2013 Seoul Trip – Afterthoughts

Overall, it was a wonderful trip, and had some quality family time with my mom and aunt. A few things that I’ve learned:

  • I really should’ve invested in a good travel guide, like the Tokyo one. It’s very important to have a local map, with all the marked points of interest, and I would not be standing on the street and looking at my GPS. The biggest problem was google map does not work perfectly in Korea, not sure why.
  • When I was doing the research for this trip, there was a big disconnection between all the Chinese information and English information I’ve got. Since Chinese information has all the names in Hanja, and English information has all the names romanized. I couldn’t connect them at all. Luckily all the train stations have names in three format: English, Hangul, and Hanja. It wasn’t until later in my trip that I could finally connect them together, because the romanization pronunciation are somewhat similar to Chinese.
  • Without any reading knowledge of Korean characters(Hangul), it was hard for me to stay completely calm. For example, when we returned to Gapyeong ferry terminal from Nami Island, I wanted to find a restaurant for lunch. NONE of the restaurants has signs in English or Chinese. I walked into a restaurant, and it was not something I wanted to eat. So I gave up, and bought sandwiches at 7-11.
  • Myeongdong is such a good location for tourists, just like Nanjing Rd. in Shanghai. You’ll have access to all the shops and restaurants that have English/Chinese signs/menus. All tourist areas have English/Chinese/Japanese speaking volunteers standing on the street to help you out, kudos to Korea Tourism Organization!
  • The portable wifi router – WiBro from olleh is a must. Rental process is very simple. I didn’t even need to make reservation before arrival. It helped me a lot during the trip, finding directions, finding restaurants, etc. The battery of these wibro lasts about 10 hours, and it’s just about the right time that we would call it a day.
  • Android App – Daum Maps: I installed this app because reviews mentioned it’s much better than Google map. Well, it was good and powerful app, but since I cannot read Korean, it was not useful to me.
  • Android App – Korea, Seoul Metro Navi: Very useful app if you use subway/train stations in Seoul. User interface is in English, clean, simple, and very informative.
  • Android App – Korean Translator/Dictionary: it didn’t work for me. Most sales in Seoul could speak a little bit of English. The only time that I’ve used this app was at Dongdaemun, a clothing shop, and the sales did not understand what was translated in the app. LOL…
  • Android App – qyer.com (穷游锦囊): it lays out all my itineraries, not bad.
  • hanyouwang.com: a Korea tourist information web site in Chinese language. It was very useful for me to find places to eat!
  • It felt quite differently to watch Korean drama without subtitles in the hotel. I got to watch “The Heirs” almost every night. Without subtitles, I paid closer attention to the language and their acting, oh yah, Lee Min-Ho is super handsome!
  • A snapshot of Heirs:
    Heirs_Oct24

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