Friday, December 14, 2012

A Week in Seoul, South Korea: Arrival

We booked our trip last March of this year, and our flight going to Seoul was on Nov. 14. We only got our flight for less than Php 6,000 since it's on sale via Cebu Pacific. Just like any other trip, I was the one who made our itinerary. You know, in making itineraries, I consider the following: budget, distance, what my friends like, online reviews, my friend's reviews, and my own research.

Due to different schedules, we applied our Korean visa individually. I applied mine at the Embassy of South Korea in the Philippines, two weeks before our scheduled trip. Visa application was easy. Since I already have a Japanese visa from my trip there in March-June of this year, I just submitted a photocopy of that visa, plus my passport, and my accomplished visa application form (downloaded online), a passport size photo, and a certificate of employment. I didn't submit an ITR nor a bank certificate anymore because I have traveled to an OECD country within the past 2 years. My friend who had a US visa and another who had an Israel visa also submitted the same stuff. But for our friend who didn't have any visa from OECD country, she had to submit additional requirements -- a bank certificate with at least Php 50,000 of savings and ITR (Income Tax Return). But the good news was, we all got approved! Applying for visa is so quick. Just go at the embassy in McKinley Hill, Taguig (along C5) on weekdays (Monday to Friday) between 9am to 11am ONLY, with all the requirements. Then you will be issued a number. Once you're number is called, you'll get directed to one of the counters where you'll submit your requirements. No interviews anymore, unless they have some questions. Then you will be issued a claiming form, which usually takes 3 to 5 business days before you can claim you passport with or without visa. Take note that the releasing time is during weekdays at 2pm to 4pm ONLY. Visa application is free if intended length of stay in South Korea is less than 59 days. But for 60-90 days, Php 1,350 will be charged. Read more about the Tourist Visa requirements and procedures here.

So after a week of doing the itinerary, booking a reservation, and computing the budget, we're good to go! Everytime we travel, I am always the one who's in charge of the money. In the case of our Seoul trip, I collected Php 10,000 from each person for our expenses for one week. That means, shopping's not included. We have already booked our accommodation and train trips online so we just paid for that when the credit card bills arrived.

Anyway, we found the place we stayed at via airbnb.com. It's a nice condo unit in Hongdae that's very accessible to restos/cafes, bars/clubs, shopping places, and subway. We had a very nice host too. We only paid less than Php 6000 for 6 nights. (FYI I am more comfortable in using Php as currency for easier computation) It's a condo unit with 3 rooms. One of which has a bathroom, while the other two shares bathroom. Luckily, we filled one room (good for 4), which has a bathroom. In the other rooms were other nationalities who rented the bed spaces and/or the rooms. The kitchen, living room, dining area, laundry area, and balcony are all shared areas. It's interesting staying in a place like that 'coz we got to meet other travelers too. We used to hang at the dining area or the living room together and share our travel stories.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
We arrived late that night since we left Manila at 7:35pm and it was a 4-hr flight. From Incheon International Airport, we took the airport bus going to Hongdae. The normal travel time would be an hour but since we missed the bus stop, we had to take the subway. Too bad for us because we were carrying our luggage and there were not much elevators/escalators at the subway stations. When we got to Hongdae (via Hongik University subway station), we walked towards the Prugio Apartment, where our host was waiting for us. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was so damn cold when we got there, around 3 degrees Celsius. We had coffee and late night meals, thanks to the groceries we brought haha! Yeah, we do that often if we're staying in a condo/apartment everytime we travel because we enjoy cooking, eating, and bonding inside the unit.

Total spending per pax prior to arrival in Seoul:
1. Airfare (via Cebu Pacific) - Php 6,000
2. Accommodation - Php 6,000
3. Terminal Fee - Php 1,620
4. Travel Tax - Php 550
TOTAL: Php 14,170

Total spending for 4 pax from Incheon Airport to Prugio Apartment (Hongdae):
1. Airport Bus #6002: 40,000 won (10,000 won each)
2. Subway (since we got lost haha): 4,200 won (1,050 won each)
TOTAL: 44,200 won = Php 1,694 (or approx. Php 424 each)

Here's a quick look on our itinerary:
Nov. 14 - Arrival in Seoul late at night
Nov. 15 - Seoul Downtown City Tour and party w/ Filipino and Korean friends at JJ Mahoney's, Hyatt Hotel in Namsan
Nov. 16 - Everland and dinner w/ new Korean friends in Samseong
Nov. 17 - Petite France, Nami Island, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun night market shopping, and a walk around Hongdae
Nov. 18 - Gyeongju City Tour (province) and Hello Kitty Cafe (Hongdae)
Nov. 19 - Lunch w/ Korean friends in Samseong, shopping in Myeongdong, Samgyeopsal dinner and Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae w/ Korea-based Filipino friends, departure of 2 of our companions
Nov. 20 - Last-minute shopping and the 1st Shop of Coffee Prince in Hongdae, shopping in Duty-Free in Incheon Int'l airport, and flight back to Manila at night

See my next posts for our complete adventures!:)

2 comments:

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Week in Seoul, South Korea: Arrival

We booked our trip last March of this year, and our flight going to Seoul was on Nov. 14. We only got our flight for less than Php 6,000 since it's on sale via Cebu Pacific. Just like any other trip, I was the one who made our itinerary. You know, in making itineraries, I consider the following: budget, distance, what my friends like, online reviews, my friend's reviews, and my own research.

Due to different schedules, we applied our Korean visa individually. I applied mine at the Embassy of South Korea in the Philippines, two weeks before our scheduled trip. Visa application was easy. Since I already have a Japanese visa from my trip there in March-June of this year, I just submitted a photocopy of that visa, plus my passport, and my accomplished visa application form (downloaded online), a passport size photo, and a certificate of employment. I didn't submit an ITR nor a bank certificate anymore because I have traveled to an OECD country within the past 2 years. My friend who had a US visa and another who had an Israel visa also submitted the same stuff. But for our friend who didn't have any visa from OECD country, she had to submit additional requirements -- a bank certificate with at least Php 50,000 of savings and ITR (Income Tax Return). But the good news was, we all got approved! Applying for visa is so quick. Just go at the embassy in McKinley Hill, Taguig (along C5) on weekdays (Monday to Friday) between 9am to 11am ONLY, with all the requirements. Then you will be issued a number. Once you're number is called, you'll get directed to one of the counters where you'll submit your requirements. No interviews anymore, unless they have some questions. Then you will be issued a claiming form, which usually takes 3 to 5 business days before you can claim you passport with or without visa. Take note that the releasing time is during weekdays at 2pm to 4pm ONLY. Visa application is free if intended length of stay in South Korea is less than 59 days. But for 60-90 days, Php 1,350 will be charged. Read more about the Tourist Visa requirements and procedures here.

So after a week of doing the itinerary, booking a reservation, and computing the budget, we're good to go! Everytime we travel, I am always the one who's in charge of the money. In the case of our Seoul trip, I collected Php 10,000 from each person for our expenses for one week. That means, shopping's not included. We have already booked our accommodation and train trips online so we just paid for that when the credit card bills arrived.

Anyway, we found the place we stayed at via airbnb.com. It's a nice condo unit in Hongdae that's very accessible to restos/cafes, bars/clubs, shopping places, and subway. We had a very nice host too. We only paid less than Php 6000 for 6 nights. (FYI I am more comfortable in using Php as currency for easier computation) It's a condo unit with 3 rooms. One of which has a bathroom, while the other two shares bathroom. Luckily, we filled one room (good for 4), which has a bathroom. In the other rooms were other nationalities who rented the bed spaces and/or the rooms. The kitchen, living room, dining area, laundry area, and balcony are all shared areas. It's interesting staying in a place like that 'coz we got to meet other travelers too. We used to hang at the dining area or the living room together and share our travel stories.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
We arrived late that night since we left Manila at 7:35pm and it was a 4-hr flight. From Incheon International Airport, we took the airport bus going to Hongdae. The normal travel time would be an hour but since we missed the bus stop, we had to take the subway. Too bad for us because we were carrying our luggage and there were not much elevators/escalators at the subway stations. When we got to Hongdae (via Hongik University subway station), we walked towards the Prugio Apartment, where our host was waiting for us. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was so damn cold when we got there, around 3 degrees Celsius. We had coffee and late night meals, thanks to the groceries we brought haha! Yeah, we do that often if we're staying in a condo/apartment everytime we travel because we enjoy cooking, eating, and bonding inside the unit.

Total spending per pax prior to arrival in Seoul:
1. Airfare (via Cebu Pacific) - Php 6,000
2. Accommodation - Php 6,000
3. Terminal Fee - Php 1,620
4. Travel Tax - Php 550
TOTAL: Php 14,170

Total spending for 4 pax from Incheon Airport to Prugio Apartment (Hongdae):
1. Airport Bus #6002: 40,000 won (10,000 won each)
2. Subway (since we got lost haha): 4,200 won (1,050 won each)
TOTAL: 44,200 won = Php 1,694 (or approx. Php 424 each)

Here's a quick look on our itinerary:
Nov. 14 - Arrival in Seoul late at night
Nov. 15 - Seoul Downtown City Tour and party w/ Filipino and Korean friends at JJ Mahoney's, Hyatt Hotel in Namsan
Nov. 16 - Everland and dinner w/ new Korean friends in Samseong
Nov. 17 - Petite France, Nami Island, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun night market shopping, and a walk around Hongdae
Nov. 18 - Gyeongju City Tour (province) and Hello Kitty Cafe (Hongdae)
Nov. 19 - Lunch w/ Korean friends in Samseong, shopping in Myeongdong, Samgyeopsal dinner and Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae w/ Korea-based Filipino friends, departure of 2 of our companions
Nov. 20 - Last-minute shopping and the 1st Shop of Coffee Prince in Hongdae, shopping in Duty-Free in Incheon Int'l airport, and flight back to Manila at night

See my next posts for our complete adventures!:)

2 comments: