Disposable Raincoats and Ponchos
Favorite thing: if you are visiting Seoul in the Summer and Spring Areas, be prepared for the occasional light rains and sometimes heavy rains too and if you don't want to bring a small umbrella so that you can use both of your hands to take selfies, groufies, panoramic shots and more, then you can just buy the single use, environmentally friendly kind of plastic disposable raincoats and ponchos that are available at every convenience store you find like familymart or 7-11 or lawsons and you can buy these single use items for just 1,500 won.
Fondest memory: better than using an umbrella as you can use both hands for shooting pictures and videosRelated to:
- Budget Travel
Deposit Refund Machine
Favorite thing: When you purchase for a single journey ticket or AREX train, at the end of your journey, at the exit of train station there is always a "deposit refund machine" you will have 500 won back in each card. Simply insert your card to the vending machine and further you do not have to do anything, the machine swallow the card and your money throw down the machine, you'll heard dropped the coin down
Do not forget to activate your metro card. I have a rare case with my card, during our journey back to Incheon airport with AREX train, I carry a big suitcase and it didn't fit to a turnstiles, so I took the gate and I forgot to swipe my card. When arriving in Incheon terminal building, I can't get out, the turnstiles didn't open. I swipe my train ticket a few time is just no reaction.
Railway staff is right infront, they have opened the gate for me and check my ticket. My ticket was fine, but I just haven't activated when we left from Seoul, I went to a big gate for people with big suitcase and I should have swiped my card there. So that way, I also lost my 500 won, I tried to put my card to deposit machine, but is just throwing back
Fondest memory: The nicest thing, that you get 500 won back when you deliver your card back to a machine. It should have been everywhere the same in any place. That way there is less paper thrown in a garbageRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
Korean Beer: Skim45° IPA
Favorite thing: Skim45° Microbrewery is one of the newest nightlife spots in Itaewon, an area suddenly full of new nightlife spots. Skim45° sells Korean craft beers from a brewery in a suspiciously unknown place off premises, and likely outside of Seoul. They have an IPA, a hefeweizen, and a stout on tap, but the IPA is below average. They also have very good thin crust pizza.
Skim45° IPA is a rather bland, flavorless IPA. Very light and not hoppy enough for a serious IPA drinker. Perhaps I raised the bar too much, when I had a Lost Coast Indica IPA before hand. The Skim45° IPA, doesn't come close. For some reason, they pour and serve their IPA in a hefeweizen glass.
Beers are 7,000 Won to 9,000 Won, and pizzas range in price from about 12,000 Won to 15,000 Won. The staff, especially Danielle, are very friendly and talkative.
National Assembly Building
Favorite thing: The National Assembly Building of Korea stands at the western end of Yeouido Island, surrounded by the Han River. The building, complete with a massive blue dome and 24 pillars was completed in 1975, allowing Korea's National Assembly to move from its previous home, the colonial Japanese General-Government Building.
The area around the National Assembly is also home to the National Assembly Library, a park, statues, and a visitors center.
To arrive via Subway use National Assembly station (subway line 9) Exit 6.
Address: 1, Uisadang-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Favorite thing: From its opening in 1985 until 2003, the 63 Building was Seoul's tallest structure and the tallest building outside of North America. The 63 building stands 60 stories high, and a soaring 817 feet above ground. It is named, because the building has 63 floors, including the three below ground level.
The building, which was created as a centerpiece of the 1988 Olympics, is headquarters to Korea Life Insurance and Industrial Bank of Korea Securities. The top floors of the tower host the world's highest art gallery, an observation deck and restaurants.
Korean Beer: Hite Dry Finish D
Favorite thing: Hite Dry Finish D is a newish, but still crappy beer from South Korea's Hite beer label. The beer is a pale yellow with a foamy head. The head quickly dissolves, and the beer is known for its lack of carbonation. Taste is bland, but better than regular Hite, which is downright terrible.
Favorite thing: Gangnam is one of 25 districts in the city of Seoul. The name Gangnam means south (nam) of the river (gang), which is fitting since the neighborhood lies south of the Han River. Gangnam is home to Apgujeong, an area famous for its high-end fashion in Apgujeong Rodeo Street and Cheongdam’s Fashion Street.
The area around Gangnam Station is a famous nightlife and restaurant area, especially around Teherano Street, a street named after the city of Tehran in 1976. We had dinner here one night at one of the area's numerous Korean barbecue restaurants.
In 2012 the Korean singer Psy released a a song called Gangnam Style that became the most-watched video in You Tube history. The song and video refer the high-class lifestyle of the Gangnam area.
Korean Alcohol: Soju
Favorite thing: Soju is Korea's most famous and best selling alcohol. Soju is a distilled liquor traditionally made from rice, with a flavor similar to vodka, except sweeter and with a lower alcohol content. Soju is clear and colorless with an alcohol content usually around 20%, but it can vary from about 16.7% to about 45%.
Soju dates back to the 13th Century, when the Mongols brought distillation technology to Korea.
North Korean Beer - Taedonggang
Favorite thing: Taedonggang Maekju is a beer brewed in North Korea, but still surprisingly for sale in South Korea. We bought a bottle for 10,000 Won ($9 US) on a tour of the DMZ,. While expensive, its price is comparable to average beers where we live in Tokyo.
The beer comes in a big .75 liter green bottle with a label entirely in Korean. The design on the label features a large, modern bridge over the Taedonggang River in North Korea. Taedonggang pours a golden color, with a thick, lasting head. The taste is surprisingly good, without a doubt better than most South Korean beers.
Taedonggang beer is brewed in Pyongyang and named after the Taedong River which flowed through the North's capital city. The brewery was purchased by North Korea from England in 2000. The brewery was moved to Pyongyang, and it opened in 2002. This beer was first exported to South Korea in 2005, though the demand seems to be very low, partly due to the exorbitant prices. In North Korea, this is said to be the most popular beer, and even at foreigner restaurants, it sells for less than $1 US a bottle.
Korean Alcohol: Makgeolli
Favorite thing: Makgeolli is a Korean alcoholic beverage made from rice or a mixture of wheat and rice. It is made of a mix of fermented boiled rice, wheat and water. The drink has a milky, off-white color, and is surprisingly sweet, and it is about 6–8% alcohol by volume. The drink is traditionally served in a clay pitcher and drunk from a bowl rather than a cup or glass.
the most popular makgeolli in Korea comes in a green bottle. It has a lot of sediment, so be sure to shake the bottle before pouring to mix the drink well.
We visited a makgeolli restaurant in Itaewon called MowMow, and they mixed fruits such as strawberry, banana, and blueberry with the drink. Excellent!
Korean Beer: Hite
Favorite thing: Hite is Korea's only mass produced beer that is still Korean owned, as the other big company that brews OB, Cass and Cafri is owned by a foreign investment firm. The Hite company is located in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, and it produces beer, soju, rice wine, and water.
Unfortunately, their beer is terrible and barely drinkable.
Korean Beer: Cass
Favorite thing: The Sound of Vitality! That's the motto of Cass beer, one of Korean two best tasting beers, along with OB Golden Lager. Cass beer is brewed by the same company as OB, formerly known as Oriental Brewery. This brewery was owned by InBev until 2009, but was sold to an investment firm.
The beer is light, clean and crisp, but nothing fantastic.
Korean Beer: OB Golden Lager
Favorite thing: During my time living in Korea in 2003-2004, OB Lager was the best of a mediocre crop of Korean beers that included Cass, Hite and Cafri. From 1998 to 2009, it was owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, but was sold to an investment firm called Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Returning in 2013, OB Lager has been rebranded OB Golden Lager, and the distinctive blue and white label replaced by a gold-colored label. The label used to claim, “100% German hop and golden malt," but has since been revised to read, "Authentic German style 100% malt beer." While not a great beer, OB Golden Lager is still one of the top two Korean beers, along with Cass.
Helpline for interpretation
Favorite thing: Most Koreans do not speak English (especially the more elderly ones), so it could be a bit challenging when a tourist has problems communicating with a cab driver, shop assistant etc.
This service (BBB Korea) is provided by Korean-speaking volunteers who also speak another language (Yay!). They have 17 languages and operates 24/7. The service itself is free of charge, but of course one needs to pay for the mobile phone charges. If you have a BBB rental phone, then the BBB call is free of charge too. (To rent a BBB phone, just visit a SK telecom Roaming Centre).
How to use - just call 1588-5644 (no area code required).
For English, dial 1. Japanese, dial 2. Chinese, dial 3. Other languages include Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Thai, Vietnamese, Polish etc.
Favorite thing: Though I relied on Lonely Planet for a lot of my sightseeing in Seoul, I couldn't have lived without "Seoul's Best 100" a free 80 page booklet, published by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. It has good maps of the popular neighborhoods, lists of the top attractions (and it doesn't stop at 100 -- for example, item 40 is "Parks", and it contains a sublist of the top 10 parks in the city), and helpful hints on shopping, eating, festivals and other events. It is a must for any visitor, whether in Seoul for one day or one year! You can find Seoul's Best 100 at most information booths, including Itaewon and Gwangwhamun.
Seoul's Best 100: ftp://sevilleta.unm.edu/pub/vanderbi/Korea/S-PB-125.pdf
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