3 Easy Ways To Explore Tokyo and Seoul On A Budget

September 20, 2018
Today on JustALittleBitOfLauryn, we have a guest post by Jodie on 3 Easy Ways To Explore Tokyo and Seoul On A Budget. Please remember to go and check out her blog where she posts lots of amazing travel content and let's begin...

Korea and Japan are destinations many keen travellers wish to get their hands on. The extravagant cultures, foods and fashions it has to hold and the spectacular vibrant city views as seen in major movies. This part of Asia holds some of the most fascinating and dazzling sights in the world. From Mount Fuji to the World Trade Centre in Seoul.




Many are put off by the pricey expenses of these westernised countries. It took a week of jam sandwiches and noodle pots along with more trips to the cashpoint than I had hoped for. I learned the hard way. A lack of money is something that can always catch you off guard. Often out of your control, missed flights or oversized baggage problems as well as unavoidable medical issues whilst abroad. Insurance is vital in this instance as if too extortionate you can claim money back.
These factors shouldn't put you off travelling at all, they're part of the experience and teach you how to deal with problems that will inevitably come your way.

So..you want to travel cheap but not miss out on the worlds greatest wonders? Well, where there's a will there's a way!
I visited South Korea and Japan after almost 3 months of travelling in the Southeast.


I had a minimal budget but wanted to ensure I didn't miss a thing. Here are my secrets exposed as to how I managed this...

1. TRANSPORTATION

As soon as I reached the airport in Seoul I realised taxis were about 10 times the price I was accustomed to in Southeast Asia. This called for a hasty change in tactic. My first day in Seoul I hopped on a bus unaware that in Korea you need a T Money Travel Card. This is a card similar to an oyster card in London, which you top up with money and swipe every time you enter or leave the station/bus. This card was a saviour in Korea, I used it to travel around Seoul and even to get back to the airport for a cheap price (under £10). I had a kore expected price shock in Japan when I arrived in Haneda. I opted to wait all night for the first bus to my first destination (Mount Fuji) at 6:55am. This wait saved me around £50 alone, but I would recommend buying a pack of cards as they'll save you from boredom! The bus cost only £18 and took around 2.5-3 hours. I opted for buses here until I eventually arrived in central Tokyo.

Trains in Tokyo can be cheap depending on the distance you wish to travel. To get to my second hostel in central Tokyo I had to catch a bus followed by 10 stops on the train. From there you can use the trains to travel for about £3 a day in both Seoul and Tokyo. Tokyo you buy as and when you travel and as mentioned Seoul uses the T Card system. Pre-planning your points of interest in the busy cities means you can make a public transport route and budget accordingly.



2. EATING




Eating meals in Northeast Asia call for a change in tactic to the Southeast where meals can be eaten at restaurants every night with little need for supermarkets. Supermarkets here are your loyal companion, an absolute go to. Prices of restaurants particularly in Japan are similar prices to those in major western cities such as London. They average about £10-15 per meal which can leave you with a hefty sum when you intend to eat 2-3 meals a day. Cheaper places can be found to eat in Korea, such as my favourite place in Hongdae costing me around 5500 won (£3.84) and filling me up for over half of the day.



Places in Japan and Korea are easy to trial and error as they are mostly run by self-service screens. In Tokyo, I visited a supermarket near to my hostel where I spent only 1500 yen (£10.49) on a week's worth of noodles, bread, jam, rice dishes, crisps and fruit.



**Note** when in the Southeast food quickly became something I carelessly considered. However, upon entering the Northeast I had to really strategise what I was eating and where. This doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy a less frequent meal out, but money does need to be managed more precariously. Most importantly, try the food! Supermarkets sell seemingly bizarre authentic foods which locals purchase every day. If you see something you have never heard of before, try it! I discovered a newfound love for gimbap.

3. PRIORITISE ACTIVITIES

Although I cannot stress enough the amazement of spontaneity, some pre-planning, particularly in more expensive cities, can prevent you from missing out on some of your top destinations. Plans change often as you may discover something you would love to do sooner in advance, something you missed whilst planning. For me, climbing Mount Fuji was a spontaneous move and one I never thought I would be able to achieve with such little preparation. Check out how I battled one of Japans worst typhoons on top of Mount Fuji on my blog.


After realising this would be more expensive, I chose to prioritise it as my first stop before Tokyo, even losing a few nights I had paid for already in a Tokyo hostel. This gave me a stricter budget once I arrived in Tokyo, but I didn't mind at all.

I don't believe in planning everything to a tee when travelling the world. This is because often you do not know what you will run into or find. This aside, a basic amendable plan of what you aim to achieve in each country comes in handy particularly in expensive cities like Tokyo and Seoul. In Seoul I had 2-3 top priority destinations. Gangnam is well worth a trip to see the Psi statue and extravagant World Trade Centre, as is Hongdae for its superficial nightlife and its long strips of cute culture clothes markets.




As mentioned, in Japan, I had Mount Fuji as a top priority despite being added almost last minute. This was then followed by my 'Tokyo's 5 Must-See Sights' soon to be featured on my travel blog.
Northeast Asia was a different experience, as I tend to avoid the more expensive cities and opt for my favourited culture in the worlds poorer countries. My top recommendations are to plan in advance, don't underestimate the difference food can make to your budget and opt for cheaper transport options than you are used to. These compromises can make your journey to Northeast Asia stress-free. When I found myself short-handed in Tokyo I deducted some money from my budget for Bali which I revisited afterwards. This is because I knew really how much money I needed to live comfortably in this location so I was able to be more flexible.
Don't let money put you off, these places are filled with once in a lifetime sights and cultures waiting to be explored by travellers. To read more about my experience in Northeast Asia, visit my article, 'Hacking Northeast Asia'.

Happy travelling!








8 comments:

  1. Great post - I'd love to visit Tokyo x

    www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk

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  2. I loved going to south Korea! Will definitely go again x

    Joyce | Joyce Lau Offical

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have always wanted to visit Japan, but had always heard it was very expensive!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I’d love to visit Japan one day! All of these tips are great :) xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.co.uk

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