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Solo Travel in Seoul, South Korea: The Ultimate Guide

Ever wondered what it’s like to solo travel in Seoul? South Korea isn’t the typical destination that comes to mind for solo travelers. Before I went there, I read that it’s not the best place to venture out alone.

However, South Korea, with its vibrant capital, Seoul, offered a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, deeply rooted in its rich cultural history.

This combination intrigued me. So, in September 2023 I set out to see if South Korea truly deserved its reputation as an unconventional choice for solo travel.

In this article, we’ll not only uncover the hidden beauty of solo travel in South Korea but also provide you with the insights you need to navigate Seoul on your own.

Ready to learn what to expect as a solo traveler in South Korea?

Let’s dive in.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Sejong food street in Seoul
Sejong Food Street, Seoul

Is Seoul safe for a solo female traveler?

Seoul is definitely safe for a solo female traveler. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It’s generally considered safe to walk alone in the evening as a woman in Seoul. I think this is great, yet I would still not try my own luck walking alone at night time. Make sure that you know the way if you are wandering alone at night.

And choose to walk on the main roads where more people are walking instead of small alleyways. Have offline maps downloaded from maps.me and have your phone charged.

There are another couple of things to keep in mind when traveling alone in Seoul. One of them is to not drink too much when you go clubbing here. Especially if you’re a girl.

It’s not uncommon to be grabbed by your wrists in certain clubs while going out here. Also be aware of your drink, because of drink spiking. This may not sound very nice, but it’s good to be realistic and know what to be aware of.

Like in every part of the world, be aware of your surroundings.

The best places to stay as a solo traveler in Seoul

So, where should you stay during solo travel in Seoul? If you want to have the chance to meet new people while traveling solo in South Korea, it’s best to stay in a hostel. As a woman, the safest option is to stay in a female-only hostel.

Garosugil Homestay – Female Only

If you’re a solo female traveler and prefer to stay in a women only accommodation, then this is a great choice. Garosugil Homestay is situated in the Gangnam district.

The interior is very beautiful and clean and the owner is kind. Click here to view its prices and availability.

Hostel Haru, Seoul

Another great option is to stay in Hostel Haru. This hostel is mixed, however you can book a private bedroom, so you still have your own privacy. If you prefer to stay in a hostel room (mixed or female only), then that’s also possible.

The location in the centre of Seoul is excellent and you have great evening views from the lounge. Definitely check out this hostel here.

Hotel RU136

If you want to stay in a luxurious hotel with a gigantic bath and a lot of privacy, then choose to stay at Hotel RU136. Here you’ll find a more extensive review of this place.

It’s very affordable compared to how luxurious it feels. The hotel is situated in a more local area with two subway stations located nearby. View its rates and availability over here.

bath tub at hotel ru 136
My bath tub at Hotel Ru 136

Tips for solo travel in South Korea

Here are some tips for your solo travels in this interesting country. They help you set the right expectations for your travels here.

Have the right apps on your phone

You should download a couple of essential apps when traveling here. These will come in really handy and will make your solo travels here a lot easier.

The walking routes on Google Maps don’t work that well here, so it’s necessary to download either KakaoMaps or NaverMaps. These apps make getting around in Seoul a lot easier.

Also make sure that your phone is always charged. You don’t want to be lost in a place where you don’t know the way nor the language.

people walking in a local area in Seoul

South Korea isn’t a good destination for your first solo trip

If you don’t have any travel experience, I wouldn’t recommend going on your first solo trip to South Korea. I think this would be too challenging, also because of the language barrier and cultural differences.

A better destination would be Thailand or Bali, countries where English is far more widely spoken and where getting around is very easy.

solo travel in Seoul: a language barrier

Like always, don’t drink too much

You’re an easy target in a foreign country, especially when drunk. So remember to not drink too much. This is a general safety tip during solo travel.

Also be careful of your drink, drugging is not uncommon in Korea, especially during the night in party places such as vibrant Hongdae.

Don’t expect to meet loads of new people

To set your expectations straight: Don’t expect to meet lots of new people during your travels here. I’m not sure if I’ve ever witnessed a country with so few tourists as South Korea.

A Korean guy I met told me that it’s pretty unfamiliar to see European people traveling in South Korea, especially on their own.

Another Korean local sitting next to me in the plane was also shocked that I was visiting the country on my own. Apparently it’s very uncommon! Still, I think it’s a great destination, also for solo travelers.

However, do keep in mind that there might be instances where you’ll be alone. It’s not like traveling solo in Vietnam or Thailand, where you’ll see lots of tourists and meet lots of new people.

Namsan Park man walking there under trees
Namsan Park

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Seoul alone, however it’s a good thing to keep in mind!

Seoul is fantastic, but it’s not the easiest place to meet new people. Personally, I’ve even tried Bumble Bff here, yet without success.

Normally I meet new people quite easily, wherever I go. In Seoul things were different and I’ve read many stories about people feeling the same way.

So my advice to you is this: If you’re going to travel solo in Seoul, be prepared to be alone. Stay in a hostel to try to meet new people during your travels here!

Sitting by myself at a beautiful cafe in Seoul

Be flexible

You can have it all planned out, but some things will still work out differently than expected. Especially in a big city like Seoul.

Before getting here, I found a coffee shop online near to my hotel. I imagined myself drinking coffee there every morning. It was a really romanticized picture I had in my head. 

My first morning in Seoul I walked to this coffeeshop, but to my surprise it wasn’t open at all. But Google had told me so? I looked for other hidden entrances, but without success. The cafe had been closed.

This sums it up for me. You can plan all you want, but in the end not everything will work out the way you think it will. And that’s not a bad thing at all. It opens up new doors and opportunities for you to explore. 

Ver's Cafe
Ver’s Cafe in Seoul: a cafe that was actually open

In conclusion

Solo traveling in Seoul isn’t the most common thing to do. However, it’s definitely worth doing!

There are so many things to do here. You can try street food at Gwangjang Food Market, shop at the busy Myeongdong Street, go up to the impressive Namsan Seoul Tower and much more.

Do keep in mind that it’s not the best place to meet new people. If you want to visit a country where it’s very easy to meet new travelers, opt for a destination such as Thailand instead.

However, if you don’t mind venturing out on your own and you’re interested in learning about a new culture, then definitely solo travel in Seoul, South Korea. There’s delicious food, incredible historic landmarks and many serene cafes.

Even in Seoul itself, you can easily entertain yourself for weeks and you still won’t have seen everything that this capital city has to offer.

Away with Danae

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