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Old May 26, 11, 12:07 pm   #1
 
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1.5 days in Seoul

I am en route to Seoul for a conference and will have Monday as free time and don't leave Tuesday until about 1600 from ICN. I was planning to read the book that I borrowed on the plane (yay - upgraded to J!), but left it at home .

I would love any suggestions on what to do on my first visit to Korea. I will be staying at the Grand Hilton (Hilton Grand?)

I will be doing a tour organized by the conference on Sunday afternoon to Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Folk museum and Insadong.

I would love the chance for a nice run somewhere, but given my jetlag and very tight schedule (I teach a few hours after I get back to Canada), I don't want to do anything more than a couple of hours. I love walking around neighbourhoods and local markets and trying to get a feel for a place rather than seeing sites per se.

I must eat great food on this trip! We have a dinner scheduled on Saturday at Korea House which is supposed to be very nice, but given the time change I may well sleep through it .

Finally a (potentially) strange question... Are the food and water 'safe'? When I booked the trip I just assume that they would be. The guide that I bought did talk about being careful with tap water and street food, though. Can I drink water out of the tap? Eat at random greasy spoons in back alleys? I've travelled a fair bit and would have put South Korea in the same category (safety wise) as the US or Europe, but is it closer to India or Pakistan (where I've never gotten sick except en route from FRA)?

Boarding call!

Dr. PITUK
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Old May 26, 11, 3:36 pm   #2
 
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I can only address your concerns about the food and water quality, and I can assure you that they're completely safe.

I live in New York City where the tap water is very highly regarded, and I don't consider Seoul's to be any worse. Same goes for the street vendors, etc. (though, even if you were back at home you would avoid anything that looks questionable, yes?).

I hope this helps. You can probably do some Googling to find additional notes on food and water safety, as well.
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Old May 26, 11, 4:21 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by jykft View Post
I can only address your concerns about the food and water quality, and I can assure you that they're completely safe.

I live in New York City where the tap water is very highly regarded, and I don't consider Seoul's to be any worse. Same goes for the street vendors, etc. (though, even if you were back at home you would avoid anything that looks questionable, yes?).

I hope this helps. You can probably do some Googling to find additional notes on food and water safety, as well.
what he said. seoul has tons of food street vendors also, so i wouldn't worry about finding some dingy back alley in the dark food vendor that might give you food poisoning.
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Old May 27, 11, 8:18 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by painintheuk View Post
I am en route to Seoul for a conference and will have Monday as free time and don't leave Tuesday until about 1600 from ICN. I was planning to read the book that I borrowed on the plane (yay - upgraded to J!), but left it at home .

I would love any suggestions on what to do on my first visit to Korea. I will be staying at the Grand Hilton (Hilton Grand?)

I will be doing a tour organized by the conference on Sunday afternoon to Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Folk museum and Insadong.

I would love the chance for a nice run somewhere, but given my jetlag and very tight schedule (I teach a few hours after I get back to Canada), I don't want to do anything more than a couple of hours. I love walking around neighbourhoods and local markets and trying to get a feel for a place rather than seeing sites per se.

I must eat great food on this trip! We have a dinner scheduled on Saturday at Korea House which is supposed to be very nice, but given the time change I may well sleep through it .

Finally a (potentially) strange question... Are the food and water 'safe'? When I booked the trip I just assume that they would be. The guide that I bought did talk about being careful with tap water and street food, though. Can I drink water out of the tap? Eat at random greasy spoons in back alleys? I've travelled a fair bit and would have put South Korea in the same category (safety wise) as the US or Europe, but is it closer to India or Pakistan (where I've never gotten sick except en route from FRA)?

Boarding call!

Dr. PITUK
The palaces are nice (went to Gyeongbokgung and Insadong last week actually) since there are several of them around, and Insadong has great shopping and sidewalk food, although it's really crowded. For a good feel of the markets, Namdaemun is a famous market (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namdaemun_Market) which is something you might want to look at, there's tons of sidewalk food, knock-off merch and other stuff. It's good to bargain with the merchants too. What I also liked was the National Museum of Korea since it's almost like the Korean version of the National Museum of American History, although you'd need several hours to check it out.

As for the water, it's fine to drink and I haven't had any problems, but it's always good to bring anti-diarrheal medicine just in case or to check if restaurants have bottled water.
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Old May 27, 11, 10:19 am   #5
 
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Is your stop this Monday? I don't have class (I'm a grad student here), and I can be happy to show you around, and maybe help you find some places the tour wont show you.

I used to host often through couchsurfing, but I have a roommate now, so I cant do it anymore.
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Old May 27, 11, 3:10 pm   #6
 
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Thanks all. I thought I was OK with water but wanted to confirm. If I can deal with the time changes then I'll definitely try your suggestions.

Dr. PITUK
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Old May 28, 11, 6:24 am   #7
 
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For tourist sites and also neighborhoods, see:
http://culture.seoul.go.kr//english/
and
http://dobo.visitseoul.net/walktour/...urse_index.jsp
I don't know how the tours are, but there is a good deal of info on these pages.
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