From the Land of Kimchi! It was out of plan when I manage to book this package. This was a tour I booked online. It was fairly cheap that is why I took the bait and booked it for P29,988.00/person. I was able to get this inclusions:
• Round trip Airfare via Air Asia (MNL-Incheon-MNL)
• 20 kilos check in baggage
• 1 Night Hotel accommodation @ 3star hotel in Mt Seorak
• 3 Night HotelAccommodation@ 3Star Hotel in Seoul
• Tours and transfers as per itinerary
• Full Board meals as per itinerary(4B/3L/2D)
• English Speaking Guide
• Terminal Fee (PHP550)
• 1 bottle of water per pax/day
• Ski suit and equipment
• Skiing guide lesson
• FREE VISA PROCESSING
• Assistance at NAIA Airport before departure
• Guide Tipping
Since I am from Cebu, I need to spend more for airfare cost. That is the reason it falls around P35,000.00 for the trip including International Travel Tax but excludes all the shopping expenses, of course. I booked this tour in this travel agency: You may try to visit their Facebook Page here. As far as I know, this travel agency offers real deal packages.
At first, I was hesitant to book as it was too good to be true: for the price and its inclusions, which most of the travel agency I scouted are far more than what they are offering, mostly ranged from P45,000 and up and these are still without checked in baggage included.
What I did, I made a few inquiries for their authenticity. You may also want to check in my article about how to avoid illegitimate or fraud travel agency. Click here.
After I was certain of their authenticity, I did not budge to book the tour for me and my family. The transaction was made smoothly and they sent me the receipt after they received my partial payment.
This country needs a Visa to all Filipinos who wants to visit the place. Actually to my surprise, South Korea is more strict in issuing tourist visa than the other countries I’ve been to (e.g. Taiwan, New Zealand to name a few). We had a few issues on the requirements we sent to the agency but it all went positively well afterwards. The agency also did there best to hasten the application since we were a bit late in sending the necessary documents for the visa. Thank God, no one got denied.
Take note. In this entry I will not provide you ALL the details of our itinerary as not spoil much of your expectation about the fun that you will be experiencing if you decide to visit South Korea.
This is the detailed itinerary for the Tour:
1st day: Manila/Incheon/Nami Island/ Mt. Seorak (L,D)
Again, since I am coming from Cebu, I needed to catch a plane to Manila. After I arrived in Manila and transferred to another terminal (to where my international flight would be), a guide was there to assist us and provided us some instructions when we arrive to Incheon International Airport. In fact, if there’s a lot of their clients that will be traveling, the guide will actually come and join the tour with you. That was our case, the guide came with us together with the rest. We were more than 30 tourists that booked the tour. I honestly thought we would not enjoy it considering how many we were, but it was the total opposite.
Upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, we were greeted by our ever smiling tour guide (sorry, i forgot her name–sign of aging.LOL) . After which we had a quick Eat All you Can Shabu-Shabu lunch at a local restaurant not far away from the airport.
We then traveled around 2 hours to reach Nami Island (“Winter Sonata” shooting place). The island was packed with tourists but not too congested that you will still be able to have a fun photo op at the place. We stayed there for about an hour then transferred to Mt. Seorak for dinner. Our dinner was an Eat all you can Bulgogi. It was definitely a diet buster. The food were superb. After dinner, we checked in at the local Hotel in Mt. Seorak and had a good snore from all the traveling we had, it was tiring but fun.
2nd day: MT SEORAK/EVERLAND/SEOUL (B/D)
The next morning, I woke up early. Glad I did as the view at the back of the hotel during sunrise was just marvelous.
We had out breakfast at the hotel. The buffet breakfast was rather simple, not much to choose from but it was satisfying. After breakfast, we had our check out to transfer to another Hotel in Seoul on that same day. Visited Gwongeumsong with Cable car and Shinheungsa Temple at Mt. Seorak National Park.
We transferred to Yongin after that and enjoyed Everland Theme park with unlimited ride all you can pass. Lunch was at your own expense. There were many food stalls inside the theme park and were reasonably priced but I advice you to have a light lunch because the free dinner was fully loaded.
After having all those fun,we had our dinner and transfer to Seoul then checked in at a Hotel for 3 nights.
3rd day: SEOUL/SKI RESORT/SEOUL (B,D)
After breakfast in Hotel, transferred to Ski Resort and enjoyed Skiing with free lessons from our guide (inclusive ski suit and equipment).Just a tip: Eye mask and gloves are not included in the tour. You don’t need to rent those if you have your own gloves and if you have an eye wear with you to save you some bucks. It is not really necessary.
Having to ski for the first time is harder than I expected. Hahaha..LOL, but I did made a few successful stops at the end without being stumbled.LOL. Had our lunch at the Ski Resort by the way at our own account.
Transferred back to Seoul,visited N Seoul Tower (photo spot)- symbol of Seoul was established at the highest point to glance at the most beautiful images of Seoul and went for shopping at Dongdaenum Market- large commercial district comprising traditional markets and shopping centers in Seoul, Korea.
After all those window shopping, we finally had our dinner. =) It was a grilled fish. The fish was delicate, tender and full of flavor. Our tour guide said it was a local fish abundantly found only in the sea near South Korea. Too bad I wasn’t able to take a picture of it but it was very good. After we satiated our stomach, we went back to the hotel. End of day 3.
4th day: SEOUL (B/L)
After breakfast in the hotel, we visited Gyeongbokgung Palace- heart of Seoul and Royal Palace of Joseon Dynasty with National Folk Museum and pass by Blue house (Cheon Wa dae). After our tour of the palace, we went straight to Ginseng center and Amethyst factory. Lunch came after. We had Ginseng Spring Chicken Soup. It has a very distinct flavor and it was something unique in flavor, though there is a similarity to our Aroz Caldo but it has a year old Ginseng herb stuffed inside a whole spring chicken. I ate the whole thing since we were given one spring chicken each person! Yummy pa, healthy pa! lol
Next stop after lunch was Duty Free Shop. Mind you, Duty Free Shop sells wide variety of branded products to designer bags. As what the tour guide told us that this duty free shop is a lot cheaper than most duty free shops worldwide, and they are tax free!
After being broke from the Duty Free Shop, we were even more broke when we reached at Myeondong Street. Hahahaha.. (Mommy- happy happy, Daddy- cry cry…LOL) Myeongdong is an area full of cosmetic boutique, it is a haven to all the gals out there. Dinner was at our own account but do not worry, there are tons of street food vendor (now, my eyes are in stars again.Hahaha.LOL). After that we went back to the Hotel.
5th day: Seoul/Incheon/Manila (B)
After breakfast in the hotel, visited Red Pine Tree shop and The Face shop. Well, Red Pine Tree Shop had a very convincing demonstration that we were able to buy a 1 full year supply of that herbal medicine, we forgot to convert how pricey that was. 175php/tablet!! Anyway, as of this writing, there are some improvements with regards to my family’s health who are taking their herbal medicine right now.
We had an international buffet with shabu-shabu for lunch afterwards then drops by a Korean food and Souvenir supermarket for a last minute shopping for the folks back home. Then transferred to Incheon airport for Departure.
My thoughts: It was indeed a trip value for money. My ever hard to pleased father did not make any bad comment about the trip so that made all the more gratifying. Korean Cuisine was superb, different from what we have here in the Philippines. Also, if you’re a cosmetic aficionado, then South Korea is definitely for you!
There are a lot of attraction/s in South Korea that we were not able to visit. And the Korean food, I just cant have enough. One of those reasons that I need to go back to South Korea, soon especially that there are direct flights from Cebu to Incheon International Airport available already. =)