Cheapo Traveller

I am a cheapo. Everyone knows that. Well, at least those around me do. I’m still amazed at myself at how I managed to survive for less than USD 300 for 4D3N in Seoul for each trip few times a year. Food + accommodation + flights.

Okay let me clarify…

I did a post on my first ever trip to Seoul previously. Spent about USD 150 for 3N3D, damage mostly done at the concert I attended on the first day. Didnt really spend on food coz all I had was Iced Peach Teas (yasss twice every day for the whole trip but still costly coz I got them from cafes. 4,500krw per cup. Roughly around 4usd each.) You might say that it is still impossible since I included the flight costs together in the budget. Here comes the truth…I was an airline staff. Now, before you go ‘Ahhh, you get to fly for free thats why…’ I will let you know now that the free part is BS. I get tired explaining this to people but I paid for my tix y’all. Granted, it was still less than what normal pax had to pay for their trips but the point is I still had to pay for them.

SO…I was working for AirAsia X as part of their maintenance crew. Yeah, them people who fix the jet so that you can travel worry free, supposedly. (<- I will make a post on this one day)

I was earning around USD 300 monthly for a couple of years then USD 400 slightly before I left the company. Can you see now? What I spent each time was basically what I earned for the month. If you are in travel business you would have heard about ID travel. That is where I was advantaged. Though our ID travel is not recognized by other airlines 😂 they are still beneficial to me as I travel a lot to South Korea and Japan, mainly for concerts and food.

Flight done.

Lets go to accommodation. Firstly, there are plenty of backpackers hostels around South Korea. Limited, if you chose to go to non touristy parts of the nation but the ones around Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Gwangju etc are plenty and cheap. Im talking dirt cheap. The only setbacks are the locations and cleanliness. I dont mind about location when I travel in Winter, Autumn of Spring but I get choosy when I travel in Summer. Im a big girl, I sweat a lot >.<  Booking.com, agoda.com and hostelworld.com are what I normally use. 

Tips: You sometimes get better rates on rooms if you book directly via the hostels sites.

Favourite part and probably the main reason why I would return again and again….THE NOMSSSSS 🤤

You can get a nice filling noms for under 10,000krw at normal korean restaurant. One main dish, one bowl of rice, a small bowl of seaweed / beansprout soup (only if your main dish is ‘dry’ dish. You wont get soup if your main dish is ‘stew/soup’ based)  and unlimited varieties of side dishes or 반찬 (banchan). I’m not kidding. Skip the touristy or posh looking restaurants with overcrowded foreigners and head over to your neighbourhood alleys. Chances are, you gonna find a nice 맛집/식당 (matjib/sikdang) thats frequented by the locals and you’re gonna find satisfying meals costing even lesser than 10,000krw. The servers might not speak any english, therefore I suggest you to have basic meal/korean language copied into your cellphones as reference. 

**For Muslims, please be aware of the type of restaurants you are visiting. Most seafood restaurant only use fish/seafood stocks for their dishes. Ask before you sit down and order. Koreans mostly use Canola Oil and Sunflower Oil in cooking. For fried stuff, they usually use heavier based oil that sometimes contain animal fat. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!**

Halal certified places/restaurants food is more expensive than normal restaurant. It is understandable since it is not to find most Halal prepared ingredients. But as long and you are aware of what goes inside your meal it should be fine. As long as ‘waswas’ doesnt pops in your head, that is 😂

Street food. Winter is the perfect weather to enjoy  street food. Spicy rice cake, the fried veges assortments, fish cake in hot broth, egg breads…the list is endless! You will be spoiled with choices. Koreans often pair them with Soju or Beer. You will be in heaven. I am already drooling 🤤

There is no end when it comes to food. All I can say is, if you have a favourite vege or seafood place in South Korea, hit me up! 

As I’m writing this, I’m actually torn between a short trip to Bangkok or Seoul in 2 days time. Undecided 😞 Help me decide, juseyo 🌹

HaePoomTtal 해품딸

Just a short one since i am still annoyed with the vanished draft 😭

What exactly is Haepoomttal?

I am bad with words. I am bad at being creative. I think you could already guess that judging from the way I write. 

I paid for the domain. So I wanted the domain to be something that is uncommon and special. Unfortunately I could not come up with anything since ya know, I have no creative side within me. So I went with the easiest option. 

I named my domain after my most favourite drama. A korean drama to be exact. 

The actual title is 

Moon Embracing The Sun

Haereul Poomeun Tal

해를 품은 달

It’s literal title for the korean one and since it is too long the koreans normally just abbreviate the words. 

해품달

Haepoomtal

Did you notice that I have double t instead for the supposed tal

Well, I mentioned that I tried to be creative so I made it to be 딸  meaning daughter.

Daughter Embracing the Sun

Well…..I tried.

And I will talk about my Sun when it’s dark again.

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I am still trying to recover the Amsterdam draft gahhhhhhhhhhhhh 😠😠😠😠😠😠😠


Seoul-tas-tic 2011

Throwback to my first ever solo trip to Seoul, I noticed how much confidence I gained when it comes to travelling alone. 3 days, 3 nights. That was all. First ever solo trip, and a very short one.


Back in 2011, when my korean was still limited to 얼마에요? (How much is this?) and 이거주세요 (Please give me this), I thought that I would die without any access to internet (Mind you, I really rely heavily on the internet for everything.) Roaming did not work on my iPhone4, and I was too poor to rent a portable wifi or a local phone with internet access. This was back in 2011, where everything was still expensive and exclusive. 

When a local low cost airline, Airasia X started operating KUL-ICN on daily basis in Nov 2010, Seoul became more accessible for those who travels in budget. Affordable fare, and it immediately became a favourite for Southeast Asians. K-pop was already a thing, K-Drama was long a craze culture hence the sector was booming and overflowing with SEAsians. I, too, was influenced. 

It was Ramadhan. It was late, almost midnight. And it was a very hot Summer. I was alone, detached from the comfort of free wifi as soon as I left the airport. I had everything printed. The map to the guesthouse, my reservation details and my itinerary for 3 days. I thought I was armed with informations. I was wrong. 

As soon as I got on the street from the subway, I was lost. I panicked. The street was still bustling. It was at the foot of Hongdae, a busy area with blinding lights full of youngsters, college youngins. Looking around, I caught 2 girls in their 20s staring at me. I was that interesting to them, map in one hand, heavy ass luggage in another. So I went to them asking if they could show me the way to my guesthouse. I just needed a point to start. I realized in an instant that they did not speak english by the frantic looks. Before I was even able to feel disappointed, they said ‘Wait!’ while one of the girls calling an Oppa (older brother/older guy friend) to come faster. So this guy was running towards us while clutching to the fedora that was on his head. 

POINT A – South Koreans are friendly.

“English?” I asked him.

“A little. May I help you?” 

I showed him the map. I told him I just need to confirm the starting point. He looked at me saying that it will be quite dark. He went to the cab nearby asking the cab driver if he could send me there. Driver refused because the address was not in his gps. Then he noticed that there is bus service going to that direction. He went to the driver, telling him to make sure I alight at the point he marked on my map. 

I was this close to kissing him.

Got to my guesthouse in under 15minutes. Everything was well.  

 pic taken next day obviously…

Point B- South Koreans are really friendly.

Day 3. I was looking back and forth to the signage and the map on my hand when a harabeoji (old man, grandpa) walked straight up to me and asked 어디가는거야 (Eodikanuengoya / where are you going?) 

“Apgujeong. Rodeo Street.” A friend had asked me to buy something from a shop there. I was too poor to even shop at places like Apgujeong (and too fat for SK’s standard) LOL

He began telling me directions in koreans. I was not that fluent I can hardly understand farther than ‘Take that left turn.’

He looked at my helpless face and took out his phone, calling his daughter asking for help. And it was his daughter who guided me through the phone. Awesome people, the Koreans.



Point C- South Koreans are friendly AND kind. 

So I managed to get to the shop, but they did not have the hoodie that my friend wanted. It was Summer and they only had Summer collections. Went back and tweeted my friend about it. While preparing to leave Seoul, friend tweeted the store and the person replied asking if I could come to Hapjeong station. I went there and a staff came, carrying the said hoodie and another limited edition tee. Apologizing for having me went all the way and telling me the limited edition is a gift of appreciation. The tee was about half the price of the hoodie! 
I left Seoul knowing fully well that I would easily return again. Anytime. 

[Did not do anything much other than attending concert on Day 1, running around Seoul looking for friends’ stuffs on Day 2 & 3. Pretty uneventful. Stick around and you will see what I found in Seoul, AGAIN.]