Travel South Korea

juss

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Heading to South Korea in May, itinerary break down number of nights is below

Seoul 3 > Jeju Island 3 > Busan 3 > Gyeongju 2 > Seoul 3
Need to be in Seoul twice as that's our flights there and home. Planning day trips to Suwon and Nami Island so realistically only about 4 days in Seoul.

Any thoughts tips? Places I'm staying too long or not enough? Only have 14 nights and trying to fit a few places in to get some different experiences.
 

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Great8

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#2
Seems to be a place you either love or hate. I would have to say South Korea is one of the places I’ve least enjoyed but plenty of people absolutely love it
 

raskolnikov

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#4
Seems to be a place you either love or hate. I would have to say South Korea is one of the places I’ve least enjoyed but plenty of people absolutely love it
I didn't mind South Korea so much, but the job stank. Did a midnight run after a few months and went to Taiwan which I loved, country and job.
 

Sydneyfan

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#5
That itinerary seems like a good schedule to see plenty of Korea in a short time period. Jeju is nice but you kind of need a car or your own transport (tour or personal driver) as most sites of interest are a fair distance from each other and the public transport isn’t as terrific as elsewhere in Korea. Plenty to see and do in Seoul and surrounds, and Busan and Gyeongju are must-gos. Suwon is worth the visit too though can be as a day trip from Seoul as it’s only an hour away and Hwaseong Fortress is its main (only) attraction and go can do the whole circuit in two-three hours at a leisurely pace taking photos.

I’d definitely recommend the royal palaces and gardens in Seoul, Gyeongju’s many historic sites, Haeundae Beach in Busan, the DMZ (need to organise through a tour), and a few Buddhist temples whilst you’re there.

Korea is an intriguing place, much easier to get around and navigate in English now than in the place. Food is great but not to everyone’s taste, but you should find plenty of things you like. That said, a lot of Korea’s best aspects open up more if you have some knowledge of Korean or friends over there but I had friends/family members go over, get around relatively easily and have a nice time without any Korean language skills.

I was there 2003-10 and visited 2016 during my honeymoon. It’s a little flasher and brasher than it was but behind the veneer still very similar. 24/7 nightlife wherever you are and always something open. Many people are not openly friendly or warm to strangers and still tend to be wary, untrusting of outsiders but you should have plenty of good experiences touring, people helping you with directions, etc. On the flip side, you’ll probably encounter at least a few people who are super friendly - some are genuinely nice people who are happy to practice some English with you; some also would like to tell you about God. Take the good with the strange, odd, not so good as it’s part of the experience. Plenty to see and do, quick and easy to travel; and relatively affordable.

Good luck with your trip!
 

juss

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That itinerary seems like a good schedule to see plenty of Korea in a short time period. Jeju is nice but you kind of need a car or your own transport (tour or personal driver) as most sites of interest are a fair distance from each other and the public transport isn’t as terrific as elsewhere in Korea. Plenty to see and do in Seoul and surrounds, and Busan and Gyeongju are must-gos. Suwon is worth the visit too though can be as a day trip from Seoul as it’s only an hour away and Hwaseong Fortress is its main (only) attraction and go can do the whole circuit in two-three hours at a leisurely pace taking photos.

I’d definitely recommend the royal palaces and gardens in Seoul, Gyeongju’s many historic sites, Haeundae Beach in Busan, the DMZ (need to organise through a tour), and a few Buddhist temples whilst you’re there.

Korea is an intriguing place, much easier to get around and navigate in English now than in the place. Food is great but not to everyone’s taste, but you should find plenty of things you like. That said, a lot of Korea’s best aspects open up more if you have some knowledge of Korean or friends over there but I had friends/family members go over, get around relatively easily and have a nice time without any Korean language skills.

I was there 2003-10 and visited 2016 during my honeymoon. It’s a little flasher and brasher than it was but behind the veneer still very similar. 24/7 nightlife wherever you are and always something open. Many people are not openly friendly or warm to strangers and still tend to be wary, untrusting of outsiders but you should have plenty of good experiences touring, people helping you with directions, etc. On the flip side, you’ll probably encounter at least a few people who are super friendly - some are genuinely nice people who are happy to practice some English with you; some also would like to tell you about God. Take the good with the strange, odd, not so good as it’s part of the experience. Plenty to see and do, quick and easy to travel; and relatively affordable.

Good luck with your trip!
Great advice thank you.
Jeju I am most unsure about, I need to fly in and out so risk wasting time at airports if delays etc, I'm contemplating missing it and spending more time on the mainland but everywhere I read lists the island as a must do
 

Sydneyfan

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#7
The island is very nice, semi-tropical with nice beaches and scenery non-existent on mainland Korea but I’d say you could give it miss unless you were dying to get there as though it’s nice, going there will shorten the amount of time to see things on the peninsula.
 

juss

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The island is very nice, semi-tropical with nice beaches and scenery non-existent on mainland Korea but I’d say you could give it miss unless you were dying to get there as though it’s nice, going there will shorten the amount of time to see things on the peninsula.
If I gave it a miss I'd have 3 nights spare, any suggestions of what to add or should I just spend more time in my current places?
 

Sydneyfan

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#9
I’d probably spend 5-6 days in Seoul doing a day trip to Suwon. Chuncheon is also a nice spot to visit from Seoul. Then go to Jeonju (the 1st city I lived in in Korea) for a day or two and stay near the Hanok Village, it’s a great spot and try to get to one of the mountains nearby such as Maisan by bus.

You could stay three days in Gyeongju to see the sites around town then catch up Bulguksa temple and some of the other sites further afield; and three days in Busan then head back to Seoul to catch anything you missed or would like to check out.

My wife & I did six towns in Korea in 14 days during our honeymoon (granted two of those of six were other cities I lived in and was purely to see mates, see the old stomping ground) and managed to fit a lot in.

If you still keen to check out Jeju, I’d say go ahead just try to organise a tour bus like this : https://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/jeju-golden-city-tour-bus-jeju-island-hop-on-hop-off, otherwise you’ll spend a chunk of your flagging down cabs or on buses communicating with drivers with little English.
 
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