Travelers Corner

First timer’s Travel Guide to Seoul, South Korea

Traveling to South Korea for the first time can be very exciting. South Korea has a lot to offer from its preserved cultural and historical places, food, shopping destinations and a whole lot more, to put it simply, this country is such a beautiful place. The people are so nice and friendly. We stayed in South Korea for 6 days, we weren’t able to explore other tourist destinations, blame it on the weather. It was the first time I witnessed snowfall and got to hold them, now I know what winter felt like, I kind of like it at first but as the weather changes from 0 to -11 degrees, oh no! I can’t bear the coldness, it bothered me every single time (I’m no Elsa!), but even with a chilly and cold weather, I sure did enjoy my stay there with friends and shared new memories together.

 

Here’s a detailed Itinerary 6 day Itinerary that may help you with your South Korea winter Trip:

January 16, 2017 – Day 1

  • We arrived at Busan International Airport around 8PM Korean time.
  • We bought our Tmoney Cards in 7/11 located inside the airport, originally we planned to rode a train from the airport going to our hotel, however we ended up riding a taxi ( kinda expensive) since it’s already late and we were not yet familiar with the subway stations.
  • After an hour of travel, we arrived at Sky Island Guest House. We will stay here for a night. (My friend Krizia booked this Guesthouse hotel in Booking.com, the price? Very affordable. 4 people can share in one room since it have 4 bed bunks )
  • Bought some food near our guest house, eat and sleep.

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January 17, 2017 – Day 2

  • Woke up around 8AM, we went straight ahead to the Guest house’ kitchen. Breakfast is for free and unlimited from 8AM to 10AM. Note: they don’t serve rice meals. They have Eggs, Bread, Coffee, Tea and sandwich spreads with different variations. Note: You have to cook your own breakfast – Self Service.
  • Around 11AM, we checked out and went straight ahead to Busan’s subway station going to KTX station – Korea’s Bullet Train. We rode KTX going to Seoul, Price: 2600PHP one way.
  • KTX Experience – Travel period from Busan to Seoul is around 3 hours (2.45 hours be exact) Nice Train.
  • We arrived in Seoul after transferring 2 subway stations from the KTX station. We will be staying in Myeong – dong Seoul. We stayed at “K – Myeongdong Guest House for 5 days, very affordable and with free unlimited breakfast from 8AM to 10AM.
  • Myeongdong is a very busy city, I call it the beauty capital city of Seoul as beauty shops are side to side, (Innisfree, Tony Moly, Etude, It’s Skin, Holika Holika, Laniege and a lot more name it! So if you are a type of person who loves skin care, cosmetics, etc. Myeongdong is the right place for you (You shop till you drop).
  • Around 7PM, we decided to climb the “Namsan Seoul Tower” since it was near our place Myeongdong, you will be climbing the tower for approximately 6km (Ready your legs, stairway to N Seoul).
  • Namsan Tower attractions: Hello Kitty Shop, Teddy Bear Shop, Photo booths and Love Locks! (I brought love locks from PHL)
  • After exploring Namsan Tower, when we are about to go down, but we can no longer endure the cold weather, Cable Car is the answer! (8000 won per person) Please do the math.
  • Few walks going to our hotel and we came across a famous chicken restaurant “Two Two Chicken” we had our dinner from there. Their Garlic Chicken is the best! Price: Average.
  • After dinner went back to our hotel and sleep. Tomorrow is another day! Lol

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January 18, 2017 – Day 3

  • You know the drill, unlimited breakfast from 8AM to 10AM.
  • We visited Nami Island and Petite France since it’s situated in one place. From Seoul Station you have to take ITX train going to Gapyeong station and from there you can ride a city tour bus around gapyeong and visit the tourist spots. (An hour travel going to Gapyeong from Seoul)
  • We visited Nami Island first, nice place! Picture perfect! You can walk around and eat too. Next we went to Petite France! Another picture perfect place with puppet show! Amazing!
  • Headed back to Seoul, ate dinner and sleep.

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January 19, 2017 – Day 4

  • On this day, we visited “Gyeongbokgung Palace”, we almost spent the whole day in this place as this is huge palace.
  • Entrance Fee: (6000 won) per person. Please do the math.  This is good for the entire day.
  • Before exploring the entire palace, we tried on their Traditional Korean Dress: “Hanbok”, just around the palace you can see shops where you can rent one.
  • Hanbok: 20,000 won per dress and additional 5000 won if you want to have you hair done. (This is good for 2 hours)
  • We explored the palace wearing Hanbok dress and it was freezing cold. Note: If you want to wear or rent Hanbok dress please make sure you have layers of turtle neck shirt or if can, carry your winter jackets just make sure not cause any damage on the dress as you will have to pay for it.
  • After 2 hours of walking and taking pictures, we went back to the dress shop and returned the dresses.
  • We went to Insadong where you can buy some Korean Souvenirs.

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January 20, 2017 – Day 5

  • This was our last day of stay in Seoul, we have decided to spend the rest of day in buying some stuff for “Pasalubong”.
  • Luckily we were able to witnessed “Snowfall” it was -11 degrees! (No shit, its freezing cold!)
  • We went to Myeong – Dong Catholic Church, the church’s architectural design is just wonderful while it’s covered with snow I feel like I’m in a castle.
  • After visiting the church, we went to the biggest Lotte Market in Seoul. It was just 2 stations away from Myeong – Dong.
  • There’s a lot that you can buy in this store. But we spent a lot of time in their supermarket, we have noticed that almost everything has free taste.
  • After buying some stuff from “Lotte Market” we went back to Myeong – Dong. We rested for while in our Hotel.
  • Around 7PM we went to “Cat Café” where you can feed the Cats. OMG! They are adorable. Entrance: 9000 won with free Drink: Tea or Coffee.
  • We had our dinner in one of the restaurant in Myeong – Dong, (I forgot the name) but their white pasta with chicken is superb!

January 21, 2017 – Day 6

  • We checked out from our Hotel at 11AM, went straight to KTX train station as we need to go back to Busan Airport.
  • Our schedule for KTX train was at 1PM, we arrived in Busan train station around 4PM.
  • From Busan Train Station, we transferred to a different train line going directly to Busan International Airport.
  • We arrived early in the Airport, we just waited for our Boarding time going to Manila PH.
  • Goodbye Korea!!! We had a great time!

 

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Daily Budget:

  • 17,000 won for the food. Note: we mostly bought and ate from street food, prices ranges from 2000 to 5000 won.
  • As per the entrance fees for all the tourist locations we have visited. See daily itinerary for the details.

 

Things to do in South Korea

  • Tour Seoul in Handbok. Wearing the Traditional Korean dress is fun!
  • Explore Myeong – Dong for some street food hunting (Fish Cake is a must Try).
  • Climb Namsan Tower (Afternoon would be the best time)
  • Nami Island Tour
  • Explore and shop in Namdaemun Market
  • Play with the snow! (Only if it’s winter)

 

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Useful Travel Tips and Information:

  • If you can’t stand a super cold weather don’t book your travel on January (Winter)
  • Prepare your winter clothing from head to toe if you’re planning to visit during winter season.
  • Try their famous fishcake super delicious.
  • Prepare your legs for long walks.
  • Get your Tmoney card (Subway train access) and reload it as necessary.
  • Very Important: Tourist Map, you can get this from any of the “Tourist Information Booth”
  • Time is Gold: they value time so much, so adhere on their time schedules. (Always be on time)
  • Visa Application Tip: make sure that you are meeting the ADB of your bank account/s for the last 6 months.
  • Apply a Korean tourist Visa is easy, You may check all the requirements here

 

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Where to Stay in Seoul?

South Korea is a very nice country! I will definitely go back to this place, probably not on a winter weather, maybe fall or spring to explore other tourist destinations. Perhaps some adventures like we did in Caramoan. Nevertheless we had great time! Kamsahamnida Korea!

 

About the Author:  

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Rhaine Muldong is a Filipina traveler. 24 is her lucky number. She has passion for the following, in no particular order: Coffee, Fashion, Movies, Food, Music, and travel (obviously!) Follow her on Instagram for more stories and travel photos!

 

 

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