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Truly off the beaten path places & activities in Seoul and surrounding areas?

Truly off the beaten path places & activities in Seoul and surrounding areas?

Old Jul 19, 16, 4:36 am
  #1  
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Truly off the beaten path places & activities in Seoul and surrounding areas?

Morning folks, I am heading to South Korea in a few weeks and am looking for ideas on off the beaten path places and activities in Seoul and surrounding cities.

This will be my 4th trip to South Korea (wife is Korean) so you can imagine I have pretty much done all of the touristy places and attractions, primarily in Seoul but other cities as well (Busan, Gyeongju, and Chuncheon where my wife was from). I will be in South Korea for 20 days but I will be doing a couple of trips (East Coast and Jeju Island), 4 days each, so I figure I have about 10 days left, give or take. Some of which will obviously be spent with families and friends.

From my research, here are some of the more off-the-beaten path places and activities in Seoul that I have not done. I don't speak Korean but have had no problem navigating Seoul on my own or with a buddy on prior trips so feel free to suggest anything you deem fit

In no particular order.

- Namseong Market
- Inwangsan
- Konkuk University
- Dapsimni Antique Market
- Seoul Wall of Fortress
- Moran Meat Market

Thanks.
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Old Jul 19, 16, 1:40 pm
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- Seoul Wall of Fortress

Seoul Wall of Fortress was awesome! The hike was pretty steep in some areas so it can be pretty tough, but the view of the city from the top was beautiful! Don't forget to bring ID (I used my passport) because you need special permission to access the Wall. A funny story regarding the Wall. As you can imagine, my friends and I took many pictures while hiking the wall. Suddenly we heard a loud siren going off and a door in a nearby shack opened up next to us. A secret service agent runs out and heads down the hill. A few minutes later, the agent comes back to us and asks to look at my friends camera. Unbeknownst to my friend, he accidentally snapped a few pictures of the guard houses along the way while trying to capture pics of the city. They deleted all of them and let us continue on our way. Embarrassing but interesting story hehe. Security is tight!
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Old Jul 19, 16, 4:31 pm
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The weather at this time of year in Korea is about as warm as it gets, so if I was in your shoes my primary interest would probably be comfort, as in avoiding anything strenuous out in the heat and humidity, but each to his own.

During much cooler weather-- admittedly, more than a few years ago-- I did the hike from Pyeongchang-Dong to Dae Nam Mun. I thought it was interesting, and the view from the gate is pretty nice, as you can see from the panoramic shot linked at the URL above.

I don't know how it would be now, but I also took a day trip out to Kangwha-Do a couple of times, where I was able to look across the water (northern part of the island) to see North Korea. What was amazing to me was that the Norks had completely denuded all the ground around the coast, apparently to remove anything that might be used to cover movement in or out of North Korea. At the time, I took a bus from Seoul; I would guess the bus probably still runs out there.
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Old Aug 19, 16, 10:25 am
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Yes, I'm curious about day trips/OTBP excursions specifically pertaining to food (markets) and unusual architecture. I know that Seoul/Incheon are crazy about modernist steel/glass edifices, but I'm talking about pretty much anything else.

Thanks,
BmB
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Old Aug 21, 16, 8:59 am
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Have you been to Tongin Market for the lunchbox cafe? You pay like 6,000W and get an empty plate with some tokens and can go around the market and fill up your tray with whatever you want.

Also, Gongdeok Market? I know Gwangjin Market has the main drag of tourist places, BUT within the market and the surrounding alleys are some amazing Beef Sashimi places. Also, I found a great Garlic Dak Bokkeumtang place randomly in a back alley of Jongno.

One idea for food (and you'll need your wife's Korean help)... there's a chef here, Baek Jeong Won, who runs a giant operation of popular chain restaurants. Meat, soups, etc. Wildly popular. BUT, what's more important is that he has several TV shows now. On these shows, he goes to random restaurants and makes his "list" of places he recommends. Yes, it's featured on TV, but they are certainly random restaurants you or most Koreans have never visited. Maybe that could give you some guidance.

Honestly, the food markets don't really change. They've all been there forever selling the same stuff haha.

And yes, the heat and humidity right now is GROSS. And I'm from the Southeastern US. I mean if you're visiting and you have to be outside, you just have to bear it. But prepare for an evening shower or change of clothes if you're out all day. Your clothes will be soaked.

If you want, I can certainly recommend you a ton of random places I go to eat that are local, popular, and delicious. Send me a PM if so.
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Old Aug 23, 16, 4:47 am
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Thanks for the suggestions, lads! I have been in Seoul for 1 week but only had time to explore a bit today. I went to the War Memorial, Namseong Market, Little Russia near Dongdaemun and finally Tongin Market. Surprised to see shops closing early at Tongin (I was there around 6 pm) but I did grab some food before heading home.

On tap tomorrow is probably Dapsimni Antique Market and Moran Market. Seoul Fortress for Thursday and yes it's real humid now. I don't perspire a lot but it's pretty nuts out.
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Old Sep 4, 16, 7:19 pm
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For future searchers that stumble on this thread, one of my occasional visits is The Marmot's Photo Blog, and when I am planning to be in Seoul I will page through looking for places to see.
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Old Sep 5, 16, 11:28 am
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You might see his pics but most can't experience Seoul that way.
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Old Sep 5, 16, 11:36 am
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The Marmot also used to be the most generic foreign blogger in this country but he reformed. Making that lens work!
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Old Sep 5, 16, 8:10 pm
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Originally Posted by mikesaidyes View Post
The Marmot also used to be the most generic foreign blogger in this country but he reformed. Making that lens work!
I agree that the photos are of greater interest than the blog ever was, but if someone is looking for off-the-beaten-path stuff, Koehler's photos are a decent source of inspiration and ideas. He's surrendered himself to Korea, assuming he hasn't changed too much, and even if one doesn't visit, say, Bukchon-Dong, one can do a little vicarious travel through the photos.

Sometimes he does food porn, which I always appreciate.
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Old Sep 6, 16, 12:37 am
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Thanks for that blog, I'll have a look to get some ideas for the next trip. The father-in-law already asks when I plan to come back and for that I say 2018, hope to catch some Winter Olympics action as well.

I didn't have a chance to go to Ganghwa-do but did manage to squeeze in a day trip to Suwon to see the Hwaseong Fortress and 2 days in Gangneung/Jeongdongjin for assorted attractions. In between was 3 day on Jeju Island so all in all, an action-packed trip.

Thanks to all for your feedback again.
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