Seoul Journals

A weekend in Seoul

An April 2001 trip to Seoul by globe trotter

Changdeokgung Palace Photo, Seoul, South Korea More Photos
Quote: Read on to find out how to best utilize your time if you are in Seoul for a weekend - we sampled palaces, parks, folk villages & markets all in 3 days!

A weekend in Seoul

Overview

Quote:
City bus tour, Korean War Museum, Royal Palaces, Markets, The Paris Grill, The Folk Museum,

Quick Tips:

I strongly recommend that you stay in the Northern half of the city as there's a lot more to do. Also check palace entrance times before you go - we had to wait for an hour & 45 mins before they would let us in!

Best Way To Get Around:

Definitely the 'Seoul City Bus' - a bargain at 5 dollars for unlimited hopping on & off at major sights until 6pm.

The Shilla Seoul

Hotel | "Shilla Hotel"

Quote:
There is a wide range of accommodation including a club floor where for a little extra you can get free drinks, breakfast & snacks included - I think paying the extra is worth it (about $40.00). The rooms are decorated in Asian style but very modern & comfortable. The hotel itself is huge & has a wide selection of restaurants: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian etc. (the coffe shop does great packed lunches if your doing a day trip). The staff are very helpful & friendly - the concierge will give you good advice on which tours to take. The fitness facilities are superb - a huge gym, 2 swimming pools, a golf range & a great traditional Korean sauna with salt rub treatments a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

The Shilla Seoul
202 JANGCHUNG DONG 2-GA
Seoul, South Korea
822 2233 3131

Paris Grill

Restaurant

Quote:
This is the best place to come for a great view over Seoul - the only down side is that all the window side tables are smoking tables & the poor non-smokers don't get such a good view! I'm sure that policy will change in time! You can always go to Seoul tower for food & a view - but the food & service won't be in the same league. The set courses are good value - & there is a buffet brunch at weekends but really this is a special occasion place.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Paris Grill
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Seoul, South Korea

JJ Mahoney's

Attraction

Quote:
This is 'the' place to be seen in Seoul by locals & ex-pats alike. It is locally known as the 'yuppie' bar & you aren't anyone if you don't come here at the weekend! It's an interesting look at Seoul life for the visitor - observing courting routines of middle aged Western men & young Korean girls can be a bit horrible - but after you've had a few drinks, strutted your stuff with the other 'party people', listening to the 80's cover band, it doesn't seem so bad!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

JJ Mahoney's
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Seoul, South Korea

Namdaemun Market

Attraction

Quote:
This market is easily accessible & a good chance to see Koreans going about their daily business as well as having the opportunity to buy souvenirs. It is very crowded - so don't go if you don't like them. The prices can be cheaper than the more western It'aewon - but there is probably not as much variety or user friendly service.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Namdaemun Market
Namdaemun The Great South Gate
Seoul, South Korea 100-060
+82 (0)2 753 2805

Quote:
This is the most famous 'market' in Seoul - although it is more like a street with roadside shops & stalls than a real market. The shop keepers are very wise to tourists in this area & although you're expected to bargain they'll probably still try & charge you over the odds! I didn't really like this area - it was full of rip off brand bags & clothes & felt quite sleazy - but if that's what you're interested in buying, you'll love it here!

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Itaewon Shopping District/Itaewon Street

Seoul, South Korea

Insadong

Attraction | "Insa-dong"

Quote:
I thought this was by far the nicest shopping area in Seoul- some things may be over-priced but you can bargain prices down and you get the feeling that the stuff is good quality, hand made merchandise- where as other markets I went to seemed to stock more 'production line' looking goods.

You could spend hours wandering up and down this street and down all the little side alleys. It's a nice way to spend a day.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Insadong
Insa-dong Jongno-gu
Seoul, South Korea 110-290
+82 (0)2 732 2240

War Memorial of Korea

Attraction | "Korean War Memorial"

Quote:
The title doesn't do this museum justice- as it sounds like it's just going to be a single statue or something when in fact it's a huge complex with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

I went here to learn more about the Korean War and although I found the exhibits interesting, I didn't come away with much more knowledge than I went in with as most of the explanations were written in Korean.

There are an impressive collection of planes, helicopters and boats to climb on outside and lots of videos, pictures and life-like exhibits inside depicting life as experienced by civilians and military during the war.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

War Memorial of Korea
8 Yeongsan-dong 1-ga
Seoul, South Korea 140-021
+82 (2) 709 3114

Changdeokgung Palace

Attraction | "Changgyeonggung"

Changdeokgung Palace Photo, Seoul, South Korea
Quote:
This palace is often looked over in favour of its neighbour: Changdeokgung palace - but I think it's worth visiting. The Seoul city bus drops you off outside. It's a good place to wander by yourself - around the lake & botanical gardens. I liked it because it was less restored & felt more authentic than the other more famous palace. They will give you an information guide in English at the ticket desk.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Changdeokgung Palace
1 Waryung-dong Jongno-gu
Seoul, South Korea 110-360
+82 (2) 762 8262

Changdeokgung Palace Photo, Seoul, South Korea
Quote:
This is probably the best restored & most visited palace in Seoul - you can only go in with a tour guide & have to wait for specific times (when we were there the English time slots were: 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30) - so make sure you check the times beforehand.

The guide is good and the tour informative (it takes about 1 hr 20 mins). The palaces most famous asset - the secret garden was a little disappointing though.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Changdeokgung Palace
1 Waryung-dong Jongno-gu
Seoul, South Korea 110-360
+82 (2) 762 8262

Seoul City Tour Bus

Attraction

Quote:
The tour is a hop on hop off bus tour - so you can either stay on for the whole round trip or get off at places of interest (see other journal entries). There is an English speaking guide and recorded English narration on all the popular sights. The only downside is the fact that the schedule is a bit hit and miss - all they'll tell you is that buses are meant to arrive every 25 mins - sometimes they arrive sooner, sometimes later (depending on traffic jams etc) - so you can't do this tour if you're on a tight schedule. You have to purchase hop on/off tickets from your hotel before boarding - if you're just staying on the bus for the 2hr 30 min circuit you can buy tickets on the bus....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Seoul City Tour Bus
Seoul
Seoul, South Korea

Korean Folk Village

Attraction

Korean Folk Village Photo, Seoul, South Korea
Quote:
I was a bit sceptical about this trip - I thought it would be very 'disney' but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am glad I went!

It is exactly what it says it is - a reconstruction of an old Korean Village and it is VERY well done. You can see potters and carpenters at work (and of course buy their wares if you wish). The buildings are very well done - from the peasant's cottage up to the judge's grand house and jail.

There are also folk dances, see-saw displays and tight rope walking shows to watch.

I went on an organized tour with an English speaking guide (City Tours: Brenda)but you can do it independently if you wish.

It's located about 40km outside Seoul.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Korean Folk Village
107 Bora-dong
Yongin, Gyeonggi 449-900
031 288-0000