Hotel Lake

158, Seokchon-Dong, Songpa-Gu, Seoul, South Korea
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90%

Satisfaction Excellent
Excellent
18%
2
Very Good
63%
7
Average
9%
1
Poor
9%
1
Terrible
0%
0

N/A

Value Score No Data

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Good For Families
  • Families100
  • Couples50
  • Solo100
  • Business88

More about Seoul

Photos

MyeongdongMyeongdong

Looking south from Namsan Tower, SeoulLooking south from Namsan Tower, Seoul

DeoksugungDeoksugung

Chukcho-dang HallsChukcho-dang Halls

Forum Posts

suggestions welcome re: weekend trip to Seokguram Grotto & Haeinsa

by seeker419

Hi there,

Three of us will be traveling to Seoul for business. We'll be getting in night of May 26 and flying out May 31. We've never been to Korea before.

We are completely free from work on May 28 after 3pm through May 31 (we have flights at 1 pm). We are considering traveling, on the weekend of May 29 - May 30, to visit Seokguram Grotto and Haeinsa.

I'd appreciate it if experienced travelers can provide some advise:

-- Is this itinerary is recommended given that we have a short amount of time? Would seeing these places be too rushed?

-- If you have suggestions for a better itinerary (e.g., fewer or additional destinations), I'd definitely appreciate that. I don't really have a sense of how long people tend to spend at each destination.

-- What would be the best way to get around that weekend? (E.g., train or hiring a private driver). How long would different options take, and what would be the rough costs?

-- Regarding hiring a driver to take us around, do you guys have any recommendations for good companies?

-- Also, any suggestions re accomodations for the weekend would be greatly appreciated (ideally, under $200 per room).

Thanks!

Alex

Re: suggestions welcome re: weekend trip to Seokguram Grotto & Haeinsa

by DSwede

Is there any particular reason that you chose these two destinations? You do know that they are about 120km apart from each other. Haeinsa is west of Deagu near the town of Goryeong, while Seokguram is up the mountain behind Bulguksa Temple of Gyeongju.

Private driver is not really practical nor available unless you have an agency book something for you. If you do not feel comfortable on buses, then best option is to get to the closest station, then take a taxi the rest of the way.

Due to travel times from Seoul to Haeinsa, then on to Gyeongju to see Seokguram, only to return to Seoul, I do not see this as being a practical weekend trip unless you are driving yourself.

In my humble opinion, Seokguram is rather anticlimactic. Typical visit there is maybe 30 minutes to an hour. No photos are allowed inside the grotto of the Buddha statue.

However, if you still wish to see Seoguram, why not trade Haeinsa for Bulguksa?! They both have great significance in Korean history, although the dynasties may be different.

Re: suggestions welcome re: weekend trip to Seokguram Grotto & Haeinsa

by seeker419

If, as you suggest, we remove Seokguram from the weekend itinerary, and visit Haeinsa and Bulguksa instead, do you recommend bus or train?

Re: suggestions welcome re: weekend trip to Seokguram Grotto & Haeinsa

by seeker419

Actually, I meant to write: what if I just visit Haeinsa? Would you recommend train or bus?

Re: suggestions welcome re: weekend trip to Seokguram Grotto & Haeinsa

by DSwede

I would decide between train or bus depending on simple factors. Cost wise, they are almost the same. I believe you may pay no more than 20000 KRW one-way unless you take the KTX express train.

For example, buses do not have toilets in Korea, so if you are on a long journey or are a person who frequently needs a restroom, a train is better. Buses must stop in Korea every ~3 hours, so at that time you will have a ~15 minute stop at a rest area for toilets and to buy some snacks.

Bus schedules are much more frequent. Between larger destinations, frequency may be as often as every 20 minutes. Trains are a bit more limited with intervals maybe double the wait or more. If time if of the essence, buses may be better.

Re: suggestions welcome re: weekend trip to Seokguram Grotto & Haeinsa

by seeker419

Thanks!!

Travel Tips for Seoul

Kookmin Bank Conservative?

by jburron

This is not a favorite thing, it is a least favorite thing. Expect the unexpected, and illogical, if you plan on being in Seoul/Korea for an extended period.

I went to my (Kookmin) bank to request a Check Card. These are new to Korea and offer the convenience of a crediit card plus additional tax benefits (you get a tax credit when you use your credit card or check card!). It is secured by cash in the account just like a debit card, so you cannot 'charge' more than is in the account. It is free (except for a 1,000 won (USD 0.80) initial charge) was well.

The bad news? Foreigners, even resident aliens like myself, cannot get them. Why? Oh, because Korean banks are conservative. These are the same banks that went so crazy issuing credit cards a few years ago that their bad loans rates went up to about 10%!

How can a Check/debit card be risky?!? It is 100% covered by the cash in the account at the bank. There is no risk of loss for the bank at all. But, I guess it is not 'conservative' for the bank to offer such things.

Oh well, I guess I'll apply for a credit card and expose the bank to credit risk. Go figure.

Seoul is Wired

by AKtravelers

South Korea is the most wired country in the world. There is more bandwidth here per person than any place on earth and all it takes is a walk around Seoul to see it. Everywhere, people are accessing internet content via their cell phones, talking or text messaging. My friends and I see this so often that we consider it the South Korean national posture. There are internet cafes everywhere, often advertised by long vertical flags containing the letters "PC" in the Roman alphabet plus "bang" in Hangul. There are hot zones in many Starbucks. If you need to get on line, you should have no problem in Seoul.

Lack of stray dogs

by stmlnyc

I'm aware of differences in cultural values...just because dogs are a favorite pet shouldn't make them ineligible as a meal...how do Hindus view eating beef.

I'm not adverse to eating anything...although i won't eat rat or bat, can't see how that can be clean no matter how you prepare it! or monkey...too close a species, it ll
be borderline cannibalism!

Sorry don't have a picture of dog meat but it probably tastes like chicken!

Eating, Drinking, and Hiking

by Ewingjr98

There are three things all Koreans seem to love: eating, drinking, and hiking. They tend to eat constantly and not gain any weight. Finding an overweight Korean is like finding a skinny American. They just don't exist.

Koreans love to drink, especially soju (clear rice liquor). This is the national beverage of this country. Throw in maekju (beer), dong-dong ju (milky rice wine), and any other ju you can think of, and you'll have quite a mixture.

Finally, Korean love to hike. Recently I hiked Mt Surak (Suraksan) north of Seoul. There were so many people there, I had to wait in line for up to 10 minutes just to follow the path. Many Koreans go decked out in all kinds of gear such as fancy jackets, backpacks, aluminum alloy hiking sticks, etc.

While at Suraksan, I witnessed the Koreans combining all three of their passions at once. Take a look at the picture of Koreans eating and drinking during a break in their hike. It may be hard to see, but some of these groups have several empty bottles of soju.

Not bad

by itsCharlie

There are tons of Ski slopes to choose from in Korea. With plenty of snow machines they keep the season open pretty long and the mild weather is pleasant for skiing! The photo is from Bears Town only about 1 and a half hours from Seoul. It's smaller but cheaper. You can buy gloves and jackets and stuff all around Seoul or even at Emart. Buy or rent all equipment and gear as well. You can rent right at the slopes or there are cheaper rental places on the entrance roads to the ski resorts.

Comments

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