One of the most anticipated trips for me is my dream trip to Seoul in South Korea. I have already gone through endless blogs, vlogs and checklists collecting information. I even came to know of this group in Facebook called “Indians in Korea” who are a really helpful group of Indians answering all your doubts about Korea. I immediately joined it to have all my curiosity quenched. All this hard work is just for one reason … my love for Korean Dramas and EXO.
We haven’t travelled for a while and my husband Akash is about to complete his MBA in the second week of March so he readily agreed to take me to Seoul for a vacation.According to my husband’s schedule, we decided March last week (23rd – 31st Match)will be the best time for us to travel to Seoul.Now you can’t just decide going to Seoul just like that. South Korea needs Indians to have visa before entering their country. When I called up the Consulate General of Korea in Mumbai, they kindly gave me this url to let me know all that I need to have my visa for South Korea.
The primary things you would need for tourist visa according to this website are
- Your Passport
- Your Visa Application Form.
- 3.5 cm * 4.5 cm photograph of yours with a white background to be pasted in the form. (Don’t wear white clothes while taking the photo).
- Your Tour Itinerary.
- Ticket Itinerary.
- Cover letter explaining the purpose, duration and
- Your local address proof (Since I stay in Mumbai but my passport is from Kolkata they needed something to prove that I live in Mumbai. I had luckily taken the photo copy of my rent agreement with me which I submitted as proof.)
- Your 6 months bank statement with bank seal.
- Your last one year Income tax return form.
- Your leave letter from your organisation (if you are working like me. )
Having read all this we decided to book our tickets first. After so much deliberation about the route and a lot of help from my friend Ankit from Korea, Akash and I decided to go to Incheon Seoul via Singapore from Mumbai. This route off course takes a lot of time and I was not particularly happy about it for the fact that it was non refundable. This was enough to give me nightmares for a few nights until Ankit convinced me to take this route as flights from China were cheap but very unreliable and Singapore airport is one of the best airports in the world.I was even contemplating of going to Delhi and take a direct flight to Incheon. Yes there is one which belongs to Air India. But again I don’t have full faith on Air India in terms of punctuality. There is also a direct flight from Mumbai which is run by the Korean Air but it’s pretty expensive. Since we were getting late and prices were shooting up, I finally gave in to my husband Akash’s decision to fly via Singapore.
Having booked our flights we then spent or I would say wasted again weeks deciding on whether we would be staying in AirBnB or hotel.I knew for a fact that I wanted to stay in Myeongdong which is at the heart of seoul and everything is about half an hour away from this place. Obviously the long line of streets bedazzled with lots of lights and street food wouldn’t let me choose any other place in Seoul. Initially I wanted to visit Jeju as well for 1 & 1/2 days but again Gimpo to Jeju flights were getting expensive and I being alone in making all the itinerary I finally dropped the plan. But Jeju is really beautiful and I would love to go to Jeju one day. Coming back to the topic again while I was dillydallying booking hotel or AirBnb most of the pretty rooms were booked. Finally in Chungmuro which is just 10 mins away from the main shopping street of Myeongdong, I found the cozy Sienna’s Place which Akash booked right away without giving me more time to waste contemplating.
This is the first time we will be trying AirBnb and we will be staying here https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/2063297 . Our host Sienna is very cordial and she had immediately sent us detailed information about how to reach her apartment from Incheon Airport through airport limousine bus or Seoul Subway.
After getting our tickets and airbnb done we next moved to getting the Korean Visa. As I already mentioned the list of things you would need to apply for the visa of the Republic of Korea. I got 6 months printed out and went to bank to get a seal. You can get the print out from bank itself. Then last one year’s ITR. Also one thing important is your employment letter or leave letter.I chose the latter which I got from my company’s internal site.You must check whether the letter has your office address and also the Company letter head.
I also have written down a rough itinerary which I will link here. Though I plan to visit many places related to my favourite kDramas I refrained from mentioning them in my itinerary that submitted in the Consulate lest they may laugh at me.
Now that I have completed all my formalities, I am eagerly waiting for my trip to Seoul , South Korea. Wish me luck.