This was my second time in Korea and I guess it’s true that it is even better the second time around. I was with three of my best friends, Mara, Trixie, and Cuyegs. One of them happens to be a huge K-pop and K-drama fan so when she told us she wanted to go, we immediately agreed (even if she had some conditions). We had to listen to her K-pop playlist and watch K-drama. To be honest, I am not a fan however after listening to her playlist (I LOVE BTS BTW) and watching the first episode of Descendants of the Sun, I realized why so many people are hooked. It really made me so excited for our trip! AND NO, THEY AREN’T BADUY. So you have to give it a try (just like what I did hihi).
Our travel dates were from March 6 to 12, 2018 (5 full days only).
Watch to see the full video below:
How to get there?
Last time I went to Korea, I took Air Asia but this time around we took Cebu Pacific because there was a seat sale. Price of our tickets were 10,000 pesos with baggage. It isn’t the cheapest because some of my friends were able to get tickets for only 3,000 pesos. But if you compare the ticket we got with other airlines, ours is still cheaper. I like flying with Cebu Pacific more because they are lenient. Surprisingly, the plane we took was big therefore it was comfortable.
How to get a visa?
Click this link:
If you have a BDO and BPI credit card, they have a promo so you don’t have to submit an ITR. Read more about it in their websites.
Where to stay?
“JJ Guesthouse” (AirBnB) located in Itaewon, Seoul Korea
Located in Itaewon, Seoul Korea. Near Myeongdong, DongDaemun, HongDae, and Gangnam (by cab)Address: 6-17, Hoenamu-ro 39-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea (Itaewon) 04344
- Link: https://web.facebook.com/jjguesthaus/
- Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/8647993
- Good for 1-5 pax
- Price: 1000-1300 pesos per head
- Rating: 5/5
About the place:
My friends and I had a really great experience because our host, JJ was very accommodating. He answered our queries quickly and he really made us feel at home. Our flight to Korea arrived late therefore he arranged a jumbo taxi (80,000 won) to get us in the airport. The place was really huge. I think it can fit more than 4 people. There was a heater, toiletries, washing machine, utensils, plates, and etc. The apartment was really complete. You can also rent a pocket wifi from him.
I was with my three other friends, so he suggested we just take a cab instead of the train since it was close to Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Hongdae, and Gangnam. The place is near a lot of clubs too so it was really convenient for us because we didn’t have to take a train back home (train station closes early btw).
The only thing that I didn’t like about the place was that it was on top of a steep hill so it was tiring to get to the top. Also, there were times when the cab driver had difficulty in finding the place but we were grateful that JJ was there to answer our calls. I definitely recommend this to friends, couples, and families. Just make sure that they are willing to do a lot of walking because the taxis aren’t allowed to bring you all the way to the doorstep of the apartment.
What to do:
Since it was the first time of two of my friends, we visited a lot of touristy places. We were also lucky that there was still snow so we were able to go snowboarding.
- Shopping in Myeongdong
Any girl would love Myeongdeong because of the affordable make-up and skincare products. We went there almost everyday. For me the best brands are Klairs, Innisfree, Missha, and Laneige. There are also a lot of affordable socks and clothes. It really is a place to shop!
- Hongdae for shopping and chilling
Some stores in Myeongdong are also found in Hongdae. However in terms of sneakers, Hongdae has more choices and it’s also more affordable there. Aside from the shopping, you will find a lot of beautiful cafes.
- Shake Shack in Gangnam
We went to Gangnam for Shake Shack. This was a must. There are a lot of shops there as well. We were able to buy clothes in Zara. There’s also a huge Adidas located there.
- Dongdaemun Plaza
Apparently there was also a Shake Shack there. Had we known, we would have gone there instead of Gangnam because it’s closer to our apartment. Anyway, we didn’t do much. We just took pictures with the beautiful flowers. By the way, there are also a lot of affordable shops so check it out. We didn’t get to go around much because we were so tired.
- Nami Island
So we went during the latter part of winter therefore the trees didn’t have leaves and the ice was melted. The first time I went to Nami was in 2016 during fall. I think that was mid-October. It’s more beautiful during fall because of the different colors of the leaves which makes it look magical in photos. I guess what made up for our trip was the zipwire which was a once in a lifetime experience.
- Go clubbing in Itaewon (Club Made)
The club had two rooms—one with English songs and the other one with Korean songs. We went to both but ended up staying in the room with the English songs. It was really fun because the Koreans were really friendly. We made new friends! Surprisingly, the people were really respectful. They ask you first if you want to dance with them. In terms of drinks, it’s a bit expensive however they have promos if you decide to get a bottle. We decided to get a fish bowl to share. I think it was about 1500 pesos.
- Seoul Tower and Love Locks Bridge
This was the second time I have been here. We took the tram going up. There’s not much to see though. This is a tourist spot so I guess people just go there to have their pictures taken. The first time I went, I paid extra to go to the top of the tower. I don’t really think it’s worth because there’s not much to do and I didn’t like the view as well.
- War Museum
- Snowboarding in Vivaldi Park
We booked via klook. We were lucky that the park was still open and that it snowed when we went there. We didn’t hire an instructor because it was more expensive. I tried skiing before and if I were to compare it with snowboarding, I found snowboarding more fun and a bit more challenging. You have to be extra careful because you might injure your knees while doing it. I suggest that you watch videos on youtube if you don’t plan on hiring an instructor. It was a big help!
- Gyeongbogkung Palace
It was my second time in this palace. There’s not much to do as well except to take photos. If it’s your first time, you better go and visit. I don’t think it’s worth visiting again though. I just had to go because I was with first timers.
- Better to travel in groups of 4 because you get to split the cab fare. Surprisingly, it’s cheaper than taking a train.
- Don’t ever take a black taxi because it’s more expensive.
- Always have a Korean translation of your hotel/Airbnb. If you get lost, you can ask around.
- What makes skin care and makeup cheap in Korea are the promos. I wanted to buy sunblock from Innisfree but sadly they did not have a promo so it appeared to be more expensive. However, when my sister went recently it was buy 1 take 1 so she bought a lot. You really have to wait for promos and sales.
- The sneakers are also really affordable because they are usually on sale. Best place to find awesome kicks is in Hongdae.
- T-money is like HK’s octopus card. It saves you from the hassle of paying cash and looking for coins in your bag. Lol. You can use it to pay the cab, train, bus, and convenient stores.
- Credit cards are accepted in a lot of establishments but if you plan to buy from stalls, you have to pay cash. Best card to bring is BPI Mastercard. It has low exchange rates. Better also if you buy Korean won from BDO because of the good forex rates. I suggest you buy won directly. If you buy USD then convert to won, it would appear more expensive.
- Book an AirBnB in Itaewon because of the night life, young people, and hipster cafes.
- Not all Korean barbecue restaurants are yummy. Some are even overpriced. Better look for one that has a long line or research in Tripadvisor.
- Keep all receipts for tax refund. Refund can happen in the stores itself. They subtract it from the total amount. Others like Zara and Mizuno are refunded in the airport. Just ask the cashier to know if it can be applied right away or if it has to be refunded in the airport. Don’t be shy to ask! Koreans are very friendly.
|Airfare with tax||PHP 10,000|
|Airbnb (5 nights)||PHP 4,500|
|Pocket Money (Food, transportation, little shopping)||PHP 15,000|
If you don’t plan to shop a lot then PHP 15,000 pocket money will do. I went over budget because I bought football shoes and a lot of makeup. Hahaha
What I love most about Korea aside from the shopping is that the people are so friendly and warm. 🙂
If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org