Seoul - An Olympic city
Seoul hosted a very colorful and successful 24th Summer Olympics Games in 1988. It was however boycotted by North Korea and Cuba.
So there are still venues of Olympic stadiums that can be visited and relive some of the Olympics highlights.
Never Open a Map in Public
The people of Seoul are unfailingly friendly and polite. You will be amazed at how well you are treated by everyone, everwhere in Seoul. I am always impressed with how welcoming the Korean people are -- among the best anywhere in the world.
While this is usually good, it can be problematic at times. Since Koreans are so eager for you to enjoy your visit, they may overextend themselves to offer their help at all times. This is most notable whenever you refer to a map in public. You may not be lost, but are just checking directions, but usually an open map will be an invitation for a Korean to help. Sometimes, due to the language barrier, you may even get bad advice that contradicts the map! Since I'm a good map-reader, i always sneak to a hidden corner when I need to check on directions. Amazingly, there are 22 Outback Restaurants in Seoul. I was looking to meet some friends at one, but the only information they supplied me was "The Outback in Myongdong". Well, it turned out that there were two outbacks within 10-0 meters of each other -- and my friends were in neither. The helpful hostess called a third Myongdong Outback, ascertained that my friends were there, then led me to the main street, flagged down a cab and explained my dilemma to the driver. I was reunited with my friends in no time. What great service!
Wear nice socks!
Taking off the shoes in peoples house and many Korean restaurants is a must. Be careful when you enter somewhere to see if there is a step up into the main room (or often a big pile of shoes is a good hint!) Don't worry- the floors are usually heated and it's really comfy!
Their are also little bathroom shoes that you wear in reataurant or home since the boathroom floor are sometimes wet.
Traditional Korean Music
There are several places in Seoul where you can hear traditional Korean music. From major professional theaters to the casual, outdoor Seoul Nori Madong (Jamsil-dong) you can easily find these performers playing their ancient music on drums, silkstring instruments, or bamboo pipes.
Pack for Washington DC-like Weather
Seoul's weather is almost identicle to Washington D.C.s, especially with respect to when the seasons change. The only major difference is the summer monsoon, which gives you much less sun than D.C. gets. Summer Days are hot and humid, and expect warm temperatures from May through September. Winter hits in December and holds on through March, and can be quite cold. The best time to visit Seoul is April/May or September/October