I have been staying here for 4 years, but still a lot of places I have not been visiting too. I will recommend some famous places and more familiar to me. There are some guide I will give though:
- Which season do you like? If you like winter, come in late December - Feb, then you can see the snow and also ski. If you want like autumn, come in October and November. I don't like summer here but the air ticket is cheap in summer. Come in early Apr for the cherry flower / sakura!
- What is your main purpose to visit Korea? Shopping - then set the places like MyeongDong, Dongdaemun and Namdaemun markets, and etc. If you want to shop for resell, go to Namdaemun. Explore Korea - go to the palace, Insa-dong, traditional house, folk museum and etc. To see North Korea - DMZ! ... Theme parks - Everland if you have time, Lotte World is nearer in town area.
- What do you want to eat? Korean food is mostly hot and spicy! Most of my friends tried the spicy food but sometimes it made them to visit the toilet. Prepare some pills to make your stomach feel better. In my must eat list: bulgogi, samgyepsal (bbq pork), ginseng chicken, bibimbap, kimchi stew and soybean paste stew. Most of the time if you come in tour package, you sure will try all these. Thus, I challenge you to try raw octopus 낙지, if you dare. 한정식 Korean food in one whole table - also a must eat but only if you are affordable to order one - price is counted per head.
- How about street food? Most of them are safe to eat and must try! 떡볶기 Ddokbokgi or spicy fried rice cake is spicy yet if you dare to eat, try it. They are served with fried dumpling/ yam/ vegetable/ cuttlefish/ prawns etc. Also you can find 순데 sun-dae - sausage made of bean curd and green-bean sprouts stuffed in pig intestine. I will blog it in another post for the detailed and with photos. I like rice cake a lot.
- What to buy for souvenirs? Think of whom are you going to give to? What they like to eat? Normally we buy kim or seaweed, we Malaysians and my Hong Kong friends like them so much. You can get it cheap in big mart. The snacks here are also can be a gift to the children. Most of my friends buy Korean cosmetics too. The last but not the least, kim chi! I believe kim chi is a good souvenir as you can buy in package form (for small amount), and even you want to buy more, buy the fresh made one and the mart will do the packaging for you to put in your luggage.
- Place to stay - hotels here are expensive. Because of my house is small, my friends mostly stay in hotels. They found the quite good hotels in a good price. I believe it is not a difficult matter but as I say, you must know your purpose of visiting Korea, then find the nearest hotel that is convenient to you.
- Shopping tips - learn basic Korean and other than mart, you can negotiate the prices. If you have local friends, ask them to shop with you, they know where to get the cheap and good things.
Hope it can help you to make a happy travel through this simple tips.