Perfect South Korea Itinerary For 2 Weeks: Best Stops + Tips!

South Korea 2 week itinerary

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Hey, stranger! Planning to spend 2 weeks in South Korea? I got you! This South Korea itinerary lets you soak up the culture, see the sights, do some hiking and relax on the beach.

If you have 3 weeks in South Korea, I also have an itinerary for you.

Psst – don’t miss a thing during your trip thanks to my 40 South Korea bucket list items!

I recently followed the below South Korea travel itinerary so you can rest assured it’s tried and tested. I made all the travel mistakes so you don’t have to. What else are blogs for, right?

KOREA ESSENTIALS

Accommodation: Booking.comHostelworld

Activities: Viator / GetYourGuide

Getting there: air (Skyscanner) 

Getting around: Train (Trip.com) / bus

Pre-book a Tmoney transport card

Pre-book private airport to hotel transfer

Stay connected: SIM card / portable WI-Fi

What kind of South Korea itinerary is this?

The two South Korea itineraries below are relatively fast-paced. You’ll see 4 places during 2 weeks in South Korea or 7 places during 3 weeks in South Korea. But you’ll still have a good few days in each place to soak up the culture (and devour copious bowls of bibimbap, naturally).

If you want to see a new place each day and whiz around fast, this might not be the itinerary for you. I’m an advocate of slow travel but I appreciate you want to see a lot during 2 or 3 weeks in South Korea so I’ve aimed for a middle ground.

Check out my other 2 week Asia itineraries to Taiwan, Malaysia, Bali and Vietnam.

How long do you need in South Korea?

I believe you need about 14 days in South Korea to see it properly. This will allow you to explore two major cities, Jeju Island and another destination of your choosing. Of course, if you have time, 3 weeks is an even better amount of time to spend in South Korea!

Staying connected in South Korea

I found out on arrival to South Korea that tourists can only purchase SIM cards at the airport. Shops and market stands don’t sell them to travellers without a Korean residency card.

I’d recommend being organised and ordering one in advance. Book your 4g SIM to collect at Seoul airport or upgrade to include a Tmoney transport card.

Alternatively, rent a pocket Wi-Fi device and return it at the airport when you leave. If you’re taking a big trip, it might be worth buying your own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to bring with you.

Read next: 101 Asia backpacking tips

How to get around South Korea

The train and bus are both quick and efficient. Trains can be booked on Trip.com, partner of Korail (the official railway network of Korea). Click the three stripes in the top right corner then the flag to change it to English.

Buses are notoriously hard to book online for foreigners so it’s recommended to just turn up. I did this and always got a seat.

It’s also possible to fly between Korean cities although I chose not to for environmental reasons. However, you’ll need to fly when visiting Jeju Island. I use Skyscanner to find the best deals on flights.

Read next: all my South Korea travel tips

Kimchi busan market south korea
Kimchi = a highlight from 2 weeks in South Korea!

Budget for 2 weeks in South Korea

Korea is much more expensive than countries like Vietnam and Thailand but still cheaper than Western countries. It’s a similar price to Japan. Here’s a quick summary of how much you can expect to spend during 2 weeks in South Korea:

Transport: A couple of my shorter journeys (i.e. Busan to Gyeongju and Daegu to Jeonju) cost just 5,000 KWR ($4 /£3.30) but the fast train between Jeonju and Seoul was more expensive at 30,000 KRW ($25 / £20). I could have saved money and caught a lengthy bus but for the most part, trains and buses are similar prices.

Make sure to budget for flights to Jeju and back. They start at around 30,000 KRW each way. I use Skyscanner for flight booking.

Accommodation: Beds in hostel dorms start at 22,000 KRW ($19 / £15) and private rooms cost around 32,000 KRW ($30 / £22). Hotels start at 45,000 KRW per night ($40 / £30). I suggest Hostelworld for finding hostels and Booking.com for hotels, homestays and apartments.

Read next: complete budget guide to South Korea

Street food: The good news is that you can eat street food in Korea for as little as 2,000 KRW ($1.50). It won’t be nutritious but it WILL be tasty. It’s worth noting most of the best street food markets are in Seoul and Busan; markets in smaller cities are more like wet markets selling fresh produce (which you can buy to make a healthy dinner if your accommodation has a kitchen).

Restaurants: You’ll find meals from 5,000 KRW in modest restaurants. Bibimbap can be cheap as chips (and nicer). For more upmarket restaurants (and those in cool areas of Seoul), expect to pay up to 20,000 KRW a meal.

In total, 2 weeks in South Korea cost me 1,000,000 KRW ($830 / £620). This is a hostel & street food budget!

2 week South Korea itinerary overview

Days 1-5: Seoul. Explore Bukchon Hanok Village, Bukhansan National Park, Ihwa Mural Village, Gwangjang Market (amongst others), Insa-dong, Myeongdong, the DMZ, museums, Hongdae and Gangnam.

Days 6-7: Sokcho for hiking in Seoraksan National Park (option for nature lovers and hikers) OR Jeonju (option for culture vultures and foodies).

Days 8-10: Busan. Visit the Temple by the Sea (Haedong Yonggung), Haeundae Beach, Gamcheon Culture Village, Nampo district, Seomyeon district and hike Igidae Coastal Walk or Taejongdae Park.

Days 11-14: Jeju Island. Discover the East, West and South coasts during different days.

Got an extra week? Keep reading for my 3 week South Korea itinerary.

Days 1-5: Seoul

I’m assuming you’re starting your 2 weeks in South Korea in Seoul. If you’re beginning in Busan like I did, just reverse this route.

Decadent palace Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul South Korea
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Seoul top tips:

Where to start with Seoul? After 2 years travelling around Asia, I felt at home in Seoul. Within days I’d decided it was my joint-favourite Asian city (tied with Hanoi).

It has everything: traditional palaces, informative museums, nature hikes, street art villages, quirky cafes, street food, fine dining, boutique shopping, crazy nightlife… The list goes on and on!

Read next: The ultimate 5 day Seoul itinerary

Looking for tours in Seoul? I recommend GetYourGuide:

Day 1 – Bukchon Hanok Village OR Bukhansan National Park

Bukchon Hanok Village
Photo by Crystal Jo on Unsplash

OPTION 1 – tour traditional architecture at Bukchon Hanok Village, preserved to reflect the architectural styles of the Joseon period (14th century-1897). Bukchon comprises a few hundred houses built, as all traditional hanoks were, facing north with water in front and a mountain behind.

Bukchon retains all the charm of an ancient hanok village while offering visitors the chance to get immersed at cultural centres, cafes and tea houses. You can even stay overnight as many hanoks are now guesthouses.

Take a 3-hour self-guided walk around Bukchon. Note that most attractions are closed Sundays.

Getting to Bukchon Hanok Village: Take the subway to Anguk Station (Line 3), take Exit 3 and follow signs.

Afternoon: After your morning culture dose, why not try walking Seoul City Walls? Hike along sections of this 18km wall constructed during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897) overlooking spectacular city views. Better yet, it’s free! Naksan Mountain Trail is the easier trail (2km) and Baegak Mountain Trail is slightly longer (4.7km).

DAY 1, OPTION 2 – If you’re feeling energetic, take a hike in Bukhansan National Park to experience the natural beauty of Seoul. My favourite thing about Korea is how easy it is to jump on a city bus and arrive in nature.

Bukhansan Peak south korea itinerary

The Bukhansan Peak hike takes 4-5 hours (but you may wish to set aside 5-6 if you like to stop and take photos) but there are also other, more leisurely, trails in the park.

Getting to Bukhansan: Take subway Line 3 to Daehwa Station and board the 704 bus outside Exit 1. Get off at Bukhansanseong Fortress Entrance.

Tips for Bukhansan: Hiking boots are preferable but comfy trainers will do. Make sure you have enough suncream, water and a hat in the summer, and raingear in cooler months.

Related tour: since Bukhansan Peak can be a challenging climb, you may want to go with an expert guide who will provide you lunch, water and hotel pick-up. Book a day hiking tour.

Day 2 – Ihwa Mural Village, Gwangjang Market, Insa-dong & Myeongdong

Rainbow houses in Iowa Mural Village Seoul

Morning: Fans of street art, or simply cool and colourful places, should pay a visit to Ihwa Mural Village. Like many mural villages in South Korea, this was once a rundown area that didn’t benefit from the flow of tourism to the city. The residents took fate into their own hands and gave their area a lick of paint… Or rather, thousands of licks of paint!

Getting to Ihwa Mural Village: The nearest subway station is Hyehwa Station. Take Line 4 there and follow signs to exit 2. 

Tips for visiting Ihwa Mural Village: Wear comfy shoes and prepare for the steep steps leading to the village. Be respectful when taking photos: these are locals’ homes, not your selfie station!

Ihwa mural village street art
Befriending the locals 😉

Gwangjang Market: For lunch, eat Seoul street food at this famous market not far from Ihwa Mural Village. Walk in 20 minutes or jump on a bus. Options include fried chicken, dumplings, bindae-tteok (mung bean pancakes) and more.

If you’ve watched Netflix’s Street Food documentary, you may recognise chef, Cho Yonsoon, serving her famous knife-cut noodles. Eat them in soup with lashings of kimchi.

Afternoon: Journey to Seoul’s Insa-dong neighbourhood (just a 6-minute ride on subway Line 1 from Gwangjang Market), one of the oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods in Seoul (aside from Bukchon Hanok Village which you’ll have seen on day 1 of this Korea itinerary).

Wander the traditional shops to get a feel for Insa-dong and sample flavoured tea and snacks at an authentic tea house. My favourite is Old Shin Tea House set inside a peaceful hanok. The plum tea is delicious.

Getting to Insa-dong: Take Line 3 to Anguk Station (Exit 6) or Line 1 to Jonggak Station (Exit 3).

Late afternoon: Jump on a 10-minute bus from Insa-dong to Myeongdong for a complete contrast. This bustling neighbourhood is flanked by skyscrapers and home to more beauty stores than you’ll have seen in your life. Head inside for free product samples.

Despite being an upmarket area, there’s affordable street food at the open-air market. After gorging your heart out on tteokbokki, tornado potatoes and other Korean treats, you could finish your day by walking up to the Seoul Tower for sunset. Beware it gets crazy busy at weekends and there are long queues; book a skip-the-line ticket in advance.

Day 3 – DMZ day trip

Take a day trip to the DMZ, a must for any South Korea 2 week itinerary. This buffer zone between South Korea and North Korea has a tragic history which you can learn about during a guided tour.

Walk inside Third Tunnel, look through binoculars towards the Peace Village (a propaganda village built by NK to give the impression all is well in their country) from Dora Observatory, and visit Dorasan, the final train station before the border that will hopefully one day reunite families separated by the DMZ.

Recommended tour – since you can’t visit the DMZ independently, book a DMZ tour with Viator.

If you opt for a half-day trip, you’ll get back to the city early afternoon. Head to Hongdae for more weird & wonderful cafes, shopping and street performers. Have a street food dinner here or visit one of the many Korean BBQ restaurants. These go on well into the small hours, as do the many Hongdae bars and clubs.

Read next: Tips for visiting the DMZ from Seoul

Colourful street art Hongdae Seoul
Street art in Hongdae

Day 4 – museum & culture day

Visit the main palaces and museums, breaking up the day by visiting Tongin Market for lunch. Here you can exchange tokens for a lunchbox of local food.

Top Seoul museums include:

Traditional hanok house National Folk Museum of Korea Seoul
National Folk Museum of Korea

Day 5 – fun neighbourhoods

End this section of your South Korea itinerary by exploring Seoul’s modern side.

Morning: Head to Gangnam to visit ‘grammable Starfield Library and pose with the giant gold hand statue (inspired by a certain catchy pop song that brought Gangnam international fame). Although Gangnam is a modern neighbourhood these days, it has a long history. Visit historical Bongeunsa Temple founded in the year 794 by the highest-ranking monk of the Silla dynasty.

Next, grab lunch in stylish Sinsa-dong neighbourhood. There are countless cool cafes packed with fashionable young Koreans.

Afternoon: visit Itaewon district for hipster hangouts and the world’s best sandwich at Casablanca, or instead take a leisurely river stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream. This is a peaceful place in Seoul where you’ll glimpse undisturbed wildlife.

Cheonggyecheon Stream Seoul
Cheonggyecheon Stream

Where to stay in Seoul?

I would highly recommend Hongdae which is full of shops and cafes but isn’t as busy as the heart of the city. It’s easy to get everywhere from the metro station, plus there are many bus connections. Check out:

Hostel – you can’t do better than Bunk Hostel, one of my best hostels in 10 years of backpacking. The friendly owner remembers everyone’s name, there’s free breakfast, and my dorm room had a private lounge with sofas and TV. It was like a home from home. Check availability here.

Apartment – for the convenience of a private apartment not far from Hongdae, check out Fifties Jacqueline and Dada Stay both under $100.

Hotel – with gorgeous double rooms, a panoramic skyline view of the city and an indulgent breakfast buffet served in a stylish restaurant area, 9 Brick Hotel is where you can really splash out from $114 per night. Check availability here.

Guesthouse – just 15 minutes on foot from Hongdae, Hi Jun Guesthouse is a clean and friendly base with singles from $40 and doubles from $50. Another affordable option is Dawoo House 2 with minimalist rooms from $80 in the heart of the action.

For more Seoul accommodation, check out Booking.com and Hostelworld.

What to do in Seoul at night?

Well, how long have you got? From crazy clubs to boujee bars and everything in between, this city truly never sleeps. But it’s not all about alcohol: you’ll see friends and couples drinking coffee at 2am and groups crowded around tables at buffet restaurants ’til sunrise. 

Then, there are talented buskers who perform free K-pop concerts in the streets of Hongdae. There’s always something fun going on, not limited to the activities below:

  • Take a pub crawl – join a guide and group of fellow partygoers visiting 4 bars in lively parts of town.
  • Ghost stories walking tour hear dark tales and learn about legends and true crime during this unique evening walking tour!
  • Take an evening boat cruise or dinner cruise down the Han river
  • Hike or take the cable car (then ride the elevator) to the top of the Seoul Tower for sunrise or night views
  • Catch a NANTA show using traditional Korean music and performance to tell the hilarious tale of chefs throwing a chaotic wedding banquet
  • Shop and eat at night markets like Myeongdong, Namdaemun, Bamdokkaebi and Gwangjang!

Days 6-7: Sokcho & Seoraksan National Park

Just 2 hours from Seoul is a stunning part of South Korea that many tourists miss. The main reason to visit Sokcho city is to hike in Seoraksan National Park, a beautiful area full of stunning cliffs and endless forest.

If you love hiking and nature, don’t miss this stop from your 2 week South Korea itinerary.

Cliffs of Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park (wow)

Getting to Sokcho: Buses run from Seoul Express Bus Terminal, taking 2.5 hours to reach Sokcho and costing 18,000 KRW.

Day 6: Travel by bus to Sokcho. Check out Sokcho Beach.

Day 7: Spend a day hiking in Seoraksan. From your accommodation, catch a bus to the Outer Seorak entrance of the park near the Seoraksan cable car.

Just 10-minutes by foot from the entrance is Sinheungsa Temple with a 62-foot gold Buddha statue. Rumour has it this is the oldest Zen Temple in the world, built in the year 653. Better yet, a FREE bowl of noodles is handed out to every guest!

Where to stay in Sokcho: The House Hostel has great reviews and is well located for exploring Sokcho and reaching Seoraksan National Park by bus.

Browse more Sokcho accommodation on Booking.com.

Alternative days 6-7: Jeonju

Jeonju Hanok Village
Jeonju is an idyllic addition to a South Korea itinerary

Prefer cities and culture to nature and hiking? Swap Sokcho for Jeonju to ensure this South Korea 2 week itinerary suits you.

Getting to Jeonju: From Seoul, catch the train or bus in just under 3 hours. Book your train on Trip.com or simply turn up at the bus terminal if you’re catching a bus.

The gorgeous little city of Jeonju is somewhere I’ve written about a lot since my visit. If you didn’t have time to visit Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, never fear because Jeonju is arguably even more charming. It’s a fantastic place to stay overnight in a perfectly preserved hanok house.

If that doesn’t persuade you, Jeonju is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy and the birthplace of bibimbap. Foodies, drop what you’re doing and get over here!

Read next: Complete Jeonju travel guide

bibimbap jeonju korea itinerary
Bibimbap feast

Day 6: Arrive in Jeonju and get your bearings. Head for dinner at Family House for a bibimbap feast (pictured above). Although I initially thought ordering a 20,000 KRW meal was pricey, I was stunned at the sheer amount of food that arrived. This is how Rose died and went to bibimbap heaven!

Day 7: Explore Jeonju, visit the Hanok Village, eat at Nambu Market and spot street art Jaman Mural Village (a smaller version of Seoul’s Ihwa Mural Village).

Honestly, you could see Jeonju in a day but I enjoyed staying 2 nights in order to relax during my busy 2 weeks in South Korea. If you try Jeonju’s famous makgeolli (Korean rice wine served in a teapot), you may need the extra day to nurse your sore head.

Where to stay in Jeonju: Happiness Hanok Guesthouse is a gem. This traditional hanok house is the real deal with a modest floor bed and a TV showing K-pop and K-dramas. Although the owner could speak little English and I could speak even less Korean, she was so friendly and handed me maps and freshly-brewed tea.

Browse all Jeonju accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.

Days 8-10: Busan

While some people describe Busan as just another big city, I liked it. No, it’s not as quirky or cool as Seoul but where is? Busan is still an excellent addition to any South Korea 2 week itinerary, as well as a launching point for reaching Jeju Island.

Skyscrapers around Busan harbour
Busan!

Getting to Busan: From Jeonju, you can catch a bus or train within 3 hours. If you were previously in Sokcho, you can take a 6-hour bus or alternatively a 2-hour bus to Seoul then a fast train to Busan in 2 hours 15 minutes.

Day 8 – arrive and sightsee

Depending on your arrival time, there are plenty of activities for your first day in Busan. One option is visiting the Temple by the Sea (Haedong Yonggung). Alternatively, kick back and relax on famous Haeundae Beach.

Chill out even further at Spa Land inside Shinsegae Centum City (shopping centre) in the evening. This is a traditional Korean jjimjilbang with a nude hot pool area. Visit after 8pm for a discounted ticket.

Read next: Busan 3 day itinerary

Day 9 – Gamcheon Culture Village & Nampo

Gamcheon Culture Village Busan
Gamcheon Culture Village

Morning: Visit colourful Gamcheon Culture Village. This once rundown neighbourhood is now a vibrant tourist attraction. As a street art fan, it was one of my favourite stops during 2 weeks in South Korea. As well as murals, there are cafes, cultural centres and arty statues.

Afternoon: Head to Nampo district to climb Busan Tower, check out Jagalchi Fish Market, shop at Gukje Market and eat Korean street food in Biff Square.

Read next: The best day trips from Busan

Day 10 – hiking in Busan

Take a morning hike, either along Igidae Coastal Walk or in Taejongdae Park, across the bridge on a small island.

Relax in the afternoon at Gwangalli Beach then visit Seomyeon neighbourhood in the evening for street food, restaurants and nightlife.

More details about these hikes are listed in my guide to the best Busan day trips.

Skyscrapers at Haeundae Beach Busan
Haeundae Beach

Where to stay in Busan: I would highly recommend Seomyeon neighbourhood because it’s full of cafes, restaurants and bars and it’s also the station where most of the subway lines connect, meaning it’s easy to get everywhere.

Hostel: Stay at Blue Backpackers, run by a friendly family. This hostel down a sleepy side street makes it quiet at night, plus there’s free breakfast and a comfy lounge area. Check availability here.

Apartment: Close to Busan station and the port, Le Collective boasts stylish, spotless suites with city views and easy access to vibrant Chinatown. Check availability from $80.

Hotel: Stay at Seomyeon Brown-dot hotel gold for some of the most affordable yet comfortable rooms in the area starting at $35pn and equipped with TVs and en suite bathrooms. Breakfast included. Check availability here.

Browse all Busan accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.

Days 11-14: Jeju Island

Black sand beach Jeju Island South Korea
Black sand beach Jeju Island

Jeju Island is a must for your 2 week South Korea itinerary. It’s been voted a New 7 Wonder of Nature alongside the Amazon and Cape Town’s Table Mountain. It’s so popular that Seoul to Jeju has officially been declared the world’s most popular flight route!

Getting to Jeju: The best way to get to Jeju Island is by air. Many visitors fly Busan to Jeju but you could also consider flying from Seoul to Jeju and then into Busan. In this case, rejig this 2 week South Korea itinerary accordingly.

You can also fly to Jeju Island from Daegu, Cheongju and Gwangju so check if any of those serve you better.

How to get around Jeju Island: Hiring a car gives you the most freedom. Use Rentalcars.com to find a vehicle and pick it up in Jeju City. Otherwise, Viator offer a range of affordable day tours. While you can catch public buses on Jeju, these are infrequent so expect to see fewer attractions.

Recommended tours:

Read next: A guide to visiting Jeju Island without a car

Haenyeo women divers Jeju Island
Haenyeo women divers

Day 11: Arrive in Jeju and settle into your surroundings. If you have time, visit a beach or the infamous Jeju Love Land (a risque theme park) in the afternoon.

Day 12: Explore the West Coast of Jeju. Visit Hyupjae Beach, Hallim Park, O’sulloc Tea Museum and Cheonjeyeon Waterfall. If you don’t have a car, book a West Coast tour.

Day 13: Travel the East Coast of Jeju Island stopping at Gwangchigi Black Sand Beach and Manjang Cave. Attend the fascinating UNESCO women diver show to learn about these highly-skilled female divers (haenyeo) who dive down 10 metres without equipment to catch seafood. If you don’t have a car, book an East Coast tour.

Day 14: Why not take a Mount Hallasan day hiking tour or have a beach day before flying back to the mainland in the evening? If your onwards destination is in Asia, you might even be able to finish your 2 weeks in South Korea by flying there directly from Jeju Island.

Where to stay in Jeju: The ultimate place for backpackers is Rainbow Inn. This was one of the best hostels I stayed in South Korea due to the comfy social areas and tasty breakfasts. Prices are a little inflated but in line with other Jeju accommodations.

Browse all Jeju accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.

3 week South Korea itinerary

Since most people spend 2 weeks in South Korea, I decided this was the most useful itinerary to put together. But I personally spent 3 weeks in South Korea which, in my opinion, is better. You can get past the big cities and explore more local destinations. Plus, it’s an extra 7 days of eating kimchi!

If you have 3 weeks in South Korea, there are a couple of stops I’d suggest adding, Daegu and Gyeongju. This 3 week South Korea itinerary also means you can include both Sokcho and Jeonju so there’s no need to choose. I’ll breeze through the stops we already mentioned and elaborate on the new destinations:

Days 1-5: Seoul. As per 2 week South Korea itinerary above.

Days 6-7: Sokcho. As above.

Days 8-9: Jeonju. As above.

Days 10-12: Daegu

City lookout point Daegu South Korea
Apsan Park

The fourth biggest city in South Korea is a sweet spot to spend a day or two especially if you like hiking.

Day 10: Arrive in Daegu.

Day 11: Catch a bus to Palgong Mountain for hiking and temples. Here you can find the Gatbawi Stone Buddha at Seonbonsa Temple and get immersed in the surrounding hiking trails.

Day 12: Start your day with coffee and unlimited free pastries (yes seriously) at Schumann and Clara. Have a city day or hike up to Apsan Park where you’ll get spectacular sunset views over the city and countryside from the deck at the top.

Where to stay in Daegu: I stayed at Go Hostel which was a decent backpackers with free breakfast. For an upgrade, check out Bomgoro HanokStay where you can stay in your own comfy hanok for $40pn or Hanok1965.

Browse all Daegu accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.

Apsan Park temple Daegu
Temples within Apsan Park

TipCheck out Life of Brit’s Daegu hiking guide. Brit lived in Daegu while teaching English so she is your girl for tips (and always replies on Instagram).

Days 13-14: Gyeongju

Daereungwon Tumuli Park 3 weeks South Korea
Daereungwon Tumuli Park

History lovers spending 3 weeks in South Korea shouldn’t miss Gyeongju, home to the Silla Dynasty from the 1st to 7th centuries. It’s also an excellent stop for foodies. I didn’t find anywhere else quite like Gyeongju which is why I liked it.

Day 13: Explore Daereungwon Tumuli Park (ancient manmade hill tombs filled with gold and jewels), Wolji Pond and Cheomaeongdae Tower.

Tuck into a traditional ssambap meal: small bitesize portions of food wrapped in leaves. For dessert, sample Hwangnam (sweet bread filled with red bean paste).

Spread of Korean food in Gyeongju South Korea
Ssambap meal for 3

Foodie visiting Korea? Don’t miss my South Korea food guide!

Day 14: Catch a bus to Bulguksa Temple (the colourful flag temple pictured below) and hike up to Golgulsa Temple. On the way home, stop at Gyeongju National Museum to learn about the ancient Silla Dynasty.

Bulguksa Temple Gyeongju South Korea
Bulguksa Temple

On a tight schedule? It’s possible to visit Gyeongju as a day trip from Busan rather than stay overnight.

Where to stay in Gyeongju: I stayed at Blueboat Hostel which is a cosy hostel run by a friendly local who will give you tips and local advice. It’s a great place to meet other backpackers.

For a hotel option, check our Rivertain Hotel which has comfy rooms and free breakfast, right in the heart of town.

Browse all Gyeongju accommodation on Booking.com and Hostelworld.

Days 15-17: Busan. As above.

Days 18-21: Jeju Island. As above.

Useful info for 2 weeks in Korea

What is the best season to visit South Korea?

March to May and September to November are optimum as the weather is pleasant. In the spring season, you may see cherry blossom and in the later season, you’ll see the country become beautifully autumnal.

Saying that, I visited in June (summer) and although it was hot and sticky at times, it was bearable. This is also a good season for hiking as temperatures are cooler in the mountains.

December to February are freezing cold so only visit if you’re really prepared.

Note – make sure you know when Korean holidays fall as many businesses will be closed. Korean New Year is the first day of the Korean calendar. Chuseok falls on day 15th of the 8th lunar month.

Is Korea safe?

As a solo female traveller, I found South Korea to be very safe. I felt comfortable walking at night as well as during the day. Petty crime is not a big problem and violent crime is near non-existent. See my solo travel archives for safety tips for women.

Here’s a guide for Black travellers in South Korea and LGBT+ travellers in South Korea.

Korea quick tips

  • Unlike some countries, tipping isn’t necessary in South Korea
  • Google Maps doesn’t work – at least not properly. Download Naver Maps and KakaoMap for walking and driving directions.
  • For city travel, pick up a Tmoney card. They cost 500 KRW (you get back 3,500 of the 4,000 deposit) but save you money in the long run, plus you never have to queue at ticket machines. Buy yours now or get it with a SIM card combo.
  • Korea is a difficult place to travel for veggies. Download the HappyCow app.

Read my top 30 Korea travel tips here.

Visas for South Korea

South Korea offers visa-free travel for over 100 nationalities. US and UK citizens can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Other nationalities may vary.

Travel insurance for South Korea

Don’t be going anywhere without it! Although South Korea is safe with low crime rates, it’s just not worth taking the risk.

I use World Nomads for travel insurance. They cover over 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance. They’re also one of the few companies that let you buy insurance when you’re already travelling. This comes in very handy if your plans change.

South Korea essentials

Thanks for reading my South Korea 2 week itinerary!

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See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

Ps. Liked this 2 and 3 week South Korea itinerary? Pin it for later!

2 week South Korea itinerary

VISITING SOUTH KOREA?
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 Trip.com, 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 Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals. Hiring a car will be especially useful on Jeju Island.

For hotels in Korea, I use Booking.com – 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.

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.

Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance. 

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

4 thoughts on “Perfect South Korea Itinerary For 2 Weeks: Best Stops + Tips!

  1. Hannah says:

    Hi! If you don’t mind me asking, how much did you spend for 3 weeks in Soith Korea? I plan to set aside a budget for my dream vacation there. ☺️ Thank you!

    • Rose says:

      Hey Hannah! I spent about £900 in 3 weeks on a backpackers budget. Quite costly! I actually have a budget guide scheduled for next week if you check back on my homepage then!

  2. Aqsa Syed says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if your last stay was on the jeju island, from which Airport did you fly back home? I want to make the similar route that you recommendet. But I’m unsure about from where i should fly back. Because going back to seoul from the jeju island would be elaborate. Even if my last stay would be in busan, would you recommend to fly back from there or take the train back to seoul – to fly back home from there.

    I would be glad if you could help me out here 🙂

    • Rose says:

      Hello! I flew return from Seoul then after a couple more days in Seoul, took my exit flight. If doing it again, I might do Jeju in between Seoul and Busan to save travel time. 🙂

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