Seoul must-see sights and must-do things

Discussion in 'Asia' started by HaveMilesWillTravel, Sep 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I am heading to Seoul tomorrow for four days. First time in South Korea. What are you favorite sites and things to do? Have the USO DMZ tour booked.
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I very much enjoyed walking through the old Hanok village when I was there a couple years ago. The fish market was a bit of a let down after Tsukiji, but just about anything is at that point. And if you've never done the bullet train thing they are reasonably cheap to head out into the countryside for an hour and back for that experience.
     
  3. Kevincm
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    Kevincm Silver Member

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    N. Seoul Tower for me. The assent and decent on the bus is fun, as is the views from the top of the tower.

    I enjoyed the DMZ tour a lot - that was a very interesting depending on the tour guide and their perspective of the conflit (I chose an "independent" provider)

    Of course Namdaemum Market was a ball too.
     
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  4. NecessaryIndulgences

    NecessaryIndulgences Active Member

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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I have done bullet trains in Japan and Germany... And our very own Baby Bullet in the Bay Area :D

    I'll check out the village. I remember reading your blog post about your trip a few years back.

    Incidentally I am writing this post from the Club of the Grand Hyatt looking out over the city, which is near the tower with I think a very similar view. It looks like the tower is actually in walkable distance from here, and I read about a walk through that park area in Lonely Planet.


    That and the Electronics market are on my to-do list. I am hoping to find an affordable case for my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - what better place than its place of birth, me thinks.

    Thanks, I'll check that out.
     
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  6. ACMM
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    ACMM Gold Member

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    Concur with this. A great experience and great opp to try some real food :)

    [Sent from my milePoint enabled iPhone]
     
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  7. Kevincm
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    Kevincm Silver Member

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    I was on the end of the Limousine Bus route of from the Hyatt in the Grand Ambassador. From there, it's a short assent. Make sure your shoes have decent grip if it's been wet outside. You could find climbing it.. slippy ;)

    I went to the one in Yongsang to look for Camera equipment (in the end I brought a lens from Duty Free). Whilst the sales people are slightly pushy in sales, there is room for the ancient art of negotiation :D

    A good skill anywhere in Seoul ;)
     
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  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    How was your trip? BTW, I think you chose the best DMZ tour!! http://affiliates.uso.org/Korea/default.cfm?contentid=347


    The War Memorial Museum as it is ½ block from the USO. Did not spend the time that probably should have been spent here, there are quite a few aircraft on display, a B-52 & some MIG’s were highlights for me. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/south-korea/seoul/sights/museum/war-memorial-museum

    I disagree, I found the vendors in the Noryangjin Fish Market to be far more willing to converse & show their seafood for sale than the vendors in Tsukiji. There is another
    great benefit, you can buy your own seafood and then proceed to the second floor where there are many restaurants who will prepare your newly purchase seafood for you. Talk about fresh. Our group decided on a big seafood share project, we purchased common crabs, king crab, scallops, prawns, oysters, and octopus. We then regrouped and walked up to the second floor to choose our restaurant, the restaurant we choose was called Pusan First but my Korean bud mentioned that anyone probably wouldn’t know that and you should ask for Pusan Ilbunjee. This place was one of the restaurants that faced the open market.
    The raw oysters and live octopus were served first, oysters were just ok and I think that is because they had been pre-shucked. Live octopus was good but not as good as first night (don’t know why). The scallops were grilled and were the sweetest scallops I’ve ever had, simply amazing. The two kinds of crab were steamed, again amazing stuff, sweet as can be. The restaurant serves beer and soju (YES!) as well as sides to go with the meal. They charged us 10,000 won per head to prepare the meal. A bargain we all thought.


    Enjoyed Gyeongbok Palace & Changdeok. Gyeongbok is a self guided tour, Changdeok are guided tours (be sure to check on what tours are English, IIRC there are 3 or 4 tours per day in English). We learned more with the tour guided tour.

    Seoul has LOTS of street food, so good & so cheap. We tried a number of street food stalls. One that had a large wok of heated oil, the maker would roll this fluffy looking stuff into a log and drop into the oil. Some of these logs contained sausages; others were wrapped by a leaf. I followed the locals and put chili ketchup and mustard on mine. The next stall was serving fried tofu on a stick, complete with chili dipping sauce. The final stall we actually sat down at, at this one we purchased some mandu (Korean dumplings) and what we called Korean pasta which was actually thick (1/2” circumference x 2” long) pieces of pasta (maybe rice flour?) that had been heated in a red tomato/chili sauce. The heat of the sauce was the long, slow to build kind that burned nicely. We also found a number of places offering fresh chopped live octopus legs, served with a spicey chili sauce. Make sure to chew well! The legs had a wonderful sea/brine taste to them. All of the above were delicious and I would order again in a heartbeat.

    Drink soju while in Korea, it is sooooooo good & smooth, the stuff in the U.S. I’ve always thought tasted more like moonshine.

    Of course make sure you go to a Korean BBQ place, the one we tried was here: http://www.seoulnavi.com/food/24/

    The river cruises on the Han river were not running when we were there, I always like taking in the scenery from a boat.

    Has the rail transportation been completed from ICN to Seoul? If not, the KAL Limo buses are a cheap & easy way to get to/from ICN/Seoul.
     
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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Loved my trip. The DMZ tour was very interesting. Probably one of the weirdest/surreal places I have been to.

    Didn't spend much time at the War Museum either. I walked around the outside exhibits (free) and left the large building for another time since it was one hour before closing.

    The various temples were quite interesting as well.

    I took the KAL limo as it was the easiest way to get to/from my hotel. Quite comfortable and a good price.

    I was surprised how few western tourists I ran into. Most westerners (other than US military or obvious business men) seemed to be language teachers residing in Korea or their parents visiting them ;)
     
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  10. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Agreed. Whenever having discussions with folks about travel to Asia, Seoul/S Korea rarely comes up in conversation for tourists. I too loved the trip, glad you did as well.

    For UA flyers, SFO-ICN is one of the best routes for a SWU to clear:D
     
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  11. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    How did you book the DMZ Tour? The wife and I are spending 2 days later this month. Also, how much did you find the KAL limo was? Trying to decide on our transfer, although we're staying at the Renaissance.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Check out this site: http://affiliates.uso.org/Korea/default.cfm?contentid=103

    I booked through Koridoor (linked from that site). Their tour schedule is here: http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=schedule

    I don't recall how much I paid for the KAL limo bus, but it was reasonable (I am cheap and don't like to pay a ton for airport transportation) and convenient.

    Enjoy your trip!
     
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  13. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    I believe it was $15 for oneway. Make sure to put the seatbelt on as soon as you get on the bus/limo
     
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  14. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    Thanks!! Have the tour booked!! and have info on the bus, will hunt it down once we land... only a couple more days before departure - Thanks again!
     
  15. Street Smart Traveler

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    On a bit of a tangent, what's the best area or place to go for Korean pop music (K-pop)? Is there one part of Seoul where all the record stores are, where you can buy merchandise meant for music fans? That kind of thing.

    For example, I loved Akihabara in Tokyo for geek stuff. I wondered if there was an equivalent in Seoul.
     

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