I’ve had many great experiences already since entering Korea. I have two weeks before I enter university here, so I have been doing quite a lot of touring. That is why I haven’t posted much since arriving, but I have more than enough to write about.
Walking. Best to get used to it, because chances are you will be walking a lot. The public transportation is incredible here (I’ll follow up in the next post on the Seoul subway system, which is phenomenal!). Especially if you are coming just to tour, a 20 minute walk becomes short. BUT there are so many great sites to see as you are wandering around. Landmarks are numerous, whether you are in 홍대 (Hongdae district) or meandering through 광화문시장 (Gwanghwamun Market), there are floods of lights and aesthetically appealing buildings.
I am from a suburb of a smaller city in the United States. It certainly is nothing like the sprawling streets of Seoul. I expected to see tall buildings cramped together similar to that of downtown Chicago but, to my surprise, Seoul is much more spread out. Certainly the buildings are more than a couple levels and there are areas of skyscraping wonders, yet the area Seoul covers is astonishing. When you start exploring, you rapidly realize why Seoul is split into districts. It would be impossible to manage otherwise and for the locals the districts are great ways to spatially remember the city.
Even though the area of Seoul is massive, the subway does a fantastic job getting you close to your destinations. The stations have several exits for maximum efficiency, but if you wish to see some of the top ranked sites be prepared. Make sure to bring suitable clothes and a decent pair of walking shoes because you may be on your feet the entire day, even on the subway. Streets are not very well marked aside from the main roads, but many times the main landmarks will be right next to the stations. If you don’t have a map, the street signs are a life saver.
Fortunately, many locals are glad to help out even if you need to use English to ask. Getting around Seoul is quite easy if you can speak English, but I would always recommend brushing up on the Korean unit on directions. At the very least, you will bring a smile to their face when you whip out your Korean vocabulary.
Let me know what other topics you would like me to find out and write about. I’ll add them to my list~~