Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Korea
Reload this Page >

Seoul / Korea 8-9 days, New Year 2017/2018 planning.

Seoul / Korea 8-9 days, New Year 2017/2018 planning.

Old May 15, 17, 11:18 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Programs: HH Diamond, IHG Plat, GHA Black
Posts: 1,636
Seoul / Korea 8-9 days, New Year 2017/2018 planning.

Hi everyone!!

Korea newbie here, planning to do a winter trip, around a week or so. Planning to arrive on 26th Dec 21st Dec, and depart around 3rd or 4th January on 02nd Jan.

Evolving Itinerary in Progress (updated 08/28):

21st Dec -- Arrive in Seoul (~10am).
21st-25th Dec: Seoul, Nami Island, JSA/DMZ-tour, Christmas.
26th-28th Dec: Skiing (Either Vivaldi or YongPyong).
29th-01st Jan: Gyeong-Ju & Busan, then travel back to Seoul.
02nd Jan: 11am Flight from Seoul.

Previous OP saved for 'audit trails,' please ignore:
Spoiler
Thoughts -- I want to spend maybe 1-and-a-half or 2 days ski'ing. Google seems to recommend Yongpyong, but I'm open to take the recommendations of the Korean experts on these boards Skill level: 1x Intermediate, 1x Strong Beginner, 2x First Timers, 2x Non-Skiiers who will probably need to find some way to entertain themselves while the rest of us hit the slopes.

Next question: Are there any particular things to take note of around NY Eve? i.e. should I plan to be in a certain place (maybe to be in Seoul itself to do the countdown)?

Very rough thoughts (work in progress):

26th Dec - 27th Dec Seoul
(We arrive in the early morning after a red-eye)
Gyeongbokgung for sightseeing
Insadong for shopping & food (?)
Others TBC

28th Dec - DMZ (?)

29th-30th Dec - Skiing / Yongpyong
Should I do two day trips, or relocate to Yongpyong for 1 or 2 nights? We are all casual skiiers and don't have our own gear.

31st Dec - 1st Jan - Jeju Back to Seoul
Itinerary TBC

2nd - 3rd Jan (maybe) - Busan
Itinerary TBC

I guess I might either fly back on 3rd Jan or 4th Jan from Incheon depending on the flight timings.

Last edited by shuigao; Aug 27, 17 at 7:57 pm
shuigao is offline  
Old May 15, 17, 11:39 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: SEA/ORD
Programs: Delta Platinum Medallion, Alaska MVP Gold 75K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold, IHG Plat
Posts: 735
My biggest concern is that you may be trying to do too much, and you will be spending a lot of time/money in transit and checking in/out of hotels. Plus you seem to have a fairly large group of travelers, and logistics can get complicated.

I'm planning a 10 day trip as well for June. Seoul is large enough that I ended up extending the stay from 4 nights to a full week. One night in Busan is perfectly reasonable. For Jeju, if you are spending that much money on flights to get to Jeju, you definitely want to spend at least two nights there to make it worthwhile.
Explorer789 is offline  
Old May 15, 17, 11:56 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Programs: HH Diamond, IHG Plat, GHA Black
Posts: 1,636
Originally Posted by Explorer789 View Post
My biggest concern is that you may be trying to do too much, and you will be spending a lot of time/money in transit and checking in/out of hotels.
I see. Have google'd a bit and seen that Jeju needs flights, but Busan is "only" a 2.5hr rail ride away. Plus the 3-day Korail pass is uh ... around 113,000won which is reasonable.

Think I'll probably cut out Jeju, and just do Seoul, Yongpyong, DMZ and Busan
shuigao is offline  
Old May 16, 17, 12:21 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Programs: KE Skypass Morning Calm Member, OZ Club, JL Mileage Bank
Posts: 1,697
You are doing too much.

Jeju is a great change of pace from Seoul, BUT you must have an international driver's license to rent a car and drive OR pay 100-150 USD for a private taxi tour (maximum four passengers). If you do the taxi tour, it is economical because the island is so big and they will take you everywhere. You can arrange your flights to arrive at the airport at 9 and they pick you up there. They will drive you until 7 and drop you off at hotel. Then, the next day, again 9-7 and drop you off at airport for your 8 PM flight back to Gimpo. Public transportation in Jeju is not reliable and would take HOURS.

Busan is a cool city, but honestly, you won't feel much difference from Seoul in two days. You should spend more time in Seoul.

Also, for skiing, it is not worth an overnight stay. The options are expensive and there isn't much to do there at night. Instead, the ski resorts offer shuttle buses from Seoul and you can do a full day trip. Save your time. As far as which resort is good.....they are all crowded, busy, similarly priced and similar levels of difficulty. It's not worth a two day trip.

For New Year's Eve, the only "big event" is in Jongno near the Bell Tower. Most Koreans just go to bars or don't even celebrate. If they do celebrate, they always go to the east coast to watch the first sunrise.

But, all in all, I think you are trying to do too much in a short time. I understand you want to see the country, but you can definitely spend 3-4 days in Seoul and still have a lot to do.

I am happy to help you out and provide advice, but Seoul is so big and full of things to do that I can't possibly tell you everything. Let me know what you and your group like to do, ages, etc.
mikesaidyes is offline  
Old May 16, 17, 5:22 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota,USA
Programs: UA, NW
Posts: 3,695
Originally Posted by mikesaidyes View Post
You are doing too much.


I am happy to help you out and provide advice, but Seoul is so big and full of things to do that I can't possibly tell you everything. Let me know what you and your group like to do, ages, etc.
I agree. I spent one night in Busan, one in Gyeongju, and three nights in Seoul a couple of years ago, as an add-on to a trip that concentrated on Japan, and I wish I had allowed more time, definitely another night in Gyeongju (it's more spread out than the guidebook indicated) and a couple more days in Seoul.
ksandness is offline  
Old May 17, 17, 6:51 am
  #6  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Travel Safety/Security & Texas
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: AUS / GRK
Programs: AA EXP, HHonors Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 10,980
Agree with everyone else, spend more time in/around Seoul.

Not sure if it is still there, but there's a folk village that can make a good daytrip from Seoul, if the weather is ok and you're up to it.

I'm not sure how Pusan would be in January; I'd imagine better weather than Seoul. But most people seem to go there for the beach, and I don't see that happening in January. I've been there in the summer and it was very nice then. I've never been, but I've heard that Chejudo has a more mild climate. Other than having to fly, that would be my preference for Dec/Jan, but I don't know what you'd want to do while you're there. It used to be known for mountain climbing, or at least everyone I knew who went there did that.

In Dec/Jan, the weather could be quite frigid. I spent a year in Korea while in the Army a while ago...arrived in early Jan and left in late Dec. Being outside in the cold, snow, and rain/mud (because it may warm and thaw a little during the day) will really wear on you after a few days. I'd give yourself some leeway to do a spa-type thing for a day or something else more indoors...Lotte World used to have enough stuff inside to keep you busy.
aztimm is offline  
Old May 17, 17, 11:54 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Programs: HH Diamond, IHG Plat, GHA Black
Posts: 1,636
Points taken!!

I've cut out Jeju entirely, so going to concentrate on Seoul. Still haven't updated the proposed itinerary on the 1st post cos I'm talking to the other participants (spouse, parents-in-law, 2x brothers-in-law) about what they're interests are in South korea. But it's like a chicken and egg situation cos they're turning it around saying "I don't know what Korea has to offer so I don't know what i want to see."

At some point I'm gonna just plan according to what interests me and they can just shut up and come along.
shuigao is offline  
Old May 18, 17, 12:05 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Somewhere in Y class
Programs: OZ D+ Lifetime
Posts: 1,100
In regards to skiing, I offer the opposite opinion of mikesaidyes. I would recommend staying there for one or two nights. Staying at a ski resort can be quite fun. After a day of skiing, being able to relax with friends at the resort beats having to worry about catching the bus back to Seoul. As for the skiing itself, I feel that the mountain caters to mostly beginner and intermediate skiers/snowboarders. The place will certainly be in good condition, with the winter Olympics soon.
nme7 is offline  
Old May 18, 17, 12:45 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: SEA/ORD
Programs: Delta Platinum Medallion, Alaska MVP Gold 75K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold, IHG Plat
Posts: 735
Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
Points taken!!

I've cut out Jeju entirely, so going to concentrate on Seoul. Still haven't updated the proposed itinerary on the 1st post cos I'm talking to the other participants (spouse, parents-in-law, 2x brothers-in-law) about what they're interests are in South korea. But it's like a chicken and egg situation cos they're turning it around saying "I don't know what Korea has to offer so I don't know what i want to see."

At some point I'm gonna just plan according to what interests me and they can just shut up and come along.
Summed up what I thought when first considering SK. The easiest selling point is culture, food, and shopping in Seoul, and personal emphasis on food for me. The number of good restaurants/street stalls are endless and dishes tend to be small portioned, which allows for sampling a dozen dishes (or more if eating with others) each meal for a very reasonable price.

You can cover two to three districts a day. Start wherever your hotel is (I would suggest Myeongdong) and work your way around clockwise or ccw.
Explorer789 is offline  
Old May 18, 17, 2:37 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Programs: KE Skypass Morning Calm Member, OZ Club, JL Mileage Bank
Posts: 1,697
Korea is more about food, nightlife, shopping and city life than proper tourist sites and history. You can do most tourist sites in a day or two. Then just spend the rest of time on food tours, day trips like skiing, or to other areas like Gyeongju (the cultural capital). Gyeongju is really great as you can see the countryside, learn some history and get some fresh air. There is good, basic English tourist information as well so it's easy to get around.

And nme is right about skiing. I am not a big skiier, so I would just rather do a day trip and head back personally haha.
mikesaidyes is offline  
Old May 19, 17, 10:35 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota,USA
Programs: UA, NW
Posts: 3,695
Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
Points taken!!

I've cut out Jeju entirely, so going to concentrate on Seoul. Still haven't updated the proposed itinerary on the 1st post cos I'm talking to the other participants (spouse, parents-in-law, 2x brothers-in-law) about what they're interests are in South korea. But it's like a chicken and egg situation cos they're turning it around saying "I don't know what Korea has to offer so I don't know what i want to see."

At some point I'm gonna just plan according to what interests me and they can just shut up and come along.
This is why my standard advice to anyone going anywhere the first time is to buy a guidebook, but a lot of people never seem to think of that.

I suggest The Insight Guide to South Korea for an overview of the history, culture, food, society, etc. plus narrative accounts of the major cities and tourist areas, all with gorgeous photos. This will give you an idea of what you might want to see and do. In addition to South Korea, I have used the Insight Series for Taiwan, Beijing, Los Angeles, Cuba, England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.

Then get a more practical guidebook, such as Frommers, Lonely Planet, or the Rough Guide to figure out the practicalities. For example, these guidebooks will tell you about visa requirements, health matters, possible dangers, options for transportation to and from the airport and around the country, lodging, restaurants, night life, when the museums and other cultural institutions are open or closed, etc.

You have seven months, so it's time for you and your relatives to start reading.
ksandness is offline  
Old Jul 9, 17, 1:05 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 1
Quick question for everyone traveling or who has traveled to Korea, what airlines did you use, I'm flying out of LAX if that helps in looking at buying tickets within the next 2 weeks looking at travel days that are Dec 12- Dec 27, Thank You in advance
Melvin Herrera is offline  
Old Jul 9, 17, 6:58 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DCA/IAD
Programs: IHG, SPG, Hyatt, AS, AC, BA, AA, VS
Posts: 3,202
I flew Korean Airlines (KE). But I was in business and first, so if you're going in the back I can't help. I believe I've read that economy is decent though.
glennaa11 is offline  
Old Jul 9, 17, 9:49 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Somewhere in Y class
Programs: OZ D+ Lifetime
Posts: 1,100
Out of LAX, both Asiana and Korean Air offer two nonstop flights per day. Right now Korean has an extra 3rd flight (KE15/16) but I believe it is to cover peak summer time demand. It is not scheduled to go beyond the end of August. Regardless, you have at least 4 flights to choose from. There is also Singapore Airlines SQ7/8 that flights nonstop ICN/LAX. I've never tried Singapore on this route so I can't give you an opinion on it, but I assume it would be up to their usual high standard.

In terms of the service, you will find both Asiana and Korean are virtually identical. Flight attendants are attentive and respond fairly quickly to passenger requests. Asiana and Korean both fly A380s to LAX (minus KE 15/16). Economy seats are about the same, with maybe the addition of a footrest in Asiana. Seat pitch is excellent (33-34"). For business class on the A380, I would say Asiana is better. Korean Air has an older 2-2-2 tandem seat layout. Still good seats, but not as private as Asiana's 1-2-1 layout. First class, both are very nice, with maybe Asiana having slightly more privacy due to the higher walls of the suites. Food is generally excellent on both.

Last edited by nme7; Jul 9, 17 at 10:55 am
nme7 is offline  
Old Jul 9, 17, 10:10 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Programs: KE Skypass Morning Calm Member, OZ Club, JL Mileage Bank
Posts: 1,697
Asiana has economy seats on the upper deck. Very private cabin and feels more spacious than downstairs (less seats per row and there are even large storage bins on the side like business class).

The Singapore Airlines flight arrives late into Seoul which means that you will have to take an expensive taxi or a late night bus that comes every hour or so....if you miss the last airport train or normal limousine buses.
mikesaidyes is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread