Posted by : Francisco Munoz Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hey! I hope you enjoyed my first "When In Korea" post, as promised I'm back with another one. This time I'll be sharing some tips on how to get discounts. :)

After my Vacation in Korea people keep on asking...

"How much was the damage?"
"Isn't it expensive there?"
"Is it budget friendly?"

and about 20 "How much" questions

Most people I know have this thinking that visiting Korea will cost you a lot. Surprisingly if you've been to other Asian countries (i.e. Hong Kong, Thailand etc.) you can actually allot the same budget, Why? because Korea is quite generous on giving tourist discounts. Since I travelled alone I made sure that I'll be able to make the most out of my budget. I've read sole travelers tend to spend more specially for food. So before flying to Seoul I did my homework and researched on how to avail tax refund/tourist discounts and I was delighted to discover that they offer a lot. It might sound as if I'm exaggerating but compared to other countries I visited
Seoul does offer a lot.

KTO Coupons:

Oh! how I love Korean Tourism Organization's website, there's definitely more to KTO than what I expected. Yes they have a lot of information that will come handy on planning my trip, but to my surprise I got discount coupons after registering. Yay! more discounts more fun!

My favorite coupon is probably the Trick Eye Museum Coupon, simply because it's the reason I'm writing this blog entry. Why? because I was with Aiah (fellow solo traveler that I met in Nami Island) who doesn't know about it, she almost purchased the ticket for 15,000 won luckily she's with me so I asked her to get a coupon online and boom! she saved 3,000 won. 
Getting T-Money is a must! something that I learned the hard way...  While I was preparing my Itinerary I was caught in a dilemma which one to avail T-Money or M-Money?. I decided not to buy one until... I got lost in the subway so i transferred from one line to another but my single journey card failed to cover the transfer fee. I was quite in panic when I got the "Insufficient balance" notification after tapping my card. I mean I'm in a foreign country, the last thing that  I want to do is ask around on how to resolve such mishap.
So after that Incident I bought one and as expected it made my transportation experience smoother. I was able to use it in riding the subway & bus, another cool thing about it is that the subway transfers are free when you use T-money. Below is the subway fare matrix, you can check KTO for the bust fare matrix,
 Aside from lower fare & free subway transfer T-money comes with Foreigners Only Coupons. Make sure to purchase one the moment you arrive at the airport to maximize the use of the coupons (I bought mine the day after I went to Seoul tower...SAYANG!) I'm not sure if all T-money card comes with the same set of coupons though.
 Tax Refund
Above are the two logos that you need to be familiar with, if the store that you're in have either GBTF or GTF it means that you can get a tax refund for a minimum of 30,000 won  worth of purchase. Compared to other countries Korea somehow encourage tourists to avail tax refund. The moment you stepped in the shopping area of Myeongdong you'll see Tax Free logos everywhere and I'm telling  you they're pretty noticeable. It's like the logos are shouting "Come here we offer tax refund!!!" hahaha. Here are the  things that you need to do to avail the tax refund,
1) Before paying make sure to ask for the "Refund Receipt", you might need to fill it up right there and then so make sure to have a pen with you. 
2) Once you arrive in the airport ask where you can find the Tax Refund booth (make sure to come early as there might be a long queue)
3)"Global Blue Tax Free" and "Global Tax Free" have different booths so you might need to fall in line twice for each window.
"Events" (Sale)
 Here's my last tip, make sure to do your shopping during the weekend, they usually have "events" or sale. Trust me you can get up to 50% discount during the weekend specially in the shopping districts.
I hope you'll find this post helpful on planning your Korean trip :)
Reference: KTO 

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