Exploring Seoul & Busan, South Korea

A desire to see South Korea for all its food and culture meant traveling around the country for almost two weeks with almost no planned itinerary. A flight into Seoul (ICN) and one out of Busan (PUS) were the only determining factor for our travel needs. In addition, staying with my cousin for five days helped manage the balance between too much moving around, vs. sitting still. Four months of previous packing and unpacking were starting to have a toll on what was fun and what wasn’t. Korea though was epic. With so much good food around every corner (you’ll have to like spicy food), and being one of the few foreigners around most of the time meant a world of exploration to be had in this land. Cultural differences aside, you’ll likely learn a lot in the short time you travel here. 

Location:

Exploring South Korea can be done in two common ways: you either fly into Seoul, or you fly into Busan. There are other flight options to get to different cities around the country, but with an extensive train network and bus systems, you can navigate any part of Korea with ease if you already have landed in either of these major hubs. Perhaps the only difficult part of traveling in Korea is using the different train systems to get from point A to point B. There’s several companies that operate the lines, but they can be high speed operators or tend to have transfers along the way. You’ll have to consult this guide for trains.

Exploring South Korea:

Seoul:

Gyeongbokgung Palace

N Seoul Tower

Myeong-dong

Checking out some of the street food from the Netflix Series: Street Food. One of the 30 minute segments focuses on South Korean food.

 

Busan:

The oceanside city of Busan will appeal to those travellers who have been landlocked for too long. Here, there’s a multitude of temples to visit, seafood food to try, and a more relaxed vibe considering it is still a major city where millions of people live. 

Haeundae Beach

Haedong Yonggungsa

Jagalchi Market

 

Other Cities:

Daegu

Useful Tips:

Instead of Google Maps, use Naver Maps. Google Maps does a terrible job in this country, but that’s because the South Koreans tend to rely on their own systems that can’t be analyzed by their neighbor North Korea – to the same depth as the open platform of Google. Naver Maps is your new best friend and can help guide you. You could also figure your way around the city using the Maps.me app. It has most of the tourist locations that you’ll need.

The use of a SIM card isn’t very much needed as the country is full of wifi connection. Plus, it is relatively safe meaning that you’ll likely not have to use your phone for any problems. If you can’t survive without internet, then SIM cards are relatively cheap, and the connection is super fast and strong. Perhaps a dollar a day. But you could also boast a pocket wifi device from the airport for two dollars a day, which can connect up to five different devices with 4G/LTE speeds wherever you go.

Restaurants and eating may be tricky when outside of a major tourist/international area. If the menu is not printed out with pictures, then it’s almost impossible to order a food that you know other than pointing at someone else’s food (worked once). But you’ll likely be pushed away if you can’t speak Korean, this might also happen when you are shopping for other items, as it seems like they don’t want the difficulty of playing charades and solving the problem at hand.

 

Top Recommendations:

Enjoy the food (and the unlimited Banchan), enjoy the coffee & shops, and enjoy the Korean culture as you see it. A more detailed description to come.

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