On our recent trip to Korea, my friend Kat and I opted for the Seoul City Tour Bus to take us around the city as we wanted to see all the popular tourist attractions the most efficient way possible. It seemed like the perfect choice at that time, because we can spend the day hopping on and hopping off the bus whenever we want for the price of just a single ticket. We won’t have to deal with subway transfers anymore. It’s not that Seoul Subway system is inconvenient, it was just easier for us to get dropped off at bus stops and have a guide tell us the directions.
There are various routes offered by the tour bus. We chose City & Traditional Culture Course since the departure point was the one closest to our hostel in Dongdaemun. Our double-decker bus took us to major historic sites and shopping districts in Seoul.
Here’s our course itinerary:
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, Dongdaemun Gate) → Bangsan Wholesale Market (Jungbu Market, Ojang-dong Naengmyeon Alley) → Euljiro 3-ga → Euljigo 1-ga (Deoksugung Palace, Seoul City Hall) → Tongin Market (Cheong Wa Dae, Seocheon Village, Dosirak Café, Suseongdong Valley) → Sejong Center (Gwanghwamun Gate, Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Museum of Korean Contemporary History) → Seoul Station (Culture Station Seoul 284, Sungnyemun Gate) → Namdaemun Market (Bank of Korea Money Museum) → Myeong-dong (Myeong-dong Cathedral) → Jonggak (Jongno Avenue of Youth) → Insa-dong (Unhyeongung Royal Residence) → Jongmyo Shrine → Gwangjang Market → Dongmyo (Sungin-dong Dokkaebi Market) → Seoul Folk Flea Market → Seoul Medicine Market (Gyeongdong Market) → Majang Meat Market → Sindang-dong Jungang Market (Sindangdong Tteokbokki Town)
|Traditional Culture Tour|
|Departure Point||Dongdaemun Design Plaza|
|Weekdays: Every 40 mins.
Weekends: Every 30 mins.
|Price||10,000 KRW each|
If we were situated nearer Gwanghwamun, we would have chosen the Seoul Panorama Course (double-decker bus) + Trolley Bus Course. The route includes Hongdae (Hongik University Street – famous for its novelty cafes), Ehwa Women’s University and Hangang River.
Anyway, we started our day early. We went to Dongdaemun Design Plaza around 8:30 am. As soon as we saw the bus, we immediately went inside. A few minutes later, the driver got on the bus and told us to buy our tickets first at a nearby booth in front of the Plaza. We thought it was possible to purchase the tickets onboard, but apparently not. I still had to get off the bus and buy the tickets.
Sadly, we didn’t get to use the tour bus as much. We didn’t think we would spend a lot of time at Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was already lunch time by the time we were done with the place. So if you want to maximize the use of tour bus, the trick is to spend about 25-30 mins only for each stop.
In the end, we spent more than we should have. There were times when we could not find the Seoul City Tour Bus stop (as you can see in the picture above) so, in frustation, we just took a cab to where we wanted to go. I would recommend the tour bus to elderly though since most of the subway stations in Korea involve a lot of walking and do not have elevators. Value for money? Well, it’s convenient and you can definitely see Seoul with the City Tour Bus if you really wanted to.