Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Seoul – My POV

Travel Date: April 12-15, 2017

1. The AREX Terminal in the airport.

So here’s the thing… I know about the train, but I don’t know how to get there. In the arrivals, I saw that there’s a booth for buses and limousines, and there’s a signage for AREX too. So, I ask the personnel and tell her for ‘Hongdae’ or ‘Hongik University’, she gave me the ticket and tell me to go out at the gate. I was surprised because it’s not a railway, so I was wondering where the AREX terminal was.  I was wondering why she gave me a bus ticket when I told her that I’m getting a ticket for the train, not for the bus- language, yes, we didn’t understand each other when I told her that I wanted a train ticket to Hongdae. 😂😂😂 Maybe I used a wrong term.

On the day I left Seoul, I was able to ride through AREX and I realized that it’s very easy to go to  Seoul back to ICN airport through AREX.

If you are going to Seoul and on a tight budget, better ask someone from the airport if where’s the AREX station, it’ way, way cheaper than the bus. I paid KRW10 000 for the bus from Incheon to Hongik University and I only paid few thousands, less than KRW 4000 from Hongik University to Incheon. Cheaper, yes!

My bus ticket from ICN Airport to Hongik University/Hongdae.


2. The T-MONEY Card

The price of the T-Money varies depending on the perks, yet you could still all of those in the subway & bus.
I thought buy buying the KRW4 000, it already includes the load but the load should be bought separately. The card has a lot of perks where you can use to while you are in Korea. So if you are on a tight budget, better get the cheaper one, or you can ask help from a staff on how to purchase the cheaper card or buy it from the convenience stores.

Don’t be shy to ask help on how to purchase the TCARD using the machine. Ask the subway’s concierge. They’ll help you out.


3. The weather is unpredictable.

During spring season, the temperature varies. From 9’ C to 18’C.
The day before my flight, I asked my friend about the weather, and she told me it’s pretty hot, on the next day, she told me to bring a jacket, because it was pretty cold. When I arrived, the temperature was at 12’C, not a fan of cold temperature. I brought sleeveless shirts with me, glad I was able to wear those…On my last day it went to 17’C, reason why I left my cardigan at one of the stores in Hongdae. It ain’t cold at all. 😂 So, check the temperature before going to a place that has four seasons.

On my second day, it was at 4’C.

4. Where to find the Cherry Blossoms?

In order for you to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, April first week is the best week to go in Korea. When I went in Korea, it was on the second week and I wasn’t able to see the whole place in pink. Since the flowers were already running out during my visit, we just went to Yeouido Hangang Park and Seokchosun Lake.

5. Chargers

Our chargers won’t work in Korea, before leaving Philippines make sure to buy those circle adaptors.

6. The Location

I don’t have GPS nor I didn’t have a roaming sim, so I just make used the wifi of the hostel, coffee shops—Sulbing is my favorite one-stop-coffee-shop and the subway for me to get the directions of the places I want to go. I took a lot of screenshots for me to check on it time to time, and when I ran out of the places to go, I again had my coffee to check out another places.
You will never get lost if you’ll follow their directions. If you think you’re lost, then there’s the information center when you can ask for the directions and for the map— it’s very easy to talk to them and they are very friendly since most of them could speak in English.

• So if you want a party spot, you should book yourself in Hongdae are/Hongik University station area.
• If you want shopping are, you should book yourself near Myeongdong, Itaewon, Hoehyon/Nandaemun, Dongdaemon and Seoul.
• If you want near the palaces, you book yourself a room near Anguk, Dongdaemon stations.
• If you want a place very accessible to AREX, you can book yourself near Hongik University/Hongdae or Seoul. Anyway, all places are very accessible to each other so you don’t really have to worry about it.

You should check out the subway map and the reviews first so that you can decide on where to stay.

7. Barbecue

When I went to China, 2 of my Korean friends brought me in a Korean restaurant that serves barbecue, where you can cook your own meat. Also, if you really want to eat a BBQ in Korea, most of the restaurants in Hongdae are serving it for two. So if you are a solo traveler, you will be paying for two.

Hopefully there will still be next time that I could do this in Korea.

8. Public Transportation

I heard that there is a surcharge for the taxi at at night, so better you have to know the last trip of your train going to your station.  Subway is the most affordable way to go around Seoul. Just take note of the exits to avoid wasting of time.

Another tip yet I haven’t experienced this is I read about the night bus, so better you have to check that out so that you’ll not pay for a very expensive taxi fare. Also, avoid black cabs, it costs a lot.

9. Face Mask

If you are into it, all you need to do is just to go inside the shop, wander, window shop, and you can have a free face mask. I just got 2-face mask for my entire trip because I am not really a fan of cosmetics and I wanted them to save their face mask to their customers.

10. Money Exchange

In the airport, I exchanged my Php 15 000 to KRW 272, 727. When I withdrew KRW 50 000 in Seoul, it just charged me for about P2 641.70. You can do the math. 
If you want to withdraw money internationally, you have to call first your bank to allow you to do that and if you also wanted to increase the limit. Also, you have to check the bank fees so that you’ll not be surprised with the surcharges.


11. Jimjilbang

Which I have yet to try on my next visit!


And the last thing is—2 full days, 1 late night and 1 half day aren’t enough to explore South Korea.

Of course, be prepared of a walkathon all everyday when in Seoul. Bring your cap or umbrella if you are too concerned about the heat. There are a lot of coffee shops where you can take a rest and cool down from a long walk. Seoul is expensive when it comes to dresses and other stuff, but for cosmetics, and to those who love it, it’s a haven.


Related Post: Trip Itinerary: Seoul & DMZ, South Korea | 3 Days & 3 Nights

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