Exploring Seoul Solo!
Exploring Seoul, solo, was one of the most liberating and life-changing opportunities I’ve ever thrown myself into. Was a bit nervous at first, but I love how I easily kept up with the brightlights of the city. A massive thanks to its kind people aaand [insert drum roll please] a surfeit of authentic Korean FOOD! Yes, in seconds, all the anxiety died down! Seoul just felt so safe since then.
And, it’s totally crazy to see the past, present and future all meet in terms of culture, arts and lifestyle. How can a place be so freakingly amazing? ???
Well, this first solo travel was very short, actually. Excitement got the best of me [while booking the tickets] – didn’t notice that I’d be staying in Seoul for just 2 days. Very short indeed, huh! Oh I forgot, this was in January, winter season! Yeaaahh! 🙂
I love being spontaneous but I sure had an awful lot of readings prior to this trip – what to eat, what to do, where to stay, and how I could maximize my 2 days in Seoul – needless to say, I’m a bit meticulous, haha! Besides, I couldn’t afford wasting my precious 48 hours, agree?!
- 3D2N in Seoul, South Korea
- All-in Expense – PHP 20,000 [approx. USD 400]
- Airline – Cebupacific [of course it’s a seat sale!]
- Accommodation – Bauhaus Guesthouse in Hongdae [Recommended]
For my itinerary – it is not that detailed. I just took note of the places which I find really interesting and checked the subway map to find the fastest routes. For me, it’s much more exciting if you get to decide where to go and how much time you’ll spend there – just following your guts.
By the way, I keep everything in my phone [itinerary, subway app, travel notes] – it’s way more efficient than carrying all the printouts. Plus my brain wouldn’t keep up with all the info-overload, thank God smartphones were invented. 🙂
TIP: It’s very critical to take note of the exits of the station where you’re intending to go – this will save you a real good amount of time. Subway stations in Seoul are really big and busy, they can get you all confused. But once you familiarize yourself with the subway routes, you’ll get the hang of it.
Here are some of the activities you can enjoy while in Seoul:
FAMOUS NEIGHBORHOODS in SEOUL
Nearest Station: Hongik University – Green Line [40 min – 1 hour away from Incheon airport, via AREX]
This is where I chose to stay during my whole tour and I think it was quite a good decision!
- Hongdae station is connected to AREX – this makes the transportation going to/from the airport really easy and convenient
- It has a youthful, artsy vibe – there are lots of students hanging out in cafes, clubs and restaurants. Also, the atmosphere is very bright and colorful, which is very Korean. 🙂
Hongdae has the liveliest mood in Seoul – very upbeat and youthful which makes it more fun to even just stroll around the area. You’ll see lots of students doing their craft [dancing, singing with their guitars, etc] in the street! How random can that possibly be?!
SEOUL CITY HALL [Sightseeing]
Nearest station: City Hall – Intersection of Dark Blue & Green Lines
Since it’s winter, the whole Seoul was freakingly cold! Despite the freezing weather, I bravely strolled around the City Hall area early in the morning [9AM]. I bet strolling around is much better at night – will definitely do it on my 2nd time! ♥
GWANGHWAMUN SQUARE [Sightseeing]
Nearest station: Gwanghwamun – Pink Line
I just strolled around the area, took pictures and crossed the streets with the locals! ♥ Again, I’d prefer strolling at night but due to the lack of time, I was here early in the morning. T_T
GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE [Sightseeing]
Nearest Station: Gyeongbokgung – Orange Line
The palace is actually in front of Gwanghwamun Square, so if you’re just around the area, it’s better to walk. 🙂 Also the famous Tosokchon restaurant [where you can eat really delicious, authentic Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup)] is just nearby, you may want to drop by for lunch! They said there’s always a long queue but when I went there, there was just a decent number of customers – had an early lunch by the way, around 11AM.
This is how an order of Samgyetang looks like when served – sizzling hot, full of herbs and spices, and very enticing! 🙂 Perfect for the cold winter! ♥ Note that this comes with free side dish like kimchi….well in Seoul, most of the servings come with free side dishes. ♥:)
Just a note, you’d have one whole chicken in one serving. So if you just want to try this most-raved about Samgyetang and is travelling with a group, suggest you order one. Well, it surely’s still a case to case basis – depending on the capacity of your stomach and how hungry you are at the moment. 🙂
Nearest Station: Anguk – Orange Line
If you are around Gyeongbokgung area, going to Insadong is just approx. 10-15 min walk. What you need to take note of is, there’s a police station nearby – so if you’re seeing people in police uniform, you’re on your right path!
Nearest Station: Euljiro Stations – Green Line/Myeongdong – Light Blue Line
Myeongdong is said to be the haven of shopping particularly cosmetics – well, undoubtedly it is! This is the only place where multiple rows of stalls only sell cosmetics. Face masks, creams, lotions and lippies which come in cute packaging are so all over the place!
I know this place is known for shopping but there’s just a surfeit of good food – a foodie like me would be more likely to indulge. So yes, I went on food trip in Myeongdong instead of shopping. 🙂
Nearest station: Myeongdong – Light Blue Line
After shopping in Myeongdong, you can go see the N Seoul Tower. Actually, it’s a bit of a hike, about 20-30 mins from Myeongdong station. Mind you, there are lots of stairs! So please be in your most comfortable shoes.
I went there in the afternoon, around 4PM. Since it was winter, going up to the tower was absolutely freezing cold! But the view was breathtaking ♥