Seoul Travel Guide & Places to Visit in Seoul in 24 Hours:
More precisely, Seoul in 24 Hours!
Seoul Travel Notes
We put the title like this because this time our article is not a city guide because a huge city like Seoul cannot be visited in 24 hours. This time it will be a 24-hour Seoul diary!
On the way from Istanbul to Manila, we had a full 24 hours in Seoul between two stops and we tried to spend these 24 hours most efficiently, regardless of the weather being minus 16 degrees. Before we went, we studied well in our lesson, and for 24 hours, we researched a lot of places to visit in Seoul, in what order and where we should travel. After all, we would see Seoul with the eyes of the world, and we didn’t want to waste our time.
There are two airports in Seoul. If you will transfer with Asiana Airlines like us, you will land at Incheon Airport. There are two types of metro from here to downtown Seoul. One is the express, the other is the normal speed city metro that everyone uses. We were in the center of Seoul in about 45-50 minutes by city metro.
You can buy a daily metro ticket to visit the city. You will use the subway a lot as you will be here and there like us. In South Korea, GoogleMaps works for public transportation but not while walking. Before you go, you can download the Maps.me application and try to download the map of Seoul and Incheon within the application. We tried Maps.me on our previous trips and were very satisfied.
Seoul is neither too cheap nor too expensive. We can say that it is in an average European city setting. You can bring Euro or USD with you and exchange them easily in Seoul. 1 Euro average 1300 Won. In order to make it easy, we will tell the prices in Euros when we talk about the prices in Seoul, we have already left the city before we can hardly step on the other way!
Before we left, we read in Seoul that nobody speaks English, but if we were not going to get any trouble, everyone was speaking well. Maybe they learned it in recent years, but we never had any problems with communication.
Seoul is a crowded city of about 11 Million people but also very organized. It seemed to us that the chaos in Asian cities did not exist here. But it must be said that the people here are totally cell phone addicts.
Yes, here’s the most painful part, being in Seoul in winter time! When we looked before we left, the day we were going to transfer was -16 (minus 16 in writing) in Seoul and frankly we did not wear it very much. But that job was not like that. We froze despite thermal underwear, layers of socks, double gloves and sweaters. We may not have seen such a cold in our life. It was very very very cold. Seoul has been the city where the weather has been challenging us so far. So watch out for what will come in winter, don’t come without your underwear! They will come in summer, don’t worry about Seoul’s extremely hot weather, it’s better than freezing in winter!
The flight to Seoul took 10 hours on departure and 12 hours on the way back. We did not know if we would have come to visit Seoul in private if we had not traveled with the excuse of transferring like this, but a 24-hour tour was enough for now. It felt like a crowded European city rather than an Asian city for us. But we also loved Seoul very much.
Now if we have the introduction, we can get to the point!
You will be transferring in Seoul and you have time, but you do not want to visit the city yourself, then we have a very ideal suggestion for you. Participating in the free city tours organized by Incheon Airport for transit passengers. To do this, all you have to do is to purchase your ticket, click on Asiana Airlines’ website and the booking link from there, and book the city tour at the time that suits you.
Depending on your transfer time, there are city tours that last from 4 hours to 9 hours. At the end of the tour, they drop you off at the airport terminal. Thus, you can visit the main spots in Seoul for free and not get tired. At first, we wanted to participate in these tours, but the idea of visiting the city on our own came to the fore and frankly we gave up.
Accommodation in Seoul for 24-Hour Transfer
Asiana Airlines can sometimes offer free hotel accommodation for long transfers depending on your ticket class. Our ticket class was not suitable for this, so we booked a hotel near the airport. Make sure to call Asiana Airlines at least 3 days before your flight and check this. Unless you force it, they won’t automatically suggest it to you.
We arrived in Seoul around 8 am and our flight to Manila was at 8 am the next day. That’s why we had to book a hotel to sleep at night. If your transfer break is completely within the day, you will not need to book a hotel anyway.
We stayed at K-Guesthouse Incheon Airport in Incheon, about 10 km from the airport.
Normally, 30 Euros per room per night was on average, but it increased to 40 Euros because we went there exactly at Christmas time. If you want a place that is cheap and close to the airport, you can choose this place. We came by taxi to be fast. It cost about 8 Euros from the airport to the hotel. If you rent a hotel in the center of Incheon, you can easily use the subway. It takes about 10 minutes from Incheon airport to the center. One way ticket is around 3 Euros on average.
I guess that’s all we have to say shortly about Seoul. Now we can move on to what we’re doing in 24 hours and our Seoul Travel Notes!
08:00 – We landed at Incheon Airport.
09:00 – We left our bags at the airport hotel where we were staying and ran to the subway.
10:00 – Our first stop, Gyeongbokgung Palace
We can say that Gyeongbokgung Palace is a must for a tourist going to Seoul. You can think of this palace as the Eiffel of Paris and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The entrance is around 3 Euros and you have to spend at least 2 hours to visit the whole.
Since we didn’t have that much time, we just looked around. We especially loved its large, wide and colorful door.
By the way, right near Gyeongbokgun is the “Tongin Traditional Market“, one of Seoul’s street food paradises. If you are traveling in nice weather, we think you can have your lunch here. You can go in cold weather but it will be a little ‘fast and furious’ ..!
11:00: Our next stop is Bukchon Hanok Village and Changdeokgung Palace
We reached our second stop, Hanok Village, by walking from Gyeongbokgung in about 15-20 minutes. Do not take into account what we say we have reached, this is not a single building, but rather a region where houses bearing the traces of Korean culture. It is located between Changdeokgung Palace and Gyeongbokgung. Excuse me, but while walking around here, our buttocks froze well! Nevertheless, we came to Seoul once in our lives, of course, we did not leave without visiting. “Hanok” was the name given to the traditional Korean houses.
Did we like the place like this village? We loved it, but the chaos of the city also wanders around with you, as the city is also very within. Therefore, one should not expect a very different environment.
Our next stop from here was Changdeokgung Palace, which we can reach on foot.
Another “Eiffel” in Seoul in Changdeokgung Palace. Again, it has a huge garden. We threw ourselves into a nearby cafe without spending too much time here because we were overly frozen.
14:00 Hongdae District – Café HoHo Myoll and Raccoon Café
The Hongdae area is referred to as the youth zone and we liked it the most in Seoul. We may be a little bit sad in Munich but we are still young also ..!
There are many ‘concept cafes‘ in Seoul. One of the indispensable things for us while visiting a city is to visit the unique cafes of that city, before we went, we pinned these two cafes and left the Hongdae region where these concept cafes are located.
If you get off the metro at the “Sangsu” stop, you will go to an area with hundreds but hundreds of concept cafes, hamburger restaurants, pilaf restaurants, bars and all kinds of places.
Hoho Myoll was our first stop here. We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we say it’s one of the sweetest cafes we’ve seen so far. Inside the venue, there is a Volkswagen van, cushions thrown on the floor, pillows and plush toys. You can take off your shoes and pile on the cushions.
Our stop after leaving Hoho Myoll was Raccoon Café, which we had previously put in mind. You guessed it right from its name, yes! There are 2-3 raccoons living in this cafe and while you are sitting in the cafe, four are circling around you.
If we hadn’t spent 2 hours here, we would have gone to Gangnam. As you know Gangham, you don’t need to go to South Korea to know here anymore, we all watched it on youtube on time anyway ..! The shopping centers are a place where people flock to it. We skip this place, but maybe you will like it.
If this area doesn’t interest you, you can go visit the Jogyesa Temple or visit the National Museum of Korea.
17:00: Myeong-dong District
It was 4 o’clock while we were linger in these two cafes and we chose Myeong-dong as our last destination in Seoul.
What comes to mind when you think of a crowded Asian city? We personally think of the wide streets on which everyone walks one another, the street food, the smell of spice soaking up from the street food, the shops, the noise and the trinkets sold in the streets. And we love this image!
That’s why we wanted to fall into such a place at our last stop in Seoul and we took our breath in Myeong-dong. Already, the tiredness of 10 hours of flight + 10 hours of Seoul trip was starting to get on us and we felt that our battery was running out. We felt like we had come to the right place to close the day.
Here we wandered the streets, took coffee breaks and had dinner at Migabon Restaurant to try classic Seoul cuisine.
After spending 3 hours here, it was 8 o’clock in the evening and we returned to our hotel and went to sleep, and in the morning we set out for Manila.
If you have enough energy and time left after doing all these things, you can go back to Gangham and see the nocturnal state.
If you don’t have time to do all these, we recommend the three stops Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. These three are both symbols of the nearby regions and Seoul.
Seoul was like that for us.
Have a nice trip everyone!