Day 00: Detailed Steps from Manila to Seoul

So after months of planning, budgeting, saving and shopping, it’s time to travel your dream destination. So what are the things you need to do upon departing from Manila to arriving in Seoul? Here are some of the detailed steps:

1. Web Check-in

Web check-in is available three days prior your departure. Once the airline prompt you about your web-check in, click it right away. This will enable you to have a good seat. You can print your boarding pass yourselves or have the airline staff print for you upon checking in your baggages.


2. Be at the airport at least 4 hours before your departure time.

Once you have checked in, you have to be at the airport at least 4 hours before your departure time. This will help you to be at ease and process everything prior your travel, like paying for travel tax, checking in your baggages, immigration interview, eating and the like. Cramming is a big no-no. I believe you cannot forgive yourself if your plane will leave you, right? Haha. Kidding aside, you have to be at the airport early so as to give leeway for any unexpected events.

3. Pay your travel tax.

Since terminal fees are already incorporated on your airline tickets, however, international travel tax isn’t. Hence, you have to line up and pay Php 1,620. (Note that only Filipino travellers need to pay for this; foreigners should not.) The international travel tax booth is located near the check-in counters.

Here’s how the travel tax booth looks like at NAIA 3. (Disclosure: Photo grabbed from Google.)


4. Baggage Check-in

Once you have paid for your travel tax, you can proceed to your baggage check in counter. It is very important for you to pay your travel tax first because the airline crew will not checked you in if you have not paid for it.

Drop your baggages as early as possible because the queue some times take 30 minutes to an hour.

Is check in baggage really a must? hmm. Actually not. You can opt to have hand carry baggages and just skip this step. However, do note that hand carry baggage should only weigh 7kgs. Any excess, needs to be checked-in. I suggest for you to book your baggages online prior your travel dates.

5. Fill in the Customs Declaration Form

Once you dropped your luggages, proceed directly to the Immigration counter and fill in the Customs declaration form.This can be found just in front of the immigration counter.


6. Interview with an Immigration Officer

Once you have filled in the form, you can now queue for the immigration officer interview. Keep calm and wait for your turn. Common questions are as follows:

  • Why are you travelling?
  • Who are you travelling with?
  • How many days?

Since I put in the form that I am an auditor, the officer clarified if I am with a private or public company. Note that if you are a government employee you need to secure a travel permit. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reiterated that government officials and employees from the Executive Branch must secure a Travel Authority before they can be allowed to head overseas.

7. Wait at the Boarding Gate

Once you have passed through the immigration, you can directly proceed to your boarding gate. Always take note of your boarding gate number. There are instances wherein travellers do wait in a different boarding gate and end up being left by the plane. 😥

While waiting, you can actually munch for some goodies. The flight takes 4 hours; your tummy might snore during the flight. Yikes! But you need not worry as there are on board meals. In fairness, Cebu Pacific serves yummy goodies like Beef Misuno, Bistek Tagalog, Chicken Inasal, Beef Caldereta and other Filipino dishes. A meal costs Php350. Or you can save by having a cup noodles for a price of Php100.

8. The Flight

It actually takes 4 hours to travel from Manila to Incheon. You may want to watch a movie on your laptop or tabs or you can just opt to sleep. zzZzzzZZZzz.

You may wonder that in the flight itinerary you will depart at 3:00pm and arrive at 8:00pm. This is because of the time difference. Korea is an hour advance from the Philippines.


By the way during the flight, the attendants will provide you with an arrival card. You have to fill the form and give it to the Immigration Officer in Korea. Refer to Step #5 for the sample of an arrival card.

9. Welcome to Incheon International Airport

Aaaaaaaaa!!!!! 😮 Congrats!!! You have finally arrived at your dream country! This is really is it!!! Upon arrival, go with the flow. Follow where the people go. Hahaha. Yup! We actually do not know where to go, so we just followed the crowd. All I can remember is we went upstairs then downstairs then rode a subway to another terminal then lined up for the Immigration officer. Yes! You read it right. You will be interviewed again by an Immigration officer in Korea.

10. Immigration Interview in Korea

Unlike the Immigration officer in the Philippines, the officer in Korea did not ask me anything except putting my fingers in a fingerprint machine and have my photo on their register. That’s all and he stamped my passport. Voila! Now I’m ready to explore Korea. 😀

11. Claim your baggages

Once you are cleared with the immigration officer, you can now wait for your luggages. While waiting, you can now post your selfies on your Instagram and Facebook accounts. Incheon International Airport has free wifi.

12. Rent a pocket wifi.

Though most public places in Korea has free wifi, it is better to have your own pocket wifi where you can bring anytime, anywhere. Wifi is not only useful in updating your social media accounts but more importantly, useful when navigating Google Maps or Korea Subway app. Pocket wifi rental is available at the airport for only 8,800 KRW a day. You will have to pay the rental once you return the device. However, they will have your credit card scanned which serves as a security deposit.


13. Buy and Load up your T-Money

T-Money is a reloadable transportation card used to pay for bus, MRT and taxi fares. Some convenience stores also accept T-Money as payment. All you need to do is to tap the card when you enter and exit in the subway or bus. Click here for more detailed steps.

We bought our T-Money at the airport for 4,000KRW and loaded it with 20,000 KRW. You can reload anytime at any convenience store or self-reloading machines at subway stations.



14. Ride a Bus, Subway or Airport Coach to your hotel

There are several different ways to travel from Incheon International Airport to Seoul. The most popular ways include taking the Airport Railroad Express (AREX), Seoul Metropolitan Subway, airport limousine buses, and taxis. Here’s a list to help you decide.

Since you already have your T-Money, you can now ride any public transportations towards your hotel.  Incheon International Airport is a bit far from Seoul as travel time is more than an hour. I suggest that you contact your hotel and ask for any airport transfers. If your hotel does not have any airport transfers, you can choose to ride the airport limousine buses or taxi or subway.

We originally planned to ride a bus but eventually ended up riding the subway. 😦 Honestly speaking, I don’t suggest for you to ride the subway as it is very difficult to carry your luggages transferring from station to station.


So that’s it. Once you arrive at your hotel, don’t sleep! Don’t waste your time. Explore and enjoy the beauty of Seoul, South Korea. 안녕하세 Annyeonghaseyo! 갖고 있다 Gang Issda!  🙂



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