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Seoul Questions

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I’ll be going to Seoul in five days—mostly for business. Here are my questions:

I’ll be staying in the Aloft Hotel (131 Chungdam-dong Gangnam-gu) in the Gangnan district and I’d like to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Bukhansan National Park.

1) Can I easily get to these places on my own? If so, should I take a taxi – or buses/trains? (Bear in mind that I will likely be hideously jet lagged when I arrive.)

2) Would it best to take guided tours of the palaces – to understand what I’m seeing—or are there English recorded audio guides and/or signage?

My concern about a guided tour is that I’m a bit of a photography nut and will want to be taking LOTS of photos.

And one more question: At the end of my trip I'll have a day or two off before I leave. I was looking at day tours that go to Seoraksan National Park. I love scenery and natural beauty, but it seems this will entail at least a three hour drive each way. Is that my best option to see beautiful scenery unique to South Korea?

Thanks so much for any info you can share.

PS. I'm about to begin a very long travel day from the UK to Nashville, so probably won't get to respond for a day or two.

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