Sunday, December 29, 2013

South Korea Backpacking Trip Under RM1000

Anyone can travel cheaply if you're accompanied with a like-minded travel-mate who also shares the same opinion that we can sleep literally anywhere without paying. :)

So can a trip to South Korea be cheap? Here was what I did.

1. Have a very cheap-skate traveler as a travel-mate. 

First thing to note, I didn't go here alone. I was with a fellow travel-mate from Indonesia. One of the best budget and itinerary making traveler I've ever met so far. It's an honor to travel with this person because I get to learn a lot from traveling with him.

Eh, HIM?

On a side note, he's also a very respectful person and won't do anything foolish to you. :)

The itinerary was done wholly by him after rejecting my version. Hahaha. Every independent traveler that I've met so far prefers to plan their own itineraries instead of copying others. More freedom and self-satisfaction. The plan was to fly to Busan, get on an overnight bus to Sokcho, do a day hike at Seoraksan Mountain and then head to Seoul via bus during the night.

Our route for South Korea

2. Couchsurfing all the way! 

Like me, my travel-mate is also an avid couch-surfer so we shared duties in searching for hosts in Korea. 

Total days - 8 Days
  • 1 night - on the bus from Busan to Sokcho
  • 2 nights - with CS host in Seoul
With our Couchsurfing Host In Seoul - Ms Sohyun Park
  • 3 nights - with CS host in Jeju
With our Couchsurfing Host in Jeju - Ms Jieun Park 
  • 1 night - with CS host in Busan
With our couchsurfing host in Busan - Ms Jen Bourbon 
Costs incurred - 0 RM if you don't count the costs for buying souvenirs for the hosts that is. :P

3. Transportation Costs Paid in Cash There

We opted for the cheapest method ever which means riding the local buses and avoid taxis and fast trains.
  • Bus ticket Busan - Gangneum - Sokcho : 39,100 + 7,000 = 46,100 won
  • Bus Ticket Sokcho - Seoul : 17,300 won
  • T-money overall reloaded amount - 40,000 won (this was used for all the bus and metro transport within Busan, Jeju and Seoul)
We purposely went to Seoraksan Mountain to enjoy the Autumn leaves there. Hehe.
  • Local Bus from Sokcho to Seoraksan Mt.(return) : 2,200 won (T-money can't be used here)
  • Ferry tickets from Jeju to Udo (return)  - 5,500 won
Total Costs - 111,100 won = 346.52 RM

*Flight tickets from Seoul - Jeju + Jeju - Busan was paid in full before the trip and costs about RM 300 if you book early from either JejuAir or Easterjet. They are both low cost airlines in South Korea. 

Luckily for us, during our three days stay in Jeju, our CS host has kindly brought us around in her car and we helped paid for the car's ferry return tickets to Udo Island and fuel only. Syukurrrrrrr!!! Each of us paid 15,200 won to our host for a day trip in Jeju and Udo. While on the second day we opted using the local bus and visit places we missed during the first day.

4. Engage with a local who can bring us around.. for FREE!

This happened in Busan where my travel-mate found a CS host who couldn't host us but wanted to meetup. Mr. Lee who was fresh from the army brought us to Samcheon Village in Busan and introduced us to local street food.
With out CS tour guide in Busan with Samcheon village as our backdrop.
After that, during the evening, her brought us to Taejongdae Park. The day was getting darker so there weren't many pictures taken there. :3

5. Enjoy the trip!

I brought around RM 1,500 for this trip.. and came back to Malaysia with more than RM500. The money saved was going to be used for my next trips. This trip was special to me because I finally had the chance to celebrate hari Raya overseas without being a student! Muahaha!

Did my Raya prayers at Seoul's mosque.
And during the praying session, I finally met the first Korean Muslim who was sitting right next to me! 

My firs Korean Muslim counter. hehe
It didn't stop there though, during our lunch at a nearby Korean restaurant, we met with a table of Korean Muslim guys who was sitting just beside us. They even passed us some spicy Korean dish that was served at their table. What luck. ^___^

A trip to Korea is incomplete without tasting their local food!
With that I end my blogpost on South Korea. One of my cheapest trip so far in an expensive country. :)

Happy traveling peeps! 


Happy walker said... [Reply]

wow, that's great, can i follow u next time? hehe

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ mr lonely... are you cheap-skate? if yes.. jom!! hehehe

P&Z co said... [Reply]

hi there, how do u find the food? does it suit you? me n my friends will be going in february. can u share some of the place where u eat thnks :D

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ pampZ... easy to find Halal food once you're near Itaewon.. the place where the mosque is situated. Just ask around, and you bound to find it.

other than that.. we opted in eating street food.. mostly seafood but ask to reconfirm. haha.

have fun :)

Unknown said... [Reply]

totally agree with you. I travel to korea May 2012. Just need to find great hostel with reasonable price.Public transportation fee is relatively low(Don't convert to RM).

However, I spend too much on food(non halal) and skin care.
Gosh their skin care products is so cheap in bulk.... In the end, I spend another RM25 for luggage..... if not can save lots of money

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ lerler chan.. yes! it is low!

I didn't shop much except for some postcards and fridge magnets. hehe. else it could get lower.

i never paid anything for luggage. always hand carry =P

Alid Abdul said... [Reply]

Hitamnya saya, sudah itu saja komennya hahaa

Khai said... [Reply]

I am a cheap skate too sometimes and reading this made me laughed. Haha. Sebab kalau boleh semua nak yang paling jimat :) Nonetheless, great tips Jard! :D

Lady Dreamer said... [Reply]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lady Dreamer said... [Reply]

Salam, Wah!! kagum betul dapat save banyak kat sana. Next time buat ceapskate trip lagi nak follow boleh??:)

Julia Mahir said... [Reply]

Coachsurfing mmg totally FOC eh?
Gila best!!

I hope I have the courage to go all out, backpack as you are. Sayangnya dedulu mak tak kasi pegi sorang2. :(

Skrg masa untuk paksa husband pegi jejalan. Hahaha. keep on posting the good stuff, Jard! Thumbs up! said... [Reply]

wauuu great,,,great place. gud hiking. thank fot the share about the tips in backpacking. may be you wonna visit Indonesia anymore, spesially Lombok. here so many of White Sand Beach. nice to know your blog.

blog-tips-kurus said... [Reply]

raya sane ke?

arieon said... [Reply]

terima kasih... lepas baca ja blog awak saya terus daftar dengan CS... hihihi.. memang bagus CS ni..

glokaladventure said... [Reply]

Nk join your any coming cheap skate trip bleh?

kedaibiasa said... [Reply]

nice information..

inspirit712 said... [Reply]

mcmnane nk dftar???huhu..ada jgak plan nk pergi sane..haha

Unknown said... [Reply]

hello! stumbled upon your blog and really amazed that you can travel to korea below RM1k! dahsyat lah! thanks for the tips! :D

Unknown said... [Reply]

Hi i was wondering, how do you find these free hosts? I'm planning on going for a trip to Korea. I thought if I had a Korean friend or something like that would make it easier. I found your blog and just knew about these hosts thing. Can you tell me more? About your whole trip. I mean, where you went, and tips or such. You may contact me by email -

This is great, you're awesome for sharing ^^

Anonymous said... [Reply]

what is this CS host about? can i have more information on it?

Unknown said... [Reply]

do inform me if u wanna go again next time, would like to follow too ^_^

Budak Letrik said... [Reply]

Syok dapat sembahyang raya kat negara orang !

Suri Suriyani said... [Reply]

CS tu yg paling tertarik...please share some info bout next time boleh backpack to korea...or maybe can I join your trip next time?