The ultimate solo travel guide to South Korea: Here’s everything you need to know

Card image

South Korea and solo travel might not seem like an obvious choice but this relatively unexplored cultural hotspot offers non-stop adventure. Situated in East Asia, this sizable country with a population of 51 million, has all the attributes needed for an incredible trip. From the cool capital, Seoul, to the heavily-guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) which borders North Korea, modernity meets history at every turn. With K-Pop stars to street food to ancient royal tombs to the healing forests of Jeju, this is a country that will intrigue and impress at every turn. 

Beyond the sights, South Korea’s mountainous regions cover a large swathe of the country, and over 3000 islands dot its sea. From peaks to panoramas to national parks, the landscape is utterly breathtaking. Buddhism, martial arts and meditation are all vastly important for South Koreans, with plenty of opportunity to experience first-hand the influences these practices have on local culture and traditions. 

Flash Pack’s extraordinary 11-day South Korea adventure fully immerses you in local life.  You’ll spend precious time in the mountains observing and staying with monks, you’ll experience  the wonder of the country’s Karaoke bars in Seoul, and you’ll experience a traditional bathhouse. The best bit? Sharing it all with a group of other like-minded solo travellers. Here is all you need to know about a solo trip to South Korea.

Card image

South Korea travel facts

South Korea has a rich natural landscape with bucolic countryside, jagged coastline, lush mountains, and a few volcanoes. There are also over 3000 surrounding islands, only a sixth of them inhabited. The volcanic landscape of Jeju Island is home to the country’s highest mountain, Hallasan, which stands at 1,947 m (6,388 ft), and is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. In the DMZ, wildlife thrives in vegetation that’s remained untouched for decades. 

Beyond the scenery, the international music phenomenon of K-Pop and television K-Dramas have brought an influx of tourism to the country, with fans looking to experience the tech-savvy homeland of their favourite pop and TV stars. In turn, this popularity has seen a boom in visitors wishing to learn Korean, widely recognised as one of the most straightforward languages to learn due to its scientific and practical writing system.

Is South Korea good for solo travel?

Solo travellers can expect a warm welcome to South Korea. With an excellent public transport network, navigating your way around the sights is simple, thanks to the Seoul and Busan subway’s expansive reach beyond the city boundaries to friendly neighbouring provinces

South Korea is also a notoriously safe country, with a specialist police force that visibly patrols tourist destinations to ensure visitor safety. 

For solo travellers who want to get a real feel of this wondrous country but feel nervous to venture alone, Flash Pack’s South Korea trip covers an array of once-in-a-lifetime experiences with the comfort of a local guide and the thrill of travelling with like-minded people.

Card image

Best places to visit in South Korea

What should you do on a solo trip to South Korea? Start in the cosmopolitan capital of Seoul where you’ll  be captivated by the vibrant outdoor markets, dazzling skyscrapers and ancient temples. Tuck into some of the local delicacies, such as dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken), gamja-cheon (potato pancake) or buckwheat noodles, and wash them down with a glass of Soju, the nation’s drink.

History buffs will be intrigued by the Demilitarised Zone, the world’s most heavily guarded border that sits between North and South Korea. The 4km-wide no man’s land is rich in wildlife. There’s also the opportunity to visit the Dora Observatory from which you can catch a glimpse of North Korean villages through binoculars.

For a more local experience,  visit the beautiful Golgulsa Temple at the foot of Mount Hamwolsan for an overnight stay, where you’ll get to see first-hand what life is like as a Buddhist Visitors join the monks on their daily activities, from archery practice to Sunmudo (a Buddhist martial art) and meditation,  backdropped by gorgeous mountain views. 

Finally, South Korea’s modern edge thrives on the streets of Busan where visitors can soak up fashion, cinema and music. Throw yourself in by taking to the stage to sing your favourite karaoke songs or head to Haeundae Beach ​​for some relaxation at a traditional jjimjilbang (bathhouse).

Where to stay as a solo traveller in South Korea

What are the hotels like in South Korea? Hotels can be pricey in South Korea, especially if you’re looking for a boutique experience. The lower the level, the better the price as Korean hotels are split by class, with the top floors housing super deluxe, deluxe and first-class rooms and second and third class accommodations on the the bottom floors. It’s worth noting that the superior hotel rooms can still be on the small side. 

For those wanting a more authentic experience, you can find an abundance of offerings, including traditional hanok guesthouses, monasteries, and ondel rooms, all of which can be very affordable.

Or, for those that prefer to solely focus on the adventure and to have all the logistics organised for them, try a group solo holiday. On Flash Pack adventures, luxury accommodation is arranged for you. Typically, you’ll share a room with a fellow Flashpacker, thereby swerving the single supplement. But if you want your own private space, that’s fine, too.

Card image

How to get to South Korea

With North Korea as the only bordering country, the best and practically only way to get to South Korea is to fly. Incheon International Airport is the largest in South Korea and the main international hub  serving the capital, Seoul.As one of the busiest and largest airports in the world, you’ll find a number of airline carriers offering flights there from across the globe. 

Alternatively, the former international hub, Gimpo International Airport, now serves the Seoul Capital Area. Jeju International Airport is the second largest in the country and welcomes travellers arriving on the tropical island of Jeju.

Yeosu Airport, Ulsan Airport, Yangyang International Airport and Muan International Airport all serve the Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western parts of the country. For solo travellers venturing from Japan, ferries are also an option.

How to get around South Korea

South Korea has excellent transport infrastructure making travelling across the country, making it relatively straightforward for solo travellers to get around. The high-speed Korean Train Express railway network connects cities across the region, with onward buses travelling  to villages and towns unreachable by rail.

The thousands of islands surrounding the country can be reached by boat from various ports, including Incheon and Busan, along with well-established domestic flying routes to Jeju Island. 

Card image

Best time to visit South Korea

For dry and sunny weather conditions, spring and autumn are the best times to visit South Korea. You can look forward to experiencing the pink wonder of the Cherry Blossom Festival in historic Gyeongju in late March/early April and the rusty orange landscape of mid-October across the country’s national parks

Those happy to bask in the 30-degree Celsius heat of summer will be timing their visit to coincide with a string of festivals, including the Daegy Chimac (chicken and beer) Food Festival and Waterbomb Music Festival. But, beware that with the sun comes potential showers with the arrival of monsoon season from late-June to mid-July.

South Korea travel itineraries

Flash Pack’s South Korea trip has the perfect itinerary for your next adventure. From Taekwondo masterclasses to 12-course royal dining, forest bathing and temple stays with monks, South Korea has something to truly feed the senses.

The 11-day-getaway combines the solitude of meditation in the mountains with the social buzz of karaoke in Seoul. You’ll also get to experience unique festivals, ancient temples, a buzzing K-Pop scene and explore tropical terrain on the Island of Jeju.

Under the guidance of a local chef, you’ll harness your cooking skills by whipping up a Korean feast of gimbap and kimchi pancakes all while making new friends through your fellow solo travellers.

Card image

What to pack for solo travel in South Korea

If you are travelling to South Korea in the spring, summer or autumn months you will want to pack light breathable clothing to keep you cool. With lots of moving around to cover as much of the country as possible, a backpack is easy to carry from high-speed train and into the mountains.

With plenty of jimjilbangs (bathhouses) and a stunning coastline, bring a swimming costume. 

Credit cards are accepted in the majority of places, including taxis, but do bring some cash for the street food vendors.

Solo travel advice for South Korea

South Korea is the perfect place for a solo travel experience. From the bright lights of Seoul to the nature and serenity of the mountains and coastline, there’s lots of opportunity to switch off and truly connect with everything on offer.

The safety of the nation also makes it an ideal place to venture as a solo traveller. Try a countryside hike along Jeju Island’s Olle Trail, soaking up the diverse landscapes of black lava and tangerine groves coupled with rolling grasslands and dramatic ocean cliffs.

Then it’s just a short flight to Seoul for an evening of karaoke sing-alongs and mouth-watering Korean BBQ.

Card image

Is it safe to travel solo in South Korea?

Solo travel in South Korea is very safe with crime against foreigners rare. For those heading to tourist destinations make yourself familiar with the specialist Tourist Police who are dedicated to protecting tourists and can even provide  tour information.

While crime is low, tensions with neighbouring North Korea can escalate quickly so it’s important to follow advice from officials and keep updated with the local authorities. For more information do check out Foreign Travel Advice for South Korea (UK) and Department of State Travel Advisories (US). A group solo adventure will add an extra layer of safety to any trip, ensuring you travel through South Korea’s incredible highlights without a care in the world. 

Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel to South Korea with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group

A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveller or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.

Images: Flash Pack, Unsplash and Adobe Stock

Subscribe to our newsletter


Hear about our new adventures before anyone else

Hear about our new adventures before anyone else.

Be the first to hear about exclusive Flash Pack offers.

Access exciting competitions.

Receive weekly inspiration and travel stories from solos just like you.