hen you travel abroad, the internet is a necessity nowadays. When we went to Seoul, South Korea we tried looking for the internet pocket device for rent because it’s the cheapest way to get connected online. There are many options at the airport when you arrive however they change their policy and now require a credit card to be able to rent. In our case, none of us have a credit card so we opted to use the sim card.
Buy the SIM instead of Pocket wifi
The sim card that we chose was KT (Olleh) for unlimited internet for 5 days worth W27,500. Then we plugged it in my extra phone and turned it into an instant wifi hotspot for the 3 of us. South Korea has 3 major internet telecommunication players: SK Telecom, KT Corporation (Olleh), and LG UPlus.
The 5 days unlimited internet is actually worth it, we are always connected even under the subway or even when the train was moving. We did not experience any hiccup or lag for the whole duration.
Before going to South Korea, I also checked our local operators here in the Philippines if they offer roaming services and here’s what I found.
pparently, it’s way more convenient and cheaper to buy their sim in Korea than buying here ahead. In Korea, their 5days internet sim is unlimited whereas the operators here in the Philippines offer limited data allocation.
- 5 days duration
- SK Telecom and KT (Olleh)
- Monitor via GoRoam app
- Activate by ROAM SURF 550 to 2884
- 5 days duration
- KT (Olleh)
- Monitor via Data Roaming Manager
- Activate by ROAM ON to 333
Pocket wifi is ~50% cheaper compared to sims but they need to be returned and if you are in a hurry to catch your check-in and boarding time that task will consume your time. Internet sim is way better because you don’t need to think about dropping by their kiosk to return their device. You can still use the internet up until the gates or even inside the plane (while still waiting).
Transportation and Convenience Store Card
One of the things to get while you are in the airport is the T-Money card. It’s a prepaid card for payment transactions in trains, buses, and taxis. You can also use this when you purchase something in their convenience stores, fast food, coffee shops, vending machines, unmanned locker rooms, and even in Everland Resort.
The T-Money card is W4,000 then we charged it with W10,000 first. Overall, we charged our T-Money of W25,000 for 5 days trip and still have a remaining balance. Recharge or Top-up your T-money through their major convenience stores such as GS25, CU, 7-ELEVEN, Ministop, emart24, 365PLUS, Story Way. You may also top-up through Tmoney vending machines, T-money service centers in subway stations (Seoul Metropolitan Subway Lines 1-8, Incheon Subway Lines 1-2).
You can see your balance in T-Money through an app called T-Balance or check on their terminal gates/NFC card reader devices when you tap it.
You may also go digital and download the app instead of buying the physical NFC card. However, the app only works for the phones running in Android 5 or above and NFC is functional. Supported credit/debit cards are VISA, Master, JCB, AmEx, and Union Pay only. Top-up and claim a refund through the app conveniently.
How to use the T-Money?
Put (tag) the card on a card reader for the payment.
Do not remove the card until the payment is completed (it takes about 0.5sec).
Tag the card at the center of a card reader upon riding until the beep is heard. The fees and remaining balance will be displayed on the card reader. When getting off the bus, you should tag again it to the card reader until the beep is heard to receive a transfer fee discount.
When you ride a subway, tag the card at the center of a card reader until the beep is heard. The fees and remaining balance will be displayed on the card reader. (It may be differently displayed when you transfer.) You should tag it in the same way when you arrive at your destination.
When you get to your destination present a T-money card to a taxi driver. After the payment is completed, please make sure to retrieve the card and its receipt.
When making a payment, present a T-money card to a convenient store, café, etc. where it is possible to pay by T-money. After the payment is completed, please make sure to retrieve the card and its receipt.
Google Map does not work properly in Korea
Yes, Google Maps is not that functional in South Korea because of there government regulations law or the Korean Spatial Information Management act that prohibits the exportation of Korean domestic geographical information.
Instead, download the app called Naver Map. This app guides you as you tour around, it shows you the best and/or less walking route both for metro trains and buses. It also calculates the transit time and real-time traffic information. It also has its subway map in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and Daejeon.
South Korea’s transportation system is as good and convenient as Hong Kong and Singapore. I hope that someday our country will catch up and will have the same system as theirs. I really believe that Metro Rail transit is one of the solutions for our traffic problem in our country and I hope someday our government will invest in creating this transportation system in cities nationwide.