A 7-day South Korea Itinerary for City Dwellers and Nature Lovers Alike for P20K (All-in)

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South Korea is undeniably a popular tourist destination. It does not only have an attractive traditional culture, delicious cuisine, and impressive technological advancements, but it also offers amazing natural reserves. It is the whole package. So in this article, I will share to you a perfect itinerary for those who want to explore a city that perfectly blends modern and traditional cultures together while enjoying the natural parks that South Korea can offer for 7 days. Also, I'll be going through some tips and information you need to make your trip awesome and budget friendly.

Before I lay an overview of my itinerary, here are some pre-travel info that you need to know:

Scoring cheap flights

One of the major dilemmas in making one's trip to South Korea possible is the plane ticket. Fortunately, certain airlines occasionally have promotional fares. Just be patient in waiting and you'll be able to book a roundtrip ticket to this beautiful country. I was able to score a roundtrip ticket (CEBU-INCHEON-CEBU) for only PHP 1,727 or around USD 34 during a promo fare by Cebu Pacific in their GetGo anniversary sale last March 2017. Be sure to follow major airlines' page in Facebook or subscribe to them so you can receive e-mail alerts during their promo periods.

When to go

South Korea is an amazing country to visit all year round whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall. If you are sensitive to hot or cold, you should visit the country during spring or fall. If you want to avoid excess baggage, you go during late spring, summer or early fall. But South Korea is famous for its autumn foliage, so I highly recommend to go during the fall season which usually peaks late October or early November.

Where to stay

I recommend picking a neighborhood where you want to visit the most during your stay in South Korea. If you are young or want to take advantage of the night life in Seoul, better stay in Hongdae area. But if you plan to do a lot of historical sightseeing, I recommend staying in Jongno or Dongdaemun area. In my case, I booked my accommodation in two guesthouses, Maru Guesthouse near the Seoul Station and Bong House in Jongno.

How to get around

South Korea has one of the best public transportation. The cities are connected by an efficient and clean subway system, a great bus system, and you always have the option to take a taxi. You can easily buy a T Money Card at any convenience store or at the airport and load it up at any of the subway stations.

Tip: Download the Subway Korea and KoreaSubwayBus apps to help you navigate the subway and know the appropriate routes of buses to your intended destination.

Things to pack

Exploring and sightseeing Seoul and Sokcho require a lot of walking, so be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. In case you want to hike in some of the amazing mountains, better to bring some hiking shoes. Prepare a checklist of the things that you will need (e.g. toiletries, gadget support, emergency medicines, etc.). Also, make sure to know the weather conditions at the time of your travel so that you can pack appropriate clothes.


Now let me share with you an overview of my itinerary during my 7D8N South Korea solo trip. Note that this itinerary does not include on how to get to some of the attractions. Just feel free to contact me if you have questions on how to get to some of the destinations.

Day 0     CEBU, PH > INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA

    • Flight from Cebu, PH to Incheon, South Korea (ETA: 09:20 pm)
    • South Korea Immigration. Purchased T Money Card from the vending machine and loaded the card. 
    • Departed from Incheon Int'l Airport Subway Station (All Stop) to Seoul Station.
    • Purchased something to eat. Checked-in  at Maru Guesthouse Seoul Station.
Day 1     SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

    • Myeongdong Cathedral
    • Myeongdong Shopping Street
    • Lunch
    • Seoul World Cup Stadium
    • Haneul Park
    • Dinner
               HIGHLIGHTS

Myeongdong Cathedral

Gyeranppang (Korean egg bread)

The 291-step zigzag staircase going to Haneul Park.

Haneul Park viewed from the cylinder platform.

The park's pasture is covered with eulalias and wild flowers.


Day 2     GAPYEONG, SOUTH KOREA

    • Seoul Station > Yongsan Station > Gapyeong Station (went via ITX Chuncheon and booked my ticket in advance at www.korail.com)
    • Bought Gapyeong City Tour Bus ticket (already covered my 3 destinations: Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of the Morning Calm) - can be bought from the bus driver 
    • Nami Island
    • Lunch
    • Petite France
    • Garden of the Morning Calm
    • Boarded the City Tour Bus and drop off Cheongpyeong Station
    • Cheongpyeong Station > Seoul Station
    • Dinner
               HIGHLIGHTS

Nami Island's Metasequoia Lane

The concept of Petite France encapsulates ‘flowers, stars, and the Little Prince.’

Garden of Morning Calm's hanging bridge

Garden of Morning Calm




Day 3     SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

    • Explored Seoullo 7017 near Seoul Station
    • Seoul Station > Gupabal Station
    • Lunch
    • Gupabal Station > Bukhansan National Park (via bus #34)
    • Trekked to Baegundae Peak
    • Sunset watching at the Peak
    • Descended to the opposite side where Doseonsa Temple and the nearest subway station is located (Bukhansan Ui Station)
    • Bukhansan Ui Station > Seoul Station
    • Dinner
    • Transferred to Bong House near Jongno (Seoul Station > Hyehwa Station)
    • Checked-in. Lights off.
                    HIGHLIGHTS (snippets from my climb)

















Day 4     SOKCHO, SOUTH KOREA

    • Hyehwa Station > Gangbyeon Station (where Dong Seoul Bus Terminal is located)
    • Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal
    • Grabbed take-out lunch to be eaten in the trail
    • Bus to Seoraksan National Park (bus #7-1)
    • Trekked to Ulsanbawi Rock
    • Lunch. Rest in the Peak.
    • Descended and back to Sokcho city proper
    • Abai Village
    • Dinner
    • Back to Seoul (Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal > Dong Seoul Bus Terminal)
               HIGHLIGHTS


The Tongil Daebul (The Great Unification Buddha) located in Sinheungsa Temple, right after the park's entrance

The Ulsanbawi Rock, often referred as the face of Sokcho, is a dramatic formation of rocks in the northern part of Seoraksan National Park.

From up there, you can see the entire national park and even the city of Sokcho itself. #selfie

When you're on a tight schedule, you can still view the fascinating rock formations of the Gwongeumseong region by riding up and down a cable car for KRW 10,000.

Abai Village (a small island community of North Korean refugees in Sokcho). A must try is their famous Abai Sundae, a traditional Korean sausage where ground meat and vegetables are stuffed inside the body of a squid.


Day 5     SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

    • Rest all morning (sore body from all the trekking)
    • Lunch
    • Bought Combination Ticket for Palaces and Royal Shrine
    • Gyeongbokgung Palace
    • National Folk Museum
    • Explored Samcheong-dong and Hanok Village (a place where you can find Korean traditional houses, distinctive cafes and accessory shops)
    • Dinner
    • Dongdaemun Design Plaza
    • Ehwa Womans University Shopping Street
    • Back to Guesthouse
               HIGHLIGHTS

Combination Ticket for Palaces and Royal Shrine for KRW 10,000

Changing of royal guards in Gyeongbokgung Palace

National Folk Museum

Traditional houses

Girls in hanbok exploring Samcheong-dong

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

The Dominique Perrault Architecture in Ewha Womans University


Day 6     SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

    • Changgyeonggung Palace
    • Lunch
    • Changdeokgung Palace with Secret Garden
    • Jongmyo Shrine
    • Dinner
    • Myeongdong Shopping Street
    • Back to Guesthouse
               HIGHLIGHTS


The Myeongjeongjeon Hall in Changgyeonggung Palace

A couple having their pre-nup shoot in Changdeokgung Palace. The Changdeokgung Palace complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List for its outstanding architecture and a design that is in harmony with the landscape.

Strike a pose yeah?

Entrance to Huwon Secret Garden from Changdeokgung Palace

The Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace is one of the most attractive places in Korea. 

The 78-acre Secret Garden, which today is the highlight of any visit to Changdeokgung Palace, incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and landscaped lawns, trees, and flowers.

Jongmyo Shrine

The 32-cm ice cream in Myeongdong Shopping Street


Day 7      SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA > CEBU, PH

    • Deoksugung Palace
    • Seoul Museum of Art
    • Lunch
    • Lotte Mart
    • Checked-out
    • Dinner
    • Hyehwa Station > Incheon Int'l Airport Subway Station
    • Flight from Incheon, South Korea to Cebu, PH
               HIGHLIGHTS

Before visiting Deoksugung Palace, I went to one of the filming locations of Goblin (a famous KDrama) as it is near my accommodation in Jongno. This is the place where Goblin and Eun Tak, the bride, first met. I recreated it but I don't have my Goblin. LOL

Deoksugung Palace

Deoksugung National Museum of Art inside the Deoksugung Palace premises

Just outside Deoksugung Palace, you can find another filming location of Goblin. 

Seoul Museum of Art (in WFKBJ)


Now, let me discuss the breakdown of expenses. (KRW 1 = PHP 0.047)


As you can see in my expenses, a large amount was allotted in my baggage allowance. So if you want to cut more of your expenses, have your trip not in the late fall/winter season. I also included the cost of the souvenirs which greatly vary in every person as you may opt not to buy anything or the opposite, hoarding some of the cheap beauty products in Seoul. Who would not bring something from South Korea right? You can further minimize your expenses when you are traveling in a group as you can just share the cost of your meals. Sad to say I was traveling alone.

I know that there's still a lot to see and do. A valid reason to go back right? Traveling to South Korea for the first time is overwhelming.  What made me happy about this trip is that I was able to enjoy both  the nature and city life of South Korea. So that's it! Thanks for reading!

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9 comments

  1. Love your travel blog Eden! Keep it up :)

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  2. Hi Eden, may I know how do you took your solo pic since you travelled solo? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi jas! I brought a tripod during my trip. It really takes time to setup the camera. :)

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  3. Hi eden. I plan to bring my daughter to korea with her kuzin. Ages 11 years old. How we can avail the visa and what is the best place to visit. They are KPoP fanatic. Thank u

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  4. Your photos look marvelous! Thanks for sharing this inspirational travel mood with us! I always wanted to ask you about your packing tips. You always look awesome while traveling! What is your secret key? Every last inch of suitcase real estate counts when traveling and I'm not really good in taking only essential things with me. You may get more information here as to some useful travel mus-haves. Can you add something?

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  5. Hello po. Can I ask if how did you handle the visa processing? Thanks.

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  6. Hi, would like to know if the immigration officer has a lot of questions for solo traveller to korea?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the immigration officer had a lot of questions at that time coz it's also my first time travelling solo (international). Asking why I'm alone, what will I do there, etc. Luckily, I have a friend that's already in Korea at that time (on vacation also). I told the officer that I am going to meet that friend. When I told him that, he ask me for the chat conversation that we really are going to meet or something. You just have to be confident when answering the questions.

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  7. hello Eden! Your vacation in South Korea is very fun and very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your vacation experiences and knowledge here. en.balijetaime.com

    ReplyDelete