In three weeks I’m going to Korea and Japan. It’s not the first time I’ve visited either country; I lived in Korea for two years and I visited Japan during that time. There’s something particularly special about going back to a place you’ve been to before. In a way I feel more excited than when I visit a new place as I clear idea of what I’m looking forward to.
I always sit down to book our trips with trepidation as I know it can either be a smooth process done in an hour or something that can take all day. When visiting multiple destinations, like this trip, it is usually the latter. For this trip to Korea and Japan, it was kind of a mixture of both.
There are two destinations we are taking in on this trip, Seoul and Tokyo. Our hope was to be able to fly into one and out of the other. Initially we were looking at flying into Tokyo and out of Seoul but we discovered flying into Seoul was cheaper. At first we wanted to visit on the last week of September but after a quick check on Skyscanner, we realised the weekend before was much cheaper. It turned out the last weekend in September is Chuseok, a huge Korean holiday, which explained the more expensive prices.
Then we looked at routes. Glasgow to Korea/Japan is a long journey. We looked at the direct Korea Air flight from Glasgow to Seoul, then looked at flights from London to Seoul, before settling on what turned out to be the cheapest option, the Emirates flight from Glasgow to Seoul with a change in Dubai. For the return flight we booked Emirates again from Tokyo to Glasgow with a change in Dubai.
With our main flights to and from Glasgow to Korea and Japan booked, we then had to book our flight from Seoul to Tokyo. From our time living in Korea we knew this would be fairly cheap as there were lots of budget airlines that flew to Japan; when we visited Japan from Korea in 2010 we flew with Jeju Air. We looked at Jeju Air flights again, along with Eastar Jet, before finding the cheapest flight from Seoul to Tokyo which was with T’way Air.
Booking Seoul accommodation
We are visiting Korea with our friend Brian so ideally we wanted an airbnb that would sleep three people. Seoul is a city the three of us know well as we all lived just outside it for two years. We knew we wanted to stay in either Noksapyeong or Hapjeong as those were the two neighbourhoods we used to socialise in. After deliberating over a few smaller airbnbs, we eventually settled on this one.
Brian is heading back to his job in Tokyo two nights before Paul and I leave Seoul so for the last two nights we’re saving a bit of cash by moving along the road to this hotel.
Booking Tokyo accommodation
Booking our Tokyo accommodation was the hardest and most time consuming part of booking our Korea and Japan trip. Tokyo is a mammoth city with tons of neighbourhoods so it’s hard to even know where to begin. However, Brian gave us the guidance that our airbnb should be on the Yamanote Line which made it easier. We also wanted to be fairly close to where he stays which is in the Meguro area.
This is when we began to struggle. Accommodation in Tokyo is not cheap and unless you’re willing to pay a hell of a lot of money, your room is going to be small. When we started looking, we spotted this airbnb and laughed at the guy sitting there and wondered out loud if he came with the room. Guess what – it’s the one we ended up booking (hopefully the guy doesn’t come with the room. I’ll let you know afterwards).
The main reasons that led us to book this airbnb is its location, the fact is has tons of positive reviews, and that it’s cheap (for Tokyo, it’s very cheap). We looked at more expensive options but we realised that for a lot of extra money there was very little difference between them.
Total cost of booking Korea and Japan trip (for two – me and Paul)
Return Flights from Glasgow to Korea and Japan: £1124
Flights from Seoul to Tokyo: £98
Seoul accommodation for five nights: £362
Tokyo accommodation for six nights: £300
Total cost of our trip to Korea and Japan: £1884