Is it also your dream to visit Korea? A home of Korean Dramas – Winter Sonata, Endless Love? Kpop stars – Girls Generation and Superjunior? Stumble upon Bae Yong Jun or Jang Guen Suek while walking on The Street? but you don’t have enough budget to spend? well, I hope my experience would help you in getting to South Korea on a Budget travel – Do IT Yourself. XD
It was around January when I purchased my plane ticket to Korea, thanks to Cebupacificair, it’s cheaper than the original price. Considering I don’t have visa yet, and I have never been to other country (I was so nervous that time), I only have my passport!
When I went back to Korean Embassy to get the result, I was so nervous!!! I can’t ever start planning my itinerary, since it would be a waste if my Visa will be denied.
God is on my side, it was APPROVED! Even other applicants are laughing at me
On that day, I started doing my Itinerary. I actually tried to find a cheaper tourist package, since I don’t know anything in Korea, I don’t want to waste time, I wanted to visit many places and have so much fun, but it was too expensive. So, I decided to DIY (Do it yourself).
I checked all the places I wanted to visit, Jeju Island is actually included, but it was too far and I don’t have much time. So, it’s impossible.
I chose Spring (lovely cherry blossoms). My flight schedule was 3:30 in the afternoon of April 15, 2011(Manila Time) till 7:30am of April 18, 2011 (Korea time)
So I only have 2 full days to tour, it’s obviously not enough!
I wasn’t alone. I was with my friend. I planned everything before I went to Korea. So make sure you have a plan too!
Budget you money wisely! Do not spend on unnecessary things most especially if you have limited budget.
– Research on the places you wanted to visit (Including the entrances fees)
– Transportation (subway/bus)
– Food/ Meal
– Do not forget the MAP!!! You need it
– Always keep extra money (in case of unexpected situation)
– Behave! Remember you’re not in your territory J
South Korea is indeed a good place to visit, not only because of its popularity with their Kpop/ dramas but also because of its rich culture and traditions.
Most of their tourist spots are man-made unlike in the Philippines which are all natural; still, those are really fascinating!
First, make sure you book for a place to stay! I tried to book at Namsan Guest House, Seoul Backpackers, etc, but it’s already full. Luckily, I was able to book at Yun Guest house; it was near to Namsan Cable Park, Namdaemun Market and N Seoul Tower. Just 5-7 mins of walking.
Double Deluxe Room – 60, 000 won per night – 180,000 won for 3 days
Nice isn’t it?
It’s very cozy!
When arrived at Incheon International Airport around 9:30 pm – Korean time, some Filipinos helped us get to the bus, since we don’t really have any idea on what to do first. Incheon International Airport is really nice and well equipped! There’s a money changer before the exit, so make sure you have Korean won in your pocket! (money is “ton” in Korean language) We purchased bus ticket outside the airport; we took the bus 6015 going to Myeongdong. Since that’s the location of the guesthouse where will we stay for 3 days.
We get off to Myeondong Station, we got lost!
It was too cold! Perhaps 5 degree Celsius!!!
We kept on walking till we find the place, we even took a taxi (20,000 won), and I was surprised at the taxi because it has GPS! He showed us Pacific Hotel, yet, can’t totally find Yun Guest House. We get off from the taxi, walked a little and asked a mechanic man. He cannot express himself in English, so he just showed us the way. Though his explanation is in Korean, somehow, I was able to understand him. He’s really nice!!! Ahjussi Kampsahamnida!
It was already around 1 am and we’re still looking for the place. We reached the back of Pacific Hotel, and yet we still can’t find Yun Guest House. Thanks to the cute Korean guy from Namsan 2 Guest House, he helped us find the place. He even carried my friend’s baggage since it was too heavy.
He’s so kind; he called Yun Guest House and asked where they are near, and brought us to the place. We just had a little conversation, he said that our English is really good, and he is planning to go to Cebu to learn English. I told him that there are so many Korean in Manila, why not just in Manila instead of Cebu, he said, he doesn’t want to go there because there are so many Koreans already.
We finally found Yun Guest House, thanks to him 😉 We just fixed our things, and rest.
The next morning, we went to Namdaemun Market first to see the place, of course, I was busy holding the MAP!
It’s the same with what I watched on dramas or Korean movies, they are fashionistas, too many gorgeous guy and pretty girls! And their items? so expensive!
I forgot food is a bit expensive in Korea. Anywhere you go in Korea, there’s tourist information. Kids also have GPS, so if anything happens to them, their parents can locate them easily. Globe roaming doesn’t work in Korea, so don’t bother to register on Roaming and load too much!
After we went to Namdaemun market, we headed to N Seoul tower, I can see it from a far, but don’t know how to get there. So, again, I asked Ahjumma how to get there. She’s so nice; she accompanied me. We walked till we reach it, there’s an elevator if you don’t want to take the stairs. When we reached there, we bought tickets for Namsan Cable Car (7500 won roundtrip) and 6000 won – one way, it’s for adult. Kids and Students are much cheaper.
Great view from Cable car!!! When we get to Namsan Park, there are too many people, some of them are taking pictures, exercising, having picnic, kids are playing, and others are dating! What fun is, you can wear traditional Korean dress both for male and female for FREE! Don’t forget to grab the opportunity to take picture with the guard who is wearing a traditional Korean dress also(hanbok). It’s the same with what you see on Traditional Korean Series such as Jewel in The Palace, Jumong, Iljimae, etc.
The view over the mountain (Mt. Namsan) is really awesome!
We decided not to go to N Seoul Tower to have a full view of the city. We just spent some time there, and left for Gyeongbokgung Palace!
This time, we took the subway (we purchased the T-Money Card at GS25 convenience store near our guest house), don’t worry, you can also get it from other convenience stores, and even at subway stations. You can purchase t-money card, or the chip / sim card looks..
T-money card’s price is 2500 won, then, we loaded 15000 won. Usually, a ride will cost you 900 won. You can also use this for taking City Buses. From Myeondong (Subway Line 4), we went over to Chungmuro (Line 4) and transfer to Line 3 – Gyeongbokgung – see seoul subway map for details.
You just need Seoul Subway Map and T Money Card – You can go anywhere in Seoul easily XD
There’s an arrow pointing to the palace, so just follow it. As you go on to the exit, you will see the entrance of the palace, as well the National Palace Museum of Korea (I thought before it’s the same with National Museum of Korea, I was wrong!) I was taking a picture myself, when a guy approached me, and volunteered to take me a picture!
I was so fascinated to the palace, so beautiful! Too many cherry blossoms and the palace itself! It reminds me of Iljimae and Jewel In the Palace, I’m pretty sure this location was used in filming these dramas! If you are a tourist, you won’t have any trouble as there are many people who will assist you! That’s the reason why I wanted to go back again in Korea!
From the palace, we took our lunch in KFC. Then, we headed to Yeouinaru station (Line 5) for Han River Cruise! It’s also near the 63 building (63 city) Ticket price is 11000 won for 1 hour and 10 mins ride. At 5:30 pm, we went for a cruise. Too many people, the view of the sunset is really fascinating. An hour isn’t bad at all. Just perfect. After that, we went to 63 building for a better view of the whole city. Remember, the Korean series My Girl of Lee Da Hae and Lee Dong Wook? That’s the place where she emotes: D
My friend got tired so we decided to go back to our guesthouse and rest. Our call time is 7 am the next morning, since we’re going to shop, I get up early. I went to shop and saw many Kpop artists stuff! I saw the calendar, I bought it, I even wanted to buy the T-shirt, having Jang Guen Suk printed, as well the tumbler, and Clock, but it’s quite expensive.
I bought my other team mate a Shinee calendar, since I knew she likes it 😉 I bought a set of pens with bookmark and phone accessories, it’s an authentic Korean product.
For my family, I bought them cookies with Winter Sonata, and Daejangguem in the cover as well Red ginseng tea for them. And for myself? I bought Jang Geun Suk Calendar and also kim hyun joong calendar. I also bought a T-shirt, having Korean flag and unique style printed on it. And a lee jun ki’s keychain. The cute Korean guy gave me huge posters of Kim Hyun Joong for FREE!!! He’s even singing.
I went to Korean folk village all by myself! It’s too far actually! I took subway line 4 from Myeondong, get off at heoyeon to transfer at line 5. I noticed I can get to Suwon station even I transfer at “guemjeong” – intersection of line 4 and 5, without leaving line 4.
The train stopped at Sadang and then I transferred to another train going to Namtaeryong -> Oido. At last, I was able to reached Guemjeong and transferred to Line 5, while on my way, I saw beautiful sceneries…so love it! I even passed by to Seoul’s Main cemetery, and Seoul Grandpark. From Guemjeong, I headed to Suwon station. It took me 1 and half hour or so to reach my destination. As I exited Suwon station, I headed to the tourist information center and asked how to get to Korean Folk Village. They gave me a ticket to get into the shuttle for FREE to get to Korean folk village. It took 30-40mins travel from Suwon station to Yongin, Gyeonggi-do Province.
Anyway, back to my tour, I arrived at 1:10 pm to Korean Folk village; I bought the 20, 000 won ticket – Full package. It’s exactly what I expected ~ Beautiful. There are museums inside, as well theme park. This is actually the place where traditional Korean dramas took place.
I was able to catch the live performance, traditional equestrian as well traditional wedding ceremony and a guy walking on the rope. If you watch the film “The King and the clown” or “Hwang Jini” it’s exactly like that. The man is really awesome. His crossing the rope with his eyes close!
I took the city bus to get back to Suwon station. It’s a great advantage for me that I can read and understand a bit of Korean Language. From Suwon station (line 5), I transfer to Line 7 at Garibong to reach Banpo bridge, and was able to witness the glimmering beauty of Rainbow fountain!!! This is one of the best places to visit in Korea, very romantic. You can catch the show at: 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 7:30, 8:30 p.m.: 5 times a day
Then, from Banpo, I transferred to Line 4 (heading to Myeondong), this time, I went back to Nseoul tower for night viewing… Again, Namsam Cable Car 7500 won, and N Seoul tower entrance fee is 9000 won.
For me, I like it a lot than Macau tower, N Seoul tower is really fabulous, with its 3d effect, and it has the best view at night also. You must check this place!!! It was around 10pm when I went back home, I just passed by to GS25 store and bought some stuff that I can bring home in Manila. I bought Cass.
Final day, at the front of Sejong Hotel, there’s the Airport Limousine Bus Station, usually arrive at 5:30am, we took bus 6015 again, to get to Incheon Intl Airport.
My first Korean escapade ends here: D