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Combine Seoul + Beijing short trip from Japan -- or only Seoul?

Combine Seoul + Beijing short trip from Japan -- or only Seoul?

Old Aug 12th, 2018, 08:43 PM
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Combine Seoul + Beijing short trip from Japan -- or only Seoul?

Hello,
We are planning 10 (touring) days to Japan next Spring and are seriously contemplating extending to include a "short visit" to either or both Seoul and Beijing. The reason for the add-on is that using miles with UA, the additional flight costs are so small. From a planing perspective, we can add another 6 days (not including travel days).
My thoughts were: 3 days in Seoul, 3 days in Beijing.

I have always wanted to visit South Korea---don't know why---maybe the K-pop! However, despite the rave reviews about Beijing, I have some reservation about visiting because of the smog and sheer size. We have a very low tolerance for either. Am I being overly cautious about Beijing? Does it's magnificence and cultural importance overshadow the smog and density?

Any suggestions or advice on how you split the additional 6 touring days? 3 and 3? Or all the time in So Korea?
Our interests are culture, history, and somewhat the food (we are not foodies). Our preference is to stay in one place and do day trips rather than move in and out of hotels.

Thank you very much for any thoughts.
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Old Aug 12th, 2018, 09:58 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't, but it really depends on your interests and preferences. IMO, a good brief first introduction to Beijing easily merits 6 days, and while Seoul doesn't have quite the same density of sites, I would have been unhappy with just 3 days there. For that matter, 10 days is, IMO, very little for a first-time trip to Japan. IME, "extra time" that means a lot of time in transit, little time on the ground, and orientation to an entirely different culture (and these 3 countries do, indeed, have very different cultures) does not necessarily equate to a simple add-on, and can instead create enough stress to detract from the entire experience. YMMV.

The pollution in Beijing depends on seasonal winds -- but I don't think you say when you would be going?

For information on Japan, please spend lots of time with japan-guide.com
For information on Beijing, you might consult my now long-out-of date trip report; the sections on Beijing are at the beginning and end
Thanks for helping make my trip to China amazing!
For information on Seoul, you might consult this trip report; the sections on Seoul are at the start and end:
4 wonderful solo weeks in South Korea

Hope that helps!
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Old Aug 13th, 2018, 03:24 AM
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The population of Seoul is about 10 million, not a small town either. Ans smog is an issue there as well: https://www.ft.com/content/b49a9878-...4-13e067d5072c
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Old Aug 13th, 2018, 11:38 AM
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If it was me (and it isn't) I'd add three of those days to your time in Japan and visit only Seoul. Adding in Beijing is simply too much.
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Old Aug 13th, 2018, 01:14 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughts regarding my question of extending our trip to Seoul and/or Beijing.
I appreciate the links to guides and trip reports.
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Old Aug 13th, 2018, 01:27 PM
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Long shot - You could take the Beetle to Busan, then train to Seoul. That way you’d see a little more of South Korea.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetle_(JR_Kyushu)
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Old Sep 1st, 2018, 02:22 PM
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Having visited all three, I think Japan and Beijing are more interesting than Korea for most tourists.

For culture and history in Japan, most tourists visit Kyoto and Tokyo (definitely a big city), then Hiroshima. For nature, Mt Fuji. Then there are the smaller towns and countryside. Experiences such as a tea ceremony (I chose kabuki), fish market. Easy to fill 10 days.

Beijing is also a big city. As stated, the smog depends on season and winds. I am unsure about Spring, but I have been there in the middle of winter when everyone was burning coal and it was terrible, but still fantastic sights--Forbidden city, Summer Palace, Great Wall--and entertainment like Chinese opera.

I have more difficulty naming such destinations/experiences in South Korea. There is the palace and nice museums in Seoul. There is the DMZ. I recently traveled to the historic capital of Gyeongju with its earthen mound tombs and it was worthwhile for me, but more subtle than the historic sights in Beijing.
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