Couple of days in Seoul.

4 replies

qfflyer

Member since 26 May 2012

Total posts 131

Couple of days in Seoul. Couple of days in Tokyo. Any tips?

Time Traveller

Member since 27 Nov 2014

Total posts 1

Enjoy the trip.  I had a couple of days in both these places in the last couple of months:

Seoul: 

USO Koridoor Tour of the DMZ - there are lots of tours but this one takes you to the JSA (the actual border with North Korea).  You go into the Freedom house and actually stand in North Korea.  Very tense but an amazing day tour from Seoul.  Don't take a trip unless they take you into the Freedom house.  You need to submit passports a few days before and they will also ask if you are going to defect. 

The Military museums are also good.  Buy a Subway top up card.  Easy that can also be used in taxi's, at fast food places and also 7-Eleven.  I don't ride a lot of public transport in OZ but took about 20 rides and didn't get lost once.  Cheaper and often better/quicker than taxi's.

Tokyo:

 Similar to Seoul in using the subway.

I did a day trip to Mount Fuji also including a ride on the bullet train.  I didn't get outside Tokyo and there are lots of day trips.

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 20 Aug 2014

Total posts 133

I'd definitely recommend the Korean War Memorial Museum. Outside there is a huge array of military equipment from small artilery right thru to a B-52 bomber.  Inside is good too. Allow 3 hours.

ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 27 Nov 2014

Total posts 21

Seoul:

  • Can definitely recommend the USO/Koridoor DMZ/JSA tour - I was in Seoul last week and it was absolutely a highlight of our trip. The JSA is an absolute must - the Third Tunnel isn't that interesting (especially if you're >6ft tall like myself and don't like spending 20 minutes bent over while walking through the tunnel) but I'd still recommend taking the full-day tour if possible. They do explain a lot of the context on the tour, but it's still worth reading up a bit on the Korean War and the role of the DMZ beforehand. Be warned that if you do the Koridoor full-day tour, the restaurant they take you to for dinner only offers two options for meals, so if you're not a huge fan of Korean food and/or you have dietary requirements, take some snacks. Also it's about 3-4 hours on a bus to get there and back.
  • The Seoul Metro subway system is really good and quite cheap by Australian standards (especially given that the Airport Express takes you from ICN into the city for KRW3,950 = ~AU$4.18 for a ~50km journey).
  • A T-money card is very helpful for trains and taxis, and costs KRW3,000 from the automatic vending machines. It also works in some other places in Korea - you can use it on the Busan Metro for instance.
  • There's a bunch of nice palaces and such if you're into that kind of thing, e.g. Changdeokgung - not quite at the level of Beijing's Forbidden City, but still quite impressive. Don't need more than an hour or two to explore though.
  • Surprisingly few Western tourists - lots more Chinese/Japanese tourists. Most people speak only minimal English, but most signs are at least bi- if not tri- or quad-lingual, so it's still easy to get around.

Tokyo:

I only got to spend a couple of days there earlier this year - it's a big city with a lot to explore.

  • Subway system - similar to Seoul, very extensive and very efficient, though be prepared to be packed in like sardines if you want to take a train during peak hour.
  • Get a Suica card - also usable on most other public transport systems in Japan, I used it on the Fukuoka Subway earlier this week
  • Skytree is nice if you're into observation towers
  • Akihabara (Akiba) is a sight to behold, especially if you're into technology. Even the ground floor of Yodobashi-Akiba puts most Australian electronics stores to shame...
  • Japan's electricity grid does not use earthing - as such, you can only use double-insulated appliances, and the sockets only take 2 pins, so you won't be able to use your Australian->US adapter. If you've got a 3-pin device you need to use over there, Yodobashi (and I'm sure many other stores in Japan) stock special 3-pin to 2-pin adapters which allow the earth pin to be connected to an external ground - of course, if you're lazy, you can take the risk and just use it without hooking up the earth pin. (Similarly you can also use 2-pin adapters that are small enough to not cover the earth pin.)

ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 27 Nov 2014

Total posts 21

Also, in both Seoul and Tokyo, a lot of places don't take credit card - most touristy places do, but smaller restaurants and such may not. So be prepared to carry a fair amount of cash. In Japan, many ATMs won't take international cards, some ATMs may not take MasterCard, and most ATMs have designated operating hours so it's hard to get cash after midnight. Your best bet is to go to a 7-Eleven or a Japan Post outlet - their ATMs will accept international cards.

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