Adventures in Seoul, South Korea

Posted By on October 19, 2019

Adventures in Seoul, South Korea

7.1 miles/day average; Seoul, South Korea

My younger niece was taking a semester abroad in Seoul, South Korea, and being an adventurous as well as a loving Auntie, I told her I’d come and see her while she was there. I spent a week in Seoul. It was one heck of a trip!

The View from Namsan Tower by Night

The first night my niece and I found our way to Namsan Tower. The 236-meter-tall tower marks the second highest point in Seoul. The views from up there were breathtaking!

Namsan Tower

My first full day in the city I decided I wanted to do some sightseeing, but the niecelet was in classes all day and couldn’t escort me, so I set off on my own. First thing you need to know about South Korea is that Google Maps doesn’t work there. Apparently the company and the South Korean government couldn’t come to an agreement, so no Google Maps.

Cat Cafe—Oh You Bet I Visited Here

Something you will hear about South Korea is that “Everyone speaks English, you’ll have no problems.” This is so not true. In fact very few people do. The good news is that the subway cars and stations and buses display information in both the Korean script, Hangul, and in English. The bad news? Anglicization of Hangul isn’t standardized. I was hoping to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, a 12th century fortress. But it can be spelled Gyeongbok or Geongbok or any random variation. If you’re looking for the wrong spelling, the English signs won’t help you!

Some Things Translate Perfectly Well…

Bottom line, I got hopelessly lost on the massive Seoul subway system. For hours. I think I went through Gangnam []. I knew I was way off when the subway train crossed the river. Whoops. Fortunately I was able to use, of all the weird things, my hiking app GaiaGPS to find my way back. It’s the same app I use when I hike here in the US.

Mural Near Hongik University

And while this post isn’t about hiking, per se, I wandered all around on foot, averaging over 7 miles a day while I was there. And I almost typed “all over the city” but that would be a vast exaggeration. Seoul is an unimaginably huge place. It literally contains 3 national parks with mountains in them inside the city limits.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

I did eventually make my way to Gyeongbokgung Palace. I think this is the changing of the guard. Most of the visitors to the Palace were in traditional Korean clothing. My niece said it’s because they allow you in for free if you come dressed for it. There were a lot of places in the neighborhood that rented costumes.

On the Way to Gyeongbokgung Palace

I had also read that the South Koreans are crazy about hiking, and there are those national parks. You know I had to find my way there. Stay tuned!


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