Top Tips for Travelling in South Korea

If you’ve been reading me recently, you’ll know that I went to South Korea! I had an absolutely incredible time, and definitely picked up some tips and tricks along the way. If you’re thinking of going, make sure you have a read!

Subway/public transport stops at midnight. We learnt this the hard way and had to get a cab home to our airbnb – we got there in the end but our taxi driver spoke zero English so it definitely was a mission! Although everything is open quite late, just be prepared that the subway stops at midnight. Speaking of, have your address screenshotted on a map on your phone – if I hadn’t done this who knows how we would have gotten home!

Get the subway app. This app is a lifesaver and will make your train trips so much smoother. Once you get the hang of the trains you get where you need to go a lot quicker!

Not everyone can speak English. There is some weird misconception that because everyone learns a bit of English at school, everyone can speak it. This. Is. Not. True. In touristy areas, sure, a lot of people can speak to you, but for the most part you end up communicating with pointing, looking at registers for prices, etc. A little politeness goes a long way, so learning the basics (hello, thank you, etc) really made our trip a lot better. You can see people’s eyes light up when you say thank you in their language!

You will get stared at. If you are coming from a Western country, you may not be used to this, but definitely as a couple of white girls speaking English, we had people stare at us all the time, especially in areas further out from Seoul. It’s not an issue at all as no one means any harm by it, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when travelling!

The KTX at peak hour will not reserve seats for you and you will have to stand. When we caught the KTX to Busan, we thought we had seats both there and return, but when we went to board at 5.30pm to go back to Seoul, we were told we’d have to stand in the sections between carriages. We made it work by sitting on the floor (someone near us actually stood and slept the whole time – how???), but it’s 2 & 1/2 hours that would be better of sitting through. Moral – don’t expect a seat if you’re catching the KTX at peak hour.

WiFi is pretty much everywhere, so you don’t need an international simcard. The subways, most major shopping spots, starbucks, etc – everyone has WiFi. We got on just fine with screenshotted directions, our subway map and WiFi hot spots. Save your money!

Use blogs – there are blogs on directions from/to everywhere! Any time we wanted to go and see anything (especially places related to K-pop or K-drama, specific stores, etc) we just looked up someone’s blog and found exact directions with landmarks and everything. It worked a treat for us!

 

If you’re going to see DMZ, do the JSA too. The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) is cool and all, but the really cool part is the Joint Security Area where you “technically” get to cross the border into North Korea. If you’re interested in going, make sure you book a tour (they aren’t that expensive!) and get both places in there. They take you to a whole heap of different locations and help you out with what is customary to do when visiting and facts.

Food is super cheap, so take advantage of it! Go to grocery stores and get a whole heap of snacks to try as well as eating the local food. The street food in areas like Myeongdong and Hongdae is also amazing!

Stay at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. They are really cheap (I think around AUD$250 pp for our 8 nights there) and very secure. Seoul is a very safe city and our Airbnb host made sure we felt as comfortable as possible.

Google Maps doesn’t work properly (satellites, North Korea, etc), so download Naver Map which is the Korean version of Google Maps for all your directions.

Do a layover tour! Depending on where you’re coming from, Seoul usually requires a stopover somewhere, and for us it was Beijing. For around USD$100, we got a personal driver to take us to the Great Wall of China and Tienanmen Square, because why not! Put your layovers to good use and visit another country while you’re at it.

Check out my most recent posts; October Favourites & Korea Haul!

Zoe x

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Top Tips for Travelling in South Korea

Korea Haul!

As you would know if you read me/follow my instagram/whatever, I recently went to South Korea and absolutely loved it! My bank account, however, did not love it as much because I went a bit mental on buying skincare and kpop related merch…

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I bought this bag from a market in Hongdae, it was 10,000 won (about AUD$10)

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These are clear glasses from the 8-floor Daiso in Myeongdong

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Pore strips – Daiso | All masks were samples from other stores

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CORSX Pimple Patches (from A-Land), Nexcare Pimple Patches in Kakao Friends Tin (from Olive Young)

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Brown eyeliner – Etude House, Palette from Daiso, Club Clio Prism Single Eyeshadow

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Tony Moly Blackhead Steam Balm, Etude House Lash Serum

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They had these socks in stalls everywhere for amazing prices, and I got a heap more than what is shown here – Gudetama & Totoro

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K-Pop merch – SHINee jumper & EXO The War Poster Book from SM Store at Coex Mall, BTS Wings album from market in Myeondong, BTS Jimin & V socks from markets.

I got a tonne more dumb kpop stuff (photocards, etc) but I won’t bore you with that!

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SHINee waterbottle from Coex Mall SM Cafe – 9,000 won with drink inside

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I picked up in Seoul!

Check out my most recent posts; My Week In South Korea & Overseas In-Flight Essentials!

Zoe x

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Korea Haul!

My Week In South Korea

If you’ve seen my latest posts about overseas packing, you’d know I recently spent a week and a bit in South Korea! I had an absolutely wonderful time there and loved the atmosphere of it all. We stayed in an Airbnb in Seoul, with day trips to Busan and the DMZ/JSA, as well as a quick tour of Beijing during our layover on the way home. If you like bustling Asian cities, full of culture, shopping, entertainment and incredible food, put Seoul on your travel bucket list. It was the best place I’ve ever visited 🙂

I will also be doing a post with all my top tips as a foreigner travelling through South Korea, so if you’re interested in going, hold tight for that post!

Myeongdong – Shopping District

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IMG_3334.JPGSeoul Forest

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Namsan Tower – Near Myeongdong

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Gangnam/Coex Mall – K-Pop Comapny Buildings, SM Town, Road of K-Pop band ‘bears’

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Busan – Coastal City

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Here we are on the KTX to Busan – if you’ve seen the movie ‘Train to Busan’, you’ll know why we were so excited to get on this train hahaha

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Museum of Korea

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NOT PICTURED – Itaewon – Cultural/Foreigner District; Hongdae – Youth Area/Shopping District

Lotte World – Huge Indoor Themepark

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DMZ/JSA/North Korea – Demilitarised Zone (2km from North Korean border), Joint Security Area, “technically” crossing the border into North Korea – blue room photo

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Cheonggyecheon River – Light Installations

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Dongdaemun Plaza – LED Roses

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NOT PICTURED – Epik High – South Korean Hip-Hop/Rap Group Concert

Beijing – Great Wall & Tianamen Square

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Hope you enjoyed a taste of my amazing trip!

Check out my most recent posts; Overseas In-Flight Essentials & Packing For An Overseas Trip

Zoe x

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My Week In South Korea

Overseas In-Flight Essentials

As you’ll know if you read my last post – Packing For An Overseas Trip –  as you’re reading this I will be in South Korea! Today, I thought I’d share my in-flight essentials for a long haul flight, which, let’s be real, is any flight out of Australia, so I’ve got this pretty much down pat.

Backpack
Take a backpack as carry on. Don’t bother with a small suitcase unless you absolutely need it and forget your handbag. Backpacks are lighter as they distribute weight more evenly, are easily accessible in flight as you can have them by your feet, hold a lot and keep your hands free. My canvas bag is from Miniso and I really love it. You can also use your backpack as a day bag when you are overseas too!

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Emergency Kit
I always take a small bag with essentials in it for the flight, which include face wipes, a hydrating mist, lipbalm, hand cream, hand sanitiser, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, any medication I might need and painkillers. You’ll never know when you’re going to want or need these things so it’s just easier to have them on you! I also take all the liquids mentioned in a clear bag so I can easily pull it out at customs.

Eye Mask
To make sure you get some sleep, pack an eye mask. You may get annoyed by lights or the entertainment so just throw one in and guarantee yourself a good rest.

2 x Headphones
I get really sore ears after wearing earbuds for a long time, so I always pack headphones as well. This way I can cancel out sound and switch between the pairs so I’m ready for anything. Sounds extra, but especially on a red-eye flight it is super essential.

Entertainment
I like to take my tablet on board with enough music, movies, games and books to keep me occupied for the whole flight. I also bring a portable charger with me to keep me going. Some of my fave in-flight apps are sudoku, temple run, puzzles, crosswords and sketchbooks.

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Blow Up Head Pillow
You can get these from anywhere (mine is from Miniso) and they crumple into nothing but will save your life on a flight. Having a pillow is just such a crucial part of having a good sleep, so if you can fit one in your bag, why not?

Warm Socks
Planes get super cold so keep yourself warm and comfy with a pair of woollen socks.

Change of Underwear
You just never know! You’d rather carry it and not need it than need it and not have it!

Wallet for Travel Documents
Have a pouch to chuck your passport and tickets in so they’re all in one place. Instead of rummaging through your bag for the document you need, it will always be in one place.

Notebook & Pen
For thoughts, notes and important information, it’s always handy to have a notebook and crucial to have a pen. There are always forms you need to fill out so it just makes sense to have a couple on you!

Water Bottle
Save yourself some money and bring a cheap, plastic water bottle (1L or more) from outside the airport and go through customs with it empty. They charge a fortune for water at airports so you can just bring your own and refill it!

What do you bring on overseas flights?

 

Check out my most recent posts; Preparing For A Big Event & My Apartment Tour!

Zoe x

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Overseas In-Flight Essentials

Packing For An Overseas Trip

As you’re reading this I will be in South Korea! I have always wanted to go to South Korea and I am beyond excited that I can finally cross it off my bucket list. Get ready for a haul and some travel posts!

I thought I would put together a quick post on how to pack for an overseas trip, as even if you are a seasoned veteran, a few tips never hurt!

List
Having a packing list is SO important – this way you don’t just pack whatever you feel like and end up somewhere without your underwear (it’s happened before). Also, it helps you organise what you need to get ready and wash for when you need to pack it and generally takes the stress away. I like to organise my lists into categories for carry on, other luggage and within that clothes, accessories and toiletries.

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Packing Cubes
You can fit SO much into packing cubes – they are definitely worth the investment (not that they’re expensive anyway!). I use mine for underwear and so separate areas of my suitcase, which also means things are so much easier to find once you reach your destination.

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Plan Outfits
This may not apply to everyone, but as I know what I’m doing each day I have planned my outfit accordingly. This is of course subject to change, but at least I have a rough idea of what will suit the day’s activity, what will look good and then I know how much I need to pack.

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Wear Neutrals
Following on from the above, wearing only one colour scheme is essential for me. I tend to go quite monochromatic so I know that if I do mix and match my outfits it won’t matter because everything looks good together.

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One Outerwear
Especially for travelling to colder places I only ever pack one piece of outerwear and layer underneath. I have this coat I borrowed from a friend and I won’t take any other big jackets. I’ll layer singlets, tops, jumpers/cardigans underneath, but there is no point taking 3 coats as they take up so much room in your suitcase. A black/neutral coat will also go with any outfit.

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Bags for Dirty Clothes
I have separate bags for shoes and I always take cloth and plastic bags for dirty clothes. Especially if you’re moving around a lot, this helps segregate what needs to be washed and what you can wear. This takes a lot of stress out of your days and also keeps your clean clothes nice and fresh.

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Powerboard
If you’re going to a place with a different power socket than your own, take your travel adaptor and pack a powerboard. That way you can charge a heap of things at once and you aren’t fighting with people over one adaptor. This tip definitely is worth remembering as powerboards take up no room!

What are your tips for packing for an overseas trip?

Check out my most recent posts; Preparing For A Big Event & My Apartment Tour!

Zoe x

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Packing For An Overseas Trip