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.

Olivia’s First Prayer

Your name always in my prayer ?

Tonight, Wednesday, July 18, 2017.

Olivia said her own prayer before sleep.

I usually ask her to pray together. On a good night, she would listen to me carefully until the end and says “amen”. But, on a not so good night, she would just won’t listening and keeps saying “no, no, no”.

My prayer is simple.

Starting with “Jesus…” and I will tell what I and Olivia have been doing the whole day, like “today, Olivia went to school and met Koko Ben” or “Olivia went to playground and market” something simple like those, I used word that familiar to her so she would understand what I am talking/praying about.

And we will ended the pray together by saying “amen”. That’s it. Almost every night and nap time in the afternoon if she is taking a nap at home.

But tonight was different. First, I thought tonight will be one of the not so good night. When I started “Jesus…” she stoped me. “Wait, wait..” I stopped. She continued “Jesus…” I thought she wanted to pray like in the church which they follow each word from the pastor, but second before I continued, she said “(mumbling) … market (mumbling) …” (only “market” word that I could understand from her short prayer.

WHAT…..????? We did go to the market aka grocery store today. Oh my… I am so happy and grateful that she got it. I keep praying no matter she understand it or not, I keep praying no matter she like it or not. And tonight does prove one thing. Never give up to pass something good to your children even though in the meantime they don’t get it or they don’t like it. They surely like a white paper and it’s up to you to put what colours in that paper . I am not saying that I would take credit for her milestone, only God and God alone deserve all credits. I just have to introduce her to Jesus, tell the gospel, and prepare her to be a believer. May God helps me, guides me and strengthens me in this process.

Olivia, 3,5 years old, has a speech delay, said her first prayer tonight. Thank you Lord, for your love & blessing. ??

Joyful mama.

Olivia’s First Lego

Waiting for friends finishing their Dino’s Lego building

Still looking at the display

Posing for the picture

Goofy ?

Scared of the Lego’s friends. After touched the character she ran to me, terrified ??

Not a Duplo.

Not a giant block.

It’s LEGO!!!

Initially, she wanted to buy Lego Cops (up left) because she likes the movie on Netflix. But the one she chose still too complicated and the legos would scattered all of the places.

I tried to negotiated, persuaded her to buy a small box of police theme lego instead. Her eyes wandered around, not convinced. I mentioned the price tag as well ?, she finally agreed for the small box that way more cheaper and simpler.

But upsss… she saw the fire truck lego!!! ??? this time, she won’t let it go, she said “pay pay pay”, “let’s go” ? well, considering how much she loves fire truck I cannot let her down. So yeah, as you can see her expressions after we bought the lego. She was happy to the max! ? My little girl who is not so girly like her mommy ☺️

#Oliviam #lego #usatrip2017

Ps. Happily posing for the picture and even gave mommy a very sweet and gentle kiss when being asked ? #mommytakesadvantage ?