I’ve finally ended my series on my Seoul trip from October 2013. It has taken me a very long time to resize the photos and put together a sort-of decent blog post. If there’s one thing I am very proud of, it’s my itinerary. For the first time, I made an hourly schedule of the day, did a loooot of research on places and open hours, and learned a lot about Korea in the process.
It wasn’t an easy process which is why I’d like to share my itinerary of Seoul. If you’re pressed for time, better avail of the K-Shuttle which is Korea’s version of a Hop On Hop Off bus tour. Or, you can just select the places you definitely want to see and work around it. Check out my post on Useful Apps To Guide Your Seoul Trip if you want to save money on tour guides or if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you are commuting to your hotel/guesthouse it is wise to take note of the nearest train or bus station. The airport has an express train and bus system to Seoul so you need not spend precious money for taxi fare. The limousine bus is on the first floor which is accessible via exit #s according to your bus #.
It will be helpful to purchase your T-Money at the airport. Top up with at least W30,000. It is used mainly on public transportations but can also be used in convenience stores and shopping. There is no service fee when you use T-Money and you can get a refund if you return the card.
I will include the dates of the week since some places were closed on a specific day, contributing much to the way our itinerary turned out. As much as possible, I start the itinerary with the farthest place and go to nearby places to save on travel expenses (walking most of the time) and end with the place nearest home or a subway station/bus station. This way, if you get lost, you know that you are at least nearer to your home. Do note that this was our planned itinerary and there were some adjustments because we were so exhausted and the weather just lulled us to keep sleeping until noon. Also because we got lost so many times. The exits were confusing so bear in mind to take exit routes seriously!
Day 1: Tuesday
- 11:00 am – brunch at aA Design Museum
- 02:00 pm – Trick Eye Museum (W15,000 entrance fee)
- 04:00 pm – The Bean Coffee Art Lesson @ Daehyeon-dong
- 07:00 pm – Cheonggyecheon Stream
Our Tuesday afternoon changed because we met up with a friend who is working at Chung Ang University. We did squeeze in the activities on other days~
Day 2: Wednesday
- 10:00 am – Gyeongbukgung (W3,000) -changing of the guards
- 11:00 am – National Folk Museum
- 12:30 pm – Bukchon Hanok Village
- 02:30 pm – Changdeokgung (W3,000)
- 03:30 pm – Deoksugung (W1,000) -changing of the guards
- 04:30 pm – Namdaemun
- 07:30 pm – Myeongdong
Day 3: Thursday
- 09:00 am – Gyeonghui Palace
- 10:00 am – Gwanghwamun Square
- 11:00 am – Changgyeonggung (W1,000)
- 12:00 nn – Insadong
- 02:30 pm – Jongmyo Shrine
- 04:30 pm – Teddy Bear Museum, N Seoul Tower Observatory (W14,000)
- 07:00 pm – Itaewon
Day 4 & 5: Friday and Saturday
- Free time and going back places we missed on the itinerary because we spent too much time in one place and got lost in another. Also, we met and dined with our friends. With these 2 free days, you’d think we had more than enough time in Seoul. But we wanted more. Our pockets just didn’t cooperate~ fuuuu
Other Suggested Places and Activities:
- Bukhansan Trail
- watch Mnet Countdown / Music Bank / Music Core
- Han River Cruise
- Seoul Forest
- biking along Han River
- watch Drum Cats / Cooking Nanta / Action Drawing Hero
- Lotte World
- Everland Resort
- COEX Aquarium
- Cheongwadae (Blue House)
- Bongeunsa Temple
- Heunginjimun (Dongdaemun Gate)
- Hongdae Free Market
- the many, many, many Art Museums!
Did I miss anything? Comment below on your must-see places in Seoul!
A lot of the tourist destinations are around each other, which makes any itinerary VERY flexible. For example, Cheonggyecheon Stream is a long stretch which is accessible from one end of Myeongdong. It is also near Gyeongbukgung. And in front of Gyeongbukgung is Gwanghwamun Square. Aha! I feel very much like a Seoulite now! Should I have known that beforehand, I would have made more time for other places outside Seoul.
Itineraries only serve as a checklist for the places you want to go and to help you make the most of your time. But most importantly, you have to learn how to be flexible and just go where your eyes and feet will take you. You’ll be surprised to discover quaint places that aren’t in your list.
Walking Around Tip: When you reach a certain district (gu) or area like Hongik or Bukchon, head immediately to the Tourist Center and request for a local map. This is a VERY detailed map of any establishment or tourist attraction in the area. This is not available at the airport. It will help you get to the places you want to go faster. Confident of your Google Maps? Don’t be.
Budget Saving Tip: Print out discount coupons from Visit Korea website! Even more? As soon as you land in the airport, head to the Tourism Center and get copies of the free brochures and maps. There are coupons attached at the back ;) Don’t worry, Korea won’t go poor if you use those coupons, hohoho!
I urge you to try without a tour guide. Getting lost is fun~ And when you reach a new train station and exit to your destination successfully, there is no other joy in the world than the knowledge that you made it. How independent! Exciting isn’t it?