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First Time to Seoul

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Thread replies: 53
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So I'm going to Seoul, South Korea for 1 week this year. I know very basic Korean, and can't read too well, but language aside, I'm moreover looking advice in the city.

What are the most reasonable ways to travel? Subway? Taxi? Bus? I've lived in Japan for some time, and we have cards for quick access to the trains rather than buying tickets... is there something similar in Seoul?

How difficult is it to book a ticket to see the DMZ? (especially lately)

Any suggestions on cheap places to stay? Preferably with a host present and private/locked rooms.

And last question for now.. Is "solo" dining common in S. Korea like it is in Japan? I'm here for tourism and food mostly, and don't see myself making friends in the span of a week most likely.
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You can buy and load subway passes in most stations (probably all but a very few untraveled ones). They also work on busses but really no reason to take busses in Seoul there are almost 300 stations!

Taxis you'll want to take at night, they're reasonably priced but the subway all the way in the day. Depends on the day but the subway usually finishes up around 11 to 11:30.

All signs are in English.
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Re: accom, you should Couchsurf. The supply of hosts vastly outstrips demand (since Seoul and Korea generally get very few backpackers).

I have no experience with hostels in Korea. Love motels and Korean saunaus (which are basically family resorts where everyone sleeps communally) fill that niche.

Solo dining is a huge headache in Korea and the complete opposite of Japan. While there is fast food and street food for solo diners, and lunch places that serve single meals, for dinner it's pretty much impossible to order for one or even two: Koreans ALWAYS dine in huge groups. Same applies to drinking: your only option will be expat bars as Koreans don't ever go out at night alone (or if they do it's to expat-geared bars).
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>>1262998
Hey man (woman?)! You're going to love this trip. I just did literally this a few weeks ago.

Okay, so really important -- Pick a lively neighborhood. I'm college aged to I went to Sinchon. I stayed here -- Kimchee Sinchon Guesthouse, I really liked it but the bathrooms were meh and the beds were kind of hard. Sinchon has a *ton* of universities right there so tons of young people / parties / fun food.

Solo dining is not as common but I did it once!

DMZ Tours are amazing. I used TourDMZ and I did the combined tour so got to see a lot. *Important* BOOK THESE IN ADVANCE, DMZ TOUR COMPANIES FILL UP! They also need your passport information to clear you with the UN to visit so it's hard to book day of for the tours.

As for making friends, I think you should use Tinder -- I met a few lovely girls. (Though one didn't look like her photo, I'm still not sure I picked up the right Korean girl from the metro station). I also spent time with people in the hostel.

CHECK OUT THE PC BANGS! They are amazing. I played CS GO for 10 hour just for the experience of the large screen and being able to order noodles and fast food right at my seat. They laughed at me on the way out because I spent 40k, but whatever it was amazing.

KK That's my freevice
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DMZ is a normal tourist attraction, not difficult to get in, but make sure to book the tour in advance so you can get into the border village, see north korean guards there, go over to the other side etc. i didn't know about that and missed the opportunity. all i got was a foggy view across the border with almost zero visibility.

solo dining is unfortunately not as common as in japan. you could probably do it but from what i read it is a little frowned upon in korea. also you can't have the good korean barbecues if you're travelling alone.... when i was there i lived off convenience store bento because i didn't speak any korean and was too self-conscious to go out to eat alone.

subway is the normal way to travel and very easily navigable. iirc the subway ticket were yellow cards for swiping like in japan but i always only bought the one-ride ones because i wasn't there for long. after the ride you need to put the ticket into a recycling machine for a refund of the deposit.

kimchee guest house seems to be very popular, that's also where i stayed because it's the cheapest but there are probably other option that are a lot better. friends who also stayed there told me horror stories about it, they all got seriously sick from unsanitary conditions and there was a police incident etc. For me it was okay but not particularly enjoyable either
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>>1263016
>>1263015
What kind of pictures can you take at the DMZ? It sounds pretty fucking cool!
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>>1262998
no reason reason to go there if you've already lived in japan. it's more of the same east asian, confucian, sinosphere nonsense, except in an even less appealing and extreme form than it is in japan.
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>>1263024
You can take pictures of yourself in designated spots. Plus, any photos you want facing the northern side. You can't bring a huge camera, though.
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>>1263112
It's dirt cheap for me to visit South Korea for a week lol, plus there's no DMZ, not much tasty Korean food where i live, war relics from the Korean War. I mean come on, it's one fucking week pal, there's plenty to see that I just can't see home in Japan. Go bring your shit negativity somewhere else lol
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>>1262998
only seoul? i mean that's fun, too, but like why dmz, and not some daytrip to any other town. well maybe not daejeon, that one is boring af, but even suwon with the public toilet tour is more fun.
i don't get the boner for dmz. there are so many comments here about not wanting to go to north korea, cause that funds the regime, etc, but i don't think this is a lot different, just with more of a security hassle. it's not a zoo, they are in war. another thing that i personally would recommend as an alternative is the imperial war museum. the exhibition outside has some interesting stuff already.
the moment i was left alone was the moment some ahjummas came and started to 'chat' with me. like you don't have a single-dining culture in general, but in cheungdamdong there are some japanese-style places for sure...and if you walk into any small diner that is ran by a granny, you won't only be fed, but they might start to show you how your food was all made, what it's best to eat it with, etc. they were extremely friendly, did not give a fuck that i didn't understand a word what they were saying, still went on and on.
also there are tons of cafes that also serve food, full of single people, sometimes full of sleeping students.
i really liked bibigo in jongnogu, all you can eat korean, could sample tons of different food. all you can eat hot stone bibimbap, too. i mean, it's obviously not as good as places that specialize in the specific foods, but it was a good intro for me to figure out what i wanted to eat later...
love motels have a good price-value ratio for sure, and are quite accessible to foreigners.
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>>1263163
Japan is an objectively better, objectively much much more scenic and culturally more interesting country by far, but korea's good for cheap thrills, plastic surgery and easy sex.
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>going to the pepsi flag country
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>>1263112
I disagree. While Japan is hugely prettier and cleaner than Korea, Koreans are a lot friendlier and infinitely more relaxed than Japanese. Korea, while still east-Asian-weird, is a lot less weird than Japan and a much better place to party.
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>>1263250
i agree and disagree...

japan is seriously one of the most beautiful countries i've been to.

by comparison, korea is a fucking dump.

even the national parks & mountains in korea are ugly compared to even your run of the mill japanese countryside.

their land is just straight up worse. japan is truly blessed with natural beauty. korea is not.

korea might be a better place to party, but if you're going to party you might as well hit up SEA. korea is strictly a cheap thrills country though. there are so many places in asia where you can get even cheaper thrill and much more besides.
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>>1263112
I disagree. Korea has it's own unique charm. The people, the food and the nightlife are all incredible. Going to both of them is a good idea.
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OP ignore the Japan shit poster he bashes on Korea every single thread and will continue to do so until the end of time because he's mentally ill. Wish the mods would ban his delusional ass. Every time you ask for details about his Korean travels he can't provide any information. He's entirely full of shit.
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Re: Japan vs. Korea, imo Korean food is vastly better than over-rated Japanese, and a whole lot cheaper.
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>>1263112
and HERE we go again, with the same shit all over again
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>>1263307
Amen to that; I'd rather experience things for myself than never at all.
>>1263366
Being in Japan for so many years, I have to agree. The food has a dull/general taste spectrum compared to most other first world countries. Having a week trip gives me time to enjoy some REAL fucking spices and flavors for a short bit lol
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>>1262998
Sadly, solo dining is not the norm in South Korea and you'll likely miss out on some good KBBQ restaurants. But you can find tourist friendly restaurants in Myeongdong and Hongdae.

Subway is the most convenient way to travel in Seoul. You can buy a "T-money" card from any subway station and it can be also used on buses and certain taxis.
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File: Korean-Jindo-Puppy.jpg (245KB, 1500x1125px) Image search: [iqdb] [SauceNao] [Google]
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Anyone know what foods are the best to try? And also what kinds of restaurants in Seoul? I know bbq and cooking at the table is pretty common, and of course drinking to top it all off. What are the foods i definitely need to try? (should i try dog... is that still a thing?)
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>>1263451
You can still eat dog but why would you want to?
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>>1263451
I recommend the food in Busan much more than the food in Seoul if you have the option. Either way.
Sannakji(live octopus), yukwei(raw beef),Kimchi Jjigae(kimchi beef stew), Miyukgook(meat seaweed broth), Gomgook(bone stew), Daktoritang(chicken dish) Mei-un-Tang(spicy fish dish)

Try every side dish. See what you like.

All of those are my favorites. I miss them so much.
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>>1263457
Because I can!
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>>1263459
Don't forget really common stuff like kimbop (Korean sushi basically, but a lot more flavourful than Japanese imo) and kimchi fried rice. Korean style (re)fried chicken is the best in the world imo, and elaborate Korean pizza should at least be experienced.

Also sundea+gan (blood sausage with steamed pork liver) is my all time favourite street food besides Bahn Mis, but not for everyone. Try all the street food I'd say.
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>>1263692
Shit, almost forgot the army stew (budea jiggea), which is kimchi stew with all the worst processed foods imaginable thrown in. It's great.

Fuck I really miss eating in Korea.
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My brother and I are going for a week July, we booked at the Lotte Hotel, seems nice and centric.

Aside from temples, DMZ, the N tower, and watching some live esports, anything interesting we can do? He's 16 so no sadly no partying or drinking.
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>>1263770
noraebang in hongdae?
just hanging out in that area and sinchon, getting some korean fried chicken... and korean bbq (galbi or so).
hanging out in food markets.
count bentleys in gangnam.
count same-nosed girls in gangnam.

make a mess at a cooking class somewhere in jongno-gu, or just chat up some older lady running hole in the wall places to see how they make their side-dishes.
pass some time at a gaming/internet cafe.

hang out at the south side of the han river.

go to some kpop show taping and lose your hearing.

take photos at the hanok village.

the location of your hotel is great, it's going to be walking distance ...even to the palaces. myeongdong for the souvenirs for your mom, insadong for cafés maybe.
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>>1263692
>sundea+gan (blood sausage
This shit -- that sausage is sooo good, holy shit. Probably the best drunk food I've ever had in my life.

Also I love a good bibimbap.
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>>1262998
Is this a good place to go solo for the first time? All i can speak is english and i've wanted to go there for a while now

Not really sure if I want to stay in a hostel or not though
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Any one here know how to book concert/event tickets in South Korea. Is there an english site that would sell such tickets?

Daft Punk is passing through Sough Korea this summer, looking to score a ticket for that.
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safest country in the world. Swear to god you can walk anywhere alone at all hours and not worry. Subway is also super simple, clean, safe. Lived there for 6 years. Going home to Canada in two weeks will be missed. If you get a chance take a bus to Gyongpodae beach enjoy the girls and fresh fish. Go to Yueido as well.
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>>1264177
Their english is shit m8, if youre in a hostel you probably can find people to do stuff with
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>>1264223
Most events require a Korean credit card. If you're staying at a hotel, you can ask the hotel staff to help you book tickets.
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>>1263015
Nice! Sounds like you had a pretty great time.
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>>1264223
interpark?
they have an english website, too.
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what's a good VPN to watch porn in south Korea? and what is my likely hood of getting in trouble for this?
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>>1264537
Lived in Korea for a year, there is no trouble, you only get an online warning (basically fucking nothing). Also, some sites are still reachable in Korea without VPN (like hporn for example)
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>>1264223
When I lived in Korea it seemed the concert ticket sites were all in English.

Purchasing baseball tickets could be more complicated, but rarely necessary (can just get at the door)
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>>1264537
Any VPN works. Also, you wont get in trouble since most guys in korean also make use of VPNs to watch porn. If I recall correctly, South Korea consumes the most amount of JAV porn outside of Japan.
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What is the nightlife like? Are the drinks cheap? Are Korean girls into foreign guys? Is the club scene any good or should I stick to soju bars with my friends?
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Apparently you can order pizza and food, it will be delivered anywhere.. even to an intersection or a spot on the beach. Be advised, aside from pizza delivered food will not arrive in "Take-Out style" it will be in nice bowls with real cutlery.. they will return to pick it up but it's also a kind gesture to return it yourself.... Cleaned!!
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>>1262998
Korean Expat here!

All public transportation can be accessed with transit cards that you can load and reload. including the KTX bullet train, you can get pretty much anywhere in the country by using buses. subways, and taxis.

don't go to the DMZ. just, don't. if you want to see crazy shit, just go to the US consulate. There's always protesters and riot cops in front of it.

Air BNB, or 'hasookjeep's, motels(not the ones specifically made for fucking), are all good. Check out Seoul related facebook groups for foreigners-you can always find nice people to help you out. Other than that, 'Jjimjilbangs', or 24-hour spas, are a cheap, but sketchy option-you go in, and can stay indefinitely as long as you don't leave. lol.

Practice korean with youtube videos. Seriously.

Solo dining-you can do it, but try to make friends. If you can find someone around your age who speaks English (most likely in the foreigner-heavy neighborhoods) and offer to buy them a drink, you will probably make friends with them pretty quickly. There is a ubiquitous fear of being asked directions in English (they make jokes about this a lot) but be respectful and people will always help.

Also, avoid kids that are all wearing the same shit(north face jackets, modified school uniforms, adidas tracksuits) who are squatting and smoking. They can fuck you up pretty bad.

For food-stick to bap-jips(밥집) (kinda like a korean diner-they have traditional korean food for cheap) where you can get something really cheap and get a bunch of banchan(little plate side dishes) refills(free)-as long as you don't leave any.

If you end up eating alone, seriously, just order a soju or two for the nearest looking friendly group of people, and strike up a conversation. The friendships that I've begun by offering booze are the ones that I've...completely forgotten, but hey, they were fun while they lasted.
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>>1263451
Really, any place that doesn't have fancy lighting and decor, but still looks kinda busy or packed, means they're fucking delicious AND cheap.
>>1263459
As a Busanite, I'd have to agree. Seoul's fuckin expensive-if you hit up Escoffier's in the Paradise Hotel of Haeundae, Busan, yeah, it's $60 a seat, but other than that, you can find so much cheap food everywhere.

Cheap places to eat: Mickey D's (kys), any place with '김밥' (korean laver rolls) in the name will have all sorts of stuff for under 10k won (around 10 bucks). Chicken is more of a delivery thing but definitely good beer food. Korean 'Chinese restaurants' have cheap noodles, jajangmyun(savory black bean sauce noodles w/ sauteed pork) or jambong(spicy seafood noodles) for around 4k won to 8k won. Goppegi means double the amount for less than twice the price, kinda like a super size me, but only applies to certain noodle dishes like the ones I just mentioned.

If you do go to a KBBQ (again, please find someone to eat with), you order the meat, you cook it yourself or have the lady cook it for you if you're on the spectrum, and after finishing the meat, you typically order doenjang jjigae (korean soybeanpaste soup) with rice, or cold noodles like naengmyun(buckwheat noodles in sweet/sour broth) or bibim naengmyun buckwheat noodles in sweet chili paste.
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>>1265007
Nightlife is fun if you know what you're doing, or are with someone who knows what they're doing.

Same rule here with grills as it is wherever the fuck you're from-if you're handsome or rich, girls will be into you. Dress well. Clubs are fun, as long as you don't give a shit about the music.

I'd prefer going to a noraebang with friends and getting shwasted.
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Other countries in Asia have people that are much nicer and cultures that are more interesting. Don't forget food that isn't one dimensional "spicy" pleb food or nasty kimchi.
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>>1265404
>don't go to the DMZ. just, don't

why??
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>>1265568
I agree. It's absolutely hilarious just how upset Koreaboos get when you point out some objective truths, such as the fact that Japan is superior.
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>>1265594

It's fucking boring and a waste of time.

Better shit to do.
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Japan makes Korea look like a truck stop
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>>1265404
>There is a ubiquitous fear of being asked directions in English (they make jokes about this a lot) but be respectful and people will always help.

not directly related, but I remember one time when i went to KFC at Jamsil Stadium and ordered a chicken sandwich. The chick at the cash register got nervous when i made my order in english and i basically had to pronounce my order in hangul (chikin saenduewichi) so she could understand what i was saying. She felt so bad for going into panic mode and bowed so many times.
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Is it true that the locals engage in plastic surgery en masse and always seem overworked/stressed, because they put in 50-60h weeks and miss sleep?
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>>1265702
I did enjoy Korea lot more than Japan
Thread posts: 53
Thread images: 2


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