Solo Travel Destination: Seoul, South Korea
We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Criszette, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Criszette is from the Philippines and submitted the following report about Seoul. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Korean, English
Reasons to go: Seoul has been on the top of my list ever since I was a kid, so when I was given an opportunity to visit, I literally grabbed it. It was just 4-5 hours away by plane from my home in Manila, and mostly on red-eye flights, so I have every reason to go to Seoul.
I went during the summer even though I had read in several blogs that it is not the recommended season to visit because of the very hot weather. As I’m stubborn, I went anyway and spent 2 weeks in Hongdae (the nightlife neighborhood of Seoul). I can recommend the Birdsnest Hostel, which is about a 10 minute walk away from Exit 3 of the Subway and AREX (Airport Line). The owner, Mr. Lee, is very, very friendly and you will love his dog.
- I brought 3 phones on this trip, and only my iPhone would work in Korea. A better bet is to rent one at the airport – there are booths just outside of the arrival hall where you can rent a phone for your trip.
- Buy a T-Money Card – it will save you so much money. It can be used as a transportation card on subways, buses or even taxis, as well as in convenience stores like G25, 7-11 and Family Mart, and will get you discounts in other stores. You can find it in any subway station or at airports. The cards are sold from big blue machines for ₩3,000 and ₩5,000 – that’s around $3.00 and $5.00. Insert the card in the machine to load it with money credits, and you’re good to go! You can reload it if it runs out, or get a refund at any convenience store.
My list of must-dos in Seoul
Myeondong (of course!), Dongdaemun Market, Namdaemun Market, Itaewon and Insadong. Malls: Time Square Mall in Yeongdeungpo, Galleria Department Store in Apgujeong (Gangnam), COEX in Samseong (Gangnam), Lotte Duty Free in Myeondong.
- The 5 Grand Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty & Jongmyo Shrine. I suggest you buy the Integrated Palace ticket for ₩10,000. It will save you around ₩4,000 or more and you won’t need to queue up anymore. This can be bought at any of the palaces.
- Namsan Tower and Teddy Bear Museum
- Cheonggyecheon Stream
- Cheong Wa Dae or The Blue House, home of the South Korean President.
- National Museum of Korea
- War Memorial Museum of Korea
- Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain
- Bukchon Hanok Village
- Seoul World Cup Stadium
I don’t have any personal favorites because every place that I tried was so delicious! Of course, you should not miss eating Korean food, especially Kimchi and Samgyeopsal (grilled beef).
- For animal lovers the must-tries are the Cat Cafes in Myeondong and Hongdae and the Dog Cafes, especially the Bau House in Hapjeong.
- Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae
- Night life in Hongdae
- Meeting Korean people
- Seoul City Tour Bus which runs all over the city, day and night.
- If you are into independent art, don’t miss Sangsangmadang Gallery in Hongdae.
I loved everything about Seoul!
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety - 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)