29th Jan 2020
Photo of I SEOUL U - A SOLO GIRL'S GUIDE by Pallavi Todi
Day 1
Photo of Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi

After having seen tons of k-dramas for the past decade and a recent Army convert (kpop group BTS's fan club), I treated myself to a solo trip as a birthday gift to this enigmatic city. I was quite nervous embarking on this trip as it would be my first trip by myself and to a country whose language I don't speak. Nevertheless, the adrenalin from travelling to a new country soon took over and I found myself loving the experience!

I had done quite a bit of research on getting to the city from the airport and that was a great help! You can easily get a ride to the main city by the airport buses which were so convenient and inexpensive. Luckily for me the bus dropped me literally in front of my hotel (I had no idea about the bus stop while making the reservation!). My reservation was at the Hotel Aventree Jongno for 6 nights for which I paid INR 23,500. I chose this hotel for its location and price, it is located right opposite Jogyesa Temple, a 10 minutes walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace and a 20 minutes walk from Myeongdong.

After a small nap, the first thing on my agenda was to get a local sim, which proved to be quite difficult as I was facing language issues. Thankfully a gentleman who understood some English directed me to a 7-eleven where I was able to purchase a tourist sim. It is very important to download this app called Naver Maps as Google maps is not as informative in Seoul. I first made my way to check out Myeongdong. Just taking in those busy streets with k-beauty shops was super cool.

I then caught a bus to Namsan Tower to see the sunset and the lovelock bridge. The winter evening was so peaceful and the place gave a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Definitely take the ropeway back to the city as the views are not to be missed.

A great tip I received from a fellow traveller was to purchase the T-Money card at a nearby convenience store. The card is needed to travel on the subway and can be used for all transport purposes and even at grocery stores. Be sure to check out Seoul's subway system. It was super easy to navigate and had signs everywhere in English as well.

Photo of Namsan Tower, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi
Day 2
Photo of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi

The second day started super early as I was extremely excited to see the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was a beautiful ceremony to witness. From there I made my way to the heritage Bukchon Hanok Village. The walk from the Palace to the Village is barely 10 minutes and one you will enjoy.

Photo of Bukchon Hanok Village, 계동길 Gahoe-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi

Don't miss out on visiting Insadong after the Bukchon Village tour. A beautiful street to walk on with tucked cafes and shops selling souvenirs. Do remember to pick some gifts for friends and family from here, you will be spoilt for choice.

Being an avid book reader I had heard about a huge library in a mall in Seoul. COEX Mall was my next destination, and what was even better was that it was located in the popular district of Gangnam! (remember the popular Psy song, Gangnam Style).

Photo of COEX Mall, Yeongdong-daero, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi
Photo of COEX Mall, Yeongdong-daero, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi
Day 3

The plan for Day 3 was to explore Hongdae and Mapo. Hongdae was such a delight to explore, bustling streets full of youngsters and cute cafes. Hongdae has tons of themed cafes, definitely include them in your itinerary.

Photo of Ewha Womans University, Ewhayeodae-gil, Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi

That evening I booked myself a pub crawl as Hongdae is known for its nightlife and it would also be a new experience for me to check out the city's nightlife.

Day 4

After a hungover morning, I decided to take it a little easy and just head to spots recommended by some friends. The first stop on the list was Common Ground. A small shopping arcade built with containers. It was such a hip place with cafes in libraries and some cool shops.

Photo of Common Ground, Shing Wong Street, Central, Hong Kong by Pallavi Todi

I then headed to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. That area was so touristy that I also saw Indians there! It also is surrounded by some of the biggest malls in Seoul. Don't miss out on trying this local dessert called Bingsu at Sulbing located near Dongdaemun. The picture will just make your mouth water.

Photo of Sulbing, Eulji-ro, Euljiro 6(yuk)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi
Day 5

Day 5 began super early for me at 6 am as I had booked a tour to Nami Island that morning. Being a die-hard k-drama lover, I had to go on this tour as so many different dramas have been shot in this picturesque location. The winter snow was just an added element that made this place even more stunning.

Photo of Nami Island, Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea by Pallavi Todi
Day 6

Finally, my last day had arrived in Seoul. It also happened to be my birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a food tour experiencing Seoul's culinary delights. I booked my tour with Secret Food Tours Seoul. They were the only food tour I found that was taking us to Netflix lady (from the popular Netflix show Street Foods: Asia) at Gwangjang Food Market. The guide was absolutely wonderful as he gave us insights not only about the cuisine but Korean culture as well.

That afternoon I headed to Lotte Mart to pick up some goodies to get back home. From there I made my way to Insadong and Myeongdong to indulge in some shopping and some more street food.

6 blissful days in Seoul had come to an end. It was the birthday I've ever had and going on a solo trip was truly exhilarating.

Photo of Gwangjang Market, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea by Pallavi Todi