It was beyond magical. Imagine a setting where scenic, flamboyant trees with quaint leaves of green, yellow, red and orange colors are found everywhere; where the glory of the sun reaches you, supplemented by the chill atmosphere—that kind of sunny where you still have to wear warm clothes to keep you cozy; where everything is worth appreciating, and you just want to reach out and grab everything that your eyes can see—that’s Seoul, Korea in the Autumn.
My trip to Seoul, Korea is one of the most enchanting ones I’ve had to date. Every moment was unexplainably overwhelming. Every attraction I visited, every scenery I witnessed, every place I explored, is surreal. Kakaiba sa feeling. It gives you that romantic, comforting, and heartwarming sensation that only you and Seoul’s surroundings can understand. Seoul is indeed special. It’s more than what you see on Korean Dramas. It’s more than what you see on Facebook or in magazines. And yes, it’s only up to you to prove it to yourself. You have to experience it personally. Game?
Pre Travel Guide
Where to book flights?
My forever go to platform on finding the cheapest flight is Skyscanner. Personally speaking, their system is the most efficient! They can already take care a lot of legwork for you: just key in the destinations you want to explore, then they can already provide you the most affordable flight that you can get—they will even provide you the month where you can score the cheapest flight. They also provide you a range of airlines/travel agencies that will fit your preference. More info: www.skyscanner.com.ph
- There are several airlines flying to Seoul, Korea within Southeast Asia. However, if you’re coming from Manila, one of the cheapest plane tickets are sold by Cebu Pacific Airlines. The airlines offers affordable direct flights from Manila to Seoul. [ Book your flights here: Cebu Pacific Official Website ]
- If you do not prefer low-cost carriers, you may book your flight with Philippine Airlines (PAL). Accessing Seoul is made easier with Philippine Airlines‘ daily flights. [ You may book your flights now at Philippine Airlines Official Website]
- Visit their websites regularly to keep yourself updated about their promos and discounts.
- Like their Facebook Pages to be updated. (You can also use the “See First” option for higher chances of being the first to know about their promos.)
Where to get cheap tours?
Based on my experience, I highly recommend you to book discounted tours for your trip to Seoul, Korea from KLOOK in order to enjoy a hassle-free and cheap way of exploring the country.
Recommended Activities/ Tours:
Do we need Korean Visa?
For Philippine Passport Holders, we are required to apply for a Single OR Multiple Entry Visa in order for us to enter Korea. Personally speaking, applying for a Korean Visa is really easy—all you have to do is submit all the requirements in an effective and efficient manner, and you’re good to go!
Read More: Steps On HOW TO APPLY For A SOUTH KOREA Visa
How to get around?
You can never have a hard time getting around Seoul as this city has an effective and efficient transportation system. During our trip, we made use of their competent subway system, as we find it very easy and trouble-free to utilize. In fact, their subway is the third largest in the world! The subway stations are open from 5:30AM until midnight where trains are operating non-stop. Almost every spot in this city is easily accessible via their subway
How to use the subway system?
- Before anything else, I am encouraging you to download a very useful app called Kakao Metro. This app will help you choose the quickest and most recommended route that you can take to reach your destination. It will also give you helpful information such as the estimated travel time, the number of stops, and the fare. It is quite easy to use—all you have to do is key in your station of origin and your destination station.
- The metro station has 18 lines with hundreds of stations. All subway lines are color coded which makes it easier for you to differentiate each other. Single or Multiple Journey Pass can be purchased on each station, and will require you a 500 won deposit which you can refund when the card is returned
- T Money Card: This card is a stored value card, to which can be compared to our own version, the Beep Card. This can be used when riding the Subway, Public Buses, Taxis and even purchasing in convenience stores. This card will let you save 100 won per ride, and is pretty convenient since you don’t have to purchase a ticket every single time. This card can be purchased on convenient stores in the airport.
Where to stay?
As a budget traveler, I always make it to a point that the accommodation I am checking in is budget-friendly and is close as possible to public transportation. Gratefully, I found a perfect one!
- Name: Patio 59 Hongdae
- Address: 3F, 125, Donggyo-ro, Mapo-gu, Mapo-Gu, 04002 Seoul, South Korea
- Budget: 2109PHP / 2 PAX – Private Room with breakfast
- Access: 10 minutes away from Mangwon Subway Station (Line 6) and Hongik University Subway Station (Line 2, Airport Railroad and Gyeongui-Jungang Line)
- Access Seoul City from Incheon Airport:
- The fastest option: The Airport Railroad Express (AREX) Train
- Reserve your seats here + cheapest (discounted) rate: The Airport Railroad Express (AREX) Train
- This option will transport you to downtown Seoul (Seoul Station) without any station stops, and will only take you in exactly 43 minutes! It costs 6400 won (Approx. 320 PHP) per way.
- The cheapest option. AREX ALL STOP Train.
- You can purchase tickets at the station and costs only 4250 won (212 PHP) per way.
- It’s 15 minutes slower, which will take you 58 minutes till you reach Seoul Station, as it stops at all 12 stations before reaching the end.
- The fastest option: The Airport Railroad Express (AREX) Train
- Wifi Connection is a MUST: 4g Wifi
- Stay connected in Korea to access useful applications such as Subway Korea, Google Maps, Google Translate App. This app can connect up to 5 devices on the same pocket WiFi. It has a wide coverage area with speeds up to 100 Mbps
- Get free access to a selection of 55 tourist attractions: Discover Seoul Pass
- Traveling to more than ONE city in Korea: Korea Rail Pass
Money Saving Tips:
- Buy your meal in a convenient store
- Family Mart, 7 Eleven and other convenient stores in Seoul has cheap meals (averaging at 800- 3000 won) that you can purchase
- What I usually buy from the store is kimbaps–rice filled with vegetables and meat and is rolled in sheets of seaweed which is already enough to get an average tummy satisfied. It usually costs at around 900 won (42 PHP,) or 3000 won (140 PHP) in restaurants. Imagine the savings you can get!
- Stay in hostels
- If you’re looking for affordable accommodation, hostels are the best option! It can totally save you money instead of checking in a hotel. Do make sure that the hostel you’re checking in has a good location, one that’s near to a public transportation area to also save you money from commuting.
- If possible, opt to walk than ride
- Seoul is an extremely walkable city. Streets are very friendly to pedestrians; there is a lot of pedestrian lanes; street signs are available everywhere; sometimes, attractions in the city are close to each other.
- Get a T-Money card
- As mentioned earlier, save 100 won (5 PHP) on each ride you take in the subway station.
DAY 1- Arrival ; Everland
Arrival in the Airport & Check in the Hotel: We immediately claimed our KLOOK vouchers (4g Wifi & Discover Seoul Pass) in the Airport. The airport is around an hour away from Seoul city so we decided to take the The Airport Railroad Express (AREX) Train for a fast and convenient way to reach downtown Seoul. Our day isn’t that packed since there were room for familiarizing the system around the city (e.g. transportation system, access to the subways from our hostel, etc.) What made our day complete was our Everland experience:
If you’re in search for Korea’s happiest place, then Everland is the perfect place to be. There’s nothing more fun than spending a day in the country’s largest and most exciting theme park! Fill your day with thrill and enjoyment as amusing rides are all there for you to enjoy. Skipping Everland is like skipping a huge part of your Seoul trip.
- Get your discounted (cheapest) tickets here: Everland Ticket
- Access: Located at Jeondae Everland Station on the Yongin Ever Line. Transfer to the Yongin Ever Line at Gilheung Station on the Bundang Line
- Possible Expenses: Subway Fee: 3350 won (156 PHP) ; Entrance Fee: 30,000 won (1500 PHP)
Total Expense: Day 1
- The Airport Railroad Express (AREX) Train (From airport to City): 256PHP
- Subway to/ from Everland: 6,700 Won (335 PHP)
- Food: Est. 12,000 Won (600 PHP)
- Everland Ticket: 30,000 Won (1,500 PHP)
- T O T A L: 2,691 PHP
DAY 2- Nami Island, and The Garden of the Morning Calm
This day is dedicated to exploring Nami Island and its nearby attractions. It’s that time of the day where we have to detach ourselves from the bustle of Seoul City, and embrace the beauty of nature.
How to get there?
Avail a Tour Package from Klook: 3500 PHP
Availing Klook’s Nami Island, Garden of the Morning Calm & Petite France TOUR will give you a fun and stress-free trip! This tour package already includes everything: RT transfers, entrance fees, tour guide fee and the like.
- Ride the subway station and drop off Gapyeong Station
- From Gapyeong Station, avail the Gapyeong City Bus Tour (6000 won / 300 PHP.) It is a whole day unlimited bus ride to the attractions in Gapyeong- which already includes Nami Island, Garden of the Morning Calm, Petite France and Gangchon Rail Bike (Entrance Fee is not included.)
- Plan your own itinerary from that point
- Important Notes:
- Entrance Fees: Nami Island- 13000 won (650 PHP); Garden of the Morning Calm -9500 won (475 PHP)
- Subway Fee (One Way): 2250 Won (113 PHP)
- Gapyeong City Bus Tour: 6000 Won (280 PHP)
If you’re into experiencing dream-like places, Nami Island is the perfect one. With its enchanting tree-lined avenues, riverside walks, picturesque scenery, you will absolutely feel as if you’re in a magical paradise. Not to mention how this scenery gets better and more fairytale-like during Autumn! This place is surreal!
Garden of the Morning Calm
Imagine a scenery of flowers—those that will instantly catch your breath, a beautifully manicured grass—those that will let you sink right into it, trees reaching the sky—those that will let your imagination float like heavens; and a breathtaking backdrop of lush mountains and abundant greeneries—bizarre, isn’t it? That’s Garden of the morning calm.
Petite France (Optional)
A small, outlandish French-inspired village which will give you that captivating vibe as multicolored French style houses are complemented by the overlooking vast greeneries and landscape that can be found just around the corners of this place. You will definitely feel as if you’re teleported to the country of France!
Total Expense: Day 2
- Subway Fees: 4500 Won (225 PHP)
- Gapyeong City Bus Tour: 6000 Won (300 PHP)
- Entrance Fees:
- Nami Island: 13000 Won (650 PHP)
- Garden of the Morning Calm: 9500 Won (460 PHP)
- Food: Est. 13,000 Won (650 PHP)
- T O T A L: 1,635 PHP
DAY 3- Haneul Park & Myeongdong Shopping Street
Having the highest elevation of the 5 World Cup Parks, Haneul Park promises a great view of Seoul City including its top attractions: N Seoul Tower, Bukhansan Mountain, and Hangang River, which will leave you speechless and amazed. Moreover, it also guarantees a unique and breathtaking landscape which consists of a vast grassland covered with silver grasses (during Autumn.) It was magical beyond words.
- Information: There is no entrance fee if you’ll take the stairway and climb approximately 291 stairs (It’s not that bad!) Alternatively, you can take a shuttle from the parking lot area for 3000 won (140 PHP.)
- Access: World Cup Stadium Station (Seoul Subway Line 6.) Take Exit 1. From Exit 1, walk towards the park for approx.. 10 minutes.
- Possible Expenses: Subway Fee: 1250 won (58PHP) ; Shuttle Bus Fee: 3000 won (140php; Optional)
Shopping: Myeongdong Shopping Street
Myeongdong Shopping Street is one of the most popular shopping districts in the city. It is known as a skin care haven as different beauty brands are within reach on each corner. There are also other shops that sell Korean style apparels aside from beauty products. Additionally, you can also have your ultimate Korean Food trip as there are numerous street foods that are sold on the sidewalks. The street is huge, hence, you won’t get tired of looking around to shop!
- Access: Myeongdong Station, Exit 5, 6, 7, or 8; Alight at Euljiro 1 (ij-ga) Station, Exit 5 or 6
- Possible Expenses: Subway Fee: 1250 Won (58PHP) + Subway Fee from Myeongdong Station to Hongik Univ. Station (Hostel): 1350 Won (63 PHP)
Total Expense: Day 3
- Train to World Cup Stadium: 1350 Won (68 PHP)
- Train to Myeongdong Station: 1350 Won (68 PHP)
- Train back to the hotel: 1350 Won (68 PHP)
- Food: Est. 13,000 Won (650 PHP)
- Shopping Expense
- T O T A L: 854 PHP
DAY 4- Discover Seoul Pass (City Tour)
About Discover Seoul Pass: I see this card as one of the most essential and useful passes during our travel to Seoul. This pass serves as an attraction and transportation pass, all in one card. It gives you access to 55 different attractions in Seoul, including the top ones! From historical sites, to cultural locations, amusement parks, and many more, Discover Seoul Pass got you covered. Moreover, it can also be used as a transportation card where you can load it with T-money and use it on riding the Subway, Public Buses, and Taxis.
Where to buy: Discover Seoul Pass Ticket
What places we visited under the Discover Seoul Pass (With its original price):
- HANBOKNAM (Hanbok Rental Activity): 934 PHP
- Gyeongbokgung Palace: 3,000 Won (150 PHP)
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art: 4,000 Won (200 PHP)
- Changdeokgung Palace: 3,000 Won (150 PHP)
- Changgyeonggung Palace: 1, 000 Won (50 PHP)
- TESEUM SEOUL, Teddy Bear Museum: 13,000 PHP (650 PHP)
- Namsan Seoul Tower Hanbok Experience Center: 842 PHP
- N Seoul Tower (Observatory): 455 PHP
- Airport Railroad (AREX): 364 PHP
- TOTAL ORIGINAL PRICE: 3,795 PHP
- Discover Seoul Pass Ticket PRICE: 1,641 PHP
- Save up to 2,154 PHP!!! (3,795 PHP – 1,641 PHP)
- 8:00AM: Bukchon Hanok Village
- 8:30AM: Hanboknam (Rent a Hanbok for 3 hours)
- 9:00AM: Gyeongbokgung Palace
- 10:00AM: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
- 11:00AM: Changdeokgung Palace
- 11:30AM: Changgyeonggung Palace
- 12:30PM: Lunch
- 2:00PM: TESEUM SEOUL: Teddy Bear Museum
- 4:00PM: Off to Namsam Seoul Tower
- 5:00PM: Namsan Seoul Tower Hanbok Experience Center
- 5:30PM: N’Seoul Tower (Observatory)
- 9:00PM: AREX (Off to the Airport)
Overview of some of the places we visited:
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is a place wherein you will be transported to the old era of Korea. Traditional houses, called hanok are everywhere. These hanoks are operating as cafes, shops, museums, and the like. So if you’re into shopping/chilling while sightseeing, this village is the one for you!
- Access: Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit 5 or Anguk Station, Exit 3 (Seoul Subway Line 3), then walk a few meters away
- Possible Expenses: Subway Fee: 1350 Won (63PHP); Entrance Fee: None
Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the most iconic places in Korea as a significant history took place in this palace. It has a huge area where a number of noteworthy structures can be found inside the compound. You can even catch a ceremony called Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, which serves as its main attraction where a performance of changing of guards in fine-looking, traditional costumes at the main gate of the Palace is held.
- Information: For schedule, free tours, more information about the place, visit: www.royalpalace.go.kr. People who are wearing the Hanbok Costume can enter the palace without paying the Entrance Fee.
- Opening hours: November-February 09:00-17:00 ; March-May 09:00-18:00 ; June-August 09:00-18:30 ; September-October 09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hr before closing)
Next to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace is the second royal villa built in 1405. It serves as the main palace of the significant kings in Korea, and is the most well-preserved palace among the five royal Joseon palaces. What more is that this palace is also home to a huge tree that is over 300 years old, peacefully lying in its serene garden.
- Information: Operating Hours: Feb-May, Sep-Oct 09:00-18:00 ; Jun-Aug 09:00-18:30 ; Nov-Jan 09:00-17:30 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing )
Located at the east of the primary palace of Gyeongbokgung, and is connected with Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace is home of the oldest main hall of any palace, Myeongjeongjeon. This serves as a place where the state affairs were held, such as meetings with officials and the reception of foreign envoys. Comparing it to the other palaces, Changgyeonggung Palace is actually smaller and simpler—but it has its own aura that you can truly appreciate.
- Information: Operating Hours: Feb-May, Sep-Oct: 09:00~ 18:00 ; Jun-Aug: 09:00 ~ 18:30 ; Nov-Jan: 09:00 ~ 17:30 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing )
Namsan Tower / N Seoul Tower
Representing Korea’s most famous landmark and the 5th tallest tower in the world, N Seoul Tower or also called Namsan Tower, is something you must not miss in your itinerary. Standing at 236.7 meters tall on top of Namsan Mountain which is already 243 meters tall, this tower offers you a great way to appreciate the entire city as it gives you a 360 view of Seoul. Besides the observatory, the tower also has a part where love locks are placed at every corner of the place. It’s located at the roof terraces where wooden fences are placed on the sides where the love locks are attached. Talk about a romantic atmosphere.
- Access: Chungmuro Station, Exit 2. From Exit 2, ride the Namsan Sunhwan Shuttle Bus No. 2 and drop off at N Seoul Tower. From the drop off point, walk towards the tower.
- Possible Expenses: Subway Fee: 1350 Won (63PHP) , Bus Fee: 2400 won (Roundtrip; 112PHP)
Total Expense: Day 4
- Transportation: Estimated 7,800 Won (390 PHP)
- Discover Seoul Pass (1 Day Pass): 1,635 PHP
- Food: 20,000 Won (1,000PHP)
- T O T A L: 3,025 PHP
- Accommodation: 3,164 PHP for 3 Nights
- Wifi Rental: 524 PHP for 4 Days
DAY 1: 2,691 PHP
DAY 2: 1,635 PHP
DAY 3: 854 PHP
DAY 4: 3,025 PHP
TOTAL: 11, 893 PHP
This is unbelievable! You can already explore Seoul for a budget of 11, 893 PH! It’s that cheap! All you have to do is manage your money very wisely. Make it to a point that all your expenses have to be worthy. Yep, we totally enjoyed this magical city for only 11, 893 PHP. I know you could too!
It’s now the time to tick off Seoul, Korea on your bucket list!