18 Tips & Tricks to go to Seoul, Korea as a Family with Toddler

We have visited Seoul, Korea last month with our daughter (4 years old) for 3 night and 4 days. Temperature about 15 celsius, mostly sunny and a little breeze. Here the 18 tips and tricks I can share according to our recent experience.

1. Kids under 6 years old are free to ride the public transportation such as Bus, Airport Bus and Subway train. You can buy the T-Money card and top up at most convenience stores.

2. The subway station not really stroller friendly. We carried our daughter’s umbrella stroller up and down the stairs. Bring umbrella stroller instead of huge heavy bulky stroller.

3. Taxi fare is pretty reasonable compare to another big city such as Toronto or NYC. So, instead of walking to the subway station for short distance, the fare maybe almost the same if you take taxi. Majority taxi drivers speak fluent English.

4. If you plan to bring your kids to Wonderland, plan to spend the whole day over there. Even though our daughter cannot ride or enter some games due to her height, we still ran out of time to try everything inside. Pororo Land, inside Wonderland suits children 6 years under. But we had to pay about 10.000 won for 1 1/2 hours, it’s worth it because my daughter had a blast and got a change to take picture with Pororo & Eddie. In the same area there is a Lotte Aquarium (require different admission fee), compare to Toronto Ripley’s Aquarium, we found this aquarium a bit underwhelming.

5. Avoid Insadong if you are not really keen to see that place. It’s not child and stroller friendly at all.

6. Beside adult Hanbok rental, they also have children Hanbok. Try to rent at least 3 hours or the whole day so you don’t have to rust to return the Hanbok. You just don’t want to ruin your mood and have to walk back when the time is up and you are still pretty far inside the palace. And don’t book in advance because we never know what happen during the day. Travelling with kids it’s mean unpredictable. You can enter All palaces free when you wear Hanbok. You wear Hanbok on top of your clothes, so wear something tight like legging. If you have a long hair, they also provide hairstyle and make up for additional price. Locker is included.

7. At Myeondong there are some clothing street sellers during night market. For adult or children clothing you can or have to bargain. So, I will assume most of clothing merchant especially the one on the street or subway stations underground are not base on fix price. Time to use your bargaining skill.

8. From Airport to certain places in Seoul by Airport Bus (click link to learn more about Airport Bus – Fare, route, etc) it’s pretty convenience with kids. The seats are huge and comfortable. They also provide drinking water dispenser. The driver helps you in and out your luggage, so you can focus on your child(ren). I recommend book a hotel that has this bus route. You will take the same bus to get back to the airport. 3 of us had 4 huge luggage, 2 backpacks and 1 small luggage. It won’t fit the regular taxi. So transporting with Airport Bus to downtown Seoul is the best option. Price and time wise.

9. Use KLOOK apps to find some good deals for some tourist places, restaurants and activities. For Seoul itself they have pretty good deals such as wifi device rental that you can pick up and return it at the airport. We also bought our Wonderland passes through this apps. Why have to pay full price?  Use my KLOOK referral code 8JD97 to earn some rewards. The app is easy to use, you just have to read carefully their term & condition for each offer.

10. Book your hotel in advance. Check the rate on TripAdvisor or directly to hotel website. We got a good deal when we booked directly to Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong. We recommended this hotel due to its location that just few steps from Myeongdong Night Market and cosmetic store heaven. They also can keep your unused luggage so we only take the one that we need during our stay at the hotel room.(Seoul was our stay over trip after a month trip to Indonesia and on our way back to Toronto).

11. Buy your souvenir at local market such as Namdaemun Market. Even most of the souvenir have fix price, the seller will give you some bonus items when you buy couple of souvenirs with them. Just ask then they will give it to you happily. Don’t buy souvenir at the airport unless you left with no choice. Because the souvenir price at the Incheon Airport is expensive.

12. If you are a foodie but also want to save couple of bucks. Don’t spend all your food adventure on night market. Through out the day on the street, local market or subway station they also sell some snacks that usually we see on night market, the only difference is their price. On subway station the price much much cheaper. 2000-3000 won snacks price on night market, only 1000 won max at Subway stations.

13. Money changers in Myeongdong have a better rate compare to the airport. But just remember that they don’t accept all foreigners money. Eg. Indonesian Rupiah.

14. If you plan to eat your food that you buy at night market in your hotel, let them know you want to take out. They will give a plastic bag or different packaging that easy to carry. Otherwise they will assume you will eat it directly and you only have 2 hands, haha.

15. Korean seniors love kids. Don’t get surprise if they try to talk or over a candy to your kids. Their gestures are cute as our kids.

16. Don’t try google map. It’s just not working. Use Korea Tour Offline Map Apps instead. It works pretty accurate and easy to read. Especially if you want to take public transportation.

17. Spend at least 4 days and ideally 1 week to get to know and explore Seoul more. We gladly that we spent 4 days over there even though we still had some places we want to explore. Surely with kid tag along, we cannot move faster and have to follow their pace.

18. If you want to get your tax return, spend minimum of 30.000 won. For that amount and above, you will get a special receipt that you can bring to airport to get a tax return. It’s not apply on street stalls. Most cosmetic stores will give you free sample if you buy their product. Don’t fall to their marketing if you don’t really need them, they are very good at persuading you to buy more items.

That’s 18 tips and tricks that I can think of. Enjoy your trip! Share in the comment if you have some tips to share. I’m more than happy to know your tips and tricks.

Ps. This post is not sponsored.

Another Milestone (Olivia’s 4th Birthday)

 

This month Olivia turned 4 years young. What a big number. Age 4 is a threshold to a big world. School. And for some kids, 4 is not being a toddler anymore. Olivia is one of them. Why? I’m no longer searching for toddler discounted clothes. She wore size 4 or 5 starting last Summer and recently, I bought her a winter coat, size XS in Kid category. This brought back memory when I was no longer buying baby stuff for her when she’s growing into a little toddler. What a heart wrenching!

But for this post, I want to write a moment we shared, in the morning of her birthday. The night before her birthday, I told her that tomorrow is her birthday, finally! (Yep, we mentioned about her birthday couple of times, the past 2 or 3 weeks before the actual date) The conversation was going on about the present, the cake, how excited to be a 4 years old girl (which is she refused and convinced me that she is 3, still 3). Because her birthday pretty close to Christmas and holiday season, she thought Santa would deliver the presents. Well, cannot argue with 3 years old almost 4 very stubborn girl.

Fast forward, It’s morning time. Our morning routine is she’ll have her milk on bed. But not that morning. She remembered about her birthday day was that day! She rushed to go to living room. When She was in the middle of the stairs, She saw the wall already decorated with her animate cartoon character (My Little Pony) that I put it last night, along the table with 3 presents (from Papa, Mommy and her pal, baby shark) and eggs and eclair as substitute of her birthday cake.

I cannot see her eyes, but i believe it’s sparked some light and rainbow. She was so happy, she went on saying “wow” “it’s amazing”, while still standing on the stairs. Moment later she continued rushing to downstair, after 1-2 steps, she turned around, went up to reach me. And here we go, My 5 seconds of heaven moment, She hugged me, kissed me and say “thank you mommy”. I was blown away by her reaction, too bad her Papa was still in the washroom to witness this magical moment.

That 5 seconds was a Kairos. Moment that i would keep it in my heart for my entire life. Why it was so special because she never did that gesture before, also I was so grateful that she remembers to thank me (and Papa) and show it in the sweetest act. The impact was huge also because I didn’t expect it at all.

Thank to you Olivia…

Thank God for putting us all in one family too

Mommy said, I love you to the moon and back and you will reply, I love you to the sun and back (to the moon and gone, thankfully only happen once), despite you didn’t know that Sun way further than moon, mommy will take it as a hint that you always want the best for mommy. For that I’m grateful & joyful. You my silly hunny bunny… Happy 4th Birthday!!!

 

She said “I love you, mommy”

On Nov 7, 2017 after we were back from park (also school before the park), while I was unlocking her from car seat, she said “mommy… mommy…” a bit curious of what she would say i simple reply “yes?” And when I reached her to get out from the car seat, she hugged me tight and said “I love you, mommy”. Awwww… such a sweet words and gesture.

She never said that before. Despite I told her millions of time that I love her and also asked her another millions time if she loves me. Hehe. She never really answer or I would say she never really understood the meaning of love. In Bahasa Indonesia “love” can mean “sayang”, She refers sayang to hug something tighter (usually her plush toy).

So that day, I was beyond happy. I still don’t know till today, what’s trigger her to say that. Did she just learn it at school? Did she missed me and just blurted it out that day? Did she just see other kids do that to their mom?

She is 3 years old and 10 months. I’ll lock that 3 seconds moment deep down in my heart and my mind. Forever.

I love you too my baby. To the moon and back, countless time. May Dear Lord shape you into the person that He wants you to be.

Oh btw, will you say “I love you, mommy” with warm soft kitty pur pur hug more often? I won’t get enough of that, I promise. And if one day you read this post and I am not around, we just as close as your knee to the floor. Pray baby. I am always in your heart.

Mommy loves you, SO MUCH.

Aku SAYANG, Olivia!