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.

Life in 2012, according to my iPhone pictures…

Dimsum party for Wiwit's bday! at Chinatown restaurant, Halifax, Canada. jan 8, 2012

Dimsum party for Wiwit’s bday! at Chinatown restaurant, Halifax, Canada. Jan 8, 2012

Home cooked by Aunt Lilian. Jan 09,2012. Halifax, Canada

Home cooked by Aunt Lilian. Jan 09,2012. Halifax, Canada

Clay Pot Art with friends. This is my first clay art. Love it. Jan 14, 012 in Halifax, Canada

Clay Pot Art with friends. This was my first clay art. Love it. Jan 14, 2012 in Halifax, Canada

 

Celebrated Chinese New Year at Pak Ming & lulu's house. Jan 22, 2012. Dartmouth, Canada

Celebrated Chinese New Year at Pak Ming & lulu’s house. Jan 22, 2012. Dartmouth, Canada

Tried new recipe (Coconut Cream Cake) at Yen's house. Feb 05, 2012. Halifax, Canada

Tried new recipe (Carribean Coconut  Cake) at Yen’s house. Feb 05, 2012. Halifax, Canada

Girls's lunch party at Bianca's house + Haina Art. Halifax, Canada. Feb 08, 2012

Girls’s lunch party at Bianca’s house + Haina Art. Halifax, Canada. Feb 08, 2012

Cupcake Decoration with friends at our condo. Feb 11,2012. Halifax, Canada

Cupcake Decoration with friends at our condo. Feb 11,2012. Halifax, Canada

Gave a Peggy's cove a visit when we already fixed our plan to move for good to Toronto. Feb 19,2012. Nova Scotia, Canada

Gave a Peggy’s cove a visit when we already fixed our plan to move for good to Toronto. Feb 19,2012. Nova Scotia, Canada

Pre Farewell party at Chnatown Dimsum with Yen's family & friends. Feb 28,2012. Halifax,Canada

Pre Farewell party at Chinatown Dimsum with Yen’s family & friends. Feb 28,2012. Halifax,Canada

Said good bye to Pastor Sandy, March 03,2012. Dartmouth, Canada

Said good bye to Pastor Sandy, March 03,2012. Dartmouth, Canada

Visited Indonesia ( Jakarta & Jambi ) and met family & friends. March 14 - April 17, 2012

Visited Indonesia ( Jakarta & Jambi ) and met family & friends. March 14 – April 17, 2012

Did prewedding shot for my cousin. March 31,2012. Jambi, Indonesia

Did prewedding shot for my cousin. March 31,2012. Jambi, Indonesia

Hadi's bday. April 04,2012. Jambi, Indonesia

Hadi’s bday. April 04,2012. Jambi, Indonesia

Visited my Papa. April 10,2012. Jambi, Indonesia

Visited my Papa. April 10,2012. Jambi, Indonesia

At Soekarno Hatta Airport. Time to say goodbye. April 17, 2012. Jakarta, Indonesia

At Soekarno Hatta Airport. Time to say goodbye. April 17, 2012. Jakarta, Indonesia

 

Farewell party for us at Yen's house. April 21,2012. Halifax, Canada

Farewell party for us at Yen’s house. April 21,2012. And Last time at Steak & Stein (Our favorit Steak Restaurant)April 23, 2012. Halifax, Canada

On our way move to Toronto via Moncton - Quebec - Montreal - Ottawa, Canada. April 23-27, 2012

On our way move to Toronto via Moncton – Quebec – Montreal – Ottawa, Canada. April 23-27, 2012

Watched Super Moon with friends. May 05,2012 Mississauga, Canada.

Watched Super Moon with friends. May 05,2012 Mississauga, Canada.

Went to Hamilton with friends. May 12, 2012. Hamilton, Canada

Went to Hamilton with friends. May 12, 2012. Hamilton, Canada

Went to Rockwood with friends. May 19,2012. Rockwood, ON, Canada

Went to Rockwood with friends. May 13,2012. Rockwood, ON, Canada

Went to Toronto Island with friends. May 19,2012. Toronto, Canada

Went to Toronto Island with friends. May 19,2012. Toronto, Canada

Went to Wasaga Beach with friends. May 20,2012. Ontario, Canada

Went to Wasaga Beach with friends. May 20,2012. Ontario, Canada

Celebrate our 2nd Wedding Anniversary at Japanese restaurant. May 22,2012. Toronto,Canada

Celebrate our 2nd Wedding Anniversary at Japanese restaurant. May 22,2012. Toronto,Canada

Went to cycling with Om JeHa. June 02,2012. Toronto, Canada

Went to cycling with Om JeHa. June 02,2012. Toronto, Canada

Went to Park near our Apartment with friends. June 09,2012. Etobicoke, Canada

Went to Park near our Apartment with friends. June 09,2012. Etobicoke, Canada

Went to Waterfront Toronto with friends, while husband went to Montreal for business trip. June 23, 2012. Toronto, Canada

Went to Waterfront Toronto with friends, while husband went to Montreal for business trip. June 23, 2012. Toronto, Canada

Camping at Six Mile Lake with Friends. June 30 - 02 July, 2012. Ontario, Canada

Camping at Six Mile Lake with Friends. June 30 – 02 July, 2012. Ontario, Canada

My first lesson for canoeing at Cherry Beach.  July 14, 2012. Toronto, Canada

My first lesson for canoeing at Cherry Beach. July 14, 2012. Toronto, Canada

Celebrate my Bday at Japanese restaurant. July 20,2012. Toronto,Canada

Celebrate my Bday at Japanese restaurant. July 20,2012. Toronto,Canada

Picnic with Church fellas at Petticoat Creek. July 28, 2012. Onatrio, Canada

Picnic with Church fellas at Petticoat Creek. July 28, 2012. Onatrio, Canada

 

Picnic at Bellwood with friends. July 29,2012. Ontario,Canada

Picnic at Bellwood with friends. July 29,2012. Ontario,Canada

 

Visited Beby's house. August 04-05,2012. at St.Thomas,Canada

Visited Beby’s house. August 04-05,2012. at St.Thomas,Canada

Met Lulu & Anwars's Family. August 08,2012. Toronto, Canada

Met Lulu & Anwars’s Family. August 08,2012. Toronto, Canada

 

IMG_1459

Camping at Collins Inlets with friends. August 10-12,2012. Ontario,Canada

Went to Vancouver. August 17-20,2012. British Columbia, Canada

Went to Vancouver. August 17-20,2012. British Columbia, Canada

Went to Calgary. August 20-21,2012. Alberta, Canada

Went to Calgary. August 20-21,2012. Alberta, Canada

Went to Banff, Yoho & Jasper National Park. August 22-26,2012. Alberta, Canada

Went to Banff, Yoho & Jasper National Park. August 22-26,2012. Alberta, Canada

Cut my hair short. Sept 24,2012. Toronto, Canada

Cut my hair short. Sept 24,2012. Toronto, Canada

 

Went to Balsam Lake, Oct 08,2012. And Credit River Ontario, Canada

Went to Credit River Oct 06,2012 and Balsam Lake, Oct 08,2012. Ontario, Canada

Chrismat Photo Session for Church Fellas & friends. From Nov 11-Dec01,2012. Canada

Christmas Photo Session for Church’s Fellas & friends. From Nov 11- Dec 01,2012. Canada

Met Lulu again this year. Dec 23-24,2012. Toronto, Canada

Met Lulu again this year. Dec 23-24,2012. Toronto, Canada

Christmas's eve dinner at Winardi's house. Dec 25,2012. Mississauga, Canada

Christmas’s eve dinner at Winardi’s house. Dec 24,2012. Mississauga, Canada

Went to Park playing snow. Dec 26,2012. Etobicoke, Canada

Went to Park playing snow. Dec 26,2012. Etobicoke, Canada

photo

New Year’s eve dinner at Lan’s house. Dec 31,2012. Etobicoke, Canada

Good bye and thanks 2012! and welcome 2013! <3

YuTan

민들레 가족 / Mindeulle Gajok / Dandelion Family

[Review]

Sejak kembali menjadi seorang Ibu rumah tangga full time, otomatis punya banyak waktu senggang yang sayang kalo hanya dipakai buat makan tidur doang. Maka salah satu kegiatan gua adalah nonton drama seri Korea via Boxee.

Judul pertama yang gua habiskan sebenarnya adalah “Jewel in the palace” yang sangat termasyur itu, juga di kenal dengan nama Jang Geum sesuai dengan nama tokoh utamanya. Serial ini sudah gua tonton sejak di Halifax dan sempat terputus ketika pulang kampung dan sibuk pindahan. Serial ini tidak gua bahas karena memang sudah sangat terkenal dan buat pecinta drama korea pasti hapal betul atau terkesan betul dengan seri ini.

Sedang serial yang baru saja gua khatam-kan berjudul “Dandelion Family” dengan setting di jaman modern. Total serinya adalah 50 serial dengan durasi masing-masing sekitar 60 menit per seri, jadi in total gua sudah habiskan 50 jam waktu hidup gua atau 2 hari + 2 jam hanya untuk menyelesaikan serial ini. What a waste time? Nah.

Walau gua masuk kategori pantang nonton film setengah jalan walau sejelek apapun selama tidak ngantuk, ini tidak berlaku untuk Tv serial, kalo memang tak bagus tak mungkin ku lanjutkan sampai tuntas, biasanya 15 menit pertama dari seri pertama sudah bisa menentukan apakah lanjut atau skip. Enaknya nonton via Boxee, semua serial2 atau Tv series sudah tersedia dan gratis. Nggak kayak jaman dulu atau sekarang yang masih notnon via DVD, sia-sia dibeli kalo tidak di tonton. Varian series yang ada di Boxee juga cukup banyak. Thanks untuk pencipta Boxee (Apa itu Boxee? silahkan google ya)

Ok, cukup untuk kata-kata pengantar.

Dandelion Family diawali dengan kisah disebuah keluarga yang sedang menerima tamu seorang pria tampan yang hendak meminta restu orang tua kekasihnya untuk menikahi putri sulung mereka. Di waktu bersamaan pula putri kedua dikeluarga tersebut sedang melancarkan aksi kabur dari rumah untuk kawin lari dengan kekasihnya dengan sebelumnya menggondol uang simpanan emaknya. Tak hanya itu, putri bungsu keluarga tersebut pulang-pulang dalam keadaan menangis karena baru saja di dump pacarnya yang berkhianat dengan sahabatnya sendiri. Ya ampun, what a life di keluarga tsb ya. Haha.

Cerita kemudian fast forward ke 8 tahun kemudian, dimana putri sulung yang bernama Ji-Won telah hidup bahagia dengan suaminya yang adalah anak orang kaya berprofesi sebagai dokter gigi. Putri kedua yang kabur itu bernama Mi-Won (macam bumbu Sasa Cup Cup ya namanya hehe) dan telah punya seorang putra berumur 7 tahun bersama pasangan kawin larinya, mereka hidup cukup prihatin karena putus sekolah sang suami pun lebih sering jadi pengangguran. Sedang putri ketiga yang terbontot yaitu Hye-Won masih single dan menjadi seorang wanita karir yang lumayan sukses.

Inti cerita ya seputar keluarga beranak 3 ini. Ditambah dengan peran-peran pelengkap yang cukup unik dan memberi warna pada serial ini, seperti adanya 2 wanita single parent dalam cerita ini dengan masing-masing punya anak laki dewasa, yang satu adalah teman karib sang mama dan satunya teman college sang Ayah dimasa lalu, Ada juga pacar yang akhirnya menjadi suami putri ketiga beserta keluarganya yang kocak yang terdiri dari Ayah, Kakak perempuan dan kakak iparnya.  Selebihnya hanya peran-peran pendukung yang tidak significant.

Yang ku suka dari drama korea ini adalah ceritanya yang tidak lebay, memang agak heran dan kemungkinan tidak terjadi pada keluarga riil dimana masalah bisa-bisanya datang silih berganti seperi dalam skenario, selesai yang satu, muncul lagi yang berikut yang diderita masing-masing tokoh secara bergantian. Namun lika liku kehidupan yang diangkat nampak natural dan sangat bisa terjadi pada keluarga dimana saja dibawah kolong langit ini. Kemudian yang cukup unik juga adalah tidak ada tokoh yang 100% antagonis, dari sekian banyak tokoh dalam serial ini mungkin hanya ada 1 yang dominan antaganis, selebihnya masuk kategori umum, walau mereka tidak jahat atau baik ala ala sinetron Indonesia, mereka juga tak luput dari kesalahan maupun juga bs menunjukan sikap baik, cukup manusiawi dan alami seperti yang gua sampaikan sebelum ini.

Dua hal ini harusnya bisa dicontoh oleh penulis cerita ataupun produser dari pembuat Sinetron di tanah air. Yang pada akhirnya penonton bisa seperti bercermin dari kisah-kisah tokoh dalam cerita, tidak melulu hanya dicecoki sesuatu yang unreal dan terus berulang-ulang dalam lingkaran cerita yang sama walau masih dalam seri yang sama. Seperti anak malang di siksa, di zolomi oleh peran antagonis sampe amat sangat mengharu biru, gak berdaya trus ntah gimana nanti berbalik yg antagonis pada akhir cerita menjadi yg kalah (ya iyalah) belum ditambah dengan kamera yang acap kali zoom in zoom out ngeclose up wajah pemain, slow motion, wajah tokohnya yang melotot, cemberut, penuh amarah dan benci. Hello… ada gitu org kalo lagi ngejahatin trus sempat2nya melotot melotot selama 1 menit? atau pas pandang2an bisa 1 menit juga. Geezzz…

Kembali ke Dandelion Family (gak tau kenapa diberi judul Englishnya ini, sesekalinya Dandelion muncul cuma sekali dalam dialog ketika salah satu tokoh menyilakan minum teh Dandelion) Serial ini ada pendukung atau sponsornya. Awalnya gua nggak ngeh hehe setelah agak heran dan diperhatikan barulah sadar, sponsornya antara lain adalah Kipling (tas), Happy Call (alat masak) dan obat herbal. Jadi tidak heran 3 produk ini terselip dalam adegan-adegannya. Tidak menyolok sebenarnya. Pertama notice tentang tas karena beberapa kali adegan memberi hadiah, hadiah yang dikasih adalah tas. Sampe gua sempat mikir orang Korea kayaknya umum ngasih kadonya tas haha. Kalo Happy Call tergantung di dapur, secara produk itu hebohkan di Indo, beli 1 dapat 2? LOL Trus kalo obat herbal karena sesekali tokoh2nya minum. Pas akhir cerota ada kredit title dan muncullah brand2 itu, baru deh paham. Mungkin ada juga sponsor lain tp terlewat sama gua? ntahlah. Yang jelas 3 brands itu sangat berhasil ditampilkan dan kagak rugi ngesponsorin.

Dalam serial ini kemungkinan untuk bikin mata sakit agak jarang, disebabkan oleh paling tidak 2 hal ini, yaitu : Wajah yang cantik rupawan dan tampan-tampan serta fashionnya. Saya paling suka liat fashion dari Jiwon dan Hyewon. Jiwon karena istri dari keluarga kaya, bajunya tentu ciamik, warna2 yang dipilih selalu yg pastel lembut sesuai karakternya yang lembut dan kalem. Fashion Hyewon juga menarik karena dia paling muda dan kerja di dept. store, selalu amazed sama fashion dia yang rata-rata pake blazer, tidak menampakan kesan tua atau boring dengan blazer-blazernya yang unik, termasuk pandanannya selalu dengan sepatu high heel, mengingatkan masa-masa gua berhigh heel dulu hehe. Itu fashion untuk cewek, sedang untuk prianya fashion suaminya si Hyewon yang paling enak dilihat menurut gua, postur tubuh dia memang tidak tinggi tp padanan bajunya selalu keren, kadang santai yang terlihat agak fashionable, kadang dengan kostum formal tapi tetap menonjolkan karakternya yang lucu, easy going dan periang. Dia itu fotografer, jadi gua sarankan pria-pria fotografer professional untuk nonton film ini supaya juga bisa berpakaian seperti dia. Sudah bukan rahasia kalo kostum aman fotografer itu cuma hitam dan hitam, saat dealing harga dengan konsumen atau saat pemotretan ntah prewedd atau wedding yang ntah di gedung atau taman, selalu menuntut fotografer berkostum sesuai pada tempatnya, jangan sampe terlalu kucel dan merusak pemandangan atau terlalu rapi jali yang bisa nyaingin Pak Pendeta atau Penghulunya haha. Untuk fotografer wanita jauh lebih rumit, fotografer pria lebih mudah walau jatuhnya masih ya itu lagi itu lagi, cara aman yaitu hitam dan hitam 🙂

Tidak heran kalo para ibu-ibu atau siapa saja di Indonesia yang pecinta sinetron secara sadar maupun tidak terpengaruh oleh cerita di sinetron, akibatnya jadi gampang mencurigai, mudah menjadi nyinyir dan drama. Habis nonton 50 episode serial ini paling tidak membuat gua pengen banget nyobain apa rasanya Soju, tingkat kecintaan akan makanan Korea yang memang sudah ada naik menjadi 90%, kosa kata baru Korea nambah 0,2% hahaha, keinginan balik lagi ke Korea dan pakai baju tradisionalnya kembali mengebu-gebu, dan mata jadi segar liat yg cantik dan tampan.

Overal ceritanya bisa membuat naik turun perasaan penontonnya, kadang sedih kadang terpingkal-pingkal. Isi ceritanya pun cukup bervariasi dan mendalam, yang diakhiri pada akhirnya dengan happy ending. Akting para pemainnya sangat memuaskan, semua betul-betul memerankan tokohnya dengan sangat baik. Gua rasa sutradaranya si Im Tae Woo cukup berhasil mengarahkan para pemain. Good job!

Jadi menghabiskan 50 jam nonton serial ini dalam kurun waktu sekitar 2-3 minggu is not bad, beberapa life lesson checked! Okay, siapa mau nemenin makan makanan korea plus Soju? Glek!

Gomawo….,

Yuli

Note :

Yang mau nonton via Internet like I do walau bukan via Boxee bisa klik disini

Yang mau liat-liat website resminya ( Bahasa Korea ) klik disini