12 Days In Seoul, Korea


Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
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Central
#1
Hi guys,

I'm planning a trip to Seoul in late April to early May.
I've been doing a lil' research here and there and I find it a bit overwhelming.. :sweatsm:
I'll be staying there for about 12 days.
I have never been there and have total freedom to roam around.
I did some search here as well and somebody mentioned that Seoul has nothing much interesting.

What I want to know is, what are the must-go places, where are the good places for photo ops and if I wanna go out of Seoul, where should I go
and how are the transportations and the cost? I like the idea of going to somewhere uncommon and non-touristy.. (but safe!)
I still dont know where to stay yet.. And this is the first time this is happening to me..
Anything will be of great help to me..

Many, many thanks for your help in advance! :)
 

#3
It is usual to get overwhelmed by the tons of information. You have to start somewhere and once you become used to it, then everything is normal.

Suggest you start reading:
1) http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto
Maybe you can focus on what you like to do/see (look at the seasonal things) and then start planning on how to get there

2) Some guide book like Lonely Planet or others

Specifically in Seoul, you can visit the palaces and see the change of guards. In Seoul, there are many guest houses or motels. Try to stay near to subway stations in which you will do most of the traveling and easy for you to navigate. Insadong/Namdaemum are the so-called heart of shopping/eating area. You may want to target there.

You can also do a day trip or weekend trip to places outside Seoul. The intercity buses are convenience and efficient.

3) Join the local tours in Seoul. Example doing the DMZ trip.

Have fun ...
 

Jul 22, 2008
991
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0
fallenphoenix.multiply.com
#4
Consider gyeong ju... with proper planning, u should be done with it within 3 days. heaps of history there. unfortunately, those historical buddha statues re on the mountains which demand a fair bit of moderate skill level of hiking and physically demanding.

Trains re efficient over there...so google and plan. Seoul...7 days should be enough
 

engr

Senior Member
Nov 9, 2004
1,050
0
36
Central
#5
The subway in Seoul is very good and easy. I would suggest you stay in the North of the Han River. Eg: Ibis Hotel Myeong Dong.

You will have access to Myeong Dong (Street stalls for youngsters), NamDaeMun (Bazaar/Pasar malam style), SungRaeMun (Palace Guards changing ceremony everyday besides Seoul Plaza Hotel), Insadong (hip furniture/arts shops), ChangGyeChong (underground stream). All are within walking distance but can be quite siong.
 

Scotto

New Member
Mar 17, 2010
1
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0
#6
I would also recommend the guide put out by the Korea Tourism Organization. I have three others and non are as good. The Lonely Planet: Seoul mentions some good places but the maps are terrible and I've found that the recommended food/shopping is hard to find and not worth the search (luckily there are great places for both everywhere). The Frommers recommended some good places but it lacks maps all together. The KTO guide has all of these and it's free: www.visitkorea.or.kr.

Another tip is to use google maps or google earth. There are a lot of photographers in Korea so I use google maps to see pictures that other people have posted. This will give you an idea of what lenses to bring and the short of scenes you can expect.

Bus travel is also very nice in Korea. ~15,000KW ($12) will get you a ticket to just about anywhere in a seat that feels like business class on an airplane. Try not to travel by bus on Sunday nights because it is a small country and many Seoulites travel out of the city on the weekend causing traffic.
 

Paladin

New Member
Jan 18, 2002
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Visit site
#7
My family went last Dec...we stayed at Somerset Palace which is a service apt. 5mins from Gyeongbokgung and Insadong. Our main mode of transport is via the subway which is also 5mins walk away from where we stayed. Visited most of the places we planned for such as Myeong Dong , NamDaeMun , Insadong, Nami Island, Lotte world, Everland and day trip to ski resort.
 

texasrs

New Member
Oct 1, 2005
83
0
0
#8
KNTO can send you a free guide book and map, that would be a good starting point.
Perhaps you could tell people more of your intentions, are you someone who likes being in cities shopping or out hiking in the mountains. That way people can point you in the right direction on where to go...
 

Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
2,126
1
38
Singapore, Singapore, Singapor
#9
Was there in 2005, IMO it will be tough to DIY in Korea as they speak little english. Seoul aside, most scenic area I found are in Gangwondo and East coast. You will see nice ski resorts and beatiful beaches just like those Korean Drama, pretty interesting. I have not been to southern part and Jeju so no commend :)

Here are some of my collection if you are interestd :)

http://s102.photobucket.com/albums/m84/dxyong/Korea 2005/?albumview=slideshow
 

Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
0
0
Central
#10
It is usual to get overwhelmed by the tons of information. You have to start somewhere and once you become used to it, then everything is normal.

Suggest you start reading:
1) http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto
Maybe you can focus on what you like to do/see (look at the seasonal things) and then start planning on how to get there

2) Some guide book like Lonely Planet or others

Specifically in Seoul, you can visit the palaces and see the change of guards. In Seoul, there are many guest houses or motels. Try to stay near to subway stations in which you will do most of the traveling and easy for you to navigate. Insadong/Namdaemum are the so-called heart of shopping/eating area. You may want to target there.

You can also do a day trip or weekend trip to places outside Seoul. The intercity buses are convenience and efficient.

3) Join the local tours in Seoul. Example doing the DMZ trip.

Have fun ...


I heard about the DMZ.. Must I take a tour there? Is it possible for me to go myself?
Usually when I go to trips, I like it free & easy without all the time limits, etc..
Btw, what's at DMZ?
 

Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
0
0
Central
#11
My family went last Dec...we stayed at Somerset Palace which is a service apt. 5mins from Gyeongbokgung and Insadong. Our main mode of transport is via the subway which is also 5mins walk away from where we stayed. Visited most of the places we planned for such as Myeong Dong , NamDaeMun , Insadong, Nami Island, Lotte world, Everland and day trip to ski resort.

How's the hotel? Is it good? Would you recommend it?
I like to stay at hotels that have free wi-fi and possibly good breakfast. :)
 

Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
0
0
Central
#12
KNTO can send you a free guide book and map, that would be a good starting point.
Perhaps you could tell people more of your intentions, are you someone who likes being in cities shopping or out hiking in the mountains. That way people can point you in the right direction on where to go...

Thanks for the very useful link...
I've sent in my request.. :)
Honestly, I don't mind some adventure.
I wanna go there to shop and travel around to see some landscapes and take pictures..
I would really, really love to see real snow but I guess in late April & May, there'll be no more snow as it'll be spring.
 

Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
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0
Central
#13
Thanks lestwe4get, Fallenphoenix, engr, Scotto, Paladin, texasrs and Big Kahuna for all your info. I'll be googling all those places that you've mentioned.

Is travelling around there expensive? I'm planning to travel via train cos I heard it's quite convenient and a cheaper option. Any advise? I don't mind driving there if it's easy and convenient and cheap as well. Have anybody tried that before? Or should I take a domestic flight instead?
 

texasrs

New Member
Oct 1, 2005
83
0
0
#14
DMZ maybe more for history buff? Not really a whole lot to see there, can go to the JSA if you're interested in knowing about the korean war. So far I've only been to Seoul, Jeju and Yongpyong area. For Jeju, I flew in cost about $200 for return tix (can be cheaper but I flew Asiana as I can get my miles, lounge access..). To the Yongpyong ski resort I took a bus, was about S$30ish. You can get around by train but not really sure how much they cost.
 

#15
Thanks lestwe4get, Fallenphoenix, engr, Scotto, Paladin, texasrs and Big Kahuna for all your info. I'll be googling all those places that you've mentioned.

Is travelling around there expensive? I'm planning to travel via train cos I heard it's quite convenient and a cheaper option. Any advise? I don't mind driving there if it's easy and convenient and cheap as well. Have anybody tried that before? Or should I take a domestic flight instead?
i traveled from busan to gyeong ju on bus....that's 12ish...and busan to seoul....that's 50ish, if i didn't recall wrongly
 

Nikkornos

Senior Member
Oct 31, 2008
3,428
2
0
Singapore/Asia
#16
Hello

If you are in Seoul, then the first place to visit is Kwang Hwa Jiang area, the main road leads to the old palace Kyong Bok Kong. Prepare a lot of film to visit Kyong Bok Kong as it is really nice.

In earlier days Kyong Bok Kong was blocked by a Japanese colonial building ( they built it directly at the entrance of the Korean palace!). Now it is demolished.

Kyong Bok Kong provides many photographic opportunities.

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=485085

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=485095

The main road leading to Kyong Bok Kong has the statue of Yi Shun Sin. Its nice for night photography.

Korean's pride Kwang Hua Mun has been burnt down. I am not sure if they had rebuilt it. The night photography of Kwang Hwa Mun is spectacular.

Along the same street, you can see side alleys that serve Korean dishes. Its about 7000-10000 Won and is delicious. Their audience is university staff and students so its good.

You can also goto Nam Dae Mun which has many road side stalls. Itaewon has all the red light districts.

You should visit Lotte World near SongPak Gu. Its a nice theme park which is very enjoyable.

The Myong dong area is full of fashion, food and old shopping center. There is a shop underground that sells MADE IN KOREA Nikon. You should visit the place. Nearby is the grand Chosun Hotel which serves superb buffet lunch and dinner. The China Embassy is also at Myong dong area. (still there?) you should visit there. It can look very tense at times.

For DMZ visit, you have to submit your name/particulars the day before. Actually, nothing much to see. Why not you take the train to ChoNan south of Seoul, you can see their Korean War memorial or enjoy the spring bath.

Koreans mostly speaks poor English. Get a small translation book when you are there. Some of them speaks Mandarin.
 

Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
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0
Central
#17
There seems to be a lot of city scapes and buildings and not really much pictures of
scenic landscapes... Is there really nothing much breathtaking places in South Korea?
If so, maybe I should change my destination?
From what I see, the links that u guys gave me and some others I saw on the web,
Japan seems like a nicer place to go to? I don't know.. What do you think?
 

Nikkornos

Senior Member
Oct 31, 2008
3,428
2
0
Singapore/Asia
#18
You can always go to Cheju and totally drop Seoul. :)

Or spend only 1/2 day in Seoul, take the train straight to Pusan, take a ferry to Japan and then spend the rests of the trip in Japan. ;)
 

Cashmere

New Member
Nov 24, 2008
135
0
0
Central
#19
I've been to Japan.
I've never been to Korea. That's y I'm more keen to go there.
But somehow or rather based on the pictures I've seen on Flickr,
it leaves me with this impression that South Korea has not enough scenic places to go to.
I've seen Jeju pics and it's quite nice..
Since you've been to South Korea before, what do you think?
Is my opinion totally wrong? Cos I'm just judging based on the pics I've seen. :dunno:
 

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