One of the biggest challenges to go to Korea without a tour is how to navigate your way around. However with plenty of early research I don't think it is super hard but can be quite an adventure in my opinion. Second thing is price - the accommodations, the flight - is it going to cost you a bomb? Actually no. This is my budget version of travelling in Korea/
Korea- How to get there?
Thanks to my new obsession of K-POP, I had to fly to S.Korea for a holiday. Hoping to see Lee Min Ho, 2PM, CNBlue, Song Ji Hyo and the Running Man crew, flying to S.Korea now is not quite difficult but can be a bit pricey. So how do you get there - By plane of course! There are now many choices to fly to S.Korea, you can take Air Asia X or MAS. But here's a tip; try during Matta fair - MAS offer's really good prices in more comfy seats. I got mine for about RM800 ( Return ) + taxes and all- I paid about RM1.2K for my trip. *Daebak* However I do say i have preference for Mas due to comfort.
Did I meet any K-POP or K-DRAMA stars?
|The nearest I got to a KPOP star... Hello Nickhun and.. the other guy...|
Where do you stay?
Good areas to stay are in near Insadong - i found 2-3 budget hotels that are decent, Hongdae, Edae and Hyewha area - where plenty of motels are located.
Will provide some links in the next write up ...
Is there a language issue in getting around?
Not really though. But i did have some fear before i left of getting completely lost in Seoul. Most major transportation have English signs and each train stop the announcer gleefully announces the station in English .Taxi may be a problem getting around though, most taxi drivers speak Korean only. And it helps to have the directions written in Korean. However there are translation services available if you need to take cabs plastered all over the cabs. ( Taxis are pricey by the way ).
For shopping, most people understand the universal finger connotation for 1, 2 or 3. :) However, if it is much more complicated then it might a bit duck and chicken talking. People understood my Yea, or Aniayo ( No ) quite well though.
Amount of Travel time needed?
If you are just going around Seoul, best to get 8-9 days. Travel time between towns take a bit of time and Seoul itself is so large to explore. I haven't even finish it yet. So if you plan to go down to Busan and what not, you need a good 10-14 days to enjoy the trip.
I love to travel on my own, if the country is relatively safe to do so. And after travelling in Japan for many years, Korea was my next choice. For one, 2012 was actually Visit Korea year, and it was quite a good time to travel. My initial fear in travelling in Korea was the language but actually turns out it is quite easy to manipulate my way around with minimal issues. I did get lost though on my first day, missed a station ended up a bit panicky!
Day 1 - SeoulIncheon airport was large and overwhelming. However a lot of earlier research and i found my Bus Counters and got the bus that drops me off near Sungkyungkwan University. The first day in Seoul ... was rainy. Wet, Rainy and just wishing I had bought Rain boots. -_-. Supposed to be the end of Spring and start of Summer but it was cold. And wet. After depositing my stuff, i headed to Cafe Bene for a warm up drink and sample Waffles. It's the in thing in Korea :) How i wish there was coffee shop with waffles in KL. Taste wise, it's al-right, I should have gotten the Expresso instead but the waffles was to die for.
At that time when i was there, salty caramel was a big hit so I took a salty caramel. In Korea a lot of things are self serve. They give you this UFO like thing you see in Snowflake that beeps loudly when your drink + waffle is ready. Cool or what. And I impressed that it is ready by the time it beeps.
Will blog more about the rather wet trip in Myeondong. Ah... lucky I brought umbrella.