South Korea is a magical country. There is something so at odds in a country that values tradition and yet seeks to bring technological change to the masses (rather than relegating it to the military or ultrarich). The people are some of the most helpful in the world, and yet cults abound with a little too much friendliness. It’s conservative, and yet many traditional plays contain an abundance of raunchy material.
A long layover: The Incheon Airport is pretty awesome. They offer a lovely service to see some parts of Korea on your layover so you can get out of the airport with a guide. There is also a Korean spa in the airport if you want a cheap but wonderful place to sleep. Be aware, you will have to get naked for the baths, please don’t be one of those shocked people in all the reviews. It makes everyone else uncomfortable if you keep your clothes on and you will probably get yelled at. Recently I was in one and two foreign girls had on bathing suits and I immediately felt body conscious. Don’t try it.
2-10 Days: I would honestly just stay in Seoul. There is so, so much to do! Have two days for the various palaces, a day for Gangnam, a day for Insadong, and a day for Hongdae at the very least. These places are not super close to each other so it’s best to spend a day in one area at a time. If you are on the long end of this, a day-trip to Nami Island or Suwon might be a good option for you. Check out my 10 Days in Seoul Post!
10-18 Days: Keep around 9 days for Seoul and then start heading out and about. Maybe keep your base in Seoul to see Nami Island and Suwon. Then head down to Busan. Busan is a very spread out city so to see a lot of it, it’s best to have a few days. If not, I’ve done a whirlwind daytrip. I’d spend about 5 days here, and if you have the time a trip to Daegu on the way back to Seoul is a good idea.
18+ Days: Now you really have some options. I would still keep a lot of the time in Seoul and Busan, but now add some days on to see Jinju, Gyeongju, Namhae, Andong (I would give yourself three days here, I did it in two and felt very rushed due to infrequent buses), or even Jeju. Heck, you can even take a ferry to Japan from Busan so why not!
Below I have some other tips and information you might find useful! Just click on the Spoilers to reveal more 🙂
What Time to Visit
Where to Stay
Study Abroad Options
What to Buy
What to Pack
Annnnd….that’s it! Anything I missed? I hope this South Korea travel itinerary and tips has been useful!
Check out my other posts!