Before the Trip:
1. Try to learn basic Hangul words because most of Koreans are not English-speakers.
2. Secure your visa. Read my step-by-step blog.
3. Book your hotel/apartment before hand. The first time I’ve visited the country, me and my friends lived in GrandeVill 32-8, Yangpyeong-dong 4-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. It is very homey so recommendable. Check out this link.
4. Download “Subway Korea” App. It will serve you well during transpo. Google maps and Waze are good help, too.
During the Trip:
1. Buy T-Money card. This is like PH beep card except that T-Money can be used in all kinds of payment (transpo, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.)
- Comes with different designs (even KPop groups on some stores)
- Can be bought in convenient stores (711, GS25, CU)
- Load KRW 25,000 initially (it served us a week of transpo). Minimum load is KRW 2,000
2. Avoid taxis. Costly. Meter starts KRW 3,000
- When you travel via subway, know what station you should get off. Use the Subway Korea app to strategize how you’ll get there (transfer of subway lines as needed). It’s also strategic to know the Exit# you should go to especially when your destination is near a subway exit.
- Subways usually close between 10PM-12AM.
Buy adapter. They have different sockets there.
6. Change currency in Woori Bank. Exchange rate there is better. And they have PHp.
- Ready yourselves for long walks. There’d be lots.
Expect people not saying “Excuse me” “Sorry” when they hit you. It’s not PH after all.
Leaving South Korea
1. Be in the airport at least 4 hours before to give you ample time for any trouble (like baggage issues and all).
- As much as possible, only fabric-related items should be hand-carried. No instant food as well. Check-in everything else like makeups (liquid creams, facial wash, sprays, etc.). Don’t inconvenience yourselves. Airport is very strict.
3. Accept the fact that you are leaving.