Moon Seoul

Moon Seoul

by Jonathan Hopfner
     
 

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Journalist Jonathan Hopfner gives travelers the benefit of his firsthand experience as a Seoul resident, providing honest insight into the many sides of this bustling city. Hopfner outlines entertaining travel strategies for exploring Seoul, including A Walk Through History, Nature in the City Limits, and Seoul with Children. From where to find the best-tasting and

Overview

Journalist Jonathan Hopfner gives travelers the benefit of his firsthand experience as a Seoul resident, providing honest insight into the many sides of this bustling city. Hopfner outlines entertaining travel strategies for exploring Seoul, including A Walk Through History, Nature in the City Limits, and Seoul with Children. From where to find the best-tasting and most affordable Korean barbecue to which areas are best for shopping and people-watching, Moon Seoul gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598808681
Publisher:
Avalon Travel Publishing
Publication date:
11/08/2011
Series:
Moon Handbooks Travel Series
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Moon Seoul


By Jonathan Hopfner

Avalon Travel Publishing

Copyright © 2011 Jonathan Hopfner
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781598808681

Seeking Seoul with Jonathan Hopfner

1.Where would you direct visitors looking to have a historical experience in Seoul?

Thankfully despite Seoul's war-torn past and rapid development, there are still quite a few visible reminders it was once the seat of power of the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled the Korean peninsula from the 14th through the 19th centuries. Changdeokgung is arguably the most atmospheric of the city's former royal palaces and most sublime expression of Joseon-era architecture. When you're done there you can explore the winding alleys of Bukchon, a neighborhood just west of the palace that was home to much of the city's aristocracy and still has one of its highest concentrations of hanok, or traditional Korean houses.

2. What is the best way to travel around the city?

It can get pretty crowded during rush hours, but nothing beats the subway in terms of convenience, cost and coverage. That said, taxis are also very affordable by global standards and are a good travel option, particularly outside peak traffic times or if you're traveling in a group.

3. What is your the must-see site for business travelers on a tight schedule?

At least one of the city's palaces—Changdeokgung or Gyeongbokgung are good choices—as well as the War Memorial, which has one of the world's best collections of vintage military equipment and is a poignant introduction to the conflicts that continue to haunt Korea to this day. The Insadong shopping street is a good one-stop destination for local crafts and souvenirs, and the massive National Museum of Korea shouldn't be missed by anyone with an interest in Asian history or art.

4. What’s a good day trip for those looking to add nature into their urban experience?

Seoul's one of the few lucky cities that has (part of) a national park within its limits. Bukhansan National Park is accessible by subway and includes a rocky mountain range that offers some serious challenges for avid hikers and rock climbers, as well as easier trails, temples, and fantastic views that will also be appreciated by casual visitors.

5. What are your top three Seoul dining suggestions for food aficionados?

There are a lot of exciting things happening in Seoul at the moment food-wise. The Gangnam/Apgujeong area, south of the Han River, has become a hotbed for "new Korean" cuisine that updates traditional dishes with contemporary ingredients or culinary techniques, at restaurants like Jungsikdang or Star Chef. I'd also recommend trying Buddhist temple cuisine—purely vegetarian but by no means austere or dull. It has reached new heights at restaurants like Baru and Sanchon in the Insadong area. And for a more down to earth or nostalgic (not to mention easier on the wallet) experience, head to one of Seoul's markets—Gwangjang or Namdaemun are among the best—and hop from stall to stall sampling the various snacks and rice wines on offer.

6. Where would you direct those looking to buy the latest in electronics? Any bargaining tips?

In all honesty I would probably direct them to Hong Kong or Singapore— despite a lot of electronics being produced here the goods available locally tend to be expensive and optimized for Korean users. The tech-inclined may nonetheless appreciate Yongsan Electronics Market, which covers multiple city blocks and offers just about every gadget under the sun. Negotiating is common and most vendors will readily reduce their asking prices or throw in a few free accessories, particularly if you're buying multiple items. It's wise to know roughly how much you should be paying for whatever you're buying as overcharging is not unheard of.

Continues...

Excerpted from Moon Seoul by Jonathan Hopfner Copyright © 2011 by Jonathan Hopfner. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Born near Vancouver and raised in Montréal, Canada, Jonathan Hopfner graduated with a degree in English literature from Dalhousie University in Halifax. He was first lured to South Korea in the late 1990s when he parlayed some early stabs at writing into a position with a newspaper in Seoul, launching a journalism career that has since taken him to Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong. As interesting as all these places were, Jonathan was racked with nostalgia for the rolling mountains, bustling cities, and bold cuisine of South Korea, and in 2008 he jumped at the chance to return. The country’s sprawling capital, Seoul, has been his home and a consistent source of inspiration ever since. Even after years of exploring its markets, alleyways and mountain paths—and regularly taking advantage of its around-the-clock dining and nightlife opportunities—he has yet to run out of new things to discover.

Jonathan works for the Reuters news agency and has contributed articles on culture and travel in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia to publications such as Canada's Globe and Mail, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, and Wallpaper* and DestinAsian magazines. He is also the author of Moon Living Abroad in South Korea.

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