I lost my passport in South Korea...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

So, for the first blog post of my South Korea 2016 trip will not be the summary nor total expenses sharing. First time in my life, I lost my passport and it was a hectic experience because I was nervous, I tried to recall back the route, where and how I lost the passport. We spent unnecessary taxi fares to check out the places we had been to, and of course, finally to police station - to make police report. Anyway, I thank God to have a calm fiancé who help us to resolve the problem. Also, because of his job's nature, he knows what to do first and next. I appreciate our Korean friends were concerned our situation and trying their best to help us too. 

In this post, I will share about HOW did I lost the passport? WHAT to do after you've found out the passport is lost in a foreign country? and the PROBLEM we face after passport is lost.

We were traveling to South Korea for 8 days and I lost the passport in day 3. It was the day we departed from Seoul to Jeonju, a 3 hours journey by bus. The weather at Jeonju was really hot during day time (but it turned cold at night). Anyway, we still enjoyed exploring this little town. Everything was so good until we were looking for cab to back to our hotel at night, it was around 8pm or 9pm after our dinner.

Jeonju, a beautiful place that I wish to visit again. At here, you will get the chance to see this traditional hanok which some of the buildings converted into business lot. I will share more about Jeonju when I have time.

I don't usually take photo of my passport when traveling, but somehow, I snapped a picture of our passport (me & fiancé) and the flight ticket (don't worry, I blurred the check-in bar code when I posted to social media site) when we were about to depart from klia2 airport to Seoul. So yeah, this is the last picture of my lost passport and also my brand new passport folder with my name engaged on it. SOBS. p/s: I lost my fiancé passport too because both are keeping together in a pouch. *ouchhh..

HOW did I lost my passport?
I have a pouch where I placed my passport, booking confirmation slip, itinerary and expenses journal. Again, normally my passport will keep on a separate pouch which purely for passport only. Somehow, don't know why, I put everything together in the same pouch this time. 

When we were about to leave Jeonju Hanok Village and back to our hotel after a half day journey in the bus and explored the hanok village. we looked for cab. It is not hard to get a cab at this hot spot supposedly, but when we entered to the first cab and show them the address, they refused to drive us to the hotel. Reason being the hotel location is far from the town. Hmmm.. it is only 10 - 15 minutes drive so I do not know the main reason they do not want to fetch us.

Before we grab a cab, I took the pouch to get the hotel address and I was holding the pouch with me. So, after 1st cab refused to fetch us, 2nd and 3rd cab refuses too. Arrrrhhh... so restless. Finally, we managed to get a cab to fetch us to hotel. Then only I realize the pouch was disappeared when I unpacked my bag. OMG.!!! I was like cat on hot bricks!!

I tried my best to recall back when was the last time I hold the pouch and where did I drop it. Of course, the pouch and passport lost forever (until today, no news about it). I was really upset and blame myself for the clumsiness. The pouch probably dropped in the cab who refuses to fetch us (In Korea, it would be better to hop on the cab first than only tell the destination to the driver.). So when they refused to fetch us, we will need to get out from the cab of course. So I guess I've dropped in the car. When I was really lost, he (the fiancé) try to keep me calm and suggested to make police report.

So, here's the police report.

Next, we will need to call the Embassy Malaysia to inform the officer our passport is lost and what's the documents needed to re-do a temporary passport in order for us to back to Malaysia safely. It was Saturday and the office is not open, so we can only make the call next Monday. Just forget about the passport first, next day we departed to Busan and meet our Korean friends, we had great time in Busan for 3 days 2 nights before back in Seoul again. 

Here are the documents needed to apply for temporary passport:
  • passport photo x 2 pcs 
  • a copy of passport photocopy (if any) 
  • Identity Card 
  • police report copy
  • to fill up a form (which can get in Embassy of Malaysia)
  • lastly, a fee of KRW15,000 (around RM52) 

For the passport photo, look for the photo booth. It can be easily found in subway station (especially major / interchange station). KRW10,000 (RM35) for 8 pcs of ID photo.

This is the ID photo booth, convenient and easy to use. Do not worry if you can't understand Korean, English language option is available.

Say Hi to Embassy of Malaysia.
First time visited Embassy of Malaysia in other country, so must take a picture.

We met the admin personnel and told them how did we lost our passport, followed by submitting the necessary documents and pay the fee. We were glad that the temporary passport will be ready next day. As we will need to depart back to Malaysia soon, so the admin "gao dim" (settle) for us within a day. Normally, it will takes 2 - 3 working day but you may inform them the date you will be leaving the country and they will try the best to get it done for you.

VOILA! Here's my temporary passport, valid for 1 month and we can only depart back to Malaysia, no other country is allow. Before the temporary passport is given to us, the officer (a Malaysian Malay guy) had a quick interview session with us. Basically, he wants to know how did we lost the passport and some random Q&A.

How about after back in Malaysia? We cannot pass through the immigration counter, we were directed to the immigration office and gave them our temporary passport & the police report. The officer will ask a few simple questions and we waited for an hour. Finally, the officer handed a big envelope to us. Inside the envelope, it was a letter (prepared by the Malaysia Immigration center), and our temporary passport. We will need to pass this to the Immigration Department when apply for new passport.

We face a lot difficulties without our original passport. Here's the WHY - no tax refund is allowed without the original passport.

YEAH! Shopping galore.
I shop a lot and how could I not ask for tax refund? BUT without the original passport, I can't do the tax refund!! Guess what? I look for Malaysian in Incheon Airport, shared with them my incident by showing my temporary passport and asked for help. I looked for a Chinese at first but the aunty refused to help because she's afraid I'm a lier or wanted to cheat her (that's normal for a Chinese Malaysian, she's protecting herself and thus I don't blame her for not being helpful). Next, I look for malay and I'm surprised, the malay was really helpful. She borrowed her passport to me in order for me to do tax refund successfully. I will not share with you how hassle was the process, but I managed to get the tax refunded. HAPPY LADY!~

Goodie from Lotte Mart.

3 boxes of goodie from Lotte Mart.
Tax refund of lotte mart will need to do on the spot, at the mart itself. So, without the original passport, no refund can be done too. and no refund can be done in the airport for the goods I bought in Lotte Mart. So, we did not get any tax refund for this.

Malaysian passport is very worthy because with this passport, we can travel to many countries without any visa. So, please inform the Malaysia Embassy once you've found out your passport is lost to avoid being abused by others.

p/s: I will share in another post on the procedure of applying a new passport after the lost one. The procedure is not as easy as going to the immigration center in the morning and you will get it an hour later. NO, it is more than that.

til then.

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