I was thinking of doing a combination of Japan and Korea at first specially after my Japan trip was cancelled back in 2011 but it was too expensive and I rather did spend more time in both countries. I plan on going to Japan in 2019 if I have money.
I see you are going alone, which is totally fine but there is something you need to know then. There are a lot of places where you can get Bibimbap and such for one person but there are also a lot of places which only serve dishes for 2 persons or more. In my opinion the portions per person in Korea are rather small compared to what I'm used too in Europe so if you are a normal to big eater you might be able to finish a 2 person dish on your own. Quite a few people know a bit of English so you can ask wether a dish is for 1 or 2 persons if you are not sure.
This was my day to day thing if I remember correctly:
Day 1: We arrived late so we didn't do much.
Day 2: Changgyeonggung palace, exploring Insadong, exploring Hongdae in the evening (our hotel was there).
Day 3: Changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung and checkin out the palace, bukchon hanok village, N Seoul Tower.
And on our last day before going home: We went to Gangnam to visit the K Star Road, I also wanted to shop at Moldir and visit Jholic but when I saw Moldir I was like nah too expensive and didn't have time (and my feed where dying) to go to Jholic after we also went to an underground shopping thing there hoping to find souvenirs.
Tip: For souvenirs go to Insadong, I didn't see much souvenir shops elsewhere. Also buy a Tmoney card, you can get it from the special vending machine you can find at every station. You et a reduced price when travelling and when you buy normal tickets you have to et your refund afterwards at the special vending machine. A Tmoney card can also be used in taxi's and busses and you can pay with it in certain shops. If you run out of credit on it and you are not close to a station you can also recharge it at 7 eleven and most likely other shops too. I bought the Visit Korea Year one but you can also buy a cheaper one or a Line Friends one which is more expensive. With the Visit Korea Year one you et a package with the metro map and a list where you can get discounts.
Also download maps.me and the Korean subway app. They are really handy and work offline. Google maps isn't so accurate in Korea.
- Our stop for Seoraksan National park. The Ulsanbawi trail was to hard for me so I took the cable car instead. I heard that you have to wait long for the cable car but that's not true. You buy a ticket for a certain time slot and you just make sure you get back there on time and can walk other trails in the mean time. At the top there is a restaurant and a small gift shop.
- We went cycling to a temple and some other seeing stuff. The park with the Shilla tombs was next to our guesthouse. When I was there there was also a festival in the evening for the Shilla Kings but I was too tired to go there unfortunately.
When we where there there was BIFF ( Busan International Film Festival), BOF ( Busan One Asia Festival) and some other unknown festival at the Jagalchi market. We tried to get tickets for the opening ceremony for BOF but we failed because we couldn't order them due conflicting information.
I went to Jagalchi market to just look, Gamcheon Cultural village, haedong yonggungsa temple by the beach (fun fact we went there when it was storming so the sea was pretty wild, later mom told me there was a tyfoon in Tokyo. A few beaches like Haeundae Beach, went beauty shopping at an underground market and went to a Noraebang.
If you have a drivers license: rent a car in advance! Public transport takes ages and you need to walk a few km from the bus stop. Did climb the Seongsan Ilchulbong vulcano which was really easy to climb, good stairs everywhere. Also went to the Manjanggul Lava Tube of which the ground was pretty flat most of the time so no trouble walking there either but I suggest you bring a small flashlight which I totally forgot, lucky I could borrow one from someone. Also went to a dol Haruban park but that was a waste of time in my opinion.
Also wanted to walk around Hallasan but I due health I didn't. Also went to Hamdeok beach which was the most pretty beach on our side of the island according locals and it was indeed really pretty.