How to Spend 2 Weeks in Korea: 4 Itinerary Ideas
So I know I briefly laid down some itinerary ideas in my massive travel tips post, but I thought I’d dedicate a few posts to give you guys more specific details. To start off, here are 4 different guides if you want a 2 week itinerary for Korea.
In the last week or so I’ve actually gotten a few different emails asking for some advice as people start planning their own trips (okay, I got two).
First of all, I’m super excited that a) people are coming to Korea and b) people are actually asking me for advice! Second of all, these emails reminded me that I’ve had different itinerary posts drafted for months and I should probably finish them.
Now, keep in mind these itinerary ideas are just that — ideas! Read through the different suggestions and decide which ones fit what you want to see the most.
How to Plan an Itinerary for Korea for 2 Weeks
I thought I’d make four different sample itineraries to give you some options. Two of them are fairly slow, one is slow-ish, and one is a bit faster if you want to try to fit in as many places as you can. Feel free to click the links to jump to each section.
- Slow Itinerary #1: Seoul + Jeju
- Slow Itinerary #2: Seoul + Busan
- Slow-ish Itinerary: Seoul + Gwangju
- Fast-ish Itinerary: Seoul, Jeju, + Gwangju
Slow Itinerary #1: Seoul + Jeju
If Jeju is high up on your bucket list, then I highly recommend making it a priority. It’s by far my favorite place in Korea because it has everything I love about this country and manages to do away with everything that drives me up a wall. This itinerary is for slow travelers who’d prefer to take their time in Korea even if it means not seeing a lot.
1 Week Itinerary for Seoul
You can’t visit Korea and not dedicate time to Seoul. It’s such an incredible city with something new around every corner.
- 13 Free Things to Do in Seoul
- Quick Guide to Seoul
- Where to Stay in Seoul
- 15 Fun Day Tours in Seoul and Nearby
Day 1: Relax
Drop your things off at your hotel and head towards a jimjilbang (Korean sauna) to soak away all the aches and post-flight ickiness. There are jimjilbangs sprinkled all over the city, so just ask your accommodation for recommendations. You can also try some of these:
- Siloam Sauna near Seoul Station
- Dragon Hill Spa
- Myeongdong Traditional Sauna
- This Insadong Sauna
You can then wander around for something to ear near your hotel. Seoul has so many little hole-in-the-wall shops for dumplings, Korean BBQ, stews, and more, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re craving something from home, then you might want to check out Itaewon as it has a ton of foreign restaurants. My personal favorites are Braai Republic for South African barbeque, Plant Café & Kitchen for delicious vegan eats, and Coreanos for a fun Mexican-Korean mix.
Another fun area is Sharosugil (샤로수길) right off Seoul University Station (서울대입구역), Exit 2. Lots of fun restaurants and cafes!
Day 2: Walk around the big traditional sites
Today’s going to be a big walking day. Wherever you are, head on the subway to Anguk or Gyeongbokgung Station. The big areas to see here:
- Gyeongbokgung – the main palace of Korea (Get in free with a hanbok rental or be a lil extra and do a full on hanbok photoshoot)
- Bukchon Hanok Village – a nice area with plenty of traditional style homes
- Insadong – great for traditional souvenirs and just walking around. If you do go here, check out the Poop Cafe!
- Changdeokgung + its Secret Garden – Another palace in Korea. Get tickets for its secret garden! I think the garden is what makes this palace so nice, and if you guy during a busier time, the tours (which are required) will be sold out.
These are all within walking distance of each other and should take up your whole day! Bukchon and Insadong have some great places to eat if you go around lunch.
Bonus: If you still have time and energy, then head over to Seosumun and up to its coffee shop to see Deoksugung from above. The other “smaller” palaces in Seoul are nearby too: Gyeonghuigung and Changgyegung.
For tour options, check these out:
Day 3: A Day Trip
This would be a good day to take a day trip and let your legs rest a bit. There are a few great options depending on what you’re interested in:
Jeonju – 1 1/2 hours by KTX (3 hours by bus or Mugunghwa)
- Great for: A taste of Korea’s countryside in Jeollabukdo.
- Jeonju is famous for its Hanok Village, which I personally like better than Bukchon because it’s more enclosed. You can also check out the Jaman Mural Village and Deokjin Park. If you pick up a map from the train station when you arrive, you’ll see an English brochure and it has some free tour options if you want to join one.
- Also, don’t miss eating ALL the Korean food! If you’ve been wanting to try bibimbap, Jeonju is the place to do it. Honestly, you might be ruined because Jeolla Korean food is way better than Seoul Korean food, but I’m biased ;)
- Tours to Jeonju from Seoul
DMZ – 1 hour by tour
- Great for: Those intrigued by North Korea and want to get their fill.
- Longtime readers know my feelings on actual North Korean tourism. The DMZ is a great way to learn more about the Korean War and current relations today. Just be warned it feels super kitschy and touristy, and, obviously, you’re going to get a South Korean bias to the border!
- Also, be warned, tours will be canceled at the mildest of tensions with North Korea. My friend and her sister were supposed to go one winter but their trip was canceled the night before over some general bickering and threats that made the news.
- Tours to the DMZ:
Chuncheon + Gapyeong – 1-1 1/2 hours by subway
- Great for: Cute areas near Seoul
- You could also go on a full day tour to the Chuncheon area, but this is a super cute way to escape the city. Big sites include Nami Island, Petite France, and the Garden of the Morning Calm. Also, don’t forget to try dakgalbi since it’s originally from Chuncheon.
- Tours to Chuncheon + Gapyeong:
Suwon – 1 hour by subway
- Great for: A little less touristy way to learn more about Korean history
- I visited Suwon for a day when my friend, Autumn, lived there and really enjoy Suwon Fortress! We went during a holiday and were surprised by how quiet it was compared to similar landmarks in Seoul. You can read my guide (linked above) for more on Suwon and what to do/where to eat.
- Tours to Suwon
Day 4: A Slower Day
I’d take this day to visit Dongdaemun and Ihwa Mural Village. Maybe even sleep in a bit and relax! Ihwa is a cute area to walk around with a lot of pretty painted walls, and Dongdaemun Design Plaza is just a stunning building. You could also go clothes shopping if you want to venture into one of the giant buildings!
I’d also pop over to Gangnam’s Sinsa-dong area or Hongdae’s Yeonnam-dong to visit some trendy cafes in Seoul.
Day 5: Out to the Mountains
Even if you’re not a big hiker, you can’t visit Korea and not hike at least a little! The country is mostly mountains after all. The big one to do is Bukhansan, but I haven’t hiked it yet. Most of the trails will probably take you most of the day, so bring water! This is especially a must do during the fall season.
If you don’t want to hike but get some nice views, you could always try visiting the Bugak Skyway, Namsan Park, or Haneul Park one of the World Cup Parks.
Day 6: Maybe Another Day Trip
If you want to visit any other place from the Day 3 options, you can always use this day to visit!
Otherwise, I’d try to visit one of Seoul’s parks, such as Seoul Grand Park or Lotte World and Seokchon Lake Park (definitely go here if it’s cherry blossom season). You could also try one of the many pretty parks along the Han River.
Day 7: Namsan Tower + Any Last Minute Souvenir Shopping or Sightseeing
Can’t go to Seoul and not pop up to Namsan Tower! This is one of the more iconic structures in Seoul (and probably one you’ll see on a ton of postcards). Nearby is Namsangol Hanok Village. Get a discount ticket here
A whole Namsan Tower trip should only be maybe 2 hours tops, so spend the rest of the day doing whatever you wish! Head back to Insadong for more souvenir shopping, stay in the area for some Myeongdong shopping, or visit any places in Seoul you didn’t get to.
Or, hey, head back to a jimjilbang to soak away all the walking and hiking aches!
1 Week in Jeju
There are a number of ways to get to Jeju, but the easiest is to just fly from Incheon or Gimpo. It’s only an hour flight, and almost every time I’ve gone, it was actually cheaper flying one way to Seoul than taking the 4-hour ferry from Mokpo.
Day 1: Arrival + Cheonjiyeon Falls
If there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s to not stay in Jeju City. It’s not very pretty and most of the attractions aren’t that close to it. I’d stay down in Seogwipo if you’re planning on using public transportation. If you’re going to rent a car, then you can pretty much stay wherever.
After you drop off your things, head to Cheonjiyeon Falls, which are right in Seogwipo. If you arrive super early in the morning, you can also head over to Jeongbang Falls.
Day 2: Cheonjaeyeon Falls, Jusangjeolli Cliff, + Yeomiji Botanical Garden
These three are all in the same area and will probably fill up your day easily! Yeomiji is just a gorgeous botanical garden, especially if you’re interested in photography. Get discount tickets here
Jusangjeolli Cliff is a sort of lava rock beach, and you can get a taxi from Yeomiji. Cheonjaeyeon is actually a series of three waterfalls, so it’s a bit of a hike!
If you still have some time head over to the Yeongmeori Coast. It’s a pretty area, but I haven’t had luck getting out to the coast part. It’s always been closed because of the tide.
Day 3: The O’Sulloc Tea Fields + Hyeopjae Beach
Start the morning with a visit to the tea fields! I always love a pretty tea field. Head away from the main part, you’ll get all the tea fields to yourself. Once you’ve roamed around, visit the O’Sulloc Tea Museum and also the Innisfree cafe!
Then drive up and hang out in Hyeopjae! This is kind of the more hippie side of Jeju and Korea in general, so it’s perfect for a chill afternoon. If you’re there for lunch or dinner, do NOT miss Donato’s pizza. I’ve said this at least twice on the blog before, but it’s hands down some of the best pizza I’ve ever had and that includes all the pizza I consumed in Italy.
You could also pop into Camellia Hill when you go to O’Sulloc if it’s the right season. It was okay in August, but everything was dead, and we didn’t get the pretty, bright red flowers or the light blue hydrangeas we were hoping for! Get discount tickets for Camellia Hill here
Day 4: Hike Hallasan
This is definitely going to be an all-day hike! I haven’t done it yet, but it’s one of the tallest mountains in Korea.
Day 5: Udo Island + Seongsan Ilchulbong
Along the East Coast, head over to Udo and Seongsan Ilchulbong.
Udo is a beautiful island a short ferry ride away from Seongsan, and it’s known as the “Scotland” of Korea! Definitely take the day to wander around and then return to Jeju before sunset.
Seongsan Ilchulbong is one of my favorite places in Korea, it’s just so incredible. Most people go for sunrise and hike up the peak, but I think it’s a prettier view to go at sunset and walk away from the peak up to the Cloud Healing Hotel. You don’t need to stay there, but you can hang out in the cafe and catch the views from the cliff it’s on.
Day 6 + 7: Spots in Jeju’s Eastern Area
There are some random spots spread out in Jeju’s Eastern area that you can visit on Day 6 and Day 7:
- Mangjanggul Cave
- Jeju Maze Park
- Jeju Stone Park
- Bijaram Forest
- Kim Kyoung Sook Sunflower Farm
- Seongeup Folk Village
Also, there’s Loveland, which is kind of in the central north part of the island if you’re keen for some rated-R views. Get discount tickets here
If you visit during the spring season, you may want to do a taxi tour all day to find the cherry blossoms and canola fields! I had a car, so I drove around. However, many of the spots are kind of hard to reach if you don’t know where you’re going and don’t have a car.
Slow Itinerary #2
1 Week in Seoul + 1 Week in Busan
For the first week, just follow the Seoul itinerary I listed above! Then you’ll want to go down to Busan. There are a few ways to get from Seoul to Busan:
- Fly – 1 hour
- KTX – 3 hours
- Mugunghwa – 5 hours
- Bus – 5-6 hours
1 Week in Busan
I would stay in the Haeundae area as it’s pretty central to a lot of the places you’ll want to see.
Day 1: Haeundae
Once you’ve arrived and dropped your things off at your accommodation, just relax and walk around Haeundae. There’s a really cool area called Nampo-dong off Nampo Station, which is full of cool alleyway markets and still has an older Korea vibe.
Day 2: Day Trip to Gyeongju
It’s up to you and your budget, but I’d try to check out Gyeongju if you can! It’s only an hour away. While a lot of traditional architecture in Seoul is from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), Gyeongju is mostly from the Shilla kingdom (57 BC – 935 AD). Some big things to see are:
- Wolji Pond
- Daereungwon Tomb Complex
Things are kind of spread out, and we wound up spending a small fortune in taxi rides to see what we wanted to see. I’d highly recommend doing a tour, like this one, from Busan instead.
Day 3: Hang out at Gamcheon Culture Village
This is more of a chill day as it’ll only really take 2-3 hours tops to go all around Gamcheon even at a slow pace. It’s easily one of my favorite places in Korea simply for all the colorful buildings!
Day 4: Do one of Busan’s hikes
I’ve only gone to Seokbulsa, but here are some other pretty hikes on my list to do in Busan! Remember hiking usually takes all day or the good part of a day even if it seems easy, so I’d always carve out a day for one.
Day 5: Day Trip to Hadong or Jinhae
Hadong county is one of the loveliest places for a true countryside escape (especially if you’re visiting during cherry blossom or fall season). In one area you can see the giant cherry blossom road and the Hadong tea fields. If you are here during cherry blossom season, you may also want to see the Jinhae cherry blossom festival. Between the two, I prefer Hadong, but Jinhae is more in a city, so it’s easier to navigate.
Day 6: Haedong Yonggungsa
I’m still dying to visit this cliffside temple! It just looks so stunning! I’m not sure how much of a mission it is to get there, so if it’s an easy visit for you, you can always mix this with a lighter hike or an afternoon around Gwanghalli or back at Haeundae.
Day 7: Last Day in Busan
Depending on where you’re going next, you can fly out of Busan’s Gimhae, in which case you may want to stay overnight at Hotel Airport if you have an early flight. Otherwise, just repeat the process to get back to Seoul!
1 Week in Seoul + 1 Week in Gwangju
Just repeat the same itinerary for 1 week in Seoul and then either fly or take a bus or train down to Gwangju. It’s about 4 hours by bus or one hour by plane.
1 Week in Gwangju
If you follow this itinerary, then I’d try to stay somewhere near the bus terminal.
Day 1: Exploring Gwangju
There are actually some really nice areas of Gwangju besides the shopping area! The Art Museum is really pretty as is the area outside of it, especially during the cherry blossom season.
Gwangju is also famous for the Gwangju Democratic Uprising in 1980. You can also head over to the 5.18 Memorial Park and 5.18 National Cemetery.
Day 2: Day Trip to Suncheon
My home city for a year! Suncheon’s biggest attraction is Suncheon Bay, but you can also roam around the Film Set, walk all around the bay garden, or visit one of the temples (Seonamsa or Songgwangsa), and head to Naganeupseong Folk Village.
For a full guide on what to do in Suncheon, check here.
Day 3: Day Trip to Boseong Tea Fields
The Boseong tea fields are by far one of the must-see areas in Korea! Just think of rows and rows of stunning green and delicious ice cream!
Day 4: Day Trip to Gurye + Gokseong
If you want some real countryside areas, go to Gurye and Gokseong. Gokseong is nice in May for the rose festival, though I don’t know what else is there otherwise! The area with the rose festival isn’t that pretty when it’s not covered in roses.
Gurye is really gorgeous for a variety of reasons! It’s one of our top fall foliage destinations, the sansuyu festival in March is gorgeous, and it’s just a great countryside destination if you’re really looking to get off the beaten path.
Day 5: Day Trip to Yeosu
Yeosu is such a lovely port city. You can check out all my tips for the best things to do in Yeosu here plus all my advice for visiting!
Day 6: Day Trip to Namwon
My <3. Namwon is about an hour from Gwangju, and it’s the perfect little place! Go up Aegibong to get a view of the city from above, wander around Gwanghallu, and just walk by the river. If you do want a big hiking day, check out the different Jirisan trails, such as Baemsagol Valley.
Day 7: Day Trip to Damyang
I saved Damyang for the last day because it’s the closest to Gwangju and everything is pretty close together, so you don’t have to worry about running around on your last day. Head over and then visit the bamboo forest, Meta Provence village, and the Metasequoia road!
4 days in Seoul, 4 days in Jeju, 5 days in Gwangju
I’m just going to list the general areas you should hit each day for a general idea of each place. This schedule is kind of fast, but I get that some people want to see as much as they can vs. taking their time!
4 Days in Seoul
Day 1: Gyeongbokgung Area
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Bukchon Hanok Village
Day 2: Day Trip to DMZ or Chuncheon
If you go to Chuncheon, a day tour will take you to:
- Nami Island
- Garden of the Morning Calm
- Petite France
- (sometimes) Gangcheon Bike Trail
Day 3: Hike Bukhansan
Day 4: Namsan Tower + Myeongdong
- Namsan Tower
- Myeongdong shopping + street food goodies
- Cheonggyecheon (man-made stream in Seoul)
4 Days in Jeju
Assuming you place yourself in Seogwipo, here’s a quick rundown for Jeju. If you don’t rent a car, you could always do a tour of the Western and Eastern areas in Jeju! I’ll link to them in each section.
Day 1: Seogwipo Area
- Lee Jung Seop Street
- Jeongbang Waterfall
- Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
Day 2: Western Area
- O’Sulloc Tea Fields
- Yeongmeori Coast + Sangbangsan
- Camelia Hill
- Hallim Park
Day 3: Hike Hallasan
Day 4: Eastern Area
- Seongsan Ilchulbong
- Udo Island
- Mangjanggul Cave
- Jeju Maze Park
- Jeju Stone Park
- Bijaram Forest
- Kim Kyoung Sook Sunflower Farm
- Seongeup Folk Village
Alternatively, you could always swap out 4 days in Jeju for 4 days in Busan and pick from the Busan itinerary above.
5 Days in Gwangju
Simply fly into Gwangju from Jeju instead of booking a roundtrip flight back to Seoul. If you’re coming from Busan, then you can take a bus.
- 1: Day Trip to Damyang
- 2: Day Trip to Boseong
- 3: Hiking Day
- 4: Day Trip to Suncheon
- 5: Explore Gwangju
Back in Seoul
Use your last day to do any last minute things you missed doing the first time! I usually save my last day to do any souvenir shopping I avoided doing the rest of the trip. :p
And there you have it! Four sample Korea itineraries for 2 weeks to help you plan your trip. I’m working on a few lengths as well, so let me know what else you’d like to see.
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I love this. My friend and I will be going to South Korea in couple of days. We’re mainly doing Seoul, Busan and a day in Jeju. These itineraries gave us a lot of option of what we want to see and do. Thank you for the recommendations. Looking forward to South Korea!
Aw, thank you, Maiko! I’m glad they were helpful. I hope you guys love Korea, the weather has been INCREDIBLE lately!