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Visitors to South Korea must possess a passport valid for 6 months, an ongoing ticket and proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay. Citizens of many countries are permitted a visa free stay which is issued for a set length of time (depending on nationality) upon arrival. Other visas can be applied for from a Korean Embassy or Consulate abroad, where current information regarding visas should be confirmed as details can change.
Luxury items such as jewellery, cameras, electronic goods and cash in excess of US$10,000 must be declared on arrival. Certain luxury goods, such as jewellery and electronic goods that are purchased in the country may be liable to a duty tax.
Visitors may take the following into Korea duty free:
- Alcoholic beverages - 1 litre of alcohol
- Tobacco - 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
Obscene/Pornographic material contained in any medium is prohibited and will be confiscated.
There are restrictions on items that may be exported from the country such as ginseng, antiques and items of cultural value. If planning to buy any of these goods, check with customs on arrival.
The penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs can be severe, ranging from long prison sentences to the death penalty.
Korean time: GMT +9
- Won (W) - Check current exchange rates.
- Notes issued: W10,000, W5,000, W1,000 & W500
- Coins issued: W500, W100, W50, W10, W5, W1
Korean is the official language. Japanese is spoken amongst the older generation and Chinese within the resident Chinese community. English is used to a very limited extent and usually only amongst young professionals and students.
Tipping is not customary in South Korea, although many restaurants and hotels do add a service charge to the bill. As a polite form of behaviour, people give a slight bow and say thank you for services provided. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped unless they assist with carrying luggage.
Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
The international dialling code for Korea is 82
When making international telephone calls from South Korea first dial 001 + country code + area code + telephone number.
Local Telephone Codes
Most of Korea is 110V, although some rural areas are 220V. Visitors should check the voltage before plugging anything in. Many different types of plugs are used and a universal adapter is an important travel item.
Water is considered unsafe for use directly from the tap and ice cubes should be avoided. Bottled water is widely available.
Medical professionals in Korea are highly trained and facilities are good, however health insurance that also covers evacuation is still recommended. Consider inoculations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and take advice regarding anti-malarials. It is always best to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with your doctor when planning your trip.
- Cheju-do - Cheju
- Pusan - Kimhae
- Seoul - Incheon
International Departure Tax
Domestic Departure Tax
Casual clothes are acceptable everywhere, although smarter clothes gain more respect. A level of politeness should be maintained in public and whenever possible, any offer of hospitality should be accepted, since turning down an invitation may cause offence. Always remove shoes before entering a Korean home and use the right hand for giving and receiving.
As with many Asian countries, situations should be avoided which would cause a loss of "face". Try to steer clear of confrontation as it is not appreciated and will only worsen rather than resolve any situation.
Pay close attention to signs stating that photography is not allowed at places such as airports, harbours and military facilities, as these laws are strictly enforced.
Many countries have representative offices and consulates in Korea.
Useful Sources of Information
Further information onKorean culture and tourist attractions:
- Korea National Tourism Organization
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Spring (March - May)||8 - 13°C||114mm|
|Summer (June - August)||21 - 28°C||209mm|
|Autumn (September - November)||12 - 21°C||96mm|
|Winter (December - February)||-1 - 7°C||37mm|
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Spring (March - May)||5 - 16°C||65mm|
|Summer (June - August)||20 - 29°C||285mm|
|Autumn (September - November)||7 - 19°C||68mm|
|Winter (December - February)||-7 - 2°C||25mm|
Korea enjoys a temperate climate which can be divided into four seasons - spring, summer, autumn and winter.
The temperatures vary slightly across the landmass but it is only when altitude exceeds 1,700m that real changes are felt - especially in winter when snowfall is common and skiing is possible.
- Spring - warmer, milder weather edges its way from the south and slowly spreads across the rest of the country. Lightweight clothing is required, although some warmer layers are recommended as the wind can be cool and temperatures do fall away at night.
- Summer - is fairly hot, humid and wet. Lightweight clothes are a necessity and an umbrella is useful for those frequent downpours.
- Autumn - skies tend to be clear. Again, lightweight clothing is required along with a few layers for those cooler days and for the night-time.
- Winter - snow blows down from Siberia in December and winter can be bleak and harsh away from the coastal areas. The south coast and islands rarely see snow and even if they do, it tends to be only slight. At higher altitudes, along the northeast coast and the central mountainous region, snowfall can be high and South Korea becomes a popular ski destination.
Best time to visit: Mid-spring and early autumn are pleasantly mild with light rains. Winter months bring snow to higher ground and are the time to visit for skiing.
Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during summer.
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There are many historical sites in Incheon and Seoul. It is far more of a tourist destination than it advertises itself as. The windmill restaurant in Incheon (very close to the hotel) offers excellent service and very good food at good prices. The Galbi restaurants in Seoul are really worth a visit and the The Korean War museum had us returning 3 times!
We were in Seoul for four days during the week and were surprised at how easy it was to get around by local taxi. There were many around, easily hailed and quite cheap. The dreaded traffic jams were not obvious or they were good at avoiding them. We never did get to go on the subway.
The subway is relatively close by (7mins walk) and the hotel is right on Insadong''s heart. It''s nice to walk around the area except when it rains. Then getting to nearby tourist destinations is tricky. Taxis won''t take you because its too close and there''s no shade walking there so you get soaked. The Korail is much more affordable than the taxis though. Most Koreans in the shops speak basic english but if you need to find out a place, bring a map and show it to them, they pointed out to me all three times that I asked. Lots of korean restaurants in Insadong but if you are looking for more international fare at decent rates, go to Myeung dong.
Korea House is well worth a visit. We ordered the best menu, got a private room for two, SUPERB food and then the show in the theatre. 120 quid for two - not bad.
Gyeong-ju is a fantastic area! We rented bicycles and spent two days exploring the historic Shilla and Buddhist sites in the region, often using the bike paths that circulate for miles and miles along the highways. The endless rice fields were another beautiful riding area. We also hiked a lot, ate well (but not in our hotel!) and had a lot of fun in the city in the evenings. Staying near the lake was nice - quieter at night, and right on the bus route into town.
We only took one tour and that is the submarine tour. There are 3 of them but we just took the one that the hotel recommended which is good, fun, interesting and value for money. Commentary is all in Korean so do be prepared to feel left out in that aspect. The rest of the sights and attractions we did on our own, some by taxi or on foot which are close to the Hyatt Hotel. We rented a large cab for all 4 of us from 9am to 5pm and mapped out the places we wanted to visit and the driver did the rest. We managed to cover only all that was interesting to us, instead of a tour which would have cost much more and visiting alot of places that we did not want to go. For those who are willing to fork out some money this would probably be the best way to see alot within a day. Foodwise, where we are staying we are subjected to eateries within Hyatt or the other nearby hotels and a few restaurants around the area, which are all either very expensive or not value for money as the cuisine isn''t that good. You''d have to be adventurous and take a taxi to some better known restaurants about 20 minutes away to have really great bulgogi and black pork meat (the speciality: the pigs are black not the meat) - prices are then much more reasonable and the food good.
Destination to hotel was quite straightforward, abt 80 minutes from the Incheon International Airport, we took the subway to Lotte World and Everland although the latter was a bit of a hassle, having have to take a bus there, wasted abt 1-1/2 hrs. Italian Restaurant at Galleria Shopping Centre was excellent, Hyundai Department Store is a must go. Hard Rock Cafe is a little bit too far away from where we stay so we took the cab there. Most of the time, we got around the city using the subway, very convenient. The system was excellent.
Places we visited include the waterfalls, submarine ride and Halim park which offers gardens, caves, restaurants and a bird park. You can catch a buffet cum fountain show at the Lotte Hotel. Taxis are easily available and the people are generally very friendly.
For the transportation we used airport shuttle buses, taxis, metros and Seoul City Tour buses. We had railway passes - 3 day saver pass (great value for money) for trip to the south and we spent 2 days in Gyeongju. There we rented a car for sightseeing trip to Gulguksa, Tongdosa and Bulgkusa temples, Seokgulam Grotto and Underwater tomb of king Munmu. Next day we rented bikes to see sights in Gyeongju. We spent 2 nights in the Hyundai hotel on the lake near Gyeongju. That hotel was great - real 5 star hotel and we paid only 120 Canadian dollars (less than for 2 star hotel in Seoul). On the way back we slept in the New Airport hotel near new Seoul airport. The room was great. It had all gadgets you can imagine, from big flat screen TV, computer, Jacuzzi tub, Jacuzzi shower, fax machine, water purifier, and ultra violet device for disinfection. Koreans were very friendly and we haven''t had any problems. We really enjoyed being in Korea.
We visited Insadong which is good for souvenirs. Itaewon where a lot of foreigners hang out and Meyondong which had loads of street food stalls and stalls selling all kinds of different things. Many selling poor knock offs of brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes and so on. Jewellery, socks, bags, belts, wallets, cell phone trinkets, pyjamas, shoes etc etc. Of course there are a lot of regular stores there too. The best bargain we came across was glasses. They were very resonably priced. We walked there from the hotel but you can catch the subway too. It costs about $1 and was 3 stops away. Taxis are cheap too.
Seoul is a sprawling city. But it has a very extensive and efficient subway system that could take one to most places in the city. If you get lost there is always the taxi, which though expensive, offers good and honest service. Language is a problem as very few Koreans speak English but their helpfulness and honesty put one at ease and more than make up for the inconvenience. Myeongdong, Namdaemum, Namsan Mountain, Gyongbookgung are the usual places tourist would want to visit but the Korean War Memorial is a must if one wishes to learn about the history of the Japanese colonisation, the second world war and the korean war. Only then would one understand why the Koreans are so united and nationalistic and truly proud of their achievements. For the national servicement, the Memorail also showcases the differnet types of weapons, missiles and war machinery that are used in modern warfare. And the entrance fee is only 3000 won,excellent value for money. One place that one can miss is the Korean Folk Villlage which survives only because of the free entry given to school children and there are hordes of them around whcih can be quite disturbing with all the noise they make. It showcases the traditional Korean lifestyle and villages of yonders past. Seoraksan mountain near Sokcho which is 4 hours by bus from Seoul is an interesting place as the cable car ride up to the mountain plus the climb to reach the top is quite refrshing. One can stay at one of the condominiums nearby for US$60 and travel to nearby Sokcho by taxi for food.
We took the KTX high speed train back and forth from Seoul and Busan. It is a very nice way to travel, especially if you want to see the countryside. It is important to know that the trains can sell out, especially on Friday night. However, just as importantly, the tickets can be sold back and the "sold out" status changes moment by moment. The traveller''s information people -- while very polite -- did not really explain this to us. So, when we discovered how to read the board we had to do it on our own. The first time I tried it I only had a minute and didn''t quite make the train. Then I had to pay 30% to get the rest of the cost of the ticket back. (I could have argued, I suppose, but the language barrier was too great to overcome at that point.) The second time I had an entire 5 minutes, ran to the train and got on just before it left. Unfortunately, I didn''t realize how the seating worked -- they are assigned -- so I ended up getting on at least half the train length away from my car. I eventually made it, however. The staff was very polite and suggested that rather than dragging my suitcase all the way to my car that I store my suitcase in a closer car. I wouldn''t even have considered it if I was in a different country, but South Korea is very nice that way.
I love to go to Seoul coz of the quality of their goods. It''s not exactly cheap but you''re paying for the quality. Myeongdong area is a bit on the higher end but a very good location to stay in - 1 subway stop away for namdaemun market & 2 stops away from dongdaemun market. Based on my experiences, I found namdaemun cheaper than the 2 places I''ve mentioned but smaller. People there are probably insomniacs =) their shops are open till 5am! Just a tip- it''s a bit cheaper to shop at nite.
Seoul is a safe, interesting city to travel to with many things available to the visitor from cultural sights and museums to sporting events and shopping areas. Public transportation is cheap and easy to follow if you know where you want to go. If not, a city tour can give you an overview about what is available in the city. I''ve always found the people to be friendly and helpful if you have difficulty. The country of South Korea is a beautiful land with rocky mountains, beautiful seashores and a rich history. I think it is one of the hidden treasures of Asia.
The hotel is in a terrific location and the Airport Limousine Bus 602 will drop you not far from the hotel...just keep walking a look for the gate. The hotel is incredibly accessible to shops, restaurants and the wonderfully efficient and easy to understand subways. We caught a subway (line 1 just across from the hotel) to Gyeongbokgung Palace. The following link shows a brief video, www.seoulsearching.com. Handy Hint: You use the subway underpasses to cross "under" all of the main streets and this is both fun and good for you (interesting shops and loads of stairs). Second Hint: Wear comfy shoes (and waterproof) shoes if going in Spring/rain - lots of steps abound and puddles. Third Hint: Look out for cars and motorbikes -They don''t want to hit you but the "Seoul" system seems to rely on everyone giving way when necessary. Fourth Hint: Do take a small umbrella or rainjacket in April. Fifth Hint: Do try the wonderful Korean food. Everything we had was excellent and spicy.
If you want to see Seoul and experience the Korean culture in one day; you may want to check out the Modern Seoul Tour and the Korea House Dinner and Show sponsored by Grace Travels. It was a great experience!
The local tours, both the east and west island ones, are well organized. However, it emphasizes a little bit more on entertainment and less on culture. I think the Jeju National Museum is impressive and should included in the tours. I also personally would like the Tea Museum be included in the west island tour. There are plenty of restaurants around the hotel and the Food Street is close by. I enjoyed the variety of Korean food, but would only hope that there are other quality restaurant of other culutres, such as Chinese, Japanese, French and Italian, around apart from that offered by the hotel.
The tour at Changdukgong and Piwoen is excellent. I also enjoyed the tour to Jogesa and Bongeunsa Temples and a relax tea session in a traditional tea house. The half-day out of town excursion to the Korean Folk Village proved to be a rewarding contrast to the city life.
Korean restaurant in the hotel is very good but a little expensive. Fridays, Outback and Bennigans are close within a few blocks of the hotel if you need a flavor of the US.
The new Incheon airport is very easy to get around. The KAL limosine bus is 12,00 won but the airport shuttle is only 7,00 won. KAL has better seats. Itaewon can be a good place to get suits made. I have had many made there. Myeong Dong is a very good place for ties. It is connected to the Lotte hotel/department tour.
This is my 7th trip to Korea. Unfortunately, I''m working, sleeping and eating mostly on US military compounds, so I don''t get around much. The Queen hotel where I stayed this trip is in Incheon approx a 10 minute ride from the airport. Nice place in the city, but I was only there overnight prior to another flight to my final destination. The Seoul Hilton is an awesome 5 star hotel with an incredible buffet. Nice pool and gym on the 2nd floor. In Seoul the Korean War Museum outside of Yongsan Army base (near Itaewon) is a great place to spend a day or two if you''re into history. A DMZ tour and the tunnel trip is a must. Can book through the USO (just off Yongsan Army base). My favorite bar in Itaewon is Gecko''s. Good mix of people from around the world. Good food, nice atmosphere, and pool tables. Nashville, another bar just down the street is okay also. Chinhae is the place to be at the end of March for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Beautiful port town (home of the S. Korean Navy). There''s Cherry trees everywhere, and if the weather hits right the entire town is just gorgeous. Hope this helps.
The War Memorial, DMZ and Namdaemun Market were all really interesting. We enjoyed going to the palace as well. It was an experience to take the local bus. Watching traffic was a great pastime!
I recommend that if you are 4 travellers, it is better to take a cab to some popular destination such as Myuedong, Insadong, Itaewon and others. It cost about 3,000 - 4000 won from co-op Residence hotel. If you take subway the ticket is a minimum of 900 won per person. It is also better to take a white cab because it''s cheaper starting from 1,600 won however, you have to well prepared to write the destination in Korean words for the cab driver to read because they only understand Korean language. You can get the assistance from the hotel''s staff because they are very helpful.
Cheongbokgung and Insadong are must-see for tourists. I loved the traditional percussion performance at Korea House ($29), but I hear that the modern Nanta show ($60) is excellent as well. I also loved the Noranjin Fish Market, we bought a dozen oysters for $3 and brought it into the restaurant to eat right there. Lots of fun.
Sanchon Restaurant (approx 5 minutes walk) from hotel for superb, authentic, vegetarian Korean cuisine.
Subway is the best mode of transportation, beat the crowd and cheap. Silver or white taxis are cheaper than the black taxis however unfortunately you always see the black ones near your hotel, so go down main streets to flag the white cabs. Do get hotel receptions to write down your destination/hotels in Korean as most drivers don''t understand English, make sure that they on the meters. Do try out the sweet potato ice cream or sweet potato cakes in cafes. There are lots of nice and cozy boutique cafes in Myeong-dong and a good and nicely furnished Italian restaurant below Dunkin Donuts. Items at Major dept stores in downtown Seoul are much more expensive than stalls in Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, however usually these are cash payments only. Alternatively you can try the carrefour dept store at the Seoul world cup stadium at Line 6 world cup station. Items at incheon are much more expensive so be sure to get them at Seoul. Best gifts to buy Kimchi and wallets
We took subway from Dongdaemun stadium station to most areas like Insadong, Itaewon, Namdaemun, COEX. Very easy. Taxis also readily available outside the hotel. Winter temperatures bitterly cold, do not recommend going unless you enjoy subzero temperatures at the outdoor markets, go in summer it will be more relaxing. We had to scurry indoors and plan excursions because it was just way too cold for comfort. Most people only spoke little english, make sure you have hotel names and destinations written down for taxi driver, ditto on food names or bring a phrasebook otherwise you will not be able to order at restaurants without picture menus. Lonely planet is useful.
I travelled to Haeundye beech and sauna''d in the most beautiful jimjilbang (Korean bathhouse) called Vespa. I most definitely recommend it, the sauna was more luxurious than the Commodore.
I visited the Seoul Tower which was just a stone''s throw from the hotel. I also visited Dongdaemun, Namdaemun and Itaewon shopping districts. Lotte World too shouldn''t be missed. For me, I preferred to travel by the subway to get the experience.
If you are interested in fine dining and are willing to pay for some really good western style food, go to the Grand Intercontinental Hotel at COEX. Everyday from 7-10:30 a.m. you can get an amazing all you can eat breakfast buffet at the Australian Grill for about 37,000 won. It has all the things a westerner craves as well as Korean favourites. Right beside this restaurant is a wonderful Italian restaurant that will please any discriminating palate. You''ll also find a wonderful bakery downstairs with amazing breads and pastries. COEX is a huge complex with a maze of shopping, movies, eateries and things to do like a huge aquarium. Because this is really a business district, COEX is the best place to put in time.
A little side note regarding shopping, shop around if you have the time (and only IF you have the time). Because as a tourist, i got ripped off couple times during my two weeks stay in Seoul. If you speak English they know you have no idea regarding the price range for a particular item. Try to negotiate with them, you might be able to bargain a good price. Well, at least not to be ripped off too much. The Seoul Tour Bus is an excellent way to see many major tourist attractions in a short time. The bus leave at Gwanghwamun (station number 533), the bus stop is just right oustide Donghwa Duty Free which is also close to the Sejong Arts Center. Two bus tours are available--the palace tour and the downtown city tour. The downtown tour leaves the bus station every 30 mins while the palace tour bus leaves every hour. The single ride ticket is 5000 won for adults and 3000 won for children. One day ticket, which I recommended, is 10000 won for adult and 8000 won for children. Go there early, the first bus starts at 9am so that it allows you to stop at many stops to look around and hop back on for the next bus. Also, many palaces close around 5 pm, so the earlier you go the better it is.<br><br>One more thing, remember to check out when the palaces are open. Some palaces close on Mondays or Tuesdays. If you are japanese you are at a slight advantage in Korea as to many korean can speak/understand japanese. If you are chinese who speak Mandarin, sometimes you would bump into one or two waitresses in the restaurant who can speak Mandarin to assist you on ordering food. In short, you would have a higher chance to bump into people who can speak Japanese and Chinese more than a person who can speak English.
The area where Fraser Suites is situated is very convenient with restaurants and shops all around the area. You can have western or Korean foods. Everything is within walking distance. The free shuttle bus from apartment to various destination is very convenient, however it should be more frequent.
The downside about our Christmas trip was that it did not snow! We went to Yangi Pine Resort on our 2nd day (underground to Nambu station, then get off at Yongi, jumped into taxi for short ride to Resort) which our daughter (6) found most enjoyable. I did some skiing (man made snow), my daughter did sledging and my husband did snow boarding! On the 3rd day we went to Everland (underground to Gangnam station then change to shuttle bus direct to Everland) for X''mas day. We loved the Christmas show on Christmas night. On 4th day, we did the King Fook Palace (Korean too complicated!) and Insa Dong which I found both easy to get to and traditional. In the evening we visited Lotte World which my daughter loved again. Seoul was a good family holiday overall. You can forget the shopping as this was the first time I came back with almost nothing!
The fried chicken near the Uljiro Co-OP residence is pretty good. If you are hungry and need something to eat that is close by and is open for 24 hours, try it!
Lots of designer brand imitations in Dongdaemum area. Take your time to browse them and do ask for a 10-20% discount. A must see performance in Seoul is Nanta. Please refer to nanta.co.kr for the details. Believe me... you won''t regret it.
To get around Seoul, we took the subway most of the time as it''s very convenient and easy to get around with accompanying english instructions/signs (Jongno-5ga is the nearest stop from Lees). Jongno-3ga which is a couple of stops from Jongno-5ga is where you can change to other lines. The airport limousine stops are located near Jongno-3ga (airport-seoul) and Jongno-4ga (seoul-airport) which are probably 5-8min walk from Lees. For authentic Korean foods, pop over to Gwangjiang Market which is just a stone-throw away. There are many street-side stalls along the main street (jongno) selling fresh fruits. Dongdaemun is also within walking distance.<br><br> For the night-owls, the 24-hr market/shopping complexes are god-sent! For a quick tour around Seoul, the Seoul city bus (10,000won) is a good option as it brings you to most of the major tourist attractions in the comfort of an air-con bus (with heating during winter) as well as an audio tour in the form of audio player with earpiece (different languages - korean, chinese, english, french) in front of every seat.
The Seoul subway is cheap (900-1000 won = $.90-$1 for many destinations) and easy to navigate--all signs are in English too. Lotte World, just a few stops away from this hotel, was cheap and a good outing for our toddler. It is mostly indoors, which makes it great year-round (we visited in late November).
Had more fun that I expected. My friend and Iwent to Seoul for a wedding and was not sure what to expect. Everyone in Itaewon spoke some english so we were able to communicate fairly well. Cab drivers were nice and the city was quite clean - they were dusting the ceiling in the subway one day! Took cutural tours of Hanock Villiage, palace, seoul tower and enjoyed them. Do not recommend Amethyst Cente r- I thought it was about the mining of stones and showing the process- not! Just a very over priced sales pitch- if you want to buy go haggle in Itaewon. Fabulous shopping everywhere- just learn pricing before you buy to get the best deals.
Pusan has some different areas and if you like to discover the real Korean atmonphere and also want reasonable meals, this hotel is in the write location. Close from the metro station and harbour, and there are some shops open long time for tourists who need to shop in the neigborhood, most of the clerks speak good Japanese, so very convenient. The bad thing is we were probably ripped-off at the nearest coffee shop, as they charged 10000 won for the breakfast set.
Spent most of the time helping a friend doing business in the Dongdaemun and Nundaemun markets. This hotel is very well located for the Dongdaemun market. Traveled around town by subway and cab, both are easy to use. There is an English language subway brochure which is very helpful. Ate at various restaurants, but don''t remember names. The above markets are a must for people looking for bargains in textiles, costume jewelry, clothing, luggage and other goods. I also went to the Techno Mart, where I found the prices weren''t so great on electronics. I took a hike in the mountain park just outside the city, this was very beautiful, with buddhist shrines and burial sites to see as you ascend.
Korea was a great place to visit. The people were really friendly and helpful. I know no Korean but was able to get on fine using sign language and my Lonely Planet guide, and maps. Each time I needed help someone seemed to take it on themselves to make sure I got where or what I wanted. The food was great and inexpensive, I really like noodle shops, and places with pictures of the food so you can point to what you like. This was generally available. In Seoul I had ''cow-rice'', which was what the amenable shop manager called the dish in the picture, and turned out to be rice and beef, with the interesting side dishes of kimchi which I later found are served with all meals.
Seoul in autumn is always wonderful - walking from Shich''ong area up to the Kyongbuk Palace is a terrific way to warm up for the day ahead and enjoy some of the diversity Seoul offers. There are good, economical restaurants in the subway adjacent to the hotel.
Seoul City Bus (hop-on hop-off) is a convenient way to make sightseeing. Recommendations: Picturesque views from Seoul Tower on Namsan Montain. Guided (English) walking tours in Changdoekkuk Palace at 1:30PM and 3:30PM, well preserved buildings, nice palace gardens & forest. Shopping at Itaewon District.
As a vegetarian, I enjoyed lunch at the SM Ching Hai restaurant. They have an outstanding buffet from noon till 2:30 and from 6 to 9pm. They are located a short bus or taxi ride from the subway line#3 Yangiae station (exit 5). Also, the newly completed Gangnam branch of Kyobo Book store has an excellent assortment of all types of books, CDs, art supplies and gift items appealing to both foreigners and Korean locals. It is about a ten minute walk from Gangnam subway station line 2, exit 6.
I traveled by subway exclusively. Airport bus was the best between airport and hotel (#602), and subway otherwise. Subway was cheap, fast, efficient; bus took nearly 2 hrs due to traffic. Koreans all seem to speak "a little english", so looking lost and giving the name of a place gets fingers pointing you in the right direction. Buy anything and everything on the sidewalks, eat whatever looks good or unusual.
You must try the chicken soup at Boegje Samgyetang in MyeongDong area. Very delicious.
A must is to contact the Gyeonggi Tourism Organization, www.visit2005.com or ICN arrival between door 1 & 2. Ask them if it is possible for you to hire a guide after your tours (It would be money well spent). DMZ, Palace, Seoul Tower (Namsan Park) and shopping were great (with shopping it is great to have a translator & go to non tourist areas-better deals) Ask the hotel desk to direct you to the beach. It was cold but GREAT. Found a black pearl which will bring luck to the restaurant operators and my best friend. 3 nites, 2 days is not enough time. Can''t wait to return. Buses, note their schedule, and taxis are abundant.
A "must" trip for all non-Koreans around this time of year is to visit the Jagalchi Fish Festival at the Jagalchi fish market. It is accessible by the subway system and well worth going. I was the only Westerner there, which added to the excitement. I have never seen such a variety and amount of fresh fish, in all shapes and sizes. And the atmosphere was authentically Korean. I had a super lunch at one of the market restaurants, very good value for money.
Seoul''s a pretty and very clean city. Buildings not so new, thousands of shops, not many interesting historical sites to visit but very pleasant city overall. Itaewon and Nandaemun Market ''must see'' shopping centres. Insadong should be interesting, too (highly recommended by staff of our hotel) but didn''t have time to enjoy browsing its antique shops or try out the tea-houses. The Seoul city bus tour should take at least once and to buy the ''whole day'' ticket which costs 10,000 won a person and includes both the ''downtown'' and ''palace'' tours. Got around by taxis - not too expensive. If have a chance to visit South Korea again would try to see Nami and Chusan Islands. Heard they''re beautiful.
Nandaemun Market, Itaewon and Lotte Dept.Store - some of the best places for shopping. The Seoul city tour bus good for only one full day if you are in a group of six or more because can be quite expensive-10,000won a person. On the whole it had been one of the best holiday experience we all had.
Went in early Autumn. Weather was a little cool, not cold at all and I find the island very pleasant and relaxing; a good place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Not too expensive to get around by taxi. Visited Mt.Hallasan, the Lotte hotel and Shilla hotel. I found the Lotte to be a replica of the Sun City hotel in South Africa. Shilla, being a low-rise hotel is more continental and has a beautiful surrounding. I must say Jeju Island is defintely a very fine place for honeymooners.
Jeju Island-very relaxing place to visit; nice cool weather in early October. About an hour''s car ride to Shilla Hotel and Lotte Hotel - both hotels a must visit. Nice car ride to Mt.Halla-san but disappointed there wasn''t a proper eating place. On the whole a very pleasant island to visit. Would have loved to visit also the Grotto and Waterfall but too far away from our hotel and we stayed only four nights.
It is readily accessible by KAL bus service from Incheon International Airport (12,000 Wan / person) and takes about one hour. For early morning flights (0800 hours) one has to go by taxi to make sure he is there 2 1/2 hours at least before flight time...thus Taxi is required at about 75,000 Wan. The Chosun is right next door to Seoul''s finest department store (Lotte Department Store) and it is in walking distance to the Nam De Mun market area and has ready access to the subsurface Sogong and Myeong-dong markets (just downstairs)and also to the subway system. There is a shuttle bus every hour or so to the I Tae Wan market area which is a tourist visit for shoppers. One can also walk to other tourist sites suxh as the South Gate and if ambitious up the hill from Nam De Mun market past the Hilton to the Namsan Park area, certain museums, monuments and running trails to Seoul Tower overlooking the entire city.
I wandered around Dongdaemun Market area and was basically lost for 2 hours. I never did find the "tourist information" booth that the sign pointed to. I saw only one other Westerner in a span of 2 to 3 hours in this "Special Tourist Zone", and found very few people who could speak English at all, but most store proprietors tried their best to be helpful. The Korean Exchange Bank, which is on the corner of the market building near the hotel, is a good place to exchange currency.<br> <br> On the advice of the hotel, I took the subway three or four stops west to Jonggak and walked another block or two to the Kyobo Book Center, a most wonderful bookstore. It has a large foreign book section and a helpful staff who spoke good English. This was the best "find" during my day in Seoul. This was the only area outside the hotel lobby or airport where I began to see a few other foreigners. There are a few good, reasonably-priced restaurants here as well. Although I found the system map utterly baffling, the Seoul subway system is actually very easy to navigate, once you know your destination and which line to take.
If you are looking for the ultimate romantic escape from the big city, this is the destination in Korea. Boman Lake Resort in Geyongju is an accessible retreat to nature and romance. Several high-end hotels line the lake shore and provide luxury accomodations and dining. Many activities are within walking distance. Some activities seem especially designed for couples such as moonlit rowboats rides on the lake and bicycles built for two. The traditional Korean atmosphere of the area is unique to Geyongju and allows the visitor to have an insight into the history and culture of the Korea. The numerous ancient burial sights, temples and cultural treasures, make this a really wonderful and memorable destination in Korea.
Jeju is a wonderful place. The weather is very nice, lots of scenery to see and the laid-back lifestyle is a highly recommended experience for people from fast-paced cities. Don''t miss a chance to have a beer and fish at the seaside across the hotel. Prices can be quite expensive, be prepared to bargain for things.
Shinsegae is the biggest department centre near to Hotel Centro. There is an underground shopping just next to Shinsegae.
Seoul is a well-organized, clean and safe city—a pleasure to visit though rather expensive after living in India. Spoken English is not its strong suit, but many signs are written both in Korean and English. We found the people not overtly friendly but extraordinarily helpful when we appeared to be lost or confused—they seemed to come out of the woodwork to set us on the right path or provide information as best they could.
The Haeundae Resturant on the road to Sogwipo is one of the best I have visited in Korea. The beach near the hotel (Jungmun) is very pleasant, and good for swimming in the summer months.
Insaedong is a great place for shopping and experiencing South Korean culture. The King palaces are also a must see. The DMZ is an interesting place to visit especially to reflect on the Korea''s present situation between the North and the South and more interesting if your country was divided before as mine was. Very nice and pleasant people.
Insa-dong is one of the most artsy and historically important areas of Seoul. Their are numerous galleries, artisans and traditional Korean tea shops and food venders. The Sanchon, a famous vegetarian restaurant run by a former Buddhist monk, features a tradional Korean dance show in the evenings.
While at this hotel we dined at a duck restaurant across the street and to the right of the hotel. Look for the picture of a duck on the sign. It was the best smoked duck we have ever tasted. It''s a little more pricey but well worth the taste experience.
Seoul is a city with a lot to offer. I like its diversity. One of the areas I like to shop at is Nandaemun for great deals on clothing and accessories. There are many good restaurants, especially if you like Korean food. There are also a lot of American chain restaurants in downtown Seoul. Lotte World is a great place to visit with children--Korea''s version of Disneyland.
There is an excellent Thai Resturant - Pattaya - located just a few steps from the hotel, for those just getting used to Korean food but familiar with East Asia''s more well travelled destinations'' cuisine. And across the road is the famous upscale foreigners hang outs - Gecko''s and the Seoul Pub. And of course, shopping abounds in Itaewon! This makes the Hamilton an ideal place for a first visit to Seoul.
I went to watch NANTA (musical) as recommended by some friend. However the show was not interesting and I found it very expensive (50,000 Korean Won for VIP seat). If one really wants to go, I advise to buy cheaper seat (A or B class) ticket, the hall was quite small yet half empty.
Choice for car rentals is limited to Avis and Hertz. Be sure to have your International Driver''s License in Korea! You won''t get a car in this country without it.
Shopping malls around Dongdaemum and the street stalls are closed at 5am. The food stalls near Dongdaemum are quite good. Metro network has a very good coverage. Namsam park is not worth going. Gangnam area and Myeong dong is a good shopping area too. Currency can be exchanged freely at almost every bank.
I''d been in Seoul before, so I didn''t do much touring. This visit was more work oriented. I did walk in the area around Dongdaemun near the hotel to familiarize myself more with that neighborhood, and took a quick trip on the subway to south of the Han river, to take a look at some of the newer residential areas. It''s easy to get anywhere on the subway and I didn''t bother with taxis.
Seoul is fascinating - a great mingling of modern development and historic palaces and temples around tons of shopping. Do not miss the traditional performance at the Chongdong Theater - one of the best we have ever seen anywhere!
We took subway most of the time in Seoul and even hop onto Seoul City Tour bus. This is very good options if you are planning to visit more places in one day! You can get the ticket or information about this from any Tourist Information Center around Seoul or any 5 star hotel.
I am writing this part, because people don’t speak much English in Seoul. I don''t want others to suffer like me. Take Hop On- Hop Off Seoul City tour bus. They stop at all famous destinations in Seoul. You can catch them every 30 mintues from each stop. <br> <br> Out of all palaces, I visited 2 famous ones. That''s enough. Deokuson palace is on UNESCO World Heritage List. Another is nearby Gyeokuson Palace. Shopping, try Myeong Dung, where there is Miligore shopping center and alleys full of individual small shops. Real Cool place at night also. Also go to Dongdaemon market for its 3 big shopping centers. Can you believe they open until 5 am on Friday''s night (that means they are open until 5 am Saturday) ? Another market is Numdaemon market, but they have lower grade materials though. I didn''t like it there.<br> <br> Food, I like Korean Restaurant at Seoul Train Station. Cheap and authentic taste. Others, I eat as I go around. I went to other cities such as Suwon where there is a fortress and Buson by train. Train service is efficient and affordable. In Suwon, you have to climb up to Fortress (hell tiring) and can go around the Fortress which I didn''t do it because it was hot. Took taxi from Suwon station to the Fortress. There is Tourist Info center just outside of Suwon station. Went to Buson city. There is a beach, but that''s all. Also took a train there and tourist info is in Buson train station. <br> <br> Just one last advice, buy a Korean-English Dictionary, so when you get lost or want to ask something, show them the word. I tried speaking, but it never worked. They don''t understand.
I''ve visited the whole City of Incheon and City tour doesn''t cost much. I recommend that Korean Restaurant just accross their Hotel, just ask the front desk officer about it (great taste of food specially the beef thing). I had a great time travelling from Incheon to the Downtown of Seoul Korea, it took only 45 min to get there and very reasonable City Tour Price and a very nice Palaces I''ve visited.
We took the Seoul City Bus Tour. It picks you up right opposite the Hamilton. It''s cheap and takes you all over Seoul. There are about 20 places you can get on and off. We checked out a new restaurant/bar which was very very nice. It''s called Gekko, and is just down the street from Hamilton. It''s behind the hotel and shouldn''t be confused with the other Gekko bar which is on the opposite side of the road. This bar had a great wine list and was in it''s own garden. A beautiful wooden style structure - not cheap but worth the extra.
The hotel is next to Myong-dong, a down-town are bustling with shops and restaurants, which really comes alive after dark. Definitely worth a stroll! Namdaemun Market, Lotte Hotel/Dept Store and the Namsangol Traditional Village are in walking distance. A very nice small coffee and breakfast place (also with internet access) called Olia around the corner and close to the underpass to the Sejong Hotel can be highly recommended (open from 8am).<br> <br> If you have the time, do make a daytrip to Panmunjeom and the DMZ, the border to North Korea. This can be booked with several different organisers (info available in the hotel lobby) and is quite a sobering experience.
Take advantage of the airport shuttle that originates from this hotel - very convenient and cheap.
From Incheon airport, bus is convenient to Dondaemun, fare is 7000 won. but return to the airport, to Lotte-hotel or Myondon by metro and get bus.
Use the subway during the day when the traffic is bad and use the affordable taxis at night. The subway is very easy to use even, if like me, you cannot speak Korean. I always request a map the office I am to visit plus directions written in Korean. Even so, I do get lost and I am always amazed by the kindness of strangers willing to help me.
Traditional korean food is the thing not to miss in Seoul: from walking distance from the hotel, there are plenty of good restaurants, one of them called SamDeGang located in a small road just behind the Seoul Plaza Hotel on the City Hall Plaza, that serves "black chicken" soup with assorted kimchi. Another great one is just in front of the Koreana Hotel in the lower 1st floor of the Seoul Financial Center building. It proposes high class korean food: a little expensive (about 30US$/person) but wonderful experience.<br> <br> For shopping lovers, the place to go is Namdaemun market (a lot of choices; but do not hesitate to bargain to get up to 30% discount). For those who prefer department stores, Lotte Dept. Store is a great place with fantastic choices (but no discount there).<br> <br> On a more touristy point of view, the 3 palaces scattered in Seoul (from walking distance from Koreana Hotel or easy access by subways) are worth the visit (all of them have internal museums inside - do not miss them). With 15 cm. snow on palaces and gardens, it was really a rare landscape.
This is a ski trip to Yong Pyong, the reason why we chose Lotte World Jamsil is because the bus to Yong Pyong pick up & drop off is at Jamsil and the amusement park is just next door. The department store is priced on the higher side, but the food court at the basement provides varieties of food.
The hotel in nearby the two main markets in Seoul, which is very convenient. The subway station is only 300 meters and will take you anywhere. If you are interested is a very special souvenir, visit jewelbutton in the arts district (Samcheongdonggit) next to Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Staying in Seoul over the weekend and always wanted to visit the DMZ? A useful piece of advice apparently unknown to the hotel booking staff is that the UN Truce Village at Panmunjom is closed to visitors on Sundays. But the tour still costs the same...but then you do still get to peer across 4km of the most heavily mined and guarded territory on earth into the serious weirdness of North Korea. And that is worth doing.
I travel to Seoul frequently on business only. The Sofitel is a short cab ride to Itaewon for those interested in the nightlife or shopping and very close to the Communication Tower in Namsun Park.
Try the Galbi ( BBQ marinated beef ribs ) at Itaewon Restaurant. The eating place is just beside Hamilton Hotel, opposite the subway station. The waitress are attentive and able to converse in English.
Having spent less than 1 day in Pusan, I can''t really comment on this specific destination. But after spending 10 days in Korea (Ulsan, Kyongju, Seoul), I can make a few generalizations: transportation - taxi, bus, train, subway - is quite cheap (especially compared to Japan) and exceedingly efficient; Korean food is often inexpensive and very spicy; shoppers will be able to find some excellent deals (cheap eyeglasses in Seoul''s Namdaemun market area!); a visit to the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) north of Seoul is worth the time and money for those who want to re-live Cold War tensions all over again.
Go hiking in the Suwon old city if you have time. It takes one hour by train from Seoul station. Good walk.
Seoul is actually quite non-Korean speaker-friendly. The subway trains have English signs and announcements, as compared to Japan. It is possible to walk into a local eatery and just point to what you want.
If you haven''t been to Seoul you should know the traffic is awful and not all the streets have names. Many directions are given with the descriptions of building names or colors. It can take a very long time to travel/drive to a "local" destination. Not all of the taxi drivers speak English even if they have a sign on their window that says "Free Translation". An alternate to the car/taxi is the subway. Yes, it is confusing. But it is clean, efficient, fast and has better equipment than NYC or Chicago. If you can figure it out, it''s great to ride.
The quality of goods sold in Itaewon has gotten better over the years - worth a visit if you''re shopping for bargain leather jackets.
I did not have a great deal of time to explore Seoul itself, but Seoul Incheon Airport is tremendous and puts UK airports to shame.
The best way to get around Seoul is by subway. Although it seems daunting at first all signs are in English and after knowing the different lines (1-8) that stop at each station and the interconnections quite easy to navigate. Announcements of different stops are in Korean and English. And if you find yourself heading in the wrong direction, just hop off go to the otherside and take the train heading in the other direction.<BR> <BR> Taking the taxi is not recommended as most of the roads in Seoul seem to be jammed with traffic at all times of the day. Travelling around Seoul by subway is much cheaper and quicker. However, be aware the access to get in and out of these stations maybe through steep staircases where no escalators or elevators are present (the newer lines will have escalators ie. line 6). Not suggested to plan for the Korean Folk Village if it rains. All performances are cancelled and the streets in the village turn into mud.
Kimchi. You''ll see it and smell it all over Seoul. It is such a part of everyday Korean life that Koreans rate a restaurant on the standard of the Kimchi they serve. It is served as a side dish at breakfast, lunch and dinner and, for the western palate, it is best approached with caution. A fermented stew of cabbage, chillis and garlic; pungent is not the word. I tried it on Monday, and I was still tasting the after effects on Thursday morning. So for all you die hard food fans out there, try Kimchi. You''ll never forget it.
Try Tondaemong for night shopping of clothing and fake brand goods. The department stores there (Named: Miliogne, API, etc..) are deliberately full of fakes or imitations, and the quality is very good, compared to those sold on the street. "DO" haggle on prices, and "DO" keep your smile. Try the Shilla Hotel for a BIG Duty free complex, or for the nice ambience & mountain view from their lobby coffee lounge.<BR> <BR> Itaewon is the best place for fake rolex watches etc... Just walk into any shop that sells watches there, and ask quietly to see their fake watches. They will pull out a suitcase, and show you several examples for sale, including graded copies of the same watch. Level 1 copy, Level 2 copy etc... They have several brands. Louis Vuitton bags etc.. also abound in Itaewon. Buy your ginseng tea and capsules etc. at the supermarket, to avoid getting ripped off on prices.<BR> <BR> Avoid entering any bar in Itaewon where girls try to call you in or drag you in. Korean locals told me that these places were just rip off girly bars that charge you 2-5times the price of the same drink had in a normal bar. Seoul''s a great city, and much more organized and pretty and less noisy and dirty than Tokyo I thought. Enjoy!
Insadong is a wonderful place to visit, make sure that you have enough time to visit the galleries, palaces and numerous beautiful boutiques. I was in transit from Australia to Canada and i bought all my gifts in Insadong: beautiful ceramics, jewelleries, healthy green tea, etc. I needed more time!
Wonderful grilled fish eateries near the hotel. Economical but delicious. walk out of hotel, turn left. Continue walking towards the intersection and near lunchtime (1130am), you will smell the strong fish fragrance from a little lane. Two wonderful little eateries selling korean food. Be there by 12 noon cos it will be packed by locals. Also in Namdeamum at night. A saxophone player hawker is there selling his fried fishsticks with either shrimp, chilli, crab. He played a wonderful tune for us on his sax.. and each fishstick is only W700! Bring lots of money to shop and eat! I''ll be back!
Seoul is a fascinating city. It''s the world''s third largest (within city limits) at 9+ million, but is very user-friendly. We had no problem using the highly efficient metro system. Although most locals don''t speak much English, we were able to function just fine. Many restaurants have English menus or have the food on display in the window. The Seoul Financial Center has a two-floor underground restaurant mall. We loved walking around the Insadong area and the palaces nearby. Prices seemed reasonable.<BR> <BR> The transfer from Incheon Airport takes just a little over one hour in the luxury Korean Air (blue) bus. Passengers from any airline can use this service. It stops across the street from the New Seoul at the Koreana Hotel ($12 one way). From there you must walk down the block, to the pedestrian subway in order to cross the street. The view from Seoul Tower is worth seeing. New Seoul is within walking distance of the enormous Namdaemun Market area.
Took tour of a Korean folk village. Enjoyed very much. Learned a lot about Korean customs. Went to Korean baseball game, enjoyed the passion the fans had for their team...very loud. Went to Lotte World (Korean disney), good for kids. Korea is very easy to get around. Cabs are everywhere and are very cheap (cabs have english speaking phones in case of problems). Subway is also very cheap and can get you anywhere in Seoul. If you like shopping, daytime and nightime markets are excellent value in Seoul and can be reached by cab or train very easily.
Visited a couple of palaces pretty close to the hotel (Changdeokgung with Secret Garden and Gyeongbokgung), the National Folk Museum, the Namdaemun-market and spent some time in Insadong cultural district with lots of small shops of arts and crafts and several places to eat. We can recommend all these attractions and areas, and we certainly liked Seoul a lot.
I visited and bought suits from Mr. Park at New York Tailors. He speaks very good english and has outstanding fabric with the most reasonable price. He measured, made the suits and they fit perfectly. A very honest and fair merchant who makes outstanding suits (men and women).
Seoul is a wonderful place to visit. The markets are lots of fun with plenty of great bargains. The national train system, Korail, is excellent and a bargain if you purchase the pass prior to your visit.
First timers who just come into Korea from Inchon Aiport should take KAL Bus Limousine. The cost is only 16,000 won = 16US$. You can take this bus in front of the Airport on the first floor straight to the Hotel. If you plan to take a taxi expect to pay 85 US$.
If you have the chance to catch "NANTA", a great tourist venue, I recommend it. It''s an amazing show with ear catching rhythms & comedic, lively acts. The Korean Folk Village is a good venue if you want to learn about basic korean culture.
Do not miss the 1 hour excursion out of Seoul to the Hoam Art Museum, the gardens are the most beautiful in Asia. A good idea for first timers in Seoul is to hop on the City Tour bus, for $US 10, you see all of Seoul and then can decide where to spend time. For me, just seeing Itaewon from a bus window was enough - who needs all those Western restaurants anyway. Check out a new veggie resto at the entrance to Insadong, just near the police station and tourist info booth - Sin Sim - great ambiance and food.
Seoul is still not the place for a foreigner to venture outside of the hotels. But the food (western) has improved a lot. "Vine" is my favorite place in the Lotte (Lobby level) with an outstanding wine-menu "by the glass".
I visited the tourist information site, using it and brochures from my hotel selected different points of interests that most of the tours went on. However, I went to the different palaces myself, using the subway which is fairly easy to figure out with the right guide map. Also, if you look at the map long enough, someone will come up and help you. I spent loads less than a tour would`ve cost. Also, if you`re 24 or younger, you can get a discount in many places so take your ID. I also recommend a visit to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the point between North and South Korea. You have to join a tour to go here and they need at least 24 hours advance notice. Make sure to go on a clear day though. It was raining when I went and I wasn`t able to get a clear view of the North/South Korean border.
Very good for shopping at Dongdaemun and dining around Jeongno Samga.
Seoul is quite well organized and prepared to receive visitors from overseas. Bilingual signs are everywhere and the subway system, although it might intimidate by its complex web shape, in fact it''s well signalized and easy to use. Bon Voyage!
The shops were all closed on Chinese Mid-Autumn festival. The country has 3 days holiday (10-12 Sep 2003). Keep that in mind when you plan your trip.
Places to eat are plentiful around the New Seoul hotel, most have good food I prefer the Korean food over the western fast food chains. I was able to get around on the subway after being shown how to use it a couple of times, it was faster than traveling by car. Over long distances I took an express bus which was great it was cleaner and not crowded as western buses. I used a limousine bus to get from the airport to a drop off point very close to my hotel. I took the limousine bus back to the airport. I was impressed with the public transportation, the people were more polite than in the US, a great example to follow. Most of the young people in Korea can speak English. I found that the young guys dressed well or looked like buisness men spoke nearly perfect English. I, however tried to communicate in Korean which was appreciated. The historicle places were very interesting. I stayed a couple of days with family of a friend that lived in the U.S. that owned a small dairy farm. I will be going back to Korea in the future I enjoyed my stay.
Travelling TIPS in Seoul: Take the transportation offered by the hotel when you reach the International Airport cause it is much cheaper than taking the Limo/coach/bus offered in the airport. Take the subway cause it is quite simple to get around the city (you don''t want to travel on the road! trust me...amazing TRAFFIC JAM!!!). Do Not Take taxi outside the hotel or other famous places e.g. City Air Terminal (CAT)...cause it will be W4000 extra up your bills. Enjoy your stay in Seoul and experience it yourself!
This hotel is a few minutes away from ancient korean palaces, shopping places and night activities. Again, you could stay in other hotels around, but value-wise, President hotel is far better.
No need for hop on hop off bus - Seoul is compact and walkable. Visit to the Naemdong market is a must.
We (9 people total), had a great trip thanks to our very gracious hosts. Trips to Seoul tower, shopping areas, the Secret Garden, Palaces and temples. The best trip I''ve taken in Seoul since I''ve been in Korea.
It was my fourth time in Seoul, so I have visited most tourist places and spent many hours shopping in Seoul. Myung-dong, for us, is the best place for eating if you want some variety. It also had many western restaurants and is good for shopping.
Close to Insadong, a great area for local handicrafts and tea houses.
I took one of the DMZ tour. They showed me many things that I didn''t know. They also have Panmunjeom tour and I wish to take this tour next time.
The location is right in the middle of the shopping and bar area. There are many bars and fairs to good restaurants close by. For some looking for a western atmosphere the Nashville restaurant, sports bar and roof garden right in Iteawon close to the hotel is friendly and pretty good.
Korea is not very tourist friendly as all the signs are all in Korean with little English or pics. e.g. it is very difficult to order food in restaurants unlike in Japan where there are pictures to point to when ordering.
Taxi is inexpensive (make sure you take the non-black, non-deluxe cabs which start from 1600won vs. 4000won.) The ride from Incheon to Coex only costed 12000won (10 us dollars). Nice restaurant is a Japanese restaurant called Chin Chin, near Galleria Department store in Ap-Gu-Jong-Dong. I also visited a mountainous area near the opera house. Nice to visit when you get tired of the hustle-bustle of the city. If you get a chance you also have to visit some mountainside restaurants. The one I went to was in Na-Man-San. We picked out our chickens and had them prepared fresh. An outstanding treat...
Absolutely the most central location in Seoul north of the Han River. Within walking distance of Nam Dae Myung, Myung Dong, City Hall, close to Itaewon, In Sa Dong, Shincon. Hard to beat if you want to taste all the flavors of Seoul.
Shoppers may have to check on the trade holidays for the shopping malls during Summer (around early August). It was a huge disappointment as 90% wholesale shopping malls at Dongdaemun and Namdaemun are closed for Summer Holidays during my stay. Urgh!!! Didn''t expect that to happen, no such holiday advice from the Tour2Korea website and the hotels too! Taking the subway is simple so you don''t need to join a land tour. We are lucky to meet some nice Koreans who offer to give road directions even when they have difficulty understanding and speaking English. In-SaDong is really a good place for some Korean culture stuff... I love the place. Eating is a little problem as we can''t read Korean words, so look for those with food pictures.
The Hotel can help you book a tour to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea - a thoroughly informative and wholly worthwhile tour. Highly recommended.
Oh you really have to go to Myeong Dong! For really great shopping for fashion trends while Namdaemun is for traditional stuffs and more for senior clothing. Wear comfortable shoes, you will need to climb lots of stairs from the underpass!
The City of Seoul is fantastic. It is well organized. It is easy to find our way in the subway. People are charming, quick to help you out and so disciplined. Transportation is not expensive. The food is delicious but expensive in the hotels. So do not hesitate to go out for lunch and dinner. There are restaurants for all taste. In Seoul many people speak basic English to high proficiency. I do not speak a word of Korean and not a lot of people speak English outside Seoul but we can always manage with a good map and a dictionary. In Seoul almost all the street names are written in our alphabet. So enjoy yourself in Seoul!
The average price of food is higher than Singapore, lower than Japan.
Tourist information is not that much in that island, for saving time, the best way is to take map and other related information in Cheju airport.
Seoul is a very nice place to visit. Shopping and food are fantastic!
You can get around easily via the subway. It is only 700 won per ride if you are travelling within the city. If you plan to visit Everland, take the express bus at Central City. Do not go for the alternative route from Suwon station, that will take you 2+ hrs from Seoul City to reach Everland!
Shopping is one of the best reasons to visit Seoul. At the heart of Dongdaemun are Migliore, Doosan Tower etc. and you can find lots of stylish clothes and accessories there. Womenfolk will love it.
Try to stay at Seoul city areas like Dongdamon and Namdadom. Food - be prepared except that there is not much to choose from. Most shops will either sell ginseng, chicken soup, hash rice, hotplate or steamboat.
I recommend visit at Namdaemun Shopping Street. The souvenir items are really cheap. Seoul is generally clean. It''s easy to go around from place to place as long as you carry a map. You will hardly get lost if you just follow the lines of the subway. The Good Morning Tour is okay. The black limo taxi is more expensive than the gray or white ones. If you can''t find an English-speaking Korean to ask for directions, then don''t. Koreans who don''t understand English won''t be able to help you anyway and they usually give the wrong sign language. The map is more reliable. Also take the River cruise at night to see Seoul''s 27 bridges wonderfully decorated with multicolored lights. We went into a Korean Restaurdant at back of the hotel where nobody can speak English. We had to point our orders (good thing they have pictures!) and do sign language. It was rather difficult and nobody showed us how to eat the food. It''s quite different from our usual food. We figured out anyway on our last day of tour when we went into a restaurant of similar kind and a lady was kind enough to demonstrate to us how to eat their authentic Korean food.
Hotel is located in the Kangnam area close to COEX and Apkujong so quite good for business travelers.
Very close to Myong-dong! I could go to one of the famous sauna places in Myong-dong by walk about 7 mins at 1am!
Shopping in Itaewon and Hyundai department store was lots of fun and productive. The subway system in Seoul was excellent and very eay to use.
The hotel is near the Namdemon market, a good location for shopping. The subway is a good way of getting around, but taxis are not expensive.
Learn to use the subways and buses, the traffic will have you paying huge cab fares. Shopping is great in Dongdaemun and Iteawon. Nightlife is great too. A fun place to visit.
I had a wonderful time in the area. The shops in the Insadong area are all staffed by friendly, helpful people and a credit to their profession and their nationality. The ease with which I was able to see the sites in the area and access the airport bus etc., was a time saving bonus. I can certainly recommend this hotel for value, proximity to locales and certainly the Insadong area is a ''tourist destination'' in itself!!
The best restaurant and place to go for a drink for foreigners in Seoul is the Three Alley Pub. It''s located only a few hundred yards away.
Great destination - Seoul. I live in another part of Ulsan and had not visited Seoul yet. I had a wonderful time - enjoying the foreigner''s part of the city, Itaewon. I toured the war museum which was very well done and also viewed the city from the observatory of the highest building in Korea.
For the first time travelling with our children (11 / 14) as backpackers, we got around in Korea in buses and trains. Public transport works extremely well! Our stops were: Seoul, Daechon Beach, Songnisan National Park, Gyeongju, Jeju island (Gwakji Beach + Soegwipo)- all in 15 days. In Seoul: Don''t miss the dance / theatre performance in "Korean House". They have a very good souvenir shop, too. In Songnisan National Park: don''t miss the Beopusa Temple, Buddha''s etc. Except from Seoul we have been staying in yogwans and eating in small local places. We have had excellent menues for 5000 won/person and 4 people sleeping for 40.000 - 60.000 won. It''s no problem to have family rooms. We have had a wonderful time. The Koreans are extremely nice and helpful people. Unfortunately only very few speak english, but we managed any way.
I got around by taxi most of time. There are two types of taxis. One is normal taxi and another one is Deluxe Taxi. They are very reasonably rated. Korean food is wonderful! I loved the food called Mak Gook-soo! The address is 4-4 JangKi Dong, Kimpo City, KyungKi Do. VERY GOOD!
Location allows ease of movement to Hangang Park, which is a lovely place to be, especially in the early morning. 63 Building and also subway was nearby.
If you are staying at the Hamilton Hotel, you only need to step outside the front door to access taxis, buses, and the subway. The subway gives you low cost access to just about anywhere. But ask the front desk, just in case a taxi might be much quicker.
The subway was easy to use and convenient. It is also very cheap at 700 won a trip. Seoul may not be as cosmopolitan as Tokyo or as beautiful/sentimental as Paris but it has a surprise blend of beautiful architecture in its palaces, lively streets in Insadong and Itaewon plus plenty of shopping to be done.
Seoul is easy to get around in. The subway is efficient and easy to use. You need maps to get anywhere you want to go...street addresses are ineffective!
Among many others things, my friends and I visited the DMZ (De Militarized Zone) in South Korea / North Korea. This border spans from the West end of Korea to the East end. DMZ is still one of the most heavily fortified border on the planet. It is the last place on earth where the historical struggle between communism and the free world can still be seen with one''s own eyes. For the South Koreans, one fringe benefit of having US troops on homeland is the ability to utilise their services for their own defense... in the zonal area, it works similarly to a JV... and very tight security with among others, tanks and AK 47 guns. Took a train down the infiltration tunnel, which runs through bedrock at a depth of almost 250 metres below the ground... one can notice many things, including, dynamite spots and also, mole holes from which the South Koreans discovered the infiltration tunnels... Although built in 1978, the tunnel is capable of accommodating the rapid movement of 30,000-armed forces within an hour... interesting indeed. Looking at the DMZ is like looking into the past directly at the iron curtain...
Very good subway system and airport transportation, easy to go anywere. Iteawon has interesting restaurants.
Franky speaking, Korea just good for business but not good for travelling. Very minimum English instruction and had to navigate. I normally prefer travel to Japan over Korea.
If you know how to get around by subway, it''s OK.
Seoul is a fun place for eating and enjoying the Korean Spa experience, but city has nothing much more to offer. English is not very well spoken in general public, but Korea is a very Japanese-friendly tourist destination. Unless you love shopping and Korean food, I do not recommend this place.
Palaces are worth seeing. Taxis are inexpensive and the subway is one of the best in the world.
President is in a superb location for transport around the city and accessible to embassies. It has excellent local eating spots from the very expensive to the budget.
We went there for a business meeting and really have no to time to visit other places other than our potential business partner offices. We use a lot of subway trains for movement and I think that South Korea has developed one of the most systematic transportation systems in the world.
I would definitely recommend the City Tour Bus. Unfortunately for us, we didn''t have a lot of time to see all the sights on the tour, but it''s worth the money to be able to hop on an off the bus and travel around. Pattaya is a fabulous restaurant for Thai food. Gecko''s is a great bar that plays good music. If you want to sit outside, go to Club Caliente and sit on the roof. The Electronics Market is out of control! There are soooo many stores, one could spend the entire trip there and still wouldn''t be able to see all the stores! The taxis are very inexpensive and the drivers know how to speak English to help get you around. The subway system is phenomenal! I would definitely recommend using it if you want to go to other places in Korea!
I would highly recommend the Ho Lee Chow Chinese restaraunt located right by the hotel.. it is fabulous.. and since the Hamilton is right in the middle of Itaewon, there is countless things to do to occupy your time. Seoul has daily tours (LOTS of them to choose from) but I didn''t take any, I was visiting my boyfriend stationed over there.
The location of the Hotel is very useful where there are many restaurants, convenience stores and drinking places around the hotel less than 1 minute on foot.
Watch out at the airport - there are taxi-guys actively persuading foreigners to take their taxis which are about 40 times as expensive as a bus!
Seoul is easy to get around with cheap, clean and user-friendly subway and taxis. I found lots of good restauants.
We visited the COEX mall which is a short taxi ride from the hotel. Also visited Insa-dong and Dongdaemun markets. We travelled by subway because the traffic is so heavy on the streets of Seoul but it is not easy to get around because of the constant going up and downstairs, etc.
It''s located at just little bit far from the downtown. In addition, you need to climb up the tough slope. I strongly recommend that you use taxi from any direction.
Enjoyed my two days in Seoul, particularly shopping for antiques and traditional Korean objets d''art along Insa-dong. Also had a great time at JJ Mahoneys at the Grand Hyatt on Saturday night - high energy band, attractive crowd and good bartenders.
Seoul is a great city, I''ve visited the foreigeners quarter Itaewon, here you can have fun and go shopping. I visited the promenade at the Han river and took a trip with a boat. At the promenade several sport activities can be performed like cycling, roller skating or kiting. The city has so many hotspots and tours, so just visit it.
Although the hotel was exceptionally good it was a fair way from Central Seoul. The Korean restaurant at the hotel provided excellent food and services.
I did not have much time in Seoul but the tube system was very easy to use and a lot of English instructions probably due to the World Cup (football) which was held there last year!
Seoul is a lot of fun and your money goes a long way if coming from US, Canada, UK or Japan. There are great deals at the night markets although most shopkeepers were unfriendly in there. <BR><BR> Food was excellent everywhere we went. Kalbi is so well marinated and delicious. The various dishes of kimchee and several other vegetables were served at every meal and were also very tasty. We ate well.
I travelled around by taxi as I wanted to go to places that was included on some of the tours offered there. Taxis in Korea is very cheap and the driver was very helpful and I was not overcharged for being a tourist! <BR><BR> April is a good time to travel with a really good weather and few tourists around. I think if it had been more to the beginning of the month, I would have been able to see thousands of cherry trees in bloom and I expect that would have been so beautiful!
Walking around the hotel area is convenient & safe. To & from airport is very easy.
Only good if with locals. Would never holiday there.
Seoul has an excellent subway system within walking distance from the hotel. A five minute train ride will bring you to palaces, English language bookstores and any number of good restaurants.
Seoul is very, very cold in winter. Subway system is clean, cheap, efficient and easy to use. Nearest subway stop is about 5 minutes walk from hotel. Insa Dong (only a couple of stops away on the subway at Anguk) is a lovely street full of interesting shops and great restaurants to suit all wallets. There''s an extremely helpful tourist information booth at the top of the road.
It is not wise to go to Seoul in Winter. It was just cold.
I can''t speak Korean at all. So in a restaurant, in a taxi, in the store...I didn''t understand.
Restaurants in the vicinity unfortunately all seem to close at 10:00 pm already; 24-hour convenience store right across from hotel; central location; taxis recommended means of transportation.
Seoul is a great place and has a superb English language bookstore.
Restaurants is great.
We were there for mostly shopping in the east and west markets, the university market and there was another one that I don''t remember the name anymore.
It is worthwile to visit downtown Seoul.
Took the subway everywhere and it was great. People were extremely helpful, coming up to us and asking if we needed help when we would be studying our subway map. There are many traditional Korean restaurants in the area. Other customers who spoke English helped us with the menus. Visited the Korean Folk Village and it was well worth it.
I am living in Incheon. My mother and I arrived in Seoul on Saturday and we visited Deoksung Palace and watched the changing of the guards ceremony. Great. We also went to Yongsan Electronic World and did some shopping (brilliant value, though difficult to find English speakers working there). We went to Namsan tower in the cable car and ate at the revolving restaurant. The restaurant is really pretty and the food was okay. On Sunday we went to Chuncheon. We stayed at the Sejong and it was alright, the restaurant there was not great.
Ate supper at a great Turkish restaurant called Pasha. Fantastic food!
Great restaurant near the hotel - Mana - but few staff spoke English.
The club is nice.
There were quite a few good places, but to my sorry, I cannot give directions because I did not have much time to explore by myself in this last trip. I was always accompanied by the locals. Yet, In Sa Dong area, especially if you go into the lanes along the street, there are many interesting looking restaurants of all kinds.
Central location for a business trip.
Enjoyed walking around Namsan Mtn, with all its facilities and recreaytional amenities.
The subway system is very good in Seoul, we went places all by subway, it was easy to buy tickets because one price for most of the destinations within the city.
Recommend a visit to the world cup stadium and surrouding parks. Also the Seoul tower is worth a trip with 360 degree views over the whole city. Take the cable car to the summit for spectacular views of the city. Dongadeum market has to be seen to be believed - amazing number of stall/shops and street vendors selling everything one could want.
I was mainly on business, but I found Seoul an interesting city. The subway is a dream to use, much better than being stuck in the endless traffic snarls on the surface.
Taxis are not expensive to take around the city core, and the subway is fast and efficient.
Seoul is a businessman''s destination and hasn''t changed much over the past decade. It is still difficult to venture out of your hotel, unless you go to another one....
Seoul is great, clean . Very friendly locals Amassing markets, a fist to the eyes. Be ware that the Metro doesn''t have escalators.
Soeul and Korea are very interesting places to visit. It seems that one has to visit it a few times to get a stronger understanding and appreication of the people and the culture. I believe that the first few visits to korea is a challenge for western people, and it is important to continue to visit and build the faith and trust with people there and rewards of that will be strong for everyone.
The subway system is busy, but quite safe, clean, easy to use, cheap and extensive (almost 300 stations around metro Seoul!).<br><br> Taxis are also cheap, by world standards, but sometimes even a short distance can take much more time than you have planned, due to heavy traffic and constant standstills.
Korea is a safe place to visit in spite of current world events. However, it is not a cheap destination, and one should have a fairly decent budget if Korea is your choice. Would not recommend subway transportation as this can be confusing and sometimes dangerous. Make sure that the hotel you book has free shuttle services to several places you want to visit because that will take a little of the sting out of all those taxi fares.
very nice and appealing, if you like sprawling metropolises.
This trip we were not able to visit any tourist attractions as we were presssed for time and we had to complete some business transactions before leaving. We were taken by our Korean hosts to some excellent restaurants within walking distance from the hotel.
The Gecko Pub was fantastic.
Korea is getting cleaner and better by the year. Not just for business-people anymore.
This hotel is centrally located with easy access to most tourist areas or business districts either by walking or by cab. It is about 40 minutes from Kimpo airport and , therefore, quite accessible.
This hotel is not so famous among taxi drivers in town. I had some trouble to explain the "destination". Maybe, Ritz Carlton in the next door is more famous as a landmark.
Seoul is a place to do busines, not more. I took a tour and it was not interesting.
I only had a day for site-seeing. I would strongly recommend Insa-Dong and the Nam-Dae-Mun market for those interested in shopping and experiencing local culture. We visited the palace but because of the restorations, it was not as good as it could be. Nam San tower was a good way to get an impressive view of the city. I would recommend that guests be advised of the subway system. It's very good but requires some knowledge to use it well. The one confusing thing for me was the exit tunnel system. You have to know the exit numbers to get to your final destination as you cannot cross streets on the surface in many locations. Guests should be aware of this fact.
The hotel is located in a good location and the limousine bus to/from the airport is very convenient.
The hotel resturant was very good, which helps because there are very few resturants within walking distance of the hotel.
Seoul is the capital of a country that has only recently industrialized, and it looks the part. A jumble of architectural styles and mixed planning. One thing the traveller should know is that to get around the city the public transportation system is good, especially the subways. They're cheap and easy to use, and are a window to local society and culture.
Seoul is not a big tourist destination, not a lot to see besides the olympic site and the palace in the city center. Public transport is similar to the london tube and very easy to navigate.
Because I was on a business trip, I did not have the time to visit the tourist attractions, but getting around the city was quite easy with the taxi service.