A night layover in Seoul, South Korea

Now that I live overseas, I don’t get to travel to new countries too often. My vacation time and money goes towards going back home to visit my family.

Because of this, I always try to have a long stopover in a different country, so that I can tick a new city off. The last trip I made home, I had a 16hr layover in Seoul and I CANNOT wait to go back again one day.

My plane landed around 7pm and my flight departed the next day around 9am.

I knew someone from Korea, who advised me that the best place to stay, for someone my age was, Hongdae (the university district).

I took the Seoul Station train from Incheon Airport to Hongik University. It was about a 50 minute ride. The train is accessible from the airport.

This website is really helpful. http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRP/TP_ENG_2_1.jsp. It explains when the trains come, and how to get where you are going.

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRP/TP_ENG_2_1.jsp. It explains when the trains come, and how to get where you are going.

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRP/TP_ENG_2_1.jsp. It explains when the trains come, and how to get where you are going.

* Where to purchase All Stop Train Passes:

– Single-use transportation cards: Airport Transportation Center on the B1 level of Incheon International Airport

From <http://asiaenglish.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/GK/GK_EN_2_2_2_3.jsp>

Hongik Station was extremely busy and a bit confusing to walk through. I advise you to follow signs to Hongik University station. As soon as you come out of the underground area, you are directly on Yanghwa-ro, which is the road my hotel was on.

I stayed at the Marigold Hotel. It was minutes from all of the action and overall a good experience. The bed wasn’t very comfortable, but the room was a great size.


If I were to go back, I’d stay here again. It cost 128,700 KRW which is around $150 AUD or CAD.

I got to the hotel around 8:30/9pm on Saturday night and dropped my stuff off. From there I walked to the Hongdae Free Market’s/Hongdae (Hongik University Street) which was right behind my hotel.

The market stalls of food and gifts are set up along a variety of large and boutique shops on University Street. University Street is a huge area full of bars, clubs, restaurants and little shops, all lit up in neon colours. It was spectacular. I was so wowed by South Korea that I really failed on the picture side of things.

The streets are also full of people, and so full of life. There were rappers, dancers, singers, bands and so much music. You’d walk by bars and night clubs and hear loud music coming from the buildings. It was such a lively area.

I really liked the clothes in Korea, although in many of the cheap places you were not allowed to try the clothes on and you have no idea what size you are in Korean.

Prices were fair. My suggestion is to have a calculator handy and calculate what it would cost in dollars. The rate on average is 1 AUD to 858 KRW.

There were so many Korean beauty shops. These beauty shops load you up with free samples if you buy something. Prices for Korean beauty items are unreal. SO CHEAP. The free samples are worth any price you pay though, really. There is so much commotion in these beauty shops. I felt that shopping there was really fast paced. I felt like I was on a shopping high.

Learn a few words in Korean before going over there. Hello, goodbye, thank you, how much?, sorry, etc. It was really helpful to know how to say these basic things when I was shopping in Korea.

Some other cool shops were little knickknack type places.

My favourite shops were:

  • Daiso
  • ETUDE House (Beauty)
  • I have a tag from a store called The Gam, the rest of it is in Korean. I can’t find anything about The Gam online, but I really liked this boutique clothing shop.

At the markets, I opted to try the Spicy Rice Cakes/ Ddeokbokki (떡볶이). I did a bit of research prior to heading there and wanted to try this. They were really delicious. Very spicy! Barely cost anything. 

I headed back to my hotel just before midnight and the streets were just as busy as they were when I got there. All of the shops were still open and full of people. I’ve never been anywhere like South Korea before.

I might add that I was there at the very end of July, and it was extremely hot. The humidity was quite high as well. It was winter for me in Australia (not that cold, I know), but it was a huge temperature difference. Expect to get exhausted very easily. The flying, walking around and the heat will get to you.

I headed back to my hotel, connected to the free WiFi and watched some TV.

In the morning, I checked out quite early and headed back to the train station. I think I left my hotel around 5am. It was dark outside, still very humid as well. The streets still had people in them. Fewer people than before, but the streets were full of people stumbling home from the bar.

Again, the walk underground to Hongik Station is very confusing. I ended up touching my ticket on to enter a certain area and I realised that I went into the wrong part and touched my ticket to exit. This mistake cost me a couple of dollars. Enough that I had to go back over to one of the ticket stations and put more money on my card.

I waited for the train and headed back to Incheon on one of the first trains of the morning. Again, expect about 50 minutes to get there.

When you arrive at Incheon, expect long lines to get into customs. I was at the airport at 6am Sunday morning and it was extremely chaotic. *Note that this airport had some interesting things you couldn’t bring on the plane in your carry-on and one of them was liquid foundation…?

Incheon International Airport is a good airport. It is full of places for you to sleep and relax before your next flight. There is a shower area for Korean Air, flight passengers. You have to wait a bit for a shower. When it’s your turn though, you get a whole bathroom type thing to your self with plenty of room. Your clothes are far enough away from you that you don’t get anything wet. Most airport showers I’ve been in didn’t leave much room for your clothes.

They supplied towels, blow dryers, tooth brushes, paste, soap etc.

There are many places to eat, cheap and expensive. I opted for Dunkin Donuts and it didn’t disappoint.

If you forgot any Korean beauty products, the airport is your chance to grab them. Although, you’ll find the prices are a lot higher in the airport.

My stay in Seoul was short, but it showed me how much I need to explore the rest of South Korea!







2 thoughts on “A night layover in Seoul, South Korea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s