Saturday, November 20, 2010

Seoul: Seoul Searching

The Challenge is to do a DIY in a non English speaking East Asian country.  Three choices arose – Japan, South Korea and China.  I was finally won over by the spiciness of the kimchi and the allure of the koreanovelas – so it was off to South Korea. But before hitting all those Lonely Planet guides and internet forums, I was off to the South Korean Embassy to apply for my travel visa. I collated all the required documents and submitted it to the consulate. All documents and visa application guidelines can be found in the website of the Korean embassy (

There is a 3 working days wait period before they can release the result (approved or denied) but as a Philippine passport holder, Korean visa is considered as Gratis meaning we don’t have to pay for the visa application for a stay of until 59 days.

Once I got my visa approval, I scoured the internet forums, travel blogs and Lonely Planet guide.I would recommend Lonely Planet’s Korea guide – which was of great help in preparing our itinerary and it also has a good list of recommended places to eat and hostels to stay. Additionally, Lonely Planet has an extensive list of Korean phrases that you can use when the communication gets though. Pinoyexchange’s forum on South Korea is also a treasure throve of recommendations and tips but you got to backread through the hundred plus pages. which is a blog of a Filipina Seoulite also has some travel related posts regarding Seoul but what I appreciate more are the stories on how a Pinay is living and raising a family in Seoul. On another note, Buhaykorea also has a very extensive blogposts on the cosmetic market of Korea which you women can hoard during your trip. If you want to couch-travel and see Seoul virtually, has ‘takes your breath away’ travel photos.
One thing I learned, an extensive research and a good subway/train system are your tickets for survival in a Non English speaking DIY tour.


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