We just got back from Korea, and I’m already thinking of going back in the winter! In the meantime, let me share with you our 5D4N itinerary to hopefully help you enjoy your trip to Korea even on a budget.
While I didn’t expect Korea to be as cheap as Taiwan, it is also not as expensive as I expected it to be. With proper planning and research, we were able to get the most out of our trip. In fact, I spent less than Php20,000.00, and that’s not even a super tipid trip!
Here’s a breakdown of our expenses per head:
*I booked 5 nights because our flight arrived at night.
- If you’re not in a hurry to get to Seoul Station from Incheon International Airport, you can take the all-stop train (blue) for only KRW4,250.00 instead of the express train (orange) for KRW8,000.00. You can also check the link on the table above to see airline alliance discounts.
- If you’re bringing USD, just change enough Won at the airport to get to your accommodation. When we arrived (September 15, 2017), the exchange rate at the airport was USD1 = KRW1,085.00. In Myeong-dong, we found the best exchange rates at the stall directly in front of the Chinese Embassy. Their rates were USD1 = KRW1,131.00 (September 16) and USD1 = KRW1,134.00 (September 19).
- If traveling with a child (below 6 years old) and/or senior citizen (65 and older), present their passports at ticket counters to avail discounts or free admission.
- Free admission to palaces (worth KRW3,000.00)
- KRW3,000.00 discount at Namsan Cable Car
- You can try on a hanbok free of charge (just for photo op, but not wear them to roam around palaces) in some places like Seoul Global Cultural Center, K-Style Hub, and at the airport.
- Register at Visit Korea website to get access to discount coupons e.g. 35% discount coupon to Trick Eye Museum and Ice Museum (max 4 people per coupon).
- I traveled with senior citizens, so we booked a private tour to Petite France and Nami Island from Klook and availed a round trip shuttle service to Everland. If you’re traveling solo or on a really tight budget, you can commute. Obviously, the travel time is longer and will take several transfers from one mode of transport to another.
- You can go to Namsan Tower by bus instead of taking the cable car for only KRW1,200 (cash)/KRW1,100 (transpo card) per way.
- Being a touristy area, street food in Myeong-dong is expensive, and in my opinion, overrated. For example, we spent KRW14,000.00 for a cup of ‘tempura’, Korean fried chicken, and 2 pieces of egg bun while a cheeseburger set and Wagyu (Wagyu!) burger set from Lotteria at the airport costs KRW15,600.00!
- Download the Subway Korea app to help you navigate Seoul’s extensive rail network. This is particularly helpful if you plan on commuting to Nami Island and Everland. I also use MAPS.ME to guide me when navigating on foot.
If you have other budget tips for traveling to Korea, please share them in the comments section below.