Tourism in Korea, General Info
Whether your visit to Korea is for business or pleasure, there is a lot to see and do here. For information on some of the events and activities on offer, visit the What's Going On section of Korea4Expats.com
If you are in Korea for only a short time, you will probably limit your explorations to Seoul and maybe the surrounding area – no worries, there’s so much you likely won’t find time to manage it all. The city is a fascinating blend of new (everything had to be rebuilt from the mid 1950’s on and there is a definite teardown/build new mentality here. However, alongside all the new, are remnants or rebuilds of the old. Palaces, gates, walls, markets and more that represent or reflect life hundreds of years ago. Museum and art galleries abound with something for every taste and interest. The same for the city’s nightlife – opera, ballet, concerts featuring internationally known performers, not to mention the myriad of talented Korean artists are on offer every night of the week as are performances of traditional music and dance. Gambling Casinos open only to holders of foreign passports can be found in both the downtown and outer core of the city. Seoul’s nightlife is rich and busy. There is too the seedy and criminal side that can be found in other Asian cities, or any city of the world for that matter. Hotels offer excellent, albeit expensive, international and local cuisine. There are also great restaurants everywhere – some of the best Korea food can be found in little holes-in-the-wall places. If you want to try the cuisine of other countries, Itaewon is one of the best places to go. Also, if your schedule permits, there is an awful lot to do in other parts of the country as well.
The downside of coming to Korea as a tourist is that it is much easier if you are visiting friends or relatives who are living here, than if you are coming on your own or adding visiting sites to a business itinerary. It’s often difficult to find out where to get information, although efforts are being made to improve that situation. Language difficulties along the way make it difficult to make arrangements. Tours are easier, but often very expensive for what you’re getting, especially if compared to elsewhere in Asia. The costs of accommodations are either very high (some of the most expensive in the world) or very low (backpacker inns). Mid-range hotels are few and far between, although some efforts are being made to correct that. Since communication is not the culture’s strong suit, it is often difficult to find our where to access the enormous amounts of information that does exist. Costs for non-Asians are often much higher than for locals or sometimes even other Asians. The tourism industry is not seen as very attractive to young and old alike. In fact, many see it as a place you go when you can’t find or do anything else, although for some entrepreneur types it is also viewed as a source of quick, non-taxable revenue. The country is working on improving this situation since a growing number of people have begun to recognize the direct and indirect values that come from a healthy tourism industry.
For information on some of the attractions in Korea, go to Visiting Korea. You can start here.
We want to help you get better acquainted with the various options available to you if you are visiting Korea, whether as a backpacker, business person, or anywhere in between. Hopefully, also we can help your friends and relatives discover places to take you and/or to visit themselves as well. If you have any information to add or corrections to make to what is already here, please don’t hesitate to let us know either through the Forum or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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