9 Days Winter Itinerary and Estimated Expense in Seoul & Busan South Korea

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Walk with Cham in Seoul & Busan South Korea during winter for 9 Days.

After so many entries for my Winter in South Korea getaway, I will be ending it with this post-  My 9 day winter itinerary and estimated expense during the whole trip. As I have said before, this was my family and I's first winter experience and it was not just any other winter wandering. We spent it on two important holiday events-  Christmas and New Year. Christmas in Seoul and New Year in Busan. Another first for my family to be celebrating it outside the Philippines so this trip was quite special. We stayed for 5 1/2 days in Seoul and 3 1/2 days in Busan. 

In case you didn't know, Seoul experiences snow and is closer (compared to Busan) to all the winter activities. Because it was our first white Christmas we spent most of the time doing winter activities. I've already been to Seoul last spring so I skipped all the famous landmarks- read 4 Days Itinerary & Estimated Expense in Seoul South Korea.

Day 0   | Manila- Seoul 
Christmas Eve
We flew via Cebu Pacific Air and arrived at Incheon Internation Airport at 8:30 pm (Philippines is 1 hour behind). Traveled via Limousine Bus 6002 going to our Airbnb in Sinseoldong. We had our Christmas Eve dinner at a local restaurant in the same building of our loft. If you were wondering why we decided to fly on Christmas eve, it's because flights were cheaper as compared to other days.

08:30 pm    |   Travel from Manila to Incheon Airport
10:30 pm    |   Arrival from White Bamboo Airbnb Dongdaemun
11:00 pm    |   Christmas Eve Dinner at a local restaurant 
12:00 mn    |   Merry Christmas!

Day 1   | Seoul Plaza, Deoksugung Palace & Myeongdong 
Christmas Day
Originally I planned to ice skate in the afternoon but the next available schedule at Seoul Plaza was at 10pm (hello Christmas Day!) so I skipped it and instead we went to check Deoksugung Palace (we were able to witness the changing of the guards) near the City Hall. Then had dinner at Myeongdong and went back to our loft. No snow yet.

09:00 am    |   Breakfast at Airbnb loft
11:30 am    |   Seoul Plaza for Outdoor Ice Skating
01:00 pm    |   Lunch at a nearby restaurant
03:00 pm    |   Deoksugung Palace witnessed the changing of the guards    
06:00 pm    |   Dinner Myeongdong
08:00 pm    |   Back to our Airbnb loft

Day 2   |   Bearstown Ski Resort
We knew that the chances of snowing in Seoul were slim as it was not yet winter peak. It was on our second day that we were able to finally see an actual snow which was in Bearstown Ski Resorta few hours away from Seoul. Up early to catch Bearstown shuttle at 7:10 am in Seoul Plaza. And after 1 1/2 hours we were at our destination. We couldn't believe our eyes, the resort was filled with snow! All white EVERYTHING! Finally, after day dreaming about it for years! #girlfristtime Of course, I didn't let this chance pass without trying some winter sports activities. I braved the slope and ski away with no proper training. Hah! So obviously I fell for a hundred times but I never complained (just a little when I felt I was gonna break my back) nevertheless this trip was just so memorable!

07:10 am    |   Seoul to Bearstown Ski Resort via private shuttle
08:30 am    |   Fulfilling my long time winter dreams at Bearstown Ski Resort
05:30 pm    |   Travel to Seoul from Bearstown 
08:00 pm    |   Dinner at a local restaurant

Day 3   |   Hongdae, Dongdaemun Design Plaza
We considered this as our rest day (from all the circus I've been through the other day I really needed a break). My brother requested to go to Hongdae to buy some art stuff he needed for his project. At night we visited Dongdaemun Design Plaza to check out art exhibitions and the LED Rose Garden then bought some souvenirs at the DDP store.

09:00 am    |   Breakfast at Airbnb loft
02:00 pm    |   Lunch at Yoogane Hongdae
03:00 pm    |   Art Material shopping at Hongdae
05:00 pm    |   Dongdaemun Design Plaza
08:00 pm    |   Dinner at Airbnb loft    

Day 4   |   Seoul Kimchi Academy, Hello Kitty Cafe, Outdoor Ice Skating & Cheonggyecheon Stream
Me and Mama's bonding since Kuya had to do an important project while Papa rested as he was recovering from all the walking. My Mama's only request was to learn how to make Kimchi, so we did at Seoul Kimchi Academy in Myeongdong. Then we had a coffee break (more like hot choco break) at Hello Kitty Cafe which I was not able to visit last spring. After which, my Mama accompanied me for an Outdoor Ice Skating at Seoul Plaza. Good thing slots were finally available. We went back to our loft to have dinner at a nearby fusion restaurant and ended the night strolling at the famous Cheonghyecheon Stream, this time Papa came along. 

10:00 am    |   Brunch at Airbnb loft
12:00 pm    |   Kimchi Class at Seoul Kimchi Academy
02:00 pm    |   Hello Kitty Cafe Myeongdong
04:00 pm    |   Outdoor Ice Skating at Seoul Plaza
07:00 pm    |   Dinner at a Fusion Restaurant
08:30 pm    |   Cheonggyecheon Stream      

Day 5   |   Pyeongchang Trout Festival
Our last winter activity before going to Busan the next day was to try ice fishing at Pyeongchang Trout Festival. Unfortunately, ice fishing was not operational the time we were there - the ice was too thin according to the organizers. Nonetheless, we still got to try other winter sports activities like snow tubing and snow rafting. Plus we had the tastiest trout sashimi ever! Ended our last night in Seoul by having Korean barbecue dinner at Myeongdong (yes, we love Myeongdong that much)

08:50 am    |   Travel from Seoul to Pyeongchang
11:30 am    |   Arrival at Pyeonchang Trout Festival - Snow Tubing and Rafting
04:00 pm    |   Went back to Seoul
07:00 pm    |   Dinner at Myeongdong 
09:00 pm    |   Goodnight! Last night in Seoul

Since I haven't been to Busan and flight from Busan to Manila was cheaper than from Seoul, we decided to visit this city (plus it was warmer here). As you read our itinerary, you'll notice that the schedule wasn't that jam-packed because my parents were already tired from all the walking we did days ago. We usually leave our loft at 11 am so that we can rest in the morning. Also, during winter don't expect snow in Busan because it rarely does. 

Left from Seoul to Busan via KTX at mid-noon (bye Seoul!) We arrived in Busan around 3pm, met up with our Airbnb host and checked in. Decided to have seafood dinner feast at Jagalchi Fish Market (you have to try the octopus sashimi!) then ended the night roaming around BIFF Square which is just walking distance from the fish market.

11:00 am    |   Check out at Airbnb loft
12:30 pm    |   Seoul- Busan via KTX
03:00 pm    |   Arrival in Busan, check in at Green Darak KTX Busan Airbnb
07:00 pm    |   Dinner at Jagalchi Fish Market
09:00 pm    |   BIFF Square
Day 7   |   Gamcheon Culture Village, Yongdusan Park, VIPS Steakhouse and Gwangbokdong Fashion Street
New Year's Eve
Another mother and daughter bonding. Mama and I went to see the artsy Gamcheon Culture Village and went up Yongdusan Park to see the last sunset of 2015. Our bonding also included a shopping session at Top Ten Nampodong (They were on sale!) We went back to our loft to leave our shopping bags and to pick up the boys. Finally we were complete on the last dinner of 2015. Dined at VIPS Steakhouse (the best steakhouse in South Korea) which was just beside the building of our loft. Papa, Mama and I were able to witness the fireworks at Gwangbokdong Fashion Street. (The fireworks weren't that spectacular so you can probably skip that part if I were you)

01:00 pm    |   Gamcheon Culture Village
04:00 pm    |   Yongdusan Park
08:00 pm    |   Dinner at VIPS
10:00 pm    |   Gwangbokdong Fashion Street waiting for the fireworks
12:00 mn    |   Happy New Year!

Day 8   |   Haedong Yonggusa Temple, Haeundae Beach and Shinsaegae Mall
New Years Day
This time it was me, Mama and Papa. Our first day of 2016 was spent visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple after lunch. It was one of the few landmarks in Busan that were open during New Years Day. After a few hours of wandering, we then made a quick stroll at  Haeundae Beach which was near the temple (via bus or cab). Here we witnessed the first sunset of 2016, afterwards we had a quick stop at Shinsagae Mall but sadly the biggest shopping center in the world was closed on New Years Day :(

02:00 pm    |   Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
05:00 pm    |   Haeundae Beach
06:00 pm    |   Shinsagae Mall - Closed
07:00 pm    |   Dinner at Airbnb loft

Day 9   |   Busan Museum, Busan to Manila
Our last day. Left the loft at 11 am, went to Nampodong (again) to exchange some clothes at Top Ten. Had a hefty and tasty lunch at Nampodong too (last Korean bbq lunch).  Visited Busan Museum hoping that we could have a family portrait wearing hanbok costumes (Traditional Korean costumes) but we failed to catch the cutoff at 4pm :( so instead we just roamed around the museum (it was free anyways) then went back to our loft at 6pm to meet with our host. John offered to drive us to the airport with additional fee. Bye South Korea!!!

11:00 am    |   Check out Airbnb loft
01:00 pm    |   Lunch and Shopping at Nampodong
04:15 pm    |   Busan Museum
06:00 pm    |   Go back at Airbnb loft, travel to Busan Airport
09:40 pm    |   Departure from Busan- Manila

Estimated Expense for 9-10 days
I made two sheets, the first one is the actual expense of our trip including all my retail therapies (clothes, pasalubongs, dinner treats, junk foods etc) and the second one excludes my shopping expenses. Airfare expense is NOT a promo fare so if you can score a cheaper airfare you can save a lot too! Btw, the peso - won exchange is based on the actual exchange rate during that time.

Cheaper version without shopping expense
I usually don't do a lot of shopping when I travel but this time was different since I wanted to treat myself (it's Christmas anyways). So below is the computation if you don't intend to shop at all.

If you've been dreaming of winter for so long like me, book your flight now, pack your bags and leave! Winter is until February in South Korea. Go go go!

Check out our Winter Wonderland adventure on youtube


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  1. Hi..i am so inspired by your winter tour in seoul and hoping that i can fulfill my dream next year.
    Btw, Did u manage all your travel itinerary or you have travel guide?

    Also, did u booked all the tickets earlier or you just went and bought it on the spot?

    1. Hi Lyssa,

      I make my own itinerary. Depends on what to book. What are you referring to? :)

  2. Hi,

    love your blog, very interesting and detailed information.
    especially regards the Beartown Ski resort.
    Just a quick question as saw the ticket booth, do we need ticket to enter the ski resort? as don't intend to ski just want to roam around and take PICS.

  3. Hi Cham,

    I stumbled upon your blog and I was curious about the computation of your expenses. It says you spent 28k in pesos but when I did the conversion, it should be more than 600k won, right? Or did I miss anything? Sorry I had to ask. My husband and I are heading to Seoul for the holidays and we're planning on following some of your iti. Thanks!

    1. Yup, it should be 600k won. the 28k does not include the accommodation :)

  4. Wow~ Fantastic!!:) It's really so helpful. When I traveled to Seoul, Korea, I played with Korean local friends who are sooooo kind and really soooooo funny. I want to share the website http://tourmatekorea.kr ! Enjoy your Trip!:)

  5. Wow, chanced upon your blog and I must say, your informative post has been really helpful! Thank you! :)

  6. Hi Cham, thanks for the detailed info on your trip. May I ask where is the Seoul Plaza that you took the bus to Beartown. Where can I make similar arrangement for the transport to Beartown?

    1. Please check my other post - http://www.walkwithcham.com/2016/01/bearstown-ski-resort-south-korea_14.html

  7. Hi. Just want to clarify, the estimated expense is per person? and not for your entire family right? Will be travelling with family (we are also 4 but with young kids) this December and your blog is really helpful. Thanks.

  8. Sorry I got confused. Your total expenses is 315,000 won. But in pesos, it's 43,000 pesos. But when I converted the 315,000 won in Philippine Peso, it's 15,000 pesos only.. How did the 43k pesos happen?


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