South Korea DIY Trip: 6D 5N Itinerary and Expenses

South Korea DIY Trip: 6D 5N Itinerary and Expenses

Travelling to South Korea was my wife and I’s dream since we were still boyfriend and girlfriend in College. It was the time when the Meteor Garden fever strikes the Philippines and the K-Drama series was rising in popularity as well. Series like Full House, My Girl, Winter Sonata and Stairway to Heaven were just among those k-dramas my wife is totally crazy about. We got really hooked in My Girl and the crazy antics of Lee Da-hae and thought about making a wish and holding our breath while going up to the Elevator to meet each other. We were also crazy about our Korean crushes. My wife always tells me that if Lee Min Ho would date her, she would leave me in a blink of an eye. I then retorted that I’ll go to South Korea and find Song Hye-Kyo and never to go back to her again. To stop all these craziness, I booked two tickets last February and finally travel to South Korea to achieve our dream. This post will include an Itinerary, Expenses summary and links to our guide and experience in South Korea. Please enjoy and read on!

Cheonggyecheon stream

Wifey posing while eating a hotdog in Cheonggyecheon Stream

Click here for our guide on applying for a South Korean VISA for Filipinos!

For our 2016 winter trip to Korea, check it here!

Looking for budget friendly accommodations in Korea? Check out my review of Zaza Backpackers Hostel here and Hotel Maui here! For more recommended accommodations, click here or search here.

Our Itinerary:

Our planned Itinerary wasn’t followed as we expected it to. But nevertheless, we went to almost all (85%) of the places we planned to visit. So here is our DIY semi-impromptu Itinerary:

Day 1 (Sept. 19)

7AM – Depart MNL via Air Asia

12PM – Arrival in Incheon Airport

2PM – Arrival in Zaza Backpacker’s Hostel

Book HERE though AGODA!

Book HERE though AGODA!

Note: Travel time from ICN to Hostel is only 1hr and 20mins by Limousine Bus. We just got hanged up in line for the rental of the pocket wifi and got lost finding the Hostel 😛

4PM – Myeongdong Shopping and Food Trip

Day 2 (Sept. 20)

8AM – Dongdaemun Market and Design Plaza

Cheonggyecheon Stream

11AM – Ewha University and Sinchon area

1PM – Lunch

1:30PM – Hongdae Area

3PM – Yeouido Park

730PM – Hangang River Ferry Cruise (Live concert and Banpo Bridge Fountain Show)

Day 3 (Sept. 21)

8AM – Gwanghwamun square

830AM – Gyeongbokgung Palace

11AM – Back to Gwanghwamun square where we tried Hanbok dress

12PM – Dongdaemun Market again for lunch and some shopping

430PM – N Seoul Tower

630PM – Dinner at a nearby restaurant at our Hostel

7PM – Chicken and Beer at Two Two Chicken

Day 4 (Sept. 22)

7:15AM – Depart to Nami Island

9:20AM – Arrival in Nami Island

2PM – Petite France

3PM – Depart Petite France

5PM – Meat-ing Korean BBQ Buffet in Hongdae

Day 5 (Sept. 23)

8AM – Depart to Korean Folk Village

9AM – Breakfast at Guro Station

11AM – Arrival in Korean Folk Village

2PM – Depart KFV to Lotte Mart in Seoul Station

4PM – Arrival in Lotte Mart

5PM – Rest in Hostel

7PM – Myeongdong Shopping and Food trip again

Day 6 (Sept. 24)

10:30AM – War Memorial Museum

1PM – Korea National Museum

3PM – Lotte Mart at Seoul Station again

5PM – Depart to Incheon Airport

9PM – Flight back to MNL

Transportation:

Airfare

We booked our roundtrip tickets last February 2015 from Air Asia for P7,203 Net each using a Credit Card. I think it’s a pretty good deal even though it is a normal promo fare but you can still get a lower fare if you wait for a super low promo.

Air Asia flight to Incheon

Aboard the Air Asia flight to Incheon





Going to downtown Seoul from ICN Airport

We took the Standard Limousine Bus number 2015 for 10k KRW each going to Myeongdong. After purchasing the tickets, we proceeded to bus stop 12A and waited in line. Travel time took us about 1hr and 20minutes. It was pretty fast as there was little traffic that time. You can also opt to book in advance here in Klook by Limousine Bus ‘KAL’.

Limousine Bus going to Seoul

Inside the Limousine Bus going to downtown Seoul

Or if you’re in a hurry, you can book the Incheone Airport Express Train One Way Ticket here

Click here for more details on the Transportation going to Seoul

Click here for directions going to Zaza Backpackers Hostel! 

Click here for my review of Zaza Backpackers Hostel.

Going around Seoul

Seoul City has one of the most efficient mass transport systems in the world. You can go from one place to another in the fastest time possible. Just be prepared though that there will be lots of walking especially on train transfers. Wear a pair of comfortable shoes ideally with good foam. In preparation for this, we bought our Champion shoes at Pay Less in SM Megamall. It is cheap and has a memory foam. It did its job and our feet were well protected from lots and lots of walking (sometimes even running).

Metro Rail Seoul

Waiting for the Train to arrive

Be sure to purchase a T-Money from the convenience stores and/or vending machines. This will make your commuting more efficient and convenient. We charged our T-Money 25k KRW each with 4k KRW deposit. It was sufficient for our 6 days stay. We didn’t bother to get the M-Pass as the T-money is sufficient. Click here for more details regarding T-Money.

Also, before you aboard a train or bus, purchase a Subway Map and a Map of Seoul. These two maps are your best friends when navigating especially if you don’t plan to rent a pocket wifi or purchase a sim card. Though we have a map in our guide book that I borrowed from my office mate, we were happy that our Hostel provided us one as well as we can just fold it and slip in our bags conveniently anytime.

We were proud to say that this is the first country where we didn’t ride a taxi cab. All of the places we went to are either reached efficiently via Train and Bus or just by walking.

Going back to ICN Airport

There are lots of ways to go back to the Airport. You can take the train, bus or a taxi. We took the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) All Stop train from Seoul Station as it is much cheaper and there is just a little time difference between the All Stop and Express train. Since we refunded our T-Money in downtown Seoul, we just bought a Single Journey ticket from Seoul Station to Airport. Note that we too are in a hurry to go back to the Airport but we like to save more money and just spend the remaining KRW we had so we didn’t need to exchange our USD. All’s well that ends well, we left our Hostel at around 5PM and checked in our baggage at the airport at around 630PM. Good thing that our Hostel is just two stops to Seoul Station.

Click here for more details on transportation from downtown Seoul to ICN

Wifi Connectivity

You can rent a pocket wifi via Klook. They are offering an affordable and fast 4G Pocket wifi! Click here to book.


Klook.com

If you need a 4G LTE Sim card in Korea, you can buy one here from KKDay.

Accommodation

We booked our stay with Zaza Backpackers Hostel for 5 nights and 6 days for a total of 300k KRW (60k per night). I really liked the location as it is just a 3-5 minutes walk from Myeongdong station Exit 2 and 3 and around 10 minutes walk to Myeongdong Shopping center. Our room was really clean and the beds are comfortable but the aircon has a little drip which we just managed to put tissues to stop the dripping. The place is quiet and the staff are really helpful and friendly. They have free breakfast everyday which consists of bread (with peanut butter and jelly) and coffee. We paid cash (full stay) upon arrival. I’m not sure if they accept credit cards.

Zaza Backpackers Hostel

Zaza Backpackers Hostel was our home for 6 days.

Click here for my review of Zaza Backpackers Hostel. or book directly here in Agoda

On our return trip to Korea last December 2016, we stayed at Hotel Maui. Check our review here. For more recommended accommodations, click here or search for more hotels/hostels here.

If you wish to stay in an Airbnb room and not a member yet, register here.

TIP: Book a hotel/hostel that accepts payment upon arrival; that means no downpayment or deposit in advance. This is to make your plan flexible.

Tours

We didn’t book a single guided Tour in Korea. All of our tours are DIY and all of our tickets were purchased in the destination but if you will book a DMZ tour, then it is required to have one.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Entrance to the Gyeongbokgung Palace

Click here for our DMZ Half day tour.

For the places we went to, check our Itinerary or the Related Links below!

If you want to rent a Hanbok and wear them while touring Seoul, check out the following links below:

Bukchon Oneday Hanbok Rental Experience

Hanbok Experience in Myeongdong

Hanbok Experience at Gyeongbok-gung

Food

Check out my review of Meat-ing Korean BBQ Buffet in Hongdae!

Food in Korea is amazing but it’s not that cheap as well. Be prepared to shell out around 3k KRW to 12k KRW per meal in a restaurant. That’s around 120 PHP to 470 PHP. Street food ranges from 900 KRW to 6k KRW. The prices also differ depending on the location e.g. a skewered sausage in Myeongdong cost around 3k to 4k while in Hongdae, a University place, is just 2k to 2.5k KRW.

Of course, it also helps if you have brought your own food with you. Food that will just get you by, like when you are aboard the plane and you don’t want to buy airplane food with exorbitant prices. You can also buy sandwiches or biscuits in Supermarket or convenience stores as it is much cheaper than dining in a restaurant. It can also save time as you can just eat while walking or when you are in the metro. Also, since our hostel provides bread for breakfast, we asked them if we can just bring some bread with us instead of eating it there in the Hostel lobby. Saves us precious time and we can get our bread in our bag every time we get hungry 😛

Cold Buckwheat Noodles

Cold Buckwheat Noodles with chili sauce. Very delicious!

For a full article of our Food Adventure in Seoul, check it out here!

Learn how to cook Korean dishes by joining a class here and Kimchi making here.

Expenses Summary

Here is a summary of our Expenses in Seoul. Please note that shopping items and souvenirs were not included as this may vary per individual preferences. Food and drinks are shared between the two of us.


ExpensesKRW (per Pax)PHP (per Pax)TOTAL (2pax)Remarks
Roundtrip Air Asia fare (MNL - ICN)183815.05720314406All in and booked via Credit Card with processing fee of P480
Day 1 (Flight to ICN, Check-in Hostel, Myeongdong)
Philippine Travel Tax41341.1616203240Booo!
Terminal FeenananaNo Terminal Fee was charged
T-Money 290001136.42272.8KRW 4k Deposit per Card and 25k Load
Olleh O Pocket Wifi in KT Rental330001293.141293.14No Rental Fee charged (we have a coupon).
5k KRW per day for 6 days is 30k KRW
3k VAT
Bus from ICN to Myeongdong10000391.861783.72
Zaza Backpackers Hostel3000005877.9111755.8360k KRW per night
Food (Street food in Myeongdong,
water, banana milk, etc)
23050451.61903.23Food and drinks are shared between us
Day 2 (Dongdaemun Market, Ewha Univ., Hongdae
Yeouido Park, Hangang River Ferry Cruise)
Food (street food, Lunch, drinks)22700444.76889.52Food and drinks are shared between us
Hangang River Ferry Cruise (Live concert and Banpo
Bridge Fountain Show)
15000587.791175.58We availed the Live Concert cruise to see the Fountain Show that starts at 8PM
Take out Midnight Snack at Two Two Chicken17000333.08666.161 Box of Sweet and Spicy Chicken!
Day 3 (Gwanghwamun Square, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Dongdaemun Market, N Seoul Tower)
Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance Fee3000117.55235.11
Food (street food, lunch, dinner)25500499.62999.24Food and drinks are shared between us
Tous Le Jours Chocolate Cake5800113.63227.276" chocolate cake shared between us
Cable Car N Seoul Tower8500333.08666.16We just walked to the cable car station
Two Two Chicken and Beer19000372.26744.53There were four of us here and our total bill was 49000.
We shared 19k
Day 4 (Nami Island, Petite France,
Meat-ing BBQ Buffet)
Ticket from Yongsan station to Gapyeong station4800188.09376.18
Gapyeong Tour Bus tickets6000235.11470.23
Nami Island Entrance Fee and Ferry8000313.48626.97
Petite France Entrance Fee6000235.11470.23Originally 8k KRW but we have coupon discounts
Food (lunch, drinks)7000137.15274.30Food and drinks are shared between us
Gapyeong to Yongsan Station4800188.09376.18
Day 5 (Korean Folk Village, Lotte Mart, Myeongdong)
KFV Tickets10000391.86783.72Originally 15k but we have coupon discounts
Food (lunch, drinks)30850604.441208.89This includes a beer 😛
Day 6(War Memorial Museum, Korea National
Museum, Lotte Mart, Flight back to MNL)
Lotteria Fastfood6500127.35254.70
Tickets from Myeongdong to Seoul Station185072.49144.98
Tickets from Seoul Station to Airport2900113.63227.27
Ticket Card refund-1000-39.18-78.37There's a refund of 500 won per card
T-Money card refund-1200-47.02-94.04There's a 500 won charge per card
GRAND TOTAL823206.2123296.3845299.63

Well, not bad for a 6 days trip right? If you will exclude the Air Fare then the total pocket money (excluding shopping) is just P30893.63 for 2 persons. Then maybe just allot 10k to 15k PHP for shopping and souvenirs then you’re all good.

For our budget tips, click here!

Thanks for reading!


Related:

VISA

Guides

Accommodations

Sights

Food

He is a programmer by profession but has a soul of a traveler. Aside from his ultimate dream of travelling around the world, he loves to eat, drink, listen to music, talk about aliens and the occasional secret guilty pleasure of singing love songs in videoke. His favorite superpower is to teleport from one place to another. I guess you know why.