Seoul is a huge metropolis where skyscrapers and modern architecture meet palaces, temples and street markets. It is a tourist-friendly destination, and is easy to navigate for any traveler. Public transport is very clean and convenient, so you can opt for the same unhesitatingly. When it comes to travel and sightseeing, do enjoy the local culture and capture plenty of memories!
Useful tips for tourists flying to Seoul
Where to shop
There are plenty of shopping areas in Seoul; so, shopaholics rejoice! The largest market is in Dongdaemun, wherein you will find malls that retail a wide array of clothes and accessories. Among the popular malls are Times Square, COEX Mall, and Star City. Do not forget to buy the local handicrafts and especially the delicate porcelain. The Yongsan Electronics Market is probably the largest of its kind in Asia, with all kinds of electronic goods available. Do visit the Hongdae Playground, where street vendors set up stalls in the evenings, and do keep an eye out for flea markets on the weekends on Hongdea Playground from the months of March to November.
What to eat
Koreans eat a variety of delicious food, so make sure the local street hawkers and vendors are on your dine-out list. As you explore, you’ll see that Korean food is more than just Bibimbap (which is delicious!), Bulgogi and Kimchi! For the meat lovers, try the Korean Barbeque that encompasses everything from lamb to duck. Indulge your sweet tooth with the traditional ice dessert called Bingsu, with different types of toppings. Street food too offers a wide variety, including Tteokbokki (spice rice cake), odeng (fish cake), and dak kkochi (chicken skewers). You should pay a visit to the Myeongdong, Jongno, Hongdae and Edae areas for this food.
The local language
While Korean (or Hangul) is the official language, it has several dialects and a different variety is spoken in every state. However, getting yourself understood in English is not difficult.
Here are some phrases that should help you while in Seoul:
– Hello/ good morning/ afternoon/ evening
• Gamsa hamnida
– Thank you
• Sille hamnida
– You are welcome
Dos and Don’ts
• It is rather insulting if you leave half your meal unfinished.
• Do not hold a glass with one hand; it is considered bad manners.
• Do not turn up unannounced, especially for a meeting with a local.
• Do not forget to introduce yourself with a bow, and a firm handshake.
• Do not blow your nose in public.
• Do not wear footwear when entering a home or temple.
• While traveling by bus, do not sit on the seats reserved for the elderly.
• Do not talk loudly on public transportation; it is considered rude.
• It is considered offensive to leave a tip at restaurants.
Emergency contact numbers
• Information Assistance: Not applicable
• 24-hour Chemist: Taedongmun Pharmacy, in Pyongyang
• Fire: 119
• Police: 112
• Ambulance: 119
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