Vacation in South Korea

Last October 7 to 10, 2011, I was given a chance to visit South Korea. I was able to see a glimpse of Seoul, Busan (Pusan), and Daegu. I will share our planned and actual itinerary, budget and actual spending, places I suggest you see based on what I saw, and food to try. For this vacation, I was with current and former office mates.

Day 1 - October 7, 2011
Our flight with Cebu Pacific departed Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Manila, the Philippines bound for Gimhae International Airport, Busan (Pusan), South Korea and was 15 minutes delayed. I would say that as compared to my flights with Philippine Airlines (PAL) during my US and Hong Kong trip, CebuPac was way far better even if there are delays. We left at around 4:30 pm and arrived in Busan at 9:30 pm because of the time difference. It seems that the flight is 5 hours long, even if it was only 4 hours! Oh, before I forget I highly recommend the Ham and Cheese Croissant for P100.

Upon arrival at Busan, the cold wind was just amazing. Carrying our US Dollars, there is available Currency Exchange in the airport (US Dollars and Philippine Peso to South Korean Won). We rode two trains and walked the street of Busan near the Busan KTX Station to look for the Busan Inn Motel. It was a clean and decent place to stay for the night for an affordable price. We had dinner in Lotteria (their version of Jollibee) and purchased some things in Family Mart (convenience store). We called it a night around 1 in the morning after budgeting our money.

Day 2 - October 8, 2011

We left the motel at around 9 am and walk for approximately 2-minutes with our luggage to the Busan KTX Station which is their bullet train that would bring us to Seoul. It seems that the 9:30 train is already full we have to wait for the next available trip at 12:30 pm. We had lunch in the food court and walk around the station where stores are open. After the long wait, our train going to Seoul is leaving. It took around 3-hours to reach Seoul, South Korea.

Busan KTX Station

We purchased T-Money (re-loadable train ticket for the subways of Seoul) and went to our Guesthouse (which is a condo unit) practically connected to the Hongik University station in Line 2. After around an hour to get rested we went straight to Lotte World and had heart-stopping moments in the Gyro Drop, Giant Loop, and the French Revolution. After that, we went back to the Hongik University to have dinner in Hoolala and saw Seoul nightlife. At around 2 am, we called it a night and tried to get some shut-eye.

Day 3 - October 9, 2011
We left our guesthouse at around 10 am to the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

One area of the massive compound of Gyeongbokgung Palace

It was such a tiring long walk! We had lunch at around 3 pm in this pasta place and decided we're going to Insadong for some souvenir and only-in-Korea shopping then straight to Myeongdong for more shopping. I told myself I wouldn't shop, but I ended spending most of my money shopping for beauty products in Myeongdong. After the tiring shopping marathon in less than 5-hours. We had a traditional dinner in one of the small shops near Hongik, and I would say that it is one of the best parts of the whole trip. We went to bed using our warm blankets.

Day 4 - October 10, 2011
We left our guesthouse at around 8:30 am to the Seoul KTX Station as our train is supposed to go at 9:20 am. We decided to take a cab. After roughly 2-hours we found ourselves in Daegu, one of the hottest parts of South Korea. We deposited our things in the locker, purchased a ticket for the bus going straight to Gimhae International Airport, have more of our money converted to Korean Won, had a nice lunch in one of those small eateries, and went grocery shopping. We found ourselves riding a bus around the city. After our grocery, we were practically running to catch our 4:10 pm bus, and we somehow made it with a few minutes to spare. Tired with the weight of our bags, we dozed off most of the ride. Then, we were at the airport. There is currency changer that will willingly buy your excess Korean Won whether in Philippine Peso or US Dollars. After 4-hours, I found myself back in Manila. Jomar fetched me from the airport and made sure I am safe home.


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