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Thoughts on South Korea? South Korea vs. Japan?

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DH and I are considering a trip to South Korea (among other places) this October and I don't see much on here, with the exception of advice on what to do with a long layover in Seoul, so I thought I would post a new message.

We are avid Europe travels who are interested in visiting Asia. We will be using frequent flyer miles, and right now both South Korea and Japan are on our possibilities list, mostly because they both offer miles saver rates (50,000 miles) through American Airlines in October. I would love to consider other areas in Asia but these would eat up more miles than we are willing to part with at this time.

I did some research and South Korea looks like a fascinating country. I spent quite a bit of time on the tourism website (, which is very comprehensive and one of the better tourism websites I've been on, and I'm quite intrigued. We've also did lots of reading on Japan and it sounds equally as fascinating.

DH and I are in our late 20's and love history, experiencing new cultures, beautiful scenery and going off the beaten tourist path (our favorite countries in Europe are Croatia and Montenegro) when we can. Asia makes me a little nervous, mostly because I am an extremely picky eater (sad but true) and don't eat any seafood of any kind. I wouldn't not visit a country simply because of food, but its something I'm a little concerned about.

I posted a message on Japan several months ago and got lots of great responses that really helped. I'm hoping to get some input on South Korea now. Mostly what the impressions are, how easy it is to travel there (we are coming from the US and know none of the language), and what are some of the highlights. I would also love to hear from people who have been to both Japan and South Korea and how they compare.

We have about 10 days, which I fully understand is not a lot of time. We are hoping to experience something completely different from what we've experienced in the US and Europe (although we are also considering Romania as an option, but at this point I think Asia is going to win), even if its just a small taste.

If we fly to Seoul, we would more than likely include a night or two in Tokyo since most of the flights seem to layover there and we would get a free stopover with our award tickets. We would want to visit Seoul and the DMZ, mostly because DH and I find North Korea to be an interesting subject. We really don't know enough about South Korea yet to even know what else we would like to do, although we plan on hitting a book store or two this weekend to do some further research.

If we visit Japan, we would probably try to fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka and concentrate our trip on Tokyo and Kyoto, with side trips in between.

Thanks everyone for any help you can give!

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