Tropical Girl in South Korea: My First Winter Experience

Friday, August 15, 2014

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. ^_^

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 Fab Trench Coats in Ukay-ukay
Ukay-ukay is your bestfriend when it comes to trench 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.
1. Ukay-Ukay Coat (15 php) 2. Divisoria Leggings (100 php)  - got fat legs here because I wore three layers of leggings :) 3. Divisoria boots (300 php)

Tip #2  Buy thermal wear and a couple of base layers
Well on this part, I will recommend Uniqlo specifically their Heattech line. Not only it is relatively cheap compared to other brands, but also 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.
Fluffy 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. But those are 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.

Gil Ra Im of Secret Garden :) Peg ko sya! She loves putting her hands inside her hoodie pocket
Tip #4  When Skiing or Snowboarding, consider renting ski gear and apparel
To keep those digits warm, normal knitted gloves won't work, 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. 
Maki and I at Elysian Gangchon Resort in Gangwon-do
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 Buy a face mask
Not to prevent yourself from acquiring contagious diseases, 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. My. Poor. Face.

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! Annyeong! :) Check out my other South Korea Blog Posts right  here.

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  1. Excited for my Korea trip this coming October :) Reading up on your other Korea-related posts too :)

  2. Love this post and the tips too! :) I'm a fan of Divisoria and ukay-ukay too! Haha!

  3. Yes, for everything and anything we have Divisoria and ukay-ukay! :) Thanks for dropping by Jean!

  4. Thanks Fran! You should definitely visit South Korea :)

  5. Thanks Mrs. Kolca! Proper clothing will help you survive the extreme temp. Hope you could visit SK together with your kids. I am sure they will love snow fight :)

  6. Hello Milet, ask ko lng about bank account. yung account ko ksi ay sa rural bank it is a subsidiary of asia united bank. okay lng ba yun?

  7. For visa application ba to? Okay lang yun basta may bank cert ka na mabibigay :)

  8. I totally love your winter outfits!!! Your pics wanna make me go book a ticket to Korea too. I haven't experienced the sticky snow. The snow that I have experienced in Ireland is the ridiculously disappear-once-hitting-the-ground kind of snow. Oh well.

    Head gear is extremely important. When it's too cold, my inner ears kind of experience an ugly sensation. It hurts a litte. Looking forward to more tips! :)

  9. Yes sis. I brought ear muffs in Korea. Sobrang laking tulong nun :) Lamigin pa naman ako haha

  10. HI i will be going to Korea this December but I dunno what shoes to bring. Is that a boots you're wearing and what type? Thanks!

  11. Those are cheap boots from divisoria :) I think it's made of synthetic leather but I'm not quite sure. Since I don't have moolah to buy leather boots, what I did is wear three layers of socks (1 heattech socks and 2 ordinary socks). It might not be warm enough though.

  12. Hi. San exactly sa 999 mall mo nbili yung boots?ive been there last week. But what I found is a marikina brand boots for 1,500. Thanks in advance!

  13. It's a korean shoe store located in the first floor. What I remember is malapit sya sa isang store na nagtitinda ng mga indoor/outdoor plants. Hope this helps!

  14. Thanks fo the info. Gonna check it soon. Merry Christmas in advance.


  15. You're welcome Thea! Happy Holidays :)

  16. Hello! I'm glad I came across your blog. May I ask where did you ski in Seoul? We're going this November. Do you still remember the name of the ski resort? Do they allow first timers or those who just want to experience skiing or snowboarding?

  17. Hi, yung Raberly ba yung sa may trinoma? Meron ba dun for men? I'm looking for a trenchcoat for my husband. Thanks in advance ��

  18. Hi there! I love your blog. Sobrang helpful niya. Ask ko lang, may particular shop ba sa 999mall na meron boots for men and women? Thanks!