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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Busan and Seoul, South Korea Autumn Holidays: 5 days Itinerary

I am finally going to write up our itinarary during our South Korean holiday. I'm sure this will give an idea how much we spent on our stay. Because we went there almost end of November which is sort of autumn and winter season, I suppose prices could get a bit different during other seasons.

Hope this helps!

Click on the photo below for the itinerary and expenses table!

1. Most of my shopping expenses are not included. Stuff like pasalubong and personal effects :)
2. We didn't have any expenses for accommodation because we basically did it the Couchsurfing way
3. The expenses for food, transpo and miscellaneous is just a rough approximation. These includes a min of 10000 KRW for transpo per day, 10000 KRW for every meal and 2000 KRW for Misc.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Farewell lunch and Shopping in Seomyeon

On our last day of stay in Busan, we decided to spend half of the day for shopping in Seomyeon and then meet our host for a farewell lunch. It was a lovely day and we are just so pumped up for making the most our remaining time in Korea.

I actually just plan to check out some more pasalubong I could take back home.

Seomyeon is a few stops from Millak and it quite a busy area full of shops and a nearby mall.

We first took some snacks and then went straight into finding stuff like the well known BB Cream! But time flew so fast that we realise it was time for lunch and we'll be meeting up Kath near where she works.

We had a nice lunch and chit-chat again. Until it was time to say goodbye. We really enjoyed her company and she was very warm and helpful. She had to leave us since she still got classes in the afternoon.

We continued with some more shopping and then had to go back to the apartment to pick up our things and get ready to head to the airport.

It was a very nice trip. I loved the fact that our hosts both in Busan and Seoul were very wonderful people.

There's so much more places we haven't explored and I'm sure I will have to be back. South Korea is such a lovely place and the people are really nice and amazing.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Getting South Korean Tourist Visa

After two months, I'm now finally compiling the visa infos, itinerary and expenses during our South Korea trip. Hopefully, this should help those planning to head to South Korea anytime soon.

First off, let's get into the Visa application. After getting the promo tickets from Cebu Pacific on February 2011, we didn't care that much yet about the visa. We started preparing our docs and stuff around mid-October.

Visa Information
Being a Philippine passport holder entails some challenges for me as a traveler. We have to put up with these visa applications which also doesn't guarantee 100% approval. Anyhow, like what I always tell myself, you just got to try and try for the love of travel!

South Korea, though it required visa before entry, was good enough to have tourist visas for Filipinos given without any charge. Yes, for free. Further information should be found in their site South Korean Embassy in Manila.

But for all you out there interested to know how I went with applying my SK visa, I'll give a brief story about it!

First thing is to prepare your necessary supporting documents. Make sure you read the guidelines on their Visa information site.

What I have prepared are the following:
1. The accomplished copy of the Visa form, I have downloaded and printed my own copy
2. Your latest passport (should be at least 6 mos valid by your time of travel)
3. 1 Passport size picture (I had mine in white background but I think it doesn't matter as long as it's taken in the last 6 mos and clearly shows your face, but check their site as well for more info)
4. Old Passport - If you are a frequent traveler and have old or current visas from other OECD countries like US, Australia, etc.
5. Certificate of Employment - you could request one from your HR, state your position and how long you have been working, would also help to indicate how much you are earning
6. BIR Form 2316 or ITR for the previous year
7. Bank Certificates - this can be requested from you bank. This is to show you have enough funds to travel. Some says a rough estimate would be at least $100 USD each day you are staying in the country. But this may not always be the case.

Once I had these, I was ready to pass them to the embassy.

The embassy, in McKinley, accepts application only in the morning 9-11am. In the afternoon is the schedule for visa release.

When I got there before 9am, they already allow people to get in and get numbers and I suppose they were already starting.

It was really easy and quick. At the front gate, surrender  a valid Id and log you name before entering. No need to leave your bags or mobile phones. (This was the case when you go to US embassy)

Get inside the building and on your right, a person hands out a number. If you are traveling as a group, it would be good to get one number for all.

Window 1 serves those first time travelers. Window 3 for frequent travelers and those who has been to other OECD countries. I learned that in Window 3 the visa processing should only take 3 days unlike the one for Window 1 which takes a week.

I had to be in Window 1 since I applied with my friend who is a first time traveler.

So after being called your number you just need to give the documents and you will be given a piece of paper indicating the date and time to claim the result. Ours was scheduled a week after.

Don't lose the the paper as it will be needed on the day you claim the visa.

So we had a not so long wait...

Visa Result
We were excited and nervous on getting the result. So we waited at the lounge and when our number was called out we went on to the counter. It was my friend who got our passports.

And whola! South Korean Visa approved. We are allowed a single entry for 59 days. We are happy and excited.