• A Mom's First Trip to Seoul With Her Toddler: Where She Stayed and How Much She Saved

    A mom shares her tips including what to bring when you go to Seoul, South Korea with kids.
    by Tiffany Santos Canseco .
A Mom's First Trip to Seoul With Her Toddler: Where She Stayed and How Much She Saved
PHOTO BY iStock
  • When we had my daughter Kina, my husband and I immediately got her a passport because we wanted to celebrate her first year out of the country. A lot of people discouraged us because it was too expensive for something she was not likely to remember. But we wanted her to try new things (and to take as many photos as we can when we travel with her!).

    After her first birthday, Seoul was an easy choice for us as the next destination (next to Singapore) because of its organized transport system. 

    This was our first trip outside of the country with her. We made sure to pack the following: 

    • Busy bag for your flight. We brought four sticker books, two coloring books, flash cards and crackers to keep her busy during the four-hour flight.
    • Digital thermometer and fever and cold medication just in case of emergency. Pack extra clothes for you and your baby. 
    • Toiletries like diapers and wipes (some baby items are more expensive there)
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    Getting around Seoul with a toddler

    Bring both stroller and carrier.

    There are areas in Seoul that can get crowded so it’s difficult to use your strollers during peak hours. But during your tour in the city, train stations have lifts so it’s easy to go around.

    Take the airport bus.

    It’s very spacious and it has a separate luggage area. You can find these buses at exit 5 from the airport and buses arrive every 20-30 minutes. The best part is it stops directly in front of some of the Myeongdong hotels. For more details about their airport bus you can check it out here.

    Get T Money card.

    You can use this to pay for the subway and the bus (and buy items from convenience stores!). It saves you time and money than getting single-journey subway tickets. T Money takes 100 won off for every subway trip for adults. 

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    Save more by renting a wifi device.

    Instead of availing of my telecom's roaming service, I got a sim card (you can also rent a wifi device) from the Klook app, which gives you different day options of unlimited data access. Price is at Php1,152 for a 5-day access using a sim card. All you need to do is just pick up the sim card or device at Incheon Airport.

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    Where to stay in Seoul with a toddler 

    We wanted to stay at a place where it’s easy to access via the subway station and convenience stores and the amenities are clean (we don’t need to worry about towels and other basic items). We ended up with a hotel instead of an Airbnb. 
    You can check out these hotels in Myeongdong that is accessible and recommended by most moms: 

    • SkyPark Hotel
    • IIISejong Hotel
    • Hotel Ibis
    • NineTree Hotel
    • Prince Hotel

    We stayed at Sejong Hotel, which is two to three blocks away from Myeongdong, and it was also a few meters away from the subway station and from the airport bus station. The room was quite spacious, which is perfect for families. You can try to check out Trivago.com.ph to check out the website that offers the lowest rates for your target hotel.

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    What to eat in Seoul when you have a toddler

    For snacks, Myeongdong is a clean and accessible street food heaven where we tried different food stall. Our toddler’s favorite were the: fresh fruit shakes (around 3,000 won), steak and veggies (around 7,000 won) and fresh strawberries (which was quite expensive at 7,000 won).

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    Grilled meat place and chicken restaurants were easy to find, which was fortunate because my daughter loves her meat.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tiffany Santos Canseco

    One of the popular restaurants in Seoul is Tosokchon Samgyetang and its specialty is ginseng chicken soup.

    Ginseng chicken soup tastes like our local arrozcaldo. It’s a small chicken stuffed with rice and ginseng served in a pot of soup.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tiffany Santos Canseco
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    Where to go to Seoul with a toddler

    We were able to get huge discounts by booking Everland, Lotte World and Aquarium, Hello Kitty Museum and Namsan Tower (or the N Seoul Tower) with the use of Klook app. It saved us time by avoiding long queues for ticket entrance (you just show the barcode at the entrance and you’re all set).

    There are two ways to go to N Seoul Tower from Myeongdong either via bus or cable car. Going to the cable car station requires a long walk from the Myeongdong MRT station, also you will have to climb the stairs to be able to get to the cable car stop. We recommend that you take the bus if you have a toddler who hates to ride the stroller. It can be really tiring to walk uphill to the cable car stop while carrying a toddler.

    Everland was a hit with our toddler because of the animals. Our toddler loved the panda and the safari tour. To save money, go on a weekday so you won’t have to get the express pass. Lines can be really long that can last for 30 minutes to an hour just for the safari tour on a weekend.

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    If you are going to both Lotte World and Lotte Aquarium, visit the aquarium first since it’s nearer the MRT Jamsil station. From the aquarium you have to walk meters away going to Lotte World. Inside the Lotte World there’s a place for toddlers which is Pororo Park. It’s like Kidzoona but bigger and better. They have drawing stations, interactive games, ball pits, and cushioned play area.

    You won't run out of places to take photos in Seoul!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tiffany Santos Canseco

    Take advantage of the areas in Seoul that are toddler or child-friendly to take photos. There’s this popular Line character that looks like a teddy bear that has a huge bear set-up in Line in Myeongdong or in Incheon airport departure area. Myeongdong subway, on the other hand, has Pororo characters all over the place, which my daughter loved. They also have Tayo and Pororo characters at the Myeongdong MRT station near Prince Hotel.

    You don’t need to spend much when you travel with a baby. We just had to make sure that the places we went to  was something that my baby will love. And since she was interested in animals, we went to zoos and aquariums. I hope these tips will help you in making your itinerary for your first trip with your toddler.

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