In search of a budget 4-day Seoul itinerary? Ask and you shall receive.
There are so many people who would like to visit Seoul, South Korea and probably to some, it is their dream travel destination. But that dream comes with a price and Seoul is actually the 6th most expensive city in the world. Don’t worry, I gotchu. Today, I want to give you an idea of how much traveling to Seoul would cost you with a sample budget itinerary for a 4-day stay in Seoul.
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1. Airline Fares
Airline fares would probably be the biggest bulk in your budget planning depending on which country you would come from. For example, if you will be coming from the Philippines to Seoul, typical airline ticket cost about Php 6,000 pesos and up, one-way. But in this sample booking, there was a promo fare for only P 3, 338.00 pesos one way so be in the look-out for promotions.
TIP: you can save a lot of money on airline fares by booking them in advance. Be in the look-out for budget airline promotions as they give huge discounts. Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Jin Air, and Philippine Airlines are some of the airlines that provide these promos. Korean Air may also have some discounted fares as well.
When it comes to hotel, hostels, airbnb, and anything accomodation-related, I check Agoda.com first. Agoda.com is a trustworthy resource when it comes to hotels, hostels and accomodations. Here we have a sample booking of a 4-star hotel in Seoul. Try to book your accommodation in Myeongdong or Hongdae for the best rates.
TIP: If you’re on a budget and you wouldn’t mind sharing a room with other strangers, booking a hostel is a cheap option. I did it here in South Korea and also in Singapore and so far, I’ve only had good experiences with them . It’s also a great way to meet other people and travelers. If you’re a family or big group, airbnb or agoda homes is another alternative. Just click the link below to find the best deals now.
Wifi or internet access is another necessity in your travels and Klook has an offer as low as 131 pesos a day for unlimited access and allows up to 3 devices to be connected. So for 4 days it will only be about 524 pesos. You can conveniently pick it up at the Incheon Airport when you arrive and don’t forget to give it back before when you’re departing.
4. Sample Itinerary
In this sample budget itinerary, I’ve considered that you are trying to minimize costs so I’ve chosen activities that would probably suit your needs. Feel free to tailor-fit them to your liking and budget.
Upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, purchase a T-Money card either from a vending machine or convenience stores for 4,000 won and load it up with 10,000 won. Assuming you will arrive not later than 11:30pm, use the subway to head to Seoul or where you booked your accommodation.
Day One - Traditional Seoul
1. Begin your day at Gwangjang market for the best Korean comfort food and treats. Head there by riding the subway Line 1 Jongno 5 (o-ga) station exit 7 and walk a few meters to reach the market. You can even meet the lady featured in the Netflix food special. She will prepare your order in front of you for 5,000 won.
2. Rent a Hanbok in one of the Hanbok rental stores near Gyeongbokgung Palace. Although we are on a budget in this itinerary, wearing a Hanbok can also save you money because you get to enter the palaces for free and it just makes it such an authentic experience. Rentals start at 10,000 won and up.
TIP: if this not in your budget, you can still wear a Hanbok at the Insadong Tourist Information center which is only 3,000 won but you won’t be able to go outside the center. Go to Insadong by taking the subway and get off at Anguk station exit 1 and turn right.
3. Make your way to Bukchon Hanok Village where you can see traditional houses called hanok or take the subway to Anguk station Line 3 exit 2 and go straight till you reach the entrance to the villge. It is a community dedicated to preserving the architecture of traditional Korean houses but just be quiet when touring the houses because people really live there so make sure to give them privacy and respect.
4. Visit the majestic Gyeungbukgong Palace. It is the first and the biggest Royal Palace built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty. You can also watch the changing of the guards ceremony. Entrance fee is 3,000 won if you’re not wearing Hanbok and free if you’re wearing one.
5. You’re probably already hungry with all that walking so proceed to Insadong and find a restaurant. Be sure to check out alleyways for a variety of choices.
6. After your sumptuos meal, you can return the Hanbok that you rented so you can go change to regular clothes and continue exploring Insadong. It is a long road filled with various stores for souvenirs, old artifacts, paintings and many more.
Take a stroll at Cheonggyecheon stream
7. Just a few blocks away is the Cheonggyecheon stream. It is a man-made stream that stretches 11km and gives the modern city of Seoul a refreshing vibe. Many people visit this stream just to relax probably after a long day at work. There is no fee for this piece of oasis.
Shopping in Myeongdong
8. Myeongdong is a famous downtown shopping district in Seoul. You can find rows of shops and restaurants to your heart’s content. Korean street food carts are also jostled right smack in the middle of the road for you to enjoy. This will not be included in the budget, it will be your prerogative how much you will spend here.
That is the end of day one. Here’s an estimated costs:
Gwangjang market – 10,000 won
Hanbok rental – 10,000 – 20,000 won each
Lunch – 10,000 won each
Dinner – 10,000 won each
Transportation – 5,000 won each
Sub-total = 45,000 to 50,000 won or about $40-50 usd
Day Two - Outside of Seoul
I’ve always recommended taking a tour outside of Seoul because there’s so much to South Korea outside of the city. There’s a tour from Klook that takes care of everything. From the bus to the entrance fees and even lunch, it is all included.
This is probably your most expensive splurge in this tour but it is well worth it. Nami Island, Petite France and Garden of the Morning Calm are all stars in their own right. Gangchon Rail Bike would be a lovely 4th option in the tour but I personally believe that 3 places is enough, and it would ensure you’ll have plenty of time for each destination. The tour is 2,907 pesos each person or about $30 usd. Click here for more information about this package.
Day Three - Explore the city
1. You can visit the War Memorial Museum of Korea or the National Museum of Korea. Both museums are free and would give you a glimpse of South Korea’s history. The War Memorial Museum is at Samgakji station line 6 exit 1. The National Museum of Korea is at Ichon station line 4 exit 2.
2. The time has come for you to visit the south of the river, made famous in the song of Psy, Gangnam! You can visit Gangnam station and roam around the busy shopping district as if it’s like you’re in New York.
3. Next destination is COEX Shopping Mall. Take the subway to Samseong station line 2 exit 6. Within the mall you can find the famous Starfield library.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
4. Visit the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Dongdaemun History & Culture Park station Line 4 exit 1. It is an iconic urban development complex designed by world-renowned designer Zaha Hadid and serves as location of notable events such as Seoul Fashion Week.
5. To end the day, head to Namsan Tower. It offers a fantastic view of the city at night. Take the subway and head to Chungmuro station line 3 exit 2 and look for the bus stop for Bus no. 2 or 4 and alight at the last bus stop which is the Namsan Tower.
Note: If you take this route, you won’t have to take the Namsan cable car which usually cost 9,500 won for each person.
Day 3 Expenses
War Memorial Museum – Free
Gangnam station – Free
Lunch – 10,000 won each
Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Free
Namsan Tower – Free
Dinner – 10,000 won each
Transpo – 7,500 won each
Sub-total = about 27,500 won or about 23 usd or 1,200 pesos
Day Four - Free and Easy
Enjoy your last day at Seoul with a free schedule. You can try to find kdrama filming locations or shop for souvenirs.
Day 4 Expenses
Souvenirs (example: socks at Myeongdong – 10,000 won, keychains – 10,000 won and facemask – 10,000 won) = 30,000 won
Lunch – 10,000 won
Transpo to Airport – 5,000 won
Sub-total = 45,000 won or 36 usd or 1,850 pesos
Airline – 178,000 won or 7,300 pesos or 144 usd
Hotel – 175,000 won or 7,200 pesos or 142 usd
Wifi – 13,200 won or 542.00 pesos or 11 usd
Day One – 40,000 won or 1,600 pesos or 32 usd
Day Two – 47,000 won or 1,900 pesos or 38 usd
Day Three – 27,500 won or 1,100 pesos or 22 usd
Day Four – 45,000 won or 1,800 pesos or 36 usd
GRAND TOTAL = 525,700 won or 21,500 pesos or 424 usd
There you have it, a sample 4-day Seoul budget trip and I guess for this amount, it’s not so bad at all. Start saving up for your dream Seoul Korea trip and let me know in the comments below which destinations you would like to be included in this itinerary.