10 Ways To Explore Seoul On A TIGHT Budget

What if we tell you can you spend two weeks in Seoul UNDER SGD 1,000?

Follow these tips and you can be visiting the land of kimchis and bimbimbaps at least once a year!

#1. Don’t just look at budget airlines

You probably think that budget airlines would offer you the cheapest tickets to anywhere. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The fact that you have to pay at least SGD 20 per way for baggage allowance is already bad news. To prove my point, here’s how much my ticket to Seoul costs on Scoot:

Ticket to Seoul on Scoot: SGD 644.16 (EXCLUSIVE of baggage)

Ticket to Seoul on Thai Airways: SGD 338 (INCLUSIVE of 30kg baggage allowance)

I picked the same travel dates so it’s a fair comparison but you can see the difference in fares! In fact, Thai Airways isn’t the only full-fledged airline that is cheaper than Scoot. 🙂

Moral of story? Always do a search on Skyscanner or Zuji to make sure you are getting the best deal.


#2. Cheap hotels doesn’t mean it’s no good 

We know it’s tempting to always go for the highly reviewed hotels by bloggers. Who doesn’t want to stay in a Instagram-worthy hotel or somewhere central and vibrant? BUT, all these comes at a price and if you have a tight budget, your choice of accommodation can make or break your budget.

Good news is, at just SGD60 per night, you can get a pretty decent hotel in Seoul! Just check out those reviews


#3. You don’t have to pay to try on Hanboks

What’s a trip to Seoul without trying on their traditional costume, the Hanbok, right? You don’t have to queue long hours at the Gyeongbokgung or pay an exorbitant amount just to have have a photo taken in a hanbok. Just head over to the Seoul Global Cultural Center at Myeongdong (how convenient!), register for your turn and come back at the timing to try on the Hanbok! It’s completely FREE.


Address: 5th Floor, M-Plaza Myeong-dong 8-gil 27, Jung-gu Seoul, South Korea 04536
Website: http://seoulculturalcenter.com/


#4. Skip the AREX 

AREX is the non-stop train service between Incheon Airport and Seoul station. Non-stop sounds great but you are going to pay double the price. In case you are wondering, you are not going to save a lot of time either.


It takes about 60 minutes for you to get from Seoul station to Incheon Airport via the commuter train (9 stations in between) and it takes about 42 minutes with the non-stop train. Savings of 17 minutes but it costs SGD 5 more, per person each way. You decide if it’s worth it.


#5. Get your souvenirs at Lotte Supermarket

We know, travelling on a budget isn’t an excuse to not get souvenirs. It’s tempting to get their adorable cookie tin at the LINE store for your colleagues but think about it – if one tin costs SGD10, you can easily spend hundreds on souvenirs.

This is why we love the Lotte Supermarket so much.

Not only does it open till late (last-minute souvenir shopping!!), things are truly affordable. You can get one huge bag of seaweed ( with small packets enough for 10 colleagues) for only SGD10.

Find out what else you can get for your colleagues: 8 Things You Must Buy in Korea’s Supermarket


#6. Sign up for the FREE walking tours

Seoul is so fascinating because she has such an unique culture. Even if you are not a history buff, we assure you that the walking tours will keep you entertained as the guide share stories from centuries ago and give you a glimpse into what Seoul means for the locals. In fact, each walking tour takes about 2-3 hours which left us wanting for more!

If you have time/attention span for just one walking tour, we highly recommend the Bukchon Hanok Village walking over. The walking tour takes visitors around the area of Bukchon Hanok Village, the only place in Seoul where hundreds of traditional Korean houses, or hanoks, are clustered together.

Reserve onhttp://dobo.visitseoul.net/


#7. Resist those beautiful cafes 

I hate to break it to you but the cafes at Seoul cost a lot more than the cafes in Singapore. A slice of cake costs at least SGD 10 and most of the time, it wouldn’t taste like it’s worth that kind of money. My friend in Seoul brought me to this absolutely gorgeous cafe (C37) in Garosugil and because I was so blown away by the cafe exterior+interior PLUS their huge variety of cheesecakes, I over-ordered. We didn’t finish even half of what we ordered 🙁

C27 Cafe – Source: http://www.nogarlicnoonions.com

If you must cafe-shop, try to order just one item and share it with your friend. Stretch your won!


#8. Shop where students shop

Places likes Garosugil and Myeongdong are for you to window-shop and take lovely photos for your Instagram feed. If you are looking for somewhere to shop, look no further than:

a) Express Bus Terminal Underground Shopping

b) Ewha Women’s University Shopping district

Source: http://chichicho.blogspot.sg

The same sweater can cost ₩15,000 won in Myeongdong but only ₩10,000 at Express Bus Terminal. Not only that, the underground shopping at Express Bus Terminal is enormous and you can find everything from tops, shorts, bags, shoes to Christmas Trees there! You don’t have to worry about your meals either because there are plenty of eateries at both ends of the underground stretch.


#9. Get a T-money or Cash Bee card

Basically they work like our EZ-link card – which means getting around is much cheaper than getting one-way journey tickets! You can easily purchase a T-money or Cash Bee card from any convenient stores and in case you are wondering, you can use it for the journey to and fro the airport too!


#10. Credit cards should be your LAST resort

I have friends who refuse to bring credit cards to curb their spending but I also have friends who believes in curbing spending by bringing as little cash as possible. However, the latter would also bring along a credit card and spend on that credit card when they know they are low on cash – which is a big no no.

Exchange rate on credit cards are bad so if you really need extra won, go to their money changer.

In fact, my experiences with the money changers in Seoul is that they usually offer a much better rate than Singapore! My favorite money-changers are the ones along the China Embassy in Myeongdong – they have never disappointed :p


Seoul is really getting more and more affordable by the day so don’t be afraid to explore this beautiful city on a small budget!

My parents think I travel too much but if not now, then when? New experiences excite me the most and that's why I rarely visit the same city twice unless (a) they have awesome food and (b) they have awesome food.