From Busan 부산 to Seoul 서울: Top itinerary to discover South Korea
Part. 2: Daegu 태구 & Seoul 서
We are back with the second part of the itinerary to discover South Korea, this time we will focus on Daegu and Seoul. The first part of the itinerary included Busan and Gyeongju. Let’s dive into our itinerary!
To proceed in our itinerary from where we left off, it’s possible to reach Daegu 태구 from Gyeongju by taking a bus. Daegu is a city located in the South of South Korea, slightly North - West of Busan and it’s surrounded by low mountains. It’s the fourth largest city of the country, whose history traces back to the prehistoric period.
Through the centuries, Daegu has been an important center for agricultural production and inland transportation. Nowadays, it is an international and industrial city, as well as the hometown of two members of the worldwide famous k-pop band BTS: Suga (Min Yoongi) and V (Kim Taehyung).
Daegu is a very lively and big city, which offers any kind of service and entertainment.
In our itinerary we will stop very shortly in Daegu, just one day, so I will illustrate how you could productively take advantage of your 1 - day experience in the city.
First of all, the city offers a wide range of alternatives when it comes to finding the best accomodation. A good idea would be to choose an accommodation located in Jung-gu (중구) district, a central area of the city. Aside from hotels and b&bs, there are many nice and comfortable airbnbs scattered all around the city, such as the one in the pictures.
If you are looking for a place to stay, I suggest you:
Jung-gu, Daegu, South Korea Air b&b, click on the link below!
Considering that you have just one day to enjoy the city, you could head to Apsan park and go for a hike. It shouldn’t take more than 30 - 40 minutes to climb to the top of the mountain or you could take the cable car. Otherwise, another option is heading to the city center and strolling in the commercial streets of Daegu, full of shops and cafés. At night, the best option would be to try out some of the specialties of the city, such as Makchang 막창 grilled pork intestines. This dish is delicious and if you particularly enjoy eating entrails, then you won’t regret trying this delicacy. Why not ending the day in a KTV or 노래방 Noraebang? In fact, karaoke is spread in South Korea as well and it’s easy to find many karaoke rooms in every city. It’s not hard to find more reputable Noraebang than others. If you don’t think it’s a good choice as you fear singing in public, you might be surprised and find out that karaoke is actually a very fun way of spending time with your friends.
Even though the proposed itinerary just lasts one day, three to four days would be an ideal amount of time to fully enjoy Daegu.
The last stop of our itinerary will be the capital: Seoul, which can be easily reached from Daegu by train. It’s a very impressive city, surrounded by low mountains, where modernity and history mix together. My advice is to make a small plan of the places you wish to visit, in order to be able to fully enjoy your time in Seoul.
| Bongeunsa Temple 봉은사 |
Let’s start from Bongeunsa Temple 봉은사, a gem nestled in the city center. The big temple complex is located North of the Starfield COEX Mall in Gangam neighborhood.
I highly recommend taking a walk inside of the temple, where you can also admire a 28 meter Buddha Maitreya statue. It’s an oasis of peace inside of the city center and twice everyday the monks of the temple perform a percussion ceremony, which is quite impressive.
| Starfield COEX Mall |
Afterwards you could head to Starfield COEX Mall just to have a walk inside and explore this quite interesting shopping mall. It is very big and inside you can also admire the Starfield COEX Library, where you can sit and take a break.
If you are a fan of K-pop, it might be interesting to visit the SMTown@Coex Artium, directly accessible from Starfield COEX Mall, to visit SMTown museum. The museum offers a panoramic on the history of SMTown artists, interactive experiences and you can also buy some souvenirs at the end of the tour.
| Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁 |
On your second day in Seoul, you could take advantage of the morning to go and visit Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁, which was built by King Taejo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1897). To make the experience even more authentic, many tourists like to rent Korean traditional costumes before going inside (also because this grants you a free entrance to the palace).
There are several small shops where you can rent Korean traditional costumes for a very reasonable price. It’s also quite fun as it gives the impression of being back in time! The palace itself is very big and it’s a place that you shouldn’t miss when you visit Seoul, as it’s a very important historical site.
| Seongbuk-Dong Neighborhood 성북동 |
After visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, you could take a walk in the Seongbuk-Dong Neighborhood 성북동, located not far from the palace. This area of the city is characterized by many cafés, restaurants and Korean traditional style houses. Pairing a visit to the palace to the Seongbuk-Dong neighborhood afterwards, it’s a very good choice.
Apart from the history and culture of this incredible country, if you go there you shouldn’t miss a night-out in Seoul. The city offers a wide range of options, such as Itaewon, Gangnam or Hongdae and it’s fun to see how a city changes at night. It also makes the experience more complete, in my opinion. How not to mention all the delicacies you could try out? Such as Mandu 만두, Kimbap 김밥, Bibimbap 비빔밥 and the list goes on.
| Ihwa Mural Village 이화 벽화마을 |
Another place that you shouldn’t miss is Ihwa Mural Village 이화 벽화마을, located on Naksan Mountain. As the whole village is located on a mountain, it is full of stairs that you have to climb to get on the top.
The murals are all over the village: on the stairs, walls and sidewalks. It is also full of small shops and cafés, moreover many k-dramas have been shot there.
While walking inside of the village, you can spot the exact places where specific scenes have been shot as they are signaled. It’s such a colorful place and when you get on the top you can have a breathtaking view over Seoul.
|THE N SEOUL TOWER 서울타워 |
The N Seoul Tower 서울타워 is another obligatory stop when you are in town. The tower is located on the Namsan Mountain and it has become the symbol of the city. It’s a very romantic place, so if you are traveling with your partner (actually it’s quite easy to find perfect places for couples in Seoul) visiting Namsan Tower could be a good choice. Visiting the tower at night is a good option, as you have a view on the city at night. At the bottom of the tower there is a whole space with several different attractions and restaurants. An elevator will take you to the top of the tower.
According to this itinerary the time spent in Seoul will be three whole days, however, this city offers so much that you could as well spend 20 days there and never get bored.
Our itinerary has come to an end! We hope that you enjoyed this article and that it might be helpful for someone who is planning to visit South Korea in the future. South Korea is a very fascinating place, every city offers many interesting spots for the curious adventurer. Wish you all to get the chance to visit such a beautiful country!
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