Solo Travel in South Korea: Best Places & Tips!

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Whether you travel South Korea solo or with others, it’s one of those amazing countries you HAVE to visit in your life. The culture is so distinct; it’s like nowhere else! I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest place in the world for solo female travel but it’s certainly not the hardest. It’s absolutely doable so, if you’re fascinated by the idea of visiting this incredible country, don’t let being alone stop you!

solo travel south korea
In a rush? Pin this for later on Pinterest!

South Korea is a place of contrast. If you love exciting cities, Seoul is going to blow your mind! But if you like quaint, quiet places where you can explore the history without flashing lights and booming music, there are still destinations that will delight you. So, plan your Korea itinerary carefully!


Accommodation: / Hostelworld

Activities: GetYourGuide / Viator

Getting there: air (Skyscanner) 

Getting around: Train ( / bus

Pre-book a Tmoney transport card

Pre-book private airport to hotel transfer

Stay connected: portable WI-Fi (pick up on arrival)/ Airalo e-SIM (download in advance)

Travel insurance: True Traveller (European travellers) / Hey Mundo (other nationalities) / Safety Wing (digital nomads)

In this guide, I’m going to share my top tips, safety advice and WHERE to travel alone in Korea...

Is South Korea good for solo travel?

Yes, I had a blast travelling alone in South Korea because it’s safe and easy to navigate (thanks to the good public transport) plus there are great hostels and organised activities to meet others.

I would say there are easier places for solo travel because the language and alphabet can be confusing, plus certain things can be expensive for one.

However, these small things shouldn’t get in the way of what has all the makings of an amazing trip. So, I’d say, yes, South Korea is a good place to travel solo as long as you can get past certain minor issues.

Seoul korea solo female travel
Happy during solo female travel in Korea!

Is South Korea safe for solo female travel travellers?

YES, South Korea is safe for solo travellers including women. It has incredibly low crime rates; Numbeo even rated South Korea the safest country in the world!

Solo female travellers in Korea will be happy to know that walking around at night is safe. Seoul in particular never sleeps and, even at 2am, you’ll see locals going for coffee, bubble tea and barbeques…

You always feel safe in Seoul because places are busy and brightly lit throughout the night. In many countries, you have to take Uber at night to stay safe, but not in South Korea! Also, public transport is so efficient that you basically never have to use taxis which is great for the budget of a solo traveller.

Raed next: solo female travel safety tips

Is South Korea ok for first time solo travellers?

South Korea is fine for first-time solo travellers. I even met one in my dorm room. She was having a ball!

However, I suspect that, statistically, few people come for the first solo travel experience in South Korea. I’d say there are easier places for solo travel in Asia, for example Thailand and Vietnam where it’s easier to get by with English, more affordable and more sociable with more of a backpacking culture and clear route.

However, if there’s something specific about South Korean culture that entices you, there’s no reason not to take a first solo trip to Korea.

Murals in seoul

Good things about solo travel in South Korea

  • Positive safety rating – knowing there’s almost no crime really sets your mind at ease and reduces any logistical worries about getting around, especially at night
  • Lots of hostels – especially in Seoul there are great hostels where you can meet other travellers to explore with (if that’s important to you)
  • Efficient public transport – from the metro and buses in Seoul to cross-country trains that are spotless and almost always on time, it’s easy to navigate intercity and intercountry travel.

Bad things about solo travel in South Korea

  • Not the most openly friendly culture – locals tend to stick together and, generally, people here are a little more reserved than some places
  • Some meals are hard to have for one – Korean barbeques and dak galbi meals are delicious but served for groups. In Seoul, I found a few places that would let me have a BBQ for one but there was always a solo surcharge
  • Not the cheapest place to travel alone – if you want to get a private room rather than stay in hostels, you’ll need to stretch the purse strings. The cost of travel in South Korea is closer to other East Asian countries like Japan than cheaper Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam.

Where to begin

My top tip? Start in Seoul! I’m a big city lover and I adore street food, live music and street art. Seoul was actually the LAST place I visited as I started in Busan (as I’d just finished travelling solo in Taiwan and the flights were cheaper into Busan).

While I liked all the other places I visited, it was Seoul I went mad for… So I think my obsession with Korea would have developed quicker if I’d begun there!

Also, Seoul has the best hostels and opportunities to meet other travellers. So this is a nice way to start your solo female travels in Korea, and perhaps you’ll make friends to meet up with in other cities if your itineraries match.

With so much to see and do, plus great nightlife, it’s also the place that will probably drain your energy the most. So it’s best to go first while you’re still feeling fresh at the beginning of your trip.

Best places to travel alone in South Korea

Here’s where not to miss!

Seoul (the capital)

Seoul palace

WHERE and HOW do I even begin to describe this varied, wonderland of a city?

I think the thing I most love about Seoul is how it blends history and modernity. Yes, you can visit historic palaces dating back centuries, but across the road will be a funky modern art gallery. And don’t get me started on all the quirky cafes!

Also, Seoul is a fantastic destination for all budgets. There’s fine dining and fancy bars but there’s also world-class street food and amazing local markets. So, whether you’re fascinated by flashy skyscrapers or hundred-year-old teahouses, you’ll fill your Seoul itinerary, no problem!

As a solo traveller, I always vibe with places with loads to see and do. Especially if you’re a beginner solo traveller, you may feel restless in smaller towns. In Seoul, you’ll never get bored or need someone else to distract you.

Gangnan seoul south korea solo female travel
Gangnam style

Some top things to do in Seoul include:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace – the most impressive of Seoul’s five palaces is known for the changing of the guard at 10am or 2pm (closed Tuesdays)
  • Bukchon Hanok Village – this cluster of traditional hanok houses dating from the Joseon Dynasty is ripe for photoshoots and scenic walks. Local and foreign tourists alike dress in traditional hanbok outfits to take photos!
  • Bukhansan National Park – a great place to go hiking! Solo female travellers in Korea may want to join a hiking group
  • Ihwa Mural Village – this colourful mural village is well worth a wander
  • Food markets – I was excited to see the Netflix Street Food lady at Gwangjang and try her knife-cut noodles. Don’t miss other Seoul street food markets like Namdaemun and Tongin
  • Seoul City Walls – there are several walks you can do along these walls from the Joseon Dynasty period, all offering spectacular city views
  • Day trip to the DMZ – the buffer zone separating South and North Korea is a fascinating place to learn about the tragic history of the Korean War that split the country in two. You need to go as part of a DMZ tour
  • Museums – don’t miss the National Folk Museum of Korea, the Museum of Korean Contemporary History and the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum
  • Cheonggyecheon Stream – escape the bustling city beside this peaceful river walk.
Cheonggyecheon Stream

Seoul neighbourhoods:

  • Gangnam – see the Instagrammable Starfield Library and historical Bongeunsa Temple and pose with the gold hand statue dedicated to the Gangnam Style dance
  • Insa-dong – this historic hood is known for traditional teahouses; Old Shin shouldn’t be missed!
  • Myeongdong – the beauty district is worth a wander especially since many stores give out freebies to entice you in. Stay for the nighttime street food market!
  • Hongdae – Seoul’s vibey hipster hood filled with boutiques and quirky cafes. I liked staying here at Bunk Hostel.

Getting around Seoul: the subway is clean, efficient and affordable with 20 lines. There’s also an expansive bus network. Make sure to get a Tmoney card to save money and avoid queuing. If you get the Discover Seoul Pass, you can ride around on the Yellow Bus and the Seoul City Tour Bus connecting all the main tourist attractions.

Getting to Seoul from the airport(s):

  • Incheon International Airport – get the AREX Express train (from T1 and T2 direct to Seoul Station), the All Stop Train (from T2, making 13 subway stops to Seoul Station) or the Incheon Airport Bus. 
  • Gimpo Airport – get the AREX All Stop Train (20 mins) for 1,450 won or the 6021 bus (45 mins) for 7,000 won.



Busan is the second biggest city in the country. With 3 million people to Seoul’s 10 million, it’s still a big city but there’s not half the amount to do or a fraction of the quirky and exciting vibe that I loved about Seoul… But that’s not a reason not to visit. It’s still a cool city that I enjoyed visiting as a solo traveller.

If you find 5 days enough in Seoul, I suggest 3 days in Busan.

Read next: 3 day Busan itinerary

Things to do in Busan

  • Gamcheon Culture Village – the highlight of Busan for me was this colourful village, once a wartime ghetto and now an exciting cultural project with cafes and galleries
  • Nampo district – climb Busan Tower and visit Gukje Market, Jagalchi Fish Market, Biff Square and  Gwanbokro Cultural & Fashion Street
  • Igidae Coastal Walk – easily reached by bus, this coastal walk is easy with great city views
  • Haeundae and Gwangalli Beach – these city beaches give a seaside vibe to otherwise urban Busan
  • Haedong Yonggung – this temple by the sea is a 1.5-hour public transport journey from the city but it’s worth a taking mini Busan day trip for the sunset views!
  • Spa Land in Shinsegae Centum City – tick a jjimjilbang (nude spa) experience off your South Korea bucket list!

Where to stay as a solo traveller in Busan: I would highly recommend Seomyeon firstly because it’s a good transport hub, connecting Lines 1 and 2 (orange and green), allowing you to get anywhere in Busan quickly. Also, it’s brightly lit and vibey at night making it safe to walk around but also fun and atmospheric to visit.

Just find a quiet place to stay not on the main walking street! I can vouch for Blue Backpackers. For a more social option, try Kimchee Guesthouse. Also, this neighbourhood has plenty of tasty street food should you want a cheap, casual dinner for one.

Getting to Busan: although you can get a 2-hour train straight from Seoul (or a cheaper 4-hour bus), I recommend stopping at the places below in between the two big cities since they’re at other ends of the country. Get to and from Gyeongju or Daegu in 1 hour and Jeonju in 3 hours.

Getting around Busan: the metro is smaller than Seoul’s (there are four lines to Seoul’s 20) and it’s easy to navigate. Use your Tmoney card from Seoul. There are also city buses.


Jeonju korea solo travel

This quaint little city is an aesthetic dream! There are no hostels so it’s not the absolute BEST place for solo travel in South Korea if you’re a budget backpacker. However, if you’ve been busy exploring Seoul and Busan, you may enjoy the downtime.

Also, Jeonju is a fantastic place for a hanok stay experience so, since there are no hostels, it’s a great excuse to book your own hanok! These traditional houses are built facing the water with mountains behind.

I stayed at Happiness Hanok House which was affordable at $20 a night for a private room. You sleep in a bed made up on the floor and each room has a TV with all the fun Korean channels… Including one all about dogs! Grab a bubble tea or ice cream and have a solo TV night (after all the repetitive hostel conversations, sometimes this is exactly what I need!).

Things to do in Jeonju:

  • Eat the best bibimbap of your life at Family House – mine came with 12 sides!
  • Tour Jeonju Hanok Village at the heart of town and visit the caligraphy or sake museums
  • Browse and eat at Nambu Market – I had some delish fried chicken here
  • Spot cute murals at Jaman Mural Village
  • Take a peaceful walk along Jeonjuchan river banks
  • Try makgeoli – traditional milky alcohol from this city.

You can see all these attractions in less than a day so 2 nights is more than enough in Jeonju!

Getting to Jeonju: the train from Seoul takes 2 hours and the cheaper bus takes 3 hours.


Temple lanterns Gyeongju
Bulguksa Temple, a bus ride the city

Coming back to how diverse a country South Korea is, I loved visiting the historic capital of Gyeongju (although I did not learn how to pronounce or spell it!). Ruled by the Silla Dynasty from the 1st-7th centuries, the city is full of cultural relics. A must for history buffs!

Things to do in Gyeongju:

  • Daereungwon Tumuli Park – here, manmade hill tombs are filled with gold and jewels buried with the elite rulers and often their (then) live servants!
  • Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond – walk around this peaceful historic site created during the reign of King Munm (674 AD)
  • Cheomseongdae Tower – the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia
  • Bulguksa Temple (reached by bus) with a hike up to Seokguram Grotto
  • Gyeongju National Museum to learn about the Silla Dynasty
  • Try ssambap, a dining style with lots of small plates wrapped in leaves. This is another Korean meal made for sharing so try to buddy up with people you meet at your hostel, if possible! This is what I did and three of us devoured an absolute feast.
Ssambap meal solo travel south korea

I suggest two days in Gyeongju because Bulguksa Temple, a bus ride away, and the National Museum (which can be visited on the way back to the city) take the best part of one day. You’ll want another day to leisurely sightsee at the other historic sights in the city.

Where to stay in Gyeongju: as a smaller city, there isn’t a wide range of hostels available for solo travellers in Korea. Han Jin (with beds from $17 a night) is your best bet.

Getting to Gyeongju: it’s just a 30-minute KTX train ride from Busan to Singyeongju Station which is a 30-minute bus ride into the town. The bus from Busan is cheaper and takes 1 hour, arriving into the bus terminal closer to Gyeongju town. Given the similar travel time and price, this is a better budget option.


Daegu likely won’t be the most exciting city of your South Korea trip so don’t worry if you don’t have time. However, if you do, it’s worth a visit for its great hikes.

You can easily get a bus to Palgong Mountain where you can sightsee at Gatbawi Stone Buddha at Seonbonsa Temple then do some nature walks. Closer to the city with a gorgeous viewing deck, Apsan Park is another place to hike and sightsee.

I’d suggest two days in this city for both activities. During the Apsan day (which is ideally visited at sunset for the best views), you can also explore the city and eat yummy Korean food.

Where to stay in Daegu: there’s only one hostel, Empathy Guesthouse, but it has great reviews and prices start from $13 a night. They have a female dorm.

Getting to Daegu: it’s 1 hour from Busan and 2 hours from Gyeongju, located in the south of the country.

Need help with your Korea solo travel itinerary? Use my 2 week South Korea itinerary – I can promise it’s suitable for those travelling alone because it’s based on my experiences doing exactly that!

More challenging places to travel alone in South Korea – but don’t rule them out!

Okay, I often include this section in my solo blogs, however most places on South Korea’s mainland are appropriate for solo travel because almost everywhere is well-connected. However, there’s one place where I struggled but managed to make it work. This was…

Jeju Island

Jeju island

Jeju Island is undeniably a fantastic destination but it’s not the best for solo travellers in Korea mainly because it’s best explored by car which is never a viable budget option for one person. There’s public transport but it isn’t great (especially if you want to do and see a lot).

I wrote a guide to exploring Jeju Island without a car; the jist is to stay in Jeju City which is the transport hub of the island, as well as the place with the best budget accommodation including hostels. The one I stayed at seems to have closed down but Slow Citi and Ttottot Backpackers have fantastic reviews.

Even though it requires loosening the purse strings a little, I recommend organised tours for getting the best of Jeju Island. These are well organised with set tours of the East Coast and West Coast (click to see and book the tours) reducing your daily travel time. I did both on two consecutive days, departing and returning to Jeju City.

Both GetYourGuide and Viator are competitively priced with lots of options for South Korea excursions.

Matcha fields where to travel solo south korea

Highlights of Jeju Island:

  • Enjoy the beaches – my favourite was Hyupjae Beach (west coast). I was also amazed by Gwangchigi black sand beach (east coast).
  • Meet the Haeyyeo women divers (east coast) and learn about their unique profession, now protected by UNESCO!
  • Wander the endless tea fields at O’Sulloc Tea Museum (west coast) and try all kinds of matcha goodies
  • Visit Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (west coast)
  • Wander through eerie Manjanggul Lava Tubes (east coast).

Getting to Jeju Island: although there’s a long ferry from Busan, the most popular way to visit is by flight. It’s one of the world’s most popular flight routes with 100 flights a day in peak periods! Use Skyscanner to compare prices.

From the airport to Jeju City, you can get a taxi or bus; the drive is around 15 minutes.

Getting to South Korea

Most travellers fly into Seoul; there are two international airports but Incheon has far more overseas flights. You can fly direct between Seoul and China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand (click the pink text for solo travel guides to these places).

If you’re coming from outside these Asian countries, a change is usually required.

Busan also has an international airport. Coming from Taiwan, I got a cheap flight from Taipei to Busan so started my solo South Korea trip here.

Busan city korea
Beginning in Busan

Getting around South Korea

Solo travellers in South Korea will be pleased to know you never need to hire a car because there are great public transport connections, namely buses and trains.

Trains in Korea are a great option: efficient, clean, fast and safe for solo travellers. There are two main types not including intercity trains: the KTX (express train) and regular trains. The latter are cheaper so it depends on the length of your trip and tolerance for long rides. But few journies are too long on this relatively small island.

You can use to book your Korea trains (click the flag icon to change the site from Korean to English).

Buses are difficult to book online with a foreign bank card but luckily they don’t often book up in advance. I took plenty and always managed to show up and buy a ticket at the station. Often, they’re slower but cheaper than trains; ideal for budget travellers. But you won’t feel the compromise: they’re clean, comfy and efficient!

Getting around cities

Both Seoul and Busan have great metro networks, the only difference is that Seoul’s is much bigger with 20 lines to Busan’s four. Both cities have an expansive bus network. Although you can pay for buses with cash and buy individual metro tickets each time you travel, I highly recommend getting a Tmoney card which you can top up and use to tap and pay for both bus and metro.

Smaller cities like Daegu, Jeonuu and Gyeongju are very walkable. However, certain attractions (like Palgong Mountain and Apsan Park in Daegu and Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju) require a bus ride, usually paid for in cash.

Getting from airports

  • Incheon International Airport – the AREX Express train and the All Stop Train both arrive into Seoul Station (the latter also making extra stops) or there’s the Incheon Airport Bus for a cheaper option
  • Gimpo Airport – get the AREX All Stop Train (20 mins) or the cheaper 6021 bus (45 mins)
  • Busan Airport – ride the light rail transit to Sasang or Daejeo Stations connecting to Metro Lines 2 and 3 respectively.

Cost of solo Korea travel

Undeniably, South Korea is a lot more expensive than travelling solo in Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia!

Read next: is South Korea travel expensive?

Bibimbap what to eat travelling solo south korea
Want a budget meal for one? You need bibimbap

Here are some average prices to help you plan your trip…

Bunk in a hostel: 30,000 KRW ($20/£17).

Budget private room: prices start from 50,000 KRW ($40/£30).

Street food meal:
from 2,000 KRW, just a couple of dollars!

Restaurant meal:
prices start from 7,000 KRW ($5/£4).

An intercountry train ride: from 8,000-35,000 KRW ($6-25) on regular trains and double on the speedy KRX.

Tips for budget travel:

  • Eat street food – Seoul has SO many affordable street food markets! Smaller cities and towns don’t have as much.
  • Stay in hostels – these are great in South Korea; very clean and friendly. Again, the best options are in Seoul.
  • Use free Wi-Fi in metro stations rather than getting a SIM card (more about these to come).
  • Get a Tmoney card to get cheaper metro tickets.

Best season to visit Korea alone

Spring (April to June): this is a good time to visit before it gets too hot and the monsoon arrives. Average daily temperatures are around 18 degrees.

Summer (June to August) is the hottest season (up to 35°C and humid) AND monsoon season so it’s one of the worst times to visit.

Autumn (September to November) is another great time to visit with pleasant temperatures of around 20°C and beautiful fall colours.

Winter (December to March): although the snow can be atmospheric and winter sports can be practised, the average traveller will want to avoid the freezing winter temperatures (lows of -20°C have been recorded)!

Spring in seoul
Spring in Seoul

How to make friends and meet people

  • Stay in hostels – some of my faves are Bunk in Seoul and Kimchee Guesthouse in Busan. Hostelworld have a new social feature where you can chat with other guests before arrival.
  • Take group tours for example guided city walks, hiking trips and cooking classes (this Seoul cooking class looks fun with great reviews). The DMZ is well worth visiting and can only be done as part of a tour so this doubles up as a way to meet other travellers. I like Viator and GetYourGuide for Korea tours and activities.
  • Try Facebook groups like Girls Love Travel to see if other women are travelling alone in Korea at the same time as you.
  • Many more! Read my guide to making friends while travelling alone.

Must-do experiences

Things to tick off your South Korea bucket list include…

  • Visiting the DMZ from Seoul – this is so important to learn about key events in contemporary Korean history
  • Experience a jjimjilbang (nude spa) – once you get over the initial feelings of awkwardness, you’ll hopefully find these a mix of liberating and relaxing. Spa Land in Busan is a popular opinion.
  • Shop for beauty products in Myeongdong – not just because many stores give you free samples to tempt you in! Korean beauty culture is iconic and this is the place to experience it.
  • Find the Netflix Street Food lady in Gwangjang market – and try her famous knife-cut noodles with kimchi
  • Meet the Haenyeo women on Jeju Island – up to 80 years in age, these women make their livelihood by deep-diving for shellfish without any diving apparatus. Since young people no longer want to take on the trade, it’s protected by UNESCO.
  • Do some hiking – I was amazed by how well-connected the hikes are to cities by public transport. For a look into Korean nature, don’t overlook the hike opportunities. The Igidae Coastal Walk trail near Busan is easy with great views.
  • Have any kind of K-pop experience – from attending a show to a dance lesson, experience the genre that has taken the world by storm!
  • Stay in a temple – for an unusual accommodation option, templestay experiences based on Buddhist principles often include guided meditation, veggie meals and more. Perfect for reflection while travelling alone in Korea. Geumsunsa and Golgulsa are popular options.
  • Enjoy the teahouses and coffee culture – from elegant historic teahouses to cool coffee shops with themes such as 3D, poop and cat/racoon/sheep.

Do you need travel insurance for visiting South Korea?

Of course! It may be very safe but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t get sick or have an accident.

I recommend True Traveller which I use myself. I pay around £30 (€40) a month when getting a year’s plan. They cover pre-existing health conditions and will cover you if you’re already travelling and/or don’t yet have your flight home booked. The claim process is really easy; I’ve claimed twice and they’ve paid out within days. Click to get a quote.

True Traveller is just for European residents (including the UK) so, for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.

Best Korean foods to try

Bibimbap sides
Bibimbap sides

I became obsessed with Korean food during my trip! These are the best Korean dishes to try in my humble, hungry opinion…

  • Kimchi – fermented foods are great for you; in fact, many Koreans attribute their great eyesight to this spicy cabbage condiment
  • Bibimbap – this yummy mixed rice dish usually comes with meat, veggies, a fried egg and gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • Gimbap – veggie rice rolls are a popular snack and street food dish
  • Haemul pajeon – squid pancakes with green onion
  • Bingsu – this shaved ice dish is a tasty dessert, although solo travellers in Korea may be defeated because portions are huge!
  • Korean fried chicken – yum! Cool modern restaurants serve it with beer under the name chimaek
  • Tteokbokki – rice cakes, fish cakes and boiled eggs are served in hot chilli sauce. This dish is an acquired taste due to the usual textures and fiery flavour but one I came to love!
  • Korean BBQs – providing you can get a restaurant to serve you a meal for one without too heavy a surcharge. Alternatively, get a group together in a hostel. Similarly, dak galbi is a shared meal comprising chicken, cheese, veggies, rice cakes and gochujang on a hot plate in the middle of a table.

Getting a SIM card

I learned the hard way that most shops won’t sell you a SIM without a residency card. I asked the staff at my first hostel on check-in and was told the best place to get a SIM is at the airport… Not the news I wanted since I’d just come from there and didn’t have plans to go back ’til leaving the country!  

So be organised and sort your solution before arriving by reserving a SIM card to collect at the airport (any Seoul airport, Busan airport and now a new city collection point of Myeongdong). There are packages available depending on the amount of data and days you require.

Alternatively, rent a pocket Wi-Fi device and share data with other devices such as your laptop.

However, one thing to note is that there’s free Wi-Fi in all the metro stations. It’s easy to pop into one even if you’re not catching a train. So, you may not need your own internet connection at all, especially since solo female travel in Korea is very safe meaning you don’t need to stay connected for security reasons.

Update – there’s a great new option in the e-SIM world. Airalo is the world’s first eSIM network covering 200+ countries and regions. It allows you to purchase a package online and use mobile data as soon as you arrive. A real game-changer! Browse their Korea SIM packages.

Travelling alone korea women
Want to know how I got so many pics alone? See my guide to solo travel photography!

Tips for solo Korea travel

  • Get a Tmoney card – this saves you time compared to buying a single metro ticket every time you travel AND money on every ticket. It’s a no-brainer
  • Google Maps doesn’t fully work – you’ll notice this as soon as you try to use it. Try Kakao maps instead. NaverMap is another one for figuring out bus travel
  • Lockers are common in bus stations and busy shopping areas if you don’t want to lug around all your stuff, or whatever purchases you’ve splurged on
  • Papago is a useful language translation app that’ll help you with menus and conversations with locals.

Read next: 30 South Korea travel tips and 101 solo female travel tips


Can you drink the tap water in South Korea? Yes, you can safely drink the tap water.

What is the currency in South Korea? It’s the South Korean won (KRW) and, at the time of writing, $1 = 1,337 KRW.

Do people speak English in South Korea? Those who work in tourism (such as hotel staff and tour guides) speak English and so do many young people. However, your average older person on the street won’t. So brush up on the basics and download a translation app.

Do I need a visa to visit South Korea? For me with a UK passport, I could enter visa-free for 90 days. Be sure to check in advance based on your nationality.

Thanks for reading!

More solo travel guides…

Guides to solo travel in Europe:

Solo travel in the Americas:

Guides to solo female travel in Southeast Asia:

These are my trusted resources:

Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.

Buses – buses are comfy and efficient. It’s tricky for foreigners to book online so it’s best to turn up on the day.

Trainsuse, partner of Korail (the official railway network of Korea) to book your tickets in advance. The website accepts international payment options, unlike Korean rail websites. Click the three stripes in the top right corner then the flag to change it to English.

Driving in Korea – use to compare car rentals. Hiring a car will be especially useful on Jeju Island.

For hotels in Korea, I use – they also have self-catering apartments. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.

To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.

Browse South Korea tours and activities on GetYourGuide. I also check Viator and Klook in case they have a better price.

For food tours with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith.

To stay connected, buy an e-SIM with Airalo and use data as normal. Browse their Korea SIM packages.

Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.

For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.

Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!

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