As in many places, you can dress up in traditional Korean costumes and have your picture taken. Yes, it's a tourist trap but my daughter and I could not resist getting shots of her in costume at ChongDong theatre.
It is a small room displaying 5 tapestries and some in the display glasses. I was told by the security guard of the building (this museum is on the same floor as a dental clinic) that the museum has many embroidery relics but due to space constrain, they display a few at a time. If you are a serious embroidery enthusiast and a tourist, this is not the museum for you. Sadly, you wil feel that you have wasted your time here, even though there is no entrance fee.
Luxury Brands Galore (well i fell victim here since I'm into these stuff). If you go inhave a mutil-level duty free shopping with lots of High End Brands like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Prada, DKNY, Burberry, Gucci, Versace, etc. If you puchase an item, they will not hand it yet but just give you a purchase stub, you have to pick it up at their outlet at the departure lobby of incheon Airport before you leave South korea!
Unique Suggestions: Don't go Inside the Mall since you will be tempted! (like i was) and just wait for the tour bus, van or car outside.
Fun Alternatives: again none since all tour packages will have a customary stop here!
Expensive Ginseng! If you were of chinese ancestry (like singaporeans, taiwanese, mainlanders, japanese, etc.) this will be a good deal since east asians are into ginseng as alternative medicine but if you are southeast asian, middle eastern, aftican, caucasian, then don't even try this since they are very expensive! ginseng capsules (200 pieces) cost about $ 200 and the red ginseng capsules cost about $ 400 (about double the ordinary ones).
Unique Suggestions: don't go inside, just stay at the tour bus or van or car!
Fun Alternatives: none, since all tour packages whether budget or expensive go through here!
A Giant Tourist Trap! Unfortunately all guided tours of seoul whether the budget group tour and the private tour groups always provide stops here hance you have no choice but to go inside but always be wary since the sellers are very good and very insistent. Amtethyst is just a Semi-Precious Stone so if you want to have jewelries, just have gold or diamonds!
Unique Suggestions: ignore all the sellers and just hop on the bus!
Fun Alternatives: none since all tours pass by here!
DAEHANGNO Street of youth culture
Originally a university campus site, is filled with an avant-garde atmosphere. Daehangno offers various kinds of food and attractions including trendy bars, restaurants, stylish cafes and street performances.
Unique Suggestions: If you're in the mood for street festival, Daehangno is the place.
Fun Alternatives: Hongik University
The area in front of Hongik University is commonly referred to as Hongdae, which is famous as a major art college in Korea. This area is one of the favorite hangouts for trendy youth in Seoul.
A distinct landmark in downtown Seoul with a unique design and fantastic night view.
Subway line 1 jonggak stn exit 3
Unique Suggestions: an unique building's architecture
Fun Alternatives: 63 CITY
with 3 underground and 60 aboveground floors, this golden tower offers much to see such as the rooftop observation deck, IMAX Theater, the Aquarium of 63 Sea World, etc.
Subway line 5 Yeouinaru stn exit 4 OR Subway line 5 Yeouido stn exit 5
This park on Mt. Namsan features a botanical garden, a small zoo, Namsan Public Library, Patriot Ahn Choong Kun Memorial Hall and a playground on the lower side of the park. Namsan Park climbs the slope of Mt. Namsan, on which N Seoul Tower offers an unobstructed panoramic view of the city.
Unique Suggestions: You may prefer taking the steps leading past Namsan Botanical Garden to Palgakjeong Pavilion all the way up to N Seoul Tower.
Fun Alternatives: OR for an easy ascent, a cable car ride which enables you to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
Subway line 4 Hoehyeon stn exit 1
Unique Suggestions: shopping @ COEX MALL
Fun Alternatives: 63 SEA WORLD
Aquarium of 63 Sea World display 20.000 marine creatures from 400 different species.
Subway line 5 Yeouinaru stn exit 4 OR Subway line 5 Yeouido stn exit 5 then take a free shuttle bus
This is Asia’s largest soccer- only field. The architectural design reflects traditional Korean beauty and modern technological conveniences. he opening ceremony and game of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea- Japan were held here.
Unique Suggestions: Subway line 6 World Cup Stadium stn exit 2
Fun Alternatives: go to World Cup park.. It is comprised of the peace, sky, sunset, Nanji stream and Nanji Hangang parks.
Is the main Catholic church in Korea and is also considered the symbol of Myeongdong. The grand, magnificent building, the beautiful interior of Gothic church attract many visitors.
Fun Alternatives: Shopping at Myeongdong
Line 4 Myeongdong subway stn exit 8
If you enjoy drinking... drinking a lot... please ignore the trap.
This tip is for those who do not really enjoy drinking their heads off and simply like to enjoy a nice and relaxed dinner together.
Korea has a very heavy and notorious drinking culture. In fact, last year was supposed to be the year with the highest recordings in alcohol consumption in Korea.
I made the experience that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to go for a gathering (be it dinner, Karaoke or an evening sight-seeing trip) with Korean locals without ending up in a huge drinking bout.
It usually doesn't happen if you go to the so-called family restaurants (e.g. TGI Friday's, Outback) or high-class restaurants.
However, if you join them for a Korean-style dinner, it's almost certain that you'll have lots of Soju (the most popular Korean liquor) on the table.
These days, most Koreans accept if you do not want to join them drinking but it's not really fun being the only sober person at the table after an hour or two... apart from the fact that a real conversation is no longer possible.
It's more likely to happen with many people around. It probably won't be a problem if you intend to have dinner with your close friend or acquaintance.
But be careful if they plan to bring some more friends around!
Drinking occasions are extremely versatile:
From college gatherings or department dinners, a get-together or weekend trip with your acquaintance or getting to know your girlfriend's parents... drinking is always part of the game.
Unique Suggestions: Add-on (17.09.2006):
I just read the book "Korea" written by Simon Winchester, who spent two months walking through Korea, describing his impression on the country, the people and providing lots of insight into Korea's history. I found a very fitting paragraph on Korea's drinking culture that I'd like to recite in the following:
"Confucian drinking habits are exceptionally tough on unseasoned skulls. Koreans often drink with the specific objective of becoming drunk, and what might pass for extreme courtesy at table is simply an elegant way of ensuring that this happens. Basically it involves giving a glass [...] to your friend at table and filling it to the brim with liquor. He will drain it at one draught, then pass it back to you and fill it for you, whereupon you drain it, and offer it back to him. You never fill your own cup; you never refuse drink offered to you; you will always be offerd drink; you will get drunk very quickly; you will remember very little of the proceedings; and you will (especially if you drink Soju) have the mother and father of all hangovers." ;-z
On weekends, several flea markets are open to the public in Seoul, where sellers display their used goods or handmade goods for sale.
Unique Suggestions: There are all sorts of goods, ranging widely in diversity and costs, anywhere from a 500-won T-shirt to hand-made hair ornaments or hand-knit hats. The collection is quite extensive, ranging from hair ornaments crafted in Korean traditional needlework, to bags and hats with original, hand-drawn designs, shoes and diaries, and even music CDs just produced in a recording studio. You will also find portrait artists who will draw your caricature as well as impromptu musical performers.
Fun Alternatives: visit the HONGIK UNIVERSITY... which is famous as a major art college in Korea. This area is one of the favorite hangouts for trendy youth in Seoul.
A waste of time!
Although the view of the hills is "peaceful" and the buildings (are not even blue)
This was a definitie waste of time esp travelling to this place takes a while!
If your guide insist of passing through this place and to see where the president lives, you are in for a ride! a really long ride! Better to tell him/her ~~~ NO!
Too many restrictions
(1) No photos from the bus
(2) dropped at a designated spot
(3) take photos like every bloody tourist.
(4) cannot wander of ~ from the designated zone
The best of all
(5) You can only take photo of the guest house ONLY and not the presidential Blue House .
Unique Suggestions: Make it quick! Tell your guide you don't want to get off the bus. That may get the tour bus driver thinking. Leave quick! Say you want to go to the Dondaemun Gate or the Korean War Memorial or even the Cleanest River in Town.
Miss this place.
Fun Alternatives: At least tell your guide you want to spend more time at Gyeongbokgung Palace
Crowded, lots of fake items and lots of pushy sales people. But lots of cool things to buy
Unique Suggestions: Bargin. Never buy anything in museums, you can get the same things for 1/3 of the price or less in the markets. You can even get Hard Rock Cafe shirts in the market rather than go to the restaurant itself.
You will be approached by many people, in a good way, just smile.
Fun Alternatives: No Alternative, experience it all. Its great.
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