Four days may just be enough to glance off an amazing city. But in order to maximize your short trip, it should be well planned. Though it may be too impossible to see everything with little time, sorting it out by only visiting the “must-see” makes you get the most of your trip. Prep yourself by reading travel guides online specially if it is your first time. Don’t fret! Travel less like a tourist and more like a local even on your first visit. Why not!
Annyeong!Touchdown Incheon International Airport. Seoul nice to see you. lol!
After getting off the plane, I had to take about 2 -3 walkalators then descend four escalators, take a train to another building, then go up several more escalators just to get to the immigration area. Phew! I’m not exaggerating but that’s how big Incheon International Airport is, I should have known. lol! There are several different ways to travel from Incheon International Airport to downtown Seoul. The most popular ways include taking the Airport Railroad Express (AREX), Seoul Metropolitan Subway, Airport limousine buses, and taxis. Among these, the Airport Railroad has the benefit of avoiding traffic on the roads and it runs directly from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station, with no stops along the way. Taxi would be the most expensive transport while Airport limousine bus is the most convenient, hassle-free! And for that long hour flight to Seoul, spacious seats of the airport limousines are well sought after.
And here’s me waiting for the Airport Limo. lol!
We arrived past 9 in the morning at Incheon Intern’l Airport. It took us nearly 2 hours to settle everything at the Airport. From Immigration, taking our luggage out from the baggage carousel, buy T-money card for our Seoul transpo. Then finally! Aboard about 10.55 in our Limo Coach and reached 12nn at Gangdamgo Bus Stop where we were fetched by our Cool Host, Jin Ho by Comestay Airbnb. Click link to read my Superb Airbnb experience in Seoul.
Late lunch around 1 and here’s our 1st authentic Korean meal! Tadaah!
Here’s my itinerary:
Even if you have a list of places to visit, you need to be flexible. Don’t be too stiff on your itinerary. So in our case, since we had some delays on our arrival, we chose to visit the place nearest our accommodation and just took the cab from there and because honestly we’re too hungry to take the train too. haha! Don’t worry, taxis are way way cheaper in Seoul than Singapore.
1st stop: Changdeokgung Palace, it’s just a walking distance from where we ate so it was indeed a good exercise after pigging! Changdeokgung Palace is recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by the UNESCO. It’s definitely worth a visit. Wrote more about the Palace on a separate post. Click the link.
Everywhere is Instagrammable! So don’t miss to take bunch of snaps along the way. Even street-sides are just too pretty not to strike some pose. Yay or Nay? 🙂
Next stop: Bukchon Hanok Village.
A good 20-30 mins walk from Changdeokgung Palace to the village, including some delays because you know, pictorial is life. lol!
Road junction heading towards the Hanok Village.
If you like to have a look at how a hanok house looks like, Bukchon Hanok Village is the place to go. Home to hundreds of traditional houses, called hanok, that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. It’s an Interesting place to visit and definitely will give you a different view of Seoul. Seeing those homes – and people who still live in them today is amazing. Very quaint and worth the walk down the neighborhood. Click to read more about my awesome experience at Bukchon Hanok Village.It was more memorable and extra fun as I get to wear Hanbok while roaming around the Village. Yaaay! I thought I was filming K-dramas. HAHA! Yes, if you watch Korean dramas often, you’ll recognize that they use those houses and streets a lot as the setting for their dramas.Left the area past 6pm and headed to the Magical Place of Seoul, N Seoul Tower. Some scene of my recently favorite Korean drama Legend of the Blue Sea was filmed there. Click the Link to read more about the Romantic highest point in Seoul.On foot or by cable car you can get to the Namsan Tower. But on our visit, it was too cold (I guess no one would even dare to walk all the way up) And of course the view will be even more awesome if you take the Cable Car. Tip: make sure you stand on the sides to see the view while heading up the tower.
We spent roughly 2 hours there. Aside from the wonderful view at the tower, they have restos/cafes and shops too. And of-course! For couples, this would be the sweetest part of your Seoul trip. Don’t forget to lock your love at the “padlock of love” railings and dream that your love will last forever. Ayee!
Nearly 8pm and you probably know what’s next, Seoul’s Street Food/Night Market. Yaay! Time for food, finally! hahaVisited 2 Places After Namsan Tower. Myeongdong shopping district, where aside from shopping, you can indulge yourself to their very own delish street-foods.I would advise to go straight to Myeongdong from Namsam Tower as it is near from there specially when you take a cab. Your Seoul trip will not be complete if you miss to visit Myeongdong district as it is widely known by locals and even more for tourists. On my separate post, read more about my Myeongdong night stroll. Seoul’s beauty haven has got to be Myeongdong. You definitely will gravitate the place every night for make up hoarding. So, go get yourself an extra suitcase if you have such vanity for Korean cosmetics.
Around 11pm, Last stop: Dongdaemun Design Plaza.Such a unique Architecture. A great place to walk around specially at night because of the many good LED deco in the plaza. The led lighted flowers are too beautiful to behold. And on our visit, though it was not winter but the weather was dropping to -3.. Phew! It was a challenging walk anyway. Here’s a link more about DDP.At the street side in front of DDP has Night Market which will come alive at 10pm. Though some will set up early, it would be best to come late if you intend to shop there, and it’s open until 5 am! Some shops are even 24 hours open. haha! You definitely will have all your time. For us, we ended around past 1 am. Day 1 might seem to look jam-packed but for a night person like me, I still can stay there until 3am. Can you? lol!
Day 2 Itinerary:
Rise and Shine. Welcome Day 2!
For the entire Seoul trip, a combination of Free & Easy and an Arranged Tour was the best way to get the most of our trip. Every single day was indeed maximized. And yes, it was worth doing! So, for the 2nd day of our Seoul escapade, the best decision was getting an arranged tour to visit Nami Island, Gangchon Rail Park and Petite France. No hassle. Just convenience. First stop of the arranged tour, Nami Island. Indeed I left my heart there. More about Namiseom in my previous post. Click the link. We left there around 1pm to catch our 2pm slot for the Rail Biking at Gangchon Rail Park. A pleasurable experience awaits you at the old railroad tracks. Such a unique and fun way of enjoying Korea’s scenic views. More about the amusing vibe while cycling around one of the oldest rail road tracks on this link, Gangchon Rail Park.Save the best for last, Welcome to Petite France. Korea’s little Europe town. Nestled in the mountains overlooking Cheongpyeong Lake is a French cultural village. Link to read more about The Petite France.Reached Seoul proper nearly 8pm. Expect some traffic jam when you’re nearing Seoul but at least you get to rest and sleep inside the private van rather than commuting which is more exhausting, definitely will consume much of your time and you only end up with visiting Nami Island or maybe Petite France too if you’re lucky. The drop off point back in Seoul was at DDP. We had dinner at some random cafes there and since street=foods are everywhere, non-stop food trippin’ indeed!
Day 3 Itinerary:
Hongdae:Started our day with a food hunt. We randomly chose a restaurant for our brunch around 10am at Hongdae area. Most favorite district of Seoul has got to be Hongdae, only because of the gazillion cafes there. It is young, vibrant and filled with interesting shops and turns into a festive outdoor area at night. But sadly, we went on a day time so we really haven’t experienced its night scene. However, true enough that the highest concentration of clothing stalls and vintage shops are found along its main passageway. There’s got to be non-stop shopping when you visit Seoul.
Our sumptuous authentic Korean meal, which I realized was good for 4-5 and we’re only 2. lol!
After the Heavy Meal and a good walk around Hongdae, we took a cab to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace since it’s pretty near from Hongdae.
Gyeongbokgung PalaceOne of the most iconic sights in all of Korea. Gyeongbokgung, which means “palace greatly blessed by Heaven,” was built in the heart of Seoul surrounded by Mount Bugaksan and Mount Namsan. When in Korea, one of the “must do” things is to visit a palace. However, there are 5 palaces within the city which offer a taste of Korean history. And Gyeongbokgung Palace is definitely one not to miss. It is arguably the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all five palaces. Click to read more of it here –> Five Must-see on your first Seoul trip.
After exploring the huge grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace, take a leisurely stroll to the magnificent square, Gwanghwamun Square, just a few distance away facing the gate of the palace.A public area located in the heart of central Seoul that features museums, statues, restaurants, and beautiful surrounding views. The view of the Mountain behind the Gyeongbokgung Palace from the square is certainly magnificent.The golden statue of King Sejong the Great is the focal point of Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul.
There’s too much to see, let me rest first. haha!
We’re a bit late for autumn but visiting the famous Women’s University in Korea made me feel that we’re ain’t late yet. You see! Ewha Woman’s University and its Fashion Street. Has got to be one of my fave! Just outside the University is the Fashion street. My GAAAd! I literally drool which shop to see first. lol! Everywhere is damn cheap! I did regret for not coming here on our first day, I could have saved a lot of won. haha! Prices are really cheap. If you want to shop a lot, head straight to Ewha Woman’s University Fashion Street. Click the link to read more.Sadly, needed to leave the area around 7 pm for a gathering hosted by Jin, our Airbnb host. He arranged a simple dinner for all his guests to meet and know each other. How does it sound? Isn’t it Cool? Link to read about Why our Seoul trip was even more memorable.
4th DAY ITINERARY:
Our dinner ended up with Soju and Wines and slept nearly 3 am. Wheow! It was indeed a fun night but a torture for the day ahead? haha! Of-course, you have the choice not to wake up too early the next day if you happen to party the night before but because, Skiing is definitely more fun than sleeping. Needed to wake up a bit early to avail for the free coach departing at 7.30 am for VIVALDI PARK SKI WORLD, but luckily the BUS STOP where they pick-up tourists is just 5 mins taxi away from our place. So we still had a good 4 hours sleep anyway. Yaaay!
Skiiing! Why not? Read more about VIVALDI PARK SKI WORLD on my previous blog. The experience was priceless. Spent half day at Vivaldi, left there about 12nn and reached Seoul past 1pm. Ski Resorts will usually open around December during winter. We were just lucky, so lucky that they opened early even if it was still around November, maybe because of the winter-like weather? Of-course no need to think twice. It’s a must on your itinerary when you visit Seoul, dive in while Ski Resorts are open.Back at 1pm, it was intended for roaming around the streets of Gangnam.
Read about my awesome walk around the streets of Gangnam where I met and befriend with a local. How lovely it is to meet and make friends with locals when you travel. Truly an extraordinary trip. Kamsahamnida Seoul! I will definitely be back.While it is too impossible to see everything with limited time, do a lot of reading before your trip, and aside from visiting the best sights as there are a lot, do consider if it suits your interest. If not, you can opt not to include it in your itinerary. That’s how you maximize every single day of your trip.
Saranghe! I Seoul See you again!