12 hours in South Korea--suggestions?

I’m going to have a 12 hour layover in South Korea. I’d just as soon leave the airport and see something interesting. Suggestions? Thanks.

Stay away from the Australian embassy.

Depends on what you want to see. There are some palaces, museums, and interesting shopping districts in the north part of Seoul.

Kyeongbok Palace
Changduk Palace
Duksoo Palace
Seoul Museum of Art - right next to Duksoo Palace, very pretty area if the weather is nice
Insadong

All of these places are fairly close to each other. You can try the Seoul tourism website for more information. There’s also a city bus that lets you off at most of the main attractions - I think a one-day pass gets you discounts at some of the museums and stuff.

Let me know if you need any more information. :slight_smile:

PS - for general information try http://www.lifeinkorea.com/

If it were me, I would go to a Korean sauna bathhouse, or jim jil bang. I’ve been to a Korean-run jim jil bang in NYC* and it is AMAZING. The one I’ve been to in NY is set up like the partly coed facility described in the last paragraph of the link above – in coed areas, like saunas and lounge rooms, you wear a super ugly uniform. In the hot tub/shower areas, it’s gender segregated and nudity is mandatory.

*Spa Castle. 5,000 sq. feet of wonderful in the ass-end of Queens.

Thanks for the suggestions.

It would be very tight on the schedule, but you could do a tour of the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. The tunnel tour is pretty meh, but the part at Panmunjom is cool. It’s very common to have North Korean soldiers come out and glare at you from 30 feet away with binoculars.

There used to be one tour a day leaving from the airport, but that appears to have been suspended.

Make sure you have all your shots. Stay away from barber shops, tatoo parlors, and bars. Beware of local water, ice, and local milk. Stay away from spiders, snakes, and catepillars. You might Google on keywords, like “visiting Korea” to know what else to expect.

From the South it is at least a half day tour. There are a few companies near the Lotte hotel that do it.

I have done the tour from both the North and the South and I would not do it again from the South side… too many restrictions and paranoia… and a lot more propaganda.

From the North side it was fascinating and we had a lot more freedom (eg there is a dress code, you are not allowed to point and more restricted photography when visiting from the South)… plus you get South Koreans and Americans staring at you through the windows of the blue UN building.