If you’re an avid fan of Korean films or series, going to South Korea is surely a part of your bucket list. When I was 18 years old (Boys over flower fever), I told myself that I should visit South Korea before reaching 25. 20, I told my bunny, Nymfa that we should go there together. 22, all expenses should be from my pocket. 23, 24 and tadaaaa!!! Finally!! :)) Annyeonghaseyo South Korea! 😀
I initially wanted to write a blog first about my previous travels to other places but since South Korea is verrrry special to me, I’m making it on top of this page. 🙂
AIRLINE. We chose AirAsia because it has the best time of departure to and from South Korea. Our departure time to SoKor is 7 o’clock in the morning while our departure time from there to Manila is 9 o’clock in the evening. So the first and last days of our trip were maximized. Ohryt! 😀 For airline-booking tips, check my previous post here.
VISA. This is the list of countries which are visa-free to South Korea as of April 2015:
For more information, visit the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
There are different requirements for each type of traveler, for Filipinos, kindly check this page. Processing time is 3 to 5 days. In the Philippines, the Korean Embassy is located at 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634, Philippines with contact number at (63-2) 856-9210 visa local no. 270, 500. It is located somewhere near at the back of SM Aura.
ACCOMMODATION. We stayed for 5 days and 4 nights (November 9 to 13, 2015) at 24 Guesthouse Namsan Garden, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea. This place has the perfect location since it’s just few steps away from Myeongdong subway station, Myeongdong shopping street “Make-up capital of Seoul” and a hundred of restaurants and streetfood stalls at night. In addition, it’s also near to other tourist spots such as the palaces and Bukchon Hanok Village which are just few stations away but if you’re taking a cab, the fare will not be more than 5,000KRW (P210). Their rooms are clean and spacious, their staff is very friendly and accommodating and the house itself has a very relaxing ambiance. That’s why I highly recommend this place! 🙂 Go check their website here. 🙂
TIME. UTC/GMT +9 hours. Seoul, South Korea is 1 hour ahead of Manila, Philippines.
SEASONS. Spring: March to May; Summer: June to August; Autumn: September to November; Winter: December to February.
TRANSPORTATION. South Korea has so many subway stations. They have a total of eleven lines which have a lot of transfer stations so the subway map would really look so complicated at first glance, second glance and even at third glance. hahaha So to lessen your wrinkles, download the Seoul Metro Subway Map app in your gadgets (yellow and green logo). It would show you the fastest route for your chosen origin and destination stations and the number of transfer stations or changes. This was our most used app during our trip. haha I also recommend the Subway Korea app (blue logo) because it shows the real-time arrival of the trains, first and last train per journey and the estimated fare but it’s not so user-friendly. Btw, most of the stations have paid lockers just in case you’re bringing a lot of shopping bags already. LOL. Small lockers: 1,000 (P45) to 2,000 KRW (P90) ; Medium: 1,500 (P65) to 3,000 KRW (P130) ; Large: 2,000 (P90) to 4,000 KRW (P180) good for 2 to 4 hours. Myeongdong station has underground shopping center while Sadang station has the best thrift shops “Ukay-ukay” with perfect coats and tops from Japan. On the other hand, all of their cabs have GPS so just give them the address and you’ll never get lost.
T-MONEY. This is an all-in-one card. You can use it almost anywhere – train, bus, taxi and even in convenience stores. Amazing! LOL You can buy a T-Money card for 2,500 KRW (P105) in any convenience store or subway station. We bought our cards at 7 Eleven in the arrival areal of Incheon airport. The card has zero balance upon purchase so you need to load it up right away in any train station.
LANGUAGE. Only few Koreans understand and speak English so Korean translation and dictionary apps are helpful especially when buying something or ordering food from the restos. We used Korean English Dictionary and Learn Korean apps.
PENTEL PEN or MARKER. Their tourist spots usually have freedom walls, freedom chairs and everything. haha I was happy I brought a marker so please find my name on those walls. LOL
KOREAN WON. We’re very rich because we spent half a million there. hahaha Kidding! I mean, half a million korean won only. huhu LOL I made a conversion table of Philippine Peso – Korean Won and saved it in our phones so we don’t need to calculate or convert everytime we purchase something. 😀 #KuripotMoves hahaha The following tables are based on the conversion rate as of November 8, 2015.
ELECTRICAL PLUGS OR SOCKETS. They are using type C, a two-wire plug that has two round pins. You can borrow or rent an adaptor from your hotel’s front desk. I suggest you buy ahead of time a universal adaptor like this one below which I bought from Ace Hardware for P199. This adaptor is compatible anywhere in the world. haha
PAIN RELIEVERS. Since our itinerary includes a lot of walking with a very cold weather, I made sure that all of us brought pain relievers and Salonpas. 😀 It was such a nightly struggle for us to look for an open spa because they close as early as 11 pm! WHAAAAT??! We only found one spa which is open 24/7 but has a very expensive rate of 50,000KRW (P2100) per hour!!! Seriously?!! T__T And also, don’t forget to ask ahead if the one who will perform a massage is a masseur or a masseuse. We waited for half an hour and we were shocked to know that they were all guys! OMG! So yah, we went home instead with a painful back but a happy pocket (Saved 50K won!) hahaha
WIFI. Wifi is almost everywhere. YEHEY!!! hahaha We usually got strong connections near the exits of subway stations. Wifi in hotels are very fast too.
FREEBIES. There are a lot of Buy 1 take 1 in convenience stores and a lot of make-up freebies in any make-up stores especially in Myeongdong.
RESTAURANTS. Most of their restos are on a self-service basis. You cook your own food on the table and the utensils are usually on the sides of the table.
TOURIST GUIDES or MAPS. South Korea is very generous with tourist magazines, guides, maps, discount coupons and information walls. And most of them are in different languages. No wonder many tourists from all over the world feel so safe anywhere in SoKor. 😀 I actually have my collections below hahaha
That’s all for now sweeties! 🙂 I will just update this if ever I forgot something to be included here. 😀 I will share my 5 Days 4 Nights Itinerary in South Korea on my next posts! 🙂 Kamsahamnida! 😉