Travel Diary: Solo Travel in Seoul Korea for 419 USD or 21,432 PHP


**Note the total per person might decrease, there are some packages in the breakdown that can be divided for two like the Hanbok package with Photographer the price is actually good for two since I’m solo I paid all the cost. 

I’ve been posting a lot of contents about my last trip to Seoul Korea, but it seems like everyone is asking for the full itinerary and the breakdown cost, LOL!. So, here it loves for everyone who asked me how much I spent in Seoul, Korea, I am so proud to myself to be able to spend lesser than I thought. Let’s admit the fact that Seoul is an expensive city, but somehow I pulled off a 21,432 PHP for 5 Days and 4 nights in Seoul as a Solo backpacker




DO WE NEED KOREAN VISA

For Filipinos like me, we need to apply for a Visa, you may apply it through Visa assistance agency or do it yourself. I did mine here in Bangkok since I’m currently living in Thailand. To know how I did it, click HERE. In Bangkok for less than 60 days, you don’t have to pay anything for Visa application, just submit the required requirements and wait for 7 working days.


WHERE TO STAY

I did a lot of research where to stay, as a solo female backpacker, I have to consider a lot of things. Like a safe location, an accommodation that has a host or receptionist that can communicate in English, nearby to the subway and has a lot of convenience stores around the corner. It’s so hard to find a place to stay base in my preference at a cheaper price until I found the High Street Guest House in Hongdae. Hongdae is a great location for me since it’s a place where all young adults live, it’s like your living inside a big campus. Hongdae has a lot of universities that’s why there are a lot of students. At first, it’s quite confusing on how to locate the guest house, but you can ask the locals around, they can help you to locate the place. High Street Guesthouse is just 8-10 minutes walk from the Hongik Univ station, a lot of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, parks, and convenience stores in the area. I can say it is so perfect for a solo female backpacker like me. The guest house itself is so amazing, the receptionist is a foreigner lady, and I think she is an exchange student in Seoul and working at the same time. I forgot to ask her name, but she is so kind and friendly and so helpful. She is a lady, but she carried my so heavy box of stuff that I bought from Lotte Mart, so thoughtful of her. The guest house is small but so clean, peaceful and safe. I booked the Bed in 2-Bed Female Dormitory Room - Female Floor, the female floor is protected with door security lock password but they will give it to you, the room is small, simple, basic, clean and comfortable. It has one bunk bed since it’s a 2 Bed Female room, when I got inside the room I don’t have a roommate yet, so it’s easy for me to choose the bottom bed. The receptionist will explain to you the rules of the floor and some needed information. Each bed is equipped with 3 electric sockets and your lamp, they will also give you your 2 sets of towels. They only have one bathroom for the female floor, and it is shared, it is clean and I can say decent. On the Female floor, there are 3 dormitory type rooms, the floor also has a kitchen and it has amenities in case you want to cook. High Street Guest House is such a good place to stay for solo female backpackers, no regrets at all.












HOW TO GO TO SEOUL FROM INCHEON AIRPORT

I’ve read a lot of information before I went to Seoul, and the easiest and convenient way for me is to take the Arex All-Stop train in Incheon Aiport going to Hongik Univ station. Arex All Stop train has limited destinations only if the area of your accommodation doesn’t belong to the subway station stops, you can get the Arex Express train going directly to Seoul station, and from there you can transfer to another subway going to your destination. It opens from 05:20 – 21:45 for Express; and 05:23 – 23:42 for All-Stop. How to locate the Arex train in Incheon Airport? After your immigration and picking up your luggage, once you get out from the arrival area there’s an escalator going down to Basement 1 and just follow the signs going to the Arex train.








HOW TO GET AROUND

Since it’s my first time in Seoul and I’m also doing solo travel, it scares me actually before I went there. Especially on how will I get from one place to another, I am very bad at directions LOL!. The easiest way to get around in Seoul and cheaper option is to use their subway and busses. It’s confusing to look at the map because a lot is going on, but if you will use the Naver app, it makes everything so easy. It’s like a Google map, but more convenient, it gives you information about what subway to board and transfer, where to exit and how much it will cost you. Aside from Naver app, use a T-money, it’s a subway card. It’s so convenient to have a T-money card you can use it in all the subway in Seoul and busses in Seoul as well. If you’re T-money runs out of money inside, you can top-up anytime in the subway. I bought my T-money in Incheon Airport at CU convenience store, they can help you as well to top-up the card, so you can use it already.



THINGS TO DO

DAY 2
**Note: It is my Day 2 because my Day 1 is my traveling day to Seoul and waiting in the Airport.

I arrived at Incheon airport so late around 11:00 PM, I can’t make it anymore to the Arex All-Stop train so I decided to wait at the airport. Honestly? It is so tiring, there is no proper place where you can sleep, all tourists, locals, and travelers who are also stuck in the airport are sleeping everywhere, securities are roaming and walking around but they don’t mind seeing people sleeping in chairs and benches. I did not sleep, so I decided to find a burger shop in the airport to eat, there are fast foods at the airport that open 24/7.

As soon as the Arex all-stop train opens I bought my ticket immediately from a vending machine near the gate of the train. It’s easy to use, just follow the instructions, don’t worry it has English instructions. The travel time from Incheon Airport to Hongik Univ station is almost 1 hour. Since the check-in time of High Street Guesthouse is 3:00 PM, I need to go somewhere else, I don’t want to waste my time in Seoul. But before my solo traveling starts in Seoul, I had to check first where is my guest house really located so it is easier for me to find it once I come back, again as I mentioned above its quite hard to find at first but I asked this kind Korean lady and she showed me the way, even accompanied me to the front door of the guest house, how sweet!

It’s so hard to carry my big traveling backpack around Seoul, so I decided to leave it in the locker of Hongik Univ station, it’s automated and easy to use, again there are English Instructions.

The first agenda of my Day 1 in Seoul is to shop and buy groceries in Lotte Mart, sound so funny but I decided to buy stuff on my first day because I might run out of money before my shopping day. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry, LOL! I choose to shop in Lotte Mart because I’ve heard and read that they have promotions and sales almost all the time. Lotte Mart is located beside Seoul station, It opens from 10:00 AM, and I arrived there at 8:00 AM. I have 2 hours to kill, so I decided since I’m not yet sleeping and I need a lot of energy, I need coffee. I found a coffee shop nearby called Lotteria and I bought a coffee while waiting. While waiting I need to check myself and assess my feelings that finally I am in Seoul, the first impression of Seoul, It looks like Bangkok but more organized, taller buildings, clean and wide. During my visit there, it’s quite cold but not too cold, I love the weather, the smell and the city itself. As soon as Lotte Mart opens, the grocery looks like a heaven of sales, a lot of items to choose from, I ended up buying too much, I spent around 2,500 THB. Take note, I was so shocked after I paid everything at the cashier counter when they did not place my groceries in the bag, you need to pack it by yourself. They have an area where there is a free empty box and packing tape.

Before I went back to my guesthouse to check-in, I had my lunch first at the Lotteria inside the Seoul station, I know I’m in Seoul I should eat Korean foods already. However, it is more convenient for me and easy to choose and cheaper if I have a burger, fries, and drinks, I’m also in a hurry, so bear with me. LOL!

After a satisfying lunch, I headed back to my guesthouse check-in, go back to Hongik Univ station to pick up the bag that I left in the locker, sleep and rest.

I woke up at 5:00 PM, showered and prepared myself and travel to N Seoul Tower. To get to N Seoul Tower from Hongik Univ station, take a subway to Myeondong then walk to Namsan Park. Just use the Naver app to guide you, there are also signs along the streets to Namsan Park. The escalator going up to Namsan Park is free, however, you need to pay for the cable car going to N Seoul Tower from Namsan Park. Cable Car opening hours are 10:00 AM -11:00 PM, I pre-booked my ticket for the N Seoul Tower so it is not hassled for me to wait in line. I bought a Namsan Tower and Observatory Deck in Klook which include burger set at N burger. I am honestly excited to ride a cable car going up to N Seoul Tower, however, I was a little bit disappointed with the view, I cannot see the city lights of Seoul, and it’s a little bit far. Anyways, once I arrived at N Seoul Tower, I immediately find the vending machine where I can redeem my voucher for Namsan Tower and Observatory deck with burger set at N burger. There’s a queue to go up at the observatory deck, I’m not sure why I have to wait and line up, since as far as I know once you booked a ticket from Klook you don’t have to wait in line. Please correct me if I’m wrong. When I get inside at the observatory deck I was so amazed by the art they put-up, the lights and the change of lights and colors, it is very beautiful. When I was already in the top of the observatory deck it was so crowded like literally crowded. There’s a lot of tourists and students, there’s also a lot of shops in the observatory deck where you can buy your souvenirs. Again, I was not impressed with the view from the observatory deck, I’m sorry to say but it’s the truth. After, taking a lot of videos and pictures, I went down to find the N Burger to have my dinner. N Burger Restaurant is located at N Seoul Tower 1F and opens from 10:00 am-11:00 pm, their last Order is 9:00 pm. I have to choose one of the 3 kinds of sets of burger and I choose the Nacho burger set. After a sumptuous burger dinner again, I roam around the N Seoul Tower, where the love locks are, more benches to sit while watching the view of Seoul, there are also a lot of couples in the area. One thing I noticed with Korean couples, they are so sweet in public, what you see in Korean drama shows is what it is in real life. Once again, my only downside for N Seoul Tower at night is the city view, it is too far and the view is like I’ve seen it before from another observatory deck, there is no “wow” factor for me. I highly recommend visiting N Seoul Tower in the afternoon, where you can see the city of Seoul when there is still sun and its transition in the evening, I guess it is more beautiful.

After my experience at N Seoul Tower, I headed back to my guest house.




















Day 3
One of the famous day tours in Seoul is Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm tour. I decided to book my tour through an agency because I want to save time and effort and to avoid stress. I just want to enjoy the place and not worrying about how to get from one place to another. So, Trazy Seoul Korea partnered with me with this tour, you can read more about my Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm tour experienced HERE.

To summarize my experience with the tour, it is honestly stressed free, the guide is so friendly and accommodating and can speak English fluently. The places are so beautiful and breathe taking and one day tour is honestly not enough. So if you happened to be in Seoul, solo or with a companion try to check out Trazy South Korea they offer a lot of activities and services that surely you will enjoy. By the way loves, lunch and snacks are not included.











Day 4
My itinerary for today is wearing a hanbok in Gyeongbokgung Palace and meeting a Korean Oppa at Bunchok Hanok Village. Let’s get started first with the Gyeongbokgung Palace, I wake up so early and take a subway from Hongik Univ station to Gyeongbokgung station and exit in number 4, I find the Hanboknam, where I pre-booked my hanbok including a Photographer. You can book a hanbok only without a photographer, for me I decided to go with a professional photographer because I want to have legit pictures of Korea with a hanbok. I only get to visit Seoul once, I’m not sure when I will be coming back so I made sure to have the best souvenir I can have. The entrance fee in Gyeongbokgung Palace is free if you are wearing a hanbok. To know more details about my experience with Hanboknam with a professional Photographer click HERE. My full experienced with Hanboknam store is worth the money I paid for, it’s not cheap but it’s the best. I never had any regrets that I made a booking with them. I love the experience from the moment I walk into the store until I come back to return the handbook and get my passport. Gyeongbokgung Palace is so beautiful, it brings you to the olden times, the old buildings and houses are incredible, however, expect a lot of tourist from old ones to youngsters.

After I returned my hanbok, I decided to eat my very first Korean street foods in the Korean market, which is the Tong-in Market. Tong-in The market is only 10-15 minutes’ walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace, just use Naver app. Why I choose the Tong-in Market because they have this café where you can eat and buy foods inside the market using the Yeopjeong (brass coins) and lunch box. Sound confusing? Here it is! Once you arrived at Tong-in market, go inside in the middle of the market you will find a café, there is a sign so it is easy to locate. Go upstairs at the 2nd floor and a lady will approach you for assistance, you have to buy the 10 Yeopjeong (brass coins) from them for 5,000 KWN and they will give you a lunch box. Once you have the lunch box, you can buy foods from vendors inside the market who participated in the activity of the café they have a sign of the café, you can pay using Yeopjeong (brass coins). Most of the foods in the market are 2 coins only. Honestly speaking? I love this kind of activity because for 5,000 KWN you will get a lot of foods, like a lot, unlike the Myeondong street foods it’s a little bit expensive. Second, it is the legit Korean street foods, foods that Koreans eat during lunch break, or foods that they cooked at home. Third, I love the idea of a lunch box, it’s exciting, and lastly, the foods are so delicious. You can eat your lunch box with food on the same 2nd floor of the café.

After an amazing lunch, I walked to the famous Bunchok Hanok Village to meet an Oppa guide, from OhmyOppa. OhmyOppa is a private tour online platform and a travel friend in Korea. “With Oppa, you will have a better understanding of Korean culture, traditions, and history.” Ohmyoppa is such a very helpful and convenient agency especially for solo travelers like me. Let's admit the fact that sometimes during the solo travel we wish there is someone we could talk to or share our happiness that we feel at the moment. And when I was in Seoul I felt that way I want to know more about Seoul not only the famous K-pop and Korean drama, I want to know their culture and OhmyOppa is such a great help to achieve this goal. A one on one guide showing you around and talking about the culture of Koreans is such a great experience. To know more about my experience with Oppa Ruero click HERE. After Ruero showed me the hidden streets near Bunchon Hanok Village, and the village itself, I went to Myeondong to see the district shopping itself.

I was blown away for so many things to shop from cute socks, sweaters, shoes, Korean skincare products, and make-ups and a lot more. There’s also a lot of food stalls in Myeondong you can choose from since I’m already full of my dinner with Oppa Ruero, I choose to shop only. **wink**.

After spending almost all my money, I decided to go back to my hostel to avoid being broke, LOL!















Day 5
This is my special day in Seoul because it is my birthday, it is my first time celebrating my birthday alone and in another country aside from the Philippines and Thailand. I choose to celebrate my birthday in Seoul to reward myself after all the things that happened in my life recently, I deserve to find myself and find the happiness inside me. Well too much of the drama, I choose to go to the happy place in Seoul, Everland. Everland is an amusement park, I pre-booked my ticket from Klook with Q-pass. Q-pass is a one-time pass for an attraction or rides inside the Everland, which you will never wait in line. From Hongik Univ station I took a subway to Gangnam station and from Gangnam station I took a bus 5002 directly to Everland, again you can use the Naver app to better guide you. When I arrived at the Everland I have to wait in line for a free shuttle bus going inside to the main entrance of Everland. You need to redeem your Klook voucher to the Group ticket office, you have to pass the normal ticketing booth and head to the right side, and you will see a Group ticket office. If you cannot find it, asked the information desk. You don’t need to take a queue number, go ahead at the left side where they assist foreigners that booked through an online website. Once you got your ticket and the Q-pass you’re good to go.

Everland is a huge amusement park, so many things to do, eat and ride. I’m not a fan of “life-threatening” rides, I am more on the chill zone rides, more like the kid's rides, LOL! I did enjoy my time in Everland celebrating my birthday, eat lunch in a diner inside the park and some snacks and ice cream. Well, I highly recommend bringing snacks on your own, because the prices inside the park are a little bit expensive. The place is honestly so huge, if you don’t know how to read the map of the park, you will surely get lost, like me. Well, it’s okay to get lost in the park because you will discover exciting attractions. I used my Q-pass for the Lost Valley attraction, honestly speaking it seems like Expectation VS Reality. My expectation for this attraction is like you will roam around a deserted place with of course animals but it’s more like exciting, feels like Africa vibe, or like inside the movie of Jumanji 3, ahahaha too much expectation. But in reality, the place is amazing, I love how clean, cool and looks like deserted the zoo is, but the excitement or the Jumanji 3 feels is not there. We rode a tramp with a Korean host, entertaining the tourist in the Korean language, introducing the animals. Honestly? It seems like the same with Chiang Mai Night Safari, it’s just that Everland is a more beautiful location. Lost Valley is so cool for kids and young at heart.

After my day of fun at Everland, I traveled back to Myeondong to meet a Filipino friend/vlogger. We do have a great time talking to each other about our passion for making videos and we also did some Broll shots, eat dinner and went home to rest.













Day 6
My flight back to Thailand is 11:00 AM, so I had to be early going back to Incheon Airport. Going back to Incheon Airport is so easy since I stayed near Hongik Univ station. I just took a subway from Hongil Univ station directly to Incheon Airport.

And that’s it love my First solo travel experience in Seoul Korea. Honestly speaking!, 5 full days in Seoul is not enough, there are so many things to do, to visit and experience in Seoul. Seoul is a beautiful city to visit, the culture of Koreans are so amazing, some of them can’t speak English fluently, but one thing for sure they are very sweet, very helpful even if sometimes you don’t ask them, they will just approach you directly if they see you that you are having trouble, and they are so kind. I never thought Koreans are like this and it surprised me.

I highly recommend for you to travel alone loves in a place where you are safe and a lot of people of course. It scares the hell out of me before I stepped in Seoul, but when I get there the city is so beautiful and I felt so welcome and I felt like my old soul is from Seoul, I am more scared in Manila Philippines than Seoul, LOL!. For me, trying to travel by your self is finding the answer if you can live by your own, I now no man is an Island but sometimes we must be independent by our own life, it’s not always that there is someone who will carry us in all our walks in life. Traveling alone also helps me to find my lost self, to find the real me without any distractions from others. Don’t be scared to go out in your comfort zone sometimes, who knows you might surprise yourself.



Day 1

-        T-Money card



-        top-up for T-money



-        Food in Incheon Airport


4000 KWN
103 THB
175 PHP

10,000 KWN
258 THB
436 PHP

9000 KWN
232 THB
394 Php

TOTAL
23,000 KWN
593 THB
1,005 PHP
Day 2

-         All-Stop train to Hongik University station


-        locker in Hongik University subway



-        subway from From Hongik Univ station to Seoul Station


-        Coffee at Lotteria



-        Shopping at Lotte Mart


-        Lunch at Lotteria





-        Subway from N Seoul station to Hongik Univ station


-        Check-in at High Street Guesthouse



-        Subway from Hongik Univ station to Myeondong station


-        Cable Car to N Seoul Tower roundtrip



-        Namsan Tower and Observatory deck by Klook include burger set at N burger



-        Subway from Myeondong station to Hongik Univ station
4650 KWN
120 THB
203 PHP

4000 KWN
104 THB 
175 PHP

1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP

4000 KWN
104 THB
175 PHP

Your own budget


9000 KWN
232 THB
394 PHP



1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP

92,000 KWN
2,399 THB
4,066 PHP

1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP

8,000 KWN
207 THB
348 PHP


18,200 KWN
479 THB
799 PHP



 1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP


TOTAL
144,850 KWN
3,777 THB
6,380 PHP
Day 3

-        Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm tour by Trazy


-        Lunch



-        Dinner
63,800 KWN
1,630 THB
 2803 PHP

10,000 KWN
257 THB
436 PHP

BYOB

TOTAL
73,800 KWN
1,887 THB
3,239 PHP
Day 4

-        Subway from Hongik Univ station to Gyeongbokgung station


-        Klook Hanbok + Photography for (free hair styling + free locker )


-        Lunch box cafe budget



-          OhmyOppa guide in Bunchok Hanok Village



-        Subway to Myeondong station



-        Dinner and shopping at Myeondong street


-        Subway Myeondong station to Hongik Univ. station
1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP

100,000 KWN (price is good for 2 persons)
2,624 THB
4,362 PHP

5,000 KWN
128 THB
217 PHP

82,061 KWN (online conversion of 70 USD as of 23/10/2019)
2,121 THB
3,600 PHP

1250 KWN
33THB
55PHP
    
 Your own budget



1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP



TOTAL
190,811 KWN
4,972 THB
8,344 PHP
Day 5

-        subway from Hongik univ to Gangnam station + Bus to Everland


-        Everland ticket at Klook + Qpass



-        Lunch at Everland



-        Travel back to Myeondong by subway  + bus


-        Dinner, my friend treat me



-        Subway from Myeondong station to Hongik Univ station
4,300 KWN
111 THB
188 PHP

31,000 KWN
902 THB
1525 PHP

8000 KWN
206 THB
349 PHP

3,300 KWN
85 THB
144 PHP





1250 KWN
33 THB
55 PHP

TOTAL
47,850 KWN
1,337 THB
2,261 PHP
Day 6

-        Subway from Hongik Univ station to Incheon Airport Terminal
4650 KWN
120 THB
203 PHP

TOTAL
4650 KWN
120 THB
203 PHP


GRAND TOTAL
****Note the total per person might decrease, there are some packages in the breakdown that can be divided for two like the Hanbok package with Photographer the price is actually good for two since I’m solo I paid all the cost. 

484,961 KWN
12,686 THB
21,432 PHP




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