Here’s a comprehensive (as comprehensive as I can though lol!) guide that you may want to take a look at if you are planning to go backpacking in Seoul, South Korea.
For Filipinos we are required to apply for a Visa before we can enter South Korea. You can apply for a visa even before buying your tickets (which is ideal) as it is not part of their requirements you can see my Guide How To Apply For A Korean Visa for more information.
There are are two low cost carrier that flies directly from Manila to Incheon international airport, South Korea’s premier airport, Cebu Pacific Air and Airasia Zest. If you are willing to spend a little more on airfare Philippine Airlines is another option. I got my tickets for about a little more than 6,000 pesos when I bought it three months prior to my trip but I could have saved more if I booked on a much bigger sale by Cebu Pacific months prior.
Of course you need to research about your destination prior to traveling to Seoul but you can get much more updated and accurate information at the Tourist Information Desk near gate 10 of the arrival area where you can get your maps and pamphlets. You will also see some information booths around the city but I tell they aren’t that much.
There are many hostels and hotels that you can find in Seoul that offers a wide range of prices that you can choose from. Seoul is pretty much backpacker friendly when it comes to accommodation, in fact my home in Seoul during my stay, Bong House, was even recommended by Trip Advisor as one of the best hostels in Seoul and I was not disappointed. The important thing that you should consider is that it should be near public transportation like the subway, just weigh your options on how far you are willing to walk to and from the stations and just to give you an idea 200-300 meters of walking is not far if you are in Seoul as most places are accessed via walking.
South Korea has a rich heritage when it comes to food and believe me you will never ran out of alternative options when it comes to food choices! They must have invented all possible ways how to cook making even their street food something that you’d crave for over and over. Cheapest food that you would find (street food) is at about Kw1,000 – 3,000 and I tell you it is worth it! Food was number one out of all of the expenses that I have prepared budget for because some of my friends and online articles does mention that food would probably be the most expensive part if you plan to visit Korea, which proved to be really true. As for proper meals you might want to prepare around 6,000 and up but if you have friends to share dishes with this might (just might) still go down, but better expect the higher amount than be short.
Places To Go
There are lots of places to go to in Seoul not to mention just experiencing how to live there is an awesome experience already. Here are the places that you can visit while in Seoul, well at least these are the ones that I planned to go to but failed because of the my laziness…. lol!
- The Five Palaces of Seoul
- Jongmyo Shrine
- Bukchon Hanok Village
- Korean War Memorial
- Coffee Prince First Shop
- Seoul N Tower
- Seoul Fortress
- Cheonggyecheon Stream
- Ehwa University
- Nami Island
- Dongdaemun Market
- Han River
Seoul has a very good public transportation system that you can get to most places without even taking cab. One feature that I really like most about Seoul’s transport system is that they have a cashless system! All you need to have is your T-Card and you are all set to hop on whether be it a bus or Train! One good thing about using a T-Card is that you get discounts if you transfer within a time frame (about 30 minutes gap) from a train to a bus or vice versa, hence you only get charged for one trip instead of multiple ones. There are unlimited passes (M-Pass) that you can buy if you will be hopping on and off the train and bus system a lot more, just weigh your options by planning how you will get around the city.
I would also like to note that you need to be prepared to walk walk walk. Most tourist spots are accessible via the train if not the bus, but after that you would have to walk from the station which is how things really work in Seoul.
Seoul Buses, Just wait at the proper bus stop
Take the subway and with a little walking you can get to your destination for sure
Trains have guides on them but you can get maps from your hotel or the subway station
Finally Here’s a break down of my expenses in Seoul to give you an idea of how much you are to spend.
Did I miss anything? Let me know on the comments section!
This post is part of my four day backpacking trip to Seoul, South Korea series
Part 4: The Epilouge: Going Home