things to do in seoul for a week
November 28, 2005 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Things to do in Seoul for a week?

I'll be in Seoul for the week of Dec. 12. I'll be working, but should have some free time (maybe half a day and most of my nights) to see the sights. Any suggestions on things I must try/see/eat while I'm there? It'll be my first time there, so I'd be okay some stuff that's semi-touristy.

Related to this recent Incheon question, except I'll be in town for more than 15 hours.
posted by Carol O to Travel & Transportation around Seoul, South Korea (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Namsan Tower is not very cultural but it IS a great overlook and really gives you an idea of how big the city is; kind of a must-see for any extended stay. Also I don't know if Panmunjum tours are available but it would be worth doing, just to see the DMZ; it takes hardly 4 hours out of time in Seoul. Kind of dry for suggestions but that's all I can think of at the moment. That site up there seems to have other recommendations too.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:03 PM on November 28, 2005

Go to this bar.

Also, a good way to get to see a lot of the city on a cheap budget is to take one of the tour bus shuttle rides. There are two lines that run throughout all the major tourist attractions and historical sites in the city, and the busses hit the stops about every 45 minutes. You pay something like $12 (12,000 won) for the whole day, and you can get on and off at each stop as you please. The bus also has headphones too with a short explaination in various languages about each stop.

As far as I know, there is only one company that does this. You can ask about it at your hotel, and most of the tourist maps of Seoul have an ad for this comapny. Highly recommended because it's the most bang for the least buck and allows you plenty of freedom to make your own schedule. The Tower listed in the comment above is included on both tours.

Taxis are super cheap in Seoul too, so if you have a specific place you want to go that's an easy way to get there.

Also, there is more shopping than you could ever imagine — on the street, in multiplexes, etc., etc.

What part of town are you staying in?
posted by Brittanie at 4:07 PM on November 28, 2005

Best answer: Some more to add:

The Bus Tour company is called, imaginatively, Seoul City Tour Bus. Any good hotel will be able to tell you where the closest stop is, and you buy the day ticket as you get on the bus.

As far as general neighborhoods and what they have to offer, Itaewon is near the US military base, and there you will find a good assortment of international shops and foods. This place can be sketchy at night, as it's near the red light district, so be prepared to see anything. However, in my experience, Korea is the safest place I've ever visited, so don't be too worried.

Insadong is the art district, by far my favorite part of Seoul. Galleries and gift shops line the narrow cobblestone pedestrian streets and there is lots of exploring to be had here.

Daehangno is a pretty cool place at night. There are lots of bars, restaurants and it's a pretty youth-filled area. I think it's near a university but I can't see one on my map. Beatle, the bar I mentioned earlier, is also in an area with several universities, you can get there by taking the subway to the Sinchon stop, then heading northeast. This area also has lots of live music bars, and anyone on the street can probably tell you how to get to Beatle. It's in a back alley so it's kinda hard to find.

Another popular thing in Korea is microbreweries, if you are into that. There is a place called Biere Halle in Daehangno, and I'm sure there are several more throughout Seoul that brew their own beers.
posted by Brittanie at 7:03 PM on November 28, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not sure what part of town I'll be staying in, but it probably won't be too far from the Yongsan-Gu area. I'm a sucker for both good cityviews and interesting nightlife so Namsan Tower, Insadong and Daehangno are all definitely on my list. Thanks!

I'll report back here with what I wind up doing.
posted by Carol O at 6:27 AM on November 29, 2005

an outdoor thing I love here is Bong-wan-sa - a temple on a hill near Sinchon (NOT Sincheon!). A short hike up a tiny hill and a gorgeous temple. Keep hikinng and there's a near-360 city view.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:01 PM on November 29, 2005

Response by poster: Belated update: The brief Korean Air pilot strike led to the cancellation of my original flight which led to my trip being about two days shorter than originally planned and since I was going for work, I lost out on quite a bit of personal time. Getting stricken with the worst cold/flu thing I've had in a long time, probably since I was a little kid, didn't really help matters either. In sum: I worked days, ailed nights and didn't get out much. But had I gotten out a bit more, I'm sure the DMZ, Namsan Tower and Insadong would've been killer.

I did have some tasty Korean food. Colleagues there took me to get live octopus which was.. an experience. The city also looked quite interesting from my limited vantage point. I did take a few pics (self-link, sorta), sadly mostly from the confines/roof of my own hotel. Really didn't expect all the mountains.

When I was feverish and unable to sleep, it was kind've neat to wander the 7-11 that was nearby. Convenience stores are such a weird lens, especially at 3 in the morning. No slurpees, but I did enjoy the version of Coke Light they had, and marveled at the whole wall of just-add-water noodles in styrofoam bowls. And, FYI, you can't buy over-the-counter meds in convenience stores the way you can in the states, you need to find a pharmacy.
posted by Carol O at 3:56 AM on January 3, 2006

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