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Revision as of 12:08, 15 June 2008 by (talk) (New section: The Truth)
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I cleaned up the grammar & spelling in the "Buy" section Iflipti 10:10, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

Thank you! Jpatokal 10:31, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

This page really needs to adhere to standard Korean-English transliteration... "Apkujong" should be "Apgujeong", etc. Anthonymobile

Wikitravel:Plunge forward! And add in the hangeul so it's easy to double-check correctness. Jpatokal 07:36, 15 March 2006 (EST)
And thanks for your contributions, but please take a look at South Korea and try to make sure they don't overlap too much. For example, dishes like bulgogi can be eaten anywhere in Korea, not just Seoul, and should (and are!) thus be described in the South Korea article. Jpatokal 07:43, 15 March 2006 (EST)

Romanization issues

I think it might not be a bad idea to include both the current Romanization system and the former one (since many people still use it, including the Korea Times, Reuters, BBC (sometimes), many mapmakers, and Korean studies books, etc. As a style, doing this initially (when the name is first mentioned in an article) would be good, with the two divided by a slash: Gangnam/Kangnam, Busan/Pusan, Daejeon/Taejŏn, etc. What do you think?

I don't think this is necessary. Most names are close enough that they can be guessed reasonably easily. Jpatokal 22:55, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Subway tickets

There are ticket vending machines that accept bills

Gae Soon Ok

Does this place still exist? I went looking for it the last time I was in Seoul, but couldn't find it, and now somebody deleted the listing. Jpatokal 04:49, 12 November 2007 (EST)

*'''Gae Soon Ok''', 91-2 Jeodong 1-Ga, Jung-gu (''near Euljiro 1-ga station, in small lane opposite Myeongdong cathedral''). 50 years of dog meat soup (''bosintang'') and still going strong.

Very enlightening

Hello, your website is very informative and useful, I would like to share with you links, send all the questions on my e-mail.

Wikitravel doesn't swap links. You can read more on the link policy here. Jamboo 16:15, 20 March 2008 (EDT)


I don't think the Seoul article is long enough to need districts just yet, but in any case, please hammer them out here first. This list is way too long: Jpatokal 11:44, 20 April 2008 (EDT)

Seoul is a large city, in fact probably about the size of Mexico City and larger than New York. Given its size, I think its only appropriate that we sort it into districts. If a city like Kuala Lumpur with only 7 million people is divided into districts, surely a city like Seoul with 21 million people should also have districts. Superdog 23:36, 20 April 2008 (EDT)

There's an unresolved debate over when to divide, and as I'm sure Jani already knows, I say any time someone is willing to seriously take on the big task, that's a good time to divide. And Seoul is one of the world's most enormous cities, and should ideally be districted. It is really important, though, to come up with really clear district borders before introducing the district hierarchy to the article itself. Otherwise people won't know where to find/put things.
I'd also argue, for a city so large as Seoul, that it is also important to find a way to group the districts into smaller chunks (see example). And it might be best to first subdivide the city by those larger district breakdowns, and then, only after its clear that we'll have enough content for each district, break down those larger districts into a more finer grained hierarchy as you have proposed above.
A good rule of thumb, by the way, is that each district should be able to support a full article (so there should be multiple see, do, eat, sleep, etc. listings available for each district). --Peter Talk 00:01, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
I don't doubt that we'll eventually need to district Seoul, but at the moment I don't see the need. Districting is based on the amount of content, not the population of the city, and at the moment we've got a grand total of six Eat listings for the whole city (of which two should probably be under Drink!). Jpatokal 04:19, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps we should just get some people(Koreans in the wikitravel community, if there are any) who are familiar with the city to just add a district section. While there may not be enough listings to have separate articles for the districts, I think that a city of this size should have at least some mention of districts to make it easier for travellers to find their way around. Superdog 07:53, 21 April 2008 (EDT)

The Truth

Wow, after 12 years here I can't believe the BULLSHIT on this page. It's why I still love this place, even after all the racism and xenophobia I've had to face. The effrontery is so cheeky you have to admire it.

"With over 10 million people, a figure that doubles if you include neighboring cities and suburbs, .....By some measures, it is the second largest urban agglomeration on the planet, after Greater Tokyo."

Actually, the 2005 census gives the city of Seoul as about 10-11 million people. If you include the city of Incheon, and the surrounding province of Kyeonggi, you get about 23 million. Of course, "neighboring" cities would then be some 50 miles out. And for everyone who's been to Tokyo, it doesn't take three hours to cross Seoul on a fast train, like it does to go from Narita to Yokohama.

"Seoul suffers from a partly unwarranted reputation for pollution and traffic jams. These days, strict emissions laws have brought the pollution under control and, while traffic jams do still snarl up Seoul's streets at rush hour, the extensive subway network means that the traveler can easily shortcut through it almost all of the time."

Nah, seriously, who believes this? An "unwarranted" reputation? I live 1km from Seoul Tower on South Hill and it is not visible from my apartment for 5-10% of the year. And that's pretty much just the Yellow Dust days. Every other day has all the emissions from the countless "ou-do-bi's" (crappy little motorcycles) the numerous buses without any sort of emissions control system, the endless bongo delivery trucks, and, oh yeah, all those cars....And yeah, you can "shortcut" it on the subway...sort of. Be prepared for rudeness which would make a New Yorker blush, and if you're a non-Koreen male with a Korean women (business or pleasure) be prepared for rude remarks and possibly an assault by a drunken Koreen male.

"The Joseon-era historical core of the city, containing most palaces and government offices, lies on the north side in and around the district of Jongno (종로), overlooked by the 262-meter peak of Namsan (남산)."

Yeah, not like the peaks of Inwangsan to the west or Pukhansan to the north-northwest aren't higher than the measly South "Mountain" (seen higher ant hills in my day, I have).

"Seoul's grandest palace and the seat of power for centuries before it was razed in 1592 by a Japanese invasion (and they did a repeat after 1910)."

Oh yeah, did we forget to mention that it lay in ruins for 300 or so years after the Japanese conquered the Koreans (for, I dunno, the umpteenth time?). And did we also forget to mention that it was rebuilt (~1860s or thereabouts) by the then-reigning-spineless-king's father, who sold himself to the Japanese to regain power?

"Changdeok-gung(창덕궁,昌德宮), Yulgukno (subway Anguk). Second only to Gyeongbokgung in historical importance, this was first built in 1405 and was the seat of power between 1618 and 1896."

OK, this gives the lie to the statement above about the palace above being the main palace.....and all that.

"Namdaemun(남대문,南大門) (subway City Hall). More formally known as Sungryemun(숭례문,崇禮門), the Great South Gate is a symbol of Seoul and has been designated as National Treasure Number 1. Particularly beautiful when floodlit at night, and best combined with a visit to the adjacent Namdaemun Market. Unfortunately, a fire in February 2008 destroyed much of the structure, and rebuilding is expected to take up to 3 years."

Before all you ignorant tourists lament the loss of this national treasure, please be advised that it was rebuilt after the Korean War and was largely a Disney-construct, intended to serve as a chest-thumping reminder of how great the Korean nation was.

(Please ignore the fact that the city gates, or the city walls, in their entire - I dunno, what do they say, 600 to 700 year history - never kept out anybody more determined than a drunken tinker)

"Seodaemun Prison, 101 Hyeonjeo-dong, Seodaemun-gu (subway Dongnimmun, exit 5). Tue-Sun 9:30 AM-6 PM (5 PM in Nov-Feb). Originally built in 1908, the prison became infamous during the Japanese occupation, when it was used to torture, starve and execute Korean political prisoners. Actual prison cells, wax figures and videos are used to demonstrate the shocking brutality; most signage is only in Korean, but volunteer guides can describe the sights in English."

Please ignore the fact that the prison was used, and executions continued to be carried out, by the Korean Government for 40-42 years after the Japanese left (and they only "left" at the request of the Allies). And speaking of Allies, those of you whose forefathers were unfortunate enough to be captured by the Japanese, many of them were guarded by - oh what a surprise - Koreans! The Koreans weren't trusted enough by the Japanese to be placed in the main line of resistance (pretty much for many reasons, let alone the whole colonial overlord thingy) so they were assigned guard duties, including prison camps. Where they were quick to become more Japanese in their treatment of the prisoners, than the Japanese were in some places.

"Cheonggye Stream, Located near Cheonggye Plaza near Insadong. This stream has recently been converted into a tourist attraction from its previous state as a stagnant mosquito breeding wetland."

No, really, it's not actually a stream, they merely pump water from another source down the old streambed. Furthermore, it wasn't a stagnant mosquito breeding wetland, it was a stinking slum and squatter's residence from 1950 until the late 1960s, often given to huge conflagrations, until it was rightly paved over and made into a freeway. If you want to know what the stream was like around 1900 or so, read the western missionary reports in the Korean Repository; dead dogs, laundry and, oh yes my favorite, raw sewage (that'd be pee and poop....hah, I said poop on wikipedia!).

"It is not uncommon for people to consume an entire bottle or two of soju each, and mixing beer and hard liquor is encouraged. Group bonding over liquor and food is a cultural feature across South Korea."

The day when Koreens drink only a bottle or two of Soju each is the day I am beatified by the Pope....try inserting the following: "...drinking until they fall over and pass out, after trying to start a fight or two." And where, pray tell, did you think the many curiously-colored pools of vomit came from?

[Oooh, maybe I shouldn't eat the chicken here...but I bet the American Beef is OK!]

"Panmunjeom — A village lying in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, easily visited on a day trip..."

Anyone with even the faintest understanding of the Korean War will realize immediately that the Joint Security Area is NOT Panmunjom. The village of that name stood across the river and to the west of the current JSA.

But my personal favorite is:

"Built during the mid-fifteenth century, the architecture of the buildings inside are heavily influenced with Western designs."

This could be written better. It's sort of like saying, "Built during the 6th century, the Hagi Sophia was heavily influenced by Islamic designs."

C'mon, try to show a little interest in historical accuracy! Oh yeah, except I've lived here for some 12 years and have finally realized that Koreans are not interested in historical accuracy because it would undermine their claims to:

1) 5000 years of history (c'mon, prove it).

2) The world's only invented alphabet (Seqioiah, and hangul is a syllabary, not an alphabet).

3) The PURE KOREAN BLOOD (ignore those few Japanese invasions and the American GIs).

Try to meet at least asome standard of objectivity, eh?

Thomas Aidan Bothwell