Planning a trip to Seoul! – Part 1

Ever since the encounter at KTO, I’ve been planning to start a series of blogposts on planning a trip to Korea. Never got round to it cos of all the drama but HERE I AM! (: Will focus mainly on Seoul, and talk about Busan/Gyeongju after this series.

Part 1: Starting to plan for your trip 

No matter how many times I have been to Korea, the first thing I do before I start planning my trip is to head down to KTO and grab a copy of their guide book. Of course, you can also view the e-copy here.

They have recently updated their guidebook (as the Vist Korea campaign was over) and I guess, personally, I much prefer the old version that covers more areas outside of Seoul. But anyways! The new guidebook is still good for Seoul (:

the refreshed KTO guide. (source:

the refreshed KTO guide.

The book is organised into Areas (Seoul, Seoul Vicinity, Eastern/Central/Southeaster/Southwestern Area, Jeju Island) and then into the type of attractions grouped into, “Themed Tours”. Here’s a snapshot of the content page –

Contents page(:

Contents page(:

With the guidebook in hand….

What I will do is to flip through the guidebook quickly, take note of the places that I may be interested in and then…I head to KTO website to read up more about them.

Now, you may ask…What’s the difference between the guidebook and the KTO website?

The new guidebook is more condensed. There’s not alot of information there except for a brief write-up and the station where you should alight. But the KTO website on the other hand, contains – a) more detailed write up of the place, b) the opening hours, c) the Exit that you should go, d) pricing information  and e) time of the guided tours.

Here’s a comparison of the information provided in the guidebook –

Information in the Guidebook for Gyeongbok Palace

Information in the Guidebook for Gyeongbok Palace

Part of the information on the website for Gyeongbok Palace

Part of the information on the website for Gyeongbok Palace

Alternatively, search the places in an app!

You can also download “Visit Korea” application (: It’s basically a guidebook, grouped according to categories like Shopping, Culture and Accommodation. Those are further grouped into the different ‘dong’ in the area. Really good (: Almost as good as the old guidebook I was talking about!

It provides almost the same information as the website (: Definitely more than the current guidebook.

Visit Korea 2.0

Visit Korea 2.0

When everything is done….

When you have shortlisted most of the places you want to visit, you can either start arranging your itineraries. Well, kinda (see below for explanation) You can probably do 3-4 places in a day if you are the GO!GO!GO! tourists. But if you are like me, who likes to spend a bit of time at each area, stop to read every single sign board, then 1-2 is the max.

So I just used the guidebook for shortlisting stuff?

Well, technically, yes. But after you have shortlisted the places that you want to go, you can go back to the guidebook and see what other interesting places are around you!

what's around Gwanghuamun

what’s around Gwanghuamun Gate


There you have it!

Now that you have the list of places that you want to go, the next step is to see which station is near which. Now, in the guidebook (and on Google), you will find the Seoul subway map. Confusing yes?

Stay tuned for I have a solution for you! (:

And I just discovered this awesome app that gives you a guided tour! Psyched!! More soon!


2 thoughts on “Planning a trip to Seoul! – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Cycling by the Han River (: | life of a clumsy sotong - as if being a sotong is not bad enough.

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