So I’m back from my first ever solo travel in Seoul! Man, it’s so hot in Singapore. I’m headed back to work and am going to have to squeeze some time out for in the upcoming weeks to write… hope to get it all out soon while it’s fresh in my mind.
I kept a physical journal on this journey using my last Moleskine cahier. Since I was solo, it was mostly me and my thoughts and a handy pen to write them all down, I brought the markers along to sketch but will admit to being too lazy to use them even… I’ll include pix here after I’ve collated them from both iPhone and camera, and when words fail me, maybe a sketch or two from my book.
In a nutshell, travelling solo is definitely an experience. There is great freedom in being able to come and go as you wish, change your itinerary on a whim or if you just don’t feel like it, not having to wait around for other people… but it also means you have to get through everything on your own, from small affairs like deciding what to eat for lunch or getting super lost at night.
It’s also quiet, particularly when you’re in a country where you don’t speak or read the language. Your main form of communication is an apologetic smile and frantic hand gestures, so imagine my relief when I finally found a like-minded English speaking traveller to hang out with one day.
Seoul has the vibrant metropolitan city feel down pat, so quite often I felt right at home like I was in Singapore, able to navigate the subways fairly successfully, managing to figure out shopping centres and dealing with hordes of people quite deftly.
But unlike Singapore’s modern city-scape, and perhaps closer to places like Hong Kong and Taipei, Seoul managed to blend its natural, older facade with its new one, making it a truly interesting place at heart. Also, the entire city is HILLY. If people wonder why all these Koreans are so skinny, or how their old people stay so fit, it’s because they have to navigate all these insane slopes, stairs and inclines everyday!
You’ll see more snippets from my daily journal and other anecdotes here, and I’ll probably do up a whole section dedicated to shopping and sightseeing in Seoul just so my research doesn’t go to waste. One thing I found from my research is that there isn’t a sense of where everything is in relation to each other, so it was hard for me to plan an itinerary. Also, there weren’t many good maps of Korea in English online, so a lot of my trip was quite spontaneous, with very rough ideas of where I wanted to go, and then whether or not I felt like going through with it.
Anyway for starters, here are some of the resources I used:
- Zuji.com.sg – to book my flight. The Cathay Pacific flight was much cheaper here than via the airline website
- Visit Korea – Official Korea Tourism Organization – it’s pretty extensive and informative, and most of my practical info came from here. What I want to do is add some personal opinion so its easier for someone to decide whether to go there or not
- TripAdvisor – Seoul Activities – Quite useful in seeing suggestions on things to do and other people’s opinions