The Perfect Travel Guide For Seoul
They said when you decide to travel you’re already halfway there. If you are planning a trip to Seoul, this travel guide is perfect for you. We’ve already been to South Korea twice, consecutive autumns of 2016 and 2017. Beautiful, beautiful country. Yes, we will definitely return if there’s another chance.
The preparation of our first travel time took a lot more time and effort than the second. The research robbed me couple of months worth of my lunchbreaks. I’ve read blogs after blogs for recommendations of places to go and affordable-but-livable-and-accessible places to stay.
I’m quite proud to share our itineraries, the outcome of my stress and hunger. Lol. My main boo while preparing our itinerary was the Official Korea Tourism Organization. It has all the information you will need for planning your trip, a comprehensive list of all the tourist sites, admission fees, operating hours and most importantly directions via public transportation.
Our 2016 itinerary is itemized on a daily basis. We’ve grouped the places that are nearby one another and it’s mainly dedicated to Seoul. (disclaimer: this is a 12 day itinerary that was stretched to 15 days)
The 2017 itinerary is somehow a recycled version of 2016 but Seoul isn’t the sole focus. We went on hunt for k-drama filming locations, we also went to Busan and other nearby provinces.
You have to consider few things when looking for a place to stay in Seoul, is it accessible? Does the staff speaks english? Is it near Seoul Subway main lines? Are there many Oppas around? LOL. Here are the areas I can recommend;
- Hongdae – accessible via three major subway lines: Hongik University Subway Station – Line 2, AREX – Airport Railroad and Gyeongui/Jungang Line. You want a youthful vibe rowdy-at-night-artsy-in-the-morning area? Go for exit 8-9, you want a discreet-neighborhood-with-scattered-coffee-shops area? Go for exit 3-4.
- Ehwa – accessible via Ewha Womans University Station (Subway Line 2) exits 2-3. Not-so-silent-but-not-too-rowdy with reasonable amount of good cafés and affordable buys.
- Myeongdong – Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 4) choice area of most tourist since its one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul.
- Insadong – accessible via Anguk Station (Subway Line 3) exit 6 and Jongno 3(sam)-ga (Subway Lines 1, 3 and 5) exit 5. This for me is the culture epicenter of Seoul. Here you can shop for presents and it’s walking distance to major palaces.
You might want to consider these accommodations.
During our 2016 visit, we’ve stayed 15 days in YA Korea Hostel (which is more of a guesthouse than a hostel) in the discreet neighborhood of Hongdae. The beds are huuuggeee, it has it’s own kitchen, private bath, english speaking staff, and no this is not a paid advertisement. It is 45 mins away from the airport and 5 mins walk from Exit 4 of Hongik University Station. This place is a winner.(rates approx: KRW 65,000/night for Twin Room – double occupancy, approx: KRW 450,000/person for 14 nights stay)
On our recent visit, autumn 2017, we’ve stayed in Insadong. I’ve stumbled upon this affordable hotel named Hotel Icon in booking.com. Since we plan to travel around and not to stay much in Seoul, we went after a simple accommodation. But we’ve hit jackpot in this hotel, it has a cute rooftop hang-out place that overlooks Mt. Bukhansan, it is walking distance to lots of tourist spots, the room is cleaned and the towels changed – everyday, did I mention the owner is very kind? (rates approx: KRW 47,000/night for Twin Room – double occupancy, approx: KRW 330,000/person for 14 nights stay)
It is quite easy to get around South Korea.
Seoul Subway, probably the most favored means of public transpo by tourists, is very efficient and very convenient. We never had a hard time going from point A to point B.
Just purchase T-money card from a convenience store, it’s the South Korean version of Dubai’s NOL card. This card together with a mobile app called Seoul Mapway are our best-friends the entire trip. The card costs KRW 2,500, store an appropriate amount of cash (we’ve stored KRW 50,000 good for 15 days). Using the subway is pretty cheap, the Basic Fare for 10 km is only KRW 1,250 (around AED 4). Affordable isn’t it?
You may download the Seoul Metro Map here.
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**Disclaimer: Original post appears on our other blog.