Sunday, November 21, 2010

Readers' Corner: More Korea Travel Tips

Hi everyone!  You were probably expecting for a weekend food tripping post but today, it'll be for the Korean Trip post readers out there!  I am quite surprised a lot of you have booked a flight to Korea either end of this year or next year and I found overwhelming Korean Trip questions on my mailbox!  So let's put food aside for the day and let me answer queries about my Korean Trip!  Thank goodness to Mr. AMW for taking a LOT of photos that's why some answers to be the queries can be made possible with a photo to match! 

I want to thank my pretty friend Xin of Prettybeautiful for sharing me tips prior to my flight which helps so much!  *Huge Cyber Hugs* going out to you dear!

Question #1
"Do we need to apply for Korean Visas?"
AMW answers:
If you're from the Philippines and you're holding a Philippine Passport, YES, you need to apply for Korean tourist visa.  You can apply for Korean Visa without any fee if you go to the Korean Embassy by yourself. 

Embassy of the Republic of Korea
122 Upper Mckinley Road 
McKinley Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634
Tel. no: (632) 856-9210

If you prefer to have a travel agent help you out, you will have to pay travel agent fee which ranges from Php400-Php1,200.

Requirements for Philippine Passport holders:

  1. Old and new passport
  2. Application form (coming from an agency or you can choose to look for it online)
  3. 2 Passport Size Photos, White Background or you can just tell the photographer you are applying for a Korean Visa.  They know the drill!
  4. Bank Certificate to be acquired via bank within 3 months.
  5. Original ITR 
  6. Employment Certificate
  7. A copy of Marriage contract - if you are married!
For the rest of the countries, you can check if you need to apply Korean Tourist Visa or not by clicking THIS LINK and type in your country.

If unsure, you can always call in your favorite travel agency and ask for Korean Visa application and documents needed to apply.  

Question #2
"How did you book your hotel?  Is it better to book prior to departure or just look for hotels there?"

AMW answers:

 I strongly suggest you secure everything especially "accommodation" prior to your departure!  There are a lot of Hotel Services available at the airport but the rates could go higher especially during peak season.  I booked my hotel via Agoda and I like the service because they accept Paypal payments!  The deals are definitely better and I get to earn Agoda Rewards which can be used as payment on your next hotel booking! 

If I remember it right, I booked our Macau hotel via Agoda and got Agoda Rewards worth $10.00, and it was deducted on my next Korean Hotel booking, it's not a huge amount of money but it's still money! :)

There are also other online booking service available such as ---, Hotels2Stay, Expedia,, Asiarooms, Otel, etc...

Question #3
"I heard T-Money card is just like Octopus card in Hong Kong wherein you get to use it on my transportation, even convenience store!  Is it easy to purchase one?  What if I can't understand Korean?"

AMW answers: 
I have a similar concern too prior to my flight to Korea, but worry no more as they have vending machines available 24 hours for you to purchase T-Money card and they have English instructions!  Here's the gist...

On purchasing T-Money Card

1. Go to a booth similar to this one available on all Subway station.  There are 2 types of card, the regular T-Money Card and the Mini T-Money Card which is more expensive.  I opted for the regular sized card and press the card on screen.  After touching the screen with the photo of preferred card, put in money.  The card itself costs 3,000KRW (approx Php115.00/$2.70).

2. Wait for the card to come out and try not to press anything.

3. You won't miss it as they label all the areas where you are expecting for the boxed T-Money card to come out.

4. Do not forget your change if you have any!

BUT WAIT!  You're not done yet!  Never leave without loading up your card as there's no money inside once purchased!

1. Put the T-Money card on the area where there's a drawing!  The card with "drawing" is facing up.

2. Press on the amount you want to load on your card.  In my case, I don't want to keep on reloading so I chose 20,000 KRW (approx Php770.00/$18.00).

3. Pay for the amount you chose and don't worry if you put in bigger bills as the machine is smart enough to give you a change!

Note: NEVER remove or touch the card while it's loading up!  

4. This note will come out to show you that reloading is complete, you can choose to get a receipt.

5. Receipt will come out and you can opt to put the card again on the machine to check if the right amount has been loaded.  For any questions or concerns, there's always the RED BUTTON (shown on photo with yellow arrow) and ask for help!

Question #4
"How to go to Dongdaemun Shopping district?"

AMW answers:

It is not so difficult to go to Dongdaemun Shopping district because if all else fails, you can just say "Dongdaemun Shopping!" and people can help you even if they don't speak much English.

Here's how to get there:
By Bus
Destinations at Jongno 6(yuk)-ga, Cheonggye 6(yuk)-ga, and Dongdaemun History and Culsture Park.
You can click HERE for more detailed bus numbers.

By Subway
Subway – Line 1, 4 Dongdaemun Station Exit #8 or 9
On photo above, I got off Dongdaemun Station and Exit Dongdamun Shopping Complex #14

Question #5
"What are the must try restaurants?

AMW answers:
I really can't say there are must try restaurants because we just went ahead and try whatever restaurants we find nearby when we got hungry.  The trick is to always ask for the amount and not depend on photos because most photos displayed are totally different to the real food you'll be getting.  Most of the prices are for single person too so always ask and be specific before you sit, eat and get surprised with the bill!

If there are some top restaurants worth visiting, here are some photos and who knows? You may bump into them and it's tested by Mr. & Mrs. AMW and we have nothing but great experiences!

If you read about our first night in Korea, I seriously want to give Xin a huge hug for letting me know about this wonderfully tasting sandwich joint!  We were so hungry and because I got a "thumbs up" signal from Xin, our tummy were filled and it tastes wonderful!  Order MVP sandwich and you'll be ok!

Chicken Galbi Place
They serve mostly Chicken dish but they also serve other types of meat.  The restaurant offers per person rate so whatever the price is, if there's 2 of you, multiply it by 2!

This I was we were told, is like a Korean McDonald's!  You can see them everywhere!  Funny how each time we passed by a Lotteria branch, we were full.  But thank goodness, we finally had a chance to take a bite of their wonderful burgers at...

Incheon Airport
Order for No. 4 Bulgogi and Shrimp in one sandwich! It's like eating 2 sandwiches in one burger I love!

I can't read Korean but I tend to call this place Mr. Pringles because of it's drawing!  This restaurant is located at Myeong Dong area and you won't be having problems with ordering because...

You get to see the food and you can just point out what you want to eat!  I wish all restaurants are like that!

There's another one around Myeong Dong area, they serve Hotpot, Bulgogi and a lot of different dishes known on Korean Series! :)  We ordered Bibimbahp here and dumplings as it was just an afternoon snack.  Not bad!  Love the cold tea served here.

The restaurant was discovered accidentally because we were hungry for a snack, who would have thought there's a restaurant up there?  All I can read is DVD! hahaha

Why do we have to walk high and low to search for restaurants when there's one near the Hotel Ibis MyeongDong?  Love the food there and go for the unlimited beansprouts!  

I hope this post is helpful to future Korea Travelers out there!
Feel free to ask me queries and I'll try my best to "remember", trust me, it has been more than a month and I don't have a good memory! :)

Thanks Mr. AMW for all the photos!
Keep smilin'
Stay happy!


  1. and i thought i was up early, lmao.

    ey thanks for the trip, hopefully by 2011 i can go.

    even had my green passport renewed to be the e-passport already, just last friday, grabe horror story. (

    excited na ko sa food, and their train systems, can't imagine 9 lines ^_^

    thanks for sharing ^_^

  2. Aww, you're always helpful Nikki! I'll go back to this post when we'll travel next year, hopefully. :)

  3. ahhhh!! Korea!! I wish to go sometime soon!! :)

  4. love the extensive info u have! glad that i could provide some tips (issaac) *wink*

    seeing all the pics, its like deja vu!

  5. Hi Nikki! These posts have been really helpful but I kinda have a question, Would it be hard to eat there if youre a vegetarian? Because I'm going to korea next year with my sister and shes a vegetarian and last time she accidentally had some chicken broth she was sick for three days so I was just wondering otherwise the poor girl is gonna live on fruit, tea and granola bars while she looks at me because I will eat so help me god I will suff my face with korean food!
    Thanks and Hugs from Mexico-Wendy.

  6. Marge, oh no, you're up early for sure, the post was written the night before and it was scheduled! hhhahaa No worries for the tip and I hope you get to visit!

    Justine, yes, goodluck! Hope you get to visit Korea someday!

    Iyah, next trip maybe? :D

    Xin, thank you sweetie!!!! I know! When I saw Isaac! I nearly screamed! hahaha

    Wendy A. , to be honest? If I'm a vegetarian, it would be super hard to eat there because most of the food (even streetfood) have meat! Well, I'm sure you can ask someone who can write in Korean to write the term "Vegetarian" so each time you get into the restaurant, you can just show it to them and they can cook something non-meat!

  7. hi Nikki!
    Very helpful post!Thanks so much!
    This is truly a must-read!!!
    Warm regards,

  8. Glad to have come across this site! So many helpful tips which will help us maximize the trip!

    In terms of transportation, I believe the most cost effective means for a group of 4 is to take the taxi, am I right?

    Hope to hear from you.

    Thanks :)


  9. Kaye, thanks for the nice comment.

    Mia, yes! But my best tip is, before you leave the HOTEL ask the Concierge the "approximate" rate to and from hotel to whatever destination! It helps! I'm not saying ALL taxis are bad but there are some bad worms like most countries. Just check the rate! :)

  10. Thanks so much for the reply, Kaye! I appreciate it!



I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment your questions, suggestions and just anything you may want to say! Keep smiling and stay happy!