Day 1: Arrival to Seoul/Relaxation Day.
The flight to Seoul was probably the WORST thing about Seoul. So when we arrived after our 14-hour flight, we met the parents of one of our other Exchange Students (Ji Hye). The best thing to do when traveling is to stay on local time. (Which means if you arrive during the day try very hard to stay up so you can sleep through the night.) I also highly suggest you grocery shop at a local place to get food, water, and supplies for the upcoming days or weeks.
If you are planning a trip and have not used Airbnb yet, here is a link to use to get a great discount (up to $55) on your stay! https://www.airbnb.com/c/shelbybreek?currency=USD. This gives me a $30 credit towards my next stay! So if you use it THANK YOU SO MUCH!
To find out the cost or other information about each of the locations check out my post called “Top Touristy Things to do in SEOUL, South Korea!”
Day 2: Changdeokgung Palace and the Bukchon Hanok Village.
The Changdeokgung Palace was the closest palace to our Airbnb, so we chose to go there first. We did not have our wifi egg the first day, because we did not let our host know in advance to leave his pocket wifi. We also did not know we could use our T-Money card for taxis until later that night, so getting around was an absolute nightmare. So at the time, walking was our only option. We finally arrived at the smaller palace, and it was absolutely beautiful. Inside the palace gates there was a scenic area to walk through. The palace itself was amazing. It should definitely be on your list to places to visit in Seoul.
Our next stop was the Bukchon Hanok Village. On our way to the village we stopped at this little restaurant on the main street, this was our first dining experience by ourselves in Seoul. It was very interesting. I did a ton of research on Seoul before our trip but forgot to check the sides of the table for silverware. So we looked like total newbies when the lady showed us where the silverware was. There was warm water on the table that was sweet that we were all confused about. If you are not really into knowing what you are drinking, make sure to bring your own bottled water. Overall, the food was really good!
After we finished eating, we headed over to the Bukchon Hanok Village. It was my #1 place to visit in Seoul because it is this traditional village in the heart of a bustling city. We got to the Village about 2 to 3 hours before sunset, so around 5ish. I was honestly so disappointed. The village was SUPER crowded and the locals had signs everywhere that basically said: “we hate tourists.” It did not seem welcoming at all. There were several local shops that were pretty cool, but I wish the village would have been a better experience. While we were in Seoul, you never saw anyone until 10 am. So I recommend going to the village before 10 am.
I really planned on doing both of the bigger palaces in the same day, but we just did not have time
After the village, we headed back to Airbnb, because we were meeting our Korean family for dinner and we had a long walk ahead. After resting at the Airbnb for a few hours, the Nam family came to pick us up to take us to a Korean BBQ dinner. At the dinner, we met our other past exchange student, Young Hee, and her future husband, Kahn. The Korean Barbeque was amazing. Have dinner with locals on our true first night in Seoul was very beneficial to us. We chatted about Korean customs, tips for the city, and places to visit in the city. This is where we learned that we could use our T-Money card in yellow taxis. [For more Korean Tips check out an upcoming blog called "Things We Wish We Knew When Traveling to Seoul, South Korea"] After dinner, they took us to a local shaved ice dessert shop that was also delish!
And that was what we did on Day 1 and Day 2 in Seoul! Check out pictures below!