FEED YOUR S[e]OUL EP12 (FINALE): Traveling to South Korea this 2023 | COVID Protocols | Guide and Suggested Itineraries

Probably the culminating experience for every Korean Culture fans would be to finally visit The land of the Rising Sun – SOUTH KOREA. Every waking days would feel like you’re in real life K-drama and probably on top of the list would be to see Namsan Tower, eat some popular street food, and shop at Myeong-dong and other famous shopping places.

But before that, let’s have a look at what to prepare before travelling. Here’s my previous post on how to secure a Visa to South Korea – click this link for more details. After that, scroll down for entry guidelines that all travellers need to note.

ENTRY PROCESS (Special Entry Procedure)

All individuals entering Korea are required to go through a special immigration process to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Immigration safety measures are subject to frequent changes, and therefore travelers are advised to check for updates from the Korea Disease Control Agency (KDCA). source: https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRV/TV_ENG_1_COVID.jsp#tab2

STEP 1: Fill out the Health Questionnaire and Travel Record Declaration (Special Quarantine Report) on board the plane

STEP 2: Upon arrival at the airport, proceed to check temperature and submit documents at quarantine checkpoint

STEP 3: Quarantine Procedure (if necessary)

STEP 4: Submit Test Results

All the detailed and updated procedures are in this website: https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/


From the same website, here are some of specific guidelines during your travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for travelers’ safety. The following guidelines must be kept while traveling in Korea.

* Starting January 30, masks are no longer required indoors. However, masks will be required on public transportation, medical facilities, pharmacies, and facilities susceptible to infectious disease

  • Using public transportation
    • Wear a mask at all times when using public transportation, including buses, subways, trains, taxis, ferries, and airplanes. (Until further notice)
  • In restaurants and cafés
    •  Masks are recommended but not mandatory.
  • At tourist attractions
    •  Masks are recommended but not mandatory.
  • Using accommodations
    •  As of December 10, 2020, short-term tourists must declare their accommodation in Korea. Show your passport or proof of travel during check-in and the manager will make the declaration.
  • If you have symptoms during your trip
    • If you suspect to have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, coughing, and others, call 1339 for inquiries or take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) by using a self-test kit or visiting a nearby medical clinic.
    • Travelers can also call 1330 Korea Travel Hotline for inquiries.


NOW ON TO THE EXCITING PART – Where to go in Korea? We’ve travelled to South Korea in December of 2011. It was one of my first trips with my son and it was just a popular weekend trip and we were on a tour package with Cebu Pacific. As the flight timings are not really ideal (early morning flight out) it was like two days only and so we have to really squeeze in our itineraries. But it was really memorable as it was also our first winter experience ever (with snow dropping in the morning on the way to the airport).

ALBUM 1: S.KOREAN ADVENTURE 01: A glimpse of Seoul

ALBUM 2: S.KOREAN ADVENTURE 02: Trip to Everland


The best areas to stay in Seoul for first-timers are the neighborhoods of Insadong, Myeongdong, Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon, Jamsil, and Bukchon Hanok Village. These districts are very popular with tourists, and they offer a wide variety of tourist attractions and amenities. Myeongdong is ideal for shopping, Insadong for culture and the arts. Hongdae is young and hip while Itaewon is Seoul’s international district.

You can probably check accommodations that are highly accessible from the Metro stations with easy access to and from the airport, and with nearby convenience stores. With this as your priority, you will be in a safer place in terms of access and convenience.

Designing a trip itinerary in Seoul for first-timers depends on many factors like your preferences and priorities, your trip length , and budget. But ideally here are some of the spots that are nice to visit when in Seoul.

1. The Five Grand Palaces

There are five Joseon Royal Palaces in Seoul – Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Gyeonghuigung, and Deoksugung.

Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung are the biggest and arguably the most beautiful of the five. Gyeongbokgung was the primary palace and one of just two (the other being Deoksugung) where you can watch the changing of the Royal Guard. Equally impressive is Changdeokgung which is a UNESCO Heritage Site and home to the Huwon or “Secret Garden”.

Our half day tour during that time only managed to visit the Changdeokgung Palace which is very near the city center. I remember the tour guide showing us the  historic Namdaemun gate as we pass by. oftentimes, a visit to any of these palace are made more interesting and picturesque while wearing a rented Hanbok (the traditional dress of Koreans).

2. Bukchon Hanok Village

As ultramodern a metropolis as Seoul is, it’s nice to find a place like this right in the middle of the city. Bukchon Hanok Village is an atmospheric labyrinth of narrow alleyways and traditional Korean houses called hanoks.

3. N Seoul Tower (Namsan Tower)

When it comes to great views, this place towers above the competition. Standing 480 meters (1,575 ft) above sea level, N Seoul Tower’s observation deck is the best place to get bird’s eye views of the city.

N Seoul Tower is located on Mt. Namsan and accessible via road or cable car, though most tourists will opt for the latter. You can purchase tickets to the observatory at the gate.

4. Myeongdong

Myeong-dong is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. The two main streets meet in the center of the block with one beginning from Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 4) and the other from Lotte Department Store at Euljiro. Many brand name shops and department stores line the streets and alleys. Common products for sale include clothes, shoes, and accessories.

5. Everland Theme Park

Everland is South Korea’s largest theme park. Located at the Everland Resort in Yongin, a city in Gyeonggi-do, it receives 5.85 million visitors annually and was ranked 19th in the world for amusement park attendance in 2018. 

6. Lotte World Seoul Theme Park

Lotte World is a major recreation complex in Seoul, South Korea. It consists of a large indoor theme park, an outdoor amusement park called “Magic Island”, an artificial island inside a lake linked by monorail, shopping malls, a luxury hotel, a Korean folk museum, sports facilities, and movie theater. 

7. Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market is a famous Korean street food market located fairly close to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This market offers a variety of traditional Korean street food from Mungbean pancakes, mandu (Korean dumplings), and more. If you want to get traditional Korean food in South Korea, this is the place to do it.

8. COEX Mall Library

COEX Mall in the Gangnam district has become Insta-famous in recent years, all because of this beautiful library located in the middle of the mall.

Starfield Library is an open-air public library that features hundreds of books and magazines. It’s stunning architectural shelf of books has made it into one of the most popular picture-taking spots in Seoul.

9. Nami Island

Located near Seoul, Nami Island, or Namiseom is a beautiful island that is among the most popular attractions in Korea for good reason.

Featuring beautiful tree lanes, woodlands, riverside walks, and many more, Nami Island offers picture-perfect scenery all year round. It is just surprising how this small island has it all!

10. Best Samgeupsal, Coffeeshops, and Kpop Street

Dont leave Korea without getting an authentic experience of their popular food culture. Go around for some popular samgyeupsal, instagram popular cafes, and head over to K-star road to immerse in the Korean Wave/K-pop culture, or even enjoy artists arrival at SBS Inkigayo or KBS Music Bank which are popular musical shows in Korea.

Lately, there has been a wide popularity for tour – not the ordinary tours but touring the FILMING LOCATIONS of your favorite Kdramas. Visitors can also explore the actual restaurants and coffee shops used during the filming. Aside from that, there are also STUDIO TOURS to visit the agnecy officers of your favorite Kpop idols. Indeed exploring Seoul has become even more intimate and personal to each travellers.

As this is the LAST EPISODE of FEED YOUR S[e]OUL which is our special series in partnership with the Korean Embassy in Qatar, we would like to thank everyone for tuning in and for your interest in our posts regarding Korean Culture. It is our honor to be working with the Korean Embassy in Qatar and this is definitely not the end of our features for anything Korean.

This short stint has taught us more especially about the flag, about hanbok, about the language, and made us appreciate more about the unique differences of each culture. Beyond Kpop and Kdramas, we know that KOREA has more to offer. And we are excited to visit the country very very soon.

Seoul’s official slogan ‘I·SEOUL·U’ will be changed in 2023. The city of Seoul also recently introduced its new tourism brand, “My Soul Seoul“. Click the link to watch their tourism promotion videos featuring BTS – YOUTUBE LINK HERE – MY SOUL SEOUL BTS


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