Friday, April 15, 2016

Korea: Budget + Where We Stayed


Kamsahamnida! Thank you thank you guys for reading my first Korea post! After receiving feedbacks through my personal messages, I got even more excited to share my stories. May nagbabasa pa pala ng blog ko, hahaha, yey!

So this post is dedicated to our flight to Korea + a little about our budget + our home for eight nights. Next time na ang full day story, super daming photos and details! So Tracy and I booked our airfare mid January of this year, during the big travel expo craze. We booked ours online at http://cebupacificair.com, and paid only Php 15,256 for TWO ROUNDTRIP tickets to Seoul! Sobrang swerte lang!



After all the VISA concerns (you can get one for free if acquired directly through the Korean Embassy, more of this HERE), and itinerary cramming, our travel date finally arrived.

Our flight was at 3pm pa naman, but the night before, Tracy was already Viber messaging me that 80% she will NOT be able to travel because of her tummy ache (ulcer). We prayed, hoped for the best, and then I slept.

I woke up at around 6am to see Tracy's Viber that she's not going to make it. I was feeling anxiety attack creeping in, but I slept it off. When it's time to get up, I was already thinking of several excuses to my mom why I'll be traveling alone. Then Tracy told me she's on the way to the airport feeling a bit well, and with her parents' consent! Ahhhh, parang akong binunutan ng tinik!



...So off we go to Korea!






Our flight was delayed, serving snacks was delayed, but I patiently waited. Nothing can ruin my day.


It was nighttime when we reached Incheon International Airport. I adjusted my watch an hour in advance, while admiring the train inside the airport. Also took several pictures since I even acquired a second hand mirrorless camera for this trip. Excited pa mag document!




Giant cacti in the middle of the airport:


Since gabi naman na, and bawal magutom si Tracy (she ate crackers during our whole plane ride), we decided to grab dinner nadin at the airport. We checked the restaurants for "safe" food, but ended up in a convenience store called CU (short for "Convenience Store for You", hehe).


Fresh food delivery! Ever since encountering CU at the airport, we ended up going to the branch near our place almost everyday to buy snacks and necessities. I love CU's Ghana chocolate, mixed berries yogurt drink in big Yakult-ish bottle, and the sweet corn flavored popcorn.


My dinner, not exactly healthy, hehe.

Since it's already late for the train, we looked for the airport limousine (10,000 Won going to our place in Jung-gu). Sadly, the last bus left nadin pala, so we just availed our last option which is the airport taxi. It is much expensive, obviously, but considering Tracy's condition, tapos two girls pa kami, middle of the night, and we both have big luggages, we went for it nadin.

Here's the standard price for the airport taxi:


We just got the medium taxi (65,000 Won or Php 2600) na direcho na sa guest house namin. Pricey, but convenient and more safe.

With the cab's GPS, hindi kami naligaw and arrived at our guest house just before 12mn. Travel time is around 1.5 hours. I already messaged our host about our late flight a few days before our travel date, and since wala nang receptionist after 9pm, he just left our key with my name and room number at the front desk! Trust Level 100! :D

I booked our guest house via Airbnb. With my Ate's help, we located an affordable and decent place that is near the subway and the shopping/food area. Lots of guest house popped, but Ate warned me about streets na sobrang matarik. According to our taxi driver, Korea is 70% mountainous! 

I ended up getting a room at the New Sun Guesthouse for only Php 1292 / night! Welcome to our room!

What convinced me to book this place? Aside from the good Airbnb user reviews, New Sun is located in Seoul's commercial area Myeongdong, and just a few blocks away from the train station. Plus, they have free breakfast! 

Also, for the price you already have your own private restroom:

With basic hot/cold shower:

Lots of towels that you can regularly change:

Sachets of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash (bring your own nadin, medyo konti).


While inside the air conditioned room you have: room scents, a box of tissue, comb, cotton buds, hair dryer, water heater, sockets (with adaptors), and a small ref with 2 free bottles of water:

Here's our bunk bed with 1 pillow and comforter each. I stayed on the top bunk, and always had comfortable sleep. They also have other room options with twin beds, etcetera, but we got this one to save a few bucks. 

It's a box-type room, and sometimes we need to open the small window to let air in. But over-all, it is a clean place, we were able to find ways to fit our luggages in the small space, and it's a safe and decent room to sleep at night. I'll definitely book New Sun Guest House again when I go back to Korea. Check out this place HERE.

Total gastos for accommodation:

Php 1292+ / night x 8 nights
+ Php 1296.91+ Airbnb Service Fee
= Php 11,983.41 for 2 persons / 8 nights
Note: Discrepancies due to currency conversion

I was also able to get discounts with my Sun Cellular x Airbnb promo code, super swerte! But for reference, let's just keep computations this way.

Good morning, New Sun Guest House!

I woke up early the next day to avail the free breakfast. Here's how the lobby looks like:

And the kitchen:

Although they stated that breakfast starts at 8am, we had days when we woke up early for our packed itinerary. Di naman sila ganun ka-strict, we were still able to eat even before 8. 

Aside from the usual jam and toasted bread, New Sun Guesthouse also serve cereals, milk, cup noodles, egg, coffee, and tea!

Tamad ako magluto, but when Paul arrived during our third day, he cooked scrambled eggs for us every morning. Si Tracy di nag bbreakfast, hehe.


Water dispenser where I refill my bottle every morning and nighttime. Super tipid!

During the day, our host Kibum is always at the front desk ready to assist us with our questions on house concerns, tours, and commutes.

He helped us book for a DMZ tour, and even our shuttle ride home.

Fliers and brochures everywhere:


The moment we stepped out of our guesthouse, I felt Korea's cool air and a rush of excitement. I'm readeh!

Our street is quiet, surrounded mostly by other inns, a few restaurants, convenience stores, and offices.





From outside New Sun, we turned left to the first alley and walked straight till we reached this area.
May elevator dyan, heading to the subway na!


But if you cross the street, and walk just a few blocks more, you'll reach one of Seoul's popular tourist destination!

Streets and intersections are lined with fashion boutiques, Korean beauty brands that sell low-priced makeup and skincare products, and restaurants serving legit Korean dishes!


....In short, guys, welcome to Myeongdong!

To be continued.
Read more on my Korea posts HERE.


###

Breakdown:

Roundtrip Airfare (Cebu Pacific seat sale) - Php 7,628
Airport Tax - Php 1,620
Airport Taxi - Php 1,300
Airbnb Accommodation - Php 5,992
Pocket Money for 8 days - Inclusive of Shopping, Food, and Transportation (Mostly Subway) - Php 24,000 / 3,000 per day
Shuttle from New Sun to Airport - Php 1,400 (70,000 Won)

TOTAL = Php 41,940

Disclaimer: As always, I am not saying this is the best. I know may ititipid pa ito, or may imamahal, depends on individual preferences. Of course, walang tama or mali in traveling. I just based this from my own experience. I eat 3x a day, love my coffee breaks, and spend on "cute" souvenirs. I also bought unique items to sell on Facebook, and even got myself a new pair of sneakers! Food in Korea is mura, just check the menu first before dining in. Conversion to Peso is x .04. Actually, mas napagastos pa ako sa makeup, haha! Entrance fees are also cheap, except for the Everland pass and DMZ tour. This is just an estimate gastos, posting this so you have an idea for your own trip. :)


18 comments:

  1. I miss Korea! I wanna go back na agad. I noticed super bright when you went there pala, nung kami 10am na pero parang 6am palang so laging late kami nakakalabas =)

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    1. Wow that's an interesting Korea experience din a :) Hopefully I also get to experience Fall and Winter in Korea <3

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  2. Ahhh, bookmarking this post for future reference. Ang gaganda ng mga photos! May I ask what mirrorless camera did you use? :)

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    1. Thank you for reading! These are all taken with a Fuji XA2 :)

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  3. Urgh. I really want to go there. Did you had any problem with visa?

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    1. Visa is okay, the requirements lang will take a week to acquire: bank certificate, bank statement, etc. I have US Visa, so some requirement tanggal na. I asked help from a travel agency (Php 1000) because I don't have time to line up for application. :p

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    2. May I know what agency you went to? :)

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    3. Rakso in Makati, saw it in verniece enciso's posts haha

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  4. Ate Ana!!! This post makes me want to go back to Korea!!! Love this!!! Thanks for the idea! <3

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    1. Thanks for reading, Alex! And yes, Korea deserves more than one visit! :)

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  5. Hi Ate Ana! Thanks for this very detailed post! My friends and I are going this December and I find this super helpful :) We also booked through CebPac and I think we have the same flight schedule of 3pm. We're also worrying about the flight being delayed (which is likely to happen) and having a late check in :( Quick question though, would you recommend going to the DMZ? I've read mixed reviews and we're not sure if it's worth a day's trip :/ Thank you!!

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    1. I went to DMZ! I enjoyed it naman, it's something else. If you love stories, and controversial issue of the two countries, go for it! Nakinig talaga ako sa mga trivia from our tour guide.

      Delays are pretty normal na noh? Nakakainip, but bearable naman when you think about where you're going! :)

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  6. Loooove love love your travel posts! Nakaka inspire mag travel! Haha do you have any idea what to pass if you're a freelancer lalo na sa coe requirement for the visa?

    Looking forward to your Korea travel diary!

    Cams x

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    1. Hi Camille! :) Thank you! What you can do is to also submit your sample works along with the other requirements. Example, if you're a freelance stylist, bring print outs of photos from your published works, fashion show participations, etc. :) Good luck!

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    2. PS: Check out Korean Embassy page here: http://embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr/english/as/embassy_philippines/visa/requirement/

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  7. Hello!

    Tanong ko lang if may nakalagay na ADB sa bank certificate mo?
    Yung ibang banks kasi hindi naglalagay ng ADB. Nabasa ko na kasama yun sa bagong requirement nila ng bank certificate, kailangan may ADB :( Do you think this would affect my application?

    Ask ko lang din kung saang agency ka nagpunta. Balak din sana namin mag agency na lang kasi parang hassle pumuntang embassy :D

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  8. Hi Ana,

    Would like to know san ka nagpachange ng currency to KRW? Did you exchange it directly from PHP to KRW? Or from PHP to USD to KRW? Thank you! :)

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  9. Hello! Nagpa exchange ako dito na sa Pilipinas, PHP to KRW sa Sanrys Glorietta :)

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Your turn! Always excited to read your comments! :)