This is my first Solo Travel outside the country and the journey was unbelievably amazing! Setting foot into a foreign land and meeting with strangers both adds to the flavor of excitement. I met a lot of people of different races along the road and spent the rest of the day with them.
I personally suggests that you checked in to guesthouses if you’re also planning to travel alone. In my case, I checked in to Namsan Guesthouse in MyeongDong, Potluck Stay in Bukchon Village and Social House in Itaewon. It’s easier to find someone who’s also looking for somebody to hang-out with them. Look around popular places of the city while building a new friendship is exactly what I did.
Korea for me is a bit expensive. Your 1,000 KRW or 47 Pesos is only good to satisfy your thirst, but a proper planning is all you need to raise your money’s worth. Try Korean Street Foods instead of Restaurants; Don’t eat alone! Eat with someone to also try what he/she has ordered; Before leaving your guesthouse, make sure to refill and always carry a bottle of water with you; Coupons are powerful; Avoid riding a taxi! Walk instead for short distances.
Seoul, South Korea is generally safe!
Here I listed down 10 of so many places to visit in Korea, if you have anything to add, just comment it below.
1. Panmunjom or the Joint Security Area (JSA)
North and South Korea share decades of border conflict, the North being the most secluded country on earth is a mystery for many. Though it’s still possible to enter North Korea, its government puts so much restrictions to the point that you cannot wander and take pictures without the permission of their accredited tour guides. On the other side, South Korea is one of the most advance and safest country on earth attracting more and more tourists every year.
By joining an arranged tour, you can visit the border that separates North and the South. You can even hop from North to South and South to North whenever you want to.
How? Book thru City-Discovery.com. Be sure to book in advance because of the limited slots; Price? Around 86,000 KRW
2. Gyeongbokgung Palace translated as “greatly blessed”
This is the largest royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty’s 500-year history and an attraction every tourists must visit. The changing of guard ceremony takes place twice a day every 10am and 2pm except Tuesday. You can also try the different flavors of tea inside Saengmulbang (refreshment room), but of course, for a fee.
How? Gyeongbokgung Palace Station Exit 5; Price? 3,000 KRW
3. National Folk Museum of Korea
Make time to witness at least a touch of Korean history. This is a great opportunity and one of the best places to experience the rich culture of this foreign land. During my visit, I had the chance to see a live cultural dance performance for FREE.
How? There’s a point that connects Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Museum.
4. Statues of King Sejong the Great and of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin in Gwanghwamun Plaza
Gwanghwamun Plaza is a popular location in Seoul for rallies and demonstrations. I witnessed an ongoing rally when I visited this place and it was orderly executed. Demonstrators leave the site peacefully as if nothing happened. You may also want to see the statues of these two well known influential figures in Korean history – King Sejong the Great (4th King of Joseon Dynasty) and Admiral Yi Sun-Shin.
How? Just across the Gyeongbokgung Palace.
5. Bukchon Hanok (Traditional Korean House) Village
I am very lucky to have a personal encounter in Hanok for FREE! Yes, I got it for FREE. That’s the power of research and reading a lot about the place you’re visiting. I asked one of the staffs of Potluck Stay thru LINE and he said that this is just for a limited period of time since they wanted to get in touch first with the rest of the world before they start accepting guests for a fee. Though I didn’t personally meet any of the staffs and Mr. Kim (owner of Potluck Stay), I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
During my stay, I had dinner with other guests and we talked about anything under the sun. Such an amazing and memorable experience!
To know more about Potluck Stay, just visit >>>
How? Drop off to Anguk Station Exit 3.
6. Seoul National University (SNU)
SNU is the Top ranked University in South Korea and that is why I included this in my itinerary. In my surprise, I never expected that things will go perfectly exciting. Tourists are allowed to enter the campus and even College buildings but NOT inside the Libraries. And then I met Meehyun who’s currently taking her Masters in the said University, I asked directions and some random questions until she finally offer to tour me around the campus. She asked the officer in charge if I could enter the Library and thankfully we got the approval! It so happened that the officer in charge had been to El Nido, Philippines before. Before we part ways, she gave me a souvenir, an SNU Tumbler.
How? SNU Station Exit 3 and take the Bus # 5511
7. MyeongDong Shopping District
Unlike other popular street shopping districts, MyeongDong in Seoul maintains the elegance and security of the area offering a wide variety of products. This is the best place to experience the authentic Korean foods for a cheaper price and the best place to buy Korean beauty products.
How? Drop off to MyeongDong Station Exit 4.
8. N Seoul Tower
You need to ride a cable car that connects to N Seoul Tower, this became popular after being featured from the SBS drama “My Love from the Star”. This also has best-known spots such as the “roof terrace” where padlocks are all over the fences; and the “digital observation deck” where you can see the panoramic view of Seoul from above. Check out your T-money card purchased in the airport, it has a 10% discount coupon inside where you can use when purchasing a ticket in the “observation deck”.
How? Just a 10-15 minute walk from MyeongDong Station Exit 4; Cable Car is 8,500 KRW for a two way trip; Entrance to “Observation Deck” is 10,000 KRW.
9-10. Nami Island and Petite France
Nami Island was named after General Nami, a notable Korean figure in the history who fought courageously but died early at the age of 26. The island is a half-moon shaped or a leaf-shaped floating from Cheongpyeong Lake. Popular from its tall standing trees positioned next to each other, this island is also a safe home for animals to co-exist with humans.
How? To Nami Island >>> From Yongsan Station, ride the ITX train going to Gapyeong Station for 4,900 KRW then ride a bus with number 33-5 for 1,250 KRW. Entrance Fee is 8,000 KRW.
Petite France is a French inspired theme park serves both as cultural village and a training facility. You’re allowed to enter every houses you can see. It offers street performances, souvenirs and a place to eat. This place became popular after the hit drama “My Love From The Star”.
How? To get to Petite France from Nami Island >>> ride a tour bus for 6,000 KRW, this is already a two way ticket from Nami to Petite France to Gapyeong Station. Entrance Fee is also 8,000 KRW for adult.
Hey! I hope that this inspires you to go visit Korea next and be able to capture an insight on what to expect! For additional information and comments, don’t hesitate to send me a message. Cheers!
- Download the “Subway Korea” App (you will use this for sure)
- Bring an adapter (outlets in Korea has two round holes)
- Use cash instead of credit card to avoid bank charges ranging from 2 to 3.5%
- Buy T-money card right after you set foot in the Airport
- Talk to millennials if you have questions, most of them speaks English
Pocket Money (in Korean Won): 1PHP = 0.047KRW
- 4,000 – T-money card
- 28,000 – T-money card load
- 9,800 – ITX Train
- 65,200 – Food
- 134,350 – Souvenirs
- 43,000 – Entrance Tickets
Breakdown of Expenses (in Philippine Peso)
- P 1,741.87 – Round trip Airfare via Cebu Pacific
- FREE 15 kg. Baggage Allowance Round trip
- P 2,158.82 – Hotel Accommodations
- P 1,620.00 – Travel Tax
- P 4,217.95 – Panmunjom Tour
- P 13,364.45 – Pocket Money
TOTAL Php 23,103.09 for 5D/4N.
Callistus B. San Diego