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Daytime Travel

During the daytime in Seoul, there are a multitude of places to visit.  There are many museums, lots of shopping, amusement parks, as well as outdoor recreation.  Whatever it is that you like to do, you can likely find it there.  We highly recommend checking out the Insa-dong area.  It is an area that specializes in traditional Korean art and culture.  This is the area to go when you are doing your souvenir shopping for people back home.  There are often displays of traditional food making, and other interesting things to see.  Insa-dong is home to many traditional Korean teahouses, which are worth checking out. 


            Namdaemun Market (남대문 시장) is a great opportunity to get a taste of a more authentic Korea in cosmopolitan Seoul.  You may be surprised at some of the things that are being sold as food.  Clothing is also very cheap, and you can see how Koreans barter and try to sell their wares in a more old-fashioned manner.  It is certainly worth spending a few hours walking around this market. 


            Not too far from Namdaemun is Myung-dong (명동), another shopping and eating area.  There you can find many shops and restaurants that cater to the fashion conscious.  The area is also popular for Japanese tourists.  The main street is usually filled with people, and is quite a sight to see. 


            Dongdaemun Market (동대문) is the place to go if you want the best deals on clothes, and want to shop until 5 a.m. in the morning.  Once again, you can experience a place packed with people and more audio and visual stimulation than you will know what to do with. 


            If you want something a little more relaxing, then a jaunt down by the Han River (한강) may be more suitable.  In the summer you can find many people inline skating, riding bikes, and just relaxing and having a picnic.  There is still lots happening, but you have more space for yourself if that’s what you’re looking for. 


            There are so many places to see in Seoul that we would need to write a whole book to cover it all.  Luckily, there is the Lonely Planet Seoul, as well as Lonely Planet South Korea.  We are attempting to give an overview and a few highlights.  For more in- depth information, and a complete listing of everywhere to go and everything to see, these books can help. 


            Also, it should be noted that just about every city has a certain area, or certain restaurants and bars that cater especially to foreigners.  Just ask around and you can easily find out where all of the English speaking crowd hangs out.  However, we suggest trying to get the most out of your time spent in Korea.  You can spend all your time with English speaking Westerners back home.  Try to expand yourself and really get into the culture.  The best way to do this is to make Korean friends, and do things the Korean way.  Try to learn some of the language, and spend time with Koreans who have never had a foreign friend before.  This will help ensure that you have a more authentic experience.  There are certainly many very kind and interesting Koreans who speak English very well and have spent a lot of time with native English speakers.  But we have found some of our best experiences come when we are with people who have never really been exposed to Western culture at all.  

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