South Korea 10 day itinerary – 4 great options

South Korea 10 day itinerary

So you are planning a vacation in South Korea and don’t know exactly how to fit everything you want to see into your itinerary? We understand how overwhelming that could feel, especially in a country as complicated as South Korea. That’s why we decided to put together 4 great options for a South Korea 10-day itinerary.

This guide will help you decide where to stay, how long, how to get from one destination to the other, and much more.

Why should you follow our advice? Well, because in the one year we lived in Seoul, we explored the country and saw most of its charming destinations. Neither of us speaks or reads Korean, and we had to navigate through the local customs.

Because we don’t want you to go through all the hassle, we are here to give you all the information you need in order to have an unforgettable South Korea itinerary.

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Table of Contents

South Korea 10-day Itinerary – 4 great options

Useful information

Before you start planning for your vacation, let’s go through some important and valuable information.

General Travel Information for South Korea – covers everything you need to know for planning your trip. From when is the best time to visit the country, to visa requirements, how to get there, and much more.

Driving in South Korea – might be challenging for some, but when you know the basic rules and what to expect, everything is easier.

VISA & K-ETA

Depending on where you are traveling from, you will or won’t need a visa. Check your Visa requirements here!

Currently, South Korea has in place a visa-free online application process for certain eligible countries (you can check the list here) that you must obtain before your trip.

K-ETA or the Korean Electronic Travel Authorization must be obtained before boarding a flight or ship. Here is some useful information regarding the K-ETA visa:

  • The approval process takes more than 72 hours, thus it is useful to apply in advance;
  • You will need to have accommodation booked before applying for the K-ETA, the address is one of the required information.
  • The validity of the K-ETA visa is of 2 years from the date of approval;
  • With the K-ETA you can stay in South Korea for 30 to 90 days;
  • However, if you are visiting for travel purposes, and plan to return after your first visit, you will have to come back and update your visa with the new hotel address;
  • One person can apply for up to 30 persons and can pay for all at once;
  • K-ETA price: 10.000 won (around 9-10 USD)

How to get from the airport to Seoul

Communication and transportation

Getting around South Korea

Other useful tips & links

If you have 10 days to spend on your vacation, you might ask yourself if that is enough time to travel around South Korea. By following this guide, planning everything before you go, and booking as many activities ahead of time, you will be able to use your time efficiently.

So without further ado, let’s see the 4 itinerary options you should look into.

Option 1

4 Days in Seoul

3 Days in Busan

3 Days in Jeju

We can easily fit Seoul, Busan, and Jeju into the top 3 destinations in South Korea. And by dividing your time between the 3, you will tick off your bucket list of most of the important attractions in the country.

Additionally, traveling between the 3 is easy, with plenty of transportation options.

4 Days in Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul

South Korea’s capital will charm you no matter if you are into history, culture, photogenic places, or cute cafes. We can easily fill up 4 days only by exploring the city’s central area.

Read before you go: How to get to Seoul from Incheon Airport

Itinerary option for your 4 days in Seoul:

Day 1 – Visit central Seoul, its historical area, and the Palaces

Day 2 – Go south of the river and explore Gangnam

Day 3 – Climb to Namsan Tower, visit a cafe in Itaewon

Day 4 – Day trip to DMZ or Nami Island and the Garden of the Morning Calm

On your first day stay around Myeongdong for shopping, Insadong for the traditional art, visit the Palaces and step back in time, and see Jogyesa Temple.

Have a coffee at one of the beautiful cafes in Bukchon Hanok Village, take some pictures of the traditional houses, and have a delicious Korean meal at one of the local restaurants around.

spring in Seoul

On your second day, head over to one of Seoul’s hippest neighborhoods: Gangnam. With a more modern vibe, come here for some of the most Instagrammable places in town, luxury brand stores, plastic surgery clinics, and also one of the most beautiful Buddhist Temples in town.

Read also: Choose the best area to stay in Seoul

On your third day in town, climb to the top of Namsan Mountain and admire the city from above. A stroll through Namsan Park is relaxing and enchanting because you will feel like walking through a forest, even though you will be right in the heart of the city.

Once you have reached the top of the mountain and have visited NSeoul Tower, start your descent towards Itaewon. Stop at one of the cafes with a nice view, enjoy a meal, and take some pretty pictures.

Itaewon Seoul
The Royal Food & Drink in Itaewon

3 Days in Busan

Busan is by far one of our favorite towns in Soult Korea, a place we would visit on any occasion and for as long as we could.

A vibrant port city, Busan has so much to offer, from colorful neighborhoods with plenty of photo spots to sandy beaches, impressive temples, and delicious seafood.

Spending 3 days in Busan might not be enough, but it will allow you to see the city’s main attractions and tourist spots.

Busan Jeoryeong Coastal Walk

Before you go, read also: The absolute complete list for where to stay in Busan

Itinerary option for 3 days in Busan:

Day 1: Explore the colorful part of town: Gamcheon Cultural Village, Jagalchi Fish Market, Yeongdo Island, and Jeoryeong Coastal Walk

Day 2: Spend time at the beach in Haeundae, Sea Life Busan, take the Blue Train & Sky Capsule, sunset yacht trip

Day 3: Go on a day trip from Busan to Gyeongju or the tea plantations in Boseong

Read also: How to get from Seoul to Busan for every budget

As you can see, I have included so many things on the itinerary, thus you won’t have too much time to get bored while in Busan.

Take into consideration the city’s size, and the fact that you might spend around one hour commuting from one part of the city to the island. However, we have tried to group togeactions based on their proximity to one another.

Gamcheon Cultural Village Busan

Start your first day at Gamcheon Cultural Village, the most colorful area in Busan, one that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Take the bus or subway to Chungmu Market, from where you will board the Seogu 2-2 green bus. This is a small bus, that only fits roughly 20 people, thus it will be easier if you get there in the morning.

Start your day with a coffee with a view, snap countless pictures, and learn about the neighborhood’s history.

From there, take the bus and go to Jagalchi Fish Market. Why should you stop here, you ask? Oh well, mainly for the food! It is not only affordable since it is rather a street food, but it is also delicious and extremely fresh!

Once you are done tasting everything your heart desires, cross the bridge over to Yeongdo Island and take the bus to Jeoryeong Coastal Walk.

2 days in Busan itinerary
Jeoryeong Coastal Walk

The Coastal Walk is another colorful area in town, relatively new and extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.

As night falls, you can have dinner on the raw fish street, or head back towards LaValse hotel – you will find that the street along the sea in front of the hotel has transformed into an open-air street-food market.

Read also: The complete guide for 2 days in Busan

On your second day in Busan, you will spend most of your time by the sea because we will explore most of the attractions surrounding Haeundae Beach – South Korea’s most popular beach. Read here about everything there is to do at Haeundae Beach!

things to do in Haeundae Beach Busan

Go shopping at South Korea’s largest Department Store set only a few bus stops away from Haeundae Beach, spend time under the sun, sip on some delicious single-origin coffee, shop for cosmetics, or taste some delicious local food freshly cooked at one of the restaurants close to the beach.

If you are traveling with kids, don’t miss a visit to the Sea Life Busan Aquarium – it is an impressive immersion into sea life. You will learn about hundreds of species of fish and marine animals, and can also take part in the feeding of sharks. Book your discounted ticket here!

Take the Blue Train &/or Sky Capsule and admire the coastline from the comfort of your own small and colorful capsule.

What to see in Busan
Sky Capsule Busan

The Sky Capsule has a shorter distance, operating on a 2-kilometer section, and it only links Mipo to Cheongsapo. The whole ride takes less than 30 minutes, and the car goes on an average speed of 4 kilometers per hour.

They only allow a maximum of 4 people inside one car, and we realyed our trip. The one-way price for 2 people in a car is of 30.000 won, while 4 people will pay 44.000 won.

Make sure to book in advance, especially if you want to have this experience at a certain time in the day.

Busan sunset boat trip

Finish off your second day in Busan with a sunset yacht cruise. This was by far one of our favorite things to do, and admiring the city as it lights up is a breathtaking experience. Book your sunset yacht cruise here!

On your third day in Busan, you can choose to go on a day trip to the beautiful historical town of Gyeongju, or set off to see the tea plantations in Boseong.

Gyeongju cafe garden
Gyeongju, South Korea

We have written a comprehensive guide for a day trip from Busan to Gyeongju here, including how to get there, what to do and see, where to eat, and more based on our experience.

If, however, you prefer to explore the tea plantations on the hills north of Yeosu, a day trip to Boseong should be considered.

Boseong tea plantations South Korea

You can rent a car and drive there by yourself, or you can book an organized tour and forget about having to think about itineraries, schedules, maps, and so on. A tour will take you through the tea plantations in Boseong, but you will also get to see the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve.

3 days on Jeju Island

Jeju island is another one of the most popular attractions in South Korea, a volcanic island with enchanting nature and unforgettable landscapes.

While you can take the ferry from Busan to Jeju, the ride will take 12 hours and with a 10-day South Korea itinerary, you won’t have too much time to waste. That’s why your fastest travel option would be to book a flight from Busan to Jeju Island. It only takes 45 minutes to get there, and you will have the rest of the time to explore the island.

Where to stay on Jeju Island

The island is not so big and can easily be seen by car from whichever part you choose to stay in. However, since you only have 2 days at hand, you will want to choose your accommodation carefully.

I would recommend staying in Jeju-Si, the island’s capital. It is the closest place to the airport, with plenty of resorts to choose from.

Another great option if you want to escape the capital city would be the city of Seogwipo. While the place is smaller than Jeju-Si, you will still find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and things to do.

What to do in Jeju in 3 days

I would suggest going on a guided tour of the island on one of your days because this is the easiest and fastest way of seeing the most important attractions.

The other option would be to rent a car and create your own erary. Rent your car here!

On your second day, you should not miss a visit to Camellia Hill – a beautiful garden whit fairfairytalese camellias, hydrangeas, and other flowers depending on the season.

If you love tea and k-beauty, then the Innisfree Jeju House & Osulloc Tea Museum is another stop you should make on your itinerary. They have a pretty cafe where you can try their cakes and teas, but you can also see the green tea fields and learn about its harvest. Since InniInnisfreeone of the largest k-beauty branbrandsu will have the chance to shop for cosmetics as well.

For sunset, go on a Luxury Yacht Tour and take in Jeju’s coastline from the sea. You will not only get to have a different perspective, but you will also see some natural attractions. See more about the tour here!

On your 3rd day on Jeju Island, go scuba diving and explore the underwater world close to one of Korea’s UNESCO World HerrHeritagees, Seongsan Ilchulbong. Book your activity here!

If you are not into the rwater sports, but you still want to see the underwater miracles, go on a trip on the Seogwipo Submarine. The sumbsubmarine’shole will offer you a glimpse into the underwater world, without having to get wet or swim with the fish. Book your trip here!

Shinhwa World Theme Park is a fun place no matematter old you are. The theme park has 3 zones and 15 rides & attractions, thus you can easily spend a few hours of great fun here. Book your ticket in advance here!

The Spirited Garden is Jinu is somewhat like the Garden of Morning Calm outside of Seoul, a place of tranquility and beautiful nature.

Option 2

5 days in Seoul with day trips

5 days in Busan with day trips

5 days in Seoul with day trips

Majang Lake Paju

For your days in Seoul, you can follow the first itinerary, and add 1 day trips for the remaining day.

Apart from DMZ, there are plenty more destinations perfect for a day outside of the city, and we have gathered here all our favorite day trips from Seoul.

No matter if you love nature, history, delicious food, pretor ty cafes – you will find something for your taste on that list. Also, there are destinations easily reached by train, subway, or bus.

Since you have more time in the city, on the day you choose to visit the Palaces, rent a traditional Korean costume (hanbok) and feel like royalty. You will also have free entrance to the palaces, and will make some memories that will last forever! Read everything you need to know about renting a hanbok from our comprehensive guide!

Read also: Seoul off the beaten path

5 days in Busan with day trips

When you have more time to spend in Busan, you should also visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Maybe the most famous temple by the sea in South Korea, they also offer temple stays where you can learn about Buddhism and theiitslosophy.

Also, as you might know by now, Koreans have a passion for cafes and you will find plenty of options in Busan as well. Cafes with impressive views, or hotels offering afternoon tea sets with a sea view. Include at least one or two on your list of things to do in Busan.

Here are a few cafes worth checking out: Waveon Coffee (웨이브온커피); Montee104 (몽떼104); Movement_laboratory.

Visiting the Oedo Island Botanical Garden is another fun activity for a day outside of Seoul. The island is small and is located in the South Sea, where you will have the chance to admire over 1000 types of subtropical plants in a charming setting.

If you choose to rent a car, you can drive to Ahopsan Bamboo Forest, north of Seoul.

You can also drive to Namhae Island and explore its every corner, from the beautiful beaches to Geumsan Boriam Temple, and the German Village.

Geumsan Boriam Temple Namhae Island
Geumsan Boriam Temple

If you would rather stay in Busan, you can always attend a cooking class and learn how to make some of your favorite Korean dishes. Once you are back home, you can impress your friends and family with your new skills.

Option 3

3 days in Seoul

1 day in Suwon

1 day in Gyeongju

5 days in Busan with day trips

This is a mix and match of the previous options, for those who would rather explore more places outside of Seoul.

3 days in Seoul

Once again, we have a comprehensive 3 days in Seoul itinerary and guide, with your activities split per daysdayps, and all the useful information you might need.

1 day in Suwon

Suwon Hwaseong Gate

About 30 km south of Seoul, it’s the city of Suwon. It is linked to the capital by train, so it is easy and convenient to get there.

Boasting a population of 1.3 million, Suwon is a vibrant city with a thriving economy. If you own a Samsung phone or TV, it was probably designed at the Samsung R&D center in Suwon. It also hosts the Samsung Electronics HQ, among other Samsung subsidiaries.

The main tourist attraction is Hwaseong Fortress or Suwon Hwaseong, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fortress’ wall surrounds Suwon’s center, and once it encircled the entire city. Walking around its walls and the wooded areas around it can take your mind away from the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. Today’s visitors can admire the impressive fortress’s several gates and sentry towers.

You have plenty of things to do if you choose to spend one day in Suwon.

Where to stay in Suwon

Maybe because of its proximity to Seoul, or maybe because Samsung has its R&D offices here, you will find plenty of great hotel options in Suwon.

Choose to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Suwon or at the Novotel Ambassador Suwon if you prefer a chain hotel. Or look at Suwon Dono1796 Hotel for a more traditional stay.

1 day in Gyeongju

Gyeongju school

How to get from Suwon to Gyeongju

The easiest and fastest way to get from Suwon to Gyeongju is by KTX train. While there aren’t so many options available throughout the day, there is one in the morning and one in the evening.

When you search for trains, remember to look for Singyeongju as your destination.

I will leave here our guide for a day trip from Busan to Gyeongju because this itinerary covers also all the things to do and see when you only have one day in Gyeongju, including where to stay and what to eat.

5 days in Busan with day trips

We are back in Busan once again, and I think we have covered plenty of attractions and day trips for you to create your 5 days in Busan itinerary.

Option 4

3 days in Seoul

1 day in Gyeongju

4 days in Busan

2 days in Seoul

This itinerary option is ideal for those who land and leave Seoul and would prefer to split their time here.

Getting from Seoul to Gyeongju is easy by KTX, with plenty of trains throughout the day, and a travel time of roughly 2 hours. Book your ticket here!

From Gyeongju to Busan you can travel by train, and from Busan to Seoul it is sometimes better and cheaper to book a flight.

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