So we're going to Seoul, what do I need to see? stay away from? etc.

My girlfriend and I are going to Korea next week to visit one of our best friends – who’s Korean, so we’ll have a pretty good tour guide.

I’m wondering if anyone has any good suggestions about what to do in and around Seoul. We’ll only be there for a week, so we can’t do that much. I’m looking at this Lonely Planet book and thinking how much I hate tour books.

Our friend’s got stuff planned for us, but I know first hand how hard it is to think of what’s going to be interesting when your talking about a town you’ve lived in your whole life.

Some specific questions:

  • I want to go to the DMZ. First of all, is that worth it? If so, can our friend come with us? The book says that Panmunjeom is open to foreigners but Korean civillians “are not normally allowed there.” What does normally mean?

  • What historical monuments are worth seeing?

  • Any particular arts-fartsy stuff? Good music, performances, etc.

Any suggestions are welcome. I’m really looking forward to going to Korea, though I’m a bit nervous of how I’ll be received there, seeing as I’ve heard from both Korean and foreign friends that most Koreans aren’t particularly open to foreigners (our friend was shocked at how open and friendly people here in Taiwan were when she came to visit us).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.