Let me give you the scenario:
I have only been in Korea for a few weeks and am super eager to explore.
I learn that Chuseok (one of the two main Korean holidays) gives us an extra long weekend and plenty of travel time.
I have not been paid yet at this point and don’t have anything in my Korean bank account… and very little in my wallet.
I wanted to see Seoul which is on the other side of Korea from where I live…
Go to Seoul the ridiculously cheap way!
I am here to tell you that it is possible to travel to Seoul for less than $300 and have an out-of-this-world-awesome time! Here are 5 tips (heavily sprinkled with anecdotal details):
- Take the cheap train! We took the slow overnight train. So we left late Tuesday (11pm) and got to Seoul around 4:30am. Was this conducive to healthy sleep schedule? No. Was it a blast? Let me answer that question by saying there were lots of snacks, giggles, and singing in the mini Norebang involved. It was a fantastic choice!! If I had the money, I think the KTX (their fast train) would be worth it because its so much faster but I was able to get a ticket for only $28! So less then $60 round trip! It just takes a little of hide and seek to find the good deals.
- Use Airbnb to find a super cheap place to stay! I paid $55 dollars for three nights. I think this was the place… I love hostels because they are so cheap and you often meet some pretty cool people! I met some cool people from Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, China and a couple of other places that I forgot. Some of them even joined our group for sight seeing a couple of days!
- Find the free stuff!! Because we went during such a big holiday some of the palaces were letting people in for free. Gyeongbukgung Palace was absolutely beautiful with gorgeous grounds stretching out in every direction. The detail of the paintings were stunning and it was sandwiched between hazy green mountains and silvery skyscrapers. Classic Korea. This was just one thing but there are so many classes, events and random free stuff in Seoul that its worth doing a little research and finding enough so you can help.
- Eat the street food! It’s delicious so I would want to anyways but it’s also pretty cheap and depending on what you get can be super filling! Walking through Hongdae at night with freshly made hot food with all the lights and live music… one of my favorite things! Hongdae is also amazing for the cafes! We went to a raccoon cafe (less then $2 total if you get the cheapest drink!) here and it was a couple hours of pure awesome! The furry little creatures kept going for people’s drinks and phones, it was hilarious! The energy in Hongdae is amazing and the nightlife is crazy awesome!
- And something I have mentioned throughout this post-travel with friends. I traveled with a group I had met through EPIK Orientation and they are a group of fantastic human beings! We actually ran into lots of EPIK teacher there so it got to be quite the party! Traveling in a group like this not only makes the trip lots of fun but also let’s you split all the costs (for room, food, taxis etc!). On top of that, the people in your group may have connections (“I have this one friend we can stay with”) or may know about more stuff that slipped through your research (Thanks to all my friends who brought me along for the free events!!)
What else did we do? We went to the Eye Trick Museum ($14) and spent a whole morning laughing and taking ridiculous pictures. And we ate food in Itewon (that’s the foreign section of Seoul so it’s filled with foods we hadn’t seen in a while) like Burritos!! It was exciting!!
And made so many memories. This trip was a fantastic decision and I will definitely be back.
Want to see a clip of our time there? Check it out!