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Adventure Korea Travel

Shopping in Korea: Myeongdong or Namdaemun?

Filipinos when traveling will always make time to look for “pasalubong” or souvenir and here in Korea, there are 2 known places where you can find those items.

Myeongdong street is a shopping area where international fashion brands, as well as luxury ones, are located. Cosmetic shops, Beauty bars, cafes, and nightlife can also be found here. Streetfood lovers don’t frit, they also have it here.

myeongdong

If you want to catch a big sale, visit Myeongdong shopping district during their festivals which happens twice a year. Visit at the end of March to the middle of April or the month of September; besides product sale witness also parades, fashion shows, dance performance, and other activities.

International and known brands you can find in Myoengdong are Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton, Addidas etc.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun market is like the Divisoria of Seoul, it is a traditional market and it is the oldest and largest market in Korea.

Namdaemun market

Unlike in Myeongdong, here you can find ginseng roots in bottles and dried products for your cooking and health needs. There are stores that sell used cameras, clothing, and shoes at a cheaper price, hanbok, and other souvenirs items that are inexpensive.

Namdaemun is open 24 hours but it’s more lively during at night starting from 10PM to 4AM where most stores are open and people are now flocking to shop.

Tips when shopping

When shopping for items (non-food) abroad, this is the time where you do the conversion of currency and see if it’s really a good deal.

  • Check first here in the Philippines or to your own country the items that you want to buy the price, then compare it with the pricing in the country where you visited if it’s cheaper.
  • If they’re the same in all aspects like quality, price, or even brand name then I suggest that it’s better to buy it in your country. It’s pointless to carry and add it to your luggage the items that you can just buy in your own country.
  • Make sure you check your own country’s customs as well as your visited country’s customs policy if they allow the items you are buying to be transported.
looking for something to buy
  • Make a list of what you want to buy. Unless you are a prince/princess, a king or a sultan, or you are just lucky enough to have overflowing cash then a list of items you want to buy is not necessary. Budgeting makes you a wise and humble shopper.
  • As much as possible don’t bring cash especially for tech-savvy countries like Korea. Make use of debit cards, credit cards, T-Money, or digital wallets because sometimes especially credit cards offer rebit or some perks (just do your research first). Korea is a safe country and it’s very less likely that you will be robbed in the streets but sometimes with the cash, you might misplace it or fall when you grab it from your pocket.
  • Utilize the tax refund, if you buy in Myeongdong most stores are offering tax-free claims. Refundable tax is 10% VAT; for cash refunds, you need a passport, credit card, receipts, and tax refund slip. Show it to the refund counter on the third floor, the departure floor, in front of gate 28 at Incheon International Airport.
  • Myeongdong and Namdaemun are not the only places where you can find great deals, especially in clothing. Check also near universities, where the stores’ target market is students. As you know students have limited cash yet love fashion so they are picky and quality conscious thus their prices for fashion items may not that high and the items are in good quality. This is what I noticed when we are heading to Trick Eye Museum where the closest university is Hongik University (Hongdae).
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Adventure Korea Travel

How to stay connected and not get lost in Seoul South Korea?

When you travel abroad, the internet is a necessity nowadays. When we went to Seoul, South Korea we tried looking for the internet pocket device for rent because it’s the cheapest way to get connected online. There are many options at the airport when you arrive however they change their policy and now require a credit card to be able to rent. In our case, none of us have a credit card so we opted to use the sim card.

Buy the SIM instead of Pocket wifi

The sim card that we chose was KT (Olleh) for unlimited internet for 5 days worth W27,500. Then we plugged it in my extra phone and turned it into an instant wifi hotspot for the 3 of us. South Korea has 3 major internet telecommunication players: SK Telecom, KT Corporation (Olleh), and LG UPlus.

The 5 days unlimited internet is actually worth it, we are always connected even under the subway or even when the train was moving. We did not experience any hiccup or lag for the whole duration.

Before going to South Korea, I also checked our local operators here in the Philippines if they offer roaming services and here’s what I found.



5 days duration

Price

Data Allocation

Operator abroad

App Monitor

Text Code to activate

GLOBE

Php550

Prepaid

Yes

550

500 MB

SK Telecom and KT (Olleh)

GoRoam app

ROAM SURF 550 to 2884

SMART

Php999

Prepaid

Yes

999

1GB

KT (Olleh)

Data Roaming Manager

ROAM ON to 333

Note: The above price and roaming service is as of December 2019.

Apparently, it’s way more convenient and cheaper to buy their sim in Korea than buying here ahead. In Korea, their 5days internet sim is unlimited whereas the operators here in the Philippines offer limited data allocation.

Pocket wifi is ~50% cheaper compared to sims but they need to be returned and if you are in a hurry to catch your check-in and boarding time that task will consume your time. Internet sim is way better because you don’t need to think about dropping by their kiosk to return their device. You can still use the internet up until the gates or even inside the plane (while still waiting).

Transportation and Convenience Store Card

One of the things to get while you are in the airport is the T-Money card. It’s a prepaid card for payment transactions in trains, buses, and taxis. You can also use this when you purchase something in their convenience stores, fast food, coffee shops, vending machines, unmanned locker rooms, and even in Everland Resort.

seoul

The T-Money card is W4,000 then we charged it with W10,000 first. Overall, we charged our T-Money of W25,000 for 5 days trip and still have a remaining balance. Recharge or Top-up your T-money through their major convenience stores such as GS25, CU, 7-ELEVEN, Ministop, emart24, 365PLUS, Story Way. You may also top-up through Tmoney vending machines, T-money service centers in subway stations (Seoul Metropolitan Subway Lines 1-8, Incheon Subway Lines 1-2).

You can see your balance in T-Money through an app called T-Balance or check on their terminal gates/NFC card reader devices when you tap it.

You may also go digital and download the app instead of buying the physical NFC card. However, the app only works for the phones running in Android 5 or above and NFC is functional. Supported credit/debit cards are VISA, Master, JCB, AmEx, and Union Pay only. Top-up and claim a refund through the app conveniently.

How to use the T-Money?

Put (tag) the card on a card reader for the payment.
Do not remove the card until the payment is completed (it takes about 0.5sec).

Bus
Tag the card at the center of a card reader upon riding until the beep is heard. The fees and remaining balance will be displayed on the card reader. When getting off the bus, you should tag again it to the card reader until the beep is heard to receive a transfer fee discount.

Subway
When you ride a subway, tag the card at the center of a card reader until the beep is heard. The fees and remaining balance will be displayed on the card reader. (It may be differently displayed when you transfer.) You should tag it in the same way when you arrive at your destination.

seoul at night

Taxi
When you get to your destination present a T-money card to a taxi driver. After the payment is completed, please make sure to retrieve the card and its receipt.

Others
When making a payment, present a T-money card to a convenient store, café, etc. where it is possible to pay by T-money. After the payment is completed, please make sure to retrieve the card and its receipt.

Source: https://www.t-money.co.kr/ncs/pct/tmnyintd/ReadFrgnKoreaTourCardEngIntd.dev

Google Map does not work properly in Korea

map

Yes, Google Maps is not that functional in South Korea because of there government regulations law or the Korean Spatial Information Management act that prohibits the exportation of Korean domestic geographical information.

Instead, download the app called Naver Map. This app guides you as you tour around, it shows you the best and/or less walking route both for metro trains and buses. It also calculates the transit time and real-time traffic information. It also has its subway map in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and Daejeon.

South Korea’s transportation system is as good and convenient as Hong Kong and Singapore. I hope that someday our country will catch up and will have the same system as theirs. I really believe that Metro Rail transit is one of the solutions for our traffic problem in our country and I hope someday our government will invest in creating this transportation system in cities nationwide.

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Adventure mindanao Philippines Travel

Dahican Surf Resort Review

When we arrived in Davao our first itinerary is Dahican Beach since it’s the farthest. From Davao City, it will take about 4 hours of land travel to reach to Dahican.

We booked the Dahican Surf Resort (DSR) for a night stay. The ambiance of the resort is fit for backpackers. Beds are not as comfortable as common resorts and some rooms have a hammock. The washing and comfort area is shared as well as the kitchen area.

They have a restaurant/bar called Surf Shack Beach Bar and Grill which is time-dependent; it is not open until the specified time. Though kudos to their food as it taste really good!

dahican
serenity and tranquility

The place is perfect for youngsters who seek a little adventure and at the same time a quiet place to chill and unwind for a little bit.

When we arrived in the resort, we did not see waves that fit for surfing similar to Siargao. However, their waves on the shore are perfect for skimboarding.

Tip: Bring food and water, they have a shared kitchen thus you can cook your own meal if you don’t want to order in their restaurant. Water is very important, there’s no nearby convenient store and the sari-sari stores may not have bottled water for sale.

Overall, the accommodation is not for someone who prefers comfort and convenient. It’s for people who’s standard is flexible and a backpacker character.

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Adventure mindanao Philippines Travel

Our Davao Adventure 2019

I was not expecting that I will be able to land my feet in Davao this year, thanks to Cebu Pacific promo! Davao region comprises 5 provinces namely Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental. It has a total area of 20,357.42 km2 and the regional center or capital is Davao City.

We have 5 days to explore Davao and since it has a very large area here are the only activities we had that was surely worthwhile.

Durian

Our first order of business is to eat the famous fruit Durian, Durian is famous in Davao and in the Philippines. It is a large fruit, infamously known by its strong odor, and the fruit’s skin is spiky. Personally, I find it’s odor sweet, though the aroma can really be overpowering. According to our driver, Aroncillo variety is the best for its taste.

Sleeping Dinosaur

sleeping dino

As we are heading to Dahican which is located on the other side of the gulf or in Mati City, Davao Oriental. We did some stopovers and took pictures.

Dahican Beach

IMG20191115110459-01

The taxi driver from Davao that we met offered us to charter his taxi for our trip directly to our accommodation in Dahican. He offered it because he’s also from Mati and I think it is his way of going home for a night and yet still productive. However, for a normal commute, you can take a bus or van. The public vans terminal is located in Gaisano Mall or Victoria Plaza while the bus terminal is in Davao City’s Ecoland Bus Terminal. Once in Mati Bus Terminal hire a tricycle to your destination in Dahican Beach and the fare is around 40 to 60 pesos or more depending on the distance, the number of persons, and your charm. hahahaha

dahican

We booked the Dahican Surf Resort (DSR) for a night stay. The ambiance of the resort is fit for backpackers. Beds are not as comfortable as common resorts and some rooms have a hammock. The washing and comfort area is shared as well as the kitchen area.

They have a restaurant/bar called Surf Shack Beach Bar and Grill which is time-dependent; it is not open until the specified time. Though kudos to their food as it taste really good! The accommodation is not for someone who prefers comfort and convenient. It’s for people who’s standard is flexible and a backpacker character.

Ultralight Flying Saga

One of the highlights for me during my visit to Davao: to experience and ride this ultralight plane. The 15minutes ride is Php 2,800 and Php 3,000 if you will use their action camera. You’ll be toured above the plains of coconut trees then Dahican beach. It is operated by the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC), a flight school based in Bgy. Dahican, Mati City, Davao Oriental.  If you want to experience this too contact them through their Facebook Page Mindanao Saga Flying Club.

Roxas Night Market

Roxas Night Market is located in Roxas Ave, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur. The prominent landmarks are Marco Polo and Ateneo De Davao. It is open daily from 6:00 PM till midnight. Roxas Night Market is no different from another food market like in Larsian or in Sugbo Mercado but compares to them they offer foods that they are the only ones sells like the different flavors of Buchi, legit Durian icecream, and pastel (adobo and rice in a banana leaf). 

Samal Island Hagimit Falls

Located in Peñaplata, Island Garden City of Samal, enjoy and relax in a cold rush of the Hagimit waterfalls. Hagimit is a cascading waterfall down the Hagimit river terrain with around 3 to 5 meters high. The entrance fee is Php50, Php40 for senior citizens, and Php25 for children 3 to 7 years old. Cottages from Php200 to Php600 while tables and chairs are from Php150 to Php200 per day.

IMG_0518_mr1574063938326-01
hagimit falls
hagimit falls
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Adventure mindanao Philippines Travel vlog

Ultralight Plane Experience

One of the highlights for me during my visit to Davao is to experience this ultralight aviation. The ultralight aircraft has ailerons, elevator, and rudder.

As of this writing, this recreation is not yet available in Cebu. The cost for the 15minutes ride is Php 2,800 and Php 3,000 if you will use their action camera. They are located in Mati City, Davao; a 4-hour land trip from Davao City.

This activity is weather dependent, they only have 2 schedules per day: 5 AM to 8 AM and 3 PM or 4 PM to 5 PM (not sure if they are open during weekends but you may contact them) depending on the wind’s gustiness. You cannot make reservations and they only accept cash. It is operated by the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC), a flight school based in Bgy. Dahican, Mati City, Davao Oriental. 

Please note that if you’re staying in Dahican Surf Resort or the resorts on that area, the entrance of the airport is the right road of the 3-way junction where you’ll see a 7-eleven store or the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road then turn right when you see the rice mill or galingan in bisaya (around 5Km from the junction) then pass through the Golf Course gate. We were from Dahican and we enter the wrong road where it also leads to the airport, however, the school is on the other side and the guard did not allow us to enter through that gate. (Do not follow Google Map’s recommendation). Bring food and water since the place has no near food kiosks.

The transportation is an issue in the area since few tricycles are plying, you need to be very early and if you are able to get one while along the highway or on your way ask him if he can fetch you back.

If you want to experience this too contact them through their Facebook Page Mindanao Saga Flying Club

The experience is worthwhile, highly recommended! But check your area if there’s one that offers the same. You don’t need to travel to Davao Oriental to experience ultralight aviation because what I know is there’s also in Pampanga.

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Adventure mindanao Philippines Travel vlog

Staycation at Club Tara Resort Siargao Island

The Maldives inspired cottages, a peaceful place, beautiful scenery every time you wake up; perfect for a retreat!

The place is kind of secluded, at first, we thought it’s very accessible but the locals said that it’s located on an island near the Sohoton Cove and you need to hire a boat to get there.

How to Get to Club Tara

To get to Club Tara, as mentioned in the video above or on my Youtube channel. If you’re from General Luna, ride a tricycle for 40 pesos going to Dapa (Dapa is Siargao’s capital) where the main port is also located. Inform the driver that you’re heading to Socorro so that he will drop you to the right gate.

20190925_125943_mr1569398614814

The boat fare is 120 pesos for an hour’s journey to Socorro. Note that you need to inform Club Tara ahead of your schedule of arrival in Socorro because the only way to get to the resort is through a private boat. Let them know so that they can arrange a boat for you. You need to charter the boat for 1,500 pesos one way only. Because we were only 2, so we need to half the payment.

Highlights in Club Tara

Club Tara has been an icon since before because I remember that it’s in the postcard representing Caraga. For us, the highlight of the resort is their jacuzzi facing a picturesque view of nearby islets. Probably there are other resorts too that have the same amenities and view but I think so far, Club Tara is the affordable one with that IG worthy facility.

20190926082516_IMG_6859_mr1569528118008
just chilling
Looking at my future ahead
Relax
picturesque view
Club Tara cottages

Another attraction is the multi-layer pointed roof of their cottages that resembles the roof of a pagoda and palaces in Indonesia.