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.

Trip to Tobermory, ON

Bulan Mei lalu, sehabis mengikuti retreat gereja di kota Owen Sound, kami melanjutkan liburan keluarga ke Tobermory yang mana sudah separuh jalan kalo dihitung dari Toronto [Toronto – Tobermory = 4-5 jam perjalanan dengan mobil]. Sudah sering kami dengar ‘kebesaran’ nama Tobermory dari teman-teman yang sudah pernah kesana, konon tempatnya asri, masih sangat alami dan asyik buat bermain air saat musim panas tiba [Ada beberapa spot asyik bermain air di Tobermory disepanjang garis pantai/danau, tapi yang paling terkenal namanya Grotto & Indian Head Cove, dari parkir mobil kira-kira perlu 30-45 menit jalan kaki di Trail yang sedikit naik turun tapi mulus jalan tanahnya sehingga masuk kategori wheelchair accessible].

Sebenarnya agak ragu pergi kesana dengan membawa seorang anak bayi. Tapi terimakasih kepada yang namanya internet, kita bisa check dan recheck dulu, apakah memungkinkan membawa anak bayi ke cagar alam yang satu ini. Ternyata bukan saja bisa, tapi termasuk cukup mudah dan nyaman. Untuk yang ini terimakasih kepada pemerintah Kanada yang sudah sangat becus mengurus semua taman dan tempat wisatanya. Selain aman dan bersih juga nyaman untuk dikunjungi.

Adalah benar kesaksian teman-teman kami itu, bahwa spot yang mereka sebut-sebut sebagai spot asyik untuk bermain air (baca:berenang) sangat bersih lokasinya, airnya pun jernih sekali sampai terlihat dasarnya. Bulan lalu itu masih cukup dingin suhu di Tobermory yang memang letaknya lebih jauh ke Utara daripada Toronto yang sudah mulai menghangat. Jika suhu udara saja masih dingin, jangan tanya suhu airnya yang dalam musim panas terpanas pun airnya masih terasa sejuk dingin dingin empuk karena berasal dari sumber air yang sama dari danau bernama Georgian Bay, air danau ini terkenal dingin lah yau.

Si Nyokab yang saya suruh nyobain dinginnya air Georgian Bay sampai saat ini sangat ‘terkesan’, serasa direndam air es katanya, padahal nyobanya cuma sebentar, cuma buat foto aja. Kalo lebih lama lagi, bisa-bisa beku katanya. Sorry ya Mom, hihihi Menurut Nyokab, tempatnya bagus sekali, belum pernah dia melihat air sebening itu, tp begitu ditanya bagusan mana Indian Head Cove ini sama Bali (Tanah Lot – agak mirip pemandangannya) dijawab, sama. Tetap dong sebagai orang Indonesia kita kudu kagum dan sayang sama alam kita sendiri, hehehe.

Boleh nih kalo Olivia sudah lebih gede, musim panas tahun depan itu artinya dia kira-kira akan berumur 1 1/2 tahun, harusnya sudah bisa jalan, bakal seru banget bawa dia jalan kemana-mana, khususnya alam ria di Kanada sini.