Thursday, October 13, 2016

DIY Guide:4D/3N Seoul,Korea for less than 25,000 Pesos

Autumn in Nami Island
Bukchon Hanok Village

Nami Island

Namsam Tower

Gyeongbokgung Palace
 Legit Korean BBQ

Perfect Pasalubong for only 8,500 KRW at Insadong

Free Make-up Samples form the Different Cosmetics Stores

Top Main Attractions  in Seoul
Myeong-Dong is Seoul’s Fashion capital. This street is where you can buy famous Korean cosmetic products and street food.  
Gyeongbok-gung Palace is Seoul’s grandest Palace. A must see for every tourist.
Namsam Tower was once the tallest tower in Asia. You will see the best panoramic view of Seoul. This is also where you can find the love locks of Asia.
Nami Island is one of the best excursions out of Seoul.
Everland and Lotte World are perfect for children who loves theme parks. This is Seoul’s version of Disneyland.
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)- is perfect for people who want to learn more about the history of Korean War. 
Getting in Seoul
Incheon International Airport is roughly 50 Kilometers from Seoul City Center. The easiest and most expensive way to get in is by Taxi which cost around 120 USD. The most convenient and affordable way to get into Seoul is by getting an Airport Limousine Bus which costs around 10,000 KRW or 10 USD which will take you an hour. . Another way convenient way to get in to Seoul City Center is by taking the train which costs 4,150 KRW that will take you around 45 minutes.

Seoul Transportation
Subway Line costs 1,250 Won per ride.
Taxi minimum Fare is 3,000 KRW
Uber is 3 times the price of a Taxi
Bus minimum fare ride cost at around 1,105KRW
Food in Seoul 
Almost all restaurants in Seoul taste the same as the Korean restaurants in Manila. It mostly consists of one main dish and 5 side dishes. Never leave Korea without eating Kimchi and Korean Icecream at the convenience store.  I'm not a fan of eating spicy food and vegetables that's why I didn't much enjoy the food in Seoul. If you are a fan of green tea, you must buy the green tea spread from Jeju for only 8,500 KRW which you can buy at Insadong.  You must also try the1Q84 Churros near BukchonHanok Village. If you haven't tried the famous Shake Shack Burger from New York, they have a branch at Gangnam area. Korean food is quite creative, colorful, spicy and healthy. Main Dish with rice and side dishes may cost from 8,500 KRW to 30,000 depends on the restaurant.  

Cosmetic Shopping Guide in Myeong-Dong
South Korea  is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to Make-up technology. This is a must buy whenever you are in Seoul particularly at Myeong-dong  Area. Cosmetics Products are 50% to 80% cheaper in Seoul compared to the ones in Manila.  For example, you can get BB cream at Nature Republic for P300 in Seoul butits retail price Manila is around P800. They also give free face masks or other cosmetic product samples like bb cream, cheek tint and moisturizers, whenever you buy at stores like Etude House, Inisfree, Nature Republic and many more.

Street Food Tripping at Myeong-Dong  Guide
Street food in Myeong-dong is quite expensive compared to other Asian Countries. Average Street food price is 5,000 KRW. If you want to eat a lot, prepare at least 40,000 KRW in order to satisfy your cravings.  I tasted almost everything. I suggest that you must try the Tempura, Grilled Cheese Scallop, Mochi Strawberry, Honey Cone Icecream, Banana Nutella Crepe, Cheesy Potatoes and Fresh Orange Juice. 

Seoul Shopping Guide
The only product I advise you to buy in Korea are their cosmetics cause it’s hell of a lot cheaper compared to the ones in Manila. South Korea has one of the best cosmetics technology in the world.  The clothes at Dongdaemun Market and Nandaemun market  are places where you can get wholesale clothes at mark down prices. This place is like the "Divisoria" version of Seoul.   Insadong is also famous for buying cultural gifts. Gadgets like Samsung is more expensive in Seoul than Manila.
Seoul Accommodation Guide
If you want to be near the night life and cosmetics shopping and street food, book a hotel or rent an apartment through AIRBNB near Myeong-dong Area. Hotels are quite cheaper in Seoul. You can get hotels for as low as 3000 PHP with free breakfast. If you’re not the type of traveler who likes to go shopping, then book a hotel nearInsadong which is near the Historical Landmarks of Korea.  If you want to party try booking a hotel near Itaewon area which most foreigners go to have a nice time. 

South Korean  Tourist Visa Application Tips For Filipino Passport Holders
Visa Fee: Free for Filipino Passport Holders for tourists for who plan to stay for less than 59 days. 
               P1,800 for tourists who plan to stay 60-90 days. 
1.Applicants with valid visa from OECD Countries (USA, Canada, Australia and Japan) can go straight to window 3 and are exempted from submitting Income Tax Return.
2.Applicants Owning a BDO and BPI Gold Credit Card can also go straight to  Window 3 and have a 3 year multiple entry visa. While BDO and BPI Platinum Credit Card Holders can have a 5 year multiple entry visa.  The credit card promo is only valid till December 2016. 
3. Applicants must submit complete application form, passport, 3.5cm x 4.5cm passport id,  , bank certificate, bank statement for the last 3 months , photocopy of valid OECD Visa, employment certificate for employees, school certificate for students, business registration for businessmen, and Income Tax Return. If invited by a Korean National, copy of invitation letter and photocopy of invitor's passport.  
4.You don't need a travel agent to apply your visa. You can do it on your own. 
5. South Korean Visa application usually release 1 week from application.
6. You can file your application from 9am to 11am, Mondays to Fridays. 
7. You don't need to make an appointment. You can walk-in just come before 11am. 
8. Applicants with OECD visa usually get their visa within 3 business days. While applicants without visa from OECD countries get their visa within 5 business days.  
9. For first time visa applicants, Bank Account should have at least P100,000 in their savings account. 
10. You don't have to go personally to the embassy. Applicant need not to be interviewed.  
Seoul Travel TIPS
1.       Rent a Pocket wifi.
2.       Bring USD and exchange your money at Myeong-dong
3.       Korean Won is expensive if you buy it at Manila. It’s better to bring US dollar and cash is accepted more than credit cards and debit cards. When travelling,it’s better to bring cash since exchange rates can be pricey when charge in your card.
4.       Choose hotels near Myeong-dong for shopping and nightlife or Insadong for History and Culture.
5.       You can also do a walking tour, but if you are with your family. I suggest you to take a hop on hop off bus that only costs 10,000 KRW. The good thing about this is that you can choose where to go, have your own time and save money on transportation.
6.       Buy Cosmetics at Myeong-dong.
7.       Taxis in Korea are cheaper compared to Uber by 3 times the price.
8.       The most convenient way to your hotel room is an Airport Limousine Bus. This is easier and cheaper compared to taking a train or taxi.
9.       Try using Waze App when getting lost, because my Google maps didn’t work in Seoul.
10.   Bring 50,000 KRW in Myeong-dong for street food tripping.
11.   Get Lost and Explore.
12.   Never leave Seoul without going to Gyeongbokgung  Palace, Namsam Tower, Myeong-dong and Nami Island. These 4 places are the main tourist spots that you don’t want to miss.
13.   If you want to learn more about Korean History and the war vs. South and North Korea, you must visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). 
14. The Best time to visit Seoul is October for Autumn and April for Cherry Blossoms Season.
15. Book your airline ticket 1 year ahead of travel to get good deals.  (Cebu Pacific or AirAsia)
16. Bring a photocopy of your passport and visa at all times.
17. Seoul is a very  safe city for female solo travelers.
18. Prices of Food in Seoul can be very expensive.
19. Bring at least 50,000 won everyday as your pocket money. 

Detailed Seoul   4D/3N Itinerary with Costing includes Airplane, Transportation, Food, Accommodation without Shopping
4Days/3Nights Seoul Detailed Itinerary with Costing w/o Shopping

Nami Island Bus  
Bus Pick up Area: Tagpol Park Western Wall 
Travel Time: It will take you 1 hour and 30 minutes from Seoul to Nami Island by bus. 
Rates: 7,500 KRW one way bus and  15,000 KRW  Roundtrip Shuttle  bus from Seoul to Nami Island. Does not include entrance fee to Nami Island.
Nami Island Entrance Fee: 8,500 rountrip boat ride which leaves every 5 minutes 
Train from Seoul to Nami costs 2050 KRW one way and taxi from Gapyeong Station cost around 4,000 KRW
Note: Shuttle Bus to Nami Island from Myeong-dong is easier and more convenient than taking a train ride or taxi. Just take a direct shuttle bus from Tagpol Park's Western wall and arrive before 9:30Am to get a seat.    

Hop on Hop off Seoul      
Where to buy tickets: Go to Gwanghwamun  Station or on the bus directly  
How to get to Gwanghwamun Station: Go to Subway Line 5 Station exit #6
Rates: 10,000 Won per Person  
Details: This bus tour is perfect for first timers in Korea. This hop on hop off bus allows you to see almost all tourist attractions in one day without spending time transferring from trains,  taxis and getting lost. You will save much more money and have your own time or choose the destination you want to see.  The bus leaves every 30 minutes.

DMZ Tour 
Rates: 50,000 Won with Lunch
Details: Learn more about South KOrean History war versus North Korea. 

South Korean Embassy in the Philippines
Address: 122 Upper Mckinley Road, Mckinley Town  Center, Taguig City
Tel: +632 856-9008
Visa Filing: 9AM-11Am
Visa Releasing: 2-4pm



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  2. Thanks for the travel tips to Seoul. This is helpful for us as we will visit the City this winter. We are now on the process of looking for accommodation rentals in Seoul at eGetinnz.