In 2014, I travelled alone to Seoul in the Republic of Korea, better known as South Korea. Thus far, it’s my last big solo trip. It was an interesting experience. I’ve forgotten many details and activities I did. That’s why we blog since 2017. But anyway, thanks to photos on Facebook, my guidebook, Wikipedia and Wikitravel, I can reconstruct parts of the adventure.
I did enjoy my stay in Seoul, but it wasn’t an undisputed succes. Danny and I plan to go to Korea in the more or less near future. I don’t think I’d go alone again.
Here’s why. Seoul is a place for couples or groups. I didn’t know being alone is taboo in Korea, even if nowadays attitudes are slowly changing. But Korean society is conservative. Many people are fiercely religious. Family is very, very important.
In several places I experienced some hostility towards being alone. Some restaurants refused me. Quickly, I decided to dine early so I would be welcome. But then, what ti do later that night?
The Dragon Hill Spa is very couples-oriented. And so was N Seoul Tower and its surroundings.
Meeting locals was also not easy. There’s a language barrier and there wasn’t WiFi everywhere back then. I also didn’t or couldn’t get a local sim card. I did score in a bar on Homo Hill though. So I certainly did not have a terrible time.
Travelling solo is not so simple. I’m not good a smalltalk and making new (temporary) friends. I find it a big challenge to enter a bar alone, to open up.
Travelling solo can be good fun, being master of your activities. Being solo can also allow you to flirt and go with the flow, without taking into account your travel mates.
But Seoul made clear that not every destination is suitable for solo travel. I learned there I need to plan my days better. I’m not so good at winging it. Maybe it’s also a good idea to make contacts in advance, using dating apps. Romeo makes that easy.
So the major lesson is to carefully choose where I’ll go alone next time. Any tips are welcome.