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RockyMap Feb 20th, 2007 02:05 PM

Wedding in S. Korea
We will be travelling from Toronto, Canada to South Korea for a wedding near Incheon International Airport May 26th wedding date. . What to do around there and any interesting side trips. We would like to keep the cost to a minimum.

W9London Feb 21st, 2007 01:06 AM

I don't know of major attractions near the airport itself, but you can catch KAL limousine bus to the central Seoul. I can recommend you book palace tours in English, as well as browsing on your own along Insa-dong. How long will you be there? The airport is quite modern and airy, just long distance from Seoul (about 90min).

hyunwook Feb 21st, 2007 10:19 AM

Like W9London has suggested, Insa-Dong is popular place to visit among foreigners. Insa-Dong is a name of city and it has many gallery type shops specialized in Korean traditional art, craft, etc. You can also request information from Korean Embassy in Canada. They will be happy to mail you information for visitors.

Rabbitlady Mar 9th, 2007 08:14 AM

I've posted this previously - I highly recommend a tour of the DMZ zone. The USO gives the least expensive tour there, which I took last October. It was fascinating! They provide the guide and transportation, and the tour lasts about 5 hrs. Many other companies give similar tours.

The subway system around Seoul is excellent and you could easily get to the major palaces in Seoul (although the link to Incheon is not finished yet - take the bus into Seoul, but then you can easily get around by subway). I never took a formal tour of any of the palaces myself, I just had a good travel book (Insight Guide) and read about it myself. I love to photograph and usually dilly-dally too much for a fast-moving tour group!

SallyJ Mar 9th, 2007 10:32 AM

Insa-dong is a great area with a large concentration of art galleries, antique shops and little cafés. Lots of locals stroll around the area, and it is my favorite shopping area.

Itaewon is overwhelming, but fun. It's like you are in little America, but you can find great deals on various designer clothing, some real if the designer makes it locally, and some knock offs but fine quality. They have a big selection of childrenís clothing Ė Gap, Old Navy, Limited Too etc. I found Korea to have better quality handbags, and Itaewon has lots of tourist shops that sell celadon, lacquer and abalone boxes, and lots of other things, and you can bargain like crazy.

Namdaemun Market is huge but I felt they had a lot of low quality items and lots of household items that I wasnít interested in. Itís a fascinating glimpse into the Korean way of life with tons of people shopping. The outdoor food market was great. I have fabulous photos of 3-foot high piles of peeled garlic and all the wonderful varieties of ground chilies piled in baskets.

The DMZ is interesting, but you have to drive quite a distance to get there. If you have time, I think it is okay. The underground tour is very grueling in the heat and humidity and I could have skipped that! If youíre claustrophobic at all- donít go! People were turning around after several hundred yards!

I have stayed at the Grand Hyatt which is fine. They have a shuttle bus to Itaewon which is easy. I have also stayed at the Intercontinental which is also fine. Both are very American hotels with comfortable amenities that you would expect. Nothing fabulous.

ekscrunchy Mar 9th, 2007 10:56 AM

Sally it sounds as if you know the city well. Can you recommend any specific shops (good place to have clothing custom made?) and restaurants or other interesting things to do for a first-time visitor (me)?

I am heading there in about 3 weeks and will spend about 6 days in Seoul...

SallyJ Mar 9th, 2007 12:27 PM


I have only had clothes made in Hong Kong so I canít help you there. As far as restaurants go, I canít think of any that really stuck out as being must doís. We often had such long days, we would just eat at one of the restaurants in the hotel which were good. Here is a link from Food and Wine with some of their recommendations if that helps.

Since so much of the city was destroyed in the war, there arenít a lot of historic sites that are still remaining which is disappointing. A few days of shopping are what I really go there for as a side trip on my way to another destination in Asia. Hope you have fun!

ekscrunchy Mar 9th, 2007 01:57 PM

Sally thanks so much for the link to the restaurants. I will be there visiting a relative but expect to be alone during the days when he is at the office. So any and all tips are very welcome! I also want to be able to have a few nice Korean-food dinners so the list will be helpful. I also have the LP guidebook.

Please let me know if you can think of any shops worth visiting.....I am open to any and all suggestions.

SallyJ Mar 9th, 2007 02:27 PM

For a nice afternoon wandering around on your own, I would definitely go to Insa-dong for good quality antiques and handcrafted items. The little shops often specialize in a particular art or craft, and there are nice cafe's around. Try the Korean orange tea (sorry I don't know the name). They use an orange jam-like mixture to make it, and it is really good. Korea is also famous for their ginsing tea which is delicious and supposed to be very good for you.

For a great place to bargain and shop for gifts - don't miss Itaewon. I buy my husband silk dress shirts and boxers for about $3 a piece (I usually buy several at a time so they give me a better price). Calvin Klein or DKNY dress socks are around $2. They have all the brand name polo shirts, and a large selections of mens, womens and childrens clothes in general. Suitcases are very inexpensive and the handbags are great. They make every conceivable type - Kate Spade, Chanel, DKNY, Prada etc. Don't have them shipped home. You can run into problems with customs. Live and learn. :)

MCannon Mar 9th, 2007 03:01 PM

There is a wonderful Korean Folk Park in Suwon (about 45 minutes outside of Seoul.) The USO runs trips there frequently, but it's also easily accessible by subway.

On Fridays at 2 pm, at the National War Museum, there is a fantastic open air show of Korean military pomp and music.

I concur with the DMZ tour suggestion. The other great thing about the USO tour (there are many tours available to the DMZ) is that it's the only one authorized to visit the US troops at Camp Bonifas AND take you right into the Joint Security Area.

I would suggest asking your relatives and guests at the wedding about getting clothes made. Most Koreans have favorite clothes-makers and would be proud to bring them some business.

Have a ball!

SallyJ Mar 10th, 2007 06:29 AM

I have noticed in other threads that you are also visiting China on your trip. If you can, I would suggest you have more days in China versus Seoul. There is so much more to do and see in China, and if you have 3 or 4 days in Seoul, I think that's about right. China is amazing!!!

W9London Mar 13th, 2007 02:10 AM

Sally J. Ooooh, I love the orange tea as well. I think it's called yuja-cha, or citron tea. You can get the concentrate (which looks like marmalade) at Lotte department store (great food department on the lower ground floor) or duty free shops. The ones that is liquid (ie not powder) and comes in individual foil pouch is the best. I also liked date tea and cold pear drink that had a hint of cinnamon, but wasn't that keen on other medicinal herb tea.

ekscrunchy Mar 13th, 2007 04:49 AM

Sally thanks. I will have almost two weeks in China, split betwen two cities. Beijing and Shanghai. My reason for going to Seoul is to visit a relative who lives there..I have a bit more time than you suggested so will have to find something to keep me busy!

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