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Ultimate Travel Guide for Free and Easy in Korea

Seoul is the latest hot spot in Asia. With Korean music and fashion taking over the world, the number of visitors has doubled in the last few years. The modern metropolis with over 11 million habitants is a paradise for food lovers, shopping addicts, fashionistas, party people and adventure seekers. The city is constantly reinventing itself which promises exciting new developments and events every year. Despite the stereotype of Koreans being always busy and in a hassle (which is true to a certain extent), they welcome tourists with open arms and are proud to show them what Korea has to offer. You can spend years here and still get surprised every day as you might discover a new hot spot. After evaluating countless attractions, we created a weekend Seoul trip itinerary, which protects you from running blindly through the city and missing out the best places.

3 Days Seoul Trip Itinerary: What to Do in Seoul for 36 Hours

Friday 

Hipster Hapjeong, 3 pm

After getting off your plane and taking the train to Seoul City, Hapjeong is the place to be. Gangnam is fairly outdated, since in 2017, Hapjeong is where millennials spend their free time. The young Seoulites have their own way to enjoy a Friday afternoon. The hipster downtown offers unique coffee shops and bars to hang out while wandering through the unique small clothes stores. As Hapjeong is representing Seoul’s hipsters, hip-hoppers and rebellious youth, the area has its’ own vibe. This is where the “cool kids” meet, so don’t bother taking your best suit. In the later afternoon, check out one of the countless unique cafes and observe the lively crowd while writing postcards.

Dynamic Dinner, 7 pm

The Han River is a symbol of Seoul and runs right through the mega city. It is surrounded by beautiful parks where Koreans come to date or enjoy Chimaek (Chicken and beer) with their friends. Enjoy the fresh air, sunset, and scenery on a cruise boat while sampling fine local and international cuisine and desserts from a buffet. Between April and October, you can see Banpo Rainbow Bridge light show.

seoul trip itinerary

Saturday

Happy Healing, 9 am

As this is going to be a long day, relax a bit in the Siloam Fire Pot Sauna (실로암불가마사우나). Located centrally, it is not as touristy as the overrated Dragon Hill Spa. Jjimjjilbang is deeply integrated into Korean culture and locals visit here regularly to relax, visit the saunas, get a body scrub or even to sleep. On 5 floors, you can relax your mind and body. With a 10$ admission fee, Siloam offers entry to a variety of saunas with different temperatures, including an ice sauna, various baths and even karaoke rooms and restaurants.

Leisure Lunch, 1 pm

After preparing your body for the rest of the weekend, head to Tongin Market for the Dosirak (Lunchbox) Café. For just about 5$ you will receive a tray and a number of ancient Korean brass coins which you can use to fill the lunch tray with fresh street foods from the countless vendors inside the market. They offer their own signature Doekbokki (spicy rice cake), which is fried instead of boiled. Moreover, you can choose from fried vegetables, seafood, omelet, chicken and a big selection of side dishes.

Peaceful Promenade, 3pm

An oasis of calmness right in a busy business district. The Cheonggyecheon stream is an insider spot for a walk, getting a rest and order your thoughts. The stream goes on for over 6km and you can easily spend 1 or 2 hours here. Walking next to the stream immersed in nature and calmness, you can easily forget about the skyscrapers towering over your head. Often, festivals and art exhibitions take place at the stream. Whenever you feel tired of walking, just climb up the stairs and you will be immersed in Seoul’s busy city life again. If you walk far enough, you will end up in the fabulous Dongdaemun area. Their unique representative building (the Dongdaemun Design Plaza) was designed by Zaza Hadid.

seoul trip itinerary

Zen Dinner, 6 pm

The Korean Buddhist temple cuisine at Balwoo Gongyang might be the healthiest yet delicious food you will find in Korea. Until today, the Korean culture has deep Buddhistic roots and many people practice Buddhism or go to the temples even today. The meals eaten in former times focus on all natural ingredients such as mushroom, wild sesame seeds, medical plants and raw soybean powder. Despite being traditional Korean cuisine, it lacks in chili, garlic and onions as former time Buddhists wanted to experience food in its’ true and pure nature.  The traditional Buddhist cuisine is not regularly eaten by Koreans anymore but can still be found nearby temples. Temple food menus can have up to 17 courses and ever dish is artistically presented in an authentic atmosphere. You can choose from a variety of course menus which change according to the season.

Electric Evening, 9 pm

“Kondae” is how locals call the lively area in downtown Seoul. It is one of the top hang out spots for Korean students. Konkuk University area is a young, vibrant neighborhood and filled with an energetic vibe which will make you want to skip tonight’s sleep. You will find countless cafes, restaurants and bars are lined up next to each other on the illuminated streets. Many young people who are or are not Konkuk university’s students flock here to enjoy their Saturday night out until the early morning in the affordable 24hours Sul-jips (술집).

If you arrive a little early, you can check out Common Ground, which is a shopping mall entirely build up from shipping containers. The shops are as unique as the mall itself. Mainstream brands are hard to find, as young Seoulites prefer less-known brands which support their individual style. In common ground, many young artists proudly present their own fashion labels and give the opportunity to buy exclusive items.

 

Sunday

Miraculous Medicine, 10 am

If you drank last night, you would feel it now. Korean alcohol is known for a mild taste but high percentages and a bad hangover. Koreans have various ways on how to deal with those. Some drink “anti-hangover” drinks which you can buy in convenience stores, others eat spicy food such as Kimchi Jjigae or Ramyeon. But they all agree on one approach: Haejangguk (해장국) is known to be a cure for alcohol-related headaches. The fierce mix of soybean sprouts, meat and chili is rich in antioxidants and promises to get you back on track. A good place for Haejangguk is Chungdo Haejangguk near the prestigious Seoul National University. The prices are reasonable at 4-5$ and you can chat with the country’s top 1% students.

Tasty Treasure, 1 pm

Everyone knows about Korean street food and you can conveniently find it at every street corner. However, with the same limited dishes being offered throughout the whole country, locals and tourists alike start to seek for new menus and variations. Around Noryangjin is the “Cup Rice Street”, which is popular among the locals. About 20 food stands are lined up next to the street. They offer about 40 versions of fried rice mixed with pork BBQ, mushrooms, egg, cheese, kimchi and everything you could think of (and can only find here). Next to the unique cup rice, you can also opt for fried vegetables and the famous Tteokbokki. The prices are low and you can get a cup rice meal, coffee and dessert for about 8$.

Don’t miss the pancake stand where you can get perfectly sized pancake filled with pudding, corn salad, cheese or sausages for about 2$.

Hidden Heritage, 3 pm

In order to avoid busy and touristy Bukchon Hanok Village (Most Hanoks here have been rebuild and are not in their original state anyway), you will be better off with Ikseondong Hanok Village. It is sometimes referred to as Seoul’s forgotten Hanok Village as it is unknown to tourists and even locals. The buildings are still in their original state and either inhabited by locals who spent decades here or young Koreans who have opened small cafes, cake shops and galleries in order to bring the area back to life. The hidden Hanok village is located nearby Seoul’s most busy business district but is slightly difficult to find in between all the high story buildings. You may search a while but reward yourself with a piece of delicious cake in the local patisserie shops.

seoul trip itinerary

Memorable Meal, 6 pm

The “Pork Alley,” located in an ancient part of Seoul, can easily be missed at daytime but gets alive at night. The small streets in the complex of alleys are illuminated and filled with locals who want to enjoy their Samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ) and Makgeolli (rice wine) in the traditional tent-style restaurants. Unless you travel back in time, those tent restaurants can exclusively be found in this area. The meat is of good quality, but people come here for the atmosphere and the friendly “Ahjummas” serving sheer endless side dishes. Since the restaurants, menus and prices are still kept like in former times,  many elderly come here to revive their memories with a cup of refreshing rice wine.

Contact us (info@onedaykorea.com) if you want us to organize this tour for you!

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