Saturday, January 26, 2019

South Korean Planning

Unlike Japan's ramped up tourist economy, before you go to South Korea however you will need to apply for a Tourist Visa if you are staying more than 90 days depending on your home country. The health shots list is pretty much the same for more most East Asian countries so nothing worry about. In this post, I will focus on Seoul for the most part and update it to include places like Busan and Jeju Island...similar to that of my Japan planning post. I'll probably add this to my other post but I think 10-12 days in a country like South Korea and Japan will allow you a good amount of time to see the top sights and also rest if you're staying in one city or region. I would not book anything until the 2nd or 3rd day of the trip it also applies to online pre-bookings. Now if accommodations have a special tour for sighting with pick up from the hotel then total recommend those on the first legs of the trip. I personally think staying in the city center of Seoul is probably the best choice.

Prepaid Cards & Transportation Passes
First, you will need one of these [cards] getting off the plane once you get into Seoul. If you have been to Tokyo, Japan or any major city with mass transit then you probably have encountered these RFID or IC cards. Both cards are available at arrival Kiosk at Airports, Train Stations, and Convenience Stores. Many cards can be used for leisure and pleasure throughout the city or country.
T-money is a rechargeable smart cards and other "smart" devices used for paying transportation fares in and around Seoul and other areas of South Korea. T money cards can be purchased at 7 Elevens and Lotte Marts branches throughout Seoul and Busan.

Seoul CityPass
This Pass can be used on the Metro Subways and Buses up to 20 times a day. The pass can allow access to the Seoul City Tour Bus. This pass has options from 1 day, 2 day (40x use) or 3 day( 60x use) pass.

Discover Seoul Pass 
Is another type of prepaid card that allows you admission to visit 30 attractions in Seoul. You can also personalize your trip. This pass is also available via the App. Options include 24h, 48h, 72h with T money functions for the card.

Korean Pass & Korean Busan Pass
Prepaid (blue) rechargeable (red) tourist cards that can be fulled up till $500 with an option for transportation function.
Korea Tour Card
This transportation and travel card and work much like the T Money Card and is available via the phone. This card can allow admissions to major theme parks and museums.
MPass
This card can be used up 7 days in both Seoul and Jeju city bus line offering 20 rides a day and can reload making interchangeable with the T Money card

Korail Pass
Korail Pass is a rail pass for foreign visitors who want to travel throughout Korea. Consecutive and Flexible passes (within 10 days) are available from 2-5 days.

Incheon Airport Services into Seoul
Airport Railroad Express (AREX) Airport Train
Nonstop to Seoul and back
Terminal 1&2

Other Transportation is Located in Terminal 1
All Stop Trains
13 Stops
Accepts Tmoney Cards and Cash

Airport Bus
Terminal 1 Arrival Hall 1F
Terminal 2 Transportation Center B1

Taxi
A great option within the city cost may vary

Car Rentals & International Driving Permit/License
Transportation Center
Companies: Avis, Europcar and Sixt
USA: https://www.dmv.org/international-driver-permits.php
AAA: https://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html

Sim cards & Pocket Wifi
I personally love pocket WiFi since my new phone I got for my trip to Tokyo it worked great for WiFi calling so I didn't need to wait to find an international phone to make important calls home. Also my carrier aloud international calling of course with fees so, I would recommend contacting your cell phone provider to see if this option is for you instead.

If you do decide to get a sim card you can get better deals outside the airport. It possible to get better rates online as well.

Apps
Check out my post for apps for Asia.

Money 

After my trip to Tokyo, I would highly recommend bringing at least $100 dollars just in case your card gets rejected overseas. Also, call your bank the morning of the flight that going your planned destination even if you told them weeks in advances. Long story short, I had to call the decline hotline the day I arrived and had to make my card decline in order for them to allow me to use them with prior notice might I add. Also, some bank cards will have two fees one for crossing borders and a transaction fee. If these fee rates are more than 3-5% then I highly recommend bring paper money with you and exchanging it. The other option is to wait for the money exchange rate to be in that range. South Korea has a tax free program like Japan, so certain locations will allow you to recoup your money. Get to your the airport 2-3 hours before your international flight because sometimes flights will come early and leave early which happened to me even though I was at the airport early.

Hotels
Top Pick Hotels

5 stars

Budget Friendly
Amass Hotel

Lux
Love Motels
First appeared in South Korea in the mid-1980s. They were originally called "Parktel" (Korean: 박텔). Their boom and growth were originally attributed to the 1988 Olympics which took place in Seoul. The hotels have historically been seen as seedy, with some residents speaking out against them and not wanting them within certain distances of schools and residential areas. However, some hotel owners have tried to remove that element from their business by upgrading, offering cleaner modern services, and removing some of the more sexual elements from their decor. They are considered a taboo topic in South Korea and a photo exhibit of love motels taken by a foreigner created a controversy in 2010.

Motel B
Time Motel
Sky Motel
Daehanjang Motel Myeongdong
A+ Motel

Seoul City Destination 

Jongno-gu | Modern City Center 
Insa-dong
Insadong Shopping District
Gyeongbukgung Palace
Cheonggyecheon Stream
Gwangjang Market
National Folk Museum
Ssamzigil (Ssamziegil) Mall
Bosingak
Mapo-gu
Hongdae / Sinchon / University district
Ewha Woman's University
Mangwon
Trickeye Museum
Deoksugung Palace

Yongsan-gu
Yongsan 2 ga-dong
Itaewon
Ntower/ N Seoul Tower/ Namsan mountain
War Memorial and Museum
National Museum of Korea 
Gahoe-dong / Samchodong (?)
Bukchon Hanok Village
Waryong-dong
Changdeokgung Palace & Garden 


Jung-gu Historical City Center District
Myeong-dong Shopping District
Lotte Mall / Mart/ World
Namdaemun Market
Seoul City Hall
Deoksugung
Seoul Museum of Art

Seosomun-dong


Gangnam-gu 
Apgujeong-dong | Sinsa-dong |
Gangnam
COEX Mall

Bongeun Temple

(Gongpyeong) Gyeonji-dong (?)
Jogyesa Buddhist Temple

Hunjeong-dong
Jongmyo Shrine
Dongdaemun-gu
Dongdaemun [Design Plaza/ (Heunginjimun)Gate/ Market]

Dongjak-gu
Noryangjin-dong
Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market

Seoul National Cemetery







Songpa-gu
Lotte World
Seoul Sports Complex
Garak Market
Tancheon
Wiryesong
Oryun-dong
Olympic Park

=============
Gangnam-gu 
Samseong 1 (il)-dong
Bongeunsa Temple
SM Town [Kpop Café]
Sinsa-dong
Garosu-gil
Line Friend store
Seocho-dong
Kakao Friends Store

Seongbuk-gu
Jeongneung-dong
Bukhansan National Park
Seongsu-dong 1(il)-ga
Seoul Forest

Jongno-gu
Gwanghwamun
Insa-dong
Poop café

Yongsan-gu
Dragon Hill Spa
Yongsandong 6(yuk)-ga
National Hangeul Museum
Iteawon 1(il)-dong
Line Friend store

Seodaemun-gu
Ewha Woman's University
Bukahyeon-dong

Seocho-gu
Express Bus Terminal
Banpo 1(il)-dong

Songpa-gu
Garak Wholesale Food Market
Munjeong-dong

Han River

Yeongdeungpo-gu
Hanhwa 63 Building
Yeoeuido-dong

Jung-gu
Pil-dong
Namsangol Hanok Village
Sogong-dong
Line Friend store
Jungnim-dong
Siloam Suana

Seodaemun-gu
Seodaemun Prison History Museum
Honjeo-dong

Dangsan 2(i)-dong
Seonyudo Park

Myeongdong 8 gil
Seoul Global Cultural Center

Gyeonggi-do
Suwon's Hwaseong Fortress

Yeouido-dong
Yeouido
KBS
MBC

Jayang 4(sa)-dong
Common Ground[커먼그라운드]

Mapu-gu
Seogyo-dong
Line Friend store

Kakao Friends Store

Other Popular Destinations in South Korea
Busan
United Nations Memorial Cemetery
Beomeosa
Dongbaekseom
Gwangalli Beach
Gwangandaegyo (Diamon Bridge)
Geumjeongsan
Igidae Coastal Walk

Jeju Island
Hallasan
Seongsan Ilchulbong
Hello Kitty Island
Hamdeok Beach
Jeolmul Forest Park
거문오름Geomun Oreum

Nami Island

Gapyeong Observatory
Hyeondeungsa

DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone)