The amazing South Korea. Once in Seoul, a friend of mine who is living there suggested me to visit the Korean Folk Village. So I did and after the entry gate (there is a ticked to be paid, of course) I really enjoyed the whole place which is merely a re-creation area if a tradition Korean village that is home to numerous collections of
Korean cultural artifacts. They provide an opportunity, mostly for Korean
children, to experience and learn the culture of their ancestors, as life in Korea before the industrialisation. The site provides a venue to promote traditional Korean culture to both Koreans and foreign visitors, at the same time it provides an open-air learning place for succeeding generations. The village has been developed to convey the wisdom and the spirits of the ancestors.
This is a "must-visit" theme park where traditions have been handed down till the present.
The area is so big, it would take the whole day to finish everything. Things not to be missed are, among others, the Farmers' Harvest Dance, traditional Wedding Ceremony, and some shops selling traditional artcrafts and cakes.
Fondest memory: I visited S. Korea having in mind some advices given from my friend “do not go, why are you going there, is not worth a trip…” and so on. Instead, as a westerner I discovered a beautiful world. During my month long holiday a visited the peninsula by train, bus and plane. It included trips to Cheju island as well as the old imperial town of kyongiu.
Seoul is the South Korea capital’s and main city. It is modern city which hosted the 1988 successful Olympic games and proved the world the right to be considered as a most advanced and technogic Country. Few of the old city remains and mostly consists of old gates and ancient villa-like buildings. Those are well kept and good maintenance is a great concern for Koreans. Large roads and Department stores make the rest.
Favorite thing: Tipping is not customary in Seoul but is expected in touristy areas and high end hotels. Sometimes, expensive restaurants and luxury hotels may add a service charge of 10%. Taxi drivers are usually tipped if they assist with baggage and bell boys can be tipped if they help you carry your luggage into your room.
With over 11 million people there, you would think it would be noisier. There is traffic noise, but no one yells across the street, for example. We had an absolute wonderful time. It was really easy to get around on the subway as all the signs were in Korean & English. Many times, we would have to deal with someone who didn't speak any English, but we got along fine. Many people speak some English.
Fondest memory: The one time we ate at a Burger King. The girl taking our order didn't speak any English. I don't think she could have gotten our order right if we spoke Korean. It had to be her first day. Anyway, we pointed to the picture of what we wanted, but got totally different stuff. (Many times, we would have to point to order, but never had this problem but this one time.) It was actually quite funny. The three of us ate 2 burgers and numberous fries & ice creams. It was an experience we will laugh about forever.
Many people will recommend a DMZ/JSA tour. It is a unique thing to Seoul, so if that would interest you, look into it. It would take 5~8 hours during the day.
Otherwise, for a one day itinerary, I'd recommend:
Seodaemun Prison History Hall (early morning)
Changdeokgung Palace & the secret garden (late morning)
Insadong neighborhood for handcrafts, art, etc. & for lunch
All of the above are about 5 minutes apart from each other.
Afternoon you could visit the National Museum and/or the folk villages.
A lot of the foreign visitors will visit Itaewon neighborhood for the food options and for cheap shopping. You either like Itaewon or you don't.
This Travel Agency is Operated by M Club Travel and again they offer daily and multi-day tours to south korea and north korea.
contact numbers: (822) 833-3009; fax: (822) 841-0951
This Travel Agency is Grace Travel LTD and they operate Tours to Seoul and other Parts of South Korea and even in North Korea (but you have to call them in advance for that!)
contact numbers: (822) 332-8946; 335-5889
Favorite thing: Korean junk food have some similarities with junkfoods with other countries like potato chips, onion rings, cheese curls and differences like having rice crispies, seaweed crackers and rice crackers. Prices are average (from 500-1,500 won).
Favorite thing: When you think about Korea, you probably don't think about scrumptious delicacies but there are many wonderful sweets for the sweet tooth. There are numerous store bought cookies, cakes, and other goodies made for export but it's the things that are mainly bought on the street or in restaurants that really taste fantastic and cheap (prices start at 300 won) and see my pictures and local customs page for other pictures of yummy korean sweets!
Favorite thing: Although beer, whisky, and wine have been gaining popularity in recent years, soju remains one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Korea because of its ready availability and relatively low price. There are largely five types of Korean Liquors: yakju (refined pure liquor fermented from rice), soju (distilled liquor), takju (thick, unrefined liquor fermented from grains), fruit wines, and medicinal wines from various seeds and roots. Each type has dozens of varieties.
Korean Restaurants are obviously found everywhere in south korea. One major tip here is that all small korean restaurants have a particular specialty (it doesn't mean that they only serve that specialty, but besides the specialty, only limited culinary offerings are on the menu) like bulgogi, samgyeopsal, sanmgyetang, dak galbi, etc.
if you want to have a wide variety of dishes, then go to the big restaurants.
Favorite thing: Like Japan, South Korea has Lots of vending machines to cater to anyone but the japanese have more of these ubiquitous vendos! They offer 24 hour convenience of buying anything you crave that is available in a vending machine. Disadvantage is that you need to have small bills (1,000 won and 5,000 won).
You can also buy them at nandemun, that is near shinshege departament store. THe price for a decent one is 38,000 won. I have gotten several there, walk on the street and you will see them. Bargain and tell them you are looking for a certain price hanbook, what is the best one for that price range.
Fondest memory: people are the best thing to korea.
Be Sure to Look at the front or side of the ATM Machine if it Accept International ATM Cards, you will see the Logos of the International ATM Consortiums such as Plus, Discovery, Cirrus, Maestro, etc. at the front or sides of the ATM and also on the screen if it says International ATM Card!
International ATMs charge minmal surcharge rates for each transaction but the rate is fixed so I would suggest you withdraw a big amount since several small withdrawals will entail addtitional surcharges!
Favorite thing: There are Limited International ATM Sites in Seoul, your best bet will be at big banks, big department stores and at the subway. Be Sure to look at the screen when withdrawing since they have signs for english. If the screen has no english sign that says international atm card at the ATM Screen, then the ATM Doesn't Accept International ATMS (like Cirrus, Maestro, Plus, Discovery, etc.)
Ga ( Street ) : Jongno 2-ga, Toegyero 3-ga
No or Ro ( Road ) : Jong-no,Toegye-ro
Dong ( Administrative Unit ) : Myeong-dong, Insa-dong
Gu ( District ) : Gangnam-gu, Dobong-gu,Jongno-gu
Si ( City ) : Seoul-si, Sokcho-si, Suncheon-si
Do ( Province or Island ) : Chungcheongnam-do,Jeju-do
San ( Mt ) : Seorak-san, Nam-san
Cheon ( stream ) : Cheonggye-cheon, Naerin-cheon
Gang ( River ) : Han-gang, Nakdong-gang
Gyo ( Bridge ) : Hangangdaegyo, Seongsandae-gyo
Hang ( Harbor or Port ) : Busan-hang, Incheon-hang
Yeok ( Train Station ) : Seoul-yeok, Busan-yeok
Ji-ha-cheol ( Subway )
Jeong-yu-jang ( Bus Stop )
Gung ( Palace ) : Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung
Jeon ( Hall ) : Geunjeongjeon, Jiphyeonjeon
Jeong ( pavilion ) : Hyangweon-jeong
Sa ( Temple or Shrine ) : Bulguk-sa, Hyeonchung-sa
Tap ( Pagoda ) : Dabotap, Seokgatap
Mun ( Gate or Door ) : Dongdaemun,Namdaemun
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