Korea Directory : May 2019 edition || Tips, Notes, Do's & Don'ts

Seoul, Korea

May 오월  2019
8 Days 7 Nights

Welcome! In this post, you will be able to see where I've been, how much I've spent and what are my dearest suggestions/advice for someone who's visiting Korea (specifically around April-May).

First of all, I've planned this trip a year before. I made sure I have at least RM4000-RM5000 available for my spendings in Korea aside from my flight tickets and accommodation fees (approximately RM2000). The itinerary was planned by my travel buddy and we spent a total of 8 days in Korea. We buy our own flight tickets, internet device (wifi dongle/sim card), transport fees and spent our own shopping allowances. We combine payment mostly for food and split it at the end of the day.

How much I've spent:

Air tickets (Value pack + Seat + Insurance): RM1035.79
Airbnb: RM460.13 per person
Sim card (10GB for 10 Days): RM123 + RM20 top up calls (20mins+-)
Food: RM 690
Transport: RM140
Other expenses (OE; shopping): RM3670

Total without OE: RM2534.92
Total: RM6185
*All the amount stated is just an approximate amount.


If you're interested in what I've brought back, you can check out the post below. Everything ranging from food to dog food, self-care tools to skincare products, makeup products to accessories.

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- DAY 1 -



- DAY 2 -



- DAY 3 -



- DAY 4 -


- DAY 5 -



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Lotte Mart

- DAY 6 -



- DAY 7 -



- DAY 8 -



- Flight & Upon Arrival -

Our flight was around 7-8am and we had sweet and sour chicken rice on the plane. Prior to that, we had to reach the airport around 4am, which means we had to start driving around 3am but because my travel buddy's parents volunteered to drive us, it means that I have to go to her place around 2am, which I still needed a bit more time to pack my luggage. Did I get any sleep? Not really. I tried to get sleep on the flight though but it was difficult. 

Not to mention, by the time we reached Incheon airport, it was already 5pm (it was an 8-hour flight). We went to the express train to get to Seoul Station and transit to our Airbnb. It was about 6-7pm when we reached our Airbnb. (Honestly, I'll never take 7am flights to Seoul anymore.)

Many people kept telling me that the facilities in subway station entrances and exits are not as developed, in which the majority will only have stairs and even if there's an elevator, it may be broken. I had a huge luggage bag (with another smaller one inside) so I was a little stressed out but luckily there was this baggage elevator available in the Seoul Station.

At the same time, since I am such a makeup lover, testing makeup products everywhere is a must! I had brought with me some makeup wipes just in case the shops do not supply. To my surprise, I hardly gotten to use it because most shops have sufficient cotton pads and makeup remover to use.

The trip back was definitely sad because I wished I could've stayed longer in this wonderful city. There are so many things that I wanted to do but with so little time and resources. I'm sure that one day I would be back again to enjoy this beautiful place.

Here are all our luggage! I had to drag the ones in the lighter purple luggage covers which are about 40kgs in total! Insane! I know! But it was all worth it :D

On top of that, I had backpacks on me too hehe

One last meal before we fly off as I never got to have actual kimchi soup in the city during my trip.

It's so comforting to know that they have the dish available in the airport so that travellers can have their last good meal in South Korea before flying off.

Anyways, I got my refund back and ready to fly off!

Here's my meal on the flight back. It was pretty okay.

I will forever miss my time here.

- Traveller's Notes -

I have been travelling to several places, be it with my family members or my friends. Honestly, you can use some of the notes and tips below for many countries but I'll be a tat bit specific for this post, which aims at Korea for being the travelling spot.

To be even more precise, Seoul.

So here are a few things for you to keep in mind about.

Language (Barrier)
Quite surprisingly, English is still not the main tourist language in Korea. I mean, you can definitely use English in the Ewha area, which gave me a big shock because of their fluency and accent (totes American accent). However, the most often used language is Mandarin. That's right. Mandarin.

If you are anyhow familiar with the Mandarin language, you will find yourself shopping freely in Seoul. However, if you are already living in a country full of Chinese people speaking their mother tongue (mainly in Mandarin), then Seoul will not feel like Seoul for you. Tbh, it felt like I was still at home, shopping in a Korean District and staying there for over a week. Weird.

Anyhow, I was told that Korean tourist areas are now filled with Chinese tourists and workers. You can walk into any cosmetic shop, looking confused when they approach you in the Korean language in and immediately being greeted with Mandarin. I mean, this mostly applies to Chinese-looking Asians. They will still try their best to speak in English if you look Caucasian enough. 

Other than Ewha, certain shops hired really amazing English speakers. Take Lush for an example. We went into a branch in Hongdae and we were greeted by a Korean lady who spoke perfect fluency of American English. She was very polite too. However, the chance of meeting such a fluent English speaker is still a lot lower than meeting a fluent Mandarin speaker. 

Don't fret if you can neither speak nor understand in Korean or Mandarin, just use Google Translate and they will roughly know what you mean. That was what I did in a bakery store located in the Starfield Bookstore in Coex Mall.

MAPS! (Subway and Navigating)
Travelling with maps is a common thing. However, the common app that we all use to navigate our way, Google Maps, is sadly useless in Korea. To find ways and routes in Korea, you need two specific maps: A map for you to walk and a map for you to access the underground trains.

Naver map is a must when you go to Korea. You can try using Waze but it doesn't have a 'walking' option as compared to Naver, which means you may have to follow the route where cars go (i.e.: no flexibility). Naver map shows you wherever you need to go in Korea but it has one downside: you have to know the proper spelling of the location before going. One good example would be "Egg Drop." They don't spell it as "Egg Drop" there but "Egg Deurap." Not what you would've expected eh. What I would recommend you to do is to (a) check the spelling, (b) explore the map by trying all sorts of spelling, and (c) google the spelling or just ask anybody on the street.

As for the railway map, you can try either the Subway Korea app or the KakaoMetro map. Both have a different user interface and you should try around and see which one you would prefer. Here's what sorts of functions you should look out for faster route options, clear information about which station and exit to interchange, etc.

Make sure you have the map with you before you leave your house for the airport. Always install them when you're still at home because the wifi outside is never reliable enough.

Do NOT share WiFi roamer
I always stress this out with anyone who asks about getting a WiFi roaming service or sim card in a foreign country. If you are travelling with 1 person or more, always get a separate source of WiFi and/or calling service. Before I travelled with my buddy, she insisted that we wouldn't be separated but things do happen during the trip, be it a fight or trailing off by curiosity. Never, never, assume that you guys won't be separated.

Being safe is always better than being sorry/late.

I've acquired a sim phone from Klook and while my trip was only 8 days worth in Korea, I opted for a 10-day sim card just to play it safe. It refreshes the data every 00:00 hr to 10gb so I don't have to worry about not having any data. Not to mention, an additional 20mins+- of calls was just 5000 won extra. Although I didn't get to use it, having peace of mind is still better than worrying all the time.

Get a comfortable and reliable travel buddy
A good travel buddy is important. It's so, so important. My recent travel buddy really made me think about this a lot. Not gonna throw her under the bus or something but it's extremely important to find someone that you're compatible to travel with.

It's really important because no matter how great my Korean experience was, the disagreements that I had with my travel buddy just simply lowered my enjoyment.

Travel Essentials
Back to more important info: always bring these items with you whenever you are travelling on board because you will always need them. Trust me.

Pen, tissue, towel, shower basket
Ankle guard or muscle relief
Fabric sanitiser and perfume 

- Random Photos During The Trip -

Quick selfies because I looked so good!

Convenient store food are actually very cute in packaging and tasty in taste!

Big chonky wet wipes for the win.

Compulsory taste testing.

Look at the bulk deals omg

My first hanbok experience was pretty short lived but I looked so cute!

My haullllllllll

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