Palaces:

  • Changdeokgung
  • Changgyeonggung
  • Gyeongbokgung (highly recommend!)
  • Gyeonghuigung

On your 2 week South Korea itinerary, we recommend visiting Changdeokgung & Changgyeonggung together as they are close together in the same park. The entry for Changdeokgung is 3000 won and Changgyeonggung is 1000 won. Changdeokgung served as the principal palace of multiple Joseon kings for over 250 years!

Another palace that’s definitely worth a visit is Gyeongbokgung – one of the most beautiful palaces in Seoul. It was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty and was built in 1395. The gardens are also beautiful to walk around.

Hanbok Rental in South Korea

Rent a Hanbok in South Korea

To make your visit to a palace even more special, you can rent and wear a hanbok for a few hours. There are many rental shops in Seoul around palaces and hanok villages. We recommend wearing your hanbok in Gyeongbokgung Palace as it’s the perfect size to explore and there’s a great rental shop nearby! Find the link on Klook here –  Hanbok Rental Klook

Bukchon Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village with over 900 preserved homes. It’s the perfect area to visit at the beginning of your 2 weeks in South Korea to experience South Korean culture. Here’s the location for the area –  Bukchon Village Location !

Bukchon Observatory: Best places to visit 2 weeks in South Korea

Namsan Park & Seoul Tower

Visiting Namsam Park is one of the best places to visit in South Korea! It should definitely be on your 2 week South Korea itinerary and it’s the perfect spot to view all of Seoul! It will take 30 minutes to 1 hour to reach the top of the park and it’s a relatively easy climb up to the top.

After admiring the views at the top of the park, you can go even higher and go to the top of Seoul Tower! Tickets are really affordable on Klook – so make sure you  buy your ticket in advance!  They don’t sell out and it’s an open ticket for whichever day you want to go on your South Korea route.

Namsan Park with Amy

Visit Hongdae, Itaewon & Gangnam

All in different areas of Seoul, these three neighbourhoods along with Insadong and Myeongdong are some of the best places to visit in Seoul. Hongdae is one of the hip and trendy areas of Seoul, with many shops, restaurants and themed cafes. It’s also a great spot for nightlife alongside Itaewon.

Itaewon is right at the base of Namsan Park and it’s the place to go if you want to see the foreign area of Seoul – there are many international restaurants, shops and bookstores here! We recommend Plant Cafe Seoul ( location ) for lunch here!

You may have heard of the song ‘Gangnam Style’ and it’s actually a neighbourhood in Seoul – one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the country! The best spots to visit in Gangnam are Gangnam Shopping Street & Starfield Library Location .

Learn about the history of the Korean war and visit the Demilitarized Zone of Korea! It’s an important part of their country and you also get the chance to see a view of North Korea. You can only do this with a tour –  book tickets with Klook here !

There’s also an Eland Hangang River Cruise to make your 2 week South Korea itinerary more unique! You can also day trip to Nami Island  for a journey into nature.

5 Day Seoul Itinerary Breakdown : Day 1  – Insadong, Ikseon-dong & Myeong Dong / Day 2  – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Bukchon Village & Hongdae / Day 3  – N Seoul Tower & Itaewon / Day 4  – Gyeongbokgung, Hanbok, Naksan Park & Gwangjang Market / Day 5  – Seoul Forest & Gangnam

Gwangjang Market: The best 2 weeks in South Korea itinerary

Where to stay in Seoul

Best area to stay in Seoul:   Insadong, Myeongdong, Hongdae, Itaewon & Gangnam

Hostel Tommy  $-$$ (Insadong) – This location is perfect for a first-time visit to Seoul. It’s close to the hanok villages, royal palaces, trendy cafes, restaurants and convenience stores. Located minutes away from a metro station to take you anywhere in the city. The hostel has dorms and private rooms to suit each traveller and there’s a common area with a kitchen!  Find the link to here –  Hostel Tommy

Where to eat in Seoul

Osegye Hyang $ (Insadong) – Traditional Korean vegan restaurant ( location ) Maru $ (Insadong) – Vegan street food ( location ) Gwangjang Market (Stall A11) $ (Jongno 5) – Vegan options at the famous market ( location ) Plant Cafe Seoul $$ (Itaewon) – International vegan cuisine in Seoul ( location ) ( website )

Vegan Restaurants in South Korea

Day 5 – 6 | Golgulsa Templestay

‘ Templestay ‘ is a unique cultural programme in South Korea. There are many Buddhist temples in the country that allow guests to stay overnight and join in activities and meditation. It allows visitors to experience the life of Buddhist monks in Korea and they’re all so welcoming. Want to add this to your South Korea 14 day itinerary?

How to get to Golgulsa Temple from Seoul

KTX  – You can book your train tickets online here –  Korail Train Tickets and get a Korea Rail Pass if you’re planning to travel more of South Korea by train. Once you have your ticket head to  Seoul Station  and get on your train to  Singyeongju Station  (around 2 hours) The KTX will cost around 45,000KWR for a one-way ticket.

Once you’ve reached  Gyeongju , you can catch a bus (150 / 100 / 100-1 around 50 minutes) to the Andong bus stop and then it’s a 15-minute walk to Golgulsa Temple. It’s also possible to get a taxi to the temple from Gyeongju which is faster.

Another option would be to take a bus or car ! Bus  – Head to  Express Bus Terminal  and get a bus to  Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal . It will take around 4 hours and is usually cheaper than the KTX. A car is also a great option to get to Golgulsa Temple as the temple has lots of parking spaces.

Golgulsa Templestay: 2 Week South Korea Itinerary

What to do at Golgulsa Templestay

As the Golgulsa Templestay is a programme – there will be certain schedules for weekdays and weekends. It’s completely optional to do any of these activities, but all of them are included in your Templestay experience.

Sunmudo Performance

One of the reasons why Golgulsa Temple is so unique is due to its teaching of Sunmudo. It’s a Korean Buddhist martial art involving strength and patience. The first activity you’ll do on arrival is to watch the Sunmudo Performance and it’s so beautiful.

You can also find out more here –  Golgulsa Temple Sunmudo Website .

Sunmudo Training

Now it’s your turn to train like a Buddhist monk (it’s super hard!). If it’s summer, you’ll honestly break a sweat but these activities are so fun! One of the monks here at Golgulsa Temple showed us all the techniques they use to train on a daily basis and the strength he has because of this training.

108 Prostrations (Bows)

Buddhists bow 108 times to purify the body and free themself from the 108 defilements. During your Templestay in Korea, it’s possible to join in with these bows. It’s a beautiful experience to watch.

Activities at Golgulsa Templestay: Day 5-6 South Korea itinerary

Morning Chanting Service & Meditation

After learning how to meditate with the monks, you’ll be waking up at 5 am to join in with the morning chanting service and meditation. It’s so peaceful at this time of day and a really great way to start your day. Don’t worry you’ll have time to sleep again after breakfast.

Trekking & Hiking at Gampo Beach

On weekends at Golgulsa Templestay, they take visitors on a hiking and meditation adventure. We visited Gampo Beach and meditated on the beach. It was also great to meet other visitors and locals who did the Templestay programme.

How to book a Templestay in South Korea?

The best way to book a stay at Golgulsa Templestay is through their website – Here’s the link for  Golgulsa Templestay Reservations . The  price  is  60,000KRW  per night, per person. (30krw for a pre-schooler)

Templestay: 2 weeks in South Korea Route

We use a Joby GorillaPod 3K Pro Kit to take photos of us together on our camera, it’s so useful especially when there’s no one around! There’s also a version for a phone – Joby Phone Tripod to get the best photos on your 2 weeks in South Korea!

What is the food like at Golgulsa Templestay?

Included with the price are 3 meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner! This will be Buddhist Korean temple food which means strictly vegetarian (almost all vegan!) It’s likely you’ll have rice for all three meals with kimchi and other vegetables, it’s a really good choice of food and you can pick the food yourself.

We 100% recommend Golgulsa Templestay and if you have the time on your 2 weeks in South Korea itinerary, we would even spend 2 days. Although one night is enough to experience the lifestyle.

Day 6 – 8 | Gyeongju

Gyeongju is a  museum with no walls . It was the residence of  Silla rulers for over 1000 years ! It’s one of the best cities to visit in South Korea for its many archaeological sites. The remains sites and tombs from this time frame have been preserved, which makes Gyeongju a place to learn. It’s definitely a great spot to add to your 2 week South Korea itinerary!

Sunset in Gyeongju: 2 Week South Korea Itinerary

How to get to Gyeongju from Golgulsa Temple

There’s a high chance you passed through Gyeongju to reach Golgulsa Temple. If you arrived at Golgulsa Temple by bus, then you can simply follow the same way back to the city. Head to the Andong bus stop (a 15-minute walk) and then wait for a 1 50 / 100 / 100-1 , it should take around 50 minutes to get to Gyeongju city.

What to do in Gyeongju

There are many things to do in Gyeongju as part of your places to visit in South Korea itinerary – for a more in-depth guide check out of 11 Best Things to do in Gyeongju with lots of details about visiting the city.

Woljeonggyo Bridge

This beautiful bridge was built during the Unified Silla period (AD 676-935). It was burned down after this time frame and in April 2018 it was rebuilt. It’s now considered the biggest wooden bridge in South Korea. It’s also free to visit, like most things in Gyeongju.

Exploring Woljeonggyo Bridge

Daereungwon Tomb Complex

An interesting way to spend your 2 weeks in South Korea is to visit Daereungwon Tomb Complex – an ancient burial site with 23 tombs. Cheonmachong Tomb is the most famous as you can see inside the tomb! There’s a lot of information and artefacts inside. The complex is 3000 won for entry.

Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond

In the Silla Kingdom times, Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond was an important palace and banquet hall for guests. It was abandoned in 1935 when the Silla Dynasty ended. However, in 1963, South Korea listed the palace as a historical site and it was beautifully renovated.

The best time to visit Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond is after sunset as the Palace glows up gold! It’s a magical place to see on your 2 week South Korea itinerary.

Cheomseongdae - Best Places to visit in South Korea


Add Cheomseongdae to your South Korea itinerary if you want to see one of the oldest astronomical observatories in Asia ! It was built in the kingdom of Silla and used exactly as an observatory – to collect information on the galaxy. Check out Gyerim Forest if you’re in the area, it’s a great spot for sunsets.


This trendy street is filled with the coolest shops, the cutest cafes, teahouses and more! It’s one of the best places to find clothes and snacks in Gyeongju.

Hwangnidan-Gil - Travelling South Korea in 2023

Where to stay in Gyeongju

We recommend staying in Hwangnam-dong  and  Noseo-dong . These areas are both close to many great sites in Gyeongju and there will be options for any budget.  Bomun Tourist Complex  area is also a good place to stay if you’re visiting Gyeongju World!

Doobaki Guesthouse  $-$$ – Dorms & Private Rooms – We highly recommend Doobaki Guesthouse, it suits every traveller and there’s a big common area with a kitchen, games and the cutest cat! –  Find here on!

Dorandoran Guesthouse  $-$$ – This guesthouse is also in a great location in Gyeongju and includes complimentary breakfast. –  Find here on !

Where to eat in Gyeongju

Top Market (Grocery Store) – Vegan instant ramens, bread, fruits & veggies! Baru $-$$ – A little out of the city centre, but a great spot for Vegan Korean food!

Day 8 – 11 | Busan

Busan is another must on your South Korea itinerary 14 days route! It’s the perfect spot to spend a few days and experience the city by the sea. There are many markets, skyscrapers and hikes to do here. Let’s explore more on your 2 weeks in South Korea itinerary!

Gamcheon Culture Village - 2 week South Korea itinerary

How to get to Busan from Gyeongju

The best way to get from Gyeongju to Busan is by  KTX  or  Bus  – We recommend getting the bus because the Bus station is in the centre of Gyeongju, whilst the train station is a bus ride away. The bus will drop you off at one of Busan’s 4 bus terminals, and you can use public transport to make your way to your accommodation. It takes less than 1 hour by bus.

What to do in Busan

Here are a few of the best things you can do in Busan to fill 3 days! Some of the best places to visit in South Korea are located in this city, including amazing beaches! Check out the Visit Busan Pass  if you plan to do a lot of activities in Busan.

Gamcheon Culture Village

Another must-visit on your 14 day South Korea itinerary is Gamcheon Culture Village! It’s also one of the best places to visit in South Korea and Busan.

Gamcheon Village has come a long way since the Korean war when it was populated with some of Busan’s poorest residents. After a time, the Tourism Board of South Korea chose to bring the village to life with art and soon after it became a beautiful attraction with cute cafes and trendy shops.

It’s free to enter – but you can buy a map for 2000 won which helps you find your way through the maze-like village.

Gamcheon Culture Village

Igidae Coastal Walk

If you’re looking for a long coastal walk for your 2 week South Korea itinerary, Busan is the place to be. The Igidae Coastal Walk will last between 1-3 hours and you don’t have to commit to the whole length as there’s many exit and entry points.

The walk itself is breathtaking with views of Busan, the ocean and wildlife along the way. A fun free activity on the north side of the walk is the Oryukdo Skywalk – a glass bridge with views of the rocks and ocean.

A short bus ride away from Gamcheon Culture Village is Nampo-dong – one of the coolest areas of Busan. There are many things to do in this area, including markets, bars, restaurants and shopping!

  • Markets in Nampo – Jagalchi Fish Market & Gukje Market
  • Gwangbokdong Food Street – The street food in Nampo comes alive at night!
  • Biff Square – Another spot for street food and the annual film festival

Sunsets in Busan: Best Things to do in South Korea

Sunset at Lotte Department Building

The best spot for free views of Busan! Head to the Lotte Department Building and go up to the highest floor, from there you will find the garden and rooftop with views of all of Nampo and the iconic Busan Tower. It’s another great idea for your 2 week South Korea itinerary.

Also check out a visit to Lotte World in Seoul and Busan – one of South Korea’s best theme parks!

Busan Tower

Busan Tower is very famous for making up the Busan skyline. The views are very beautiful from the tower but similar to the department building. The entry price is 12,000 won to go up the tower.

Markets in Nampo

Evening in Seomyeon

Seomyeon is the central hub of Busan, it’s well-connected to all transport and you’ll definitely pass through here a few times on your trip. The area is filled with food, shops and even arcade games for you to spend a great evening on your South Korea route.

Another evening activity is the  Busan Night Tour to see the magical Illumia Park.

Haedong Yonggung Temple

On your South Korea route, head to Haedong Yonggung Temple – a temple located on the amazing coast of Busan. It was built during Goryeo Dynasty in 1376 and it’s known to be one of the most beautiful temples in South Korea. It’s also free to enter!

It’s easy to reach Haedong Yonggung Temple by public transport such as metro and bus. It takes around 1 hour from Seomyeon. Use NaverMaps for the exact directions.

Haedong Yonggung Temple

Relax at Haeundae Beach

Also on the east side of Busan is Haeundae Beach – one of the most popular beaches in Busan! Depending on the season, you’ll have different experiences at the beach. In the summer there’s many crowds but the opportunity to see festivals such as the sand festival !

There’s a long seafront to walk along with many restaurants and you can enjoy this in any season! Also check out the Haeundae Markets too! Check out  BUSAN X the SKY  for incredible views from the skyscrapers in Haeundae!  Find tickets on Klook here .

3 Day Busan Itinerary Breakdown : Day 1 – Gamcheon Village & Nampo / Day 2 – Temples & Beaches / Day 3 – Coastal Walk & Seomyeon

Where to stay in Busan

We recommend staying in Seomyeon if you have a few days in Busan as it’s well-connected to all the great things to do in the city. There’s enough going on to enjoy your evenings after a day of exploring. Other areas to stay in are Nampo, Haeundae and Gwangan .

Dynamic Guesthouse $-$$ (Seomyeon) – Feel like a local and stay in an apartment block in Seomyeon! Located on the 36th floor are two penthouse apartments split into rooms – one of the coolest places we’ve stayed in! Find Dynamic Guesthouse on here !

Plea De Blanc Hotel & Residence $-$$ (Haeundae) – A great place to stay during summer in South Korea. Find Plea Blanc Hotel & Residence on here !

Where to eat in Busan

Dajeon $ (Seomyeon) – Some of the best bibimbaps! Soban Vegan Restaurant $ (near Gamcheon) – Go here for the vegan fried chicken! Doko – Dosi Nongga Cafe $-$$ (Seomyeon) – Bakery with vegan options !

Vegan Restaurants on a South Korea route

Day 11 – 13 | Jeonju

On your last few days before heading back to Seoul, take the time to explore Jeonju – another great weekend trip away from Seoul! Back in 892 to 936, Jeonju was the capital of the Hubaekje Kingdom. We’ll show you why Jeonju is worth a visit and the best things to do in this lovely city.

How to get to Jeonju from Busan

Using public transport is the best way to get from Busan to Jeonju! We recommend taking the bus as it’s direct compared to the train. Head to Busan Central Bus Terminal and catch a bus heading to Jeonju, it should take around 3 hours.

Sometimes these buses can be busy and sell out, so if you want a certain bus make sure to book online (if you have a Korean number) or book ahead on your first day in Busan at the same station.

The bus is direct and drops you off at Jeonju Bus Terminal . From the bus terminal, you can take another bus to the traditional Hanok village. Use Naver Maps to double-check your directions!

Alternatively, you can take the train, however, you’ll need to change at Osong Station and it takes almost around the same time as a bus (which is usually cheaper!)

Jeonju - 2 weeks in South Korea

What to do in Jeonju

Jeonju is a very popular spot for locals so you’ll find a lot of souvenirs, cute cafes and you can even rent these tricycle-style vehicles to get around the city. Renting a hanbok is another popular activity here as every spot is so photographable! Jeonju is definitely worth a stop during your 2 weeks in South Korea, even if it’s for just one night.

Explore Jeonju Hanok Village

At this point, you would have seen many hanok villages on your 2 week South Korea itinerary. You don’t definitely won’t be bored of them at this point as the one in Jeonju has the largest hanok village in South Korea! It’s ultimately one of the main reasons Jeonju is a popular visit.

Explore the village in your own time and there are many cafes and teahouses around to spend some time.

Jeonju Hanok Village

Also look at 25+ Best South Korea Travel Tips: What to Know Before Visiting !

Jaman Mural Village

Another beautiful village to explore is the Mural Village just to the east of the hanok village. Since the Korean War when the buildings were rather dull, Jeonju decided to revamp them! Art such as colourful murals have made this place an attraction and even galleries have now opened in the area.

Gyeonggijeon Shrine

Gyeonggijeon Shrine is important in Jeonju and South Korea as it holds the portrait of King Tae-jo – the inventor of the Joseon dynasty. There are actually a few portraits of King Taejo that are preserved here. It’s an interesting spot to visit on your 2 week South Korea itinerary.

Nambu Market

This market is big! It’s possible to find almost anything here from food to household items and clothes to souvenirs. There’s a night market every Friday and Saturday, but it’s also open during the daytime all week.

Nambu Market - South Korea travel route

Jeondong Cathedral

Right next to the traditional Hanok village is the Old Cathedral of Jeondong – an important Catholic church in Jeonju! It was built in honour of Roman Catholics who lost their lives in the Joseon dynasty. The church was designed by Priest Poinel, who also designed Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral. They look quite similar too!

See the views from Omokdae

A short hike up this hill will reward you with views of the hanok village and part of Jeonju city in the background. It’s totally worth it at any time of day or season!

Where to stay in Jeonju

The best place to stay in Jeonju is around Jeonju Hanok Village. It’s very popular to stay in a traditional hanok when visiting Jeonju – and that’s exactly what we did! When browsing the internet we found many options for anyone’s budget and luckily found Jungdam that fit our budget.

Jungdam  $-$$ – Right in the heart of the traditional Korean village. Jungdam is a hanok home split into many rooms for guests to come and enjoy the experience. They provide the best Korean breakfast in the morning – even suitable for vegans! Find here on !

Staying in a Hanok

Where to eat in Jeonju

Jeonju is the birthplace of bibimbap! Try bibimbap from any restaurant in Jeonju to feel the authentic touch. If you’re after vegan options, here’s what we recommend!

Plantica $-$$ – The best Korean-inspired sandwiches with cakes & drinks! Pool $-$$ – Great spot for vegan Japanese food in Jeonju!

Day 14 | Seoul

Now you’re back in Seoul for the last night of your 2 week South Korea itinerary! After an incredible trip, you can tick off a few things you didn’t get a chance to do. Maybe revisit a favourite restaurant or neighbourhood? It’s completely up to you!

We spent our last day playing arcade games in Hongdae and eating at Osegye Hyang $ (Insadong) – Our favourite traditional Korean vegan restaurant in Seoul ( location )!

How to get to Seoul from Jeonju

The best way to get from Jeonju to Seoul is by bus or train! Again, we recommend the train as it’s a little less expensive and only takes 2 hours and 40 minutes. You can buy your bus tickets as soon as you arrive in Jeonju at Jeonju Bus Terminal . When you arrive in Seoul, there will be many public transport options for you to grab to get to your accommodation!

Interested in getting a Korea Rail Pass ? Check out tickets on Klook for a demonstration on how to book tickets and an easy way to receive your pass!

Where to stay in Seoul before leaving

For your last night in Seoul, you can choose anywhere that’s close to a metro line that gets to Seoul Station . If it’s available you can stay in the same place as your first time in Seoul or pick a new neighbourhood! Hongdae is another great place to stay as you can get the AREX Express from Hongik Univ Station .

Hostel Tommy  $-$$ (Insadong) – We still recommend Hostel Tommy as his hospitality was amazing! It’s a great spot for 5 nights or 1 night in Seoul. It has easy connections to the airport via the metro and Seoul Station.  Find the link to here –  Hostel Tommy

What to do in South Korea

2 Weeks in South Korea Itinerary Breakdown

Seoul – 5 nights, Golgulsa Templetsay – 1 night, Gyeongju – 2 nights, Busan – 3 nights, Jeonju – 2 nights & Seoul – 1 night!

Other Places To Visit in South Korea

Jeju Island – Jeju Island is the best vacation for those living in South Korea. It’s filled with nature, hikes and fresh air! You can reach Jeju island by flight from Seoul or Busan. It’s highly recommended to rent a car or motorbike whilst you’re here as the transport can take a while. However, if you have 4-5 days on the island it’s totally possible to have a great time with public transport. (We’d love to visit Jeju Island in the future on another South Korea trip!)

Seoraksan National Park – Another great escape from Seoul is Seoraksan National Park (Sokcho). It’s possible to visit here on a 2 week South Korea itinerary. If you’d like to fit it into this South Korea route, take off 1 night in Seoul and travel by bus early morning on one day and late afternoon the following day. The hikes here are pretty impressive, but possibly not for beginners.

South Korea itinerary 14 days

How do I plan a 2 week trip to South Korea?

Now that you’ve read our 2 week South Korea itinerary, it’s time to truly start planning your trip! Start with focusing on what you really want to get out of your Korea trip.

As entry requirements are still around, please double-check if you’re eligible to enter the country! Also, check if you’re eligible for a visa in South Korea. Other than that, if you use this exact 2 weeks in South Korea itinerary, the first step:

  • Check for any national holidays on your date of visit ( check here! )
  • Quick check if places of interest are open ( sometimes things are closed on Mondays! )
  • Book your flights ( check prices here! )
  • Book your accommodation ( book here! )
  • Book your templestay ( book here! )
  • Book any trains you want to take ( book here and take a look at the Korea Rail Pass )

South Korea itinerary 14 days: Best Travel Route

Is 2 weeks in Seoul enough?

Yes! 2 weeks in South Korea is the perfect amount of time to see the best places to visit in the country. We’ve created our 2 week South Korea itinerary at a good pace, so you don’t have to rush around every 2 days. We wanted to minimize our flights at the time, which is one of the reasons we didn’t visit Jeju Island, however, it’s totally possible on a 2-week trip!

Must-Try Foods in South Korea (Vegan edition!)

  • Bibimbap (rice bowl with veggies!)
  • Vegan Korean Fried Chicken (vegan chicken coated in a sweet bbq like sauce)
  • Gimbap (similar to sushi)
  • Tteok-bokki (rice cakes in a spicy tomato like sauce)
  • Kimchi (there are many vegan-friendly versions around Korea)
  • Baked Sweet Potato (the best street snack, sometimes covered in sugar)

We also have a Vegan in South Korea Guide – Best Restaurants & Snacks (2024) !

Vegan food in South Korea

How much to budget for 2 weeks in South Korea?

We visited South Korea knowing it should be less expensive than the UK – and it is! It’s also slightly less expensive than in Japan. Here’s our average daily budget for 2 weeks in South Korea – South Korea Travel Costs (2024) .

How can you save extra money? Choose restaurants that aren’t so expensive, shop at convenience stores more often and stay in private rooms in hostels! Take buses over trains (although maybe treat yourself to one!)

Check out our 10 Best South Korea Budget Tips + Travel Costs (2024) !

What to pack for 2 weeks in South Korea?

This really depends on the season that you visit – if it’s winter, bring thermals, gloves and a hat. If it’s summer you may want to bring a raincoat or umbrella! Here are a few we can’t travel without:

  • Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Our metal water bottles have been our side throughout it all! They are easy to clean and are better than plastic! Bring one along for your 2 week South Korea itinerary.
  • Worldwide Travel Adaptor – The number one plug to have when travelling to different countries. It has one international plug and 4 USB slots to charge your gadgets at the same time.
  • Eono Packing Cubes – We always travel with packing cubes and even use them at home!
  • Anker Power Bank – A portable charger is always useful for those journeys around South Korea!
  • Rain Mac in a Bag – A lightweight raincoat to help with tropical rain or light spring rain, we also have a backpack cover to stop our clothes from getting wet in our backpacks.
  • Joby GorillaPod 3K Pro Kit – GorillaPods are a great little tripod to carry on a South Korea trip, they’re lightweight and can fit in a carry-on bag. They capture some of the best photos when there’s no one around to take a photo of you. We love our Joby GorillaPod and use it for our Sony A600 . There’s also a version for a phone – Joby Phone Tripod .

What to do after visiting South Korea

Japan – Whilst you’re in this area of the world, why not visit South Korea’s neighbour – Japan! You can find flights from Seoul or Busan that take you straight into many amazing areas of the country. Check out our Ultimate 2 week Japan Itinerary (2024) The Best Places !

South East Asia – This region of the world is filled with budget-friendly locations with beautiful beaches, mountains, culture and more! After South Korea, you may want to visit Thailand and have a relaxing vacation.

More  South Korea  guides:

  • 5 Day Seoul Itinerary – Best Things To Do (2024)
  • Staying in Golgulsa Temple: The Best Templestay in Korea (2024)
  • 25+ Best South Korea Travel Tips: What to Know

3 day Busan Itinerary: What to do in Busan (2024)

  • 11 Best Things to do in Gyeongju: Itinerary (2024)
  • Ultimate South Korea Bucket List: 20 Best Things To Do
  • Vegan in South Korea Guide – Best Restaurants & Snacks (2024)
  • All our  South Korea  posts!

That’s the end of our  Ultimate 2 week South Korea Itinerary: Best Places (2024)!  Have the best trip to South Korea and if you need any more help planning – send us a message on Instagram (@thesunrisedreamers) or leave a comment below!


2 week south korea itinerary 2024 best places to visit in south korea

Don’t forget about Travel Insurance! – SafetyWing  Nomad Insurance

SafetyWing  is a totally flexible monthly-rolling travel insurance to help you stay safe on your trip anywhere in the world.  Find out more here!

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Such a great itinerary, food & travel. Love the Jeonju Hanok Village photo 🥰

Thank you!!! 😀

This is amazing! I guess my trip for Seoul is planned! Thank you 🙂

Thank you so much! Have an amazing trip! 🙂

Hello, just curious how did you lug your luggages around between cities. Esp like to areas like the overnight stay in the temple and Jeonju?

Hey! We had backpacks for this trip but if you want to travel with suitcases, the public transport is great in South Korea, you won’t have to lug it around too much. If you have a late train/bus, ask your accommodation in advance if you can leave your luggage there for the day.

Thank you so much for writing all this up. I am adapting your itinerary and have 5 weeks to book everything before flying to Seoul. This guide is invaluable and will save me so much time. Wonder how much Hangul you could speak. Anyway, so grateful and glad I found your blog. Kudos!

Hi! Thanks so much for sharing this with us 🙂 I’m so happy you found this guide useful and that it will help you plan your trip to South Korea! We could only say Hello and Thank you, but that’s better than nothing haha!

Thanks for this amazing itinerary! Me and my friends are using it right now as a basis for our trip. We are now at Hostel Tommy and Tommy himself asked us to thank you for mentioning him and give you his regards. You’re welcome to stay for free if you ever return 😉

With kind regards, Laurens (and Tommy)

Hi Lauren, thank you so much for your lovely comment! It’s made my day – and thank you for passing over Tommy’s message, that’s so kind! I hope you’re having a great stay in Seoul and enjoy the rest of South Korea! So excited to go back one day 🙂 – Amy

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Trazy Blog

All the insider's travel tips in Korea

Korean Lunar New Year 2024 – Where to Visit in Seoul

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2024 Cherry Blossom Seoul Tour at Night

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Korea’s Spring Festivals in March 2024

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Jeju Island Spring Travel Guide A to Z

11 Best Places for a Spring Day Trip from Seoul 2024

11 Best Places for a Spring Day Trip from Seoul 2024

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Korea’s Best Cherry Blossom Festivals 2024

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Top 5 Affordable Michelin Restaurants in Seoul

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  • All about SIM Card
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  • Korea Travel Itineraries
  • Getting Around Korea
  • National Holidays
  • Top 10 Things to Do
  • Deoksugung Palace & Jeongdong Walking Tour
  • Secret Garden & Bukchon Hanok Village Walking Tour
  • Seoul K-drama Shooting Spots Walking Tour
  • Namsan Park & N Seoul Tower Evening Hiking Tour
  • Seoul City Wall & Ihwa Mural Village Walking Tour
  • Seochon Village Walking Tour
  • Seoul Hiking Tour: Inwangsan & Bugaksan
  • Everland Guide
  • Everland Ticket & Packages
  • Lotte World Guide
  • Discount Tickets
  • Han River Cruise Guide
  • Han River Cruise Ticket
  • Hanbok Rental Service
  • Hanbok Rental Guide
  • Nami Island Guide
  • Nami Island Tours
  • The Garden of Morning Calm
  • DMZ & JSA
  • DMZ & JSA Tours
  • Mt. Seoraksan
  • Jeju Popular Attractions
  • Busan Popular Attractions
  • Rest of Korea
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Spring Must-Dos
  • Water Activities
  • Summer Must-Dos
  • Autumn Foliage
  • Autumn Must-Dos
  • Ski & Snowboard
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  • K-Pop & K-Drama
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travel blogs korea

Korea Travel Guide | AAPI Travel Blogger

A Korea Travel Guide

If you’ve found yourself on this page, yay! I love when people want to come visit one of my favorite places in the world. Korea has become somewhat of a second home to me – a place I always feel somewhat comfortable in, even if I’ve been away for a while. I first visited in 2011 when I studied in Seoul for the summer and returned in the fall of 2014 to teach English in the countryside. I spent two years living in Namwon and traveling on the weekends and then I came back in 2017 to teach for one more year in Suncheon! Now I go back at least once a year to visit friends and to continue exploring this country (although with how the world is, it’s been 2 years). I hope you find all my guides helpful!

Just Starting to Plan Your Trip?

Check these posts if you’re just starting to plan your trip to Korea, especially my very long travel tips post which will give you quite literally everything !

Bamboo Forest, Damyang, Korea

Tips & Guides

50 South Korea Travel Tips

80 Things to Do in Korea: The Ultimate Bucket List

Korea Trip Planner: All the Logistics

The Best Apps for Korea Travel: Which Ones I Use and the Ones I Don’t

22 Places in the Korean Countryside You’ll Love

travel blogs korea


102 Unbelievably Beautiful Places in Korea

20 Photos to Make You Fall in Love with Traditional Korea

85 K-pop Summer Songs from 1985 to Today: Your Ultimate Playlist

12 of the Best Korean Dramas I Recommend to My Friends (And 4 I Don’t)

travel blogs korea


How to Spend 2 Weeks in Korea: 4 Itinerary Ideas

The Only 1 Month Korea Itinerary You Need

A Very Efficient Korea Itinerary for 7 Days

travel blogs korea

Summer in Korea: What to Do + How to Stay Cool

Autumn in Korea: Forecast, Food, Festivals, and More

Best Places to See Fall Foliage

A Guide to Winter in Korea

Spring in Korea: Top Tips and Things to Do

Cherry Blossoms, Korea : A Forecast Guide & Where to Go

travel blogs korea

What to Eat & Drink

Your Guide to the Best Korean Food: 66 Dishes & Drinks!

All About Kimchi

View of Seoul from Haneul park

Learn Korean

Getting a Tattoo in Korea – Is it Illegal?

14 Unique Gift Ideas for Your Friend Who Loves Korea

A Guide to Hiking in Korea

Seoul & Nearby

Every country has its major city, and for Korea that’s Seoul (which is also its capital)! Located up towards the northwest part of the country, it’s easily one of my favorite metropolitan areas in the whole world.

There’s just SO much going on no matter what you’re looking for, and it’s always changing.

It’s also very easy to see some cool nearby sights in Suwon and Gyeonggido, like a French storybook village, a kitschy island, a huge fortress, and more!

travel blogs korea

Seoul Guides

Seoul Travel Guide

13 Free Things to Do in Seoul

One Day in Seoul: 5 Layover Itinerary Ideas

7 Cool Libraries & Bookstores in Seoul

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Where to Stay

Where to Stay in Seoul: Best Neighborhoods + Hotels

10 Best-Rated Hotels in Insadong

10 Best-Rated Hotels in Gangnam

10 Top-Rated Hotels in Hongdae

10 Best Hotels in Myeongdong by Reviews

travel blogs korea

The Palaces

The Five Grand Palaces of Seoul: A Guide


Changdeokgung Palace and its Secret Garden

Get an Aerial View of Deoksugung Palace

Space Shinseon Cafe in Seoul, Korea

Cafes in Seoul

25 Cafes in Seoul: the Trendiest & Most Brewtiful

Seoulism (서울리즘): the Cafe with Views to Lotte World Tower

The Trendy Stylenanda Pink Hotel + Pink Pool Cafe in Seoul

The Dreamy Camera Cafe

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Quirky Seoul

10 Quirky Things to Do in Seoul

What to Expect at the Hongdae Trick Eye Museum in Seoul (Some NSFW)

Complete Lotte World Guide

Complete Guide to Everland Theme Park

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Scenic Seoul

Bugak Skyway: One of the Prettiest Views in Seoul

Ihwa Mural Village

What to Expect on a Han River Cruise

Guide to Seoul Sky Observatory

travel blogs korea

A Storybook Escape from Seoul

How to Visit the Incredible Suwon Fortress

17 Fun Day Tours in Seoul and Nearby

One of the most charming places to visit in Korea – Jeju! I always say it takes all my favorite parts about the mainland and does away with the more frustrating aspects. Definitely rent a car or arrange a driver so you can take your time and explore the island at the nice, slow pace you ought to!

travel blogs korea

Jeju Guides

Quick Guide to Jeju

30 Incredible Things to Do in Jeju + My Secret Spots!

Romantopia in Jeju, Korea

Where to Stay in Jeju: An Expert Guide

25 Unique Jeju Airbnbs You’ve Got to Book

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Specific Areas

Udo Island: A Little Travel Guide

Jeju’s West Coast

Jeju’s East Coast

North Jeolla Province (Jeollabukdo)

Jeollabuk (and Jeollanam below) are two of the provinces closest to my heart because they’re where I lived. Jeollabukdo, also known as North Jeolla or Jeonbuk, is down towards southwestern Korea and sits along the coast to the Yellow Sea.

Its main capital is Jeonju and as a province is known for its food. I’d go so far to say that Jeollabuk and Jeollanam are the best places to eat food in the whole country! Back when I lived in Namwon, I remember my friend going to Seoul and being unimpressed with the Korean dishes in the city compared to what we got everyday between our schools and ordering takeout!

travel blogs korea

City Guides

Namwon, Korea: A Local-ish Guide

Jeonju Hanok Village: A Complete Guide

travel blogs korea

Hiking in Jeollabuk

How to Hike Guryong Valley in Jirisan

Jirisan’s Baemsagol Valley Course

Naejangsan National Park: Finding Fall Colors

Hiking Wolchulsan to Cross One of Korea’s Must See Bridges

Naesosa Temple Stay near Buan, Korea

Temple Stay

Experiencing a Temple Stay in Korea at Naesosa

8 Lessons Learned from a Buddhist Temple Stay

Enrogel Tea Pot Cafe

Other Places

Enrogel Teapot Café

South Jeolla (Jeollanamdo)

Below Jeollabukdo is Jeollanamdo, aka South Jeolla or Jeonnam. This province sits all the way down to the southernmost tip of mainland Korea and surrounds the major city of Gwangju.

Historically, it, with Jeonbuk, was established in 1896 as one of the Eight Provinces of Korea (then they were both combined to be Jeolla). Today it’s home to some of the prettiest places in Korea! I’m talking a bamboo forest, a folk village, an ecological bay, tea fields, islands… There’s a reason I centered my tour around Jeollanam!

travel blogs korea

What to Do in Suncheon, Korea: A Local-ish Travel Guide

Suncheon Bay Garden – How to Visit

How to Visit Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve

Suncheon Open Film Location – A Step Back in Time

Hiking Between Two Mountain Temples in Jogyesan

Naganeupseong Folk Village: How to Visit This Traditional Fortress Town

travel blogs korea

Damyang Travel Guide

Meta Provence, Damyang: A Little French Inspired Village in Korea

travel blogs korea

Seasonal Festivals

Gokseong Rose Festival

The Gwangyang Maehwa Festival: Finding Plum Blossoms in Korea

Visiting the Gurye Sansuyu Festival

travel blogs korea

Fun Things to Do in Yeosu, Korea + A Travel Guide

Boseong Green Tea Fields: Everything You Need to Know to Visit

Other Provinces

Admittedly, I don’t have quite as much experience with the other provinces on mainland Korea, which is part of what I’m hoping to fix with future trips!

Chungcheongbukdo and Chungcheongnamdo always felt a bit like the forgotten provinces that I passed through from Namwon to Seoul, but I couldn’t tell you what was there to do or see.

Gyeongsangbukdo and Gyeognsangnamdo are in the southeastern corner of Korea and surround Busan. They’re home to loads of cool coastal spots.

Gangwondo sits all the way up north and might be familiar as it’s where the Pyeongchang Olympics took place! I would say of all the provinces it feels the most like the countryside. Loads of amazing hiking and skiing in the winter.

Gyeryongsan Stairs, Korea

Chungcheongbuk & Chungcheongnam

Hiking Daedunsan in the Fog

A Guide to Hiking Gyeryongsan in Korea

travel blogs korea

Gyeongsangbuk & Gyeongsangnam

A Quick Guide to Tongyeong, South Korea

How to Visit the Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival

The Famous Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival: ALL You Need to Know

Odaesan Hiking, Korea

Hike Seoraksan, One of Korea’s Tallest Mountains

A Hiking Guide to Odaesan National Park in Korea

Gamcheon Culture Village

18 Best Things to Do in Busan, Korea

A Guide to Gamcheon Culture Village: the Most Charming Place in Korea

Teaching & Living in Korea

For those of you hoping to live and work in Korea, hopefully these posts will help you out!

korea gift ideas

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South Korea Travel Guide

Where to go, what to see & how to stay on budget.

By Patricia Liu and Joel Marinan

South Korea is a dynamic and culturally rich country that deserves a place on everyone’s travel bucket list. Known for its stunning blend of tradition and modernity, Korea features futuristic technology, bustling markets, and a thriving pop culture scene. Perhaps most importantly, visitors can expect a high level of safety and cleanliness while exploring the country and savoring its delicious cuisine.

This South Korea Travel Guide shows you where to go, what to see, and when to travel. Start your journey with itinerary ideas and pre-travel tips, the best day trips, and lots more essential Korean travel advice. Let’s go!

Here are some of our most popular articles that will help you make the most of your trip to South Korea.

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Latest travel updates.

7/15/23 Effective July 15, 2023, following the decline of COVID-19 and mpox cases, Q-Code registration will no longer be required to enter Korea. According to the new screening procedures, entrants to Korea will undergo a simple temperature check.

6/1/23 From June 1st, 2023, there is  no longer any mandatory quarantine  for COVID-infected people in Korea – both locals and travellers. The Korean government now recommends that infected people showing symptoms should self-isolate (voluntarily) for 5 days.

4/1/23 From April 1st, 2023, travelers from the USA and 21 other countries  no longer need to apply for the K-ETA  to travel to Korea. This will run until 31st December, 2024 and is designed to make it easier to travel to Korea.

3/20/23 From March 20th, 2023, the indoor mask mandate has been removed for public transport, including buses, trains, subway, taxis, and flights. The only remaining mask mandate is for medical facilities, including hospitals, care homes, and pharmacies.

Discounted Flights To Korea

Planning Your Trip To Korea

Check the Korean Embassy for any possible travel restrictions.

  • If you’re not sure where to stay, check out our guide to the  best hotels in Seoul  . You can find our recommendations for the best luxury, mid-range, and budget hotels in Seoul, as well as long-term apartments that you’ll love.
  • For the best flight deals to South Korea, Best of Korea recommends  Skyscanner  and  Expedia . You  can find the cheapest prices and most convenient flights and buy the one that suits you best.
  • For the best hotel prices in Seoul, Best of Korea recommends  Klook  0r  Agoda  – they cover most hotels in Seoul and the rest of Korea and offer great prices without hidden fees.
  • Before you travel to Korea, it’s a good idea to order an eSim card, regular  sim card  or  portable WiFi router  to collect at the airport so you’re connected as soon as you arrive. You can change a small bit of money before you travel, but you can also use the airport ATM to get some Korean won.
  • There are large differences in exchange rates so you will need to do some comparing before you exchange a large sum of money. You can exchange USD to KRW easily at banks or money exchange shops in all major tourist areas like central Seoul (Myeongdong and Namdaemun are good places but the Coex Center also offers money exchange. You can also negotiate the exchange rate with the vendor if you think it is too high.
  • You can withdraw cash from bank ATMs. Alternatively, use a pre-paid travel card like the one offered by  Wise , which allows ATM withdrawals and payments and works perfectly in Korea.
  • Don’t forget to bring a  travel adapter for your electronics and leave plenty of extra space in your suitcase for the many Korean souvenirs and goodies you’ll buy on your tri

Do US Citizens Need A Tourist Visa?

No, travelers from the USA don’t need a tourist visa to enter South Korea. You can visit for up to 90 days visa-free.

Current COVID-19 Rules In Korea

Most COVID-19 rules in Korea have been dropped and now there are only 2 main rules to be aware of. First, face masks are mandatory when visiting medical facilities (hospitals). There is no longer a 7-day mandatory quarantine for people in South Korea. If you’re infected with COVID, the Korean government recommends a 5 day self-quarantine, but it’s not enforced. Travelers to Korea should follow the current restrictions or may be liable for fines or deportation.

Korean Tourism Support Hotline

If you have any concerns or problems when traveling in Korea, you can call  1330 . This is a dedicated tourism support hotline where trained specialists provide tourist assistance and is available in Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, and Malay.

US Government Travel Advisory For Korea

The U.S. Department of State currently has a level 1 travel advisory (Exercise Normal Precautions) for the Republic of Korea (ROK). Find out more about current travel advisories for South Korea on the  Department of State  website.

Gyeongbokgung palace at night in Seoul, South Korea.

6 Best Destinations In Korea

South Korea is truly a country of contrasts. From the bustling, modern city of  Seoul , with cutting-edge designer buildings, VR labs, and AI robots, to peaceful UNESCO World Heritage cities like Jeonju  and  Gyeongju , there are many unique places to explore.

There’s nothing worse than coming back from vacation and hearing about incredible places you missed that you wished you’d seen, such as a beautiful Buddhist temple by the beach (Haedong Yonggungsa Temple) or a leafy island getaway where deer and rabbits roam freely (Nami Island).

Here are 6 of the best destinations in Korea that you absolutely must visit, as well as some of the sights you’ll want to check out while you’re there. We’ll be bringing you lots more detailed destination guides in the future, so be sure to visit again soon.

South Korea Travel Guide For Seoul

Korea’s Busy Capital

Seoul is Korea’s largest city, capital, and first, stop for most travelers to Korea. There are  many beautiful places in Seoul , including landmarks, relics from ancient kingdoms, towering skyscrapers, Buddhist temples, Michelin-starred restaurants, and some of the best street food you’ll find in the world. If you see only one city in Korea, you should definitely visit Seoul.

You’ll never be bored in Seoul. Whether you’re traveling as a family, as a couple, or by yourself, there’s so much to do. Be sure to plan lots of time to check out Korea’s capital.

This  Full Day Tour  of Seoul will show you some of the hottest spots in the city, while this  Customized Private Tour of Seoul will allow you to choose where to go.

Here are 10 of the best Seoul attractions:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Bukchon Hanok Village
  • Starfield COEX Mall
  • Bukhansan National Park
  • Myeongdong Street Markets
  • Lotte World Tower
  • Secret Garden (Changdeokgung Palace)
  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza
  • N Seoul Tower
  • Yeouido Hangang Park

South Korea Travel Guide For Busan

Korea’s Second City

Busan, Korea’s second city, is a thriving port city far away from Seoul both physically and culturally. This popular summer destination features some of Korea’s most popular beaches and bars. Explore Busan and you’ll find sprawling markets, fresh seafood, film festivals, the world’s largest shopping mall, coastal temples, and lots more.

Busan is a city with some very photogenic sights. See the sunrise on the beach, hike around leafy coastal streets on the side of cliffs, and marvel at the wide range of (living!) seafood in the markets.

This  Full Day Tour  of Busan will show you the best beaches, markets, and local sights, while this  Customized Private Tour of Busan  will allow you to choose where to go.

Here are 10 of the best Busan attractions:

  • Haeundae Beach
  • Gwangbokdong Food Street
  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • Huinnyeoul Culture Village
  • Gamcheon Culture Village
  • Oryukdo Sky Walk
  • Lotte World Busan
  • Jagalchi Fish Market
  • BIFF Square & Centum City Mall
  • Taejongdae Resort Park

South Korea Travel Guide For Gyeongju


Gyeongju is the former capital of the Silla Kingdom, part of the Three Kingdoms part of Korean history. These days, Gyeongju is an open air museum housing Korea’s finest history and monument. This UNESCO World Heritage City is a must-see for those who want to learn more about Korea’s deep cultural past.

Gyeongju is packed with temples, palaces, historical sights, and monuments. But it’s not just the history that draws the crowds, the city is an area of natural beauty, lined with cherry blossoms and shadowed by misty mountains.

This  Full Day Tour of Gyeongju  from Busan will take you around Korea’s open-air museum city, showing the top UNESCO sites along the way, while this  Customized Private Tour of Gyeongju  will allow you to choose where to go.

Here are 10 of the best Gyeongju attractions:

  • Gyeongju Historic Area
  • Bomun Lake Tourist Complex
  • Bulguksa Temple & Seokguram Shrine
  • Donggung Palace & Wolji Pond
  • Yangdong Folk Village
  • Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory
  • Gyeongju National Museum
  • Gyochon Traditional Hanok Village
  • Woljeonggyo Bridge
  • Gyeongju National Park

South Korea Travel Guide For Jeju Island

Natural Wonder

Jeju Island is Korea’s semi-tropical island that’s a popular vacation destination for locals and tourists alike. This area of outstanding natural beauty offers up rugged coastal walks, sandy beaches, green hills, and a volcano to hike up for those who enjoy a challenge. Culture and cafe lovers will also find Jeju Island a charm.

From snorkelling under the sea, to hiking above the clouds, sampling Jeju’s black pork BBQ, and drinking local green tea, there’s so many exciting activities, sights, tastes, and experiences waiting for you on Jeju Island.

This  Full Day Tour of Jeju Island  will show you some of the most incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites on Jeju’s East Coast, while this  Customized Private Tour of Jeju Island  will allow you to choose where to go.

Here are 10 of the best Jeju Island attractions:

  • Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak
  • Jusangjeolli Hexagonal Lava Cliff
  • Hallasan Mountain (Volcano)
  • Hamdeok Beach
  • Jeju Folk Village
  • Hyeopjae & Geumneung Beach Areas
  • Cheonjeyeon & Jeongbang Waterfalls
  • Udo Traditional Island
  • Yakcheonnsa Coastal Buddhist Temple
  • O’Sulloc Green Tea Fields

South Korea Travel Guide For Jeonju

Traditional Korea

Jeonju is famous for its historical and cultural sights, including the sprawling Jeonju Hanok Village, packed with more than 700 traditional  hanok  houses. Jeonju’s many impressive sights are close to each other and perfect for a day trip from Seoul or Busan. You can even stay overnight in one of the traditional houses.

Jeonju is a tourist hotspot so there are plenty of things to keep travelers entertained and places to experience traditional Korean food and drinks. Be sure to check out the Jeonju bibimbap, one of Korea’s national dishes. Rent hanbok (traditional clothes), take lots of pictures, and see the sights.

This  Full Day Tour of Jeonju  will show you around the beautiful  hanok  houses and traditional Korean restaurants, while this  2-Day Tour of Jeonju  includes an overnight stay in a  hanok  and lots of delicious Korean meals.

Here are 10 of the best Jeonju attractions:

  • Jeonju Hanok Village
  • Gyeonggijeon Shrine & Portrait Museum
  • Jeongdon Catholic Church
  • Jeonju Hyanggyo Confucian School
  • Nambu Traditional Market
  • Jaman Mural Village
  • Omokdae Viewpoint
  • Deokjin Park
  • Hanbyeokdang Pavilion
  • Taiji-ro & Hyangoyo-gil Shopping Streets

South Korea Travel Guide For Gapyeong

Rural Attractions

Gapyeong County is an area just outside of Seoul that’s home to several interesting attractions celebrating Korean and foreign culture. The lush green hills and blue rivers of Gapyeong make it a great place to immerse in Korean nature.

You’ll find some of the hottest day trip locations here. Explore Gapyeong County on a day trip from Seoul. You can see romantic tree-lined streets and cafes on Nami Island, explore one of Korea’s most beautiful gardens, take a trip to Petite France, and enjoy cycling through the hills on an abandoned railway track.

This  Full Day Tour of Gapyeong  will show you around Nami Island, Garden of Morning Calm, and the Rail Bike Park.

Here are 10 of the best Gapyeong attractions:

  • Nami Island
  • Garden of Morning Calm
  • Petite France
  • Ganchon Rail Bike Park
  • Edelweiss Swiss Village
  • Cheongpyeong Lake
  • Jarasum Island
  • Kalbongsan Recreational Forest
  • Gapyeong Sledding Hills
  • Nami Island Zip Line

People walking on a Korean road

There are loads of locations to visit in Korea that make for a perfect day trip from Seoul. Hop on a coach, train, or tour bus in the morning and explore one or more of these unique destinations.

Here are 10 of the best day trips from Seoul to discover on your next journey to Korea:

  • DMZ (North Korean Border)
  • Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
  • Everland Theme Park
  • Jeonju Historic City
  • Seoraksan National Park
  • Korean Folk Village
  • Alpaca World
  • Gwangmyeong Cave

Most travelers to Korea arrive at Incheon Airport and then travel into Seoul (it’s only 40 minutes away) to begin their journey. Seoul is certainly an incredible place to start traveling, but it definitely shouldn’t be your only destination. Korea has a lot to offer, including a lot of seasonal activities and events that you should take into consideration.

Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Korea and during these times the traditional cities like Gyeongju and Jeonju look amazing. They’re covered with cherry blossoms or fall foliage and this creates some postcard-like scenes. Gapyeong area is packed full of natural sights to enjoy, so definitely check out these areas.

If you’re visiting during summer, head towards the coastal areas, including the north-east coastal towns of Gangneung & Sokcho, or the south-east coastal areas of Busan and the nearby islands, such as Geoje, Tongyeong, and Yeosu. You’ll find lots of winter activities to enjoy in these areas.

Winter is cold and dry and, ironically, a great time to visit Jeju Island. This semi-tropical island is warmer than the mainland, but still gets snow on the mighty Hallasan Mountain. You can sit on a sunny beach one day and then hike knee-deep in snow the next. Jeju is also famous for its citrus, with thousands of tangerine trees dropping their juicy fruits in early winter.

Where To Stay In Seoul

Where To Stay In Seoul

South Korea is truly a country of contrasts. From the bustling, modern city of  Seoul , with cutting-edge designer buildings, VR labs, and AI robots, to peaceful UNESCO World Heritage cities like Jeonju  and  Gyeongju , there are many unique places to explore. If you’ve decided on Seoul, here are some of the best hotels that are well located and highly reviewed.

Choosing the best destinations to visit in Korea can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what there is to see. You might not have heard of some of these destinations, which is not surprising. Korea is a country of undiscovered wonders that are waiting to be found.

Signiel Hotel Seoul

If you want the best Seoul has to offer, these luxury hotels are for you. Located in Seoul’s glitziest neighborhoods, these hotels are within walking distance of Michelin-starred restaurants, chic boutiques, galleries, museums, and the finest shopping experiences available.

Expect nothing but the best in terms of service and style at these luxury hotels. Silky soft sheets, immaculate rooms with the finest fixtures and fittings, and true 5-star service from the hotel staff. These hotels have sports, dining, and entertainment facilities to make you comfortable during your stay.

Airport transfers are available with these hotels, making your journey into and out of Seoul a breeze. Located in popular upmarket districts in Seoul, these neighborhoods have lots of local charm for you to discover, as well as allow easy access to other parts of the city with excellent transport options nearby.

Not only are these beautiful, comfortable hotels inside, but they are also located in some of the most iconic buildings or districts and provide amazing views over some of Seoul’s most interesting districts. The view from the first hotel is worth the cost alone.

Recommended Luxury Hotels In Seoul

Here are 3 of the best luxury hotels in Seoul that we recommend for an unforgettable stay in Korea’s capital:

Mondrian Seoul Itaewon Hotel

Families. couples and other travelers that want to experience the best of Seoul without breaking the bank can sleep easy with these mid-range hotel recommendations in some of Seoul’s trendy, vibrant districts, including Hongdae, Gangnam, and Myeongdong.

Encounter stylish accommodation in Seoul’s Hongdae districts, which is full of street culture and artistic scenes from the district’s eponymous Hongik University – one of Korea’s leading art centers.

Fashion lovers and shoppers will find lots to love in downtown Gangnam, with its wide streets and glassy storefronts bracketing narrow side streets and hidden delicacies.

Myeongdong is famous for its budget and mid-range accommodation options, including several hotels by the famous Lotte chain – one of Korea’s best mid-range brands.

Whichever mid-range hotel you choose in Seoul, you can be sure you’ll have fantastic city views, convenient subway access, and lots of unique cultural sights, sounds, and tastes to experience.

Recommended Mid-Range Hotels In Seoul

Here are 3 of the best mid-range hotels in Seoul that we recommend for an comfortable stay in Korea’s capital:

L7 Hongdae By Lotte Hotel

Seoul has a wealth of budget accommodation options that will help make your money go further. These hotels are all around $100 or less but offer the comfort and convenience that you’d expect to find in a mid-range hotel. One even has a beautiful rooftop pool.

Although these hotels are cheaper, don’t lower your expectations. You’ll always find great service in Korea. Save on sleeping to spend more on shopping, souvenirs, sights, and all the other fun things there are to do in Seoul.

These budget hotels in Seoul are also in great locations for shopping, enjoying local culture, and seeing the real side of Seoul and Korea. Hongdae offers bargain hunters the chance to get boutique fashion at market prices, Gangnam has plenty of cafes and cheap eats tucked away off the main avenues, and Myeongdong is a budget traveler’s paradise full of $1 street food and bargain souvenirs.

You won’t be disappointed with a night at any of these hotels. If you want to make your budget go further so you can spend more on some of the incredible day trips Seoul has to offer, definitely book a night at one of these hotels.

Recommended Budget Hotels In Seoul

Here are 3 of the best budget hotels in Seoul that we recommend for an affordable stay in Korea’s capital:

Essential Korean Travel Tips

Korean Travel Tips

Korea is a unique country with a written language that looks nothing like English, interesting  Korean Cultural And Etiquette Rules , and an always busy lifestyle. Travelers may be lost trying to do even the simplest things.

These travel tips include the best options for staying connected, how to use public transportation easily and cheaply, great discount cards that will save you money as you travel, where to exchange money, and how to learn some basic Korean phrases for when you travel.

These essential Korean travel tips have been crafted by experienced travelers who love to save time and money. Only the best quality services and products are recommended here.

Here are our Korea travel essentials that’ll help you get around more easily, save you money, and let you get the most out of your trip.

Plan ahead now and you’ll have fewer troubles on your travels, giving you more time to enjoy your time in Korea.

If you’re traveling to Korea, you’re almost certainly going to want to get access to the internet to help you navigate, translate Korean, or even book tickets to attractions. Korea has one of the world’s best mobile internet and the prices are very reasonable. 5G mobile internet services are available across the country and Korea was one of the first to get the super-fast service. You won’t have problems connecting with a sim card or WiFi router when you travel.

Korean Sim Cards & Mobile Data Plans​

Sim Cards & Data Plans

A Korean sim card is a great way to get access to all your usual cellphone services when you travel to Korea. Sim cards come with data-only packages, or data and phone services combined.

Buying a Korean sim card will give you access to a Korean phone number, which is useful when using Korean apps. If you want to order food online in Korea, you need to have a Korean phone number to complete the order.

Korean Sim Card Costs

Prices start at W5,900 ($5) for a 1-day sim. You can also get 10-day sim cards (W34,700/$28) and 30-day sim cards (64,400/$52). These all come with unlimited data, domestic calls, and texts.

You can purchase a  Korean Sim Card  From Klook and collect it at the airport. This is a very convenient option as you can use it immediately to help navigate and check in back home.

Korean Portable WiFi Routers​

Portable WiFi Routers

A Korean portable WiFi router will give you access to mobile internet throughout Korea by connecting to WiFi hotspots run by the major phone companies in Korea and comes with great coverage.

The major benefits of a portable WiFi router include a lower cost than a Korean sim card and also the ability to connect up to 3 devices to 1 router. That means that families and groups will be able to share the service.

Korean Portable WiFi Router Costs

The cost of a Korean portable pocket WiFi router is W3,200 ($2.60) per day. You can rent the WiFi router for as many days as you require and pay in advance and pay any excess days when you return it.

You can also purchase a  Korean Portable WiFi Router From Klook and collect it at the airport. You can book online before you travel so that it’s guaranteed to be waiting for you.

Should I Get A Sim Card Or WiFi Router In Korea?​

Both a sim card and WiFi router are great options for travelers to Korea and will almost guarantee a great reception for mobile internet. The choice between whether you should get a sim card or WiFi router in Korea really comes down to the costs involved and if you need a Korean phone number.

WiFi routers are cheaper and allow you to connect 3 devices, so they’re perfect for families. However, a sim card gives you a Korean phone number, which means you can call people and also register for Korean apps which require a phone number.

Check out our detailed article about the  Best Sim Card & Portable WiFi  options for traveling to Korea.

Money Exchange

Korea is a safe, modern country and one that has pushed hard for the mass adoption of cards. Almost every location that deals with money is required to accept card payments. This is great news for travelers to Korea as you can use a card to pay for meals out, entrance tickets, trains, and lots more.

Cash is still needed for some things, such as topping up transportation cards like the T-Money Card (more on that soon) and for paying for small things like street food. Please note, as Korea doesn’t have a tipping culture, you don’t need cash for leaving a tip. In fact, if you try to leave a cash tip, it’ll be returned to you in most places.

Read on to find the best tips to avoid getting ripped off when exchanging money and how to pay the lowest fees when you use a card to pay in Korea. Be a smart traveler and save more money for shopping and souvenirs.

Korean Money Exchange Options​

Once you arrive in Korea, there are several options for exchanging money. First, you can exchange money at a money changer in tourist areas such as Myeongdong. These money changers used to have the best rates in Seoul.

However, a better option these days is to use the currency exchange machines from WOW Exchange. These machines are located all over Seoul’s most popular tourist spots, stations, and hotels. They allow you to exchange foreign cash directly to Korean won, with better rates than at the airport. You can also use these machines to claim a tax refund for your shopping before heading to the airport. Both options require a passport.

Should I Change Money At The Airport?

Exchanging money at the airport is easy and convenient as you can instantly get cash to use for shopping, transportation, and general use. However, the exchange rate at the airport is usually much worse than you’ll find in other places in Korea, as mentioned previously. If you need cash as soon as you land, withdraw a small amount ($50) and then exchange the rest in Seoul.

Wise Travel Money Card

Travel Money Cards For Korea

While cash is useful and familiar when traveling, a much better option is to use a travel money card (also known as a currency card). Travel money cards, such as the Wise Travel Money Card, allow you to pay for travel expenses without the need to carry cash or convert money.

A travel money card offers the convenience of using a credit card without high fees that a regular bank could charge. It also allows you to withdraw cash from an ATM without a fee (up to a limit), so you can avoid carrying any cash on the flight or using a money exchange. The exchange rate is the mid-market rate, meaning it’s better than you’ll find even at the money exchanges listed before.

Can I Use My Bank Card In Korea?​

Credit cards are widely accepted in Korea. Visa and Mastercard users shouldn’t face a problem, but other cards aren’t as widely accepted. Debit cards and cash withdrawals might not work depending on the bank. Your bank may charge a fee when using it overseas, or give a bad exchange rate. Check with your bank before traveling.

The best option for travel money in Korea is to have a mixture of cash and cards, with a backup credit card just in case. Taking some USD with you is always a good option as you can find plenty of places to exchange it to Korean won and probably at a better rate than you’ll get in the US. If you want to withdraw money in Korea, look for the global ATMs in tourist areas.

Taking a  travel money card  will be safer, cheaper, and more convenient than relying on your own bank or credit card, too. These cards offer competitive rates and are widely accepted around the world so you can use them to visit other countries, too. If you use a travel money card and it gets lost or stolen, you can freeze the card instantly with the app and not have to worry about losing the balance on the card.

When you visit Korea, you’ll notice that most people pay for goods with a card or payment app, even for small purchases like a bottle of water. Unfortunately, the payment apps that are common in the US, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, aren’t available in Korea. Korean apps, such as Kakao Pay, require a Korean bank account, and therefore aren’t an option for travelers.

Korean T-Money Card

T-Money For Public Transport

The T-Money Card is an essential purchase for every traveler to Korea. The T-Money Card is a transportation card that allows contactless travel on Korea’s buses and subways. Simply buy a T-Money Card, top-up the card, then use it to travel.

Not only is this transportation card really convenient, it also saves you money. You’ll receive a discount on every bus or subway journey when you pay with the T-Money Card. These discounted fares are available in all cities across Korea, not just Seoul.

This isn’t the only use of the T-Money Card. You can also use to buy a coffee from Starbucks, get lunch in McDonald’s, shop for Korean cosmetics, and even to watch a baseball game. It’s a very useful card that can be used anywhere you see the T-Money Card.

You can get the  T-Money Card in Korea from subway stations and at certain transport centers, including Seoul Station and Incheon Airport. The card costs 2,500 KRW. You can buy the card with a credit card, but to top-up the card, you need to use cash. If you buy a Discover Seoul Pass, this card includes the T-Money functions.

Discover Seoul Pass Card (2)

Save With The Discover Seoul Pass

Travelers to Seoul have a lot of options for incredible attractions to enjoy and experience. However, tourists, especially families, can find that the cost of these attractions quickly add up, especially when you are visiting many locations in a short time.

A great way to save money when you travel in Seoul is to buy a  Discover Seoul Pass  – a special card that offers you big savings on some of Seoul’s top attractions, as well as other benefits.

If you plan to visit Seoul’s Royal Palaces, N Seoul Tower, Lotte World Adventure Theme Park, the COEX Aquarium, Alive Museum, Seoul Zoo, or other premium attractions, you can gain free entry when you purchase a Discover Seoul Pass.

Not only that, you can also get a free river cruise, free hanbok rental, free ride on the Airport Express from Incheon Airport to Seoul, free City Tour Bus Ride, free T-Money Card and lots more.

The Discover Seoul Pass is valid for 24 | 48 | 72 hours and is valid from the moment you first use it until that many hours later.

N Seoul Tower

Things To See & Do In Korea

If you want to build your own itinerary for South Korea, then this section of the South Korea Travel Guide will provide the building blocks you need to craft the perfect trip.

South Korea is a country packed with famous landmarks and sights, unique culture – modern & historical,  family-fun activities, outdoor adventures, cozy cafe districts, and natural wonders. There’s more to do in Korea than you could imagine and it’s impossible to explore it all in one trip. Try to plan your itinerary by cities and locations. For example, plan your day in Seoul stay by district.

Here are some of the best things to see and do in South Korea, broken down into different themes so you can find things that interest you the most. The location of each of these attractions is included, too, so you can create a city by city itinerary, seeing the best South Korea has to offer.

These attractions are available all year round so whenever you go to Korea, you can enjoy them. There are plenty of things to see and do in Korea that only happen during certain seasons. Check out the  Season Guide  in this South Korea Travel Guide for more information about Korean festivals and seasonal events.

Here are 10 of the best Korean landmarks:

  • Lotte World Tower (Seoul)
  • Bukchon Hanok Village (Seoul)
  • Nami Island (Gapyeong)
  • Banwol ‘Purple Island’ (West Coast)
  • N Seoul Tower (Seoul)
  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Seoul)
  • Seoraksan National Park (Gangwon Province)
  • Hwaseong Fortress (Suwon)
  • Cheonggyecheon Stream (Seoul)
  • Gamcheon Cultural Village (Busan)


Why travel to a diverse country such as Korea and not embrace the local culture? Here are 10 of the best unique Korean experiences you can only enjoy fully in Korea. Be brave, try something new and create lasting memories of your Korean adventure.

Here are 10 of the best uniquely Korean experiences:

  • Wear Traditional Korean Hanbok (Royal Palaces)
  • Sing In A Korean Noraebang (Everywhere)
  • Sleep In A Korean Hanok House (Hanok Villages)
  • Visit The Kimchi Museum (Seoul)
  • Eat Street Food (Traditional Markets)
  • Experience A Korean Temple Stay (National Parks)
  • Drink Makgeolli – Korean Rice Wine (Everywhere)
  • Visit The World’s Most Dangerous Border – The DMZ
  • Relax In A Korean Sauna (Everywhere)
  • Visit A Korean Green Tea Field (Boseong, Jeju)

Historic Korean Sights

Here are 10 of the best Korean historic sights:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace (Seoul)
  • The Secret Garden (Seoul)
  • Bulguksa Temple (Gyeongju)
  • Jeonju Hanok Village (Jeonju)
  • Seoul Fortress Walls (Seoul)
  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (Busan)
  • Andong Hahoe Folk Village (Andong)
  • Gyeongju Historic Area (Gyeongju)
  • Baekje Historic Area (Gongju, Buyeo)
  • Jangsaengpo Whale Museum (Ulsan)

Modern K-Culture Sights Including K-Star Road in Gangnam

Here are 10 of the best modern K-Culture spots:

  • K-Pop Headquarters (Seoul)
  • HYBE Insight (Seoul)
  • COEX Artium (Seoul)
  • K-Style Hub (Seoul)
  • Hongdae Shopping Street (Seoul)
  • Hallyu K-Star Road (Seoul)
  • Asia Culture Center (Gwangju)
  • Busan International Film Festival Square (Busan)
  • MBC World Theme Park (Seoul)

As you’ll see, there’s just so much to see and do in Korea. You could spend a whole week in Seoul and not run out of exciting activities to do and sights to explore. Our advice is to try to avoid planning to do too many things in one day and adding in plenty of free time.

There’ll be many random things that catch your eye, such as a curious side street, or your nose, like the delicious smells from a food stall. Make sure you’ve got flexibility in your schedule to investigate these surprises and to take a rest if you need to – walking and traveling for days on end can get tiring.

Korea comes alive at night and markets and city streets are often best explored after the sun goes down. Drab concrete buildings come alive with neon signs, lanterns, and electric lights and are quite a sight to be seen. Visit popular tourist attractions such as the royal palaces and hanok villages during the morning as they’ll be less crowded.

If you plan to visit the Secret Garden in Changdeokgung Palace (you really should!), tickets are available on the day and sell out fast. Getting to these places early can guarantee you get tickets, see the sights unobstructed, and have time in the evening to soak up the night life and culture.

Family Friendly Korean Attraction Lotte World Adventure

Here are the 10 best family-friendly activities in Korea:

  • Nami Island & Garden of Morning Calm (Gapyeong)
  • Seoul Grand Park & Zoo (Seoul)
  • Lotte World Adventure (Seoul, Busan)
  • Alive Museum & Dynamic Maze (Seoul)
  • Seoul Children’s Grand Park (Seoul)
  • Seoul Children’s Museum (Seoul)
  • Everland & Caribbean Bay Theme Parks (Near Seoul)
  • Sea Life Busan Aquarium
  • Jeju Dinosaur Island (Jeju)
  • Alpaca World (Gangwon Province)

Korean Museums & Galleries

Here are the 10 best museums & galleries in Korea:

  • National Museum of Korea (Seoul)
  • Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul)
  • Gyeongju National Museum (Gyeongju)
  • War Memorial of Korea (Seoul)
  • National Folk Museum of Korea (Seoul)
  • National Maritime Museum (Busan)
  • Seodaemun Prison History Museum (Seoul)
  • Seoul Museum of History (Seoul)
  • Museum Kimchikan (Seoul)
  • Daegu Art Museum (Daegu)

Insta-Worthy Cafe Streets In Korea

Here are the 10 best cafe areas in Korea:

  • Ikseondong Hanok Village (Seoul)
  • Gyeongui Line Hongdae (Seoul)
  • Samcheondong Cafe Street (Seoul)
  • Jeonpo Cafe Street (Busan)
  • Hwangnidan-Gil (Gyeongju)
  • Gangneung Coffee Street (Gangneung)
  • Sinsa-Dong / Garosugil Road (Seoul)
  • Jukjeon Cafe Street (Seoul)
  • Hwaseong Haenggung Area (Suwon)
  • Kim Kwang Seok Gil Street (Daegu)

Traditional Markets & Shopping in Korea

Here are 10 of the best Korean markets and shopping areas:

  • Gwangjang Market (Seoul)
  • Myeongdong Market Area (Seoul)
  • Jagalchi Fish Market (Busan)
  • Centum City Mall (Busan)
  • IFC Mall (Seoul)
  • Starfield COEX Mall (Seoul)
  • Nambu Market (Jeonju)
  • Seomyeong Underground Shopping Center (Busan)
  • Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market (Jeju)

Natural Wonders in Korea

Here are 10 of the best natural sights in Korea:

  • Hallasan Mountain (Jeju)
  • Jirisan National Park (Jeollanam Provice)
  • Seoraksan National Park (Gyeonggi Province)
  • Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak (Jeju)
  • Damyang Juknokwon Bamboo Forest (Damyang)
  • Boseong Green Tea Plantation (Boseong)
  • Haeundae Beach (Busan)
  • Udo Island (Jeju)
  • Hwaamdonggul Cave (Gangwon Province)

Travel Itinerary For South Korea

Travel Itinerary For Korea

When planning a travel itinerary for South Korea, it’s best to think about what kind of experience you want when you travel to South Korea and build your itinerary from that. What kind of traveler are you and what do you want to take away from your Korea trip? Are you planning a trip for yourself, for your family, or as a romantic escape?

Do you want to learn about traditional Korean culture and history? Are you visiting to immerse yourself in modern Korean culture and maybe meet your idols? Are you planning to get out into Korea’s mountains to hike and join a Buddhist Temple Stay? Or are you going to eat, drink, shop, and make the most of Korea’s discounted goods? Or all of the above?

This section of this South Korea Travel Guide will offer some of the best one-week and two-week itineraries for South Korea. These itineraries are rough guides, created to help you begin planning your trip. Feel free to pick and choose the parts from them that you like to create your own travel itinerary for South Korea. We’ll be adding more great itineraries soon, be sure to check back for the latest ideas.

Classic 1 Week Itinerary For Korea: Seoul, Busan, Gyeongju

This is one of the most popular of the 1-week itineraries for South Korea and will take you to the most famous and interesting places that are top of most travelers’ South Korea bucket lists. Starting in Seoul, Korea’s capital, you’ll explore the best sights in this city before taking a day trip out to the lovely Gapyeong County to get a breath of fresh Korean countryside air.

From day 4, zip across the whole of Korea on the high-speed KTX train and explore Korea’s second city, Busan. See coastal temples, fish markets, wide beaches, and more in Busan before taking a day trip to Korea’s historic UNESCO World Heritage City, Gyeongju. On the last day, it’s time to return to Seoul to pack your bags full of the best souvenirs and snacks and say farewell in the highest part of the city.

travel blogs korea

Afternoon : Dressed in your hanbok, enjoy more traditional Seoul with a walk around the narrow streets of the Bukchon Hanok Village. Visit traditional Korean teahouses, galleries, markets, and more.

Evening : Check out the stalls and shops of artsy Insadong, contemplate Jeogyesa Temple, and take an evening stroll along the Cheonggyecheon Stream before dining in Myeongdong or the Jonggak Avenue of Youth. This  Full Day Tour  of Seoul will show you some of the hottest spots in the city, while this  Customized Private Tour of Seoul  will allow you to choose where to go.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 2

Afternoon : Head back to central Seoul and witness the bustling sights and delicious smells of Seoul’s traditional Gwangjang and Dongdaemun Markets. Try delectable Korean street foods here.

Evening : Take the Namsam Cable Car to the top of Namsan Mountain and watch the sunset from N Seoul Tower. See some of Seoul’s fortress walls before heading back down to go late-night shopping at Myeongdong Market.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 3

Afternoon : Zip line or sail over to Nami Island for impressive nature, bike rides, leafy walks, and cozy cafes. See popular scenes from K-dramas and even some wild animals, like deer and rabbits.

Evening : Pedal your way along an abandoned railway at the Gangchon Rail Bike Park before heading back to Seoul for fine dining in Gangnam’s Apgujeong Rodeo district.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 4

Afternoon : Head to the Nampo-dong near Busan Station and visit Jagalchi Market for a fresh seafood lunch. Then explore cosy Bosu-dong Book Alley or take a taxi to the Huinnyeoul Culture Village.

Evening : Take the subway up to Haeundae Beach for Busan’s best night-scenes. Grab dinner overlooking the beach, or at one of the market stalls. If you’re feeling brave, visit BUSAN X the SKY to see breathtaking views over the coast and city.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 5

Afternoon : Head to the Gyeongju Gyochon Traditional Village for a traditional meal and to see the stunning Woljeonggyo Bridge. Gyeongju National Museum is nearby, too.

Evening : See the tranquil night views of Wolji Pond where palace buildings reflect perfectly in still waters. Stop at Hwangnidan-gil area for dinner and drinks before returning to Busan.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 6

Afternoon : Explore the artistic shopping streets of Hongdae for last minute souvenirs and gifts for yourself. Take a break in one of the unique animal or artsy cafes.

Evening : Either take a night cruise along the Han River from Yeouido Hangang Park or dine in style at the Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, the world’s 6th tallest building. Both offer great night views of Seoul and unforgettable memories to take home.

Korea Travel Guide to Seasons

Korean Seasons Guide

The best time to visit South Korea is during the warm spring or fall seasons. The weather is mild and clear, there’s a range of festivals and seasonal activities to enjoy, and you can travel to Korea comfortably.

The best months to visit are April, May, September, and October. These months are all during the Korean school semester, so there won’t be as many local travelers around during the weekdays. However, expect the weekends to be busy as people leave the cities to travel within Korea.

Large public holidays, including  Chuseok (mid-autumn festival) in September / October) and Buddha’s Birthday (May), provides travelers with the opportunity to experience Korean culture and celebrations. These holidays change each year based on the lunar calendar.

Korean Weather & Climate

South Korea is a country that experiences four very distinct seasons, with temperatures ranging from 100 Fahrenheit in the summer to below 0 Fahrenheit in the winter. Each of South Korea’s seasons brings opportunities to see unique natural views and enjoy the different climates in Korea.

Spring has some of the gentlest weather, with light rain and a quick jump in temperature to the 60s and 70s by late March. Summer begins with the rainy season in late June and becomes extremely humid and hot throughout July and August before cooling again in September.

Fall has the best weather in Korea, with many warm, sunny days. Cold winter weather appears very quickly in mid-November and the first snow usually appears by late November. Winter is dry and sunny with the lowest chance of rainfall but is also very cold. Snow isn’t constant, but can fall for several weeks on and off during winter.

South Korea Travel Guide To Spring

Visiting in spring offers the chance to see beautiful cherry blossoms stretch across the country, as well as many other spring flowers that brighten up Korea after a cold winter.

Spring starts in late March with the awakening of the cherry blossoms and ends in early June with the start of the rainy season. South Korea is a country with a close connection to nature, which can be witnessed in the many spring festivals and celebrations that happen throughout the year.

Some of the best spring festivals include the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, Damyang Bamboo Forest Festival, Yeon Deung Hoe Lotus Lantern Festival, Jindo Sea Parting Festival, and Boseong Green Tea Plantation Festival.

South Korea Travel Guide To Summer

The weather in summer is perfect for getting outside and relaxing on one of Korea’s many beaches. Some of the best activities include spending a weekend camping or glamping by the beach, hiking in shaded valleys in the national parks, and water sports such as surfing, kayaking, and scuba diving.

Unfortunately, the heat may put off some travelers, and high humidity makes it uncomfortable to move around too much. Fortunately, Korea is a modern country with lots of air-conditioning and ways to deal with the hot weather, including delicious summer dishes.

Cool down with a bowl of Korean bingsu (shaved ice dessert) or a cool latte in one of the many cozy Korean cafes in popular beach destinations.

South Korea Travel Guide To Fall

Travelers to Korea in the fall are treated to spectacular fall foliage creeping far and wide. You can see it falling on palace grounds, sprawled on mountains in national parks, and along city streets.

The start of the fall foliage season in Korea coincides with the end of the hot and humid summer, with clear skies and cool weather, making it the perfect time to travel in Korea. Like spring, the fall season in Korea is one of the festivals and celebrations.

The Chuseok holidays in late September / early October are the biggest public holidays of the year, with cultural events held in popular tourist destinations. There’s also a range of cultural festivals, such as the Andong Mask Festival, Baekje Culture Festival, Jinju Namdang Yudeung Lantern Festival, Jeonju Bibimbap Festival, and the Seoul Kimchi Festival.

South Korea Travel Guide To Winter

Winter, like summer, has more extreme weather than spring and fall, with temperatures often in the 20s and 30s and below. This season, however, is also one of the best for travelers who want to see clear, blue skies and experience good weather.

Winter is the driest season and it very rarely rains. If you don’t mind the cold weather, it’s perfect for traveling around South Korea. One of the biggest draws during winter is the chance to see snowy Korean landscapes, from snow-bedecked royal palaces to frosty peaks atop Korea’s many mountains.

Winter sports are popular in Korea, with ski and snowboard resorts aplenty. Winter also offers the chance for family fun with winter attractions including sledding, winter illuminations, and Christmas parades.

Costs To Travel In Korea

Cost To Travel To Korea

The cost to travel in South Korea largely depends on your personal style of travel. You can travel on a low budget in Korea, for under $50 per day, or you could also travel for 10 times that amount if you wished to.

Food costs range from a few dollars for a bowl of  jajang  (black soybean) noodles to hundreds for premium  hanwoo (Korean beef) steak. The same applies to accommodation, with budget hostels costing $10 per night and premium 5 stars hotels costing hundreds.

Most travelers to Korea will already know what they want to prioritize their spending on. Some travel to Korea to eat, others to shop, and many more to experience the unique culture and history that Korea has to offer.

The costs in this section of our South Korea Travel Guide are based on the latest costs in Korea from this year. Examples of different costs have been covered to give you an idea of what to expect when you try to budget.

Please note, these prices are based on traveling in Seoul during non-peak times. Prices may be higher in peak times, which include cherry blossom season (Apr) and fall foliage season (Oct). Popular tourist cities, such as Gyeongju and Jeonju, may also have higher prices on weekends.

How Much Does It Cost To Travel In South Korea?

Travelers may find they want to spend more on hotels and less on eating out, or vice-versa, so don’t feel like you have to only follow the costs for one section. This is only a guideline to help you plan based on your own personal preferences.

To make it easier to figure out your expected costs to travel in Korea, this South Korea Travel Guide has broken down the costs into 3 different categories. These categories loosely fit 3 different types of travelers, as described below:

  • Accommodation:  $200+ per night, per room (double)

Korea has a wide range of luxurious hotel options, including rooms in the Lotte World Tower, historic hanok houses, and glamping for those who want to escape to the countryside.

  • Food & Drink:  $100+ per day, per person

It’s easy to spend a lot on food and drink in Korea as there are so many delectable restaurants. Fresh seafood, Korean steak, or the finest foreign foods are all available.

  • Transportation:  $20+ per day, per person

Taxis and transportation are relatively cheap in Korea. A taxi journey across Seoul can cost less than $20 for 30 minutes and even the 1st class options on Korea’s high-speed trains are under $100 for the longest journey (Seoul to Busan).

Things To See & Do In South Korea​

  • Accommodation:  $100 ~ $200 per night, per room (double)

You can book 4-star hotels in Seoul for very reasonable prices and enjoy both comfort and lower prices than you’d find at home. Korea has a wide range of comfortable mid-priced hotels.

  • Food & Drink:  $50+ per day, per person

With all-you-can-eat Korean restaurants that serve unlimited Korean BBQ and other dishes for under $20 or $30 per person, it’s easy to enjoy the best food Korea has to offer without breaking the bank.

  • Transportation:  up to $15 per day, per person

Use the subway and buses to get around the big cities and trains to travel further around Korea without breaking the bank. You can even splash out on a taxi and pay only a few dollars per person when traveling as a group for a few dollars extra.

travel blogs korea

  • Accommodation:  up to $100 per night, per room (double)

Hostels and guesthouses can be found for under $50 per night and are perfect for somewhere to rest and recharge. If that’s all you need, save money here and spend it elsewhere.

  • Food & Drink:  $20 – $30 per day, per person

If you budget well and stick to street food, free hotel breakfasts, and convenience store foods, you can eat well and still have enough to splurge on good food for dinner.

  • Transportation:  up to $10 per day, per person

Walking and buses are cheap and convenient ways to travel around Korea’s biggest cities. Traveling from city to city is also cheap, with intercity buses costing less than $10 for 1-2 hour journeys.


Further Costs To Travel In South Korea

Besides these everyday costs to travel in South Korea, there are other costs that you’ll need to cover from time to time. These costs include internet & phone access, day trips, activities, souvenirs, travel insurance, and flights. These costs will be broken down into low and high-end costs that you can expect to pay in Korea.

travel blogs korea

Museums and galleries offer unique (and authentic) Korean souvenirs such as pottery, painting, tea & soju sets, and more. If you want something a bit more special, head to the underground markets near Gwangjang Market in Seoul and get your own handmade hanbok, which you can get posted back home to save luggage space.

  • Small Souvenirs: $5+
  • Korean Cosmetics: $5+
  • Korean Artworks: $10+
  • Korean Tea (box of): $10 to $20
  • Korean Soju Set: $10 to $20
  • Korean Handcrafts: $10+
  • Tailored Hanbok: $200+

Day Trip Costs In Korea

The day trip prices quoted below are the prices you can expect to pay with a reputable tour company like  Klook  or  Trazy . Hiring a private guide will be a lot more expensive and might come to $200+ per day.

Please note:  The prices quoted below are estimates and may change depending on the season or tour services.

  • DMZ Tour – $50 to $120
  • Nami Island Area – $40 to $70
  • Everland Theme Park – $30 to $50
  • Jeonju Hanok Village – $50 to $70
  • Korean Folk Village – $50 to $60
  • Seoraksan Mountain – $70 to $150

travel blogs korea

As mentioned earlier in this South Korea Travel Guide, buying a  Discover Seoul Pass  is a great way to save money on Seoul’s premium attractions.

  • Royal Palaces – $3
  • N Seoul Tower – $10
  • Hanbok Rental – $10+
  • Seoul City Tour Bus – $10
  • Han River Cruise – $15 to $30
  • Seoul Sky Observatory – $30 to $50
  • Aquariums – $20 to $30
  • Seoul Zoo & Seoul Grand Park $10
  • Amusement Parks – $30 to $40

travel blogs korea

The cost to fly to Korea is more than twice the normal price right now. Fortunately, Korea ended the restrictions on the number of flights into the country from June 2022 and flight costs and availability should be improved in the near future.

Best of Korea recommends  Skyscanner  and  Expedia  for the best flight deals to Korea.

Discounted Flights To Korea (1)

Why Travel To South Korea?

In recent years, travelers from around the world have been increasingly drawn to South Korea. The country is a must-see destination in Asia, with more than 17 million travelers in 2019. After reading this South Korea Travel Guide, you’ll understand what draws so many people to the Land of The Morning Calm, as Korea is also known.

There are myriad reasons why people visit Korea. Many come to experience life in a unique country, packed with historical and cultural sights that you won’t find elsewhere in the world. In the afternoon you can walk through a royal palace dressed in  hanbok  (traditional Korean clothes), sip green tea in a  hanok  (traditional Korean house), and pass Buddhist monks walking peacefully through an ancient temple.

Modern South Korean culture is conquering the world, with chart-topping acts that include BTS and Black Pink, Oscar-winning movies like Parasite, and phenomenally successful TV shows like Squid Game. This brings in legions of fans flocking to shooting locations and film sets to relive their favorite K-Culture moments. Some lucky travelers even get to catch sight of their favorite K-Stars walking around Gangnam, a hotspot for Korea’s most famous citizens.

Not only is Korea a beautiful country, it’s a country that will make you beautiful, with some of the world’s best fashion and beauty shops. Korea is famous for its K-Beauty products and is a beauty and fashion shoppers paradise. From the street fashions of Hongdae, to the luxurious fashion malls of Gangnam, and the wall-to-wall malls with discount clothes in Dongdaemun, you’re guaranteed to find something you can’t resist at a great price. If you prefer a cultural shopping experience, there are traditional markets all over Korea, where you can experience street food, buy novel gifts, and see how locals live and socialize.

Man in Korean hanbok walking in a palace in Seoul

There’s so much more to South Korea than what you’ll find in the cities, however. South Korea, a country that’s 70% mountainous with coasts on three sides, offers so much to nature and adventure lovers. Hiking, South Korea’s national pastime, is a popular way to see more of the Korean countryside, looking down over rice fields, forested valleys, and pockets of urbanization. Skydiving, parasailing, scuba diving, water sports, cycling, rock climbing, white water rafting, and lots more are on offer and very reasonably priced. South Korea is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The real jewel in South Korea’s natural crown, however, has to be Jeju Island – one of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World. Explore lava caves, hike to the peak of the central dormant volcano (Hallasan Mountain), trek around the rugged coast, relax on a sandy beach in a modern cafe, and even try your hand at horse riding.

Whatever your reason to travel to South Korea, you’re sure to find more and more reasons to return again and again. Let this South Korea Travel Guide whet your appetite for your first trip, inspire you to plan a follow-up trip, and guide you to the best things to see and do in South Korea.

Korean Air plane arriving in South Korea

South Korea Travel Guide FAQs

Not sure about the South Korea travel restrictions and want to know more about visas, vaccinations, and what the rules are? This next section covers some of the most frequently asked questions about traveling to Korea now. If you have more questions that aren’t covered below, feel free to write to us on the  Best of Korea  Facebook page.

Do I need a visa to travel to South Korea?

US citizens and tourists from 111 other countries, including Canada and Mexico, don’t need a visa to travel to South Korea. The US government and South Korea have a visa-free travel arrangement and tourists can stay for up to 90 days.

What happens when I arrive in South Korea?

From September 2022 onwards it is no longer necessary to provide any vaccination status or take any PCR or RAT tests. A mandatory health check will be required, but this is only a simple form you can fill in on arrival.

What happens if I get a positive PCR result?

If you test positive for COVID-19 while in Korea, you will need to quarantine for 7 days at government facilities. Travelers who break the quarantine rules are subject to deportation or fines.

Can I travel to Korea if I'm unvaccinated?

Yes, you can still travel to South Korea if you’re unvaccinated. South Korea no longer restricts travel based on vaccination status (as of October 2022).

However, if a traveler (vaccinated or unvaccinated) tests positive for COVID-19 in Korea, they will have to self-quarantine until negative.


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Current Travel Restrictions For South Korea 2023

If you’re suspected of infection when you arrive (high temperature, feverish signs), you may be asked to take a PCR test. PCR tests are now free for travelers suspected of being COVID-19 positive within the first 3 days of arrival. This South Korea Travel Guide is regularly updated with the latest Korean travel restrictions.

Requirements To Travel To Korea

Here’s a simple 2-step guide about how to travel to Korea right now. Most restrictions have been lifted so travel to Korea is easier than ever. This applies to travelers from the US, Canada, and many other countries . As mentioned, it doesn’t matter whether you’re vaccinated or not.

Check the Korean Embassy if you’re not sure in either situation.

  • When you travel to Korea, you will be asked to complete a self-check health questionnaire to show you’re not sick. You can do this when you arrive or complete it before you depart on the  Q-Code website .
  • You don’t need to do any testing before you fly, but it is a good idea to take a self-test to make sure you’re safe. If you’re infected in Korea, it’s necessary to do 7 days self-quarantine. You don’t need to bring copies of your vaccination records but printing a copy of the K-ETA is recommended.

No, travelers from the USA don’t need a tourist visa to enter South Korea. You can visit for up to 90 days visa-free. However, you must apply for the K-ETA before traveling and upload your travel plans and hotel details.

Here are 6 of the best destinations in Korea that you absolutely must visit, as well as some of the sights you’ll want to check out while you’re there. We’ll be bringing you lots more detailed destination guides in the future, so be sure to visit again soon

South Korea Travel Guide For Seoul

This  Full Day Tour  of Seoul will show you some of the hottest spots in the city, while this  Customized Private Tour of Seoul  will allow you to choose where to go.

South Korea Travel Guide For Busan

If you’re traveling to Korea, you’re almost certainly going to want to get access to the internet to help you navigate, translate Korean, or even book tickets to attractions. Korea has one of the world’s best mobile internet and the prices are very reasonable. 5G mobile internet services are available across the country and Korea was one of the first to get the super-fast service. You won’t have problems connecting with a sim card or WiFi router when you travel

travel blogs korea

Traveling to any country involves potential scams, bad exchange rates, mistakes, and confusion when it comes to dealing with foreign currency. Fortunately, travelers to Korea have a wide range of options for travel money both before and while they travel.

Wise Travel Money Card

South Korea is a country packed with famous landmarks and sights, unique culture – modern & historical,  family-fun activities, outdoor adventures, cozy cafe districts, and natural wonders. There’s more to do in Korea than you could imagine and it’s impossible to explore it all in one trip. Try to plan your itinerary by cities and locations. For example, plan your day in Seoul and stay by the district.

Here are some of the best things to see and do in South Korea, broken down into different themes so you can find things that interest you the most. The location of each of these attractions is included, too, so you can create a city-by-city itinerary, seeing the best South Korea has to offer.

travel blogs korea

Any South Korea Travel Guide would be incomplete without thee top landmarks & famous areas in Korea. These unmissable Korean attractions offer some of the best sights in Korea, showing you Korean history, culture, design, and sense of humor.

Unique Korean Experiences

Learning about Korea’s past is not only enjoyable, it’ll also open your eyes to how modern Korean culture has evolved. Witness the majesty of grand palaces and the humble Buddhist temples and gain an insight into life in Korea with these fascination historical sights.

Modern K-Culture Sights Including K-Star Road in Gangnam

Are you a fan of Korean culture? Then check out these 10 modern K-Culture locations in Korea. Whether you’re ARMY or an arthouse cinema fan, you’ll love these sights. K-Drama fans, check out these  K-Drama Filming Spots in Seoul .

Family Friendly Korean Attraction Lotte World Adventure

If you’re traveling to Korea with your family, you don’t need to worry about the kids getting bored. There are plenty of family-fun attractions in Korea to keep them amused and to show them what Korea’s really like.

Korean Museums & Galleries

Culture lovers will find no shortage of places to learn about Korean, Asian, and world history & culture. Korea has a rich history and displays this through a range of museums. Learn about traditional life, Korean wars, the democracy struggles, and even  kimchi .

Insta-Worthy Cafe Streets In Korea

Once a land of teahouses, Korea has now fully embraced coffee culture. Korea’s late-night culture makes cafes a great place to gather and chat. The rise of social media has also led to hundreds of insta-worthy cafes with photogenic decor, unusual coffee designs, and delicious desserts.

Traditional Markets & Shopping in Korea

Many people travel to Korea just to shop, thanks to the low prices, haggling in the markets, and good quality items. From traditional markets to high-end designer goods, there’s somewhere to shop for everyone. Be sure to try authentic Korean street foods in the markets, too.

Natural Wonders in Korea

Korea is a country surrounded by sea on 3 sides and 70% mountainous, giving it a wealth of natural beauty. Besides  Korean cherry blossoms , flowers, and fall foliage, there are sculpted gardens, shimmering ponds, riverside parks, and a volcano to see.

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Morning : Explore Seoul’s historic royal palaces starting with Gyeongbokgung or Changdeokgung Palace in central Seoul. You get free entry if you’re wearing a Korean hanbok, so be sure to pick one up from the rental shops outside.

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Morning : Learn about Korea’s history at the National Museum or War Memorial in Yeongsan. These fascinating museums have interactive exhibits and feature 1000’s of years of Korean history.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 3

Morning : Take a day trip from Seoul to explore Gapyeong County. See the wonders of the Garden of Morning Calm and its idyllic nature. This is one of the most beautiful gardens in Korea.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 4

Morning : Grab an early breakfast at Seoul Station and ride the high-speed KTX train directly to Seoul. It takes less than 4 hours and rides past rice fields, mountains, and the Korean countryside.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 5

Morning : Take a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Gyeongju and roam the Gyeongju Historic Area. See Daereungwon Tomb Complex and Cheomseongdae Observatory.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary Day 6

Morning : Pack your bags and ride the KTX back to Seoul. Head to Hongdae for street food snacks or Michelin-starred delights in famous restaurants.

South Korea Travel Guide To Spring

March to May

South Korea Travel Guide To Summer

June To August

South Korea Travel Guide To Fall

September to November

South Korea Travel Guide To Winter

December to February

N Seoul Tower

Korean Souvenir Costs

The best places to buy souvenirs in Korea are in the traditional markets and tourist areas. Insadong in Seoul has a lot of art and souvenir shops, as do the market streets around Bukchon Hanok Village. Hongdae offers lots of bargain snacks and souvenirs to take home.

Day Trip Costs In Korea

Day Trip Costs From Seoul

A day trip from Seoul is a must to see a different side of Korea from what you’ll experience in the capital. Taking a day trip is a great chance to experience Korea’s countryside, nature, and hard-to-reach cultural attractions.

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Korean Activity Costs

Seoul and other Korean cities have so much to offer to tourists. From historical palaces to exciting theme parks and attractions, it’s easy to have fun, explore, and discover more about Korea’s history.

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Flight Costs To Korea

Flight costs depend on which airports you’re traveling from. A flight from Los Angeles to Incheon Airport (Korea’s main airport) costs around $1370 right now. Flight costs vary depending on the season and time of day.

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Category: Seoul Travel Blog

A seoul travel blog: the best places to visit in seoul.

On this  Seoul Travel Blog you’ll find all the best places to visit, stay and eat in the capital of South Korea. Seoul has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism, but what is now really worth it? This travel guide will help you in finding unique and must go places.

seoul travel blog

Things To Know When Coming To Seoul

• What To Wear In Seoul – South Korea and Seoul have very extreme seasons, from -20°C in winter to +40°C during summer. Make sure to pack the right clothes for the right season. • Seoul Power Adapter – Make sure to bring the right travel adapter when coming to Seoul, as there is nothing worse than being unable to charge your electric devices. • Tipping Culture – Tipping in South Korea is not a thing and might be rejected in many cases. •  Seoul Luggage Storage – Arriving early in the morning and can’t get to your hotel until later? Leave your luggage at one of the luggage storage points in Hongdae, Myeongdong or Seoul Station.

Transportation Guides

• How to go from Incheon Airport to Seoul Station – Full guide on how to go from the Airport to Seoul Station using public transportation or taxi. • How to go from Incheon Airport to Myeongdong – Another full travel guide on how to go to Myeongdong from Incheon Airport. • How to go to Bukchon Hanok Village – Want to go to Bukchon hanok village? Use our guide which tells you how to get there. • How to go to Namsan Tower – Hiking, by bus or cable car? Those are all different ways of going to Namsan Tower! Read our full guide now! • How to use the Seoul Public Transport – This massive post covers everything you need to know about using Seoul public transport. • How to go from Incheon Airport to Gimpo Airport – Need to transfer airports? This guide covers all you need to know about changing airports. • Getting from Incheon Airport to Hongdae Station – Are you staying in the bustling Hongdae and need to get there from Incheon Airport? Then go check out our full transportation guide.

Seoul Travel Blog: Myeongdong

Myeongdong is the place to be. It is the most central area of Seoul and is filled with restaurants, hotels and shops. Below is a list of all the best things to do in Myeongdong. More info on this Myeongdong blog .

• Incheon to Myeongdong – Myeongdong is easily accessible from Incheon and Gimpo airport by bus, train, subway and taxi. • Things To Do In Myeongdong – This vibrant area of Seoul is famous for its shopping and street food, but there is so much more to Myeongdong. From photoshoots, to a shooting range, massages and spas. • Myeongdong Night Market – One of the best things to do in Myeongdong is to experience the night market. At Myeongdong street food market you’ll find the best Korean street food, from tteopbokki to ppopgi, odeng and dumplings. • What To Eat In Myeongdong – Not only is Myeongdong great for the night market, but there is an abundance of amazing restaurants with foreign and Korean food.

Seoul Travel Blog: Seasonal Guide

• Seoul In Spring – Spring is an amazing season to visit Seoul, especially during the cherry blossom period. Enjoy the beautiful colours of Seoul at the many flower festival and eat seasonal snacks. • Seoul In Autumn – Another great season to visit Seoul is in autumn, no flowers this time but stunning golden autumn leaves at the many parks and in the streets. • Seoul In February – February is usually a very slow month for tourism in Korea. It is still quite cold and there aren’t many special festivals or events. This guide covers all the best indoor and outdoor things to do during February in Seoul. • Does It Snow In Seoul? – Do you want to visit Seoul when it snows? Carefully plan your trip to Korea to enjoy the little bit of snowfall the country gets.

Seoul Blog Itinerary

• 1 Day In Seoul Itinerary: Guide on the best itinerary when only one day in Seoul using the Discover Seoul Pass.  • 4 Days In Seoul Itinerary: Itinerary guide to spending 4 days in Seoul. More info here.   • 5 Days In Seoul Itinerary : Looking to stay in Seoul for about 4 or 5 days, then check out this Seoul Itinerary guide . • 7 Days In Seoul Itinerary : Full guide to the best things to do when staying in Seoul for 7 days. More info here.

Seoul Travel Blog: Other Travel Guides

Seoul has many tourist attractions all around the city, one better than the other, depending on what your personal interests are!

• Hangang River Cruise – The Han River which crosses through Seoul is an iconic river dividing the traditional and historic center with the Gangnam area. The best way to enjoy the river is by taking a cruise, preferably by night. Read more info here . • Visit Itaewon – Itaewon is considered as being the foreigner district of Seoul, with many great foreign food restaurants and small foreigner communities. It is also an area filled with bars and clubs, the perfect area for a night of fun. Read more info here. • Go to a traditional market and join a food tour  – Taking a food tour with a local food guide is the best way to experience Seoul’s food culture in one of the many traditional markets. Read more info here . • Instagrammable places – The historic center in Seoul is filled with palaces, hanok villages, temples, street food markets and much more. In a lot of these places you can take the perfect Instagram picture . • Unique things to do – Seoul has many quirky places to visit and things to do off the beaten track. More info here. • Visit Gangbuk-Gu – This is an area in the north of Seoul that has many sites related to the April Revolution. More info here . • New Year’s Eve  – Are you staying in Seoul during New Year’s Eve and want to go to a party or watch the fireworks? We have you covered.

Do not hesitate to contact me regarding questions about your stay in Seoul.

Latest seoul blog posts:.

See below the latest blog post published about travelling in Seoul.

seoul central mosque Itaewon

Off The Beaten Track / Seoul Travel Blog

April 23, 2023

 by Marie · Published April 23, 2023

Seoul Central Mosque: Korea’s First Mosque

The construction of the Seoul Central Masjid (서울 중앙성원) started in 1974 on a piece of land donated by the Korean Government. This is the first mosque built in Korea, other mosques followed in...

Have A Traditional Experience At Hanok 24 Guesthouse Gyeongbokgung

accommodation / Must Do / Seoul Travel Blog

Have A Traditional Experience At Hanok 24 Guesthouse Gyeongbokgung

The thing that makes Seoul and the rest of the country so attractive is the many preserved Hanok buildings and villages. When visiting South Korea, you need to go on a mini trip back in...

seoul lantern festival

Myeongdong Blog / Seoul Travel Blog

Seoul Lantern Festival

The Seoul Lantern Festival is an annual festival that takes place along the stunning Cheonggyecheon Stream. It usually takes place from early November for about two weeks. If you are in Seoul during that...

best international schools in seoul

Rest Of Korea / Seoul Travel Blog

April 22, 2023

 by Marie · Published April 22, 2023

Best Foreign And International Schools In Seoul & Korea

When moving to a new country for work, selecting the right international school in Seoul or the rest of Korea is a major decision. There is a wide range of international or foreign schools...

gangbuk-gu, dream forest, Hwagyesa temple and april revolution cemetery.

Seoul Travel Blog

Dream Forest, Hwagyesa Temple, Bukhansan And More In Gangbuk-Gu

The North of Seoul is often forgotten when talking about tourist destinations, but has actually quite a lot of stunning sites which could interest foreigners. The Dream Forest, Hwagyesa Temple, the Modern history memorial...

seodaemun prison history hall

Seodaemun Prison History Hall

This history of South Korea is rather sad, especially the past 100 years as Korea was occupied by Japan for 40 years and for 3 years there was the Korean war, between the communist...

Seoul Sundubu

Korea Food Blog / Seoul Food Blog / Seoul Travel Blog

April 11, 2023

 by Marie · Published April 11, 2023

Seoul Soondubu | Bukchangdong Soondubu Restaurant Review

Want to find the best Seoul Soondubu? Looking for a popular Korean restaurant chain? Like to try Korean soft tofu stew? Tofu is known all over the world as healthy, vegan friendly well being...

unique things to do in Seoul abandoned theme park yongma land

Unique Things To Do In Seoul | Cool And Interesting Activities

What are unique things to do in Seoul? Don’t want to go to the mainstream places to visit in Seoul? Looking for Seoul tourist attractions that are quirky or unusual? Where are the fun things...

Incheon airport to Seoul Station

Incheon Travel Blog / Seoul Travel Blog

Incheon Airport To Seoul Station

Most tourists visiting South Korea will arrive at Incheon Airport (ICN) and have to make their way to their hotel or accommodation in central Seoul. After a long haul flight, we want to get...

things to do in myeongdong

Things To Do In Myeongdong

Myeongdong, literally translates to ‘bright tunnel’, is one of the most famous districts in Seoul. You’ll find it listed as ‘number one’ among places to go in Seoul. That’s indeed the best area to...


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The Boutique Adventurer: Luxury Adventure Travel Blog focussed on Emerging Destinations for those over 35

Korea Travel Blog Posts

South korea.

South Korea could be considered a far eastern country with an exotic blend of ultra-modern commerce and ancient tradition. It is a country of temples, skyscrapers, beaches, and major cities.

It is also a country of fascinating political intrigue, situated right next to a neighbor that is also a geopolitical adversary. South Korea’s “Western” way of thinking, paired with its traditional Eastern context, perfectly envelopes the country’s remarkable capacity for welcoming tourists. 

The country shares its culture and heritage generously, which includes broad influences of Buddhism, Confucianism, and technology. There’s also the intrigue of the region’s cuisine and history, the strong presence of Western cultural influences (mainly from the US), and the warm and friendly people. 

This is a country that I have had the absolute pleasure of visiting, and these articles share some of what I recommend you see and do in South Korea. 

The Importance of Planning Your Visit to South Korea

The range of options may feel intimidating when visiting a foreign country. That’s why I like to create an itinerary. 

For example, 14 days in South Korea can easily be too short or too long. It all depends on what you plan (or don’t plan) to do. That’s why an efficient and well-thought-out South Korean itinerary is excellent for keeping your checklist on track. 

When to Visit South Korea

One highly recommended time to visit Korea is when cherry blossoms or Sakuras are in bloom. Cherry blossoms in Korea carry an extraordinary significance — they symbolise purity in Korean culture. The thing is that the flowers only bloom for about two weeks, around the end of March. So plan your trip accordingly. 

If you don’t make it for the blossoms, don’t worry. These flowers aren’t the only natural beauty to be found in Korea. There are, in fact, dozens of beautiful places in South Korea worth seeing. The 26 I found are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Notable Towns and Cities to Visit

Undoubtedly, much of your visit will be spent in one of South Korea’s great cities or tourist destinations. As mentioned, they offer a unique blend of the modern and ancient. This is where cutting-edge technology and architecture blend with old-world philosophy, tradition and culture. Here are a few to consider. 

As South Korea’s capital and cultural centre, planning an epic Seoul itinerary makes total sense. It’s also the first city you are likely to find yourself in, so you may as well make the most of your time here. Fortunately, it is fascinating and central to many activities tourists may want to partake in. 

Between the super-impressive skyscrapers and urban developments are similarly breathtaking Seoul boutique hotels awaiting your patronage. Many of them are also in fantastic neighborhoods that are well worth exploring. 

Tip: Another great way to get to know the country from Seoul is through one of the many Seoul day trips on offer. 

Myeongdong isn’t its own city but rather a district within Seoul. It is a shopper’s paradise. Basically, if you run out of items to buy or things to do in Myeongdong , you are probably a thousand years old and have seen everything there is to see in life. 

You can often attend one of several annual festivals that happen annually in the Myeongdong area. 

Nine out of ten people probably know the 2012 worldwide smash hit Gangnam Style by Korean artist PSY. The Gangnam in question is a very wealthy suburb in Seoul. This is considered Seoul’s economic driver and many major corporations base their headquarters here. 

Not surprisingly, there are some really fun (and sometimes pricey) things to do in Gangnam , including shopping. Think designer stores, high-end eateries, and general luxury. You could refer to this district as the Beverly Hills of East Asia. 

Side note: Gangnam is used colloquially to refer to the upper class in Korea. 

Are you heading to the coast? Busan is an excellent bet for a beautiful seaside vacation. As I mentioned before, a Busan itinerary will be helpful so you can catch all of the essential bits. 

That way, you’ll be able to plan enough time to enjoy the area’s beaches, museums, restaurants, and temples without feeling like you’re running out of time or ideas. 

This is an opportunity to be spoilt for choice regarding where to stay in Busan as well. There are several excellent hotels and neighbourhoods to pique your interest. 

Jeju Island

The island of Jeju is more than just popular with tourists. It also happens to be where many Koreans choose to go on holiday. So, it does provide a slightly “local” feel to your getaway, if that makes sense. Because of this, the island has fewer English-speaking citizens than in more tourist-friendly areas of the country. 

That doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of things to do in Jeju for English speakers, too. The island offers natural beauty born from a volcanic origin and beaches to enjoy, of course. 

To help, here’s a handy Jeju itinerary to help you get the most out of a three-day trip to the island paradise. 

Here’s an interesting observation: many of the things to do in Incheon seem to be free or close to free. At least, it seems more so than in most other tourist cities. It’s unclear why this appears to be the case or whether it’s objectively true. The city just seems to feel that way. 

I know that Incheon is less busy than Seoul despite being a city of nearly three million people. 

Side note: Incheon has an International Airport. Despite being less known than other major airports, it remains one of the busiest in the world. 

Daegu is the third-largest city in South Korea and sits in the North Gyeongsang Province. Remarkably, Daegu’s origins date back to around 60 BCE. It is often called the Textile City or Apple City. 

Among the top things to do in Daegu are visiting Medicine Street and Kim Kwang Seok Street. You can also opt for day trips like those to Jeonju for a look at the beautiful mountains and temples in the region. 

Gyeongbokgung Palace with cherry blossom in spring

15 Charming Places to see Cherry Blossoms in Korea in the Spring

Cherry blossom season is an enchanting time in Korea. The winter chill fades away and the country re-emerges in a display of beautiful colours and scents. Cherry blossom trees, known locally as beot-kkot (벗꽃), are found all over the country. They’re a symbol of spring and represent purity and beauty. Cherry blossoms in Korea only …

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea.

26 Beautiful Places in South Korea You’re Going to Love

Planning a trip to Korea? It is a fascinating country that is truly foreign. There are so many beautiful places in South Korea – from the Hanok buildings of Jeonju to the coastline of Jeju Island to the palaces of Seoul. Come explore beautiful Korea! 26 Beautiful Places in South Korea Beautiful Places to Visit …

white lanterns in seoul korea

7 Seoul Boutique Hotels in Great Neighborhoods

Seoul is the heart of South Korea. Korea’s capital expresses everything that makes the country successful and enduringly interesting. So you can definitely bump it to the top of your list of places to visit when vacationing in South Korea. Seoul’s blend of modernity with history and culture makes it so fascinating. As the capital …

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea

Busan Itinerary: What You Can’t Miss and Must See in 2 Days

Busan is a thriving, lively city on the coast. South Korea might not be known for its laid-back lifestyle and easy-going culture. But in Busan, there is definitely a happy ease to daily life. Perhaps it’s the beach, or the wonderful museums, or the popular beer houses and karaoke rooms. Likely a combination of them …

things to do at jeju island

3 Day Jeju Itinerary: What You Can’t Miss and Must Do

Jeju, South Korea’s largest and most beautiful volcanic island is nestled on the South Coast. This South Korea island boasts stunning beaches, lush countryside, an abundance of museums, coastal walking trails, and delectable cuisine. If you’re looking to plan a trip to South Korea, you should certainly add Jeju Island to your list, together with …

Seoul, South Korea 10 December 2018 : Myeong dong market is the

13 Best Things to do in Myeongdong that you’ll love

Heading to South Korea for a visit to Seoul? Just a heads up, you’ll be landing in a paradise of trendy fashion, superfine cosmetics, mouth-watering foods, and famous K-pop stars. Myeongdong translates to ‘bright town’ and is considered one of the best places to go Jung-gu, Seoul. As the name suggests, it’s a neon-lit, bustling …

South-Korea_Incheon_National Park

8 Best Things to do in Incheon You’re Going to Love

Whether you’re having a layover at Incheon International Airport or looking to explore the city with a day-trip from Seoul, there are plenty of places to visit in Incheon and loads of things to do near Incheon Airport. Many things to do in Incheon are free, making it an ideal option for short trips and …

cherry blossoms, busan city in south korea

Where to Stay in Busan: 3 Best Areas & 10 Great Hotels

Busan is an exciting, energetic city. Throughout South Korea there is an aliveness to the days and nights, and no more so than in this city on the water. Busan has rather distinctly separate areas, and they all cater to different wants and needs. When it comes to where to stay in Busan South Korea …

Colored Paper Lanterns

8 Best Things to do in Gangnam That You’ll Love

Gangnam, the trendy area in Seoul, is well-known and loved for many different reasons. From the countless exclusive designer stores to the viral “Gangnam Style” dance, stepping into the streets of the district is quite a surreal experience. If your Seoul itinerary doesn’t base you in Gangnam Korea, then it will most certainly take you …

seoul tower through trees with red leaves

Ultimate Seoul Itinerary 5 Days

Putting together a Seoul Itinerary 5 Days? If you are planning a trip to discover South Korea, you most likely have Seoul on your desired destination list – it is an important stop on any Korea itinerary. As the capital of the country, Seoul is the main point of entry into South Korea and boasts …

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gWhat’s in Seoul that everyone loves, everyone likes? It may be that the scenery of four seasons are as beautiful as the paintings. Or with so many points of interest, beautiful and interesting tourist attractions from Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace, Namsan mountain, Everland Amusement Park, Bukchon Ancient Village to Nanta show, Chef show… Or the shopping malls with quality domestic brands and good prices as well as vast promotions. Or it could be film studios, museums of KPOP’s idols, Hallayu films and Oppa handsome guys. Now, let’s check it our Seoul travel blog (Seoul blog, Seoul trip blog) — The fullest Seoul travel guide blog for a wonderful budget trip to Seoul for the first time with Living Nomads below.

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bukchon hanok village

Seoul travel blog: When is the best time to visit Seoul?

seoul in autumn

Like other regions of South Korea, the capital of Seoul has a temperate climate, with hot and humid in the summer and the rainy season lasting from June to September. In the summer, August is very hot, the weather is quite cold in the winter with temperatures range from -10 degrees Celsius to 1 degree Celsius. You can visit Seoul at any time of the year, but the best time to travel to Seoul is in the spring from early March to late May because this season is cherry blossoms season, the weather is pleasant, very beautiful and romance or from September to November, when the weather is mild.

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Seoul travel blog: How to get to city center of Seoul from Incheon Airport

South Korea Railplus Transport Card-korea2

If you fly from Vietnam, the airport you will land in is Incheon. If you continue going to Jeju Island you will have to get to Gimpo Domestic Airport. From Incheon there are many ways to get to the city center of Seoul. The most popular and cheapest are the means of transport below.

arex_express_line_train- best way to travel to central seoul1

AREX Train: The fastest and most efficient means of transport between Incheon International Airport and downtown Seoul. There are two types of AREX: The AREX Express running the whole route, no stop from the airport to the city in about 43 minutes and the Arex All Stop Train type which stop at every station, it takes about 56 minutes to an hour to reach Seoul center.

Airport Railroad Express (AREX) and All-Stop Train

KAL Limousine bus: The bus takes you further into areas of the city of Seoul, with many different destinations spread across the center of Seoul. Be assured to sit in your chair and relax, and waiting for your stop point.

KAL Limousine Bus

Airport Taxi: Recommended when traveling in groups of 3 or 7 people. The price is high but it is convenient in case you have lots of luggage and take you directly to the hotel.

Incheon International Airport, South Korea.

In addition to the above options, you can also hire Klook’s private car charter service, which is convenient and saving a alot of time, and the travel cost is not too expensive if you go with a large group. You can refer to and book these services as follow:

  • Private Incheon International Airport Transfers (ICN) for Seoul
  • Private Incheon Airport Transfers (ICN) for Seoul
  • Incheon International Airport (ICN) Limousine Bus Transfers for Seoul (Gangnam District)

Read more:  How to getting from Gimpo & Incheon airport to Seoul?

Seoul travel blog: Where to stay?

the western chosun

Depending on budget you can choose a lot of areas to stay. Here are some areas:

Budget: Dorm rooms in Hongdae and Myeongdong areas. Medium: Hotels in Bukchon Ancient Village, or hotels in Hongdae and Myeongdong areas. Luxury: Hotels in Gangnam area.

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Below are some best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

  • GLAD Mapo , 4-star hotel with room rates from $88/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • L7 Hotel Myeongdong , 4-star hotel with room rates from $124/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Lotte Hotel Seoul , 5-star hotel with room rates from $181/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Hotel Skypark Kingstown Dongdaemun , 4-star hotel with room rates from $94/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Hotel PJ Myeongdong , 4-star hotel with room rates from $71/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Nine Tree Hotel Myeong-dong , 3-star hotel with room rates from $50/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • The Grand Hotel Myeongdong , 3-star hotel with room rates from $89/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Metro Hotel , 3-star hotel with room rates from $78/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Sunbee Hotel , 3-star hotel with room rates from $92/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Ibis Ambassador Seoul Insadong , 3-star hotel with room rates from $54/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).
  • Hotel Skypark Myeongdong III , 3-star hotel with room rates from $87/night. (Check rates and reviews on or ).

Hotel Skypark Kingstown Dongdaemun

You can find more, check rates, availability & booking for Seoul hotels on or

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Seoul travel blog: Top Seoul points of interest, top travel experiences, top things to do, best places to visit, and top activities in Seoul

Top sightseeings, best places to visit in seoul.

Everland: Everland is the first theme park in Korea with 5 main themes, an exciting travel destination that helps you explore the history, culture and festivals of five continents.

Everland, South Korea. One of the best amusement parks in Asia (7)

Lotte World: It will brings you to the world class entertainment with countless outdoor and indoor activities and spectacular parades and shows.

lotte world

Hanwha Aqua Planet 63: An area of 5.630 square meters and aquariums that simulate ocean habitats from around the world.


63 Tower Observatory: Also known as Hanhwa 63 City, is a skyscraper on Yeouido Island, which has beautiful views of the Han River (Hangang river) and Seoul City.


N Seoul – Namsan Tower: With an high of 479.7 meters, the telecommunication and observation tower is located at the top of Namsan Mountain, is the highest point in the middle of Seoul.

N Seoul tower

MBC World is a Hallyu theme park that has 3 activity zones and is the only stopover for everything related to the Korean entertainment industry.

Where you can learn Korean culture of entertainment with the top stars.

Dragon Hill Spa: includes outdoor swimming pool, with various different temperature bathrooms, sauna, massage and exfoliation, sleeping area, and many other services.

Dragon Hill Spa

Gangchon Rail Bike Seoul: Cycling on the old train railways and experience a funny trip in the beautiful countryside of Gangwon-do.

Gangchon Rail Bike Seoul

Running Man Thematic Experience Center: Trying to become a Running Man and experience the game based the world-famous TV show.

Running Man Thematic Experience Center

Seoul travel guide blog: Museums, palaces, top cultural attractions in Seoul

Hanbok - Korean traditional costumes make everyone beautiful

Unique museums: Seoul has a system of museums “unlike any others” from the Love Museum, the 18+ non-children’s museum, to Poo Poo Land where you’ll see the art of “waste of people”; Teddy Bear Museum, Kimchi Museum, etc…


Grevin Living Waxwork Museum Seoul: With 88 wax sculptures of famous stars are loved around the world.

Grevin Living Waxwork Museum Seoul

Trick Eye Museum: One of the first visual deception museums in Asia and one of the leading museums in Asia.

trickeye-museum seoul

Hire and take pictures with Hanbok: Traditional Korean costumes’s Hanbook clothes are rented at affordable prices, which will be a great choice for capturing shimmering photos. Some Hanbok rental places such as: N Seoul Tower Cultural Hanbok, Oneday Bukchon Seoul, Gyeongbok-gung…


Five Palaces: Includes Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeong, Deoksu and Gyeonghui. Gyeongbok Palace is the largest palace and most visited. If you come here around 10am, you can be seen the exchange of guards ceremony with actors in the traditional costumes of the Joseon Dynasty.


Bukchon Ancient Village: Built more than 600 years ago with a unique architecture with a rustic but solid style and harmonious interior decoration.

A very romantic scene in Bukchon's ancient village

Ikseon-dong Ancient Village: Where young contemporary artists together revamp hannok roofs, turning them into cafes, restaurants and cultural complexes.


Seochon Ancient Village: With its crooked houses and alleyways creating a labyrinth of fun, along with unique antique shops and souvenirs.

Seochon Ancient Village

The live shows must definitely be seen in Seoul

Nanta show: Nanta comedy cooking show is well-known throughout the world, blending perfectly the music with the talent of transforming kitchen’s tools into the unique performance equipment.

Famous throughout the world cooking show

Fireman show is the latest and most unique show in Seoul showing the strength, hard training and proud work of firefighters.

Credit image: seoul travel blog.

Chef show: a great journey into the kitchen with non-verbal performances that people can easily understand and participate in.

Chef show seoul

The Painters: Hero Show Seoul: A unique performance combining the soul-blowing skills of painters and the humorous mix of music, dance and comedy.

The true artist blows their soul into each of their works

JUMP Show Seoul: 80 minutes amazing performances by artists with acrobatic skills, martial arts make a funny show for the whole family to enjoy together.

Enjoy the fun Asian martial arts from the unique Korean family at the JUMP Show

Pang Show: Enjoy the Pang show on E-LAND cruise, a perfect show combining with the view and experience of toast.

Familiar scene in the famous Bread King movie.

Seoul blog: Nightlife and shopping in Seoul

Korea - the paradise of shopping from clothing to the famous cosmetic brands

Hongdae: According to Seoul travel guide blog, Hongdae is the most worthy area, with bustling nightlife streets with bars, pubs, nightclubs, night restaurants and shopping at popular shopping outlets in the “college village” of Hongdae.

hongdae shopping

Dong Daemun Plaza (DDP): The complex shopping with all types of shops, cafes, … In addition, outside DDP there is the famous LED rose garden in “The star brings him to” will be light up every night.

Dong Daemun Plaza

Insadong: Insadong has alleys with beautiful houses, art and culture centers, street food, along with Ssamzigil – where you can buy souvenirs, pictures, pottery, etc.

Insadong seoul 2

Read more:  Must buy in Korea — Top 23 cheap, famous & best things to buy in Korea (South Korea).

Seoul blog: Seoul suggested itinerary for 5 days 4 nights

Flying a night flight to Incheon Airport, Korea. Arriving in Korea on the early morning, take the AREX train to the downtown Seoul. Check in your hotel, rest.

Day 1: Visit Gyeongbok-gung Palace, The Green House, Hanok Bukchon Ancient Village

Try wearing a traditional hanbok and walk through the palaces in Seoul.

Morning: Visit Gyeongbok-Gung – watching the ceremony of change guards. Getting to the Blue House for taking some photos. Lunch. Take the MRT train to Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), down to Exit 1 or Exit 2, walking about 300 meters to Bukchon Hanok Village.


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