Seoul – May 2019 – Updates

As you may or may not have known, I’m currently on a Career hiatus/break or whatever it may be called; where I am basically penniless for the next six months or so.

Well, the plan was that I should be in New Zealand by mid/end May but due to some unforeseen circumstances, I’m still gonna be stuck in Singapore for the next month or so.

Thus, I decided to embark on a teaser trip where I travel solo, from start to end, for the first time ever.

Surprise? I kind of thought that I had traveled on my own before but now that I look back, most of these trips were solo for a few days (and then I met someone) or it was on media trip(s) which I extended. Well, the thing was that if I can’t survive traveling on my own for 7 days, how am I going to survive the 6 months abroad on my own?

Anyway, being the unadventurous me, I was only comfortable with familiar locations – Bangkok, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, where I kind of had some friends at. Anyway, I chose Seoul in the end – my 6th trip to Seoul – and the rest is history.

Similar to my previous trip in 2017, I had to be wary of my expenses and spend as minimally as I could.

Anyway, I would like to recommend this app called ‘Ahorro’ which I used diligently during the trip.

You are able to add how much you started off with as your starting ‘income’ and across the days, you will fill up the expenditure and if you fill it up diligently, it will tell you how much money you have in your wallet.

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Air tickets @ $664.20 (Asiana)

As it was a last minute trip, the prices on budget airline scoot were almost the same as Asiana/Korean Air. I only booked the tickets 3 weeks prior to my planned date which was chosen based on ticket prices. I guess this is the perks of being truly flexible.

An advantage of booking on Asiana vs Korean Air was that I was entitled for Krisflyer mileage via the Star Alliance programme!

[Just sharing some tips when booking Asiana]

If you have a choice, it would be preferred to book the 22:50/06:20 departure flight on A350. The other timeslot for 02:45/10:15 is on A330 which is an older aircraft. From my previous trip back in Aug 2018, the A330 aircraft does not have inflight entertainment at all. Not that the inflight entertainment is anything awesome (I didn’t even utilize it for my going there flight) but it does come the USB charger and it’s pretty sad to be paying for full-flight airlines and not get it. Similarly for the return flight, the 16:10/21:30 flight is on A350, whereas the 19:30/01:30 flight is on A330 and for whatever reason, has a 40 mins longer flight time.

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Accommodation @ Jongno-3-ga

When I was younger, I preferred staying at Hongdae/Myeongdong area but last year, I tried out the Anguk and Cheongdam area and this time round, I saw a really attractive deal at the Jongno-3-ga area, which was near Anguk, and I’m loving the place to bits!

[The AN Hostel] @ $175 for 4 nights (After ShopBack’s cashback)

Check Pricing

Pros

  • Affordable Pricing!
    I’m not sure if it was because of my genius status on booking.com, I only had to pay an average of $49 SGD per night for a double bed room!
  • It is close to the subway stations.
  • It is near hipster Ikseon-dong and my favourite samcheong-dong
  • I could walk to many places (well it was good weather) – Gwangjang Market, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, Insadong, etc.
  • Room size was small but it feels bigger than more expensive properties that I’ve stayed in (then again, I was alone so it might not be a fair comparison)

Cons

  • No lifts in the property and your room may be on the 3rd floor.
  • You could ask for assistance in bringing your luggage up and down if a male staff is on duty.
  • Breakfast was very basic – I only had cornflakes for one day
  • Check-in time was pretty strict – there was a day I came at 1:30pm (check-in was at 2pm) but they were unable to give me a room
  • Towels provided were 2 x face towels, not 1 x bath towel
  • I had a room with an awkward toilet arrangement but it was not such a big deal, just a little uncomfortable.

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Exchange Rate

One of the small blessings this trip was that the exchange rate was finally in our favour!

I managed to change at 1SGD = 852 KRW and this was a lot better than my 805 back in 2017.

In addition, the exchange rate got even better when I was there and I ended up using YouTrip for a couple of transactions.

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Local Transport

This trip, I managed to scrape through with a 22,000W top up on my t-money cards as.. I walked a lot. Walking 20 to 30 minutes instead of taking the bus/train was common and I clocked more than 20,000 steps for 2 days. This steps tracker is my phone’s in-built one so it is less accurate compared to those wearables so I believed I walked more than that =p

The subway fare has increased from 900W (2011) to 1,050W (2013) and now it is 1,250W (2019).

Similarly, for the taxis, the starting meter fare has increased from 3,000W to 3,800W this Feb 2019.

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Weekend Trip to Daegu

In an attempt to visit various cities all around Korea, I decided to drop by Daegu.

For the journey there, I took the bus from Express Bus Terminal and it was 27,200W for a 3.5 hours ride.

For the journey back, I had to take the KTX and it was 43,500W and it was a 1hr 40 mins journey.

Something interesting to note – there isn’t any gantry for the trains in korea? I guess they operate kind of on a trust system? But of course, if you are found to be sitting on a seat which appears to be unsold, they may approach you for verification? For my entire journey, no one asked to verify my tickets which means that you don’t actually have to print the tickets!

Daegu highlights – to be updated!

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Day Trip Tour – Pocheon Art Valley, Herb Island + Strawberry Picking

It was also my first time going for an organized tour in Korea!

Usually, I would have preferred free and easy but to get to Pocheon, it was like really inconvenient so I thought that a tour would be the only way out.

The strawberry picking was truly a pleasant surprise as Korean Strawberries are the most amazing thing ever!

Read my experience here!

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What I ate in Korea for #norepeatkoreanfoodchallenge

(To be updated)

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Have any burning questions about korea? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to check out TRAZY’S website to explore amazing activities at affordable prices!

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  • Hi Honeystars,

    Thanks for sharing!
    We are planning to revisit Seoul too! 🙂
    Our previous trip was on a Group Tour, thus we didn’t really ‘plan” the sights.. ;p

    Will be following your Seoul adventures closely.. 🙂

    Will check out the app ‘Ahorro’ too.

    • Thanks for the comments! Yep, there are many gems in Korea especially the food! I hope I’ll get my post on food up before your trip~~ there’s this really awesome burger place called Brooklyn burgers. Hahaha.