summer in Seoul
May 14, 2007 8:06 PM   Subscribe

My friend is going to spend July and August in Seoul for work. She will have some free time -- weekends, she hopes -- to explore Seoul and South Korea...

She would really appreciate it if someone who lives/has lived in Seoul could provide some tips on:
1. Good guidebooks/websites/blogs that provide basic (and not-so-basic) information
2. Not to be missed sights/experience/food
3. Things you wish you've brought from the US
4. Internet access, will I be able to download Podcast in a speedy fashion
5. Anything else that's good to know...
posted by of strange foe to Travel & Transportation around Seoul, South Korea (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I hope you will get some answers to this one soon. Here are mine, based on a couple of weeks a couple of years ago:

1. Lonely Planet guidebooks did very well for me, there are several good forums on websites with EFL teachers able to give advice from across the country.

2. Try to arrange a homestay

3. Living in student accomodation, instant coffee to go with breakfast was a high-demand luxury -- but it I don't think it is that difficult to buy.

Don't expect to find large or tall sizes of clothes off-the-peg.

4. Internet access is no problem in a very wired and wi-fied country.

5. It will be fun
posted by Idcoytco at 5:39 AM on May 15, 2007

3. Partly due to the number of US soldiers, and a general appreciation of foreign imports, you'll find a lot of US food/import items available. It'll be hard to find your specific brand of deodorant, however. Also, if you smoke clove cigarettes, they will be hard to find, so make sure you stock up. Specific US brand condoms will be hard to find as well. Oh, and good Mexican food is rare. Stock up (just eat a lot) before you go.

4. Internet access is everywhere, in PC bangs. Don't worry about this.
posted by suedehead at 6:33 AM on May 15, 2007 are a few sites...

tour 2 korea

seoul travel guide

life in korea

adventure korea

hmm as for food it really depends on how adventurous your friend is. if your friend isn't korean or has never experienced korean food, there are a ton of dishes that will probably blow your friend's mind (live octopus and boiled silkworm maggots anyone?). or tell her to just go into some random korean restaurant and order something randomly. i'm sure she'll get something she's never had before!

there aren't a whole lotta "must see" sights in seoul (i recommend seoul tower tho) i think because it really depends on what one's interest lies. if you're interested in history go to the war memorial or the national museum or visit one of the palaces lying around. if she wants to shop, there's plenty of that. partying? there's places for that too.

as for bringing stuff from home, seoul is a very modernized city, so unless it's something reallly exotic and foreign you'll probably be able to find it here. it may not be the exact brand that you want, but they'll have it.

s. korea is the most wired nation in the world - there are internet cafes (pc bangs) on practically every block. however, i'm not sure if all of the computers would come equipped with itunes for transferring files onto an ipod, so you might wanna think of ways to get around that...

hope she has fun!
posted by tastycracker at 8:28 PM on May 15, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you for the answers!
posted by of strange foe at 8:15 PM on May 17, 2007

I had expected that you would get more info from people who know South Korea well. I visited for a couple of weeks, and consulted friends beforehand who had made regular visits for work. Here is a bit more of what I can remember.

The general opinion was that there really aren't many historic sights to visit in Korea -- it has been fought over and rebuilt too much. A friend who took a three-day limo tour towards the south found there was a lot of travelling time between interesting places. Another friend who flew to an island beach down south really enjoyed it -- and she had plenty of experience to compare it with.
posted by Idcoytco at 1:58 AM on May 19, 2007

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