Budget travel is very possible in South Korea if you are traveling on a shoe-string budget. Like many Asian countries, South Korea is very modern and cosmopolitan. It has a large number of Christian and Buddhist population, which have helped create an interesting culture and heritage, which was very influenced by the Chinese traditions. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your low budget trip to this fascinating place.
Where to stay
Hotels greatly increase the costs of a trip, but there are alternatives, like the jjimjilbang. A jjimjilbang is a public bathroom which also offers overnight stays for a small price. Seoul hotels see a lot of traffic, especially during the week because it is mainly a business city. This is why the best choice would be planning your stay for the weekend, outside or in the downtown area, where the prices are more accessible. There is a wide range of cheap hotels like the Marriott or Novotel.
Where to eat
In order to save money you have to eat like a local. This can become an interesting experience which will help you immerse in the culture of the local cuisine. I advise you to try the samgyupsal, a local barbeque recipe with marinated bacon and exotic sauces, or a dakgalbi, which is a spicy dish with chicken and cabbage. You can also try Korean comfort food which consists mainly of soups and noodles or rice stir-fries. The Korean cuisine is very delicious. Rice is a frequent ingredient in traditional recipes, and vegetables and marinated meat are also favored.
A lot of thought has been given to the subway system in Seoul, and after years of modernization and renovation, the city can now be proud with a reliable and efficient means of transports. Subways are probably the best choice for travelers because unlike buses they have stations marked in English. To pay for transportation you can purchase rechargeable transportation cards which work on subways and buses.
What to see
You might be tempted to visit all the museums which have entrance fees, but instead of doing so, you could visit the numerous temples and gardens which are very beautiful, and free. This way you will save money, and you will also get the chance to better understand the Korean culture. Korean people are very friendly, and you might even get a free tour if you smile. You should visit the National Museum of Korea, which is the sixth-largest museum in the world, on the fourth Saturday of each month, when admissions are free.
What to shop
You can bargain for many things in Korean markets, but remember to be polite and to respect the shopkeeper. Another thing you should keep in mind is to avoid foreign imports.
These are the tips for a budget travel. As a tourists you will find something different in every region of the country, and with a little planning money will not be a problem anymore.