Traveling To Korea For The First Time (From A Guy's Perspective)

Monday, May 20, 2019

The past months, I've been in contact with my college classmate and friend Arete for his upcoming Korea trip with his misis (wife). 

From their visas, to their itinerary, to the little details like Korean Won money exchange, we tried to exchange tips to make their first trip to Seoul A+. As I've said before, I may have travelled and write about Korea travels so many times, but I still learn a lot from people I get to talk to about their own travel experiences. 

Yesterday, Arete messaged me that they are finally back in Manila after a "super fun" Korea trip. Then, he also sent his tips and lessons from their own personal experiences, which I realized might be helpful to some of you! I asked if I can share them here on my blog. 

I already have my own "standard Korea travel 101", usual airline, usual travel agency for the visa, usual place where I withdraw my Korean Won, so basically my tips might be limiting when it comes to these things. Again, there are no right or wrong in travelling, but there are OPTIONS. And so I am sharing my friend's lessons as a guy who travelled to Korea for the first time with his wife. I hope you find them helpful! Here goes!

Lesson 1: Don't take the connecting flight from Manila to Cebu to Incheon 

Schedule is 10:35am to 12:10pm Manila - Cebu, and then 2:25pm to 8:10pm Cebu - Incheon. Grabe ang stress! 

Our first flight from Manila to Cebu got delayed. We flew almost 12 na, and we arrived at Cebu 1:20pm. Our boarding time for Cebu to Incheon was 1:30! Grabe. We had to run and ask the manong driver of the shuttle from Terminal 1 to 2 to transfer us already. Buti pumayag kahit konti pa lang ang nakasakay. Basta, don't take this flight kahit sale pa. If you can't resist a cheap connecting flight, better take a flight that leaves manila earlier. Di bale nang mag-antay sa Mactan Airport.

Lesson 2 - The money changer in front of the Chinese Embassy in Myeongdeong really gives a good rate

If you can exchange all of your money there, mas okay. They follow the global rate. Compared to exchanging it in money changers like Sanrys or Czarina here in the PH, you'll save around 1k for a 10,000 PHP transaction. Highly recommended yung money changer sa Myeongdong talaga.

Lesson 3 - Use Naver Map app for navigating the train and bus stations

Not sure if you've tried this already pero it really made my life easier. We had no problem getting from one place to another because of this app. Super recommended.

Lesson 4 - For guys, Korea will be a wonderland for your wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, etc. 

Because of all the cheap clothes, bags, and cosmetics. Expect to be left alone frequently while she browses in a store or a stall. Hehe. But this shouldn't stop you from enjoying the country. Give her time to shop, but do devote some days for the things you really love doing. I'm a kind of guy who likes visiting museums and eating out, so it's either my wife and I combined the things we wanted to do in a single day, or we set a day for her shopping and the next day for my museum hopping. 

But seriously, for guys who want to make their women happy, plan a trip to Korea. she will love you forever.

Lesson 5 - If you can take advantage of the ongoing promo of BPI and BDO for multiple entry korean visas, do it! 

The promo is up to december 31, 2019, but i have a feeling they will extend it again, considering the number of Filipinos who go to Korea. I asked BPI to upgrade my blue card to gold months before we applied, and the rest is history. 

We've only used the visa once but knowing that we can go to korea anytime we want is something that makes my wife and I happy. I consider this as one of my best investments since we know that Korea will only evolve even more as a tourist destination. 

We already want to go back this november for autumn, and with a smaller budget since we now know how affordable korea really is.

Kamsahamnida to my college buddy @aretemequi for the photos and for allowing me to publish his Korea tips on my blog! 

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