Destinations Asia

Non-tourist Things to Do in Seoul

Are you a non-tourist traveler? Maybe you’ve visited Seoul, South Korea before. Maybe you haven’t. But you want to go to the places tourists don’t go. You want to experience Seoul, South Korea like a local. Then head with me over to Wolgok and the Korea University area. Let’s live like locals.

I chose this area because I wanted to visit a place in Seoul I had never seen. How do regular people spend their day? What would a non-tourist do?

Convenience Stores

The local GS 25s (convenience store like 7-eleven) knew me on a first name basis. Well not really. I was in a convenience store nearly every day, though. Staying in an Airbnb meant access to a full kitchen. But who likes to cook when you’re traveling. So that led to me buying lots of my meals at the local GS 25.

Think rice and chicken wrapped in seaweed (above). I loved their abalone (a type of sea creature) porridge (below) as well. You couldn’t beat the prices. Many snack food items were around $1 USD. But the food never tasted like it. The variety of ice creams and popsicles was amazing as well. I loved this watermelon pop (above).

Non-tourist Transportation

The bus and subway took me where I needed to go. Most of the buses I rode in Seoul announced stops in English as well. Subway signs were also all in English.

Use a T-Money transportation card. Then you can pay for all your transportation with one card. Refill the card at stations and most convenience stores. Also use them to buy items at those convenience stores.


Do you see that complicated subway map below? It’s perfect for an non-tourists. Locals learn how to use it. So can you.


What Non-tourism is All About

Walking down random streets and alleyways was my pastime of choice. I loved chatting with locals in my very limited Korean. That’s what travel means to me. Below is the Wolgok area in Seoul.

Share experiences and learn how people live in other parts of the world. It’s not how the media makes you think they live, but how they actually spend their day.

It’s the little quirky only-in-Korea things that keep bringing me back to Seoul. You won’t see a rotisserie chicken truck in the middle of the street in New York City.


And where else can you find a HomePlus. It’s basically a 5 story-target. I don’t think America is ready for something like that.


Let’s all be non-tourists and try to see the story behind the city. Don’t just visit the tourist areas. Don’t take a photo a million people have taken before. Take the pictures of what no one ever sees.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply