for first-time travelers
Wednesday 20 April 2016 - Wednesday 27 April 2016
This is Part 3 of my SK series.
More than a month after I got my visa, my much awaited fan-girling and Korean Invasion has come!
I want to share some tips that might be helpful for first time travelers to South Korea.
1. Bring a pen.
This comes handy as you will need to fill-up departure card, arrival card and customs declaration form. During this trip, there was a girl who obviously was waiting for me to finish filling up my departure card so she can borrow my pen. Good thing I carry a couple of pens with me every time I go abroad so I gave her one and told her to keep it as she will need it once she arrives to her destination ***good Samaritan, eh?
Another time-saving tip: fill-up these two forms as soon as it is handed to you by the cabin crew.
SK arrival card
2. Stand near the train doors.
Depending on the airline and gate assignment, you might need to use the transfer train from the gate to arrival hall. Standing near the door gives you the chance to dash your way to the immigration line and be the first one to be cleared. Bear in mind that immigration lines can get crowded since there are a lot of travelers arriving in Incheon. It took me about 45 minutes to complete custom formalities.
This is the Korean version of Hong Kong's Octopus card and London's Oyster card. I bought mine in one of the convenience stores located in the arrival hall for KRW2500 roughly around PHP100. You can also purchase credits on the same store. T-moneys are reloadable on subway stations and convenience stores bearing the T-Money logo.
I mainly used T-Money for subway and bus transportation in Seoul and Busan.
Airport Express (express train and all-stop train) runs from ICN airport to Seoul station. Travel time is around 1 hour. The Express train costs KRW14800 (roughly PHP592) while All Stop Train costs KRW4250 (roughly PHP170). Being the stingy traveler as I am, I took the all-stop train. Difference in travel time is only 13minutes. From the arrival hall, just follow the signs going to the correct train platform.
From L to R: Arrival Hall to AREX; inside AREX all-stop train; outside Seoul Station
5. Keep your sanity. Install the Subway Map in your smart phone.
There are English versions you can download via iOS and Play Store. It will give you information regarding train schedules, fares, line transfers, station information, etc. Again, you may want to save your self from wasting time, fare and time. Some areas of interests in Seoul are reachable using subway.
Seoul Subway Map
There is also a Busan Subway Map you can download if you plan to visit this another interesting city.
6. Subway Lockers.
Since I used CouchSurfing on this trip and my host will be available in the evening, I didn't want to waste time waiting so I decided to use one of the lockers in Seoul Station so I can start roaming around the city . Depending on the locker size, keeping your bags will cost around KRW2000 to KRW3000 (PHP80 to PHP120). It s very simple to use. Just choose which box number you would like to use, select method of payment ( I used cash but they also accept T-Money), it will ask you for fingerprints, then print out a receipt with the locker information. It will automatically open and lock once you close the locker door.
To retrieve your luggage, just select the locker number, system will ask for your fingerprints and will open the locker automatically.
7. Conversion computation.
Korean Won can be confusing because of the denomination. Simple computation I learned is to remove the last 2 digits then multiply the remaining into 4.
KRW 12500 to PHP
Remove the last 2 digits: 125
Then, multiply the remaining numbers to 4: 125 x 4
Equivalent to PHP: 500
XE conversion as of writing (June 20, 2016): KRW12500 = PHP495.868
These are just some of my tips that might help you on your first time to South Korea.