Things to Consider for Your First Korea Trip
Check out these travel pointers for a smooth and convenient trip.
If you're a first-time traveler, consider these travel tips and insights before making your Korea travel itinerary.
Make your dream trip come true by knowing what to submit for your Korean visa application.
Essential travel items are also listed below.
This Korea travel guide summarizes our BASICS section.
For convenience, booking links are provided below.
Also read: PRICE WATCH: Korea Travel Essentials
Korea Travel Pointers
Consider the following if you’re thinking about visiting Korea:
1. How to apply for a Korean visa in the Philippines?
Yes, this is where it all begins. If you are a Philippine passport holder, you'd first need to secure a tourist visa to visit Korea. For this, you must prepare the required documents and coordinate with a travel agency that is designated by the Korean Embassy. For a fee of around ₱800 or $15 (average), your chosen travel agent will process your Korean visa application for you. There'll be no need to visit the Embassy in Taguig, which proved frustrating and inconvenient for many applicants in the past.
Here's a quick overview of the accredited travel agencies sorted by location:
To see the full list of travel agencies and their address, contact numbers, and service fees, read: Applying For a Korean Visa Through an Accredited Travel Agency
2. What are the Korean visa requirements for Filipinos?
Filipino Korean visa applicants who are employees must submit the following requirements:
Accomplished Korean Visa Application Form
One (1) Passport-size Colored Photo (to be attached to application form)
Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
Photocopy of Passport Bio Page (the one with your photo and information)
Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to any OECD-member country for the past 5 years, only if applicable
Original Certificate of Employment
Original Personal Bank Certificate
Bank Statements for the last 3 months
ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 with receipt from authorized bank (Company Alpha list is no longer a standard requirement.)
Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card, only if applicable
Here is a quick summary of all the Korean visa requirements for other categories:
You may click here to see the Korean Embassy's official visa application requirement listings for the following: students, employees, business owners, senior citizens, housewives, spouses of Filipino or foreign workers in Korea, and religious workers.
If you are unable to submit any Korean visa application requirement, you may write a letter of explanation. Click here for our cover letter template that you can use.
Download the Korean visa application form here and print on A4-size paper. Fill out the form manually or by hand.
For a step-by-step guide in accomplishing the application form, read our guide: How to Fill Out: South Korea Visa Application Form
For families intending to apply together, prepare to submit all applicable marriage and birth certificates to prove your familial ties.
For those who will be participating in a trip that’s sponsored by a company or school, read: How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa as a Group
If you were personally invited by a Korean national, submit an invitation letter and photocopy of their passport or identification card along with the standard requirements.
If you are invited by a company in Korea, submit an invitation letter and photocopy of their corporate business registration certificate.
The company alphalist is no longer a requirement for employees intending to apply for a Korean visa. However, note that it may still be requested by the Embassy as a supporting document when they deem necessary. You can find out more details here should you be asked to submit.
3. How much money do I need?
In the Korean visa application form, you'll be asked to indicate your estimate travel costs in US dollars. Ideally, you should write down (and be able to show in your bank statements) an amount of $90-100 (around ₱5,000) for each day that you'll spend in South Korea. This would strengthen your visa application since it's the average daily amount that travelers from all over the world spend for their Korea travels.
However, note that South Korea can be an inexpensive destination for a vacation or holiday. This means that you can certainly spend less and still enjoy your Korea trip.
For reference, here are the estimate costs assuming you plan to travel on a budget:
Sale or Promo Airfare (Return Tickets + Check-in luggage + PH Travel Tax): ₱8,000-14,000 (around $150-263)
Capsule hotels or dormitories (also AirBNB's near universities): ₱550-900 (around $10.3-16.9)
Food: ₩5,000-7,000 for one meal (around ₱240-336 or $4.5-6.3)
Snacks from Street Carts or Convenience Stores: ₩1,000-4,000 (around ₱48-192 or $0.9-4)
Transportation: varies depending on your itinerary, but one-way standard subway fare is ₩1,350 (around ₱65 or $1.2)
Attractions: varies depending on your itinerary
Shopping: items such as key chains, socks, scarves, etc. to take home to your friends/family may cost you anywhere around ₩1,000-3,500 (around ₱50-170 or $0.9-3.1)
Referring to these estimates and depending on how good you are in researching and budgeting (not to mention, 'compromising' here and there), you can actually spend the following:
All-in 3-day Korea budget itinerary: ₱12,000-14,000 or $225-263
All-in 7-day Korea budget itinerary: ₱19,000-23,000 or $357-432
For more money-saving tips, read: Count the Cost: Budget Tips for Your South Korea Trip
4. What are other travel essentials I should know of?
To make your trip more hassle-free and budget-friendly, you can consider purchasing the following Korea travel essentials ahead of time via Klook, which is an online travel platform that offers various Korea tours, passes, products, and more:
4G/LTE KT Olleh SIM Card
Data SIM plans offered by KT Olleh are for 1, 5, 10, and 30 days.
4G KT Olleh Pocket Wifi Egg
Recommended for small groups! Rates shown below are daily rental costs (excludes deposit for the Wifi egg, which should be paid through a credit card).
Incheon to Seoul (Airport to Seoul Station) Ticket
Just in case you'd like to avail a one-way ticket from airport to Seoul station:
To view the prices of other amusement parks in Korea, click here.
5. Which attractions can I visit to make my trip worthwhile?
Aside from visiting shooting locations of your favorite Korean dramas (*wink*), you can also be a regular tourist by including the following to your itinerary:
Need further inspiration, add this to your reading: 16 Satisfying Things to Do in Seoul
Planning a trip to Korea isn’t as difficult as it seems. All you’d need to do is secure a visa, save up for your trip, and plan a solid itinerary that would fulfill your heart’s desires. When you’re actually ready to take the first step, refer back to manilaxseoul.com so you can be guided every step of the way. 😊
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