6 Things You Should Prepare for a South Korea Trip (Seoul & Jeju)1 June, 2014
Planning a trip to Seoul and Jeju can be sometimes challenging as some of the tourist attractions are in Korean or there isn’t sufficient info in English to know how to get to these places. Some tours and tickets to certain performances are also usually sold out months before. Having just returned from a trip to Seoul and Jeju, let me share with you 6 tips to make the trip planning less of a hassle.
1. Book early online your tickets to Cookin’ Nanta and your tour to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA)
If you intend to catch the Cookin’ Nanta show in Myeongdong, Seoul during your trip, there is no hope buying it over the counter as it will likely be sold out. Furthermore, you enjoy discounts buying your Cookin’ Nanta show tickets online e.g. in our case, we were able to secure a 20% discount through a VIP Family-Get-Together online promotion. For that promotion to work, you need to have at least 2 family members watching the show with you (simply show them a family photo as proof – they are not strict on this i.e. they will still request to see the photo but they didn’t check out IDs and birth certificates :-)). Even without the above promotion, there are other online promotions (e.g. discounts for just liking their Facebook page!) for Cookin’ Nanta so book early and online at http://nanta.i-pmc.co.kr/Nanta/en/ticket/ticketing.aspx
The DMZ and JSA tour by Koridoor needs to be booked way in advance (at least 2-3 weeks) at http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=schedule as it is one of the fastest selling tour in Seoul to the DMZ and JSA. It is also the cheapest option compared to other tour companies that do DMZ + JSA tours (more on the differences between a DMZ + JSA vs. a DMZ tour in a later post).
2. Book your rental vehicle in Jeju early (and sign up for memberships with rental company & airlines for discounts)
If you are planning to rent a vehicle in Jeju with KT Kumho/Hertz, do so online: https://www.ktkumhorent.com/eng/main.do. KT Kumho’s vehicles are often sold out and not available for over the counter bookings. KT Kumho offers discounted rate of up to 60% if you rent your car during your birthday month! There are usually discounts for members with Korean airlines and car rental companies so before you book your airfare and other forms of transportation – sign up for a membership at these companies first to see if there are offers available.
If you are planning to drive in Jeju, do get your International Driving Permit (IDP) with AAS – http://www.aas.com.sg/?show=content&showview=8&val=461. If you need to get your IDP urgently, do so over the counter and you can get your IDP on the spot (there will be some queuing and waiting time involved of course).
3. Get your hotel address written in Korean if you intend to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel
Unless you are taking an International Taxi (where the taxi drivers can understand English and fares are a bit more expensive), you should prepare the hotel name and address in Korean if you are taking any taxis from the airport to your hotel. It is quite likely that the taxi drivers do not understand English and unless your hotel is a very well-known one (easily recognised by their logos), both you and the driver will likely have to spend a lot of time trying to understand where to go.
4. Gather telephone numbers of attractions in Jeju if you intend to rent a car to drive around Jeju island (with Korean GPS)
When driving in Jeju, you can key in the phone numbers of the attractions you planned to check out and the onboard GPS (in Korean) will guide you there. There is no need to meddle with Hangul alphabets to enter the address in Korean. I have compiled a few phone numbers that could help you in getting around Jeju. Do note that these are not complete phone numbers – just the last 7 digits which is sufficient to instruct the GPS to guide you there but might not be complete if you intend to call these places (if i am not wrong, you can just add a 064 in front to make the call)
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (often misspelled as Cheongjiyeon Waterfall – this is the waterfall near Seogwipo City): 7331528
Jeongbang Waterfall: 7331530
Cheonjeyeon Waterfall (often misspelled as Cheongjeyeon Waterfall – this is the waterfall at Jungmun resort): 7381529
Feliz Telcon Hotel: 7492008
Seogwipo Five Day Market: 7630965
Seogwipo Olleh Daily Market: 7621949
Alive Museum (a version of Trick Art Museum at Jungmun Resort): 8050888
Black Pork BBQ place (popular among locals): 7628588
Recommended Ginseng Chicken place near Feliz Telcon Hotel: 7623319
Jeju City Attractions
Yongduam Rock (Dragon Head Rock): 7283918
Black Pork BBQ Street (this leads you to one of the restaurants but you can check out others): 7217869
Raw Fish Street (this leads you to one of the restaurants but you can check out others): 7583945
Pork Ramen Street (also known as noodle street – i recommend the restaurant that this number goes to): 7277056
Dongmun Market: 7523001
Jeju NANTA: 7238878
Hello Kitty Museum: 7926114
7103314 (This number is NOT accurate – to get to the road – key in the number for Loveland: 7126988 and then when you are nearing Loveland, follow road signages saying Mysterious Road and follow big tour buses and vans – they will likely be going there)
Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak): 7830959 or 7107923
Recommended Lunch Place near Seongsan Ilchubong (Black Pork Tofu Kimchi Hotpot): 7841794
Manjanggul Lava Cave: 7834818
Gimnyeong (also spelt as Kimnyeong) Maze Park: 7829266
Ferry Terminal to Udo Island:
7825671 (This number is NOT accurate – instead, use this number 7843136 which leads to a local produce shop just beside the ferry ticket office)
Seopjikoji (All-In filming location): 7604251 (This number will NOT bring you to Seopjikoji and will bring you to the middle of nowhere so just drive in this direction and then follow the roadsigns pointing towards Seopjikoji; this number 7820080 might get you there – unverified)
We didn’t go to these attractions but if you are interested, here are the phone numbers (we have not verified their phone numbers):
Yeomiji Botanic Garden: 7351100
Jusangjeolri (Jungmun and Daepo Coast – Columnar Jointed Lava or called Jungmun Cliffs): 7381521
Mount Sanbang: 7942940
Oedolgae Rock: 7328027
Chocolate Land: 7381197 (this is located at Jungmun Resort)
Chocolate Museum: 7923121
Teddy Bear Museum: 7387600 (this is located at Jungmun Resort)
Teddy Bear Safari: 7994820 (this is NOT the Jungmun Resort Teddy Bear Museum – it is nearer to Jeju City)
Sangumburi Crater: 7839900
Hallim Park: 7960001
Jeju Folk Village: 7874501
Jeju Glass Castle: 7727777
5. Print Discount Coupons from the Visit Korea Committee
This is quite straightforward. Every year, the Visit Korea Committee issues discount coupons for many shops in South Korea – there are quite a number of discount vouchers for skincare product shopping in Myeongdong, Seoul. Simply download the Visit Korea Committee (VKC) discount coupons/vouchers from here: http://www.vkc.or.kr/en/benefit/coupon.asp and print them and show to the respective shops to enjoy these discounts. Some of the vouchers are for free samples too. There are some vouchers for discounted entry to attractions in South Korea e.g. Petite France.
Do note the locations of the shops you can use the vouchers at. For example – for skincare product shops e.g. Missha, Face Shop, Nature Republic, there are lots of branches just within metres of each other – as you can see below – the Missha is indicated as Myeongdong 3rd Branch. The 1st Branch and 2nd Branch vouchers cannot be used at the 3rd Branch Missha shop so do check with the shop assistants before paying with your voucher.
6. Get online while driving around Jeju or shopping in Seoul with Telecom Square mobile Wi-Fi device
We had earlier reviewed the travel mobile internet services of Telecom Square during our China trip last year. This year for our Seoul and Jeju trip, we also used Telecom Square mobile Wi-Fi services on the road. This Wi-Fi service was extremely useful while road-tripping across Jeju island – there are usually 1-1.5 hour long drives to get to different destinations on Jeju Island and having internet on the go was convenient to Instagram and Facebook out a few pictures and also to monitor our stocks movements.
In Seoul, there are lots of unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots (usually titled: iptime – the default username for most routers) so you could access Internet almost anywhere. However, if you need to do secure transactions or even protecting your own Facebook account while surfing Facebook, it is still better to stick with your own internet services e.g. Telecom Square mobile Wi-Fi. Configuration is simple – just turn it on and connect to this device’s Wi-Fi hotspot name and using provided username and password and you are online! Do note that there is no internet connectivity at certain areas outside Seoul e.g. Nami Island and Petite France.
Telecom Square Singapore rents out portable Wi-Fi router equipped with international SIM cards (with mobile broadband data plan) to travellers at a flat rate of 15 Singapore dollars per day (includes GST).
This pick-up and return option for Telecom Square at the airport is no longer available.
Travellers can pick-up and return the Wi-Fi router (as well as all its accompanying accessories) at the Telecom Square booth at Changi Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3 Arrival Hall. The Terminal 3 booth is open from 9.45am to 10pm daily. This is what you might see if you are too late and the booth is closed. Don’t worry, there are other 24 hour booths at other terminals. Both Terminal 1 and 2 Telecom Square booths are open 24 hours daily. Make your order for the Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi service here: Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi Order Form.