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 a suggested 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 suggested 5D4N itinerary and 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 discounted ticket.
- 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 seasonal discount coupons (Home > Shopping > Discount Coupons).
- 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.