Coming from the Philippines, a small tropical country in Southeast Asia, I never had experienced winter. I only see snow in the movies and thought it is beautiful and amusing. People I know who have experienced winter say it is entertaining at first but irritating at some point. They say winter is awful you won’t bother going out because of extreme outdoor temperature. But for me, I still want to see a world painted white with snow and to experience snow fight with my friends. I hope this guide about winter for Filipino tourists in South Korea will help you plan your trip.
In January, my friends and I went to South Korea. We’ve been dreaming to see this country since forever. And for the first time, I have finally experienced winter! So having survived the extreme temperature in South Korea, does this give me the authority to start dishing out tips now? No. But it’s my blog – so here we are.
Tip #1 Buy Pre-loved Winter Coats in Ukay-ukay
Ukay-ukay is your bestfriend when it comes to winter coats. I bought mine in Raberly for about 50 php. Branded jackets can go as high as 700 php so better have enough energy to rummage through their stuff. If you’re patient enough, you can find that one item that’s on-trend for the season.
Now where is Raberly? It is located along North Edsa across Trinoma and right beside North Avenue MRT. It is actually the biggest Raberly store but they also have several branches in the metro.
Tip #2 Buy quality thermal wear and base layers
I recommend Uniqlo specifically their Heattech line. Not only it is relatively cheap compared to other brands, but the quality is really good! Here are some stuff I bought at Uniqlo:
Pair of Heattech tights – I love this! It is comfortable, light and stretchy. It is not restricting and it kept my legs warm.
Fleece jacket – I got this for 690php (it was on sale!). This is not a Heattech product but it is warm and comfy.
Heattech Fleece Turtle Neck Tshirt – This is a perfect inner layer! I wish I bought two or more.
Tip #3 Go to Divisoria for cheap boots
Divisoria is the place to be when it comes to shopping for trendy but affordable clothing. And of course, not everything in Divisoria is low quality. Some stuff, if you are patient enough to find them, are really good.
Before we went to South Korea, I bought three boots in 999 shopping mall for only 900 php! Imagine if I spend that money in SM, I could only buy 1 pair of boots. Those were basic winter boots made up of synthetic leather which could be used in a normal walking tour. If you are going on a winter hiking adventure or walk on a frozen river (My Love from Another Star ang peg!), then go get yourself a decent waterproof boots.
Tip #4 When Skiing or Snowboarding, rent proper ski gear and apparel
Regular knitted gloves won’t be enough to keep those digits warm. It has to be waterproof. You can wear your own base and middle layer, but if you don’t have a waterproof outer layer, I recommend renting out one.
When we went skiing in Gangwon-do, I paid 25,000 KRW for ski apparel and that’s approximately 1,000 php. It includes ski pants, jacket, waterproof gloves and goggles. Trust me, these stuff will help you stay comfortable, warm and dry.
Tip #5 Accessorize and stay warm
Accessorize your winter wardrobe with wool hats, leather or waterproof gloves and scarf, giving you added warmth from the elements. In harsher weather, thick fleece socks can be a small and light but very effective addition. It will generate added warmth which I am pretty sure you will appreciate!
Tip #6 Use a face mask
Not to prevent yourself from acquiring contagious diseases (well this applies now), but to protect your face from wind chills. The strong wind-chill factor intensifies the cold temperature and I really mean cold! On our first day in Jeju Island, I forgot to bring my headware (can be used as a face mask), and my face suffered terribly. I got cracked lips and dry skin. And oh! My nasal passageway also dried up.
Tip #7 Use moisturizers and body lotion
Trust me you can’t survive winter without these. During our short stay in South Korea, I found out that cold weather outside and dry heat blasting inside the hotel all contribute to dry skin. This isn’t just on your face, but your entire body. I suffered impaired skin integrity because I always forgot to put on moisturizer and lotion. There were parts of my legs and arms that has mild skin break out and it was really painful.
So that’s about it my dear readers! I hope this will help you if you are planning a winter trip to South Korea or anywhere in the world. Thanks for dropping by! Check out my other South Korea Blog Post if you enjoyed this post.
First Published: August 16, 2014