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How much of South Korea can you see in 10 days? Well, quite a bit if you follow this itinerary which is how I spent my 10 days in South Korea!
I went 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.
I felt like I saw a lot but in no way felt too rushed and seeing both the North and the South of the Country plus an island gave me a great overview of what South Korea is all about. So here’s how to spend 10 days in South Korea visiting Busan, Jeju Island and Seoul.
Busan in the very South of South Korea is a great City to start your trip to South Korea 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.
Where to Stay in Busan
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 Haeundae, 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.
Things To Do in Busan
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 metro 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 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.
The top 2 beaches I recommend visiting in Busan 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 more of a hike 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!
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!
Flying from Busan to Jeju City
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. I flew 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. 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 10 days in South Korea.
Where to Stay in Jeju Island
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 see the island that way, the best place to stay in Jeju Island for me was Jeju City and this is where I’d recommend any backpackers stay on Jeju Island.
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.
Things To Do on Jeju Island
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.
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.
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!
Flying from Jeju to Seoul
I also flew with Jeju Air booked through Value Alliance to get to Seoul. 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 of South Korea! 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 full days in Seoul which was good amount however 2 days in Seoul would have been enough too.
Where to Stay in Seoul
Seoul is such a big city with so many areas to stay in. I stayed near Hongdae which is a popular area to stay in as its slightly further out so accommodation is a bit cheaper 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!
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.
I stayed at Gateway Korea Guesthouse and despite the good reviews, I didn’t like it!
Things To Do in Seoul
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 Seoul actually has a lot of free places to visit. For more information read this post – Free and Budget things to do in Seoul that you cannot miss. It includes going to Namsan Park to Seoul Tower, visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace– the main palace in Seoul and eating amazing street food at Tongin Market.
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 visiting 3 places works really well and I think you’d be pushing it trying to see anymore.
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, other places you could visit in South Korea are and places I would like to visit on a return trip are:
Enjoy Your Trip!
For more of my posts from South Korea see:
This post contains affiliate links but at no extra cost to you. 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!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.