Korea Travel Series Part 3: Pre-Trip Planning – Itinerary & Cheap Attraction Tickets

Continuation of Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi from 1st to 15th Sep 2016.

Links to the entire series HERE.

I’m sure there are many ways one will go about planning the itinerary, but this was what I did.
(1) Prepare a stack of paper and a pen beside me.
(2) Google for places to visit.
(3) On my paper, I noted down the name of the place and which area it is in (nearest train station).
(4) After consolidating all the highly recommended places and places I want to bring the kids to, I took out the subway map for Seoul to plan our route.
(5) From the subway map, I got an idea of what are near each other and consolidated them.
(6) Plan the days by area, then dive into the details once you have all the areas sorted out. From this, you can also plan your accommodation.

 

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Top right is the App. You can search in App Store for “Korea Subway”.

 

 

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This app has been reliable and useful. Often updated.

 

 

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You can get a feel of your travel time by setting the start point and end point of your trip. The price is also shown for you to budget your travel expenses. For travel time involving INTERCHANGES where you need to transfer to another line, based on our experience, add in 10min walking time at the transfer. You need to weave your way through the station to get to the other train. Add double the time if you kids are a whiny bunch like mine. Or add more time if you are the distracted type that will venture into the numerous shops they have there selling everything and anything (we’ve seen live rabbits and dogs being sold). You can also search for the name of the station if you are too lazy to look through all the stations on the map (one can go insane staring at them for too long). Don’t worry about navigation within the station, everything is in ENGLISH and signages are clear.

 

You can download my itinerary here. Sunday is missing because our supplier wanted to bring us out for the day, thus we left it blank just for him.
Be warned, it is very basic and done in a rush (finished it within 2h). We don’t like to travel by specific timings as we find it stressful, especially if the kids are enjoying a particular place and want to stay a little longer. As I continue to post, you will realise that we have many changes along the way, some spontaneous on the spot type and some planned when we were there and realised that it was public holidays on our last 2 days there!

 

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This is a sample of how I planned the itinerary. As we were familiar with the place, I would decide fairly easily on which places are stroller friendly and which are not. I’ve indicated them as Ahjussi is expected to check the itinerary daily and know what he is supposed to be doing and preparing. Generally, shopping malls & amusement parks are stroller friendly. Most tourist attractions like the palaces have been modified to be stroller friendly (though you may need to walk a bigger round at the slopes).

 

Take your time to plan if you are new to Seoul. The more time you spend planning, the better prepared you will be. And remember to take note on their public holidays! Their major holidays are Seollal (Chinese New Year) and Chuseok (Mid-Autumn Festival) when many restaurants will close. For other public holidays, do note that post office may not be open if you are intending to explore that option like we needed to.

 

And of course, while planning, you can start booking tickets for the attractions you intend to visit. The plus side of booking early online is that you can snag awesome deals. The bad part about this is that you are stuck to commit to visiting that attraction on the day you booked and can’t make any amendments to your itinerary after that. Do book only after you are sure of your itinerary.

For this trip, we booked via phone for Everland tickets. Everland has a direct train station now, but the problem is it involves a lot of transferring at interchanges and the total travel time on public transport is 2 hours! I don’t think my kids can survive that!
We decided to take a direct bus with a return bus instead. The bus journey is around 45min with no traffic jam. The pickup point is conveniently located at Myeongdong, just outside Hotel Prince Seoul! See! This place is so super convenient!
The ideal option is still to stay there and buy the 2-day tickets. We will definitely call in early to book for our next trip. Summer period is peak period and we happened to visit during the tail end of summer season, thus we could not get the rooms there.

Everland Tickets
Call DAESUNG TOUR to book EVERLAND BUS & TICKETS
+82 32 322 7001  or  +82 70 765 7701 (They can speak English!)
47,000 won x 2 adults; 39,000 won x 2 kids; Meimei = Free –> Prices include 1 day Everland Pass (for all rides) & bus from Myeongdong to Everland and back to Myeongdong.
If you decide to purchase tickets elsewhere but want to take this bus to Everland from Myeongdong, they charge 12,000 won per pax for round trip. However, it is NOT GUARANTEED as they board those who booked & purchase tickets from them first, then allow others to board based on excess seats.
Being very ‘helpful’, I spoke to a group of tourists who looked lost while waiting for the Daesung Tour bus. They bought tickets from Trazy.com at USD39 each. Then they still had to pay for transport (12,000 won each). Works out to be the same as buying from Daesung Tour (plus if you book with them, it is a guaranteed spot on the bus).

There are many other offers out there. You can take a look and do leave a comment if you find a better offer!

Lotte World Tickets
We booked at http://www.hulutrip.com/ just 1 day before we headed to Lotte because they had an awesome promotion for Chuseok holidays!
VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE IF YOU WANT TO BOOK THROUGH THEM:
(1) Do it early.
(2) Ensure that the credit card name is EXACTLY the SAME as the passport holder’s name. And this passport holder must be one of the travellers.
(3) Be prepared to call them to chase for your e-tickets if you book at the last minute. They are quite slow to respond. But if you book early, then as long as they issue the tickets before your trip, you should be fine.
(4) Do note this is actually a tour company based in Hong Kong. Their hotline staff mostly speak Cantonese and Chinese only. One staff can speak English but she is seldom around. So don’t be surprised when the e-tickets come to you in Chinese.

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Remember the check the valid date! They issued the wrong date to me the first time and I had to call them to re-issue it.

 

 

And be careful if you are using other websites to purchase Lotte World tickets. They have a few different types of tickets available. Some may be very cheap as they are entrance only and do not include the rides!

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We paid a total of USD67 (Around S$90) for our whole family of 5. For Meimei, we had to purchase tickets here as for the kiddo attractions that she can play, they will require her to have a ticket, otherwise, she has to purchase individual ride/game tickets which will end up costing a lot more than buying her a ticket. And it is super troublesome, imagine their ticket booths are quite a distance from the attraction entrance, then you need to backtrack to buy the tickets then back into the queue… Too much trouble for me. Since the tickets were on offer, I just bought a child ticket for her and solved the problem.

Han River Ferry Cruise

 

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The confirmation email from Trazy.com. You just need to show this to the ticket booth and they will give you the tickets.

 

And I mentioned Trazy.com earlier. It is a reliable website according to reviews I’ve read, thus I gave it a go to book our Han River Cruise through them. They have variety of cruises to offer. We just wanted a simple cruise, so we opted for the Han River Ferry Cruise. We didn’t take the buffet options though the reviews were good. I paid US$46 (around S$62) for all 5 of us. They were efficient in sending email updates and my e-tickets were sent via email promptly.

If you have other good deals to share, please leave the link in comments!

Next up: The Actual Trip Begins!
Keep a lookout!

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 9yo, 5yo, and 1yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 

8 thoughts on “Korea Travel Series Part 3: Pre-Trip Planning – Itinerary & Cheap Attraction Tickets

  1. Pingback: Korea Travel Series Part 1: Pre-Trip Discussion | Mummies' Voices

  2. Pingback: Korea Travel Series Part 4: Day 1 – Myeongdong, Namsam Tower (Seoul N Tower), Two Two Chicken & Imsil Cheese Pizza | Mummies' Voices

  3. Sarah

    Thank you very much for the itinerary shared. Really helps in our planning. It seems you changes accommodation a few times during your stay. This is totally forbidden…. to me! I just hate checking in and out.

    Like

    Reply
    1. thelittleonesinmylife

      Hi Sarah! Actually we’ve never thought about changing apartments before until we followed a tour and realised it isn’t as bad as we thought as long as we pack our luggage knowing that we will be moving around.
      And staying in different apartments gave us new opportunities to explore and move out of our comfort zone.

      You should consider it! Maybe pack 1 luggage meant for each location so you only have to unpack 1 luggage at a time?

      Like

      Reply

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