Some great websites to gather information
I like to be a well informed and prepared Free and Easy traveller in Seoul, below are some great websites that provided me with very useful information.
I read lots of travel pages in both Virtural tourist and tripadvisor too.
Kyobo Book Center
Kyobo Book Center is the one of most large size books store of Seoul. there are has numerous foreign books for foreigners, music store, and good fast food and restaurant. above all situated at the very center of city and easy of access to book store.
Subway Line 5, Gwanghwamun Stn, direct to book store
Buddha's Birthday usually falls in late April or early May (in 2004 it was 26 May, and in 2005 it will be 15 May). At this time, the temples of Korea, especially Jogyesa Temple in Seoul, are decorated with thousands of lanterns. This is a very interesting time to visit the temples, as there are many street vendors, food stands, craft stands, and other things to see and do. During the festival, the entire street in front of Jogyesa is traffic-free and full of people! There is also a large parade.
The main festival area is next to Insadong, one of the city's big tourist areas, so there is a lot to do in the vicinity.
Buddha's Day celebrates the birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Prince Siddhartha was born on the 8th day of the fourth lunar month or on the day of the full moon in May in Lumbibi, Kapilavatsu in Northern India near the present border of Nepal. He was the crown prince of a small feudal kingdom of the Sakya Clan. Buddhism as a world religion is historically concentrated in East and South East Asia, particularly China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
Korean Style Charcoal Grill
It is Big and they use Rounded, Big Charcoal Briquettes from hardwood which adds a smoky flavor to the sweet and spicy korean dishes that are popular. These kinds of Charcoal Grills are popular around Seoul and South Korea and can be seen everywhere!
Mountain Climber's Paradise
Back in Hong Kong I used to go hiking almost every weekend. I just loved the hiking trails with its beautiful scenery and tranquility...
After coming to Korea, I was asked to join a hiking-trip on my very first weekend and immediately agreed to come along, looking forward to another great hiking experience. Well, it indeed was an experience... but one of the kind that made me end up not joining more than a total of two hiking excursions until today.
Things you should know about hiking in Korea:
a) Korea's mountain trails are not the horizontal, long-stretched kind but rather tend to go up in vertical direction. Most of them are not very long but extremely steep (refer to the picture on your right).
b) Another thing that I was completely shocked about were the crowds of people. If you're looking for tranquility and relaxation forget about going hiking in Korea. Hiking is one of the most popular activities for Koreans and it's rather like a huge group excursion than a one or two person hiking adventure. It's seriously unbelievable. Standing on top of a mountain peak, looking down on the various trails, it looks like a gigantic army of ants crawling up and invading the area.
c) Matching with the steep trails are the numerous ropes that are fixed on several steep pieces of rock supporting your ascent. People are lining up in front of them like cueing up for a baseball match, waiting for their turn. Once you decide to go up, there is no coming back.
Well, Koreans seem to enjoy it and the views from the top are indeed an unforgettable experience.
Nevertheless, should you ever get invited to some hiking trip by Korean locals, better be prepared! Another rather funny aspect but one that supports my thesis that if Koreans are into something, they are really into it. Meaning: In the same way that Koreans prepare for a two-hour cycling trip along Hangang (including a complete Tour-de-France outfit, helmet, gloves, biking shoes and backpack), people carry a fully equipped North Face rucksack with carabiners, various bottles of drinks, walking stick and sometimes even ropes with them. Considering the fact that they are climbing a 500m-peak, the Mount Everest-gears are somewhat exhilarating. ;-)
In my opinion a pair of robust hiking boots, a bottle of water and camera is enough.
There is a very good book called "National Parks of Korea', issued by the Korean National Park Authority that describes in detail all 20 National Parks with maps and pictures. Cost: 10,000 KRW
I just read the book "Korea" written by Simon Winchester, who spent two months walking through Korea, describing his impressions on the country, the people and providing lots of insight into Korea's history. I found a very fitting paragraph about Korea's hiking habits which I'd like to recite in the following:
"The rules for mountain climbing demand not that you climb a mountain, but that you dress up in heavy boots, alpine hat, coloured jacket, and have a knapsack or pack over your shoulder. If you are thus equipped you are "mountain climbing", even if you get on the wrong bus and end up at the seaside." ;-)