Korea is a small nation with a relatively large population. On the surface, the hustle and bustle may not make it seem like the ideal place to enjoy a life of leisure. However, those who have resided in Korea for an extended period of time all share the same sentiment: Korea offers a variety of activities for each distinct season. Some might even say it’s like a variety gift set providing the complete package! In this section, we will look at leisure activities in sports, culture, travel and other areas of interest.
Tennis courts abound in the surrounding areas of Seoul, providing an affordable way for the public to enjoy physical ctivity. However, it is important to remember that some tennis courts are open to registered members only. Although you might have difficulty finding English-speaking friends, tennis courts on the grounds of apartment complexes are a niceway to get some court time. Below is a list of tennis courts
Dong Seoul Tennis Courts
- (Tel. 02-406-4781~2)
- http://dongseoultennis.com [K]
- Located in Songpa-gu, Macheon-dong, this spacious facility offers hourly rates as well as monthly membership rates. On-site facilities include locker rooms, night lights and a spacious parking lot. Lessons are not available in English.
Jangchoong Tennis Courts
- (Tel. 02-8-2279-7721)
-Located on the rear side of Jangchoong-dong National Theatre, the hard courts are available for use on an hourly basis and through a monthly membership fee. Seoul Club members are free to use the courts since Seoul Club members are registered members of Jangchoong Tennis Courts.
Seoul High School Tennis Court
- (Tel. 02-523-0616)
- This tennis court is located on the grounds of Seoul High School of Seocho-dong. Four grass courts, shower rooms, and locker rooms as well as parking lots are just some of the amenities available to users. Hourly rates are available but it might be a little hard to squeeze in some quality court time on weekday evenings as this is the busiest time. Lessons in English are available.
Dr. Choi Tennis Courts
- (Tel. 02-790-3651)
- The courts are located on the right hand side about a two minute drive from the Hyatt Hotel in Yaksu-dong. Lesson rates: 170,000 won, Monday to Friday (5 times a week), approximately 20 minutes per lesson, 5:40 to 22:00.
Korea is a mountainous country and therefore offers many mountain sports for all to enjoy. The most recognized and popular is skiing.Unfortunately the use of artificial snow is prevalent at most ski resorts. This makes it hard for ski enthusiasts to enjoy powder ski/ free ski in Korea. The most cost efficient way to enjoy skiing is through the purchase of a season pass. A pass allows members access to both lifts and accommodation at discounted rates. Why not take advantage of some quality skiing and a c c o m m o d a t i o n facilities by hitting the slopes this winter?
- (Tel. 1588-2828)
- http://www.phoenixpark.co.kr [K, E, C, J]
- Phoenix Park prides itself on 22 well-maintained slopes. It is a popular destination amongst the younger crowd because of the excellent customer service and the high quality of the slopes. Located in Gangwon-do, Pyeongchang, it is relatively close to Seoul and the use of shuttle buses provided by the resort free of charge from Jangpyeong to Pyeongchang allows skiers to take full advantage of the 3 to 24 degree steep slopes at an affordable daily rate. A daily lift pass costs 65,000won.
- (Tel. 1588-0009)
- http://www.yongpyong.co.kr [K, E]
- Yongpyeong is home to the largest ski facility in the country. The resort earned the respect of ski enthusiasts with its 5.7 km-long slope, the second longest slope in Korea. There are 28 slopes in allwith gradients measuring in at 10 to 38 egrees. A daily lift pass will set you back 60,000 won and with free shuttle buses available from Jamsil, Apgujeong and Sadang to Daegwalyeong, it’s an easy and affordable way to enjoy a weekend on the slopes.
- (Tel. 063-322-900)
- http://www.mujuresort.com [K]
- Located in Jeollabuk-do, skiers can enjoy a spectacular view as they make their way down from Deokyusan Mountain Seolcheonbong peak. The resort is especially popular among intermediate to advanced level skiers as it boasts, at 6.4 km, the longest slope in the country. A daily lift pass costs 70,000 won and it is important to remember that the rental shop does not rent out toques, goggles or gloves.
Jisan Forest Resort
- (Tel. 031-644-1200)
- http://www.Jisanresort.co.kr [K, E, C, J]
- The biggest advantage to this ski resort is its location. Located in Gyeonggi-do, Icheon, it is close to Seoul. Many kiers compliment the quality of the slopes but there is a drawback to this resort. As it is close to Seoul, a large number of skiers flock to the resort, often resulting in long lines. This smaller scale resort contains 11 slopes with 7 to 30 degree angles.
High 1 Resort
- (Tel. 1588-7789)
- http://www.e-high1.com [K]
- High 1 is a newly opened ski resort operated by Gangwon Land. Located in Gangwon-do, Taebaek area. Commuting to the area is not the most convenient but the facility more than makes up for any inconveniences one might experience to get there. Steepness of slopes range from 4 to 22 degrees and there are 18 slopes in all. A daily lift pass costs 70,000 won and free High 1 trains from Seoul and Busan to Gohan are available for skiers during the season.
As in other countries, equestrianism is not a sport enjoyed by the masses. The very thought of equestrians conjures up images of well-heeled aristocrats on horseback. However, with a growing number of riding enthusiasts, the number of riding facilities is on the rise. Gwacheon has a facility widely known and enjoyed by fans of the sport.
- (Tel. 1566-3333)
- http://www.kra.co.kr [K, J, E, C]
- Gwacheon has a racetrack accessible by subway (Seoul Metro) from Seoul. In addition to convenient transportation, admission fee is a mere 800 won and parking is free. Races are held on Saturdays and Sundays of each week with 11 to 12 scheduled races per day. This unbelievably affordable track also offers horseback riding lessons. Unfortunately, foreigners are not granted access to the free lessons at this point but the program is said to be playing a huge role in the growing interest in the sport.
- Horseback Riding Training Center
- (Tel. 02-463-8565)
- Located on Seoul Forest grounds, it is the only place in Seoul which allows horseback riding in the city. Circular tracks ranging in size offer quality riding experiences for riders of all levels. The training center does not offer rides outside of the designated tracks and does not have any other courses. Most riders are required to bring their own horses but those who book in advanced are not required to do so. The training center does not have a trainer fluent in English on staff and herefore, lessons are not possible. However, experienced horseback riders can call to make reservations to ride around the tracks. Basic costs start at 44,000 won per 45 minutes.
Mention the most Korean of sports to foreigners and they’ll immediately think of the martial arts Taekwondo. Trying your hands at the national sport of Korea from the best instructors in the world in its very birthplace might be a good idea. Themost ideal way to pick up the sportmay be by heading to the nearest Taekwondo dojang (gym) so that you learn the sport and at the same time mingle with some natives and pick up some Korean. However, for those who much prefer to take lessons in English, there are several dojang that offering such services.
Haedong Taekwondo Center
- (Tel. 02-794-1462)
- http://www.kukkiwon.or.kr [K, E]
- Kukkiwon is the mecca of Taekwondo training. If Judo has its Kodokan, Taekwondo has Kukkiwon, the world’s best come to Kukkiwon to advance their skills by training with the best. As the “headquarters” of the sport, Kukkiwon offers affordable lessons on the grounds of Gyeonghuigung (Sungjungjeon courtyard) six times a week, excluding Mondays. Each lesson is an hour and thirty minutes long. This program offers a basic training program, self-defense program and gyukpa destruction program, which is designed as a one-time experience class. (Reservations must be made at least a day in advance, and the fee is 20,000 won per hour.)
- (Tel. 02-336-3361)
- http://www.taekwontour.net [K, E]
- Hoki offers one day experimental lessons as well as memberships. English lessons are available at the Mokdong branch but monthly fees and schedules have to be discussed in advance. As for the one-day trial lessons, a 90-minute lesson costs 40,000 won and a 3-hour lesson costs 80,000 won. Applications for trial lessons can be done individually or as a group.
Jogging/ In-line/ Bicycle roads
All parks in Seoul are great for jogging. Perhaps the most popular and well-paved of the group are the courses lining the grounds of the Han River. To let you in on some valuable information for in-line enthusiasts, Hangang Park in Ichon District has an In-line Skating Plaza (Tel. 02-790- 6385). The length of bicycle roads near the Han River measures 36.9 km from Gangseo-gu, Gaehwa-dong to Gangdong-gu, Amsa-dong. The asphalt and concrete-covered roads are designated for bicycles riders and therefore riders can freely enjoy the view and ride in comfort without having to worry about the traffic. Furthermore, riders can use Hangang Park sports facilities, popular tourist destinations and culturally significant places as
Fitness club/ Swimming
Koreans work hard sweating off excess weight in light of the new “well-being” trend, thanks to which the number of health conscious Koreans have risen. While there are plenty of ways to get some outdoor physical activity within the city limits, the busy schedules of many do not allow formuch adventure. As such, fitness centers are the most viable option for the busy working urbanites. Most fitness centers in Korea offer monthly and quarterly membership plans. Some offer sixmonth
plans and even annual plans. The benefit of signing up for a longer period is the significant discount in the membership fee. Some high-end fitness clubs offer golf course access and other benefits as part of a lifetime membership package. All fitness centers have lockers and shower stalls. Some places have hardwood yoga rooms and swimming pools and offer lessons as part of the package.
KBS 88 Gymnasium
- (Tel. 02-2600-8808)
- http://www.kbs88.co.kr [K]
- Squash, table tennis, tennis, badminton, yoga are just some of the sports/activities available at this sports complex.
Olympic Park Sports Lesson
- http://www.sosfo.or.kr [K]
- As a complete sports facility, a total of 59 weight and cardio machines, of various types, are available along with fitness lessons and activities such as swimming, basketball, yoga, badminton and gumdo. Other than weight training, Olympic Park Sports Lesson offers various fitness/ sports lessons. Outdoor swimming pools are open to the public during the summer months but as there aren’t many outdoor pools, the pools get full. Below are some popular outdoor pools in the city.
Hamilton Hotel Swimming Pool
- (Tel. 02-6393-1247)
- http://www.hamilton.co.kr [K, E, J]
- Open from June to September every year, one can enjoy the skyline of the citywhile swimming on the rooftop pool. The admission fee is 10,000 won during the week and 12,000 won on weekends. Hamilton Hotel is near exit 6 of Itaewon Station.
Hangang Park Swimming Pool
- http://hangang.seoul.go.kr/leports/04_leports_01. html [K, E]
- A total of six outdoor swimming pools on Hangang Park grounds are open annually during the summer months to the public in the following locations: Gwangnaru, Jamsil, Jamwon, Yeouido, Tteokseom, Mangwon. Admissions are affordable at 3,000 won for children aged 4~12 and 5,000 for adults aged 19 and over. Facilities selling swimming goods such as goggles and bathing suits are also available, making it an ideal place to spend an afternoon in the sun with the family within the city limits.
Olympic Park Swimming Pool
- (Tel. 02-410-1114)
- http://www.sosfo.or.kr/olpark/main [K]
- As the name suggests, this pool was used during the 1988 Olympics swimming competition. This Olympic regulation pool contains ten 50-meter lanes providing swimmerswith ample amounts of space to exercise. Admission is 6,000 won for adults and 5,000 won for youths. If you’re thinking the pool must be a bit outdated considering the Seoul Olympics was held close to two decades ago, there’s good news. The pool will be renovated and reopened to the public in 2008. It is located in Olympic Park in Songpa-gu, near Sungnae Station.
- (Tel. 031-320-5000)
- http://www.everland.com/caribbean [K, E, J, C]
- If you’re wondering where to take the little ones on a summer outing, Caribbean Bay might be a viable option. As a family water theme park, various slides, wave pool, sauna and spa are sure to please all members of the family and not just the kids. Do prepare your swimming caps as they are mandatory. Located on the Yongin Everland grounds, admissions is 30,000 won for adults and 23,000 won for children.
Korea is a great place to check out some professional sporting events as various proleagues are available. The quality of facilities and sports in general have been continuing to improve after the ’88 Olympics and 2002 World Cup. Unlike most North American or European sporting events, tickets to a pro sporting event are unbelievably cheap. The quality of games is fairly good as well, considering many foreign athletes and Korean athletes with experience abroad are increasingly recruited in large numbers to play here. There’s something to enjoy during each of the four seasons as baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other professional leagues provide fun and excitement all year round. If you’d like to catch some of the action, check below for a list of websites and contact information.
Historical records show that drinking, singing and just letting loose and having fun have always been a part of Korean culture. This might help to explain the Korean love for the cultural arts. Various venues exist in Seoul and they aremainly used to host large scale performances and events. Some of the annual events and festivals include world renowned artists and performers and for those involving local artists, subtitles in various languages are provided for foreigners in attendance.
Korean musicals have been under rapid growth of late as creative original musicals are continuing to be produced to positive public acclaim. A musical theater, Charlotte Theater was founded for the sole purpose of providing quality musical performances to Koreans and foreigners alike. Check the Q&A pages for location and contact information of various theaters.
Traditional Cultural Performances
Traditional Korean performances are at their best when performers and members of the audience interact to create an entertaining and lively show. Therefore, traditional musical performances or non-verbal performances require stage setups that are quite different from stages specific to Western stages. Check the Q&A pages for traditional performance theaters.
Those playing a significant role in heightening national prestige are b-boys. As b-boys have been gaining notoriety by sweeping international competitions, the popularity of their dynamic and spectacular dance movements has been noted by fans around the world. As such, many nonverbal performances involving b-boys continue to be produced. It is especially popular among foreigners because without aworking knowledge of Korean, they can still easily enjoy the shows. Check the Q&A pages formore information.
Koreans love cinema and this is evident in the number of theaters, large and small, around the city. North American-style multiplexes and small independent theaters provide moviegoers with a variety of options. The most notable multiplexes are CGV (Tel. 1544-1122/ http://www.cgv.co.kr [K]), Mega Box (Tel. 1544-0600/ www.megabox.co.kr [K]), Lotte Cinema (Tel. 1544-8855/ www.lottecinema.co.kr [K]), and Cinus (tel. 1544-0070/ www.cinus.co.kr [K]). Online ticketing is available but service is not available in English. Most theaters, if not all, show foreign films with Korean subtitles, but for those interested, there are theaters that show Korean films with English subtitles. The following is a list of theaters screening Korean films with English subtitles.
Korea Foundation Cultural Center
- (Tel. 02-3789-5600)
- http://www.kfcenter.or.kr/english [K, E]
- Korean and foreign films from the past are screened on a weekly basis, free of charge. A topic is chosen each week and films are chosen by the organizers accordingly. Although you won’t be able to view any new releases, it’s a great way to catch up on some classics with friends and also take a tour of the cultural center and its events. Korea Foundation Cultural Center is located near City Hall Station, exit 9..
Goethe Institute Seoul
- (Tel. 02-754-9831-3)
- http://www.goethe.de/seoul [K, G]
- This German cultural center is located within a 10 minute walk from the Namsan Hilton Hotel. The cultural center’s library offers various books and DVDs for rental, and a DVD viewing facility is in an open space of the library where one can
easily enjoy one of the films from the library’s collection.
This new and used bookstore in Itaewon offers an impressive online database and also has an easy-to-use and affordable online ordering system.
The following is a list of large libraries as well as small libraries offering books in foreign languages. All large bookstores in Korea offer foreign language books, especially English books and all other books can easily be ordered. It is not a stretch to say that it is easy to find the English books you want in Korea.
1. Kyobo Bookstore
- Tel. 02-1544-1900
- http://www.kyobobook.co.kr [K]
- Kyobo Bookstore near Gwanghwamun is the biggest bookstore in Korea and therefore boasts the biggest collection of books in foreign languages.
2. Youngpoong Bookstore
- Tel. 02-1544-9020
- http://www.ypbooks.co.kr [K]
- Youngpoong in Jongno also offers an impressive collection of books in foreign languages.
3. Bandi & Luni’s
- Tel. 02-2198-3040
- http://www.bandibook.com [K]
- Located in COEX, Samsung Station, this large bookstore has a sizeable collection of English books and magazines.
4. Seoul Selection
- Tel. 02-734-9565
- http://www.seoulselection.com [E]
- Located just outside Gyeongbokgung, Seoul Selection offers a wide array of English books on Korean culture and istory not easily located elsewhere. Take the time to browse the collection with a cup of coffee or drop in for a weekly movie screening on weekends.
Each district in Seoul operates a library and to add to the mix, there is a national library, national assembly library and city library. Taking full advantage of the public libraries in Seoul is convenient as it is easy to search the database and reserve books online.
Korean art, industrial arts, Korean music and traditional arts are available for foreigners to learn. Those who have interest in any of the aforementioned genres should take the time to gain a deeper understanding of Korean culture through various lessons offered in the city.
1. Samcheonggak Educational Program
- (Tel. 02-765-3700)
- http://www.3pp.co.kr [K, E, J]
- Samcheonggak was a renowned gisaeng house during a time when gisaeng houses went hand-in-hand with politics in Korea. It was transformed into a restaurant/ performance hall. Samcheonggak offers one-day and extended lectures on traditional Korean art. The impressive curriculum includes Korean classical music, tea ceremony, traditional women’s quarter’s art and traditional knot-tying art among many others. Check Samcheonggak’s website formore information.
- (Tel. 02-2234-3325)
- http://www.yejiwon.or.kr [K]
- Yejiwon is a place teaching traditional etiquette. Some of the programs on the curriculum include the art of ceremonial tea-making and clothing/garb etiquette. Furthermore, there are programs where participants can actually experience Korean culture such as Korean cuisine, traditional wedding and dance. Yejiwon is located across the National Theater near Dongguk Univ., line 3.
- (Tel. 02-2011-1972)
- http://www.templestay.com [K, E]
- Those interested in Buddhism should participate in a templestay in Korea. As the name of the program suggests, articipants will stay at a temple varying in length from overnight to ten days. Various programs are available gearing around Zenmeditation, tea ceremony, calligraphy and traditional lantern-making. This is an excellent opportunity for foreigners to gain a deeper understanding of a religion deeply entrenched in Korean culture and history. (Service in Japanese, Chinese, French, and English is available.)
Festivals in Seoul
Seoul is a city that’s bumping year-round with festivities. The following is a list of festivals in Seoul.
- Date: 11~ 14, Apr 2008 (5 days)
- Venue: Atlantic Hall of COEX Exhibition Center, 3rd floor
The 4th Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival
- Apr 2008 (5~6 days)
- Hangang Park Yeouido District and Yeouiseoro
Seoul Friendship Fair 2008
- Date: Apr or May, 2008 (1 day during the Hi Seoul Festival)
- Venue: Seoul Plaza
Hi Seoul Festival-Spring
- Date: 2~5,May 2008 (4 days)
- Venue: Seoul Plaza, Royal Palaces, Bukchon, Main Streetswithin the four great walls of Seoul
Seoul Food Festival
- Date:May 2008
- Venue: Hangang Park
e-Stars Seoul 2008
- Date: June 2008 (2 days)
- Venue: Olympic Park (prospect)
Good Film Festival
- Date: June 2008~Oct 2008 (Screening 400 times)
- Venue: Indoor (Community Center, Cultural Centers, Libraries etc.), Outdoor (Seoul Plaza, Citizen Park etc.)
Daejong Film Festival
- Date: June 2008 (14 days)
- Venue: Hangang Park Yeouido District
- Date: June or July 2008
- Venue: Convention halls of major hotels
Hi Seoul Festival-Summer
- Date: 25~27, July 2008 (3 days)
- Venue: Mainly held in Hangang Park (Ichon, Yeouido, Jamsil District)
Next Plus Summer Film Festival
- Date: July~Aug 2008 (1 month)
- Venue: Art Plus Cinema Network Theater (Miro Space, Cinecube, Sponge House Cine Core, Film Forum, Hipertec Nada, CQNMyeong-dong, CGV Sangam, Seoul Art Cinema)
Seoul Fringe Festival
- Date: Aug 2008
- Venue: Hongik Univ. area
The 5th Asia Song Festival
- Date: Sep 2008 (1 day)
- Venue: Seoul World Cup Stadium
Seoul Drama Awards 2008
- Date: Sep 2008 (3 days)
- Venue: Show case (Seoul Plaza and Cheonggyecheon), Reception (63 Bldg.), Awards ceremony (Sejong Center for the PerformingArts)
Hi Seoul Festival-Autumn
- Date: 3~5, Oct 2008 (3 days)
- Venue: Hangang Park Jamsil District
Seoul WOW Book Festival
- Date: Oct 2008 (3 days)
- Venue: Culture Street. Hongik Univ.
Seoul International Film Festival
- Date: Oct 2008 (10 days)
- Venue: 3 Screens of Lotte Cinema, Konkuk Univ.
Seoul Drum Festival 2008
- Date: The first Friday to Sunday of Oct 2008 (3 days)
- Venue: Hangang Park Nanji District (Main events), Cheonggyecheon, Seoul Plaza, Daehangno etc. (Sub events)
2008 Korea Live Music Festival
- Date: Oct 2008
- Venue: Hangang Park Nanji District Green Plaza Stage/ Live clubs around Hongik Univ. and Sinchon (Sub events)
Itaewon Tourist Festival
- Date: Oct 2008 (4 days)
- Venue: Itaewon area (Stage: Next to the Itaewon Firestation)
Daejanggeum Food Festival
- Date:Nov 2008 (2 days)
- Venue: Namsangol Hanok Village
- Date: 15, Dec 2008~7, Jan 2009 (24 days)
- Venue: Seoul Plaza, Cheonggye Plaza ~ Gwang-guo area, the fountain in front of Shinsegae Department Store
Hi Seoul Festival-Winter
- Date: 15, Dec 2008~15, Jan 2009
- Venue: Seoul plaza, Dongdaemun Gate, Hangang and main streets of Seoul
- Date: Dec 2008 ~ Feb 2009 (3 months)
- Venue: Hanaro Street, Seongbuk-gu
Contain brand-name goods and is divided into food, men’s, women’s, shoes, hats and other sections. It’s a great way to shop since all the necessary goods are gathered in one place for your shopping convenience.
If you’re the type of person who gets a kick out of wandering the hectic streets full of vendors offering clothes, accessories and shoes at discounted prices in search of a gem, Korea is the place to be. Various areas offer something distinctly unique, so it’s fun to pick and choose an area and start shopping.
- An excellent place to view the fashion leaders of Korea. Apgujeong offers luxury brand shops, popular overseas brand shops and even used luxury goods shops. There are some nice cozy coffee shops along the way, providing for great places to rest your feet. Galleria Department Store opposite Rodeo Street contains some of the priciest goods around.
- Directions: Take Apgujeong Station, line 3, exit 2 and walk up straight in the opposite direction of the exit. Try to visit some of the nice shops and boutiques on the street that lead to Cheongdam Station, line 7.
- This area has become a mainstay on the list of tourist destinations. It’s home to a number of shops and boutiques that offer hip and trendy threads at affordable prices. Migliore and Avatar are large shopping malls that can provide shoppers with hours of fun.
- Directions: Myeongdong Station, line 4, exits 6, 7 will lead you to the busy streets ofMyeong-dong. The underground walkway is connected to Euljiro 1-ga Station, line 2.
- The area running parallel and to the rear of Gyeongbokgung is known as Samcheong-dong. If you think this area is full of traditional garments and clothes, you are way off! Modern and hip fashion designers with their own unique styles can be found here.
- Directions: Take Gyeongbokgung Station, line 3, exit 5 and follow the palace stonewall until you reach a slew of shops and restaurants.
- If you are in search of traditional items, Insadong is the place for you! Neckties with traditional patterns, modernized hanbok sewn from the national flag, Insadong has anything and everything related to the country and its traditions. Koreans also frequent this area in search of antique goods and traditional tea shops.
- Directions: Take Anguk Station, line 3, exit 6 and walk down until you reach Crown Bakery. Make a left and you are now in Insadong Cultural Street which leads to Jongno 2-ga rotary. From Jonggak Station, line 1, exit 3, walk straight until you reach Tapgol Park andmake a left.
- This is the most multicultural place in the country. Itaewon offers some of the best authentic ethnic food in Seoul. However, there’s more to Itaewon than great food. It offers Korean antiques and sports uniforms at low prices. Guys come from all over the city to this interesting and unique neighborhood, especially for the customized jerseys.
- Directions: Take Itaewon Station, line 6 and any exit will lead you to the streets of Itaewon. Replica jersey shops are clustered near exit 4.
- Tel. 02-991-7718
- http://www.indm.net [K, E, J]
- Also known as Dokkebi Market (goblin market), Namdaemun has retained most of its original looks throughout the years. The same can’t be said for Dongdaemun market. The shabby and rundown looking buildings might deter you from venturing in, but these buildings contain hightech electronics at unbeatable prices. Another part of the market contains imported food. Taking a cue from the modern Dongdaemun market, Mesa, a large fashion shopping mall offers options for young, trendy shoppers. Located near Hoehyeon Station, line 4.
- Tel. 02-2262-0114
- http://www.dongdaemunsc.co.kr [K]
- When it was established in the early 20th century, the market was a traditional outdoor market containing fish, fruits and other goods. Nowadays, Dongdaemun is known as the place to shop for trendy clothes at affordable rates. Cheongdaemun, Doota, Migliore and other buildings/ shopping centers contain hundreds of booths per floor. A dizzying array of booths offering various selections is available. Dongdaemun Station, line 1.
- Tel. 02-2267-0291~2
- http://www.kwangjangmarket.co.kr [K]
- A wholesale market containing traditional hanbok, modern wares as well as fabric, it is a world-renowned wholesale market and very popular amongst visitors. If you’re interested in purchasing a traditional Korean costume, this is a great place to start. Jongno 5-ga Station, line 1.
- Tel. 02-2266-8765
- http://www.bangsanmarket.net [K]
- If you want to make something, whatever it may be, you should take a trip to Bangsan Market. This market offers everything from wrapping paper to kitchen utensils, design supplies among others. Euljiro 4-ga Station, line 2.
Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
- Tel. 02-814-2211~2
- http://www.susansijang.co.kr [K]
- The biggest fisheries wholesale market in Korea. Variousmarine products from all over the country are brought to this market and distributed after fierce biddings during the early hours of the day. It is not merely a wholesale market. Visitors can buy fresh seafood and also enjoy a heaping dish of raw fish served up fresh on the spot. Noryangjin Station, line 1.
- Tel. 02-742-4020
- http://www.enakwon.com [K]
- Nakwon Arcade is home to various shops selling musical instruments. Located near Insadong, a trip inside will reveal a world of guitars, pianos, saxophones and drum sets among others. You can also find used instruments, amps, repair and rental shops. Take Jongno 3-ga Station, line 5, exit 5 and walk in the direction of SC Jaeil Bank.
- Tel. 02-380-1234
- http://emart.shinsegae.com [K]
- A huge supermarket run by Shinsegae Department Store. There are 17 locations throughout the city that provide all goods necessary for daily living from food to bicycles.
- Tel. 1577-2500
- http://www.lottemart.com [K]
- A chain run by the Lotte corporation. There are 8 locations throughout the city and much like EMart, has just about all the goods you can think of relating to daily living.
- Tel. 02-440-0998
- http://www.htstore.co.kr [K]
- This chain of ten marts originally started as a supermarket.
- Tel. 02-2679-1234
- http://www.costco.co.kr [K, E]
- There are three Korean branches in Seoul. This wholesaler contains ample amounts of imported goods and requiresmembership.
Mountains/ Buddhist temples
Korea is home to mountainous regions. Although it does not possess the highest peaks or the deepest valleys in all of Asia, a large number of wonderfulmountains and hills provide hikers and mountain climbers with stunning sights. What makes hiking in Korea more interesting is that most Buddhist temples are located on mountains, exuding a serene tmosphere and magnifying the picturesque beauty of the traditional architecture of the temple. Making Buddhist temples the destination of your hiking 182 Leisure trip will make your trip a lot more interesting. Try a drink of cool and crystal clear stream water at the temple, as this experience will add to the breathtaking view from a temple perched on top of a mountain. For those who are interested in camping, it is important to know that camping is only allowed in designated camping sites of national parks. The following is a list of some of the representative national parks and Buddhist temples in Korea.
Seoraksan National Park
- Tel. 033-636-7700
- http://seorak.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- This popular national park in Gangwon-do, Seokcho is frequented by visitors for the beauty of the rock formations of the Seoraksan Mountain. There are several established Buddhist Temples on site: Sinheungsa Temple, Baekdamsa Temple, Naksansa Temple.
Bukhansan National Park
- Tel. 02-909-0497
- http://bukhan.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- Also referred to as Samgaksan, Bukhansan is the only national park located in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do. Therefore, the wildlife and natural environment pales in comparison to some of the other notable national parks. Frequented by urbanites of the capital city as well as its surrounding cities, hiking courses vary from those suitable for novice climbers to harsh terrains popular among enthusiasts. Doseonsa Temple is located on BukhansanMountain.
Hallasan National Park
- Tel. 064-713-9950
- http://www.hallasan.go.kr [K]
- Hallasan National Park is a volcanic mountain located on Jeju Island. Most of the mountain is covered in basalt and the crater’s Baekrokdam pond is a popular tourist destination. On this tallest mountain in South Korea, rare stones and rock formations can be found. Gwaneumsa Temple is located on the northeastern end of the range, and is quite an attraction because the architectural style of the temple is different from those commonly found on the ground level.
South Korea is on a peninsula and therefore is surrounded by three bodies of water. The East Sea is deep and clean, the Southern Sea and its numerous islands are known for its beauty and the Yellow Sea contains long sandy beaches due to its shallow waters. In order for people to enjoy the beautiful seas of Korea, the ollowing is a list of Marine National Parks.
Taeanhaean National Park
- Tel. 041-672-9737
- http://taean.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- This National Park includes the popular tourist destination, Anmyeondo Island and contains over 130 islands in the central west area of the peninsula. A must-see for visitors is Mallipo beach.With its sandy white beach running over 3 km long, it is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Korea.
Hallyeohaesang Marine National Park
- Tel. 055-863-3521
- http://hallyeo.knps.or.kr [K, E]
- Hallyeohaesang has the distinction of being the firstMarine National Park in Korea. Over a million visitors flock to this locale to relax in the natural beauty created by the sea, islands and land. Located in the Southeastern corner, Geojaedo Island and Tongyeong, among other well-known tourist destinations, are a part of Hallyeohaesang Marine National Park.
Traditional villages are great places for foreigners to gain a glimpse into Korea’s wellpreserved past. The beauty of traditional tileroofed and straw-roofed houses is something of a rarity in modern Korea and the beauty of it all will leave a lasting impression.
Andong Hahoe Folk Village
- Tel. 054-854-3669
- http://www.hahoe.or.kr [K, E, J]
- Andong Hahoe Folk Village is like a page out of a Korean history book. The cultural remnants have been so well-preserved the entire village has been designated the label of Important Folk Customs Material. Hahoe roughly means surrounded by water and as the name suggests, Nakdonggang River surrounds the village. To further add to the beauty of the village, mountains provide a beautiful backdrop like a meticulously designed traditional folding screen. The trip down to Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do will not seem like a long commute when you consider the traditional beauty of the village, the affordable stay at a traditional home, as well as the festivals and events.
Yongin Korean Folk Village
- Tel. 031-288-0000
- http://www.koreanfolk.co.kr [K, E, J, C]
- This artificial village contains traditional houses representative of various places around Korea. The folk village is not actually inhabited but is used as a sightseeing venue inside Everland (an amusement park) and for traditional events and festivals. Since Yongin is relatively close to Seoul, it’s a great way to spend a day on the weekend with your family or friends. Admissions for adults are 11,000 won and children, 8,000 won. A multiple entry pass costs 16,000 won for adults and 13,000 won for children.
The capital city, heart and soul of Korea, Seoul plays an important role in many aspects. Approximately a quarter of the entire Korean population is concentrated in Seoul and as such, it plays the central role of all things including economics and culture. Tourist information on destinations in downtown Seoul as well as its surrounding areas can be found on the official tourism website, www.visitseoul.net [K, E, J, C] Not really sure where to start? The following is a simple list of tourist destinations around downtown Seoul.
National Museum of Korea
- Tel. 02-2077-9000
- http://www.museum.go.kr [K, E, J, C]
- The location, in Yongsan-gu, Itaewon, makes it easy for any Seoulite to easily access the museum. The National Museum of Korea is appreciated by visitors and residents alike because of its extensive collection of artifacts from ancient to modern times. Furthermore, various special exhibitions and performances are always in store. Check their website for ongoing and upcoming events/ exhibitions.
National Folk Museum
- Tel. 02-3704-3114
- http://www.nfm.go.kr [K, E, J, C]
- The National Folk Museum is located on the Gyeongbokgung grounds in Jongno. The visit to the folk museum is a nice way to finish the tour after your stroll around the palace grounds. The main purpose of the museum is to research, collect and exhibit aspects of traditional Korean culture. The beautiful landscape architecture provides a nice place for a stroll.
- Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Deoksugung are major royal palaces from the Joseon era. Since they are all located north of the river (Gangbuk) and in relative close proximity to each other, touring the four royal palaces is a great way to discover the history of Seoul. Furthermore, City Hall, Gwanghwamun and Insadong are all nearby which provides tourists with easy access and plenty of activities before or after the tour of the palaces. Jongmyo is another site worth visiting. It is a place where the ancestors of the royal families are enshrined. You will notice the tranquility and serenity that’s of stark contrast to the noisy downtown area in its surroundings.
- Tel. 02-3783-5900
- http://parks.seoul.go.kr/guide/introduce.asp?body page=namsan/park.html [K, E, C, J]
- The city that is now Seoul, during the Joseon Dynastywas north of the river and since Namsan (South Mountain) was located south of the city, it was given its name. As the city began to grow over time into areas south of the river, Namsan is now associated with the central region of the city. It is recommended that visitors take the cable car from Myeongdong up to the Namsan area. N Seoul Tower, Namsan Hanok Village, a walkway and National Theater are just a few of the attractions clustered on the grounds of Namsan.
- Tel. 02-120 [Day]/ 02-3780-0777 [Night]
- http://hangang.seoul.go.kr [K]
- Hangang is often the first notable landmark in Seoul that visitors will notice. As a river that stretches from East to West, the high water volume and the width of the river crossing the central area of Seoul is quite impressive. Seoul City has been hard atwork to utilize the Han River to its fullest potential. Their latest plan involves affordable water taxis that provide a solution for the busy commuters trying to beat the chaos of rush hour. Hangang Park runs along the river and ferries, water skiing and other water activities make it a great place to enjoy summer days.