Let’s say you have a chingu who loves everything Korean. Or maybe she’s obsessed with K-dramas, she’s a die-hard K-pop fan, or a K-culture vulture. Of course, buying her merch for Christmas would be a great idea. But if you think her collection is huge already, why not consider an ~*experience gift*~ instead? Since the pandemic restrictions have eased up, it might also be a way for you to bond again in person and safely!
Below, a list of gift-worthy experiences for your chingu, eomma, appa, eonnie, oppa, dongsaeng, etcetera etcetera. There’s a choice for various price ranges—starting below P500 to grand gifts worth more than P12,000.
1. Online Korean tours
It’s a bummer that we still can’t freely travel to South Korea. But if your friend finds herself craving the sights and the tourist feels, try giving her a virtual tour! Trazy is one company that offers different experiences. Does your chingu love K-pop? Take her on a tour to different entertainment companies like SM, YG, JYP, and HYBE. Would she be interested in a Korean cooking class? They have one, too.
Tours are priced at P481 to P656, and special coupon codes are sometimes handed out for free tickets! All you have to do is hunt for the perfect date and sign up. Some tours even come with free Amazon gift cards, which is perfect if the receiver likes shopping online, too. Check out Trazy’s list of online tours with prices here.
2. Jjimjilbang or Korean spa
An avid Korean drama fan will be familiar with the jjimjilbang. It’s the term for a Korean sauna and spa, which characters go to when they’re heartbroken, broke, or rebellious. It’s also where they eat treats like sikhye (a sweet rice drink) and boiled eggs. There are a number of options when you tour South Korea, and locally, you can get a similar experience, too. Check out New Lasema Spa.
A jjimjilbang package costs P880 (weekdays) and P980 (weekends). It includes access to the saunas, jacuzzi, and sleeping rooms. If you want your loved one to get a massage, too, just add a few hundred pesos (P1,388 to P1,488 for the Lasema Package). The trademark jjimjilbang "uniform" and towels that you can fold into a lamb headpiece are also included. The spa is located at 8846 Sampaloc St., corner Estrella St. San Antonio Village, Makati. They’ve recently announced that they’re open 24/7 again. So if your friend can only go after work on weekdays, for instance, she can definitely do so!
3. Squid Game candy challenge
The internationally trending Korean drama not only thrilled a lot of people: It also made everyone curious if they could survive those challenges. One of which is the honeycomb candy challenge. You can actually make Dalgona Candy at home–the process is easy and you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Or, you can buy and ship kits from a store.
One shop that offers Dalgona Candy Kits is Bakebe PH (by The Desert Museum), located in SM Aura, Taguig. Each box is so pretty and costs only P249 (contains eight pieces of candy). After ordering, you just have to arrange for the delivery. Make sure your friend knows the rules: she must cut the shape out without breaking it. There’s a small and thin stick that can be used but you can also do it like the lead character in Squid Game and lick away!
4. Block screening
This one is a unique idea if you’re planning a party or special gathering for someone you love. Rent out an entire cinema to watch the Korean movie (or concert!). Watch with fellow fans and feel the energy of the crowd. Based in Anonas, Quezon City, Cinema '76 Film Society’s rentals start at P12,000 for up to 48 pax. Email email@example.com or reach out to 0977-705-4276 for booking inquiries.
A more affordable option for small groups is SM Cinema’s private Book-A-Theater offer. It’s available for a limited time in their malls with Director’s Club theaters (like SM North, Aura, Megamall, and MOA). Prices start as low as P5,200 for 12 pax. To reserve a slot, you need to fill out this form. Have your preferred date and location ready, plus the number of people attending. Book and pay at least four days away from your event. Oh, don’t forget to ask attendees to bring their lightsticks for concerts, too
5. Korean language class
Is your friend or family waiting for travel to be an option again? Let her prepare for future plans through language classes in the meantime. It’s a great gift for anyone interested in learning a new language and has the time and mental bandwidth for learning. Many institutions offer these classes, but most of them are available only during certain points of the year. Here’s one that opens early next year: Start-Up Korean Language Camp. Korean Beginner 1 classes cost P950, while the basic Hangeul class (to read and write in Korean) costs just P350.
Another company that’s open for sign-ups is the SEOUL Language and Cultural Center. Check out the class details and registrations here. The cost is pricier at P2,999 for Basic 1 Korean, which entails 20 hours (10 sessions). Who knows? By the time the classes are over, she might be able to apply her learnings as a tourist in South Korea already. Let’s claim it!
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