Korea 2015

6:48:00 PM Ashley Tok 0 Comments

Some preparation work before THE Korea Trip

1) Smart phone applications

Before my trip, I downloaded a few Seoul/Korea applications but find them quite useless except for the 2 below:

This application is good, in fact not just for Korea trip since you can just download most of the foreign languages! Do the download of the language you need while in Singapore, so that you can use the app even if you have no data connection overseas.

Input can be done via speech, written or scan a picture (most useful!). We went to the fish market and the Korean auntie just passed us the bill written in korean. Big question marks lor, we had absolutely no idea what was been charged and cant made sense of the numbers. So we just scanned the image of the bill and to our dismay, the bill was correct and we got to pay that much money lor.... =( 

This is super duper useful when you need to plan your subway/railway routes. Basically, you just indicate your departure & arrival subway, and the result will show the fare, fastest route, the exact timing of the subway/train (which I was super impressed of the accuracy) and the travelling time. I saw the local are using this application as well, so must be really useful!

And hor, you can even switch between Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju. Language wise only English, Korean and Japanese.

Similarly, this app does not require data connection to use.

2) Tourist Discounts

It pays to be "hardworking" and proven to help save money for more shopping! Do visit the official website of the places that you are going. For example, we saved 10,000 won (S$13+) each pax  from the official price of 48,000 won (S$60+) at Everland, which is freaking expensive, if not for the discount coupon. I will share more about the discount coupons as I jot down my trip. =)

3) Bring good reliable walking shoeS

Unlike Singapore, most of the subway dont have escalator and require a lot of climbing up and down staircase. To the extent, I threw away a pair of boots (wear out) and got holes in 2 pair of socks. ~_~

I climbed so much stairs until wanna cry. We suspect that the Korean have such slim legs is due to the daily stair work out since young. Who needs gym when everyday you have to climb tons of stairs in order to reach your destination. And it was super embarrassing when I was almost on fours to climb the stairs and the Korean auntie besides me just ascended the stairs like nothing. 

To add on to the stair work out, the roads are not even with lots of uphill and downhill. There was once I literally test out centre of gravity because I strongly believe I'm perpendicular to the road which seemed to be at 90 degree. I did not roll off from the road and so yes, it's the truth that CG exists!! 

4) Check the public holiday to plan your itinerary

The week that we went Korea, there was 2 PH namely Labour Day and Children Day. Sian... PH means there will be many people and also some of the venues may be closed etc. So do remember to check PH if you dont want to end up with last minutes change of plan, disappointment etc. 

When you reach Korea...

5) T-card

Buy yourself a T-card which works like our Ezlink card. I got my T-card in my trip to Korea 2 years back, which cost me $2,500 won then. still good to use. =)  

Fare wise within Seoul central area is usually 1050 won using the T-card which will be slightly cheaper compare to the single trip ticket. I also use the same card to travel between airport to Seoul station, so very convenient. 

6) Data Connection for GPS

My host at the airbnb had nicely prepared a portable Wifi connection at the apartment which we could bring along when we went out. Alternatively, I suppose you can also rent a pocket Wifi at the airport.

Although I had done a lot of research, reading through other traveller's blogs so much that I can visualized how to make our way to a certain spot, we still got lost somehow. That was when you really need your data for GPS purposes. 

Then again, do not 'trust' your portable Wifi to work everytime. Somehow, it didnt work when we went to more distanced places like Everland (2 hours subway from Seoul station) and Yangsu (1.5 hours subway from Seoul station).

But most of the cafes at Seoul do provide free Wifi, so you can always buy a drink at the cafe while you tap on the free Wifi. 

7) Travel from Incheon/Gimpo Airport to Seoul city

In my last trip, I took the Airport Shuttle Bus. which was really convenient. You can read about it here

The good thing about taking the Airport Shuttel Bus is you can sit comfortably in the coach and have your luggages and yourself 'delivered' at your hotel's doorsteps (assuming you book an hotel along the bus route), dont need to 'giap' your luggages between your legs to prevent your luggages from rolling over subway passengers' toes. =p

This time round, we took the subway via Airport Railroad Line which is about an hour journey and costs only 3,950 won (T-card). There's an alternative method via Express Train which will cost 8,000 won and 43mins travelling time.  

The two platform is opposite each other and you can buy the tickets near the platform. For more information on the express train, you can visit AREX. 

Initially, we wanted to take the express train but the last train left at 950pm and we missed the train. Anyway, it was a blessing in disguise lah, we took the normal subway which was cheaper and as it was late, the subway was actually quite empty.

Okay, I guess we are now 'ready' to go tour Korea! Next post - Hongdae/Sinchon/Ehwa District!

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