Okay I am finally blogging about my trip! So where should I start? There are too many things to begin with! Like how this trip was postponed way back from Dec 2012 till the confirmed dates were set to end March 2013 – April 2013, how CHEAPPP our flight tickets was and how we stumbled onto a super cool town called Hyehwa-dong, etc… So let’s start with “THE KNOW HOW” before you plan for your trip!
We didn’t follow any tour groups for our FIRST trip to Korea and it saved us a lot on costs. Here are some tips, especially for those who are travelling for the first time and if you’re thinking of going on a backpacking trip.
I know there are a lot of cheap flights via transit e.g. Cathay Pacific, AirAsia, Scoot. However, I spent $698, not inclusive of travel insurance, for my direct flight to Seoul. Singapore Airlines (SQ) will always have promo flights to certain destinations. So keep your eyes glued to their website, like a hawk, as to not miss out on any GOOD deals!
Here’s the link to SQ’s website: http://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/special-offers/
To add on, SQ has in-flight entertainment. Thus, Scoot and Air Asia was a no-no for me. I’ll die of boredom if I were to spend aimlessly doing nothing for six hours, I think. Just so you know, I don’t own an iPad so that’s prolly the reason why it was a no-no for me. Heee~
Book a guesthouse or home stay for your stay in Seoul. Don’t waste your money on hotels! Trust me! There are a lot of good, comfy and cheap guesthouses/home stays in Seoul, Korea. Look out for them at the following websites:
As for us, we got a recommendation from our friend’s friends. They stayed with Inside Backpackers before and they were telling us how good and comfy the place was. At the same time also, we were contemplating with a lot of other guesthouses. So I decided to look out for more reviews, and researched more about the place before confirming our stay with them. The more I researched about it, I found out that this place is being loved and has been receiving a lot of good reviews by backpackers all over the world. Plus it is located on LINE 4 (more about their subway later), which was a bonus point! So we decided to go ahead with it. Who knew that upon making our bookings, we received a 5% discount! How cool is that?
For privacy purposes, we chose Deluxe room which was located just 3-4 mins walk from the main building. If you don’t mind sharing the same toilet or kitchen space, you can book their Budget or Standard rooms which are located at the Main Building. The hosts and staffs were super friendly! The thing I like about them is that Min and Mia (the lovely married couple who opened Inside Backpackers) are travelers themselves! So I guess it’s only appropriate that ultimately they know what their guests need. Also, they do provide services such as pre-booking of musical tickets, discounted ticket prices to Everland, etc.. Henceforth, I would HIGHLY recommend you to stay over at this place!
I’m not gonna attach the map of Seoul or something like that. Haha!! However, here are some tips on choosing your guesthouse. If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll surely get (confirmed one!) addicted to shopping haven such as Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, etc.. There is also a possibility that you’ll not head over only once. Haha!! Thus, choose a guesthouse that are closer to the subway, especially if they are on the same subway LINE as your other (possible) frequent places.
For e.g., we stayed at Hyehwa-dong which is located near subway LINE 4. It was just easier for us to head over to Myeongdong and Dongdaemun as it was only 4 stops away WITHOUT any transfers. Just for your info, their Subway Line Transfer is not like heading from City Hall to Raffles Place station. It’s like walking from Dhoby Ghaut Red Line – to Dhoby Ghaut Purple Line; with loads of staircases involved. I kid you not! So please save the hassles and choose area of stay wisely. Unless, of course, you don’t mind walking up those staircases, each time you’re on the subway. (I guess that’s why majority of the Koreans are slim!)
4) Research, research!
Everybody asked me the same thing when I got back from my trip. “How did you manage to go here and there?”, “Where to find halal food?”, etc..
My answer is simple; “Research.” No, really. RESEARCH. I think right after our flight was confirmed, we spent almost 3-4 months of researching. My humble advise is not to follow details found on only one blog. There are prolly a lot of other blogs that went to where you intend to go to. Have some assurance. Instead of just looking out for ONE direction on how to go about, have at least 2-3 other options so that there are alternative routes if you were to ever get lost. (But hey! Getting lost is the fun part for trips, no?)
Head over to your nearest KTO Building to get maps (loads of them), booklets, and/or pamphlets. From my previous trip, the staffs were willing to help whenever you need any inquiries about your trip.
Here’s Singapore KTO’s address:
Or you can visit their Facebook:
6) Halal Food.
Yes, a must know for all muslims/muslimah backpackers! Here’s my answer: RESEARCH. Haha!! Okay lah, THAT and this blogger prolly is a savior to all of us.
This is the blogger whom we all should thanked:
They have a long list on where one can get their halal fixes in Seoul/South Korea, cravings for Halal meats included.
7) Culture and Language.
I think it’s only appropriate for you to understand their culture and language before travelling. I made my younger sister (who traveled with me!) learn basic Korean language within a span of 4 months and it was worth the try.
Yes, there’s English everywhere; Tourist Information Centre too. I’ve always love the idea of “fitting in” when I’m travelling. Also, let me tell you something. If you try to speak their language, discounts and free services will greet you along. Okay, I don’t guarantee 100% you WILL get freebies but there were few instances where we conversed in simple Korean sentences to the salesperson or ahjumma, and poof! A free gift was given in return. Chinjah! ^^
Also, how can I forget how everyone greets one another there? Walking into a 7-11 in Seoul was never the same like how it is in Singapore. Open the door and you’ll hear “Annyeonghasaeyo~”
…… I am pretty much in love with all these kind souls in Seoul. ❤ ❤
Okay, so what else? Am I missing anything out? I promise that the next entry will solely be on my trip!