2 week south korea itinerary

Ultimate 2-Week South Korea Itinerary

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Seeking a complete two-week South Korea itinerary? After living in Korea for many years (since 2015), I’ve put together a practical guide that covers all the essential places and attractions this country has to offer. From the bustling streets of Seoul to the serene landscapes of Jeju Island, I strived for a balanced blend of tradition, history, modernity, and natural beauty. Come along on this journey, where each step reveals another side of this fascinating country.

First things first: Korea Travel Essentials

Before jumping into the itinerary, however, there are a couple of travel essentials anyone coming to Korea should be aware of.

  1. Discover Seoul Pass
    • Admission ticket and transportation card for prominent landmarks and attractions in Seoul.
    • Provides access to 35 attractions, including historical sites, museums, and entertainment venues.
    • Available in 24, 48, and 72-hour options starting at US$31.69.
    • Pick-up locations at Incheon International Airport Terminals 1 and 2, Gimpo International Airport, and Myeongdong Tourist Information Center.
  2. AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket
    • Fastest transportation between Incheon Airport and downtown Seoul (43 minutes).
    • Trains run every 25 to 40 minutes.
    • Pick-up locations at Incheon International Airport Terminals 1 and 2.
  3. T-Money Card
    • Integrated transportation card for subways, buses, taxis, convenience stores, and vending machines.
    • Purchase in advance to get pre-loaded KRW 5,000.
    • Pick-up locations at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 (6:00am-8:00pm daily).
  4. 4G Unlimited Wifi Device
    • Portable high-speed internet for up to 5 devices at a time.
    • Pick-up locations at Incheon International Airport Terminals 1 and 2, and Gimpo International Airport (24 hours daily).
  5. 4G Unlimited Data Sim Card
    • Solo traveler’s option for internet connection.
    • Available at various pick-up locations in Incheon International Airport Terminals 1 and 2, and Gimpo Airport.
  6. Korea Rail Pass
    • Provides access to almost all trains operated by KORAIL across South Korea.
    • Offers flexibility with 2 or 4 days within a 10-day period.
    • Pick-up locations at Incheon Airport Railroad Information Center, Seoul Station, and Busan Station.
  7. South Korea Railplus Transport Card
    • Multi-purpose card for trains, buses, subways, and purchases in major cities.
    • Pick-up locations at Incheon International Airport Terminals 1 and 2.
  8. Private Incheon International Airport (ICN) Transfers for Seoul
    • Convenient and comfortable airport transfers for Incheon or Gimpo Airport to Seoul.
    • Bookable with a 3-hour rush service.
    • Service available from 8:00am to 7:59am.
  9. Travel Insurance for South Korea
    • Essential for unforeseen circumstances while traveling.
    • Provides medical coverage for illnesses or injuries, protection for lost or stolen belongings, flight cancellations, and natural disasters.
    • Offers a safety net against potential travel issues that can save from financial burden.
    • Recommended provider: World Nomads travel insurance, covering travelers in over 100 countries.

I also have a thorough Korea packing list detailing everything you shouldn’t forget packing!

2-week South Korea Itinerary

Day 1-3: Seoul

Day 1: Arrival and Myeongdong

Upon arrival in Seoul, settle into the dynamic district of Myeongdong, a hub of activity known for its bustling streets lined with an array of shops, from global brands to local boutiques. Indulge in the vibrant shopping scene, where you can find everything from trendy fashion to irresistible street food.

Take your time to explore the lively markets and savor some of Korea’s iconic street snacks, immersing yourself in the city’s energetic atmosphere. Later, consider a visit to Jogyesa Temple, a serene sanctuary nestled amidst the urban bustle. This Buddhist temple offers a tranquil escape, where you can soak in the peaceful ambiance and admire the intricate architecture, setting the tone for your journey through Seoul.

  • Key highlights:
    • Vibrant shopping and diverse street food in Myeongdong
    • Immersion in the energetic atmosphere of the markets
    • Serene visit to Jogyesa Temple

Day 2: Heritage Exploration

Dive into Seoul‘s rich history by starting your day at Gyeongbokgung Palace, the majestic symbol of Korea’s royal heritage. Wander through its grand halls and intricate courtyards, allowing the ancient architecture to transport you back in time to Korea’s royal past.

Following this historical immersion, venture to Bukchon Hanok Village, a neighborhood showcasing well-preserved traditional Korean houses known as hanoks. Stroll through its narrow alleys, adorned with these charming houses, offering a glimpse into the city’s architectural legacy.

Conclude the day at Insadong, an enclave of traditional Korean culture, with its art galleries, antique shops, and teahouses. Experience the pulse of Korea’s artistic and cultural scene as you peruse local crafts and artworks.

  • Key highlights:
    • Gyeongbokgung Palace’s grandeur and historical significance
    • Traditional hanok houses in Bukchon Hanok Village
    • Immersion in traditional art and culture at Insadong

Day 3: Modern Seoul

Explore the dynamic and contemporary side of Seoul, starting with the iconic district of Gangnam, famed for its sleek skyscrapers, designer boutiques, and trendy cafes. Dive into the area’s urban energy and modernity, experiencing the blend of luxury and innovation.

Following this, head to COEX Mall, an expansive shopping and entertainment complex. Lose yourself in the myriad of shops, cultural exhibitions, and entertainment options available within this sprawling space.

As night falls, embrace the vibrant nightlife of either Hongdae or Itaewon, known for their eclectic mix of bars, live music venues, and diverse culinary offerings, providing a perfect end to your exploration of Seoul‘s diverse facets.

  • Key highlights:
    • Exploration of Gangnam’s modern urban landscape
    • Shopping and cultural experiences at COEX Mall
    • Immersion in the lively nightlife of Hongdae or Itaewon

Day 4-6: DMZ, Suwon, and Jeonju

Explore the DMZ for a peek into Korea’s divided history and Suwon’s fortress for its UNESCO heritage status. Jeonju’s Hanok Village offers a glimpse into traditional Korean life, making these destinations vital for understanding Korea’s past, culture, and geopolitical significance.

Day 4: DMZ Exploration

Embark on a unique day trip to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a significant historical and political site dividing North and South Korea. Dive into the complex history and geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula as you visit key locations like the Joint Security Area (JSA), where you can step into North Korea, albeit briefly, and observe the tense border.

Delve deeper into the region’s history by exploring landmarks like the Dora Observatory and the Third Tunnel. Experience a fascinating glimpse into the unresolved tensions of Korea’s past and present.

Book this easy DMZ day tour from Seoul on Klook.

  • Key highlights:
    • Visiting the Joint Security Area (JSA) for a glimpse into North Korea
    • Exploring the Dora Observatory and Third Tunnel

Day 5: Suwon and Jeonju Hanok Village

Begin the day by immersing yourself in history at Suwon’s Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the fortress’s impressive architecture and scenic surroundings, capturing a glimpse of Korea’s ancient defensive structures. I have a thorough Suwon guide that takes you through the traditional area on foot!

You can also take this Suwon day tour from Seoul that also includes the Korean Folk Village and Suwon Nammun Market.

suwon tower
Suwon Dongammun Gate

Later, journey to Jeonju Hanok Village, a cultural treasure trove boasting well-preserved traditional Korean houses (hanoks). Wander through its charming alleys, delve into local artisan crafts, and indulge in the renowned Jeonju bibimbap, a signature dish of this region.

  • Key highlights:
    • Discovering the UNESCO-listed Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon
    • Exploring Jeonju Hanok Village and savoring traditional cuisine

Day 6: Jeonju Hanok Village Exploration

Dive deeper into the cultural richness of Jeonju Hanok Village on this day. Take your time to appreciate the beauty of the traditional houses and immerse yourself in the village’s serene ambiance. Sample various flavors and dishes at local eateries, exploring the culinary diversity that has earned Jeonju its reputation as a food paradise. Rent a hanbok in the traditional village and visit museums and cultural sites within the village, learning more about the region’s history and traditions. Check out my guide for 30 of the best things to do in Jeonju!

Take this Jeonju Hanok Village Day Tour from Seoul and don’t worry about trains and buses!

  • Key highlights:
    • Further exploration of Jeonju Hanok Village’s cultural heritage
    • Indulging in diverse local cuisine and cultural experiences

Day 7-9: Busan and Gyeongju

Days 7 to 9 take us through Busan and Gyeongju, each offering a unique flavor of South Korea. In Busan, explore bustling markets and vibrant art scenes, while Gyeongju unveils ancient temples and UNESCO sites. These cities showcase Korea’s mix of modernity, coastal charm, and deep historical roots.

Day 7: Exploring Busan

Start your exploration in Busan by visiting the vibrant Gamcheon Culture Village, a colorful maze of art-lined alleys offering picturesque views of the city. Dive into the city’s bustling Jagalchi Fish Market, where the fresh catch of the day and lively atmosphere create an unforgettable experience. Explore Gukje Market, a traditional market boasting various goods and local delights, capturing the essence of Busan’s local life and culture.

  • Key highlights:
    • Vibrant art and city views at Gamcheon Culture Village
    • Experiencing the lively Jagalchi Fish Market and Gukje Market
busan Oryukdo
Gamcheon Culture Village

Day 8: Coastal Delights and Heritage in Gyeongju

Head to Gyeongju, known as the “Museum Without Walls,” a city steeped in ancient history and cultural treasures. You can take this day tour to Gyeongju from Busan or travel to the city on your own and stay a bit longer.

Discover the beautiful Haeundae Beach, offering stunning coastal vistas and recreational activities. Explore Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a seaside temple renowned for its breathtaking ocean views and traditional architecture. Conclude the day at Dongbaek Island Park, an idyllic spot where lush nature meets coastal beauty.

  • Key highlights:
    • Relaxing at Haeundae Beach and exploring Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
    • Enjoying nature at Dongbaek Island Park in Gyeongju

Day 9: Immersing in Gyeongju’s Historical Sites

Uncover the historical richness of Gyeongju by exploring its UNESCO World Heritage sites. Delve into the city’s ancient past with visits to Bulguksa Temple, a masterpiece of Buddhist art and architecture, and the Seokguram Grotto, housing a stunning stone Buddha. Wander through the ancient ruins of the Gyeongju Historic Areas, including royal tombs and ancient temples, unraveling the city’s illustrious heritage.

  • Key highlights:
    • Admiring the artistry at Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto
    • Exploring the historic sites of Gyeongju’s UNESCO heritage areas

Day 10: Exploring Gyeongju

Stay another day in Gyeongju to further explore its historical treasures. Visit the fascinating royal tombs, a testament to Korea’s ancient royal legacy, where serene landscapes house the resting places of kings and nobles. Dive deeper into the city’s past by exploring sites like Cheomseongdae Observatory, one of the world’s oldest astronomical observatories, and the ancient ruins of Banwolseong Fortress.

For a touch of fun and cultural immersion, consider renting a traditional Shilla dynasty-style hanbok. These traditional Korean garments add a whimsical touch to your exploration and create memorable travel shots against the backdrop of Gyeongju’s historical sites.

  • Key highlights:
    • Exploring royal tombs, a glimpse into Korea’s ancient royal legacy
    • Visiting Cheomseongdae Observatory and Banwolseong Fortress
    • Experiencing the traditional Shilla dynasty-style hanbok for fun travel shots
gyeongju itinerary

Days 11-14: Jeju Island Adventure

Fly to Jeju Island for an unforgettable experience. Begin by exploring Hallasan National Park, where the majestic Hallasan Mountain dominates the landscape. Hike to Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, a UNESCO World Heritage site offering breathtaking views of the sunrise.

Immerse yourself in Jeju’s cultural heritage at the Jeju Folk Village Museum, showcasing traditional houses and local customs. Visit Loveland, a quirky sculpture park celebrating romance and sensuality, and unwind at picturesque beaches like Jungmun and Hamdeok.

  • Key highlights:
    • Hallasan National Park and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
    • Cultural insights at Jeju Folk Village Museum and Loveland
    • Relaxation at Jungmun and Hamdeok beaches

Summary of the Itinerary

Day 1-3: Seoul

  • Day 1: Arrival in Seoul, settle in, and explore the nearby area. Maybe stay in Myeongdong and explore the shopping area and Jogyesa Temple!
  • Day 2: Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Insadong for traditional culture and art.
  • Day 3: Explore modern Seoul: Gangnam district, COEX Mall, and vibrant nightlife in Hongdae or Itaewon.

Day 4-6: DMZ, Suwon, and Jeonju

  • Day 4: Take a day tour to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Return to Seoul in the evening.
  • Day 5: Travel to Suwon, explore Hwaseong Fortress, then head to Jeonju Hanok Village for the evening.
  • Day 6: Spend a full day in Jeonju Hanok Village, exploring traditional houses, sampling local cuisine like bibimbap, and visiting museums.

Day 7-10: Busan and Gyeongju

  • Day 7: Travel to Busan, visit Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Fish Market, and Gukje Market.
  • Day 8: Explore Haeundae Beach, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and Dongbaek Island Park.
  • Day 9: Travel to Gyeongju, explore its historical sites Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto: Witness and Anapji Pond.
  • Day 10: Gyeongju, rent a traditional Shilla-style hanbok dress and walk around the Royal tombs traditional area, then fly to Jeju Island in the evening.

Day 11-14: Jeju Island

  • Day 11: Explore Jeju: Hallasan National Park, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and Jeju Folk Village Museum.
  • Day 12: Visit Loveland, explore beaches like Jungmun and Hamdeok, and experience local seafood cuisine.
  • Day 13: Relax at Yongmeori Beach, O’Sulloc Tea Museum, and enjoy a peaceful day exploring local markets.
  • Day 14: Departure day – last-minute exploration or relaxation before departing from Jeju Island.

Enjoy your time in South Korea!

Follow this two-week adventure in South Korea and you’ll surely come to appreciate the country’s incredible variety. Seoul‘s liveliness, Gyeongju’s history, and Jeju’s serene beauty offers diverse experiences. Exploring ancient sites, relaxing on beaches, and immersing yourself in local culture, you’ll not only gain a deeper understanding of Korea but also make lasting memories!

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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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