South Korea Travel Guide
South Korea, an East Asian country bordering to its infamous neighbour North Korea, is a country that left us most positively surprised on our travels so far. A land where traditional villages overlook the city skyscrapers, where the latest technology does not intrude on tradition and a land where you will find anything from raccoon cafes to Kpop street performers.
Koreans are incredibly friendly and polite and make it their mission for you to have a great stay in their country. They are proud to call it home and even though everything about it reminded us of Europe, it was so incredibly different. In so many good ways. We visited only Seoul this time around, but we aim to come back as there is so much left to see in this up-and-coming destination.
Things to See and Do in South Korea
- Korean BBQ
- Buy K-beauty products
- Starfield Library
- Rent a Hanbok
- Nightlife at Hongik University area
- Gyeonbokgung Palace
- Bukchon Hanok Village
- Visit Busan
Typical Costs When Travelling
Accommodation – Before we booked accommodation in Seoul we have been warned it was very expensive here. But to our surprise, we found a great Airbnb for a mere $40 USD per night. A good hotel will cost you around $100 USD a night and a bed in a dorm around $15 USD a night. We stayed in the Hongik University area in Seoul and would really recommend it for your first-time visit.
Food – The food in South Korea is amazing. An all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ will cost you $10 USD, a 4-person portion of fried chicken will be around $15 USD and a meal in a good restaurant around $20 USD. Coffee with milk ranged from $0.70 – $3 USD and a meal at KFC around $7 USD.
Transportation – Seoul is a city where people stand in lines, everything is orderly and public transportation works like magic. We religiously took the Seoul subway and the cost for a 1-way ticket (up to 10km distance) was $1 USD. You can buy your subway card at the station’s vending machine (you can even personalize them!) and then load it with cash. Every time you tap, the money is taken off your card. Read more about the Seoul subway here.
Suggested daily budget
$40-70 USD. This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in an Airbnb or mid-range hotel, eating out in mid-range restaurants and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!
1. Share Culture of sharing is very popular in South Korea, so take a couple of dishes and share them with your friends.
2. Walk Beside the subway, walking is an adventure on its own in Seoul. The city is filled with hidden gems and fun cafes. Walk between some attractions and you’ll experience even more of the city, for free.
3. Rent a hanbok Wearing hanbok (traditional Korean wear), will get you in for free to many places!
4. Cook If you’re staying in an Airbnb make breakfast at home. You will save quite a bit not having to pay for so many meals.
When to visit South Korea
The best time to visit South Korea is spring or autumn. South Korea has very distinct four seasons so expect summer (from June to August) to be hot and humid, and winter (December to February) to be very cold and dry. We visited in May and the weather was sunny and warm.