South Korea for download (pdf,756kb)

Seoul , Incheon , Pusan , Taegu , Iksan

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Travel time: 2003, 02, 01, 00. In brackets next to last update.
1€ = 1350 Won

Useful information:
It's easy and very save to travel in "Kimchi country". Theft, robbery and violence are almost unknown also in the capital. Only keep away from demonstrations because the police can force rigorous action.

It is not a big problem to find someone speaking English as long as you stay in Seoul or other major cities. The most difficulty is to understand the manners and customs of the Koreans itself so you will put one's foot in it very often. If you have to do some serious business get well-known to the culture before you arrive. For instance a given "Yes" is not necessarily an agreement, it can also mean that the person does understand what you meant.

At Incheon international airport are rental mobile phones available. In Korea they use CDMA instead of GSM standard. So most foreign mobiles are not working.
You can find different provider in the arrival hall. LG TeleCom for instance has easy to use mobiles like Nokia 8277 which will be 3.000 W per day. Since 1st April 2002 your phone expenses will be balanced direct to your credit card. No more prepay necessary and no more problems with overseas calls.
A new service is offered by KTF: Rental phones which are able to work with your personal SIM-Card. So you are available at your well-known telephone number. See if it works immediately at the counter because its depending on the roaming contract with your home provider whoever balance your telephone bill. Its 1.300 W per day for the phone only. For more details: or at 0082-16-1583 HelpLine.

If you want to get cash by credit card like Master, Visa, etc. at the ATMs search for sign "Global service" and use the "start" button which is mostly located in the lower right corner. Some of this ATMs are only in Korean language which make the job quite interesting: Its like in the lottery and you will get off with a lot of small error receipts till you crack the jackpot. In Seoul they are mostly located in KEB or 365 bank but hardly to find outside the capital.

Most major cities are linked by express ways which are in more or less good conditions. Only the express ways in Seoul are called "parking lot" for its notorious traffic jam. For long distance you have to calculate a maximum average speed of 60 km/h because of traffic jam, roadwork and speed regulations.
The roads are a little bit bumpy and everywhere is enlargement visible. At least within 60 km there will be a service station where you can fuel up your car with gasoline. For gas driven cars you should be informed where to fuel up before starting your journey. For your own comfort there are meals available mostly Korean, Chinese or Japanese stile and fast food too starting with 2.000 up to 9.000 W.

And food is very interesting in Korea. Sometimes you don't know from what its made of so better don't ask and others are very nice because it will be prepared directly on your table. "Galbi" or "Bulgogi" is a kind of BBC from pork or beef (better) and highly recommendable. Similar is "Samkiopsal" but only with pork available.

Instead of lace-up shoes take along your slippers because you have to put them off at a lot of locations.

If you like mountain biking in Korea check out the following sites:
Get a impression of mountain biking here:
For biking opportunities at Mt. Kariwag in Kangwon Province:
From Danyo, one of the most well-known in Korea:

A very helpful tourist information is located at 10 Da-dong, Jung-gu, Tel.(02)7299498, Fax.(02)3190086 or leave subway at station 131 exit 5 or station 202 exit 2. Map . Its open from 9 AM to 8 PM daily and they have information all around Korea. . The Internet terminals are free of charge too.

From the City Sky Terminal (KCAT) located at COEX shopping mall to the international airport are busses going every 15 to 30 minutes from 5.30 AM till 8 PM for 12.000 W one way. Most Asian airlines have check in counter at KCAT.
More details at:

A subway ticket is 700 W across the city also when you have to change the lines. For the suburbs the price rise up to 1400 W to Incheon. Keep your ticket because its required to open the exit gate. The sub is the most efficient transportation and since the new line no. 6 is in operation all major tourist attractions are within reach. Map The subway is on service from 5.30 AM up to 11.30 PM.

For a city tour use the hop-on hop-off seoulcitytourbus which stops at 28 different locations and is going each 30 minutes. Service is from 8.30 AM to 11 PM and one round at day will take 2.5 hours including a English speaking guide. A tour ticket is 5.000 W and one day ticket where you can leave the bus and enter again later is 8.000 W.

REMARK: All the accommodation mentioned below are in an area where massive construction is present till mid of 2004 I guess.

Just opposite side of Hotel Green Grass (see below) is the Hotel Bally which has clean rooms with private bath, fridge, AC, TV, VCR, DVD for 60.000W. Actually itīs a motel. Tel. 02-5085059. Map

Next to Hotel Bally is the hotel Na Bee Ya which has clean rooms with private bath, fridge, AC, TV, VCR, DVD and coffee machine too between 60.000 and 70.000W. Now they have Internet access from every room for 5.000W for 2 hours and 10.000W for 12 hours. Laundry can be arranged too. Itīs a motel too. Tel. 02-5681211.

(01) Same road than Green Grass is the nice and clean Hotel Cape Town with typical Korean motel rooms from 40.000 to 60.000 W with air-con, fridge, bath, TV and video shop. They can arrange laundry service too. Map Its 141-9, Samsung-Dong Street, Kangnam-Ku District, Tel. 02-5698045.

(00) The Green Grass Hotel Map is at the south east side of Seoul and announced as a first class hotel but for my experience more or less two star. Small, well used rooms occasionally without air-con but minibar and laundry service will be 120.000 for double and 144.000 W for deluxe. Its on 141-10, Samsung-Dong Street, Kanganm-Ku District, Tel. 02-5557575, Fax. 02-5540643 or by subway station 220 Seolleung, exit 8, next crossroad left 100 meter left-hand side and mentioned on most tourist maps.
Not recommendable.

Shops & Food:
Just around the left corner of Green Grass Hotel is a nice restaurant specialized for food around the duck. Map They have special offer for lunch starting with 6.000 W. Dinner is more expensive and will start at 21.000 W up to 90.000 W.

Around the corner of the mentioned hotels/motels is a 24h FamilyMart, Internet shop ClickCom (1h for 2.500W) and a lot of restaurants.

The COEX mall is worth a visit if you like entertainment, shopping, food and service. Its subway station 219 exit 6.
Inside the mall at Mega webstation, opposite side the cinema complex, you have free Internet access or full up- respectively download possibility and the latest net-games for 2.000 W per hour.

Lotte World, exit 3 at subway station 216 Jamsil, has a huge shopping mall with a nice food curt, houses a Marché restaurant too on level B3 and the excellent spaghetti restaurant Pomodoro on the 2nd Floor where the pasta includes garlic bread and a small salad for 9.000 W only (lunch set).

For big size clothing , fake and touristy items go to Itaewon market, opened daily and is now linked to the subway system by station 629 exit 3. Its very crowded here on weekend and hard bargain.

The Sport Complex at subway station 218, exit 8 offers a Olympic size swimming pool which is open for public from 6 to 8 AM, 1 to 4 PM and 7 to 9 PM but is closed at Sunday and holiday. Its 3.000 on weekday and 3.900 W at Saturday and a cap is required too.
Wonder what most Koreans understand as swimming. Its more or less preventing themselves against drowning. So find a lot of them standing around in shallow water, trying to keep their head over water blocking others from swimming.
At the neighbor building is a scuba diving training center located which might be open at Sunday too.

At Lotte World ,exit 3 at subway station 216 Jamsil, has a swimming hall opened daily from 1 to 7 PM for public. They have 6 lanes 25 meters for 7.000W and some nice water slides too. Sauna is 4.000W extra. Itīs west end of the Lotte building with access from outer side.
Same subway station but at exit 4 you can find Lotte World Hotel which has a 4 lane 20 meter swimming pool. Its 7.700 W for guests including towels.
Lotte World has a ice skating range too open all year around for 7.000 to 8.500 W. Rental skates are additional 3.000 W and big size is available too.

Along both sides of the Han river are nicely paved path ways which are favorite for inline skating, cycling and hiking. It can get quite crowded here on holidays. Rental bikes are available on the main car parks lining along the river. One is only ten minutes by foot from subway station 217 Sincheon. Leave at exit 7 and follow the road towards Hangang Park (north). Close by the swimming restaurant is a bike station but do not expect too much. The have mountain bikes, bikes for ladies, bikes for children and tandem bikes but do not expect more than an iron frame on two wheels. I paid 2000 W per hour for a no-break-single-speed bike.

Visa for China will only be issued in the Kyobo Building on the 9th floor and not at the embassy. Take exit 3 at subway station 533 Gwanghwamun. Apply for same day visa between 9 and 10 AM and pick it up between 11 and 12 AM. One passport photo and 70.000 W are required.

The Hotel Robert (former Hotel Galaxy) is advertised as a first class hotel (I never want to experience a standard hotel). After it was opened some years ago they only maintained the mattress and changed the TV-sets to color :-)) but some rooms are more than secondhand.
Apparently the hotel has solar heating: Warm water only during day and rooms facing south side (number 1 to 9) heat up to more than 30 degree in summer, no window to open and air-con is nearly nonexistent. All rooms have own bath and an empty fridge.
Continental or American breakfast are 8.000 W at the restaurant. Laundry is available but not very reliable. If the staff is running around with umbrellas while its clear sky outside they again have problems with the water supply.
They charge 80.000 W for a double and 120.000 W for deluxe. Its located at Kan Seok Dong Street, Namdong-Ku District, Incheon, next to subway station Ganseogogeori. Tel: 032-421-9111. Map

For a quite well equippedhealth club just turn right in front of the hotel and cross two streets. Its in the 4th floor of the blue building with the round corner. You might be able to work out there if you ask friendly.
Opposite you find a 7-Eleven store for 24h shopping.

The city is scattered between green mountains and blue bays. Its easy to loose way between all that bridges, tunnels and express ways. Best travel if you have less luggage is by train and take the subway to any central places or come by plane and use the pickup service from the more expensive hotels.

The Pusan Tourist Hotel near the observation tower had seen better times long ago. It has very used "touristy" rooms with private tiny bath and harmless bugs. Starting with 106.000 W per night for a single which comes together with AC, TV and fridge. Its 12, 2-GA, Donkwang-Dong, Jung-Gu, Pusan, Tel.(051)2414301 Map or

(01) One with pickup service is Hotel Commodore at 743-80 Yungju-Dong, Tel.(051)4669101, Fax.(051)4629101. It starts with 98.000 W for a small but reasonable standard room with own bath, TV and minibar. For 125.000 W you get the same but larger size and with more or less seaside view. It continues with Deluxe for 145.000 W and ends somewhere at half a million per day always without breakfast. Ask for upper floors to have a better view. You can get 10 to 20% discount depending on the season if you ask for. It has also a 20 meter 3 lane swimming pool which is open from 6 AM to 9 PM and free of charge for hotel guests.
Nice dinner buffet at the hotel restaurant is 21.000 W+service+tax but therefore all you can eat. If you prefer more the local food, there are some good restaurants just across the street where I can recommend Kalbi or Bulgogi each 10.000 W per person and rice or soup is 1.000 extra.

(02) Taegu
The Hwang Gum Tourist Hotel at Su Sung Gu 847-1, Tel.(053)7668006 is not worth the 55.000 W they charge for their scruffy and rundown small, noisy rooms with fridge, TV and air-con. Map

Much better choice is the Regency Motel, Sub Sung GU 101, Tel.(053)7619090. It has nice, clean and silent atmosphere with typical Korean motel rooms and video shop and is just backside of one of the two main roads where most favorite restaurants and discotheques are located. Card Its 30.000 W only per night.

On the same road just a view meters around the corner is the Hwalang Sutpul Garden Restaurant, Tel.(053)7687845, where delicious Kalbi is served. Map

Another nice restaurant is named Pharumi Chabu Calkuksu or so and located at Deurangil, Tel.(053)7613300 where you can eat traditional Korean noodle soup called Calcug soo. Map

When you like lunch buffet go to Hangin Kisa Chigdang Restaurant in Namcu Pungtoki Tong 1st Hana 982-4 where they have a selection of cold and hot Korean food for 3.500 W all you can eat. Map

(02) Iksan
This town has some charm of a remote province city. Farmers are selling their fruits and vegetables on the street regardless the traffic, no city maps are available nor at the hotels neither at the tourist information in the railway station where nobody was able to speak a little English but offer 12 different charger for mobile phones for free use. Nevertheless people are very helpful and try to do their best even when they can not understand you.

Around 1.5 km south east of the railway station is Dong Yang Hotel, 1045-5, Dongsan-Dong, Tel.(063)8539999 or Fax.(063)8529572 offers rooms in one-star-quality for 39.000 cash only. Therefore you get fridge, air-con, TV and own bath room but no laundry service possible. Map

Once the banks are closed there is no chance to change money or even get some from ATMs because there are no with "global service". So stock up in time.

Just two blocks north of the hotel is a 25 meter public swimming pool. Its open weekdays from 6 AM to 6 PM and on weekend from 8 to 9 AM and 12 to 3 PM. Its 2.900 W admission for adults only.

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