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!
For our 2016 winter trip to Korea, check it here!
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
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
1PM – Lunch
1:30PM – Hongdae Area
3PM – Yeouido Park
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
Day 4 (Sept. 22)
7:15AM – Depart to Nami Island
9:20AM – Arrival in Nami Island
2PM – Petite France
3PM – Depart Petite France
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Click here for my review of Zaza Backpackers Hostel. or book directly here in Agoda
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.
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.
Click here for our DMZ Half day tour.
For the places we went to, check our Itinerary or the Related Links below!
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 😛
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.
|Expenses||KRW (per Pax)||PHP (per Pax)||TOTAL (2pax)||Remarks|
|Roundtrip Air Asia fare (MNL - ICN)||183815.05||7203||14406||All in and booked via Credit Card with processing fee of P480|
|Day 1 (Flight to ICN, Check-in Hostel, Myeongdong)|
|Philippine Travel Tax||41341.16||1620||3240||Booo!|
|Terminal Fee||na||na||na||No Terminal Fee was charged|
|T-Money||29000||1136.4||2272.8||KRW 4k Deposit per Card and 25k Load|
|Olleh O Pocket Wifi in KT Rental||33000||1293.14||1293.14||No Rental Fee charged (we have a coupon).
5k KRW per day for 6 days is 30k KRW
|Bus from ICN to Myeongdong||10000||391.861||783.72|
|Zaza Backpackers Hostel||300000||5877.91||11755.83||60k KRW per night|
|Food (Street food in Myeongdong,|
water, banana milk, etc)
|23050||451.61||903.23||Food and drinks are shared between us|
|Day 2 (Dongdaemun Market, Ewha Univ., Hongdae|
Yeouido Park, Hangang River Ferry Cruise)
|Food (street food, Lunch, drinks)||22700||444.76||889.52||Food and drinks are shared between us|
|Hangang River Ferry Cruise (Live concert and Banpo|
Bridge Fountain Show)
|15000||587.79||1175.58||We availed the Live Concert cruise to see the Fountain Show that starts at 8PM|
|Take out Midnight Snack at Two Two Chicken||17000||333.08||666.16||1 Box of Sweet and Spicy Chicken!|
|Day 3 (Gwanghwamun Square, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Dongdaemun Market, N Seoul Tower)|
|Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance Fee||3000||117.55||235.11|
|Food (street food, lunch, dinner)||25500||499.62||999.24||Food and drinks are shared between us|
|Tous Le Jours Chocolate Cake||5800||113.63||227.27||6" chocolate cake shared between us|
|Cable Car N Seoul Tower||8500||333.08||666.16||We just walked to the cable car station|
|Two Two Chicken and Beer||19000||372.26||744.53||There 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 station||4800||188.09||376.18|
|Gapyeong Tour Bus tickets||6000||235.11||470.23|
|Nami Island Entrance Fee and Ferry||8000||313.48||626.97|
|Petite France Entrance Fee||6000||235.11||470.23||Originally 8k KRW but we have coupon discounts|
|Food (lunch, drinks)||7000||137.15||274.30||Food and drinks are shared between us|
|Gapyeong to Yongsan Station||4800||188.09||376.18|
|Day 5 (Korean Folk Village, Lotte Mart, Myeongdong)|
|KFV Tickets||10000||391.86||783.72||Originally 15k but we have coupon discounts|
|Food (lunch, drinks)||30850||604.44||1208.89||This includes a beer 😛|
|Day 6(War Memorial Museum, Korea National|
Museum, Lotte Mart, Flight back to MNL)
|Tickets from Myeongdong to Seoul Station||1850||72.49||144.98|
|Tickets from Seoul Station to Airport||2900||113.63||227.27|
|Ticket Card refund||-1000||-39.18||-78.37||There's a refund of 500 won per card|
|T-Money card refund||-1200||-47.02||-94.04||There's a 500 won charge per card|
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!
- South Korea DIY Trip: 6D 5N Itinerary and Expenses
- South Korea Winter Trip 7D 6N Itinerary and Expenses
- 12 Budget Tips from first timers in Seoul, Korea
- Top 10 Things to do in Seoul
- Hotel Maui DDM – New Hip Budget Hotel in Seoul
- Budget Hostel in Korea – Zaza Backpackers
- Top Seoul accommodations as recommended by travelers
- Hangang River Ferry Cruise / Yeouido Park
- Korean Folk Village; Tradition, Nature and Fun
- N Seoul Tower; A Thoughtful View of Korea
- Ewha Womans University / Sinchon / Hongdae
- Nami Island; Walking in Nature’s Art
- Petite France
- Haneul Park; From wasteland to Heaven on Earth
- Temple Hopping in Seoul; Jogyesa – Bongeunsa
- Trick Eye Museum and other quirky places
- DMZ Half Day Tour
- Meat-Ing Cheap BBQ Buffet Hongdae Korea
- Seoul Food Trip / Two Two Chicken
- Seoul Food Trip Part 2 – Winter Edition