Author Topic: South Korea - best way to travel?  (Read 5743 times)

Offline sll24

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South Korea - best way to travel?
« on: Jul 03, 12, 12:27 PM »
bus or train? i plan to hit seoraksan, andong, gyeongju, jirisan and buyeo (forget the modern name). do hop on hop off train tickets for foreigners have to be bought outside of korea, like the jap ones?

Offline wei

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 03, 12, 03:42 PM »
you can do a combination of bus and trains. for eg. to get to seoraksan, there is no direct trains. you will have to bus the last stretch to get to sokcho. From sokcho, it is a 30 minute local bus. You can use sokcho as a base, instead of staying at the foot of seoraksan. Public transport is cheap in south korea. there is no rail passes, but it does not cost much to get the bus or train tickets from leg to leg. there is no need to get tickets in advance. i usually just get the tickets when i arrive at the bus or train stations. there are many buses a day to all major destinations.

Offline sll24

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 03, 12, 04:00 PM »
Thanks for the info! Was language a problem when u were there? Buying tickets getting directions etc?

My prev trips were only to Seoul on biz and I recall they dodnt speak or understand much English after you exited cbd

Offline wei

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 04, 12, 11:59 AM »
I only knew how to say "aneyeo haseyeo" and "kamsa hamida" the first time I went to Korea. It was enough. I survived 2 weeks plus backpacking on my own. You just need these two words and a huge smile, you can get anywhere and everywhere. This applies not just to Korea, but any other foreign country. :P

There are tourists information booths in every Korean city. Head for those and grab some brochures and maps and get the people at the info booths to give you all the info you need for the city. If there is a place you need to find, just get these people to write down the address in Hangeul for you and then show it to the people on the street and you will be pointed in the right direction. Except for Seoul, you will find Koreans happy to help and guide you everywhere. They will tell you which bus to take, hold you by the hand and bring you to your address or just whip out the handphones to make enquiry phone calls for you. If you do want to approach the locals and speak in English, you may fare better asking the younger generation since there is a higher chance that they speak English or they are less shy speaking to foreigners. Alternatively, you may just want to try Chinese. Yes, Chinese. Chinese are everywhere these days and many Koreans are learning the language in order to get more businesses. Sometimes, you get Chinese making a living there too. Everything is well signed in Korea and you usually get English signs everywhere. The only times I am in despair was when it comes to meal times. You willl not get English menu especially in food courts. Learn the names of one or two common dishes like bibimbap or ramyeon, or else do the universal thing aka point to the pictures or point to the dish the customer next to you is having. They usually have picture menu.

Offline nuts

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 05, 12, 03:14 AM »
yup, try chinese... was at a visitor centre at Mokpo and the lady was using bad english to try to explain things to us... then I made a comment to my friend in chinese, and then... things became easier ;) (she's a chinese immigrant)

btw, for seoraksan, you can also stay in the village just few km from the park entrance... many motels, hostels, homestays...
and if you wanna stay in the park itself (great for night photography!), there is only one hotel (good value during low season)

Offline RonnyTan

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #5 on: Sep 11, 12, 02:16 AM »
I went to Seoul & Jeju with my friends during winter last year and it was a pretty neat experience! You don't really need to learn how to speak or read Korean because they do have signs in English + quite a number of people there actually converse in Mandarin.

Pretty easy to survive and get around, imo.

Offline sll24

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #6 on: Sep 12, 12, 01:57 PM »
I went to Seoul & Jeju with my friends during winter last year and it was a pretty neat experience! You don't really need to learn how to speak or read Korean because they do have signs in English + quite a number of people there actually converse in Mandarin.

Pretty easy to survive and get around, imo.

i guess that's true if you stick to the big cities which see a lot of tourists. i'll be going to smaller towns mostly, so, well, we'll see!

Offline uncle gg

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #7 on: Sep 12, 12, 03:04 PM »
i guess that's true if you stick to the big cities which see a lot of tourists. i'll be going to smaller towns mostly, so, well, we'll see!

hi, smaller cities u mean like Andong? Gwangju? mind share your itinerary? thanks

Offline sll24

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 12, 12, 04:05 PM »
yes andong is one of them, cheongsong, gongju/buyeo, jeonju, gyeongju. some are big towns but don't see as many intl tourists as say jeju, busan or seoul.

Offline wei

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #9 on: Sep 12, 12, 05:11 PM »
gyeongju, and jeonju are pretty touristy places. they are easy to walk around too. just grab a map and you can do the sights easily on your own. no need worry too much abt the language problem. andong was still not so popular with foreign tourists when i was there a few years back. may have changed, but i doubt so. many pp i speak to never hear of andong. your biggest problem will be getting a place to stay since there was no hostel there the last time i was there. you will probably have to get a hotel and if you want something cheap for one person, tt will take some effort. i spent 2 hours trying to look for the places stated in the LP simply because i couldn't find english speaking people to ask for directions, neither did they know the hotel i want to find. the other problem is getting to the traditional village. you have to take the local buses and make sure u go to the right bus stop. check with the people from the hotel. as for food, do it the universal way: go in, see wat others are eating, point and u will be served. haven't been to the other places, so cannot help you there. 

Offline sll24

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #10 on: Sep 14, 12, 02:11 PM »
i think i'll have an adventure in andong. not only will i have to find the right bus to hahoe, i'll have to find accommodation in the village too because there is a fireworks session there in the evening during the maskdance festival. the buses stop running after 6pm (dunno if they extend during festival) so i have no choice but to stay there.

Offline wei

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #11 on: Sep 14, 12, 04:43 PM »
you can try hitching a ride back to andong or just arrange for a cab. from my experiences in south korea, locals in small places like these are really very very nice and friendly. they are most willing to help strangers who are lost or need help. whenever i am in small towns or villages, i just have to open my map to look, and i will get one whole bunch of ahjussis and ahjumas surrounding me, trying to help me. I don't remember there being much accommodation in hahoe. i should think it will be easy to get back to andong if there is a festival. just make friends with the locals. you will get by.

Offline travelbug

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #12 on: Sep 15, 12, 04:41 AM »
For accommodation in andong (or any small village), try jimjilbang.

See an account at this site (also during the mask dance fest)

http://lindsay-alogofmylife.blogspot.sg/2011/10/andong-maskdance-festival-part-2.html?m=1


Offline RonnyTan

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #13 on: Sep 19, 12, 02:59 AM »
Andong looks beautiful! Poolgirl do let me know how it is over there. Might want to visit there too  ;D

Offline ropsie

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Re: South Korea - best way to travel?
« Reply #14 on: Jul 09, 13, 02:52 PM »
The best way to go ard South Korea is by bus and cheap motels!! Forget backpacker hostels...they're not worth it to me.....

Went to Korea solo with no planning...no accomodation bked....u can easily find motels near the bus station and they allow u to check in early in the morning when u reach the city.