Air Tickets and accommodation booking for my 7D Korea Free and Easy Trip in Nov/Dec 2012

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you have been following my recent posts, there's no way that you would have missed me talking about my recent trip to Korea in November/December 2012. 

I have always been immersed in anything Korean, be it Korean drama, K-Pop or Korean fashion/style. In fact, pretty much anything about Korea. I have always wanted to visit Korea. If not for the fact that my University semester started early in July back in 2010, I would have been able to go to Korea that year. And it so happened that I missed the chance to go to Korea for exchange program because it clashed with my school semester.

It so happened that my Mom was talking to my cousin about going to Korea and before I knew it, I was busy searching for air tickets prices for comparisons online as well as deals for accommodation.

As my cousin is in Secondary 4 back in 2012, that meant that she had to sit for her O levels examination and it would only end in mid November. That meant that we could only visit Korea after her exams. 

As with any other free and easy overseas trip, first thing first would be to book your air tickets and accommodation even before anything else. Although this isn't my first free and easy trip, I must admit that this is the first time that I handled everything - from booking of our flights, accommodation to planning the itinerary and getting travel insurance. It can be rather time-consuming and strenuous at times, hence I thought that I would share with you my experience from the start till the end.

Today I'm gonna share about my flight and accommodation booking.

First thing first would be - 

1. Air Tickets
Initially, we planned to depart from Singapore on the week of 19 November but to accommodate my cousin's prom night, we shifted our departing date to a week later.

We only booked our tickets on 27 July 2012 for our departure date 24 November 2012 because my cousin's school couldn't confirm the exact date of her prom night. I had checked the air ticket prices for Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Cathay Pacific beforehand and had PDFs of a few selection and their prices. Having compared all, we decided to go ahead with Singapore Airlines due to it being a direct flight but to our surprise, the air tickets for departure date 24 November 2012 were sold out. Hence, we were left with AirAsia and Cathay Pacific to choose from. Both of them require transiting at Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong respectively.

Cathay Pacific



Total duration of departing flightTotal duration of arriving flightPrice (for 3 pax)Price per pax
Cathay Pacific9 hours 15 mins8 hours 45 mins2164.8721.6
AirAsia8 hours 55 mins11 hours 50 mins2208736


The summary table above shows the difference between the total duration of the flight including transiting as well as the prices. Cathay Pacific ($721.60) is cheaper than AirAsia ($736) by $43.20 per person! So make sure you do your homework well before booking. It doesn't mean that budget or no frills airlines are always cheaper. Actually, I realised that budget/no frills airlines is only cheap
when you book during their sale period. They can be rather exorbitant especially when it draws nearer to peak period or festive seasons. 

You probably would have guessed which airline we chose in the end - Cathay Pacific definitely, given the pricing and the total traveling time inclusive of transiting. Plus, I don't think I have added the extra baggage costs for AirAsia when I checked out the prices. Its a bit more tricky transiting when taking budget/no frills airlines because excess baggage would be charged twice, from place of origin to transit country then to destination country again.

Having booked the air tickets, the next thing that you should worry about would be your accommodation during your stay there.  

2. Accommodation 

For accommodation, we were deciding between Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse and Namsan Guest House as recommended by friends and family members whom have been there before. We weren't that particular except that we wanted to stay somewhere near Myeongdong (the shopping haven in Seoul, South Korea) and that we want an en-suite (in-room) toilet for convenience sake.

When I was googling for information be it through travel booking sites like or travel review sites like tripadvisor, hostelworld or and even travel blogs, what frustrated me most was the lack of comparison between these two hostel/guesthouses that I shortlisted. Hence, to better facilitate those of you whom are making a trip to Korea soon, I have done up an excel sheet that shows the difference between Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse and Namsan Guest House in terms of pricing as well as the facilities provided.

Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse (자자 백팩커스)(ザザ バックパッカーズ ホステル)Namsan Guest House (남산게스트하우스)(南山ゲストハウス)

Double Room (2 person/1 night)60,000 KRWNamsan 1 VIP 3 (per day)70,000 KRW
Extra Person15,000 KRW per night

Total for 3 pax/day75,000 KRW

Stay 6 consecutive nights and get the 7th night FREE

Total for 3 pax for 6 days450,000 KRWTotal for 7 days 490,000 KRW


En-suite toiletOX
In-room wifiOO
Hair dryerOO
Toilet paperOO
Power adaptor (can request from staff)O?
Clothes hookOO
Toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, tissue)XO
Safe boxXX
Free breakfastXO
Free overseas call (Skype Internet phone) in the lounge/officeOO
PC for guest use in lounge/office OO
Mobile phone rental serviceXO
Kitchen and laundry for guest useXO
Cable TVOO
Lounge/office facilities (coffee sticks, tea packs, hot and warm water)OO


OYes (provided)

XNo (not provided)

?Not sure


If not for the fact that Zaza Backpackers have got a promotion such that if you stay for 6 consecutive nights, you get the 7th night free, it would have been more expensive than Namsan Guest House. So in terms of price wise, its 40,000 KRW, approx SGD$45 more economical. I don't know about you, but sometimes though its just a mere amount, I think it can be better utilized somewhere else better. Talk about being travel-saavy! Plus, the fact that we are on a free and easy trip, it means that we have got to plan our finances really well, no?


For facilities-wise, like I mentioned, we were most concerned on whether the hostel/guesthouse had a en-suite toilet because it would be really troublesome having to go out of your room every now and then if you had to visit the bathroom or to shower. My cousin, Bing and Xuan stayed at Namsan Guest House when they visited Korea previously and they said that it didn't have en-suite bathroom and even though they were given a private toilet and a key to lock it, they saw someone using their toilet when they came back one day. Plus, as there's 3 Namsan Guest House altogether, Bing and Xuan were given the one that's the furthest from Myeongdong station because they had no more rooms for the one that they booked for.

There are some facilities that Namsan Guest House provide that Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse do not. These include:

- Fridge
- Toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, tissue)
- Breakfast
- Mobile phone rental service 
- Kitchen and laundry for guest use

Fridge wise, I was a bit sad initially if not I could have bought Yakult and drink it like how Suzy Bae (Go Hye Mi) did in Dream High 1. Korean drama overload? Yes, you bet! 

But because the period that we were in Korea was during winter, it didn't matter much because most of the time, we were drinking warm or hot water in our room because you wouldn't want to risk fighting the cold once you step out. Having said that, we still had our share of Binggrae banana milk (빙그레 바나나 우유) every morning, sometimes at night. Its super convenient to get it because there's a convenience store Mini Stop just down the slope from Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse and there's like 7-eleven and GS25 down the street. 

Toiletries wise, I normally bring my own whenever I travel, I don't really use those from hotels or what nots so its fine too. Plus, if you're staying in Myeongdong, just get them from Korean beauty stores like Skin Food, The Face Shop, Etude House, Holika Holika, Its Skin, Missha those because its really cheap there say about 6,500 won? 

In terms of whether breakfast is provided, I think it ain't that important because there's a super nice toast stall called Issac about 3 minutes walk from Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse. If not, you can always get Kimbap 김밥 from GS25 or 7-eleven and even the small standalone stores for either 1,000 or 2,000 won per roll inside the subway stations itself!

I will be reviewing Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse next, so stay tuned for my updates!

You might also like these posts:

How to get to Myeongdong from Incheon Airport
Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌 삼계탕 (土俗村参鸡汤) | Must-eat in Korea
Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review (자자 백팩커스) (ザザ バックパッカーズ ホステル) (萨萨背包旅馆)
Air Tickets and accommodation booking for my 7D Korea Free and Easy Trip in Nov/Dec 2012 (Includes Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse pricing and facilities)
Gyeongbokgung 경복궁 (景福宮) | Must-visit in Korea
Petite France 쁘띠프랑스 | French Village in Korea countryside

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