South Korea: A Glance of a First World Country

Having (only) visited third world Asian countries, it's very obvious to see that South Korea is a more advanced, more systematized, and a more developed country. Honestly, I secretly wished we could also have these in the Philippines. Maybe in time. ^_^

Anyway, here's a prelude of my 1st glance of South Korea. Please bear in mind that this itinerary is not a jam-packed one. It's not the usual amazing race kind of trip. I planned this South Korea itinerary to be a petix and relaxing one. ♥
○ Visa is required to visit South Korea. Application is easy and visa processing is free!

○  Based on the internet forums that I've read, it's sometimes better to exchange Peso to Won here in Pinas. This is the first time I didn't exchange my Peso to US Dollar. Thanks to Sanry's (Glorietta branch) for giving us a good Peso to Won exchange rate. Check first to compare if the exchange rate in money changers are good enough.

1 won = 0.038 pesos
i exchanged P25,000 to ₩657,894. good enough, considering we wont bother ourselves to exchange currencies upon arriving in Seoul

○ Since I bought this Manila-Incheon-Manila tickets on a promo (P3,500 including baggage allowance and travel insurance), and a one-way flight will take around 4 hours, I realized I needed a leg room for convenience. I purchased a seat on the first row. My 1F seat only costs P100. It's 1A, 1B, and 1C seats which costs P200 each.

spacious and convenient 1F window seat for only P100

○ Incheon airport is so huge and fabulous, but this toilet seat amazed me the most. A plastic is placed to cover the toilet seat. You just need to press the red button and the used plastic will be replaced with a new one. Fantastic! (slow claps)

revolving toilet seat cover - super like! ♥

○ Korea's train system is very systematized but Im happy I chose to ride the Airport Limousine Bus as I stepped out off the airport. Yes it's not cheap compared to taking the train going to Seoul but just so you know it's such a hassle to transfer train lines, walk for a kilometer, and carry all your luggage from level3 subway up to the ground floor - without the use of elevator. Not all stations have elevators, and most of the time these are only for old people and pregnant women.

very systematized (and convenient) bus transportation from the airport to the main city
Incheon to Myeongdong = ₩10,000 (P375)

○ As I mentioned above, taking the train is a lot cheaper and faster. Dont forget to download this Jihachul application on your mobile phones. I cant emphasize enough how helpful this is.

Jihachul application featuring Korea's subway route

○ Moving on, the 2nd amazing thing I noticed as I reached Seoul is their taxicab. Hyundai's Sonata, seriously?! Flat rate is ₩2,400 (P90).

oh my, the ever sexy looking Hyundai Sonata is used as a taxicab? whoa!
and for the record, I've not seen a single Honda car in my entire trip. #kalaban

○ On our first night, we chose to stay in a guesthouse near Myeongdong shopping area. A good choice of location specially for those who love to shop. It's also very near the train station, so perfect!

twin room at New Myeongdong Guesthouse = P2,500
with ensuite bathroom, hair dryer, tv, fridge, aircon, room temperature controller

○  These are the common electrical sockets / power plugs in Seoul. Good thing I was advised about this so we came prepared. Power Adapters are available at CDR-King. ^_^

electrical sockets in Seoul
though you can borrow a power adapter in most of the hotels and guesthouse, it's best to have one so you can charge your cameras and cellphones all at the same time!

○ Myeong-dong is Korea's trendiest shopping area, with over 300,000 square meters of shops selling clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories, and cosmetics. Though it's not cheap at all. The only cheaper finds are of course the cosmetics. Biggest size of BB creams only cost P500 to P600, cheaper compared to Manila price of P900-P1,000.

The Face Shop is on sale! Buy 2 Take 1 on BB creams!
a lot of nicer freebies are given after my purchase ♥

○ Not really  fan of shopping and city-hopping so I included to watch a Korean Musical Drama in a traditional theater instead. Miso (meaning Smile) is a performance that not only showcases the UNESCO World Culture Heritage of Pansori (traditional Korean narrative song), but also presents a variety of other traditional instrumental performances including Samulnori (traditional Korean percussion quartet), and the beautiful Korean Buchaechum (fan dance). The live music, the costume, production, and overall performance are all awesome

Miso ticket costs ₩45,000 (P1,688)

○ On the next day, we flew to Jeju island. We booked through Jeju Air where round trip tickets cost P4,000. This could have been a lot cheaper only if we booked months in advance. 

So is Jeju worth seeing? It's more than that!

the Dolhareubang or the Stone Grandfather
this shamanistic statue is believed to be offering protection and warding off demons. it is also given to women with have fertility problems.

Jeju Folk Village
traditional houses are designed based on the occupation of the residents

Seopjikoji on the east coast

Hallim Park's Waterfalls

beautiful Hyeopjae Beach on the west coast

Awesome Threesome statue at Love Land
this park is made to educate young couples whose marriages are only arranged
..oh, and it's warmer in Jeju. 13-16degrees so keri ang sleeveless at skirt! ^_^

○  My friends and I stayed at December Hotel. A super spacious family room for 4 persons only costs us P3,500! Just ask and this small hotel can provide. Great deal.

we're very happy to stay in this budget hotel for 2 nights

○ How I wish I stayed longer in Jeju than in Seoul. On the fourth day, we flew back to Seoul. We spent another 2 days exploring the city.

these vibrant red leaves alone already delighted us big time

○ My friend is right when he said "never underestimate autumn". I was wearing thermal undershirt and pants in the morning. The weather became kinda tolerable so i took these thermal wears off. Very wrong move. The temperature dropped at 10degrees that night. I cant do anything but feel sorry for myself. Haha 

 my 1st autumn experience
for many are called but few are frozen!

○ Everland's T-Rex is the world's steepest wooden roller coaster. I cannot ride that attraction specially when the temperature is already 10degrees on the ground!

world's steepest wooden roller coaster at Everland
day pass costs ₩33,000 (P1,238). originally it is ₩40,000 but we got discounts because of their foreign visitor promotion.

○ Koreans are romantic, expressive, and very appreciative people. A man in his 30's already has 2 kids. It's also noticeable that almost all Koreans take pride on what they do. Say a ticketing officer, a bus driver, a vendor, or a simple grocery cashier can be seen with a cheerful face and I felt that there's privilege doing that specific job.

koreans are romantic, cheesy, expressive, and very appreciative people

○ For some reason, I can't find a difference between the Korean cuisine I tasted here in Manila and every meal I ate in South Korea. They tasted the same. But actually, the food presentation is better here in Manila. ^_^

grilled pork barbecue, bibimbap, and pajeon
as expected, meals are pricey. a decent meal costs ₩8,000 (P300). grilled meat costs ₩15,000 (P560) on the average.

○ We stopped eating Korean food on the third night. Quota na! Im already starting to smell like kimchi. ^_^ Thank goodness there are lots of alternatives, like Domino pizza!

superb Domino's deluxe pizza and heavenly baked potato with creamy cheese

○ We spent our last night in Hi Guesthouse. We got a 4-bed dormitory for ₩75,000 (P2,800). Bathroom is shared but it's okay. The guesthouse is modern, well maintained, cleaned, and most of all the owner is very helpful and he's very good in English.


and after

○ Moving on, the temperature became crazy on our last day in Seoul. The temperature dropped at 10 degrees and the breeze made us felt sick. Im not in the mood anymore to watch the "Changing of Guards" ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

 Changing of Guards ceremony

○ Finally, since we've got a lot more of Won left and a few more hours to kill before our evening flight, we decided to hoard our favorite items, and souvenirs for friends and families. We went to Doota Mall and Lotte Mart.

best tasting Cheese Muffin from Dunkin Donut ₩1,800 (P67) and perfectly blended Iced White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks ₩6,000 (P225)
i got addicted to this combo. cant resist to have them whenever I see them ^_^

from the best airport to the worst, from a chilling 10degrees to a very humid 29degrees temperature, so long and thank you to the land of BB cream and Lotte Pepero ₩3200 (P120)!

○ I still have some Won left so I exchanged ₩75,200 in the airport. ₩on to Peso exchange rate is 30.08. Not bad, I still got P2,500 as I went back home. Matagal pa sweldo no! ^_^

○ Total budget for a 5-day trip in South Korea (Seoul and Jeju) is P30,000. This includes airfares to Incheon and Jeju.

76 responses:

Chyng said...

back to work! kelangan na kumita ng pera ^_^

Pinay Travel Junkie said...

"a ticketing officer, a bus driver, a vendor, or a simple grocery cashier can be seen with a cheerful face and I felt that there's privilege doing that specific job." I have the same observation too in first world countries. Na-engganyo ako mag South Korea! Ipon muna while crashing at other people's homes. Lol.

adventurousfeet said...

wow napakaenjoy naman ng trip na to! :) kelan kaya ko makakatapak sa korea? ill definitely bookmarked this. great pics too :)

Gorgeous Biatch said...

wow!ang happy ng trip mo! mura pala sa jeju island and very interesting. will travel in SK next year. i'll try my luck again. hehehe. looking forward on your next SK post.

Untied Escape said...

Yey! Inabangan ko talaga toh... I love the autumn leaves, the ambiance, ang outfits at ang lotte products! Ang lamig naman, ang hina ko pa nmn sa malamig na lugar bka di na ako makalakad dyan...haha! Sana makapag trip din ako like this... Super love it!

bagets said...

yes! nice ching:) next stop please? :D

Sky Summer said...

Waa ang ganda ng Korea especially Jeju Island. Another added to our honeymoon bucket list. hahaha

Nagiipon na kami pang Korea. It wasn't that expensive pala.

Grace de Castro said...

wow chyng! nakaka enganyo tuloy pumunta ng korea! dadalhin ko sai wendy promise ng maka experience din sya ng autumn! ha ha!

nakuu chyng, it's really an experience to see first-world countries. sa germany, meron din toilet, after mo gumamit, umiikot yung top part ng toilet, nililinisan kasi. at sa paris, ang taxi nila mercedez benz! sosyal! ha ha ha!

naku, excited ako! gusto ko talaga punta korea!!!

blissfulguro said...

2 things ticked out of the 2012 goals. way to go chyng!:)

lakwatserong tatay said...

wow...sarap siguro ng experience...
san na yun request ko chyng....
punta na ba ko sa office mo...^_^

michymichymoo said...

Wala kang naiuwing Korean Pop Sensation?hahaha! :) Ganda ng photos! Kelangan ko pa ng pera para pangKorea. :)

Mustachio said...

Welcome back! Looking forward to reading about your trip.

marj said...

wow.. thanks for the info.

toffee said...

thanks for this chyng! kami naman 2 weeks from now. any advice kung nong klaseng jacket bibilhin? mag uukay2x nako next week haha.

Arnie Monacillo said...

Idol two trip lang to? Nway thanks for giving me idea, first foot to a foreign country is things that totally different from us. Hehe. Ung friend ko also visited jeju island, malamig siya pero tutok ung init kaya sunog balat din sila.

michi said...

nasa bucket list ko ito kaso di ko lam kung kelan matutuloy. hehe!

kim buenafe said...

oh my! guess I really need to save up for south korea. i hope I can produce 30k in 2 months. this post came in very helpful, indeed, chyng!

Milet Miranda said...

ohemgee!! eto na yung hinihintay ko!!! :)

Nicole said...

kainggit!!!! hangganda!!

Chingky Quijano said...

Lakas maka"wow" ng pictures. Excited na ako for other kwentos. Hihi. :)

marxtermind said...

Wala sa bucket list ko ang Korea pero parang gusto ko na pumunta! :D

KUMAGCOW said...

wow Jeju Island, bucket list *insert*

khantotantra said...


Ang saya naman nitong trip mo lalo na with jeju island.

yung mga sa pirated dvd na napapanood ko, nasa larawan mow. :D

interesting yung taxi. talagang flatrate?

Ian | Going Places said...

Incheon Airport is not just the biggest airport around, its one of the most beautiful airport I have ever been on my international trips! Wow Autumn in Seoul! I'm eying this destination in Autumn time too since they said it is a different experience when its Autumn. Sana next year maka-visit ulit ako ng Korea. You're prologue post on Korea trip was enjoyable to read.

Anonymous said...

very informative. thanks.i love the boots too.just curious, how do they explain that threesome awesome pic?

aileen said...

Wow super galing sis!
Infairness andami mong Leave credits!

LJ said...

very informative post, I also want to go to Jeju! Thanks Ms. Chyng. :D

Ms. Chuniverse said...

Thank you very much Susan Calo Med......errr... Chyng! Very informative! :p

Richie said...

hi! we didnt get to meet but im glad to have read your update. :) KOREA!

Riz said...

Prang bet q mag south korea next yr nung makita q to! Hyeopjae Beach ang gondoh!

Jeju island: added on next yr's bucket list. kelangan na mag ipon!

GotToTravel said...

Nice Ching! will go there on Christmas..:) Do I need lots of thermals? haha I'll look for that toilet seat!^^

Anonymous said...

Buti na lang Ms. Chyng sinabi mong it's a prelude post kasi nagtataka talaga ako na wrap up sa isang post ang whole SK trip. Nevertheless, it's more than enough to envy you! Hahaha.

Photo Cache said...

Congratulations on experiencing your first 1st world country (as you termed it) and your first autumn.

I'm not too fond of Korean food, I especially hate kimchi, but I am sure I'd enjoy the experience.

Great job. More photos to come or are you stopping with one post. Aba 5 days yan isang post lang?


hoy ha galing mo tlaga chyng .. kaw na tlga ang mgaling dumiskarte sa mga lakaran.... namiss kita sobra dit osa blog mo ... more picture pls ng jeju island pls pls!

Phioxee said...

wow! sarap ng bakasyon mo sa seoul. ;-) shock naman ako don sa threesome statue. okay lang siguro yun sa korea

just me,

Dong Ho said...

iba talaga pag first world. kakatuwa yung kama niyo sa first night. yun ang gusto ko yung mababa.

buhay ang kultura sa sokor. most likely di tuloy yung sokor ko this year. kaya dito na muna ako sa pasyal mo.

dizzyme said...

Hi Chyng, sorry if this is a weird question but where'd you buy your boots? :) Comfy ba? And your thermal under clothes na rin? Appreciate your inputs :)

leilani said...

grabe ingget ako!!! pwede ba mki friend na syo?? ehehe...Just wanna ask...I know ung requirements sa VISA nila pero ung isang friend ko na decline parin..What did you do to have it easy? I am an online teacher by the way...hehe...I luv your blog Chyng!!!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

South Korean na talaga! Happy for you Chyng!

Umangat na nga talaga ang South Korea - their citizens don't even need visas anymore to visit the US!

Anonymous said...

Chyng how many months ahead did you buy you tickets before applying for a visa. Thanks. Inggit ako.

Chyng said...

i got this promo fare last nov11 pa. 11 months in the making. hehe

joan | the backpack chronicles said...

South Korea! I so envy you right now! Lee Min Ho!!! #KoreanDramaAddict

Rizalenio said...

Wow! So inspiring, Chyng. Makes me want to book a flight for Korea ASAP.

Ingat lagi. :)

Lea said...

Chyng, pagdating ko sa US 4 degrees celsius. Right now it's 2.2degrees. Tapos me hangin pa. Grabe ang lamig. Parang ice. hehe. I'm glad you enjoyed Korea. Ang ganda ng autumn ano, grabe. :) Hopefully we get to meet someday in Davao. Thanks!


Arnie Monacillo said...

Thanks Chyng for your advise. I suddenly grabbed my phone to look for MTR system in Hong Kong. They got in Kor so I guess HK meron din. Btw, like ur adventure..very very detailed.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

follow up to your query Chyng, eto yung numbers to call for Roro bus (as far as those that I can see sa picture na nakuha ko from their tarpaulin ad):

0915 307 7133
0908 920 2568
0922 889 7013

Bonzenti |Con Tour Blog said...

By the looks of their place, I can even say that Philippines is really that far in terms of on how we handle development thing....(in some places in our country).

Malinis ang kanilang paligid...:-).

RJ said...

Thanks for taking me to Korea, Chyng!

The post is well-presented!

jeanny said...

nag ganda dyan. Hmmm...parang alam ko na san ako sunod na pupunta hehehe. Keeping my fingers crossed :-)

Gusto ko ng BB cream!!!!!

Hoobert the Awesome said...

Ayan na... malapit ng i-publish ni Ate Chyng yung South Korean trip niya. 'Eto yhung inabangan ko the whole year. Wtf! Sobrang amazed kasi ako sa Korea so yea, I want to visit that country too if I have the money.

I-publish na 'yan Ate. Nakaka-excite. :>

Karla said...

Wow, mas lalo ako naengganyo pumunta sa South Korea dahil sa post mo! :D

Traveling Morion said...

Bilis ng post Chyng!Ganda ng mga photos lalo na yung 3 some hahaha

antonio carranza jr said...

hongyomon!30k! and I want to have a taste of 1st world too!pero I was surprised ha.medyo mura naman kesa sa ini-expect ko. like yung P1,200 na entrance sa Everland at 1,600 sa traditional theater.pwede na! :)

me basis na naman ako if ever mag Korea ako.hehe

Arsteen gonzales said...

ganda lahat ng pictures ate.. idol! cant wait for ur next trip! ;)

Anonymous said...

i just wanna ask regarding the visa application process. say that i already have the round trip ticket and hotel for next year nov 2013, can i apply now for a visa? if approved, will they put in the effective date range immediately or during ur travel time? or should i apply for visa when my flight is near?

Chyng said...

^ hi,
you should apply at least 3 months prior your travel date. yun lang validity ng visa.

Anonymous said...

whats the brand of the bb cream? :)

Lizzie Argulla said...

Thanks for the very helpful insight Chyng! Planning for a trip next year. Kaso baka hindi ko kayanin ang fall, Afraidie Aguilar ako sa ginaw! But spring is coming too soon. Oh well, bahala na haha. Loved your SK adventure. :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
i just wanna ask regarding the visa application process. say that i already have the round trip ticket and hotel for next year nov 2013, can i apply now for a visa? if approved, will they put in the effective date range immediately or during ur travel time? or should i apply for visa when my flight is near?

November 6, 2012 9:09 AM
Chyng said...
^ hi,
you should apply at least 3 months prior your travel date. yun lang validity ng visa.


Yey! Yey thanks for the reply! I really appreciate it... btw dun ka pa din ba nakatira sa aprtment nyo sa makati/taguig kasi kung dun lang lapit lang office namin sa inyo lol... isang tumbling lang... nakak inspire gumawa ng blog...

Miguel Garcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sydney valdez said...

Hi! your shots are fantastic! What camera did you use?

Chyng said...

^ thanks. it's Canon 60D.

Deanne said...

Hi Chyng,

Highly recommended po ba yung New Myeondong Guesthouse? San sya pinakamalapit?

Also, from December Hotel, pano kayo nagtour to different tourist spots?

Wat time pala ang Changing of Guards sa Gyeongbokgung Palace?

Appreciate your response :)

Chyng said...

hi deanne!

1. hhmm 3.5/5 ang ratings ko. masikip yung room and cr. pero achieve na kasi across lang sya ng myeongdong shopping area at affordable naman ang rates

2. naghire ng VIP taxi. eto yung pang tour nila. ask the receptionist abt this, alam na nila yun.

3. madalas! hehe pero mas ok maabutan mo yung first. around 9:30 dapat andun na kayo.

Deanne said...

Thank you Sis for your reply :)

Sa Agoda ka ba nagbook ng December Hotel?

Deanne said...

Sis, pahabol pala. Nadaanan mo ba or nasulyapan man lang ang Namsan 2 or 3 Guesthouse? Medyo malapit lang din ba sya sa Myeondong Shopping Area?

Chyng said...

^ yes sa agoda.
sorry di ko nakita yang namsan...

Jo Balayo said...

Hello! saw your blogs while searching for SK Itinerary :) hhmm..meydo malayo pa naman ung plan ko but you know, researching ahead of time can do you no harm :) anyways... dun sa budget mo na 30K, kasama na lahat lahat dun inlcuing accomodations and meals mo during your stay? parang mahal ata ung meal? Thanks!

Chyng said...

^ hi

Total budget for this 5-day trip in South Korea is P30,000. This includes airfares to Incheon and Jeju.

- yes including accommodation and meals! hindi lang kasama sa 30k yung pasalubong at mga BB cream ^_^

Arsteen gonzales said...

Ate san po kayo nag dl ng forms ng application nu? Thanks..

Arsteen gonzales said...

Ate san po kayo nag dl ng forms ng application nu? Thanks..

Chyng said...


Mc Pol said...

I will going to Korea this June. I already read your posts about the country last year pa ata so I'm backreading your posts. hihi! (sayang di ako makakapunta sa love sex magic part sa Jeju. haha!)

cosmic_aj said...

Hi Chyng,

First of all, I enjoyed reading your blog. I was back reading the whole day and found this! Hehe.

If I may ask, how cold was the weather when you went to South Korea? I will be going to Korea this late November and as per Google, average temperature is around 7-11 degrees celsius.

My question is, how cold is 7-11 C? 3 layered outfits or just thermal wear and a thick coat?

Do I still see foliage by Nov 20 onwards?

Thanks in advance!


Chyng said...

Hi AJ,

Yep, a 3-layered outfit would do, but make sure to bring an extra fleece jacket in case the temperature drop by night.

Foliage by Nov, i think so. =)

iamgraxa said...

Just wow! Planning to go to SK next year. *fingers crossed*
Naka bookmark na 'tong blog sa browser ko. Thanks for this very informative post.:D

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