Visiting Seoul Grand Park: Seoul Zoo

Tucked in at the base of a small mountain is Seoul Grand Park, a place where the whole family can have fun.

Seoul Grand Park includes Seoul Zoo, Seoul Land amusement park, a children’s zoo, a rose garden, the Sky Lift, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, a botanical garden, a campground, and a forest exhibition.

This place really caters to couples and families. I definitely stood out being the only person at the zoo that was solo. It was quite noticeable unlike when I went to Seoul Tower.

Seoul Grand Park Map

Several of my students told me the zoo was really fun and worth checking out. While I’m not generally a fan of zoos, I wanted to see how it compared to other zoos I’ve been to in America.

Seoul Zoo Sign - Travellistic

A Day at Seoul Zoo

Since I rode the Skylift to the top of the zoo, I started out near the bears which included the adorable red panda. These were one of the most active animals in the whole zoo. They were running around, playing, climbing all over the trees, and chasing each other. It was fun to watch but the pictures didn’t come out well at all. And as always, I felt bad that they were couped up in such a small space.

Cute Bear - Seoul Zoo

Another great exhibit was the bison. You wouldn’t think they would be all that interesting in a zoo setting but they were remarkably social. One in particular liked to hang out by the fence, poking his face through, flicking his tongue out to pull at bits of grass, and turning his massive head up every few minutes to look you over with an enormous brown eye. Then, he’d charge around the area, make some noises, and trot back to the fence to resume his eyeballing. I carefully reached out to touch his furry head. He seemed to like having it scratched.

Friendly Bison at Seoul Zoo

Birds at Seoul Zoo

As I was leaving the zoo, it started to pour down rain. Not wanting to look like I came from a wet t-shirt contest, I took the train from the zoo to the park entrance. It was a nice way to end several hours of walking. Curiously, it stopped raining once we got off the train.

Giraffes Seoul Zoo

Tornado Chips - Travellistic While you’re wandering around, munch on some tornado chips. It’s a potato that is sliced in a curl, placed on a stick, coated in batter, fried, and then dusted with a spicy, cheese-flavored powder. Tornado chips are a tasty treat but I think it’d be better with minced bacon or a spicy, ramyeon flavor.

So, should you go to Seoul Zoo?

If you like zoos, or you’re traveling with young kids, then I think it’s worth it if you have the time. I would recommend eating outside of the zoo. The food isn’t crazy overpriced like back home but you can get cheaper snacks from the many vendors lining the walkway from the subway to the park.

Prices

Seoul Zoo (Adult): 3,000 won
1-Way Sky Lift (Adult): 5,000 won
Train (Adult): 1,000 won
Tornado Chips: 2,000 won (small) or 3,000 won (large)

Visit the Seoul Zoo website.

Getting There

Take Seoul Metro Line #1 and get off at Seoul Grand Park.

Have you been to Seoul Zoo? Let me know in the comments below.

Thumb Statue Seoul Zoo

Climbing 1.6 km of Stairs to N Seoul Tower (N 서울타워)

N Seoul Tower Namsan - Travellistic N Seoul Tower (aka – Namsan Tower) is the most recognizable landmark in Seoul. At night it’s even more spectacular.

This was my first trip to Seoul and my first time on the subway. My only prior experience with subways was in Washington, DC and I’d say the subway here is just as easy to navigate. Just grab a free route map at the ticket booth and you’re good to go. I used my T-Money card to pay the fare (roughly 2,000 Won) from Sadang Station to Myeon-dong Station where I got off.

From the metro station, I just walked in the direction of Namsan where I could see Seoul Tower peeking through the buildings. Once I got to the base of the mountain, it was a mere 1.6 km (1-mile) of stairs to the summit, a water vending machine (1,000 Won), and Seoul Tower (N 서울타워).

Despite being a tourist destination, it’s not terribly overpriced. You have to buy a ticket to take the elevator up to the Observation Deck which is 9,000 Won per person. There are package deals for couples.

Feeling hungry? No problem. There are several places to eat, buy snacks, or get dessert at Cold Stone Creamery.

Visiting N Seoul Tower

The view of Seoul from the Observation Deck is impressive. I bet it’s even more beautiful at night. On the windows are the names of cities in that direction and the distance they are from Seoul. After strolling around, you can send a postcard from the world’s highest post office. Post cards run about 2,200 Won and international stamps run 400 Won.

If you visit Namsan with your sweetheart, you can attach a lock to one of the love trees or the fence at the base of the tower. It’s similar to the bridge in Paris, France but I don’t think you toss your key into the forest.

Need More Details?

Check out the Visit Korea site.

Thanks for reading!

Love Locks at Seoul Namsan Tower - Travellistic

Visiting Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, South Korea

Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon South Korea South Korea is full of interesting and historic sites. From Buddhist temples to royal palaces, burial grounds, and even the modern Seoul Tower. One of the more historic sites is Hwaseong Fortress, about 30-minutes south of Seoul in Suwon.

Hwaseong is one of South Korea’s 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the main tourist draw in Suwon.

It’s an impressive structure that was built hundreds of years ago. The wall is 5.7 km long, yet it only took about 2-years to build!

The wall has a lot of interesting features including signaling tower, crossbow platforms, massive gates, and a giant bell atop a small mountain.

Take a look at some of what you’ll see when you arrive.

Exploring Hwaseong Fortress

There is also a history museum that you can check out plus you can walk around the palace building to see where the King hung out.

Price: 1,000 Won ticket (put the sticker on your shirt), the Palace and Museum are extra)
Transportation: Take Bus #13 From Suwon Station/AK Plaza (about 1,000 Won)

Tasty Budget Food in South Korea

Ho Bbang Korea - Travellistic

Pork Mandu

Although places like Thailand and India get all the kudos for having delicious street food, don’t overlook South Korea. It’s very easy to find delicious snacks and meals that are easy on your budget.

What’re you looking for?

A small cup of coffee for 300 won ($0.26)? We’ve got ya covered.

A steamed bun for 1000 won ($0.87)? Yup, right across the street!

A skewer of marinated pork for 1500 won ($1.31)? No problem.

A big bowl of pork soup (with side dishes) for 4500 won ($3.94)? Eat it up!

Delicious Budget Food

Spicy Ho Bbang in Korea - Travellistic

Spicy Kimchi Mandu


Mandu – steamed buns filled with meat and vegetables. They’re delicious by themselves or with some soup. I can buy these across the street from my apartment for 1000 won each. They’re about the size of a sandwich. The place has regular pork, these spicy pork buns, and one with sweet red beans. I prefer the pork ones. Two make a good meal.

Korean Dinner - Pork Soup - Travellistic

Soondae Guk


Sundae Guk – pork soup with vegetables. There are noodles wrapped in a small piece of pork intestine. At the place down the street from me, there are two small pieces. It doesn’t taste bad but if it grosses you out, just don’t eat them. The bowl of soup is a generous portion and comes with a side of rice, kimchi, and various other things that I can’t name but taste good. I sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top, stir in some rice, add the onions, a few pieces of the (cured?) pork slices, and add a little chili paste. It’s spicy, filling, and cheap. Only 4500 won near my house. My Director (boss at school) said it runs from 4000-6000 depending on the restaurant. Don’t worry about sweating from the spice, just grab a little napkin and wipe your face. If you need another pitcher of water or a refill of the sides (like kimchi) you have to ask. The servers don’t come around and harass you in the middle of a bite like in America.

Tempura in Korea - Travellistic

Mixed Bag of Tempura


Tempura – fried vegetables and meat with a delicious breading. I didn’t know Koreans ate tempura but I guess it makes sense. On the ground floor of my apartment building there’s a place that sells this bag of tempura for only 2500 won. There are two shrimp, two squid pieces, two sweet potatoes, a pair of seaweed wrapped noodles (kind of like tempura vegetable rolls but just noodles), and one that’s a mix of shredded vegetables. Definitely not enough for a meal, but I like to grab this and munch it on the way to the bus stop before work.

Kimbob and Soup in Korea - Travellistic

Great tasting kimbap and soup.


Kimbap and Soup – In the building where I teach, there’s a small restaurant on the 3rd floor. Each kimbap roll is 2000 won and the soup is free. They have really good mandu dumplings too, three for 1000 won. It’s makes a great lunch. The kimbob has vegetables, egg, crab and ham in it. If you don’t like sushi because raw meat grosses you out – no worries! There’s no raw meat, so if you like California Rolls you should like kimbob too. Of course, there are varieties but regular kimbap is generally made like this.

Bulgogi Stick in Korea - Travellistic

Marinated bulgogi on a stick.


Bulgogi Stick – Marinated and cooked to perfection. This tasty treat is only 1500 won. The place also sells a cheese filled pork sausage, fried chicken on a stick, and other snacks.

Hot Dog Pastry in Korea - Travellistic

Pig in a blanket – Korean style.


Pig in a Blanket – I have no idea what the Korean name is for this but it’s basically a hot dog in a slightly sweetened pastry. My Director bought a bunch of stuff from the bakery and this was among the choices. It was surprisingly good for being cold. The package contains two pastries and runs about 1500 won. The store is called Cake Town and they have a lot of delicious snacks – a ham sandwich for 1200 won, a chilled seafood salad sandwich for 1500 won, an “American Style” hamburger which is not even remotely American-style (but is very good), and many other pastries.

Bulgogi Sandwich in Korea - Travellistic

Bulgogi, Bacon, Egg and Cheese


Bulgogi Sandwich – There’s a place down the street called Isaac Toast & Coffee and they make these great sandwiches. I’ve had several different types since you have a choice of toppings. My favorite so far is bulgogi and bacon – 2500 won. The ham sandwich is good too and cheap – only 1900 won. The egg has bits of corn and shredded carrot but you can’t really taste it. All the sandwiches have cheese, a light spread of “sweet sauce”, and the bulgogi sandwiches include a light spread of BBQ sauce.

American Brand – Korean Influence

BBQ Pork Doritos in Korea - Travellistic

A good but rare treat.


These don’t taste like normal Doritos, not just because they’re BBQ pork flavor, but they have a different texture and the flavoring isn’t over the top like back home. It’s a light but hearty flavor. I also tried a small bag of BBQ pork Cheetos too, same thing – light flavor and different texture. I won’t be eating them again since they’re fatty but I tried them for the novelty.

There’s a lot more great food here in South Korea. These few things barely scratch the surface.

Have you been to Korea? What budget friendly foods have you enjoyed?

Thanks for reading!