I made a promise to myself that when I am 28, one of my birthday wish lists to be fulfilled is to make a solo trip to Korea. I was browsing through different airlines website when a good friend of mine recommended that I take Scoot to Seoul, and I did, with a dual way ticket for 5 days October trip.
I started doing my own research on where to stay, what to wear and where to go. It is not an easy task because it is my first time and friends around me are telling me about the language barrier and advice me to go with a tour group. This further fuels my determination to head straight on with the challenge.
1. Where to Stay
I wanted somewhere near to the Metro subway and a less crowded street. I did some checks on Tripadvisor and Agoda where I decided to book a room at IBVille Guesthouse. They are located at the bottom of N Seoul Tower, in the middle of an uphill around Myeongdong. Surprise! Surprise! The guesthouse is just right smack in the row of dainty gorgeous cafes!
*Note: In the year 2014, they have shifted to a new location, within Myeongdong area.
Address: 47 Toegye-ro 20-gil, Jung-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
2. What to Wear
Every time before you pack the luggage, it is important to check the weather forecast. The month of October is autumn hence, sweater, long sleeves, cardigan, shawl, and jeans are essential; not forgetting a pair of comfortable shoes. The weather is not as cold compared to the end of the year but it is reasonably cool. In Singapore, it is all round summer; as such a cool destination is a great escape from the sweltering heat.
That’s me! I love trees and particularly this picture is interesting because if you noticed, the trees are growing towards the right.
3. Where to go
Seoul is a place where you will get to experience night vibrancy, see the historical heritage and discover a trendy country. I have done some reading from other bloggers and reviews in TripAdvisor. Since I am travelling alone, I have decided to book a day trip to the “must-go” tourist spots. Some of the popular locations are Gyeongbokgung Palace, the National Folk Museum of Korea, Changgyeonggung Palace and Namdaemun market.
Subsequently, I started to explore other areas in Seoul. The best way to travel around is via Seoul Metro Subway. It is not that difficult and they have friendly officers stationed to address all tourist enquiries. In every sense, I never felt that I am helpless or lost. In fact, I felt empowered as each day passes by because to me, stepping out of my comfort zone and travel on my own is in fact, a pretty big deal!
I went to Hongik University Street, Dongdaemum and Myeongdong Shopping Street, Mapo Bridge and Changsin Market.
Hongik University is an area well known for their local art and music students to earn some pocket money. They will sell arts and craft, drawings and performing live for locals and tourists. I got myself a water painting portrait. Do give them some support when you are here.
Mapo Bridge is a unique bridge in Seoul. It has been labeled as “Bridge of Life”. Due to an increase of suicidal cases along Han River, in the year 2013, Korea Government came out a joint campaign with Samsung to by labeling comforting and inspirational messages and pictures. When pedestrians’ movements are detected, LED lightings will shine, prompting slogans to appear: “The most shining moment of your life has yet to come” or “Your worries will feel like nothing when you get older” or “A difficult moment will eventually flow like the river below.” (reference)
It is indeed special and comforting after knowing the objectives behind these words. I am glad that such actions have improved the rate of suicidal. Please treasure your life.
Last but not least, Myeongdong Shopping district. This is where you can get all the Korea cosmetic brands, local food, and fashion in one location. You’ll be able to get popular products like Innisfree, The Face Shop, Etude House, Laneige and much more.
It is enjoyable sitting in Starbucks, people watching and appreciating the solo travel experience. This is my first time and I fell in love with traveling on my own. It is such an unforgettable experience that I am planning for a second Solo trip pretty soon!
Before I sign off, for those who have never been to Seoul, give it a “fly”!