FAQ: Korea Travel Info & Tips for First-time Visitors

FAQ: Korea Travel Info & Tips for First-time Visitors

Check out the following Korea travel tips and FAQ for your first trip.

The Rundown

  • If you're thinking about visiting Korea for the first time, read up on the following FAQ.

  • Information on the must-have items for your Korea trip as well as the recommended attractions to visit are provided below.

  • If you’d like to know how you can go to Nami Island from Seoul, click here to see our recommended cheap bus transfer that you can book.

Also read: PRICE WATCH: Korea Travel Essentials

1. How do I 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 an estimate 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. Click here to see the full list of travel agencies and their address, contact numbers, and service fees.

Those who are based in Cebu may still perform a walk-in application. More details for Cebu applicants will be found here.

  • If you are not a Philippine passport holder, you can check here if you'd need a tourist visa to visit Korea.

  • If you do not have a valid Philippine passport at the moment, read our guide here.

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

  • Accomplished South Korea Express Visa Application form (optional for those who’d like to expedite their application).

Here is a quick summary of all the Korean visa requirements for other categories:

Also read: HANDY LIST: South Korea Visa Requirements for 2019


  • Tourist and business visa applications that are received by the Embassy in Taguig beginning April 1, 2019 will be subject to the new lead time of seven (7) working days. You can read more about the increased processing schedule here.

  • 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 for my South Korea trip?

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. How do I get from Incheon Airport to Seoul Station?

The best way to from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station is by riding the Airport Railroad Express. If you’re coming from Terminal 1, the ride will only take about 43 minutes. You can get your Incheon Airport Express Train tickets to Seoul below.

5. Should I get a SIM card or Pocket Wifi in Korea?

To make your trip more hassle-free and budget-friendly, you can consider purchasing the following Korea travel connectivity essentials ahead of time:

6. Which attractions in Korea can I visit to make my trip worthwhile?

Everland, a must-visit attraction in Korea. Screengrab from  Klook

Everland, a must-visit attraction in Korea. Screengrab from Klook

Aside from visiting shooting locations of your favorite Korean dramas (*wink*), you can also be a regular tourist by including the following attractions in Korea in your itinerary:

Need further inspiration? Add this to your reading: Discover Seoul Pass: Your Key to the City

7. What are the hotels or hostels in Korea that I can book?

If you’re looking for a nice and cheap accommodation in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Jeju Island, etc., you can use this handy map to see the Korea hotel options available for you:


Final Note

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 ready to take the first step after reading this Korea Travel FAQ, refer back to our site so you can be guided every step of the way. 😊

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