Korea 2015: 14 Days & 13 Nights Itinerary

Saturday, 5 March 2016

I've been wanting to go to Korea ever since I fell in love with Korean culture back in 2010. My interest first started with Korean dramas, and then K-pop, and now basically everything. If you asked me 2 years ago where I wanted to go in Seoul, I would've answered: buildings of entertainment companies, the restaurants of Super Junior member’s parents, etc. But now, I just love the culture as a whole and anything related to K-pop is not even on my itinerary. No doubt I still listen to K-pop, but I’d rather spend an entire day at Gyeongbokgung Palace or the National Museum of Korea than to go visit the building of SM/JYP/Cube, etc. The only Hallyu related thing I still hold very dear to my heart is "Running Man" (런닝맨), so I tried going to places they previously filmed at—which of course includes attractions like Gwanghwamun Square where most tourists visit anyways.

This blog post is to share my itinerary for my 14 days & 13 night trip to Seoul and Nami Island in Korea. We decided to not go to Jeju Island because we wanted to familiarise ourselves with the city and take a laid-back approach to travel. We figured that spending 3 days and 2 nights in Jeju Island wouldn’t leave us much to explore Seoul anways—and I didn’t want to restrict myself to say, an hour only, for a particular attraction. I started hypothetically planning for a "Korea Trip" in 2012, but "Korea 2015" started after we bought plane tickets in March. So this itinerary is basically the result of 8 months of planning (for 2 weeks worth of adventure). I have to say that it was a really overwhelming process because there were so many places I wanted to go, and so many restaurants I wanted to try. Not everything went as planned (the weather was too cold!), but we did almost everything we intended to do nonetheless.

Day 1

Technically, our first day in Korea was only half a day because we spent the night before flying for over 12 hours. By the time we arrived in Seoul, it was about 3:00pm in the afternoon. After checking into our Airbnb apartment, we grabbed a bite at a yummy congee restaurant and walked around the streets of Myeongdong (명동).

Day 2

After sleeping in until 9:00am, we headed to Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) for about 3 hours, and then went to Tongin Market Dorsirak Café (통인시장 도시락 카페) for lunch. We even managed to grab a cup of coffee at some really laid back café near Tongin Market and ate donuts at Dunkin' Donuts en route to Gwanghwamun Square (광화문광장) and The Story of King Sejong exhibition hall (세종이야기), where we stayed about 1-2 hours. For dinner, we went back to Myeongdong and had Myeongdong Gyoja (명동교자) before going to the Cheonggyecheon Stream (청계천) to see the last of the Seoul Lantern Festival (서울빛초롱축제).

Day 3

We woke up early to go to Tosokchon (토속촌) for brunch, and then went to the Cat Playground Cat Café (고양이 놀이터) for a few hours. At around 3:00pm, we headed up to N Seoul Tower (N서울타워) to see some breathtaking views of the city before going to eat Korean barbeque at Wangbijib (왕비집) for dinner.

Day 4

After eating breakfast in our apartment, we went to up to Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) and then slowly made our way down to Samcheongdong (삼청동). We even stopped by Innisfree Jeju House (이니스프리 제주하우스) for a cup of warm sweet potato latte and also had lunch at a Korean restaurant. Instead of walking or catching the subway, we caught a taxi to Namdaemun Market (남대문시장) and had dinner in the Namdaemun Kalguksu Alley (남대문 칼국수골목).

Day 5

We spent most of Day 5 in Insadong (인사동) and ate a lot of food—we had Gogung (고궁) for lunch, Bukchon Son Mandu (북촌손만두) for an afternoon snack and O'Sulloc Tea House (오설록 티하우스) for dessert.

Day 6

For the first 2 hours of our day, we wondered around Changdeokgung Palace taking photos while wearing hanbok which we rented from Oneday Hanbok. For lunch, we decided to go back to Myeongdong and had hotpot at a Korean/Japanese restaurant. We even visited the Hello Kitty Café because it was too cold to go to any attraction. After that, we went to Dongdaemun (동대문) to do some shopping and eventually had dinner in a food court there.

Day 7

We went back to Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁) and took part in a tour of the Secret Garden (후원). We went to the famous Gwangjang Market (광장시장) for lunch and warmed ourselves up before heading over to Dongdaemun to see the beautiful Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문디자인플라자).

Day 8

We made our way to the National Museum Korea (국립중앙박물관) and then went to a vegan café called Plant in Itaewon for lunch. While we were in the southern areas of central Seoul, we went to see the largest underground shopping centre in Area, COEX Mall. For dinner, we decided to have pork wraps (bossam 보쌈) in Dongdaemun.

Day 9

For brunch, we went to Andongjang (安東莊), which is known as the oldest Chinese restaurant in Seoul. After that, we went to one of Seoul's universitiy districts, Edae (이대), and then decided to have 8 types of pork belly in Palsaik Samgyeopsal (팔색삼겹살) in Sinchon (신촌).

Day 10

After getting gloomy weather for the entire week, we finally got good weather on our one-day trip to Nami Island (남이섬). After coming back to Seoul, we went to have a full course Korean meal at Jinsadaek (진사댁).

Day 11

We decided to spend the whole day in Hongdae (홍대), where we visited the Trick Eye Museum (트릭아이미술관), Eat Your Kimchi and Talk To Me In Korean's café and Eat Your Kimchi's studio. We originally wanted to have lunch at a pancake shop, but the whole building was getting renovated so we stopped by a Korean restaurant in Seogyo-dong (서교동) where it felt like we were the only tourists there. For dinner, we went back to Hongdae and had oven-baked fried chicken and beer.

Day 12 & Day 13

We went to Dongdaemun and Myeongdong to do some last minute shopping and go to the restaurants and/or cafés that we wanted to go back for. I purposely left one full day to do this, but it turned out that we had two instead (heh). Our fifth and last time having bingsoo at Sulbing (설빙) was also on Day 13. Our last dinner in Seoul was at Haha'a Loco Quan 401 Restaurant.

Day 14

Our last day in Seoul. First, we went to Myeongdong to have breakfast and then checked out of our Airbnb apartment. After that, we headed to the airport and eventually made our way home back to Sydney.

For more detailed posts and information about the places we went to, please click on the hyperlinks above. Alternatively, you may download my itinerary or restaurant list which was basically my bible for the 2 weeks we were there (with minor amendments). However, please note the following points before you download:
  1. Please use my itinerary as a guide only. I cannot and do not vouch for the accuracy for the information I have gathered online, which I do not claim ownership for. I created the itinerary for my personal use as an aid on my travels.
  2. If the words "Address" and/or "Directions" is bold and/or underlined, they are hyperlinks. If you have Daum Maps installed on your phone, clicking on those links will automatically bring up the map or the webpage showing you exactly where the destination is or how to get to the destination.
  3. In "Directions", for example: "(1) Catch Line 3 to Jongno 3-ga Station (종로3가역). (2) Transfer to Line 5 and get off at Gwanghwamun Station (광화문역)", the station highlighted in light blue is the ending destination, and the lines you have to catch on Seoul's Metropolitan Subway are coloured accordingly, so Line 3 is orange and Line 5 is purple like the subway map (see the point below).
  4. I strongly advise you to rely on other apps such as Daum Maps and Jihachul (subway) as they'll give you more accurate information about your route and destination.
  5. My "restaurant list" list is only a list of suggestions. If you think it's easier to just walk into any restaurant that looks good, you're more than welcome to do so. However, we found that by doing a little bit of research gave us better "results" because there have been a few restaurants where we just walked in and it turned out to be quite average. Of course, there have been one or two places that turned out to be very good.
Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment down below if you have any questions. (If you did find my itinerary helpful, I would really love and appreciate it if you left me a short message too!) Safe and happy travels! ✈

1 comment

  1. Hi i just look at your blog,and i also decide to travel to korea around 14 day, are you interesting to travel to korea again? kindly email me if you interesting


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