Hey /trv/ I'm going to SK for a few weeks in Jan and want to hear what people's experiences with the country and the cold weather was/is like.
I'll be staying in Seoul mainly, but plan to backpack around the country for a week or so.
>Has anyone been to Jeju during mid winter? Do many people go there, and is there actually stuff to do during that time?
>Can anyone recommend cities/places that are specifically nice during winter?
>How many layers of clothes do you wear?
>Is the KTX rail pass worth it?
>Do cities like daegu, gyeongju, and aandong have easily accessible hostels even if you can't speak any korean?
>Are there any special events happening around or in Seoul during christmas?
>Any tips for Seoul/South Korea in general?
Pic related, but don't know where it was taken
I'd compare the winter to a typical Norwegian winter, not much below zero. A warm jacket and a sweater underneath should be all you need.
You'll find easily accessible hostels anywhere, don't need to know much to ask for "room" and pay for it. Most hostels can also use a free translating service, should be no problem.
Christmas in Seoul is a very much couples thing, not that much to do if you're single, I guess
Whether you should buy the KTX rail pass or not depends on how much you want to travel around, or how quickly you might get bored at one location.
I'd probably visit a mountainside village for a while, then head for Seoul or Busan.
Will it be easy to get a hostel room by just showing up on the day, and not having made any previous booking?
Most of my time will be spent in Seoul, then I'll go to Busan stopping at two or three places along the way. No idea how much a regular ticket costs (e.g Seoul to Busan) so can't really tell if the pass is good value or not
I had to go to Ulsan for work in the winter a couple of years ago and it was grim as fuck. Cold with zero humidity. Dries out your skin, cracked lips, sore throat whenever outside my hotel or office. Depressing place where the national pastime seems to be getting fucked up on Soju. Sure, its interesting but I wouldn't rush back. KTX is good, cheap and more reliable than Korean Air.
I've also booked my ticket to Incheon and back for this winter.
Plan is few days of Seoul, and then head out to see a bit of the rest of the country by KTX and other public transport.
I guess the islands would be too windy for me this time of the year, so I'm planning on eating a lot of good food in the mountains.
I'm also going to South Korea during winter, like OP.
Do you have a fave mountain village you can recommend?
I was thinking I'll just randomly point at the map around Jeonju, but if someone has already been to some random mountain village in Korea during winter, I would take a look.
Hi OP, I did 4 weeks in Korea in March this year (did the whole country). I spent 2 weeks in Seoul (so much stuff to do there).
So for the clothing: a hoodie + a jacket + gloves+ tuque (I'm canadian).
You can use hostelworld.com to book your hostels. In Korea, they're not typical. Most of the time it's people renting a big appartment and transforming the rooms in guestrooms with bunk beds. Which means that it's really personnal and you have access to their kitchens, bathrooms, etc and you can speak anytime to the owner who lives in one of the rooms. For the transportation we used buses all the times. It litterally takes 4h30 to do the whole country (from Seoul tu Busan). There is a bus every 15 minutes or so, so just show up to the bus station and wait.
If you want I can give you the adress where we spent our 2 weeks in Seoul, it was really nice and the owner was amazing. In Seoul I recommand doing the DMZ tour, watching a live Starcraft match in Gangnam, eating, eating so much delicious food for sooo cheap (like 7$ for a whole meal with spicy octopus and everything). The royal palace, bars and nightlife. I'll post a few pictures of seoul.
I also went to Busan, Gangju, Gangneung, Jeonju, Daegu and Bulguksa. If you want a list of stuff to do there or picture to see if it's worth it, just ask :P
Thanks for the info man, and the pics. Actually it sounds like you did exactly what I want to do, staying for about 4 weeks, half the time in Seoul and the rest exploring some other cities. I've already booked a hostel near Hongdae for 15 days, but out of curiosity whereabouts did you stay? As for other cities, I'm hoping there'll be vacant rooms as I plan on just playing it by ear and booking a day or two in advance. And I used to be a pretty big starcraft fan, so it'd be nice to see some live games, but unfortunately I think it's off season so there isn't much happening, which is a bummer. But like you said, I definitely plan to do a lot of eating.
>Busan, Gangju, Gangneung, Jeonju, Daegu and Bulguksa
Busan, Jeonju and Gwangju were some cities I was planning on going to, albeit knowing very little about them. Unfortunately websites like tripadvisor only show the most touristy aspects of each city, so it's kind of hard to weigh up worth going or not. If you could list some standout things to do in those cities, I'd highly appreciate it! Even in Bulguksa, Daegu and Gangneung, because I'm willing to go pretty much anywhere. Feel free to post as many pics as you want too, it'd be nice seeing what some places have to offer. Also, how long did you stay in each place for?
Oh and can you understand any Korean? Was it easy to understand bus timetables and routes? And how about when it came to ordering food or buying things?
Thanks in advance!