Fun things to do in South Korea

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
    by jckim
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
    by jckim
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
    by jckim

Most Viewed Things to Do in South Korea

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    Visit the Past

    by hindu1936 Written Sep 28, 2006

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    Near Yong'in City is the National Folk Village, often called the Suwon Folk Village. The authorities gathered homes, shops, and farm buildings from all over South Korea, transported them to this site, and lovingly, painstakingly restored them to their original appearance and function. Gardens full of plants grown centuries ago are found in several locations. These are not just showpieces, however. They are harvested using the techniques of ages past and utilized in the same manner. You can see women doing the traditional work of making Doheen Jong paste to use in the Doheen Jong cheegae sold in the shinsabang (restaurants). At another site there are women shucking the corn you can buy elsewhere, roasted and chewy. Don't ask for butter. That is not Korean.

    Women preparing the corn harvest for consumption These are traditional Kimchi pots.  They are used. Harvest dancers

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    Saving the past

    by hindu1936 Written Sep 28, 2006

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    Nostalgia is a trait we all share. We rmember the past and think about how carefree it was. (wasn't really, we just didn't pay taxes) At the National Folk Village near Suwon or Yong'in, it can bee seen that it was really hard work just to get something to eat, wear, or sleep under. The crafts of those distant days have been kept alive and you can watch artisans making silk, carving bowls, weaving rugs, and everyone one of the skills needed in pre-industrial Korea. Gardens provide the vegetables, and there are cows, chickens, pigs and goats. All provide food for the restaurants located in several places. The entire village is composed of real buildings, not recreations. They were moved in on trucks where possible and where not, reassembled exactly as they appeared in the villages from which they were taken. None of them are younger than 200 years. In fact, in rural Korea, you can still find people living just about the same as their great great grandparents did.

    Traditional rice paste cake the molds used to make the cakes Weaver These masks are used in traditional Korean Plays. Could be making toothpicks.

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    Excellent Street Snacks II

    by jburron Written Jan 3, 2005

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    There are so many, I figure I might as well have a Part 2 to this section (will update, too).

    (v) 오징어/o-jing-eo (cuttlefish/squid); these are harversted in the oceans off Korea in little boats, dried on the roads in little fishing villages and then cooked on little bar-be-ques along the road in most places in Seoul/Korea (especially freeway reststops). It's a bit of an acquired taste. I hated the thought of eating grilled squid until I found out it's about 100% protein (mmmmm...good for Atkin's and my workout regime). Now I love it. Weird, huh? Cost: about 1,500-2,500 won a fish (complete with red-hot dipping sauce/paste called 고추장/go-choo-jang).

    (vi) Dip'n Dots; found only in Summer, this ice cream-type treat is neat and tasty. It actaully resembles hail a lot: like little 1-2mm diameter balls of ice cream that melt in your mouth. Cost: about 2,000 won for a small cup.

    (vii) Ice Cream! In every convenience store there is a selection of about 10-20 ice cream flavours (novelty, I mean, the stuff on a stick, plus the stuff in the tubs). Thing is, the overlap in falvours between stores is about 50-75% so at each store you go to you may see ice cream varieties you've never seen before. There must be hundreds. The best thing: cost is 500-1000 won (0.40USD-0.90USD) each! Pics and reviews here, here, here, here, and here.

    오징어/o-jing-eo on the barbie!

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    Go clam digging

    by hindu1936 Written Nov 14, 2006

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    With the sea on three sides, it is no wonder that Koreans have developed one of the best seafood cuisines in the world. No where is this more evident that on the West Sea, sometimes called the Yellow Sea. One small island in particular has a reputation for producing the best clams in the country, and that island Daebu. Daebu-do is well off the beaten track except by Koreans and people who have had the good fortune to be introduced to the area. West-northwest of Cheonan, you will discover 85 zillion apparent hunchbacks who prowl the streets of this small community-walking bent over, and muttering something about the tide. No, you have not come to a refuge for people afflicted with the little known disease "bent-back, sandhand." Instead, you have witnessed the weekly migration of the clam-digger to the vast beaches of Daebu-do. Besides the astounding variety of clams which are served to weak-kneed unable to hunt their own, the restaurants also serve a variety of fishes, squid and other delectables. If you are not into seafood at all, you might just go for the scenery. The sunsets are wonderfully colored, the area before arriving there offers a plethora of vineyards, orchards, paddies, and flowers all meant, I think to make you use all the batteries in your camera.

    Lunch is served She's happy.  She's getting clams If they stand up, they'd look almost human The causeway there Hwy 42. gas here. trn R. at jnctn to go home.
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    Excellent Street Snacks III

    by jburron Updated Jan 5, 2005

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    One more (I'll probably think of more, too). This one is not technically a street snack, but you can sometimes get it on the street.

    (viii) 팥빙수/pat-bing-soo (red bean ice cream dessert); can you see a pattern here? Well, another treat in the Summer is bing-soo it's usually called pat-bing-soo because the recipe is normally shaved ice covered with ice cream or yoghurt and then topped with fruit, jubjubes (not the candy, but similar) and sweet red beans/paste. I did a tip on Red Mango already (Ice Berry is another good chain) but you'll find that most coffee shops and even fast-food places serve bing-soo as well. Cost: usually 5,000 won up to 10,000 won for the 왕빙수/wang (king) bing-soo at Ice Berry. Most are for 1-3 people to share, the king takes 3-6 to finish off. Link to pic here.

    (viii) 호떡/ho-ddeok; there is a queue a block long for this from a seller in Insa-dong, but also seem in many other areas of the city (especially in the winter). It's also called bubble pancake or something because it's like a pancake that has been filled with air and (this is the good part) cinnamon and/or honey filling. Cost: 500 won/0.40USD each. Very, very good!

    (ix) to be continued...

    Ice Cream and Frosted Flakes? Why Not?

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    Excellent Street Snacks

    by jburron Updated Jan 3, 2005

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    I'm not really talking about the live octopus or fish-on-a-stick (that has been sitting in the same hot, putrid water for 3 days) that they serve in포장마차/po-jang-ma-cha (literally: covered wagon, where they make a tent-restaurant out of a truck). I mean the Big 4 (as tallied by me, at least) snack foods you can get from the sellers:

    (i) 붕어빵/ boong-eo-ppang; shaped like fish, it's made of dough with a centre of red bead paste. They use a little mini-oven for each one and they emerge all hot and tasty. Great in winter! Cost: 3-4 for 1,000 won/0.90USD

    (ii) 군고구마/goon-go-goo-ma (baked sweet potatoe; go-goo-ma is the sweet potatoe part); another winter treat, basically a homemade wood stove on a cart with a revolving bin inside that holds the sweet potatoes. They are served hot (sometimes HOT!). Cost: 2-3 potatoes for 1-2,000 won (depending on location).

    (iii)밤/bam (chestnuts); chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Close. These are on a skillet. The seller roasts them and sometimes peels them. Hint: only buy the ones whose shells are cracked open, that means they are done. Cost: 10-12 for 2,000 won.

    (iv)호도과자/ho-do-kwa-ja (walnut snack; for some reason 'ja' doesn't seem to work in VT); similar in the making to 붕어빵 except the shape and size is that of a walnut (naturally). It's a walnut-flavoured dough with chunks of walnut imbedded in it. Cooked to a golden brown they look like walnut when done. Cost: 8-10 for 2,000 won.

    Of course, by the time you read this there may be more snacks on the street and the prices may have changed, but suffice it to say that they can be some of the best out there and always at a good price. Mmmmm...feel like some 붕어빵 now!

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    Tongdaemun Gate: Wonderful!

    by Hmmmm Written Sep 14, 2004

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    TONGDAEMUN GATE AND MARKET.

    Tongdaemun Gate, Originally called Heung-injimun ("Gate of Uplifting Mercy"), it once served as the main eastern gate in the wall surrounding Seoul. First built in 1397, it was rebuilt in 1869 in its present form. Located nearby are Dongdaemun Market (one of Korea's largest and most popular) and Dongdaemun Sports Stadium.

    Tongdaemun Market originated in the 1960s from humble beginnings but stands today as a shopping Mecca for today's new fashion conscious generation. The market unites 26 venues containing over 27,000 stores and outlets, 11,000 of which sell fashion clothing.

    Tongademun at night. Pic: Aaron Irving

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    Harvest Dances Suwon Folk Village

    by hindu1936 Updated Mar 22, 2009

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    The energy these dancers expend could easily generate enough electricity to light New York City for a week. Those little grease spots you see outside the seating area are not places where someone spilled drinks. Those are where dancers went into melt-down and just kind of flowed away. For those who have attended Native American Pow wows, you will be awe struck at the close similarities. Rhythm, cadence, movements, and except for the silk instead of feathers and the brass gongs instead of drums, you cannot help but realize that there is Asian blood in American Indians. Arrive early or you won't get a seat. The last afternoon show begins at 3:00 p.m. and if you are not there by 2:30, you will be standing for an hour.

    If you are driving, go south on Expressway #1. Take the Singal exit, turn right on #42. Go a hundred meters, turn right onto #23. You will see signs direction you to the folk village. It's 3 or 4 km to the left turn. Pay attention. There is a Bang Bang outlet on your left. On your way back, stop there. The Korean/Chinese restaurant is great and the tong so yuck is really good. If you get lost, call me. Better yet, email me before you come and I'll throw down the portable bed.

    Harvest dance # 1

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    Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul

    by hopang Updated Jan 28, 2009

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    Kyeongbok Palace or Kyeongbokgung in Korean (sometines spell as Kyongbuk) is located right in the heart of Seoul City. It was constructed in 1395 by King Taejo under Joseon Dynasty to form as a royal palace of Korea. It covers a total area of approximately 400,000 square metres.

    The palace had at one time more than 300 buildings complete with approximately 5,000 rooms. Most part of the palace were destroyed during the Japanese invasion in the 16th Century and were rebuilt in 1866. Don't miss Kyeongbok Palace when you are having a vacation in Seoul! Flip through our photographs above to see the various attractions at Kyeongbok Palace.

    Kyeongbok Palace, Seoul
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    Keungjeong-jeon, Seoul

    by hopang Updated Jan 28, 2009

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    Keungjeong-jeon (sometimes spell as Geunjung jun) is located inside the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul. It was constructed in 1394 by King Taejo under Joseon Dynasty.

    Keungjeong-jeon was used as a hall for royal throne by the King. It is the largest surviving wooden structure in South Korea today. The King held official functions in this hall, conducted various state affairs and received foreign rulers and dignitaries.

    Keungjeong-jeon, Seoul
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    National Museum of Korea, Seoul

    by hopang Updated Jan 28, 2009

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    Gyeongbok Palace was also home to the National Museum of Korea as depicted in our photograph on the right. The National Museum was relocated to Yongsan-gu in 2005. Today this building is just one of the tourist attractions in Gyeongbok Palace owing to its beautiful architecture!

    Former National Museum of Korea
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    National Folk Museum, Seoul

    by hopang Updated Feb 2, 2009

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    National Folk Museum is located inside Gyeongbok Palace in the heart of Seoul. It is the national museum of South Korea. It was founded in 1945 by the US Military Government and is operated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

    The National Folk Museum has three exhibition halls containing exhibits of different periods of Korean history from pre-history to Joseon Dynasty. The three exhibition halls are History of the Korean People, Lifestyle of the Korean People and Lifecycle of a Korean from Birth to Death.

    The Natioal Folk Museum is one of the most important tourist attractions at Gyeongbok Palace and attracts millions of foreign tourists every year. It is regarded as a "must-see" museum when you visit Gyeongbok Palace!

    National Folk Museum, Seoul
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    Pukak Skyway, Seoul

    by hopang Updated Feb 2, 2009

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    Pukak Skyway is located along Mount Pugaksan, very close to the heart of the city of Seoul. Seoul is basically surrounded by several mountains and Pukak Skyway is one of the most popular driving courses in the city. The skyway is approximately 20 kilometre long and has spectacular view of Seoul city and the surrounding mountains.

    Pukak Skyway is certainly one of the few green refuges in the city. The skyway was partially opened to the public in 1968 as most parts of Mount Bugaksan contain sensitive military zones which are manned by both South Korean and US militaries. An attraction at Pukak Skyway not to be missed by any foreign tourist is the Palgakjeong Pavilion which has spectacular and scenic views of the surrounding areas.

    Pukak Skyway, Seoul
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    War Museum, Seoul

    by hopang Updated Feb 2, 2009

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    This is an open-air war museum located in the heart of city of Seoul. It contains exhibits of military hardwares from the ugly Korean War from 1950 to 1953. Technically the Korean War has not been ended in the 1950s as there is no peace treaty signed between the warring nations! The extensive open-air War Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the heart of Seoul.

    War Museum, Seoul
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    Seoul Olympic Stadium

    by hopang Updated Feb 2, 2009

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    Seoul Olympic Stadium is also known as Jamsil Olympic Stadium. It is located at Jamsil Sports Complex at Songpa-gu in Seoul. The stadium was officially opened to the public in 1984. It was used in the opening and closing ceremonies of Seoul Olympiad in 1988. It was also used for the 10th Asian Games two years earlier.

    Seoul Olympic Stadium has a capacity for approximately 70,000 spectators although the original capacity was for 100,000 spectators. The stadium was designed by Korean architect Kim Swoo Geun. Today it is used for football matches, athletics and other sporting events and is home to Seoul United of K3 League. It is also used for popular concerts by local and foreign artists occasionally.

    Seoul Olympic Stadium
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South Korea Things to Do

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