Top 7 Travel Essentials for Korea
Korea is one of the most popular destinations among Asians. The Korean Wave or better known as Hallyu of KPOP (Korean POP) is attracting many KPOP fans to Korea. I travelled to Korea twice and spent around 14 days in total. I went last autumn and also last week to Seoul during winter. During my stay in Korea, I realized that there are travel essentials that come handy when you travel in Korea.
I have compiled a list of Top 7 Essentials for Korea based on my opinion and experience. Passport is a must and Malaysians DO NOT required VISA to travel to Korea. Our country is a good friend with Korea.
(Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul)
1. Pocket Wifi
You might be surprise to see pocket wifi comes second but the truth is pocket wifi is important. It is either you going to pay for roaming with your mobile phone in Korea or rent a pocket wifi.
On my first trip to Korea, I spent almost half an hour trying to get a local SIM card and got to know that it is either you loan a pocket wifi or a mobile phone. Getting a local SIM card is hard and not advisable.
There are a few counters at Incheon International Airport but most of them required deposits and you might have a bit of communication issues with them. Thus, you might spend quite some time trying to get thru the procedure, deposit and getting the loan unit.
Thus, on my recent visit to Korea, I rented from Malaysia and It is called the KL-Samurai Pocket Wifi. It is similar to the ones in Korea but you get to collect it in Malaysia or in KLIA. To make it easier, they do office delivery for free.
Why pocket wifi? Imagine traveling with your partner or friends, the pocket wifi turns to a personal hotspot and it can share up to 10 wifi-pairable-devices!
The pocket wifi is a no brainer, just a button to switch on and off and it offers unlimited 4G LTE, no security deposit and they offer winter clothing rental too.
For more info, visit www.KL-Samurai.com
Remember to bring the proper currency which is the Korean Won. It is easily available in most money changer outlets in Malaysia. The Korean Won is in thousands and a can of coke is around 1,200 Won. Do the maths.
You can also bring US Dollars for extras and convert it to Korean Won there. The exchange rate for US dollar is competitive but not Malaysian Ringgit.
Lastly, some of the shops in Seoul do accept Chinese RMB especially the Duty Free Shops. China tourists are their largest tourism source of income now so some shops do accept Chinese RMB for the convenience of the tourists.
Remember to bring your smartphone to Korea. Few reasons, snapping pictures and upload on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. The phone works like a camera so it is can be used as a backup camera.
If language is a problem, smartphone is the answer. You can always use Google Translate or S Translator for Samsung mobile phone users.
Want to know a new friend in Korea? Forget Facebook and Instagram, remember to install KakaoTalk and LINE before you depart from Malaysia. Most Koreans use Kakaotalk so if you want to connect with them, you need Kakaotalk.
With smartphone, you can also use it as GPS and searching the right restaurants via Foursquare. During emergency, the smartphone is the best way of communications.
Let me explain further about food. For those who are very picky with food, you can always bring your favourite food like “sambal” to spice things up. I enjoyed the local Korean food as they are very impressive in terms of variety or taste. Most of the Korean restaurants offer pork especially the BBQ restaurants.
For Muslim travellers, Itaewon offers many Halal restaurants in Seoul. Most of them are Middle Eastern or Indian style restaurants. For supper, it is best to bring your own Halal snacks as Halal food is hard to come by.
Fast food restaurants like KFC are everywhere but you won’t find any Halal logos but they don’t sell pork either. Maybe Muslim travellers can try their seafood burgers? Nevertheless, bring your own snacks or food to be safe for Muslim travellers.
Korea is not like Malaysia and they have four seasons in a year. The weather in Korea can be harsh and unforgiving.
Always remember to search the weather forecast before you depart from Malaysia so you know what and how to pack. Always get an additional jacket as weather is unpredictable nowadays.
I travelled to Seoul during the autumn and winter season. Temperature during winter can go down to -16 degree Celsius during day and I remember my guide told us that you won’t survive with that clothing.
For winter, get thermal clothes like Uniqlo’s Heat Tech clothing. They are light but very handy when it comes to winter season. Most important of all, Uniqlo’s winter wear is affordable. They do not overcharge for their winter clothing.
If you have budget, you can always go for North Face. They offer more specific temperature clothing.
Gloves, caps, scarfs and ear covers are also very important for winter. The wind is so chilly, when it blows to your face, it hurts.
Remember always to check the weather forecast before you depart so you know what to pack.
6. Medical Supplies
Do you bring your medical supplies when you travel? If you have not, you should. Basic medical supplies such as fever, flu, pain killer and stomach pain pills are recommended. They are easily available in pharmacies and they are cheaper in Korea. For those who has health issues, always remember to bring your medicines!
Furthermore, you do not want to visit a doctor or pharmacy in Korea. It is time consuming and expensive as well.
I had food poisoning on my second visit and I spent an hour visiting the clinic. Lucky for me, I was traveling part of the media group so the host sort of the translation for me. However, getting drips during traveling sucks especially during winter time. Thus, the medicine made me so drowsy so I slept on my tour most of the time.
So remember to bring along medical supplies especially high cholesterol or high blood pressure pills, they are life savers.
7. Travel Insurance
Did you buy travel insurance while traveling? I noticed many people do not understand about travel insurance.
Do you know you can claim for theft, medical bills, loss of luggage, flight delay* and hospital fees with travel insurance?
For example, when I admitted to clinic, I can claim my medical fees. What I need to do is to claim the insurance with my medical bills. If not mistaken, the whole process should take less than three weeks. I will do my claim this week and will update this post once I received my claims. Thus, you will not exhaust your own medical insurance. Any incidents while traveling will be covered with the travel insurance premium you purchase. Coverage limit dependent on your insurance premium. I have received my claim for my travel insurance.
*Terms and conditions from the travel insurance companies
This is not a sponsored post.