The Only 1 Month Korea Itinerary You Need

While I’ve already written ways to spend two weeks in Korea, I thought I’d make one giant Korea itinerary guide for a month.

I do think one month isn’t nearly enough to see all of Korea, but I’m obviously quite biased ;).

I decided to make this itinerary a bit faster than I’d normally travel just so I could fit in as much as possible. If you only can ever come to Korea once, this should help you feel like you saw everything you could see.

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The Ultimate Korea Itinerary Guide for 1 Month

Fly Into: Incheon International Airport

Assuming you’re coming from abroad, you’re most likely going to fly into Incheon Airport! Incheon has spoiled me because it’s seriously one of the best airports in the world, even if the “ice rink” is a lie.

Days 1 – 4: Gangwondo

So, you’re not actually going into Seoul just yet! Nope, you’re going to the Northeast coast! You can do this one of two ways:

  • Take an airport bus from Incheon to Sokcho (Check the schedule here)
  • Take a train from Seoul Station to Gangneung and then take a bus from Gangenung to Sokcho (KTX – 2 hours, Bus – 1 hour)

Day 1: Sokcho

I’d base myself in Sokcho for the NE coast. Take the rest of the day to get over jetlag and sleep because your schedule is about to be packed.

Day 2: Hike or visit Seoraksan

Spend the day hiking Seoraksan, one of Korea’s most important mountains. Or you could take the cable car up, I won’t judge.

Day 3: Sea Train

Take the sea train and stop off at some of the main beaches in Gangwon, including Gangneung, Donghae, and Samcheok.

Seasonal Options: Goseong Lavender Fields in summer, any of the ski resorts in winter

Days 5 – 9: Seoul

Day 5: Seoul – Insadong

Stay near Anguk Station, which will put you close to Gyeongbokgung, Insadong, and Bukchon. Once you’ve dropped off your things, spend the afternoon wandering around Insadong. Check out the Poop Cafe while you’re there!

Day 6: Storybook Day Tour

There are a few different day tours you can do from Seoul, but I personally love the nearby storybook-esque visits! You could take the subway to Gapyeong and do the Gapyeong shuttle bus or you can book a tour that will take you to each of the spots throughout the day.

I’ve personally only visited via a tour. Most will take you to the Garden of the Morning Calm, Nami Island, and Petite France. Sometimes the tours have one other stop, but I think doing all three is a good amount for one day without feeling overwhelming. Check this tour for prices + availability*

Day 7: Changdeokgung, Bukchon, + Deoksugung

Start your day off going straight to Changdeokgung. It opens at 9, and you want to get tickets to see the Secret Garden! You can probably spend around 2 1/2 hours here between the Secret Garden tour and the actual palace grounds.

From Changdeokgung, walk over to Bukchon Hanok Village. This is one of the few traditional villages left in Korea. If you can find it, one homeowner has a little observatory where you can see clear to Namsan Tower over the tiled rooftops.

For a guaranteed Secret Garden tour + a Buckchon walking tour, check here.*

After you’ve wandered around (and picked up one of the cute postcard souvenirs), head to Jeongdong Observatory to see the sunset over Deoksugung.

Day 8: Full Day Tour to Suwon Hwaseong or the DMZ

Use this day to tour either the DMZ or Suwon Fortress. Both will take you the better part of the day and will showcase an interesting part of Korea’s history.

Seasonal Option: Hike Bukhansan for its fall foliage.

Day 9: Gyeongbokgung + Cheonggyecheon

If you’re staying at the hostel I recommended, you’ll be right next to Gyeongbokgung. Start off early and head there to see the changing of the guards and then head in to walk around. Gyeongbokgung is massive, so you’ll probably spend a good few hours there. You can also stop in and visit the National Folk Museum of Korea.

From Gyeongbokgung, walk along Cheonggyecheon, Seoul’s pretty manmade river. Depending on when you’re visiting, they sometimes have really nice exhibits. You’ll also pass through Gwanghwamun, which has the big statue of King Sejong and usually some sort of event going on.

From Cheongchyecheon, you can walk over to Jogyesa.

Days 10 – 16: Jeollanam-do and Jeollabuk-do

You’ll want to get up fairly early to go to Jeonju:

  • Take a KTX, and it’ll be about 90-minutes from Yongsan Station
  • A slow train will be closer to 3 hours from Yongsan Station
  • A bus will be around 2 1/2 – 3 hours from the Express Bus Terminal
Jeonju Hanok Village

Day 10: Jeonju

Stay in Jeonju’s Hanok Village and get a proper hanok sleeping experience. Just a heads up, for the true traditional experience, you’ll probably be sleeping on the floor. It’s okay, but I’ve also been sleeping on the floor for the last year, so I’m over it.

Depending on how active you want to be, you can also visit Deokjin Park, especially if it’s around summer with the lotus pond, and/or visit Jeonju’s Mural Village.

Seasonal Options: If you’re visiting in the fall, don’t go straight to Jeonju! Get up super early and take a bus to Naejangsan or Daedunsan! You can hike or take the cable cars up *cough*. From either of those places, you can get a bus back to Jeonju.

Day 11: Namwon

Of course, I have to add Namwon. If you’re an avid hiker, then I’d plan to hike to Jirisan’s peak or one of its many trails, like Baemsagol. Otherwise, wander around Gwanghallu, along the river, and eat. People say Jeonju has the best bibimbap, but I think Namwon does ;)

If you want to really explore, take a bus out to Unbong Herb Valley. It’s this giant museum and theme park all about herbs.

Seasonal Options: If you’re here in May, hike Baraebong instead to see all the royal azaleas.

Suncheon Bay is one of Korea's best natural landmarks! Down in Jeollanamdo, here's how you can visit this beautiful wetland.

Day 12: Suncheon

Not to sound biased, but I’d book a place in Suncheon for a few nights. You can take the train from Namwon and it’s less than an hour even on the slow train. It’s a good base for some of the top things to do in Jeollanamdo, plus it has some incredible sights all its own.

Once you’ve dropped off your things, head for the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve! If you get in on time, you can hike up and see the sunset over the bay, and it should be gorgeous.

Day 13: Boseong Green Tea Fields

From Suncheon Bus Terminal, you can get to Boseong in about an hour. It’s an easy day trip that will have you trekking around the tea fields, eating all the green tea flavored food, and, if you have time, soaking in a green tea bath near Yulpo beach. Just check the last bus back from Boseong to Suncheon.

Down in Damyang, Korea, there's a quirky, French inspired village called Meta Provence.

Day 14: Damyang

Damyang is home to Korea’s famous bamboo forest! This should be another full day trip as you’ll be able to see Meta Provence and the metasequoia trees as well. Trust me, the bamboo forest is huge!

Day 15: Suncheon

Take a breather in Suncheon and visit Naganeupseong, a pretty fortress village about an hour by local bus from downtown Suncheon. It’s a nice afternoon trip, so sleep in and go around golden hour.

Alternatively, you can hike between Seonamsa and Sogwangsa if you still have a bunch of energy!

View of Bridge from Dolsan Island, Yeosu

Day 16: Yeosu

Yeosu is one of Korea’s main port cities, and it’s a charming 30-minutes away from Suncheon. Catch the sunset from Dolsan Island (the last train back to Suncheon is quite close, or you could plan to stay overnight). Angel Alley is also a colorful place to see the sunset, and it has tons of mural walls and trendy coffee shops.

You can stay overnight here or take the train back to Suncheon.

Days 17 – 20: Busan

You can take either a bus or the train from Suncheon to Busan. The bus should be around 2 1/2 hours, the train around 2 as well.

Day 17: Busan

To be central, stay around Haeundae. You can easily catch the subway wherever you want to go. The first day I’d go to Haedong Yongungsa and then hang out around Haeundae. If you have time, visit Spaland and experience the granddaddy of all jimjilbangs in Korea.

Related: Top Things to Do in Busan

Day 18: Gyeongju

Do a day tour of Gyeongju! Gyeongju is kind of spread out, and we wound up wracking up taxi bills like crazy. It’s a great historical city, especially if you’re interested in the Silla dynasty. Unless you’re driving, I’d book an actual day tour from Busan, like this tour from Trazy*.

Day 19: Tongyeong or Oedo Day Trip

If you’re driving, I’d do a day trip to Tongyeong! Otherwise, it’s quite hectic trying to get around with the public transportation in a day. You can also visit Oedo Island, which has a really pretty botanical garden.

Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan, South Korea |Willemstad, Curacao | most colorful places in the world

Day 19: Busan

Start the morning over in Gamcheon Culture Village. It’s less busy in the mornings!

From Gamcheon, you can head over to Nampodong and check out the different markets and alleyways. It’s also close to Jalgachi Fish Market for lunch and/or dinner.

Days 21 – 27: Jeju

If there’s one point I highly recommend renting a car in Korea, it’s for your Jeju trip. There’s just too much to see! Check these posts for more info:

Here are ALL the top things to do in Jeju, South Korea! This island is a great getaway from the busier mainland, and showcases Korean beauty at its best.

Day 21: Northwest Jeju

Hangout around Hyeopjae and Aewol.

Day 22: Hike Hallasan

All I know about hiking Hallasan is that it’s going to most likely take you all day! As the tallest mountain in Korea, if there’s one hike not to miss it’s this one.

Here are ALL the top things to do in Jeju, South Korea! This island is a great getaway from the busier mainland, and showcases Korean beauty at its best.

Day 23-25: Southeast Jeju + Seogwipo

There’s a lot to see in this area, which is why I recommend spending 2-3 days here. Some of the things you can see include Camelia Hill, O’Sulloc Tea Fields, various waterfalls, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, and Daesungeolli Cliffs.

Here are ALL the top things to do in Jeju, South Korea! This island is a great getaway from the busier mainland, and showcases Korean beauty at its best.

Day 26-27: Northeast Jeju

This area is a great base to see Udo, Seongsan Ilchulbong, and Bijarim Forest.

Days 28 – 30/31 – Seoul

From Jeju, you can easily (and fairly cheaply depending on when) fly up to Seoul! I’d stay around Hongdae just because it’s right on the same line as the airport, and it’s a fun area to end your trip on.

Day 28: Seoul – Hongdae

Since Hongdae caters to three different universities (Hongik, Yonsei, and Ehwa), it’s bustling with energy and fun things to do. If you want to relax a bit, I’d spend the day at the Trick Eye museum which holds the X-rated Love museum, the actual Trick Eye area, an Ice Museum, and CaFace.

You can also take the subway one stop over to Sinchon and Ehwa to visit those areas as well! Ehwa and Hongdae have really fun shopping if you’re hoping to indulge in some Korean fashion.

Day 29: Seokchon + Lotte World

If you don’t mind the trip across the city, you can squeeze in a trip to Seokchon Lake and Lotte World! You can see Lotte Tower in this area, which is now the tallest building on the peninsula. This is especially a must-see during cherry blossom season.

Day 30-31: Any Last Minute Visits or Shopping

Use your last day or two to do any last minute sightseeing or souvenir shopping.

Last Day: Fly Out of Incheon

If you’ve stayed in Hongdae, it’s a very easy hour ride to get to the airport from Hongdae Station. If for some reason you can’t use the subway, you may want to book an airport transfer*.

Hope this guide helps you plan the perfect, month-long Korea itinerary! There’s so much to see and do, it might have pained me a little that I couldn’t recommend all of it.

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2 Comments

  1. Larry Medina
    August 1, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    This is amazing! How much would you say this would all cost?!?

    • Samantha
      Author
      August 2, 2018 / 3:35 am

      Hmm good question! I’m not a good budgeter, so I’ve never broke down the costs. I’d say if you’re being careful with money, but you’re not totally on a shoestring budget, you could do about $50 USD (55-60,000 KRW)/day including hostels, food, and transportation. Let’s say you spend $20/night on a hostel bed, put aside $15 for transportation (some days might only be $5, but longer trips between cities might be more expensive), and $15 for food (maybe if you’re eating light for 2 meals and spending a bit more for one big meal — a good meal should be around $10 or less if it’s a mom and pop Korean place), that should even out.

      If you’re super-super-super shoestring budgeting, you could maybe get by on $20-30/day. That would mean a lot of $2 kimbap and ramen, cheapest transportation options, and couchsurfing or sleeping in saunas.