Check out my elaborate blog posts about South Korea & Shanghai here:
- China: Shanghai
- South Korea: Busan
- South Korea: Jeju Part 1
- South Korea: Jeju Part 2
- South Korea: Seoul Part 1
- South Korea: Seoul Part 2
I spent about $1088 for flights, housing, car rentals, major attractions like going to the DMZ and Lotte World and this is how I did it.
|South Korea Costs|
Airfare is always one of the biggest bulk in your expenditure. I always check Zuji & Skyscanner for good deals first and than try to book directly. My dates are always flexible and I will always try to fly a mid-night flight if the flight will take 7 hours or more. As you know, I work shifts and in the hotel industry, and it is really difficult for me to take leave and I want to maximize it to the fullest. We booked multi-city tickets (it may add on extra charges, but for $460, we didn't really care) and flew to Busan straight, after transiting in Shanghai for 1 night, and than flew out from Seoul to Singapore.
|Food served on China Eastern, not too shabby right?|
Now, I visited 3 cities in South Korea and the cities are not exactly near where you can just take an hour's train and you're there (like Japan). From Busan to Jeju, I flew with Busan Air and from Jeju to Seoul I flew with Eastar Jet. Do your research properly! There are plenty of affordable Korean domestic airlines that can get you to places! Sign up for their free membership and you also get additional discounts! Always use trial and error to find those flights!
My friends and I always stayed in a hostel/motel/guesthouse. You'd be surprised at how beautiful and cosy the hostels are! Of course we splurged a little and got the 4 pax bunk with ensuite for our stay in Jeju. To be honest, I felt the accommodation could be cheaper, but I just wanted a nice little house/room to go back to after a long day. I never regretted it!
|Rainbow in Jeju Hostel!|
|Doo Guesthouse (traditional housing)|
Always look out for past reviews from other guests who have stayed there previously, location, and of course the pricing. It is always cheaper to get a family room of four, as compared to a room for 2. Of course if you don't mind, you can always bunk in with other (random) people to lower the cost.
|Lee & No Guesthouse (MY FAVORITE OF ALL)|
Like I said, I am spoilt, I wanted my own room. Besides, there were four of us, and we saved a lot when we got the family rooms.
Car Rental in Jeju
I always advice my friends who are visiting Jeju, has a SG licence, and above 21 to ALWAYS rent a car in Jeju. There are no trains in Jeju, only taxis and buses. We rented the Hyundai Sonata for about 3 days with full insurance, and each of us paid only S$42! (Total is about $165.)
Of course if you have people to split it with, that's good for you, if not, rent a smaller car with partial immunity, that will lower down the costs for you.
|Our ride: Hyundai Sonata|
I've read and heard of people who was lost and didn't have any transport back after sunset, and how they had to beg/hitchhike the locals to drive them out to the main road where they waited for 30mins for a taxi. Or how people have walked so much and spent so much time trying to get to the attraction, they were tired already before they even reached the attraction.
|Every rental car comes with a GPS system|
To me, time is money. I hate wasting time walking to places. Ok, I hate walking.
Every rental car comes with a GPS system. I rented the car through KT Kumho Car Rental (of course after signing up as a member and getting 70% off), and requested for an English GPS system. Bear in mind the local addresses are still in Korean, so you need to keep the telephone numbers of the attractions you want to go to and you can just punch in the telephone number into the GPS system.
THERE IS FREE WIFI EVERYWHERE!
I can't stress this enough. Do not buy/rent those egg Wifi thing you see at Changi Airport. It will be a waste of money! You walk into the shopping mall, there's Wifi, you walk into the cafe, there's Wifi, you take the TRAIN, there's also Wifi. It is everywhere and it's free! Even at the airport!
Besides, I can't stress this enough. You're on a holiday! Turn off your Facebook, Instagram & Twitter! You can brag about the places you've been when you rest at the nearby cafe...
Food & Shopping
I will not and do not want to touch on food and shopping because i'm embarrassed by how much we ate. It was almost Korean BBQ almost every night until I fell terribly ill with high fever. I had no budget when it came to food. My BF and I splurged on it and ate luxuriously. So it really depends on how you eat and shop as that's something we're all different.
My only tip is to go for all the street food! There's plenty of yummy street food that can fill you up, and even Korean BBQ along the streets in Seoul. Jeju was more or less restaurants and it was more expensive than in Seoul.
By the way, I did not shop too much for clothes, but I went crazy with make up stuff.
Taking the buses and trains are of course the cheapest way to get around. Not only do you save, you get to experience what the locals experience. Download this app "Jihachul". It is an app for the Korean Subway system and it is available in Korean, Japanese and English!
|Awesome Korean Subway App|
Of course, planning your route and attractions plays a big part, you want to visit all the attractions in the East, for example, before visiting the West. It saves on time and transport fees!
I know you must be thinking, "What does the weather got to do with budget?". Well it does! You're saving S$2,000 for your Korea trip to pay for all the expenses, but have you forgotten the budget you're forking out to prepare for your trip?
|Rainy & cold in Shanghai!|
|Foggy & cold in Busan, as it is a port city|
Now, if I went in WINTER. I had to buy heatec leggings and inner wear, boots, wool socks, heat packets, jackets, the list goes on! We live in Sunny Singapore, where the weather is always HOT or RAINY. We do not have winter clothes, and travelling to winter countries means spending about a good $300 on all these items.
|In a lava cave in Jeju where it was cold & Kenneth was all garang.|
IF you intend to invest in such items as you travel to winter countries every year, than yes, good for you. If not... Beg, Steal or Borrow. The only way to save on such items.
|Winter Wonderland in Hokkaido, Japan!|
Remember to always do your research and be prepared for the worst! Hope you'll enjoy Korea as much as I did!
|Taken on beautiful U-do Island!|