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How much of South Korea can you see in 10 days? Well, quite a bit if you follow this South Korea itinerary which is how I spent my 10 days in Korea!
I went to the best places in Korea from the South of South Korea in Busan, to Jeju Island– one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World before heading to the Capital City of Seoul.
If you’re thinking, is 2 weeks in Korea enough? Well, I can tell you that in 10 days I felt like I saw a lot on this Korea travel trip but it didn’t feel rushed.
I think this is the best South Korea itinerary for 10 days because seeing both the North and the South of the country, plus an island, gave me a good overview of what Korea travel is all about. So in this South Korea Travel Blog, here’s your South Korea 10 days itinerary visiting Busan, Jeju Island and Seoul, including details on where to go in Seoul as this is one big and amazing city to navigate!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR SOUTH KOREA!
First up, have you got travel insurance for your Korea trip yet? I am covered by World Nomads who I recommend because they are designed by travellers, for travellers, have excellent customer service and a choice of policies.
Get a free quote for them here whilst you’re thinking about it:
SIM CARD FOR SOUTH KOREA
I didn’t find the wifi in South Korea the best so I think it’s good to have a local sim card so you have constant internet access.
The best way to get a sim card for South Korea if your phone is unlocked is to buy this Prepaid Sim Card in advance with unlimited data and pick it up in Seoul or Busan Airport.
If your phone is locked or you don’t want to go to the hassle of getting a sim card, I suggest getting a portable wifi device for South Korea which you can get delivered to your home free of charge 2-3 days before you leave for Korea.
Busan, in the very South of South Korea, is a great City to start your Korea itinerary in. It’s very chilled and located right on the ocean making it a really unique place in South Korea and this side of Asia to visit.
Side note – If you would rather start your South Korea holiday in Seoul, you can just reverse this South Korea itinerary so the Seoul itinerary is at the start. Or, if flights work better for you to arrive in Seoul first, you can fly in and then get a train from Seoul to Busan to start with and then end doing the Seoul travel parts!
Seen as Busan has many beaches it would seem a shame not to stay close to one of them, that’s what I thought anyway, so I stayed near Haedundae Beach which is one of the main and most popular beaches in Busan.
I stayed at Maya Guesthouse which I really recommend if you’re looking for one of the best hostels in Busan, it has dorm rooms and budget private rooms, it’s in a great location, clean with friendly staff and it’s only small.
As Haeundae is a popular area to stay in Busan there are many hotels, The Westin Hotel is more upmarket and is in a great location right on and overlooking the beach. Hotel Laon will also give you sea view rooms. JB Design Hotel offers nice rooms for a good price.
For all Hotels and Hostels around Haeundae Beach, have a look here on Booking.com which is what I use to book all of my accommodation.
Airbnb is super popular in South Korea too. To get £25.00 / $30.00 off your South Korea stay, create a NEW AIRBNB ACCOUNT USING THIS LINK! It’s totally fine to create a new account and this help you save money in South Korea and spend it on the amazing South Korean food instead!
Busan is great for walking and taking in Nature but bare in mind that it can take a while to get to places in Busan. The best way to get around Busan is by metro which is really good but often buses are needed to get you to where you need to go after getting off the metro.
To use the Metro and Buses in Busan it’s best to get a T Money card, you can get them at supermarkets like 7/11, in the stations or online in advance for the same price as once you’re there if you like to be organised. They save you money on travel and make it so much easier not needing to buy single tickets. Plus, the T Money cards work in all of South Korea’s big Cities so once you’ve got it it will cover you for the rest of this 10 day trip to Korea.
The top 2 beaches in Busan, I recommend visiting are Haeundae Beach and Gwangalli Beach. Both are filled with restaurants, cafes and coffee shops nearby.
If you want to go for a walk head to Dongbaek Park which is at the end of Haeundae Beach and is great for a little coastal walk in Busan.
If you want to go hiking in Busan head to Taejongdae Park.
Related Post: If you enjoy cycling here’s everything you need to know about South Korea by bike!
Not far from Taejongdae park is Busan Tower with an Observatory deck. Tickets for the observatory deck are pretty cheap and it provides amazing views over Busan on a clear day.
The top tourist attraction in Busan is Gamcheon Culture Village which I really recommend going to. For details on what Gamcheon Culture Village is and how to get there, have a read of my full post here, but essentially if you’ve seen photos of a hillside full of colourful buildings in Busan like the below photo, that’s the culture village in Busan!
For what to do in Busan, not far from Gamcheon Culture Village is BIFF Square, getting its name from Busan International Film Festival. I didn’t find it to be that exciting but there’s some street food on offer and some restaurants. Nearby is also Gukje Market and Nampodong Street. All of these 3 places are great to team up with the Culture Village as they’re close by and easy to see in one day in Busan.
More things to do in Busan include it’s 3 Skywalks. These look cool online but I read on other blogs that once there they don’t take long to visit and they take quite a while to get to via bus so I decided not to go!
Oryukdo Skywalk is very popular in Busan. This takes about 1 hour to get to by bus from Busan Station which is the nearest metro station I read, however, if you go to take in more of the Oryukdo Islands it’s probably worth it and it does look really cool on a nice day.
The second Skywalk is Songdo Skywalk by Songdo Beach which opened as South Korea’s longest curved sea pathway and looks like it has a lot going on!
The third one Cheongsapo Daritdol Skywalk is only small but it is close to Haeundae Beach so if you’re staying there it will be fairly easy to visit.
Korea is known for its nightlife and Busan is no exception, whether you’re travelling to Busan as a group or perhaps you’re alone and want to experience the nightlife, have a look at this pub crawl in Busan which happens every Friday and Saturday night!
If you have limited time in Busan and want to do a tour or want to learn more about Busan through a guide, have a look at one of these tours!
Travel Insurance for South Korea
Have you got travel insurance for your South Korea trip yet? I am insured with World Nomad’s who I really like because they designed by travellers, for travellers. I have always had a good experience with them and you can even purchase insurance with them when you’re away! Whilst you’re thinking about it, get a quote from them here!
Busan’s Airport – Gimhae International Airport (PUS) is easy to reach from Busan City using the Metro. Busan’s Domestic Airport is also right next door using the same metro stop.
This makes it really easy to fly internally from Busan to Jeju Island and makes it easier if you don’t have as much time like 3 weeks in South Korea or even 2 weeks in South Korea.
I flew to Jeju Island from Busan with Jeju Air which I booked using Value Alliance– the world’s first low-cost carrier alliance comprising of many airlines such as Jeju Air, Nok Air and Scoot meaning you can get the cheapest fare’s around Asia possible!
I paid £44.00 from Busan to Jeju including 15kg of check-in luggage! The flight time is just one hour from Busan to Jeju City, we left on time and arrived on time and the seatbelt sign was off for a mere 10 minutes only, that’s how fast it was!
Side note – Gimhae Domestic Airport has plenty of places to get Coffee before going through security and after but keep in mind that there’s no real food once you go through so be sure to get this outside. It’s also a very small terminal and it doesn’t take long to get through.
To SEE Jeju Island and my South Korea trip, check out my YouTube videos:
Jeju Island is one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world so you know that this is one of the top places to go in Korea. I feel like you need more than one week in South Korea to visit here unless you just visit Seoul and Jeju- which is a popular one week itinerary for South Korea.
However, it is a must visit place in South Korea full of history and natural beauty and I’m really glad I went during my ten day South Korea itinerary and I’d especially recommend it for 14 days in Korea too.
Jeju Island is actually quite big – 1.18 times as big as London and 3 times as big as Seoul and Singapore!
As a solo traveller to Jeju who wasn’t going to hire a car and did day trips instead, the best place to stay in Jeju Island for me was Jeju City and this is where I’d recommend any South Korea backpackers stay on Jeju Island too.
Jeju Airport is right in Jeju City and there’s a good bus connection between the City and the Airport. I caught bus 265 20 minutes from the Airport to my hostel – Rainbow In Guesthouse which I’d really recommend staying in, it’s in a good location, has nice staff, a kitchen, good common areas and is just a nice place to be!
Aside from Seoul and Busan, Jeju has the most hotels and accommodation in the country so there’s plenty of places to book, you can have a look on Booking.com here for more places.
There’s a lot to see and do on Jeju Island – Mountains, Coastlines, Museums and Waterfalls to name a few, and as a solo traveller visiting Jeju not wanting to hire a car, day trips around Jeju Island were the best way to see the island.
I took 2 day trips – the West Tour and the South Tour (there’s also an East Tour). All tours run on different days, for example, most companies only seem to run the West tour on a Wednesday and then the East or South on a Thursday.
I went out on a West Tour with Yeha Tours and South Tour over my 2 days on Jeju Island. Although everywhere we visited was very touristy, these day tours were definitely the best way to see the island and most importantly learn about the island which is fascinating with so much history and culture so keep this in mind when thinking about what to do in Jeju Island.
You can read more about the tours in this post, and see the West and East tour that Yeha Tours offer here:
If you are confident in hiring a car around Jeju then you should as it will mean you can see a lot more of the island and in your own time. If you want to get an idea of how much it will cost to hire a car on Jeju, have a look on Rental Cars here which search through all of the best rental companies around the world.
With that being said, both of my guides said there are a lot of car accidents caused by tourists on Jeju Island (mostly Korean tourists I believe) so do be careful!
If you’re looking for a 10 day South Korea itinerary for winter, you may need to switch Jeju Island to another place to visit in Korea as it does get cold on the island and tourism does start to close I heard.
I also flew with Jeju Air from Jeju Island to Seoul booked through Value Alliance to start my Seoul trip. This is actually the busiest air route in the world with flights leaving on average every 15 minutes between Seoul and Jeju!
I paid £51.00 including 15kg of luggage but because it’s such a popular flight route if you are flexible with when you fly you can get some really good deals between Seoul and Jeju Island. The flight was really quick at 1 hour 10 minutes and a short metro ride from Gimpo Airport (GMP) takes you right into the City of Seoul!
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea and I really enjoyed this City. It’s big but not too overpowering, it has plenty to see and do but doesn’t leave you running around like a mad person trying to see it all. It’s cool and modern but also traditional. Plus with a great metro system, it’s easy to get around!
I had 3 days in Seoul and 4 nights which was good amount however 2 days in Seoul would have been enough too.
Seoul is such a big city with so many areas to stay in. I stayed near Hongdae which is a popular area of Seoul to stay in as its slightly further out so accommodation is a bit cheaper which will help with your trip to Kore cost, and Hongdae is full of cool shops and restaurants.
Myeongdong is another popular area to stay in. It’s much more central and close to the Seoul Tower. The streets here are full of high street shops and street food stands.
If you fancy a bit of Gangnam Style then you could stay in the neighbourhood of Gangnam and look up hotels on Booking.com here!
How to get around Seoul is easy because the metro is Seoul is really good so as long as you’re staying near a metro station it doesn’t matter if you stay a bit further out from the centre as you can still get into the city easily and the city is pretty spread out anyway.
Seoul has lots of Airbnb options too and remember you can get £25.00 / $30.00 off your Seoul trip stay by creating a NEW AIRBNB ACCOUNT USING THIS LINK! It’s totally fine to create a new account and this help you save money in South Korea and spend it on the amazing food in Seoul instead!
Firstly you’ll need a T Money card in Seoul to use public transport. You can buy single tickets but having a reloadable card is much easier and more efficient.
My focus on what to do in Seoul revolved around free and budget activities and there are actually lots of free places to visit in Seoul. For more information read this post – Free and Budget things to do in Seoul that you cannot miss.
It includes the top places to visit in Seoul like going to Namsan Park to Seoul Tower, visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace– the main palace in Seoul and eating amazing Seoul street food at Tongin Market.
A popular day tour from Seoul is a tour of the DMZ to get as close to North Korea as possible without visiting is a must do day tour from Seoul! I really enjoyed it, I learned so much and it really opened my eyes to what is happening. It was also a weirdly enjoyable few hours.
Seoul is full of fantastic restaurants and there are lots of rooftop bars in Seoul too so be sure to check them out if that’s the kind of thing you like!
There are so many more places to visit in South Korea but with 10 days Korea, visiting 3 places works really well and I think you’d be pushing it trying to see anymore so save that for next time when you have 14 days in Korea.
South Korea does have a great train and bus system though and the Country is not that big so it’s quick to get around. If you don’t fancy flying to Jeju Island or going to Busan, or maybe you have two weeks in South Korea in Autumn or Spring, other places you could visit in South Korea are and places I would like to visit on a return trip are:
Enjoy Your Trip to Korea!
For more of my posts from South Korea see:
I worked in collaboration with Value Alliance on my flights to Jeju island but all thoughts and opinions are my own and I recommend them as a company to use.
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
JANUARY-MARCH: INDIA FOR MY GROUP TOURS!
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