South Korea Things to Do Tips by Hmmmm Top 5 Page for this destination
South Korea Things to Do: 349 reviews and 476 photos
Tongademun at night. Pic: Aaron Irving
TONGDAEMUN GATE AND MARKET.
Tongdaemun Gate, Originally called Heung-injimun ("Gate of Uplifting Mercy"), it once served as the main eastern gate in the wall surrounding Seoul. First built in 1397, it was rebuilt in 1869 in its present form. Located nearby are Dongdaemun Market (one of Korea's largest and most popular) and Dongdaemun Sports Stadium.
Tongdaemun Market originated in the 1960s from humble beginnings but stands today as a shopping Mecca for today's new fashion conscious generation. The market unites 26 venues containing over 27,000 stores and outlets, 11,000 of which sell fashion clothing.
Address: Tongdaemun :o) of Dongdaemun
Directions: Subway lines Number 1(Red) and 4 (Blue) Go to Tongdaemun station.
Subway lines Number 2 (Green), 3 (Blue) and 3 (Orange) all go to Tongdaemun Eundong Jang (Tongdaemun Stadium) Station.
Sunset on Hamdeok Beach. Pic: Aaron irving
This is a gorgeous little beach on the North-eastern Jeju Coast. It is a little busy during the day, as it is well visited by locals.
Go at sunset, very romantic indeed. you can stroll with your 'Kissing Buddy' hand in hand, arm in arm, finger in finger watching the old ladies telling their children to go into the water and find as many shellfish as they can.
Or the guys sitting on the pier smoking more skinny cigarettesand catching teeny tiny fish.
When you have finished, go to Sushi Restaurant right on the pier, that serves fresh Flounder (Kwang-eo), Snapper (Or-Rok) and Tuna (Cham Ch'i). Eat the sushi with a bottle of Jeju Soju, even have 3 and get pleasantly plastered. We did, and had a ball.
Directions: Again by rental car. There may be a bus, but Hmmmm, there might not be too.
Traditional Jeju Madang (Courtyard) Pic: ADI
JEJU (Bis): The Interior of Jeju Island, east of jeju's Highest peak Mt. Hallasan (2002m) is the area of Seongup-ri, Pyoson-myon.
The area of Seongup-ri, Pyoson-myon, still remains as a typical mountain village, and is home to a number of cultural treasures. This area was Jeju's provincial capital during the Koryo period, and the area has been maintained by the local government. On eof the cool features of this area is the Seongup Jeju Folk Village, which is a 'fair dinkum' traditional Jeju village that has been maintained. And it rocks.
The village contains about 3,000 thatched roof houses with stone and clay walls where villagers still live, although some have added modern amenities. Also located here are Hyangyo (local school annex of a Confucian shrine), Tolharubang (the basalt guardianof the island), an old government building, and tomb sones.
The unique characteristics found here include folk songs, tradition foods, craftmanship, and the Jeju provincial dialect which is impossible to understand. Still it is a fun dialect to here them do for you.
Address: Seongup-ri, Pyoson-myon.
Directions: Hmmmm, difficult to say. Get in your rental car and drive on the only motorway heading south that is directly east of Mt. Hallasan. there may be buses from Jeju City to Seongup-ri, Pyoson-myon.
An Art Materials Merchant. PIC: ADI
It could be said that Seoul is representative of Korea, but it has grown too much like the other great cities of the world to say that it is of Korean culture alone. But what if there was a place in Seoul where you could hear traditional Korean vocalizations in the street, experience a proper Korean meal while enjoying a cup of traditional tea, and observe traditional Korean fine crafts, all in one place?
If you follow the bustle and noise from Jongno past Tapgol Park, you’ll find Insa-dong to your left. “Insa-dong," as referred to here, is the stretch of avenue extending about 700m beginning at Tapgol Park.
Here, in the myriad fine craft stores that line both sides of the street, you can find anything from simple hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), to beautiful Goryeo era vases. Recently there has also been an influx of items that have dominated an era yet can't entirely be considered Korean almost to the point where Insa-dong can now be considered a giant flea market.
Insadong is chocka full of restaurants, you’ll Japanese udon noodles, Chinese dumplings, and European cakes up until the entrance of Insa-dong, once inside, you'll find distinctly Korean foods in temporary stalls on the streets such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), eomuk (skewered fish sausage), hotteok, and various tempuras. These street foods are tasty and cheap, so it's definitely worth a try. You also find rare korean foods, such as rice cakes, yeot (traditional candy), and rice cookies. There are also many kinds of traditional drinks, such as cinnamon tea, Chinese quince tea, jujube tea, shikhye (fermented rice punch), and sujeonggwa (cinnamon flavored dried persimmon punch), so try a cup to compliment the food. If you'd like, you could also try the different traditional alcoholic beverages made from rice or grain. If you escape the busy main streets of Insa-dong into one of its alleys, you can experience a true Korean meal.
Address: North Of Jongro 2 ga/ Tapgol Park.
Directions: - Seoul Subway Line 1, Jonggak Station, 3 minutes by foot.
- Seoul Subway Line 3, Anguk Station, 1 minute by foot
- Seoul Subway Line 5, Jongnosam(3)ga Station, 3 minutes by foot
Crescent Shaped Bay on Dochodo. Pic ADI
This National Park: Dadohae National Marine Park , is a must see. It consists of a 100 small to medium sized islands off the cost of Chollanam Do (South Cholla Province). 89 of the Isalnds are inhabited. The two most notable Islands are Heuksando and Hongdo. Heuksando Island has a circular road that can take you all the way around the island along the seashore. Following this road, you can see almost all of the beautiful natural and cultural treasures of the island. The Choryeongmok Tree, once designated as Natural Monument, is said to have the ability to conjur up spirits when its branch was broken and placed on a Buddhist altar.
Hongdo Island is a little more remote. The word 'Hongdo' means "Red Island". It seems this scenic, rocky island is well named. The sheer cliff, which rises straight out of the blue sea, has a reddish tint, especially at sunset. In addition, in the spring the island is covered with red camellia flowers. The best way to see the island is from the excursion boats leaving from the wharf on the island for tours of the wonderful rocks, which are often named after their shapes. Hongdo's isolated location, over 100 kilometers west of Mokpo, has made it a treasure house of nature, with hundreds of species of plants and animals. Most of the island is wooded and virtually no farming is done. The majority of the income of Hongdo residents depends on the tourism business, and during the summer tourist season the island can be a busy place, second only to Jejudo Island in number of visitors.
However my favourite Island in the Dadohae National Marine Park is Dochodo, because of the beautiful (Unknown) beach and the traditional culture, which can be seen as you walk by. The People of Dochodo don't have a tourist industry, because its a farming and salt production island and everyone goes to Hongdo or heuksando. So on Dochodo people love to see you. there is one taxi on the isalnd. He took us everywhere for free. Its the only place in Korea I have hitch hiked. Check it out.
Directions: Train or Bus -> get off at Mokpo Station/ or Mokpo Bus terminal -> take a taxi or Bus No.1 -> get off at Mokpo Ferry Terminal -> take a ferry bound for Heuksando, Hongdo, Dochodo Island.
Korean Propaganda Poster.
The last Frontier of the Cold war: The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). Here you can still see the Communist North staring Down the Democratic South and Vice Versa. Its fabulous. You can see the steely gazes of the soldiers and you can see the animosity in the architecture and in the invasion attempts. There is definately no Love Lost here. Or Is there? The South Korean Movie JSA (Joint Security Area) speaks of this. Anyway check it out and make your own opinion.
Panmunjeom is located in the DMZ 4 km northwest of Imjingak. This cease-fire village was founded on July 27, 1953, and it is the place where the armistice agreement of the Korean War was signed. South-North talks still take place here. Group tours to Panmunjeom can be arranged through selected travel agencies for out-of-country visitors with passports. A military tour guide escorts visitors to the Freedom House for a look at North Korea.
Address: Panmunjeom is located in the DMZ Northof Seoul
Directions: Panmunjeom Travel Center : 02-771-5593
Korea Travel Bureau : 02-778-0150
*Foreigners who want to go to Panmunjeom should join the tour programs.(You must make reservations at least 15 days in advance) You can do that also through the USO.
Northern Seoul, taken From Namsan Mountain. ADI
I'll never forget when I first arrived her ein Seoul, I thought to myself, 'What is this place'. At first glance, Seoul appears to be a sprawling concrete mass of high-rise apartment buildings. But on closer investigation, the city can be divided into numerous smaller districts with their own distinct character. Your primary landmark is the Han River, which runs east to west and bisects the metropolis. Chongno forms the center to the north, surrounded by five main tourist districts. Seoulis a city where literally the streets have no names, and buildings are never numbered, so the easiest way to find a place is by locating the nearest subway station or landmark, or by asking a often too busy Korean where something is.
I spose this is a rather silly tip because Seoul is the unavoidable. And I spose you are right. But I was thinking, now with the International Airport in Incheon City, and hour west of Seoul, its possible to miss Korea's Capital City.
My advise don't. Its a whole barrel of fun. for more info see my Seoul page.
Address: Ummm an hour east of Incheon International Airport
Ewwww Its smells like fish here. Pic: ADI
The Jagalchi Market is Korea's largest seafood market, and its great to wonder through, so long as you don't mind the fish smell.
After the Korean War the market solidified itself as a fish market. Most of the people who sell fish are women, so the women who sell here are called 'Jagalchi Ajumma', 'ajumma' meaning middle-aged or married women. This market is one of the major Busan landmarks and is famous throughout the country. If you visit you can eat fresh raw fish right at the market. Even these days you can see women selling mackerel, sea squirts (ascidians) and whale meat on wooden board boxes along the road. Guys chant "San Nack chi 2000 won" Its brilliant to walk through.
After a little walking duck into one of the wayside restaurants and tuck into some local fare. The fresh 'Ggut Gye Jjim' ( Crab Stew) is good, also broiled Mackeral is yummy too. Whack it all down with some Soju, Korean Rice Vodka. Yum Yum.
Address: 37-1 Nampo-dong 4(sa)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan
Directions: Esty to get there, Busam has only two subway lines, so there is only one change. Get out at Jagalchi Station, and simply follow your nose.
Magnolias. Picture: Aaron Irving
In Spring this park is ablaze with blossoms; notably Cherry Blossom and fragrant Magnolias. Its a wonderful place for a stroll.
The park in addition to garden also houses, a small zoo, an aviary and an Ape/Monkey House.
However I wouldn't go during the weekend, for it is chocka with families and screaming mee mees or should I say Children. The best time to visit is during the week in the evening. There are a couple of Kimbab type restaurnats there too, if you are peckish. You can even buy beer there and sit down and sup.
Outside the main gate (which is a beautiful traditional style gate) there are venders who sell steamed crab, barbeque Chicken on Skewers (Dukh Gutchi) and raw squid with hot sauce.
Address: Childrens Grand Park Station Exit 1.
Directions: Childrens Grand park Station is on the Olive line or line number 7, one stop north of Konguk University station.
From The kangnam/Sinsa dong area you can take the #567 bus, or from Tongdaemun the #225 Bus.
Hyangwonjeong, Gyeongbukgung. Photo Aaron Irving
Gyeongbokgung or Gyeongbok Palace is a gorgeous place to get away a stones throw from Chong No (which is sardine central if you get my meaning). The Architecture is gorgeous, and the natural setting and harmony between the archictecture and the gardens is positively peaceful. I love it there. Especially in the autumn, when its breath taking. Its a favourite place for wedding pictures actually.
Anyway, some History: Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main residence and palace of the royal family during the Korean Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), and boasts an impressive 600 years of history. Built by King Lee Seonggye (ruled 1392-1398), founder of the Joseon Dynasty, the palace was completed in 1395 after the capital of the nation was changed from Gaeseong to Hanyang (currently Seoul). The huge area of Gyeongbokgung Palace includes the 'Geunjeongjeon', the main hall where official ceremonies took place and government officials could see the King, the 'Gyeonghoeru', where banquets were given for diplomatic reaons, and 'Hyangwonjeong', an artificial island created inside a pond. Also located within the palace is the National Folk Museum, to help further the understanding of the lives of Korea's ancestors.
Check it out for sure.
I will make a more indepth travel logue for this palace.
Address: Anguk Dong. Kang Buk, Seoul
Directions: Take the Purple Subway line (Line number 3) and get of at Kanghwamun or the orange line (line number 5) and get out at Gyeongbukgung Station. Voila you will see the Palace. Or stroll toward it via Insa Dong (Mary's Alley).
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