If we lived in Seoul, we’d be Seoulmates. Seoul, South Korea is one of my most beloved countries I have ever visited. It will forever remain a special place in my heart and I was very fortunate enough to see this beautiful place with my soulmate. I have always dreamed of coming here and as a fan of Korean culture and its music, I have learned so much about the culture. Everything that I have imagined it to be was exactly what it was when I came to see this beautiful place.
If you are staying in Seoul, it’s important to know that your best method of transportation will be subways. When you fly to South Korea, you usually land at Incheon International Airport. You will then have to take a subway to the city of Seoul and that usually takes about an 1hr or more depending on how busy it is that day. There are two ways to get there, you can take the regular subway, or the express subway; they will take you to Seoul Station, which is the main hub of all the subways. From there, you will go off into the certain county that you want to stay in. We chose Hotel Shilla because we wanted a nice place and it was perfectly in the center of all things we wanted to do when we visited. Not only is the service great here, the rooms were incredible and gave us a beautiful view of Seoul. Plus we had a convenient store right down the hill from the hotel that we ate many times at. Shot out to Hot Fry for good rice cakes and sausage along with chicken wings.
You want to dress comfortable, I would recommend checking the weather because it can get really cold there! I had one puffy jacket that I constantly wore during the snow weather and it really helped to have gloves too. For the summer time, you can wear t-shirts and jeans but it all depends on how you handle each season. I packed light because I wanted to buy more stuff while I was there. My husband packed simple as well, he mainly wore his thick jacket and wore t-shirt with jeans.
Some places we would recommend to visit are Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower), city of Myeongdong, Coex Mall & Aquarium, Han River , Blind Alley Cafe, Gwangjang Market and Bukhasan National Park. We do have some honorable mentions as well that we didn’t get to visit which are Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village; these places have historical value and is highly recommended if you want to see the history of Korea. At Namsan Tower, you can either hike all the way to the tower or take a cable car. Both are enjoyable depending if you want to exercise or just take the easy way up. My husband and I use the subway as our transportation to hit all these cities, the subway pass was cheap so we spent maybe about $30 in total for 5 days we were there. We walked to most places after every subway stop and spent money on food. Overall our budget was less than $3,000 for our trip including airfare, hotel, and everything else. If you go to CoEx Mall, I would recommend to check out the aquarium and the SMTOWN atrium if you love Kpop! We ate at this delicious place called Gwanghwamun Seoul Galbi for my first time eating Korean bbq.
When it comes to traditional Korean snacks, I highly praise Gwangjang Market! They have the best rice cakes, Korean knife cut noodle soup, and kimbap! There’s many places in the market that you can try that have different snacks and food for a very affordable price. We ate so much for just about $15. We went to Blind Alley Cafe to see sweet little raccoons, they were super friendly and very cute. All proceeds from buying coffee and other drinks go to taking care of the raccoons. If you love to shop, please stop by Myeongdong, there is so much to do there that you can dedicate a full day exploring around. We went there to shop for souvenirs, good bulks of makeup products, went to animal cafes like Meerkat cafe and cat cafe along with eating tons of food! We went to Nolboo Budaejae Jjigae which is great for Army Based Stew and HongKong Banjum 0410 for really good Jajangmyeon! You can ask the tour guides that stand at the center of the shopping area where they hand out maps. They also offer lots of suggestions incase there was something you wanted to try. If you stay there long, try to stay till night time because that’s when it transforms into a night market where you can try delicious treats.
Lastly, for the view of Korea, my husband highly recommends Bukhasan National Park. He was able to climb the highest peak, called Baegundae Peak. It’s a long hike, but totally worth the view; he enjoyed it so much that he would love to do it again. The park is free to the public so use it as an opportunity to see what Korea looks like and be with nature. Always be respectful of your surroundings, know that there are many Korean people out there that are willing to help you if you ever get lost.There are also signs in English if you need to see where you are going. Sometimes there are people that don’t speak English, so it helps to have a translation device when you meet a Korean local.
If you are traveling overseas from the US, talk to your phone provider on making sure you use the international plan. It was worth it for me because I didn’t have to purchase a wifi device while I was there. I just simply used my own mobile plan and was able to search the web just fine. Download Korean maps because they usually have a lot more than Google Maps/Apple Maps. If you want to be able to speak with your family at home without using text messages and call, I highly recommend the KakaoTalk app! It’s free and everyone in Korea uses it! Safe Travels, annyeong!