If it’s your first time to Seoul and wondering how to reach the city cheaply, you can take the airport bus. Find airport express bus counter after exiting from customs declaration and before getting out of the terminal. I took mine at KRW9,000, from Incheon Airport to Shinsegae Department Store (Times Square). The trip took around 1.5 hours with a rather slow and safe bus driver.
Being in a country of foreign language, it’s important to know your location and destination. Remember to take picture of the bus information stand at the bus stop stated on your ticket. The bus will announce every next station that they are stopping but does not stop if no one rings the bell or stood up. With this picture, you can refer to the bus stop point to know how many station more to alight at your station. Don’t fall asleep unless you are certain that it’s a long trip!
You can leave your luggage at the bottom of the bus and you will be given a luggage number tag to identify your luggage. So you don’t need to worry about other people taking your luggage.
Subway travel card
If you want to travel the cute way, go to Family Mart to buy cute top-up travel card for KRW8,000 (non-refundable). It will not be expired and if not used, can be treated as souvenier or accessories. It’s sold as Hello Kitty, Rilakuma, and Angry Bird. It also contain a Swarovski’s cut crystal.
Otherwise, go for the traditional single journey card or day passes. We took the single journey pass which you can only buy from machines with KRW500 refundable deposit.
Getting around with taxi
If you’re carrying too much or legs too numbed from long walks, you may consider taking a taxi. The normal sedan taxi fare starts at KRW2,400 for first 2 kms and adds KRW100 for every subsequent 144 meters. You may first estimate the fare based on google map’s estimated km.
Generally, it’s around the same price as Singapore. If you have friends to share, why not?
Myeongdong 명동 (明洞)
This is a one of Seoul’s main shopping area. What best to shop here? Mainly facial products, cosmetics, and accessories. Most of the Korean facial product brands you need, you will get it from this place.
To get here by subway: Myeongdong Station (Line 4), Exit 6, Turn left.
You don’t need to worry if you can speak Chinese. Most salesgirls knows Chinese.
Note: Even if you enter to the 2 different shop of the same brand, you may get different promotions. Some shops give better promotion than others and you can negotiate for more free samples at some shops.
Dongdaemun 동대문 （东大門）
A place for clothes and accessories shopping. They are all in many floors of buildings, such as Doota, APM, and Migliore, all on the same road. It seems that Migliore’s prices are lower than the rest of the complexes. The prices that they quote can still be bargained lower by KRW2,000 to maybe half of the initial quoted price. I was warned, bargain only if you’re interested to buy. You won’t want their faces or Korean language to spoil your day.
To get here by subway: Dongdaemun History & Cultural Park (Line 2, 4, or 5), Exit 13 or 14.
General operating hours: 10:30 – 04:30 (yes, 04:30 a.m.) but varies among different complexes.
A royal palace located in north of Seoul, South Korea. One of the main attraction of Seoul. There is also a museum in the Palace that explains Seoul’s history.
To get here by subway: Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3)
This place is known as cultural street where you can see many shops selling antiques and artworks. Most of all are Korean souvenirs. You can also find traditional Korean food.
To get her by subway: Anguk Station (Line 3)
This is a man-made river of 8.4km long in Seoul city. It’s a place that you can sit down and relax a little water and green scenery in the middle of high rise office buildings.
You will pass by it if you walk from Insadong to Myeongdong.
Gangnam Underground Shopping Arcade (Gangnam jihasang-ga) 강남지하상가
One of the underground shopping. It’s newly refurbished with air-conditioned for comfortable shopping. Here they sell many of clothes (men, women, kids), shoes, to household items, garden items, etc. You can spend more than half a day here.
I prefer this place to Dongdaemun as the prices quote are already at a lower price with similar range of varieties. You will get your item at better price without the need to bargain alot.
To get here by subway: Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 3, 7 or 9)
Gwanghwamun 광화문 (光化門）
Gwanghwamun is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace. This place also exhibits history of King Sejong, a King who created Korean language characters.
To get here by subway: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5)
It’s free to walk around the square but you may also enter the King Sejong’s museum below his statue.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 – 22:30; Closed on Monday.
Admission fee: Free
On your way to the square, you will see this cute Haechi, a symbol of Seoul. You can buy its soft toys and souvenirs from the shop.
Utopia Spa 유토피아 스파
A 24 hours spa place where you can massage, sauna, watch tv, do nothing, sleep, etc.