Survival Tips for First-time Korea Travellers During Fall/WinterSeason

photo by: Manuel Chua

If you’re thinking on visiting Korea, yes, I-PUSH MO YAN TEH! Best time to visit would be from October to November so you can experience the magic of fall/autumn season. Super worth it!

Went there last week for the 1st time to make a travel video for AirAsia and grabe, ayoko na umuwi! Seriously! I love the 0 – 4-degree weather. The golden, earthy and crimson hues of the trees. I love how polite the people are and I love their food (not really a K-Pop/ Korean Drama fan hehe)!

There’s so much to love about South Korea. I miss it so much and would love to visit again soon (winter season naman para maiba). Our team definitely had a blast during our one week stay in Seoul. Thankful that all my companions were also frequent travellers so exploring the city with them was a breeze.

Traveling around Seoul wasn’t really as hard as I thought yet still, I think it pays to be prepared especially when visiting a non-English speaking country for the 1st time. Since it’s also my 1st time to visit Korea, I noted all the things which helped me adjust to the cold weather and navigate the city with ease. I’m sure these tips will help you too, so here they are:

1. Always keep yourself hydrated

– Always bring drinking water with you since our bodies tend to dehydrate faster due to the cold dry weather. During this season, you may notice that your bowel movement will be irregular since your system will lack water. So yeah, in order not to have pooping problems, make it a point to stay hydrated. Before going to bed, drink 1 – 2 glasses of water to aid your digestion especially if you ate instant noodles. Try not to eat overly salty food as well.

Collapsible HydraPack I got at Urbanize

I so dislike carrying bottles, so I prefer bringing my handy HydraPack with me.

2. Always apply lip balm

– To avoid chapped lips, be sure to re-apply lip balm every hour. There are countless cosmetic shops in Korea so I suggest you buy your favourite brand. I also recommend you check out Innisfree – a not so expensive yet really good beauty brand that’s not available in Manila.

3. Apply lotion and moisturizer daily

  Also moisturize your skin as often as possible so it won’t dry up. My advice is to either bring your favourite night/day cream moisturizer or buy one in Korea since they are known to produce really good skincare products.

Skincare hoarding in Korea hehehe

4. Use heat pack/hand warmers

– You can buy these at convenience stores for 1USD or 1000KR each. It’s like a small heat pouch that you can put and hold inside your pockets all day to warm your hands. These are life savers! I recommend you buy 2 per day to keep in your pockets.

Hand warmers

5. Wear Heattech   innerwears

–  I read a blog before that it’s best to buy innerwear at Green Hills so I went there and bought a few sets. Sadly, I ended up not using them coz the quality wasn’t good. I also bought a pair from SM (I forgot the brand pero makapal sya), but I also ended up not using it because the fabric was so itchy. I highly recommend you buy only the Heattech from Uniqlo (go for long sleeves). A bit costly (around P790-P990 per piece), but you’re sure that the quality is really good. The fabric isn’t too thick and also breathable. Buy around 2 sets (2 tops and 2 pants).

photo from Uniqlo website

6. Buy your winter coat at Namdaemun Market in Seoul

–  Winter coats here in Manila are expensive so if you’re on a budget, try borrowing a coat from a friend, or buy at your nearest ukay-ukay. Once you get to Korea, visit Namdaemun Market in Seoul and purchase your coat there for as low as P250-P500!!! Kaloka sa mura dba?

P500 winter coats at Namdaemun Market in Korea

7. Download Metroid HD subway app

– Riding the subway in Seoul is super easy and convenient. But of course, you’ll still be a bit confused when it’s your first time, so I highly recommend you download the Metroid HD app to help you get to your destinations. Simply click SEARCH, then input your Departure and Destination station and it’ll instantly show you which train lines to take, and the number of station stops before arriving at your destination. Really helpful!

8. Buy a reloadable Cash Bee or T-Money card at convenience stores

– Before riding the train, buy a reloadable Cash Bee card at any convenience store so you don’t need to buy tickets everytime you take the train. It makes commuting so easy. The card itself costs 4,000KR (P185) plus an initial load of at least 10,000KR (P464). Every train ride costs only  1,250KR (P58). In case you don’t consume all your credits, you can use your balance to buy items at the convenience store.

9. Use Google Translate app

– This is super helpful for people who don’t know how to read Korean characters. Simply take a photo of what you want to read, then the app will translate it to you in English. This one’s a lifesaver!

10. Use a mobile wifi

– Visiting a foreign country for the 1st time could be scary and overwhelming so it pays to have a steady internet connection so you can easily communicate with loved ones and to get all the information you may need to help you navigate. In my experience, I had a hard time in connecting to the free airport wifi at Incheon airport, but good thing I have my Flytpack with me. I personally recommend  Flytpack because aside from providing me with excellent 4G connection, it’s way more affordable than roaming services and the battery life lasts for over a day. Visit flytpack.com to reserve a unit.

my ever reliable Flytpack

11. Make your own tours

– I highly discourage traditional boring tours that require you to wake up super early and join huge rowdy groups. I highly suggest you plan your own tours so you can have more control over your schedule. I personally use kkday.com whenever I go abroad. They offer a constellation of services and activities from airport transfers, city tours, amusement park entrance tickets and even Korean cooking classes, Korean Star Make-overs, K-Pop Song Recording Experience and even a real K-pop dance class!

Here’s a list of the activities we tried in Seoul Last week:

Seoul City Tour by Kims Travel

photo by: Manuel Chua

Day Tour at Petite France & Nami Island

photo by: Manuel Chua

photo by: Manuel Chua

Traditional Korean Cuisine Experience at Myeongdongjeong

5 Tastes Korean Cooking Class 

Very happy with @kkdayph dahil Sobrang daming tours and activities that you can book with them whenever you want to make your own itinerary abroad. And for our Korea trip, we enrolled in a half day cooking class called “5 Tastes Korean Cooking Class.” We enjoyed the experience so much from the fresh market tour, to the preparations, actual cooking and tasting syempre. We learned how to make Bulgogi, Soft Tofu Stew, Kimbop, teokpokki and Korean pancake with legit pro Korean chefs! Grabe so fulfilling! Highly recommended #WhenInKorea! Visit kkday.com and search for 5 Tastes Korean Cooking Class to enroll! #AirAsiaInKorea #WhenInKorea @airasiafilipino @airasia #OOOO #huaweinova2i #inNOVAtion #MakeItPossible @huaweimobileph @flytpack @flytpackph #flytpack #flytpacktravels @kkdayph #kkdayph #travelwithkkday @kims_travel

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Hope you find this article useful. =)

If you need a detailed list on how to prepare for winter season, visit this article I wrote —> www.wheninmanila.com/fall-winter-101-a-pinoy-travelers-guide-on-how-to-prepare-for-the-cold-seasons

For the lowest fares going to Korea, visit AirAsia.com






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