South Korea – who doesn’t want to visit this place? From its well-known Korean dramas, K-pop bands and music, to alluring cosmetics they offer, South Korea is indeed a famed country to people around the world. But aside from all that, Korea has so much to offer for people who love to discover new places. Whether you prefer the modern lifestyle or traditional, South Korea has them for you!
Last November 2017, I was able to go on a trip to this beautiful country. It was autumn back then; the weather was perfect for a Filipina like me who’s never experienced the autumn season. Around 4 to -1 degree Celsius, I was a happy kid enjoying the foreign season.
What to do and Where to go in South Korea:
First Day: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Ewha Womans University & Myeongdong Shopping Street
First things first, palace! Our first stop during our first day was Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, as what they call it. It is located in northern Seoul. The palace was a good way to start our trip because it’s really easy to locate and we got to learn about the old South Korea. We got there before 9:00 AM so we were able to witness the ceremony of gate guard change. I recommend watching the ceremony if you want to indulge yourself on their culture.
Tip: Visitors can rent the traditional Korean dress called Hanbok for 4 hours or 1 day in the central district of Seoul, with free entrance on palaces around Seoul.
Second stop was Bukchon Hanok Village. It’s a traditional village in Seoul with a long history, located near Gyeongbok Palace. Tourists are allowed to lurk around this traditional village noted that they keep silence because Koreans still live there. It was nice to be able to take a glimpse of the old Korean houses and see how they were well-maintained over the years. Indeed, a must-see!
Next on our list is a private women’s university in Seoul, Ewha Womans University. It is currently the world’s largest female educational institute and is one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea. No wonder why, the institution is really huge and surprisingly beautiful for a university. I was beyond amazed by the school’s structure and I’m not even exaggerating. An underrated tourist spot, Ewha Womans University is one of my best picks during this trip.
Side trip: Fashion Street Shopping near Ewha Womans University is a good place to go thrift shopping for clothes. There’s not a lot of variety compared to other shopping streets but you can score some good buys at a very low cost.
Last stop for the day, Myeongdong Shopping Street! Who would want to miss out a shopping spree in Seoul? For a girl like me, Myeongdong Shopping Street was a piece of heaven on earth. From a wide range of cosmetics, clothes and souvenirs, to mouth-watering street foods, Myeongdong has them all. Not to mention all the freebies you’ll get just by dropping by their stores. 😉
Second Day: Nami Island
Namiseom Island or well-known as Nami Island, was the highlight of our second day in South Korea. It is located in Gapyeong and about 2 hours travel time from Seoul. Best visited during autumn season, Nami Island is a paradise for all ages. There’s actually not much to do but revel in the beautiful sceneries all over the island. It takes a while to get around the island on foot, but people can rent bicycles to tour around.
Also, if you’re planning to visit here, don’t miss out their famous Pan-Fried Rice Cake! This yummy rice cake is filled with red bean paste and costs only KRW 1,000 or $1. A must-try!
Third Day: N-Seoul Tower, Style Nanda, LED Rose Garden at Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Haneul Park
We started off our third day in N-Seoul Tower, commonly known as Namsan Tower or Seoul Tower. It marks the second highest point in Seoul and holds many other attractions including the popular “Locks of Love”. Locks of love is a huge collection of locks symbolizing love that guests had hung and locked into a wall. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Seoul as it had been depicted on a lot of Korean dramas already.
Another reason to go to Myeongdong Shopping Street is to check out Style Nanda Pink Hotel. Style Nanda is a South Korean brand that offers clothes, accessories, cosmetics and even food. A pink boutique designed like a hotel, its interiors will definitely pump up your instagram game!
Just around Seoul, there’s this LED Rose Garden that has transformed at Dongdaemun Design Plaza. DDP’s LED Rose Garden is a display of LED roses that light up automatically as the sun sets. It is best viewed at night when all the roses had lit up. I highly suggest you visit this garden especially if you’re planning to go on vacation with your loved ones because the rose garden has this romantic feel and the tour would only consume a small part of your time and you can drop by at night.
If you’re planning on visiting South Korea during autumn, you must go see Haneul Park, located in Seoul, near Seoul World Cup Stadium. The park’s pasture is covered with eulalias and wild flowers in their most natural state. Haneul Park is definitely one for the books, because of its serene ambience that straightaway sets the mood, the best way to end the day.
Forth Day: Everland
What better way to end a trip than to go on a theme park adventure? If you love theme parks like I do, Everland must get into your list! Around 3 hours travel time from Seoul, Everland is located at the Everland Resort in Yongin, a city in Gyeonggi-do. This largest theme park in South Korea is worth the long trip from Seoul. From a long list of rides, I would recommend you to try the T-Express, Everland’s wooden roller coaster. I’ve always been a fan of roller coasters and T-Express had been my best experience yet. It was a mixture of fear, pure bliss and excitement! On the other hand, if you are not into extreme rides, there’s also a wide variety of rides to choose from.
South Korea may be an economically developed country but taking a visit doesn’t have to break the bank. Most of the tourist attractions I have visited do not require entrance fees actually. Although, there’s still a lot to see, learn and try in SoKor for sure, and that is for everyone to discover!