Replies: 8 - Last Post: Jan 24, 2013 7:11 AM Last Post By: mbseoul
Jan 7, 2013 2:43 PM
Travelling aloneI've been invited to visit a friend in Seoul next August. I'm a 47 year old single woman, and would obviously like to visit more of South Korea if I travel that far. My friend said it is safe, the main problem will be the language as not many people speak English. Any women who traveled on their own who can tell about their experience? I'm on a budget, and all I require is a clean room with clean bed, clean sheets, clean private bathroom and clean towels. And a lock to close the door at night. How much can I expect to pay per night?
I usually plan my holiday a bit in advance, but very often change plans once there. And I like to check out the place before I pay (unless I must reserve the first night to avoid ending up on the street). Is it easy to find lodgings?
What places should I visit? I would be going 2 to 3 weeks.
Thanks for any advice.
Jan 7, 2013 3:39 PM
1South Korea is very safe. Even petty crime common in many other countries is very rare. So, there's nothing to worry about.
People, even if very few speak English, are very helpful. They come forward if they see a tourist with a map in their hands and ask if they can help.
Accommodation is easy to find, even without prebooking. Some places, especially outside Seoul, may lack the name of hotel/hostel outside, so you'll need to ask passersby.
A decent single room with bathroom in budget class will be available from 25000 won, but more expensive in Seoul, even at double that rate.
Eating is very easy and there's a plentiful of restaurants. Dining solo you might feel standing out a bit as Koreans rarely eat alone. Once I was asked by three men from next table why I was eating alone (I'm male). I answered that my wife as at a conference at the same time. You may use similar answer if someone is curious.
Jan 7, 2013 5:01 PM
Jan 7, 2013 8:24 PM
3We visited some fairly remote places - and to my surprise language was not much of a problem. First, if you do show up at a hotel or motel, it's pretty obvious why you are there. A couple of choice words and hand signals will get you what you want including the opportunity to view the room before you accept.
Restaurants -they are everywhere, about 8 places to eat with every step you take. Many restaurants specialize in one type of food, so best to understand what you are getting into. Some places have little or no menu. Anyway, once you show up it will be obvious why you are there and everyone will be very friendly to you.
Also, you will find that, even though the locals will not speak English, in August there are many other tourists who speak both languages and can help. Once people see you, they will reach out to help you.
With this much time, it would be very easy for you to familiarize yourself with Hangul (the Korean Alphabet), so you could read simple signs or some menu items yourself.
Jan 8, 2013 12:09 AM
4No problem even in summer (though the weekends, and the beach cities can be very busy) to move around and find accommodation. I was there as a single woman a few years ago, and felt very comfortable, even if my korean was limited to a few words, and a painful deciphering of hangul (it really helps!).
Motels around bus/train stations will have rooms, are safe, normally clean and a good deal (bed, bathroom, fridge, water dispenser, computer and TV...) for the money. Busses are cheap and go virtually everywhere.
The only slight problem was with restaurants, when I planned to have a "nicer" meal, they often didn't want a "single" customer. But more basic eating places and markets, fast food joints were alright.
And the people everywhere have been very helpful.
Jan 8, 2013 5:25 AM
5There's lots of good advice here, and I'll support it (been living in Korea 4 years).
If you're really concerned about language, I suggest you rent a phone at Incheon Airport when you land (info/reservations online). They're cheap. Then you can call tourist info for free, 24 hours a day. They can help you with translations etc.
Jan 8, 2013 10:53 AM
6I agree with renting a phone at the airport. The 1330 tourist line is really useful, especially when you're out of Seoul. The total fee for the phone was cheap and for long term rentals there may be discounts as well (e.g SK Telecom). Just get a simple phone for making calls~
Out of Seoul, motels and guesthouses can go for around 25000-40000won, and rooms are pretty good. These are usually near the Intercity Bus Terminals or train stations, so they are pretty easy to find.
Places to visit depend on your interests.
Some places that I've been to that are really good for the nature/hikes etc
Sokcho - Seoraksan National Park etc
Donghae/Samcheok - Mureung Valley, Hwanseongul (limestone cave), Jeongdongjin (for the sunrise)
Danyang - Guinsa Temple, the eight scenic places (I only did a couple of them), Chungjuho lake ferry etc.
Boseong - green tea plantation
Suncheon - Suncheon Bay ecological park
Damyang - bamboo park etc
I did these as day trips out of Gwangju
Jeju Island - since you have 3 weeks in Korea, you can probably spend a few days exploring Jeju.
There are many places that you can do as day trips out of Seoul as well, such as
Chuncheon, Nami Island, etc etc.
I agree with shelemm. There is still quite some time to your trip, so you might want to learn the basics of Hangul. That way, you can read simple signs etc. It's really quite fun.
Hope this helps.
Jan 8, 2013 6:39 PM
7If you go to the tea plantations of Boseong (highly recommended), as rayevang mentioned above, then the Nagan stone village is also in the vicinity. Though I am not sure about transportation between the two. You could really spend a lot of time there - and even stay on site- because not only is it really something to see but I believe they have activities as well.
Maisan Provincial Park in Jinan is dramatic and unique, with the remains of an astonishing piece of folk art: over 80 stone pagodas made by a hermit surrounding a small temple. Easily accessed from the city of Jeonju. There are hotels and restaurants right on site.
However, I found the bamboo forest in Damyang to be a bit dull and tiresome - hilly enough to make it draining to walk in the August heat, but not enough to be very dramatic. Bamboo can get monotonous quickly.
Busan is a big city that is surrounded by mountains plunging into the sea, so it is a place that provides both convenience and access to stunning scenery, including the remains of vast fortress walls, and a temple by the sea as well as one built into a cliff - though the later takes some hiking. (both rarities in Korea). Korea's largest fish market is here as well as Gwangalli Beach which is very pretty at night.
Jan 24, 2013 7:11 AM
8If you dont want to travel around Korea alone you might try to post ads abt companion here: https://www.facebook.com/events/599278130088955/
Its an event-board and many ppl are living there and might want to share your company on travel.
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