Hi Everyone, Its been a while from my last update, but here it is finally! Today I'm gonna write about my budget Seoul Trip and how you can do it with RM2k!
This was an impromptu trip actually, as my sister invited me over since she's heading there as well. So definitely you can actually do it cheaper than me, but I definitely had a great stay for a week in Korea :) The exchange rate that I had was RM3.50 to 1000 Won, and I shall calculate all of it in Won for this post aite?
Getting to Korea is pretty easy, and the cheapest flights you can get is normally by Airasia. My return flights costed me RM1,000 (I booked my flight about 1 week before the trip) but you can get it cheaper about RM700 if you purchase it in advance.
A key thing you can save is if you just bring your hand carry (Saving RM135 of check in baggage per way) and also if you already have travel insurance (Saving RM50) so you wouldn't need to purchase these additional things from Airasia
Public transport in Korea is so complex, that when you see their train map itself, it makes our KTM/LRT look like child's play. Also the Subway map is designed to fit the actual Seoul map, so it is much easier for you to navigate around Seoul
Getting on public transport in Korea is pretty easy when you purchase a T-Money card from any convenience store at the airport. The card costs 4000 Won and I reloaded about 15,000 Won into it for the whole week. It is definitely better than buying single tickets
T-Money Line cards are so kiuutt, who won't wanna have one?
Pic credit to @Sherlyamelia_n
Also at the end of the trip, if you have any remaining balance, you can refund it with just a 500 Won fee.
19,000 Won Public Transport
In Korea, I stayed at a nice backpackers hostel called The Seoul Base Camp Hostel at Hapjeong.
I stayed in a room of 4, which costed me RM200 for the entire week. You can also opt to stay in their Honeycomb rooms (like a capsule hotel which fits 8 per room) for a cheaper rate.
For long travelers, They also have programs where you can work in the hostel for 3 days, and get the entire week's stay for free! (You have to do an online interview before hand)
Perks of staying at this hostel
- FREE BREAKFAST! (They have waffles and toast in the morning, and free coffee/tea the entire day) Save $$
- Its a 2 minute walk from the train exit of Hapjeong
- It is really homey, and you get to meet lots of new faces
- They provide free towels and shampoo/soap at the bathrooms (less packing for the trip)
- There is a 7 Eleven downstairs, if you needa get them midnight snacks or booze
- Its a 5-10 minute walk from all the party streets
- They have a balcony overlooking Hapjeong, and a pet pig over there! Yes you heard me, Haramss!! LOL
The interior of the hostel with Quraisya and Sukmawati from Singapore
and of course, HAMLET THE PET PIG!
Food in Korea
Korea has pretty a lot of nice food available everywhere. Mostly are served with refillable kim chi and condiments, and that is a good way to fill your stomachs! Btw, Tap water is safe to be consumed in Korea, so you can just bring your water bottle to fill up and save on drinks.
Always remember, Beef is more expensive compared to Pork & Chicken there!
I always had my morning coffee and waffles at the hostel, which made me save on breakfast. There were 2 days which I ate out, by getting a sachet of coffee from 7 Eleven (1500 Won) and having a bun at Paris Baguette & Tous Les Jours. (2500 Won)
Cost: 8,000 Won
7 Eleven Coffee's for 1,500 Won
I mainly headed to Korean restaurants and cafe's for this trip, with an average of 8,000 Won per meal. Other than that I also opted for their Kimbab's which are like a japanese maki with cooked meat inside which costs about 3,000 - 5,000 won each
We also had a treat in between such as the Spring Chicken Ginseng Soup.
Cost: 56,000 Won (8000 per meal x 7 meals)
Grilled Cuttlefish (3000 Won)
Ginseng Spring Chicken (12,000 Won)
Big Ass Plate of Chicken Noodles (3 Pax) for 10,000 Won per person
Pork Taco's (6,000 Won) - we needed a break from Korean food LOL
For Dinner we spent a bit more on these as there is so much to eat!
A typical Korean BBQ will cost about 10,000 Won per head at a restaurant, and if you do eat a lot, there are also Korean BBQ Buffets for about 9,000 Won! (but you must hunt em like pokemon!)
A delicacy you have to try is the Yuk Hoe which is raw beef with egg and pear. This is slightly pricey at about 12,000 Won, so its best to get a mate and share it out with you to split the cost. The famous restaurant for it is called Uke Zamezip at one of their night markets
Other than that, the Korean Fish Market is also a good place to go if you're craving seafood. You would just need to buy what you want from the sellers, and there are restaurants nearby which will cook it for about 10,000 Won. You can also try the Sannkanji (live octopus) over there if you're daring enough
10,000 x 5 nights = 50,000 Won
20,000 x 1 night - 20,000 Won (Fish Market Night)
Soondae 순대 (3,000 Won)
Kim Chi Soup (3,000 won)
The famous shop (Uke Zamezip) at the market selling Raw Beef
Raw Beef with Egg yolk (12,000 Won)
The Fish Market
Crab at 30,000 Won + 10,000 cooking fee (20,000 per pax)
Sannkanji (Live octopus cut up) - Free when we bought the crab :)
Power of negotiating!
Power of negotiating!
When it comes to Korea, There is nothing better than their Bing Su. It's similar to our Ice Kacang back home, but with lots of different condiments. A bowl of Bingsu will range from 3,500 - 7,000 Won per bowl depending on which dessert shops you go to
Cost: 10,000 Won
Bing Su with Jae Hun & Kim Ha (3,500 per bowl)
Peanut Bing Su
Believe it or not, Alcohol is pretty cheap at Korea. A bottle of Soju will cost you about 1,600 Won (RM5.60) at 7 eleven or about 3,000 Won (RM10.50) at restaurants.
Beer (Hite) costs about 3,000 Won (RM10.50) for a 1 Litre Bottle, and about 10,000 Won at a pub for a 1.75L Pitcher.
Cost: 20,000 Won
Pitcher of Max at Junior Bar
Drinking Areas at Hapjeong
Attractions around Seoul
There are plenty of free attractions around Seoul, and one thing that I would definitely recommend is to go on a hike, as there are plenty of mountains around Seoul.
So starting up, here are some of the things you can do during your trip:
If you're unwilling to pay 15,000 to rent a Korean Hanbok (Traditional costume), you can always check out these Korean photobooths around town where you can wear them on and pay 3,000 per person for a photo!
Cost: 3,000 Won
With all them Traditional costumes
There are quite a number of Palaces around Seoul, and I decided to go to the Gyeong Bok Gung Palace which is one of the biggest in Seoul. The Entrance Fee is 4,000 Won, or you can get in for free if you are wearing a Hanbok!
So if you wanna feel like a real Korean, go rent the Hanbok for about 15,000 Won and get in the palace for free! You'll definitely get a lot of people requesting to take a photo with you though :P (Oh You attention seekers!)
Cost: 4,000 won
The entrance to the palace
Changing of the guards
Interiors to one of the buildings
The I dunno what name is this building
The Banquet building where they had royal dinners and dances
Jibokjae & Vicinity (Hall of collecting Jade)
Audrey and I
Oh girls bathroom! =D #nonsense
With Min Ha
There are plenty of shopping malls around Korea where you can get your nice kicks, clothes, food and make up products. Definitely I would say, the cosmetic products over here are really cheap, as they normally have a lot of promotions going on such as discounts and buy 1 free 1 kind of things. They also have a lot of freebies when you purchase any items from them
Cost: 10,000 Won for Face Masks
With Heehyang :)
Arts & Crafts Market
Over here, This market opens once a week where students, graduates and artsy fartsy people come to display their works. If you would like to get something really Korean other than the normal souvenirs you get at the shops, here is definitely your place to be
Vendors Displaying their artsy stuff
Portraits from 5,000 - 15,000 won
Handmade Items (Seals & Signature Chops)
A street busker
Every night around Hapjeong free market area, plenty of street performers come out of the dark and showcase their talents in the middle of street. If you love street culture, dance, rap and singing, it is definitely a place to go as you can see many talented Koreans showcasing their talents in hope of being scouted to be the next Kpop artist
With Black Bean Crew
check them out at: www.facebook.com/blackbeancrew/
Bukhansan National Park
The Bukhansan National Park is just a bus ride away from the city (around 20 min), and you can get on a public bus to get there. There are a few peaks over there which you can head to for a hike, some even requires rock climbing gear but I'm defo not trained for that!
Audrey and I headed up with Kiya (One of our hostel mates) and we got to know some new friends, Chris, Gemma and Joe there too! The hike took us 3 hours to the top and 3 hours down but the sad thing is that it was pretty misty =( So we couldn't see the city view from the peak
Cost: 6 hours of your legs
Bukhansan National Park
The beginning of the trail
A slightly tough climb
The other peak where you have to rock climb up
Audrey and I
Joe & Chris searching for "mountain" domesticated cats
Audrey and I at the peak
At the peak, it was freezing!
The faces of tiredness after the climb
JjimJilbang Rooms (Korean Bath House & Sauna)
Get ready to get all naked and frisky with your fellow mates! The JjimJilbang is a great place to relax (especially after that crazy hike) as there are plenty of different spa pools (with different ingredients in), different kind of saunas and steam rooms, ice baths and game rooms!
The sauna and bath are separated based on male/female, and you're gonna be seeing loads of naked men/women there. Other than that, there is also body scrubs/Massages over there which is pretty interesting. You lie down on the massage and a masseuse would scrub you all over with a scrubber. It was pretty horrendous when I saw how much dirt came out of my skin LOL but my skin was smooth as a baby's bottom after that! Defo worth trying!
15,000 for the bath house and utility rooms upstairs
10,000 for the body scrub
Hell Sauna at 80 Degree's Celcius
Oxygen room where they pump in way more oxygen to increase blood flow yada yada yada
This place is really great if you would like to see their exhibits during the day (requires entrance fees) and is nice to go to at night to check out the LED Rose Gardens. You'll see plenty of couples lingering around the area, overlooking the beauty of the LED Rose Garden and the city lights.
Cost: Free (LED Rose Garden)
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
A great place for wedding photoshoots?
The LED rose Garden
Audrey and I
Black Eye Cafe
Yeah you're so gonna get Black Eyes when you head to this cafe! This is actually a raccoon cafe where you can get to play with raccoons over here. Another great part of this cafe is that it is located near an All Girl University. So for you single men, You'll get loads of eye candy here :P Wink Wink
You can try this LOL:
Cost: A Coffee (8,000 Won)
Audrey attempting to touch one LOL
This man made river is a pretty great place to walk about, and also a great place to bring that special friend =D It goes throughout the city for about 10.9km, and you're able to walk alongside it to your next destination.
View from the top
So that's my take and how I did Seoul with a budget of RM2k. Lets see how I fared in the cost:
Breakdown of Cost:
RM66.50 Public Transport (19,000 Won)
RM574 Food & Drinks (164,000 Won)
RM175 Attractions (50,000 Won)
Total Cost: RM2015.50
So yeah its totally doable with RM2k in your pocket as you can definitely save on flights compared to me!
Ending this post,
I had a random meetup with Sam Insanity at the Airport back to KL
All in all my Seoul trip was a blast, and there hasn't been a regret on it! Hope this post helps you plan your trip to Seoul!
*Photos Taken with Canon 70D, Canon 1100D, & Ricoh Theta S
Check out my other budget travel posts here:
Melbourne - www.seraphsam.com/2015/11/melbourne-on-budget.html