South Korea on a 20k budget

I am writing this 6 months after my first solo adventure, yes it’s a bit late but might as well do this before I start planning for my next big trip (hint hint it’s called the Land of the Rising Sun). 

When I first found out I was heading to South Korea for a conference I was immediately ecstatic, enthusiastic, excited, flabbergasted, and a whole lot of other emotions. The downside to this sudden announcement was that I only had about a month to prepare for my trip, this mean’t I was not financially ready to cover my grand plans. The upside, I am notoriously OC about planning that I exhausted all available resources just for this trip to be cheap.

Disclaimer: my only splurge on this trip though was my flight, if I am going to travel alone I would want it to be comfortably, so I sunk Php. 23,000 on a midnight flight to South Korea.


Getting a Korea visa is the easiest thing on earth and it’s also the cheapest…I did not pay for anything except my Uber rides to the embassy. To find out more, check out my entry here. When preparing for your visa, just make sure you have all the documents: bank certificates, bank statements, application form, and the right picture. A quick trip to your preferred bank will settle this, most photo companies already know the size requirements of a South Korean visa, and just make absolutely sure your passport is valid for 6 months and has a few blank pages in it.


This is probably the one part of the trip where I squeezed, penny pinched, and scrimped on just to make the most out of. Check out my budget table below:
Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 1.08.06 PM.png

My biggest savings were in the hostel (Yakorea Dongdaemun) and the T-money pass I bought at the start of my trip. My accommodations in Yakorea were basically a small bunk in a 14-bed mixed dorm room in Dongdaemun. The good thing about this was it was cheap and I didn’t have to use my credit card, I only had to make a reservation and pay cash on arrival.

Another spot I was able to save a lot of money on was the T-money pass I bought early in my trip. This card is the most convenient thing in the world, it gives me access to all the trains and I only loaded it once, just before I left, because I might not have enough money to get me to the airport. Plus, getting this card saved me about KRW 1,000 because of the KRW 100 discount for each train trip.

If you do go shopping, don’t forget to pass by kiosks that offer tax refunds. So long as you spend upwards of KRW 3,000/5,000 you can get all that tax back. Though I only bought a few stuff (mostly for my family and my girlfriend), I still got back Php. 1,000 out of the Php. 5,000 budget, so not so bad.

Here’s my itinerary below:

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 1.21.47 PM.png

Do note that since I had a 5 day conference, I didn’t spend anything during that time, food and accommodations were covered.

So what are you waiting for? South Korea awaits!


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