Thursday, 7 September 2017

Reflection On My 1-Month Trip To South Korea

This is a long time coming post. Meant to write this post few months after my trip but life happens - a depressing ones for the fact. So, here I am, finally writing and publishing this post after a year!

My trip to South Korea last year was fun and good but it was not always butterflies and rainbows. And honestly, it left me so much to be desired. All these thanks to all the experience that I went through, the memories that I made, and the countless stupid rookie mistakes that I made. I was not entirely happy with the trip - I think I can do it better, but I was still grateful for all the life lessons that I gained during the trip.

Here are bunch of pointers that I realized after my 1-month trip to South Korea.

Farah at the KLIA

1. I am not good at managing my money/budget.
It hurts my pride to admit to this one fact cause most people around me keep telling me that I am good at managing my money but the truth is, I am not! I blew out a good portion of my money just for shopping. I can actually extend my stay in South Korea for another 2 months or I can even go for a 2-3 weeks Europe trip with the amount of money that I spent on shopping. This was something that I regretted the most from this trip!

2. I don't like fixed and inflexible itinerary.
I have always known that I do not like fixed and inflexible itinerary but South Korea really reminded me of this fact once again. I did not have an itinerary at all when I went to South Korea. The only thing that I had was a long list of places that I want to visit. Granted, I did not get to go to all the places due to the non-existence itinerary (ironic,eh) but I only regretted it a tiny bit. Next time, I should have a flexible itinerary, at the least!

3. Research! Research! Research!
I can't stress enough how important research is in planning your trip. Please do a lot of research before you hop on the plane to another country. I learnt my lesson in a hard way. I wasted a lot of money and time cause I did not enough research. The situation that often happened to me was like this, "Eh, A ni dekat je dengan B & C rupanya. Kalau tahu, pergi je A, B, C sekali semalam. Jimat duit. Jimat masa."


Incheon from above

4. I prefer slow travel.
Again, I have always known that I like to take my time at one place which is why I decided to spend 1 month is South Korea but 1 month is still not enough for me. I also know that I easily get overwhelmed by new and unfamiliar things, which is another reason why I prefer slow travel. I need time to soak the unfamiliarity and to enjoy it. 

5. There is still kindness in this cruel word.
I read a lot of blogposts mentioning how Koreans can be unfriendly, unwelcoming, and sometimes racist towards South East Asians and Muslims. But, I think I was lucky cause I met a lot of nice and helpful Koreans during my trip. So many people helped me - young & old, even though we do not speak the same language. I really felt this thing when I fell down and hurt myself in Busan. So many people helped me and were very concerned about me. I was truly touched by the kindness of Busanites. 

6. Set a theme for the trip.
I think having a theme for a trip to South Korea will definitely make your life easier as South Korea has so many things to offer. As for me, I did not have a set theme so I did a bit of everything and eventually felt so worn out by the end of my trip. It also left me so much to be desired as I felt I did not get to do all things that I originally planned. I tried to apply this on my recent long layover at South Korea and it worked wonders. On my recent long layover, my theme was about music. I attended Sweet Sorrow's concerts and got to enjoy busking scene at Hongdae. In fact, I did get to do few stuffs that originally were not on my plan.

7. Knowing few local phrases will definitely get you a long way.
I am so thankful for all the hours I spent on listening to K-music and watching K-dramas because they helped me a lot during my trip. I often used English whenever I communicated with the locals but I did communicate with some of them in Hangul whenever they had trouble in understanding me. I obviously used the basic phrases that I picked up from the dramas - nothing fancy, but you should see the reactions from the locals. It was priceless. Another example is I got a better treatment from a housekeeper Imu-nim (์ด๋ชจ๋‹˜). At first, she did not want to entertain my requests and kept repeating, "No English. No English" but once I asked her in Hangul, she replied me and fulfilled all my requests.

Farah at the LINE Store, Itaewon

8. Trust your instinct - sometimes.
I usually do not trust my instinct cause I know I can be somewhat dramatic and over imaginative but I learnt sometimes I need to trust my instinct. It will save me from a lot of hassle and trouble. For instance, I had a hunch not to reload my T-money with X amount but I ignored the hunch. Consequently, I lost my T-money with KRW 70,000 in it after a week. To put in context, I lost almost MYR 300 just like that. Another instance, I got a hunch to reload my T-money with KRW 5,000 but again, I ignored it. I put KRW 20,000 and lost the card after one trip. That was MYR 75 flew away just like that.

9. Make sure you are fit enough.
I had a trouble with my fitness when I first landed at South Korea. I walked too slow and I panted whenever I need to take stairs or walk the hilly roads. Do you know how many stairs - subway stairs especially, that I need to tackle and how many hilly roads that I need to walk for the whole trip? A. LOT. But then, I can't blame anyone else except myself cause I lived such a sedentary life for a good 5 months T__T.

10. South Korea is a safe and solo-friendly country - at most parts
I think most people know and acknowledge that South Korea is very safe for solo travelers - female solo travelers included. It is also solo-friendly - at most parts. You can see from the endless walking tours catered for solo travelers offered at big cities. However, do not some of the places are not solo-friendly i.e. famous and busy restaurants. lol! I was denied entry to restaurants twice, once in Seoul and once in Busan just because I  was on my own. #notahappytourist

I learnt a lot more than what I listed from this trip. Most of them were lessons that I learnt in a hard way. But one thing for sure, I did not regret going to this 1-month trip! I also realized that I will never get enough of South Korea! I will definitely visit this country again if I have another chance. ๐Ÿ’–

p.s: With this post up and running, I can finally start updating about places that I went during this trip! Can't wait to jog my memories about this trip :)

10 comments:

  1. Research is the most important thing while planning a trip kan unless kalau pergi dengan travel agent. Nothing to worry. Hee.

    Siqah pergi Korea last 2 years and my regret is I did not blog anything about my trip. Sebab masa tu tengah blogging slump dan memang tak bukak langsung blogger.

    Dan sekarang bila tengok balik gambar, rasa rindu sangat dan rasa menyesal sebab kalau ada blog post, at least boleh baca balik kenangan di Korea. Ini hanya tengok gambar jela T_T

    Please write about your Korea trip in details here. Might be useful for others :)

    Anyway, I wish I can stay a month in Korea too!! ๐Ÿ˜

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betul! Setuju sangat. Kalau pergi dengna travel agent memang tak payah fikir apa-apa. Boleh lepas tangan :D

      I feel you, sister. Sebab tu saya cuba nak merajinkan diri untuk update my trip to South Korea sebab saya tak nak lupa segala benda yang berlaku masa trip tu :)

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  2. I wish I could be brave enough for a solo trip. Nice entry!

    Boleh saya take note jugak kalau nak travel mana-mana nanti.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're afraid to travel solo abroad, try traveling alone in Malaysia first :)

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  3. I am not brave enough for solo trip. I feels like I need at least one person to share memory with.. and be together when in trouble.. ahahahahahah XD

    anyway yeah.. sebelum pergi mana-mana memang kena research dulu Farah ^^ (aisheh cakap mcm pernah pergi) tapi kenyataan TT^TT takpe since dah jadi sebagai satu pengajaran, nexti time pergi ana-mana buat research dulu :3 lagi bagus kalau ada kwn2 dekat setiap negara yang pergi, yang boleh tunjuk dan bagi petunjuk apa patut buat, apa yg mudah and so many thing XD

    and wow <3 at least sempat g konsert ^^ its ok.. jangan sedih2 :) tengok keindahan ciptaan Tuhan, walaupun tak puas hati sangat.. ada hikmah ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone has her/his own style, so I figured solo travel is not for everyone :)

      While I prefer solo travel, next time kalau pergi Korea, nak pergi dengan orang lain juga. So that the said person can help to take my pictures. hahaha :D

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  4. fara.. long time no see.. hehe.. owh.. seriously it's safe for solo trip? wow..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zizie! Yeah, it's been awhile kan :)

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  5. Thanks for visiting my blog! ^^ <3 it makes me even more happy~

    ReplyDelete

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