For my one free day in Seoul, I decided to start it off with a bus tour around the capital city to get myself oriented first. While searching on KLOOK, I found that there were several affordable bus courses around the city, but I went ahead to pick the Yellow Balloon City Bus Seoul Traditional Culture Course Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour (Open-Top) since it had frequent departures and just one route to choose from (which means I won’t get lost).
The starting and ending point of the Yellow Balloon City Bus Seoul Traditional Culture Course Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour is at Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
I had actually not booked my Seoul Traditional Culture Course Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour ticket beforehand but just walked up to the Yellow Balloon City Bus counter as I was in the area for some shopping. I did check the KLOOK terms and conditions for purchasing off them, and there is a clause saying that “You must present a printed voucher along with your passport in exchange for your ticket”. However, after checking with the counter if I can but it on the app and just show it to him on the phone, he said that it was fine, so I got myself the KLOOK Yellow Balloon City Bus ticket at a ₩2,000 discount (₩13,000) as compared to paying directly at the bus tour counter itself (₩15,000).
Click here to buy your Yellow Balloon City Bus Seoul Traditional Culture Course Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour ticket!
Heading to board the Yellow Balloon City Bus immediately as it was departing.
Heading to the upper deck to take my seat in scorching hot Seoul.
I had thought of taking the front seat since the upper deck was totally empty, but I realised that there wouldn’t be any air flow when the bus moved and the windows were tinted.
I headed to the open area at the rear.
The legroom available on board the Yellow Balloon City Bus.
The day ticket for the Yellow Balloon City Bus is actually a wristband.
A brochure of the Yellow Balloon City Bus route which I picked up from the counter.
A fan was also provided by Yellow Balloon City Bus for surviving in scorching hot Seoul.
Departing from Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Looping around the area around some tall shopping centres.
WiFi and videos were provided on the Yellow Balloon City Bus.
Passing by Lotte Departmental Store.
Making a brief stop at Euljiro 1ga.
Announcements are made before arriving at, and at every stop, however, it was not a through-route commentary as what I had thought it would be like the megasightseeing.com bus tour in London. Rather, it was only the stop name and the attractions around it, like the Sentosa internal buses.
Passing by the Seoul Metropolitan Library.
Passing by Daehanmun Gate, the main gate Of Deoksugung Palace.
NOTE: Yellow Balloon City Bus did not actually provide any commentary on the sights from the bus. These are all spots that I found on Google Maps while writing this article.
Passing by the start of Cheonggyecheon, popularly known as the park or drain where the highway ran over it and was demolished for public recreation space and to improve traffic through Seoul.
The Statue of Admiral Yi Sun Shin.
The Statue of King Sejong.
Passing by Gwanghwamun, the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Passing by the National Palace Museum of Korea.
The entrance to the National Palace Museum of Korea.
Making a brief stop at Cheongwadae.
Passing by Blue House Plaza.
The view of Bugaksan Mountain.
Not sure what building this is.
Turning back down.
Making a brief stop at Sejong center for the Performing arts.
Passing by Daehanmun again.
Passing by Sungnyemun Gate.
Passing under Seoullo 7017.
Passing by the Old Seoul Station.
Entering Seoul Station Bus Transfer Center.
Making a brief stop at Seoul Station Bus Transfer Center.
I decided to get off here for a break as the Yellow Balloon City Bus ride on the upper deck was very hot.
Looking back at the Yellow Balloon City Bus at Seoul Station Bus Transfer Center.
The map of bus platforms at Seoul Station Bus Transfer Center.
The Yellow Balloon City Bus stop at Seoul Station Bus Transfer Center.
The Yellow Balloon City Bus stop is the first pole just outside the Seoul Station Bus Transfer Center subway station exit.
And here comes the next Yellow Balloon City Bus.
This bus has a half open-top instead so passengers in the upper deck can have air-conditioning too. Makes sense for hot Seoul.
Boarding the Yellow Balloon City Bus.
The interior of the top air-conditioned half of the bus.
Taking a seat in the air-conditioned area.
Comfortable seat, but the view is a little bit marred by the tinted window.
Oh well, back to the barbecue it is.
Departing from Seoul Station.
Looking back around Seoul Station.
Passing by Seoullo 7017 again.
Passing by Sungnyemun Gate again.
Passing by the Bank of Korea Money Museum.
Turning towards the N Seoul Tower.
The Namsan Oreumi Elevator to Namsan Cable Car station which will lead to N Seoul Tower.
Passing really close to the street signs.
Passing by Shinsegae Departmental Store.
Passing by the Bank of Korea Money Museum again.
Passing by the Bosingak big bell.
NOTE: Google Maps is only half useful in South Korea with some locations and functions missing eg. driving. When navigating in South Korea, use the Korean Naver Maps.
Passing by the entrance to Wongaksa Pagoda.
Getting overtaken by public buses in their dedicated bus lane.
Getting overtaken by a cyclist in his dedicated cycling lane.
The entrance to Jongmyo Shrine.
Passing by the National Medical Centre.
Arriving back at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Turning to the Yellow Balloon City Bus stop.
Arrived at Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Disembarking from the upper deck of the Yellow Balloon City Bus.
The alighting point at Dongdaemun Design Plaza is also a bus stop for the KAL Limousine Bus 6702 to Incheon Airport.
Here, I decided to continue on my day in Seoul using public transport with my Klook T-Money Card.
Overall, (dare I say it?) the Yellow Balloon City Bus wasn’t as good as the Megabus tour in London which I went for on my previous far-away trip. Yes, I know, astonishing, since Megabus isn’t exactly known for good service. In fact, I found this tour disappointing on it’s own as there was no commentaries provided throughout the trip, aside from arrival stop names, and names of attractions around it. No explanation of the attractions or sights passing by whatsoever.
If I were to put it bluntly, it’s an overly glorified city area transit loop bus. Though I do have to say, to be fair, that for the fare charged, it’s probably still one of the cheapest hop-on hop-off bus “tour” ticket in the world, and with the discount ticket from KLOOK, it didn’t hurt too bad on paying for the ticket on this bus “tour”.