Before my inspiration dies down, my memory fades, and before all this goes to my mountainload of backlogs blogpost, I’m going to begin and (hopefully) finish this travel set!
For those who are unfamiliar with the hashtag, “MaphieTravels” is a very cheesy couple name for me and my boyfriend (Martin + Sophie = Maphie, lol). It’s a collection of all our different travels and adventures, both local and international. Although this is both our 2nd time at Korea, this is our first international trip together. There is just too much to say about this amazing trip but will save that all for the posts to come! Let’s just say that I couldn’t have asked for a better travel buddy! #cheese
I’m so excited to share our trip not just for the sake of it, but because I realized how blogs are so relevant and dependable at this age of travel. Our whole itinerary was based on blogs and I hope that #oneday (lol, see what I did there) my tips and stories, may come in handy for your future travels as well!
So let’s begin! Warning: Lengthy post ahead!
TIPS IN PLANNING A TRIP TO KOREA
My first tip is to plan and book ahead. Our flight was actually a promo flight that we booked and availed months ago. This is one of the few times I thank the academic shift, which moved our summer to the off-peak season, the usual flying period of promo flights!
Along with planning ahead, is making sure you have an active passport and Korean visa. Guess who found out that her passport was expired only a month before my trip? It was a terrible nightmare; please don’t let the same thing happen to you. Luckily, everything fell into place and I got my passport and visa right on time (read: just a week before).
My next tip is on the week of your trip, prepare and make a checklist. I got sick the week of my trip, had deadlines to meet, and my packing progress was at 0% — and all I could think of was WHY. Preparing means taking care of yourself and loading up on vitamins, especially since you’ll be travelling to a different country with god-knows-what diseases (aka MERS). I have to thank my dr. daddy and antiobiotics for making me come through! I swear, I was so scared I would be quarantined at the airport huhu. Also since we we would be there for a week, making a checklist really helped me make sure I didn’t miss out on anything. Don’t forget to include in your checklist, converting your money to the foreign currency (they say the rate is always better here!). Below is a breakdown of my budget!
UPDATE! BUDGET FOR 7 DAYS
(I’ve been getting a lot inquiries about this so I decided to edit it in this post; Note: this is just an rough estimate.)
VISA: Php 0
Korea is very tourist friendly because filling for a VISA is for free. You don’t need to go through a travel agency to do it for you (unlike Japan). You can save money by doing it on your own.
Airfare: Php 9k (per person)
We booked our flight via a promo on Air Asia (Half Piso Sale) and got two roundtrip tickets for around Php 15k. This amount includes baggage allowance and travel tax already.
Accommodation: Php 1.5k
We stayed with our friend who lives in Korea and had to pay a minimal fee because of a guest policy of her landlord (Thank you Soo!!).
Pocket Money: Php 15k
This amount includes my personal budget (not including Martin’s) for shopping, food, and transportation. Take note that this will depend on your preference in those three areas.
TOTAL BUDGET = Php 25.5k
Incheon Airport. Travelling from the world’s worst airport to the world’s best airport (Martin Qui, 2015).
We took an hour and half trip via train to our friend’s place where we would be staying. Korea’s subway has to be the best I’ve ridden ever — so clean, efficient and on-time. To save you some time and money, if you will be in Korea for a relatively long time, I suggest that you download the subway app on your phone and get a reloadable CityPass card (you can buy this at any conveniece store and reload it there/any station). This is what we used throughout the whole trip and it was so much more convenient especially since we had a lot of stops! Oh and for those who are asking if it’s safe to travel to Korea at this time, I think that the media has really sensationalized the whole thing as I could count with my own fingers how many people I saw wore masks. But always better to be safe, I guess!
We had a very late lunch first with our friend in this very hidden Japanese restaurant in Silim. They serve unlimited soup and kimchi, but the catch: no leftovers. It was very filling and definitely worth the price.
Chicken Katsu (₩5,500)
Fish Katsu (₩6,000)
We arrived at our friend’s place early afternoon. Being the eager travellers that we are, we wanted to make the most out of every day so we headed out after settling down!
Our first stop – Hongdae!
In the station we chanced upon this quirky store called Butter that sells all kinds of cute things. I went crazyyyy. You can find it in one of the exits. Perfect for thoughtful and affordable gifts and pasalubong!
Hongdae is one of the known shopping spots. Me and Martin were on a hunt for new kicks and we definitely went to Sneaker Heaven! This is one of the many sneaker stores we visited, Folder. Other stores I can suggest are LesMore and ABC Market for more bargain prices.
Hongdae is also known to have a lot of unique and quirky Cafes. This is one we passed by and I couldn’t help but take a snap!
Such a youthful town, we felt like we belonged! Lol.
Next stop, next post – Ewha!
Hope you enjoyed reading so far! Do leave me a comment what you think! Would really appreciate it! <3