Well, to wrap up all of my experiences in Seoul, I wanna say that Seoul is really a nice city to visit. I’m saying this in an unbiased way (even if I’m a korean series addict). I can see that it is way better than Hong Kong or Singapore in terms of things you can do, places to visit, and performances that you can watch. You have a lot to choose from if you visit Seoul….
Anyway, here are my observations:
1. South Koreans love coffee…
In Seoul, you can’t see a corner without a coffeeshop. Kyo (Korean friend and volunteer tour guide) told us that only few of the coffee shop there goes bankrupt.
Moreover, Seoul is not invaded by Starbucks or Coffeebean franchises instead locals make their own brands and own shop. So, you can see a lot of coffeeshops with an unknown name or brand. And you can see that each of the coffee shops have their own themes. So, next time I’ll visit Seoul, I will go coffeeshop–hopping!
2. South Koreans can walk alot— with high heels!
I noticed that they are not that tired walking around the city…. Moreover, they walk using some high powered heels! When I say powered it means totally high. I stated this in my previous post.
3. Seoul is a safe place
Unlike Manila, if you leave your things unattended for some time, you will never see those things again… I tried not attending to my things while in Seoul, and when I look back “Chada! My things are still there” Unbelievable but true! But, for your own safety, don’t be too lax since bad guys are all over the planet
Moreover, we are ladies who strolled in the city streets during the darkest hour of the night… but nothing happened to us. We even enjoyed ourselves without worrying that something might happen to us
4. Some South Koreans are helpful
Well, if without the language barrier, they will really love to help. My friends and I were in trouble looking for the bus to go to the airport, and we didn’t know where the bus stop is. We really looked worried. Maybe that guy also waiting for his bus noticed our dilemma, so he helped us and pointed us the bus stop. I really thank him for that!
5. In Seoul, water is cheap
Unlike Singapore, the water in Seoul is really cheap. So, you have no worries on buying bottled water there
6. Seoul is cheap if you come by 3s or 4s
Food in Seoul is expensive if you eat alone, but if you eat in groups, it would not make your wallet cry that much. The serving size in Seoul is big… It is good for 2 or 3 persons, so food cost is not that big if you have someone to go together
Taxis are also expensive if you come alone (I’m comparing here using Philippine standards) (But Singapore taxis are more expensive) since the cost will not be shared by the others. If you are traveling in 3s or 4s, taxi is a good option in traveling Seoul but walking in the city is better since you can see the sights and get acquainted with the city without spending any money.
Almost all wonderful sights are free or with a small charge (Cheongyecheon Stream, Banpo Bridge) only 10,000 KRW to all of the palaces or 1,000 KRW for each of the palace.
Airport bus is a good option, you will pay only 10,000 KRW and you are in Seoul already.
TIPS: (Especially for budget travelers)
- Get discount coupons in the internet (through South Korea official website, click here)
- When you arrive in the airport, don’t forget to grab the map of Seoul in the information counters. You can also find some discount coupons there
- if your phone is not 3G, you can rent a phone in the airport
- Always bring a copy of your hostel or the place you wanna visit in Korean
- Buy a TMoney card. It is like an octopus card in Hong Kong, it is a rechargeable card where you can use for your transportation (even in taxis) and buy some stuff. When you pay using TMoney, it gives you discounted fares and you can also get some cool coupons if you buy one. You can buy one of these in any Convenience store
- If you wanna buy souvenirs, do it in Nandaemun Market
- If you wanna buy clothes do it in Dongdaemun Market (much cheaper)
- North Tower (Namsan Tower)
- Palaces (Gyeongbokgung, Changdaekgung, Deoksukgung)
- Cheongyecheon Stream
- Nami Island -unfortunately, we are unable to visit
- either Lotte World or Everland –> these are theme parks, and kids will love them. Everland is bigger than Lotte World but the latter is nearer if you are staying in Seoul
- Watch JUMP or NANTA
- Eat Korean street food, they are good! Then say to the seller “mahjisso” ma-ji-so which means yummy
In the Philippines, the package tours going to Seoul is $1,000 (USD) for only 4 days and 3 nights stay. But if you go there without having to apply for package tours, you can save a lot more money. I only spent in Seoul P20,000.00 (Philippine peso) with some souvenir shopping. So, overall, I spent 25,300 Pesos for the entire trip including the airfare.
My budget was $1500 USD but I only spent less than $600
RECORDED EXPENSES: (Next Time I travel I will record everything.. sorry 😦 )
Hostel –> 75000 KRW per night x 4 nights / 3 persons == 100,000 KRW or P 3950 or $91.86 USD
Air Ticket –> we chanced upon a sale: 134 177 KRW or P5300 or $123.25 USD