You want to visit South Korea and would like to have some help to organize your trip? Come on to have a look on my trip, to see the itinerary I’ve followed and my tips to get ready for yours.

GUIDES - SOUTH KOREA: just down below, you can find city guides of the full itinerary:
Seoul: 5 days to explore Seoul and its surrounding area
Busan: 2 days to visit Busan

South Korea - Seoul - Gwanghwamun Place South Korea - Seoul - Gyeongbokgung - lake South Korea - Busan - Gamcheon Culture Village South Korea - restaurant meal
Click to enlarge images.

Even though South Korea is not a very big country, it’s still interesting not to focus only on Seoul, but to also consider visiting Busan which is a seaside city and the second largest city of the country.

So I recommend staying at least an entire week to fully enjoy these two cities. In addition, going from city to city is really easy thanks to the KTX. It takes only 2 hours and 40 minutes to travel the 400 km that separate Seoul from Busan. And the other good news is that the train tickets are totally affordable compared to the train tickets in France (they have the exact same express trains than in France since South Korea bought them with Alstom!).

Tip: to get to Busan by train, you simply need to go to « Seoul Station ». Then head to the « train » section of the station and from there you can either buy your tickets directly from the machine or at the ticket booth. The day you’ll need to take the train, just be at the station 10 to 15 minutes before, you don’t need to go there too early because the platforms are displayed very late.

Map - South Korea, itinerary

When to go?

South Korea has a temperate climate, which means that winters are very cold and summers are very hot. That’s why spring and fall are the best periods to go. And of course try to avoid school holidays.


For a trip to South Korea, I recommend spending at least five days in Seoul and 2 days in Busan. In Seoul there are a lot of historic and cultural places to visit. And more than that, not far from Seoul is located the walled city of Suwon where you can easily spend an entire day because there are many activities to do. And Busan is a seaside town which is interesting to visit even though there’s not as much things to visit as in Seoul. That’s why 2 days are enough to see most of the city. But of course you can still spend more time in South Korea, whether in Seoul or in Busan, if you want to visit more things.

Schedule - South Korea, 1 week

Tip: most Koreans don’t speak English, that’s why it will be really difficult to ask for directions and most of the time they don’t even pay attention to you and don’t answer your questions. The best thing to do is to have a picture of the places you want to visit with the translation in Korean characters. But what’s even better is to find a tourist office because people there are really nice and will be really happy to help. But unfortunately you won’t find one everywhere, so when you find one, take as much information as you can!


Language barrier

First thing to know (and maybe the most important one), when travelling to South Korea, you won’t be able to communicate with people, except with people at the tourist office because nobody can speak English in the country. In other countries, even when people don’t speak English, they always try to help you the best they can. But don’t expect that in South Korea, not only they don’t speak english, but they will also ignore you even when you try to talk to them. But don’t be too pessimistic, you can still hope to be lucky to find someone who speaks English and who is willing to help (it happened to me twice during my 8 days trip!). So if you’re planning on going there, you’ll have to prepare your trip extremely well because you can’t count on asking people there.

Tip: you’ll might be able to see some young people who try to communicate with tourists via their mobile phones with google translation!


Second thing to know is that Koreans are really impolite people, and it even looks like it’s a lack of education (I still haven’t figured out if the issue is politeness or education). It’s really common to be pushed (in purpose) by someone, and I’m not talking about a simple bump, or to see someone walking on your feet. The worst thing about that, is that you’ll see in their eyes that it seems completely normal to them (don’t even try to look at them waiting for an apology, it’s a waste of time). So don’t travel to South Korea thinking that their population is as polite as their Japanese neighbors.


The local currency is the South Korean won. It’s a pretty weak currency. For example, a MRT (subway) trip costs approximately 1,300 won, which is about $1.

I recommend bringing cash there to change it at a currency exchange office. It’s quite easy to find one in Seoul.


South Korea’s public transportation in quite well developed. Whether in Seoul or in Busan. The subway (called MRT) is very convenient to explore the city because you can easily find your way on your own.

To go to Busan from Seoul, you’ll have several possibilities:

  • KTX: the journey takes about two and a half hours for about 40 000 won. You can take it at the subway station « Seoul Station ».
  • Bus: the trip takes about 4 hours for about 30 000 won. You can take it at the subway station « Express Bus Terminal Station ».


You can find some not too expensive hotels, either in Seoul or in Busan. But my advice is to book a room before going (and to print your confirmation voucher) because even in hotels, it’s common that the staff doesn’t speak English. So trying to explain that you need to book a room might be a bit complicated …

Tip: if you forget your phone charger, don’t worry, because in most hotels they provide a micro USB cable and a lightning cable in the room.


In restaurants, it’s always the same thing, no one speaks English and menus are only written in Korean language. So if you’re not too difficult with food, you can still look at the pictures without knowing what’s in the dish and keep it a surprise! About prices, it’s not too expensive. Most of the time, dishes cost about 7,000 to 8,000 won (about $7 to $8).

Otherwise, you can still go to eat fast food (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, …).

Tip: if you like Japanese food, you’ll find onigiris at every convenience stores (like 7-eleven, GS25 …). They are very cheap (and often discounted), about 700 won for one and they are also easy to carry out as they are packed into a plastic bag.

Thanks for reading :)