cxsjr
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Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:36 am

Hi folks,

As the topic title might suggest, I'm looking for any info on peoples experiences of South Korea. Having seen many things about the country, several tourism adverts, not to mention the Faithless video to "I Want More", I have this burning urge to visit. I love the Far East and its diverse cultures so, folks, can anyone recommend (or otherwise) a visit?

Also, travelling from the UK, Korean or Asiana?

Thanks in anticipation!

 wave 
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JGPH1A
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:39 am

I've been to Seoul twice on business, didn't get a chance to get out of the city. Interesting place, some great restaurants (try a Korean barbecue restaurant if you get the chance), some interesting history too which I'd have liked to find out more about.

I flew over from FRA on Asiana in business class, which is fine on the 744. I believe their new product on the 777 is much better though.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:40 am

Quoting Cxsjr (Thread starter):
not to mention the Faithless video to "I Want More",

If I remember correctly (the one with all the gymnasts right ?), that was filmed in NORTH Korea, so you're thinking of Pyongyang, which you can visit, though you might want to think about that.

Wrighbrothers
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57AZ
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:48 am

Definately go. I went about fifteen years ago and it was definately worth the visit. Spent a week in the Seoul area visiting museums, historic sites and the traditional farming village maintained by the ROK as a living museum. Fortunately we knew a retired translator who spent most of the week escorting us around. We got to see a lot of the real Republic of Korea that the tourists miss, always taking lunch or dinner at local restaurants.

One trip that was definately worth the journey was the De-Militarized Zone. Most tour companies only go as far as an observation point on the Imjin River which is at the northernmost point that regular Korean citizens may go to. Only one company is authorized to go north of the Imjin to Camp Bonifas-the UN Base Camp. Those visitors are prescreened and required to provide their passports to the company 24 hours prior to their trip. At Camp Bonifas, the visitors are briefed on what to expect at Panmunjom, what behavior is acceptable and not acceptable and signs a waiver releasing the UN, USA and ROK from liability should they be injured or killed by hostile actions of the armed forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). On the journey north, no photography is permitted between checkpoint 1 and 2. The road passes through heavily mined areas and several anti tank barriers as well as several guard posts. At each post, the guards snap to attention as the military bus passes. Once at the DMZ, the military guide takes over the tour and gives a complete history of the site. The most interesting facility is the conference room that straddles the demarcation line. Only in this room may US citizens step into the soveriegn territory of North Korea and the guide provides insight into the design of the room.

One point made at the DMZ is that there have been a few armed incidents over the years in which servicemen from the opposing sides exchanged fire and in most cases, died. As our guide pointed out, to this day an armoured battalion at Camp Liberty Bell sits on 24 hour alert, confined to barracks in full battle gear with their tanks ready to go at a moment's notice. Also, at least one artillery position has a set of guns set on Panmunjom at all times. If the order ever came, they could have the facility leveled in under two minutes.

As for air travel, you're on your own. We flew from the states on Delta nonstop from Portland, OR to Seoul on a then new MD-11. Best part of the travel was getting to tour the flight deck while at Portland.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
cxsjr
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:22 am

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 2):
If I remember correctly (the one with all the gymnasts right ?), that was filmed in NORTH Korea, so you're thinking of Pyongyang, which you can visit, though you might want to think about that.

To my chagrin, I have, since making my post, realised that the video for Faithless is indeed North Korea - another place I would love to go but, for sure, it's a whole different ball game; I wouldn't even have the first idea about how to get there!

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 3):
As for air travel, you're on your own. We flew from the states on Delta nonstop from Portland, OR to Seoul on a then new MD-11.

If only we could get there by MD11 these days, I'd go tomorrow Sad
The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page ....
 
Doona
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:09 am

I flew Korean from LHR to ICN last summer. Excellent airline. I connected to NGO at ICN, so I didn't get a chance to see Korea, even though that country is high on my list. Still, I wouldn't mind spending a week at ICN  silly 

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UAL747
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:38 am

I flew Korean from DFW-ICN-PEK. I didn't stay in Korea, but ICN is one of my favorite airports out there! Second only to HKG.

UAL
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zotan
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:49 am

My uncle travels there frequently. He loves the place. Definately a go if you can!
 
watewate
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:10 am

I lived in Seoul for a while... Great food, relatively cheap, and kind people. You definitely should go!
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:06 am

Quoting Cxsjr (Reply 4):
I wouldn't even have the first idea about how to get there!

I think the process is long, and proably involves lots of paper work, best to do it through an organisation.

Ali
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
TPAnx
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:14 am

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 2):
Pyongyang, which you can visit,

Not so sure about that. Thought US passports strictly banned travel to North Korea, but a quick check of mine doesn't show that. It does mention that US citizens are prohibited from buying North Korean services..which could be
interpreted to mean the same thing.
Spent two 13 month tours of duty in the ROK in the mid-60's..loved it. Go to the DMZ--ask about the battle of the bladder (North refused to allow breaks in one hours-long meeting)..and the battle of the flags..each side raising its flag inches higher than the other's at the negotiating table. The people are friendly, though the "younger generation" seems to oppose the US presence--at least, from what I've read.
Go--and enjoy!!
TPAnx
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57AZ
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:33 pm

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 10):
Spent two 13 month tours of duty in the ROK in the mid-60's..loved it. Go to the DMZ--ask about the battle of the bladder (North refused to allow breaks in one hours-long meeting)..and the battle of the flags..each side raising its flag inches higher than the other's at the negotiating table. The people are friendly, though the "younger generation" seems to oppose the US presence--at least, from what I've read.

Our UN tour guide touched on a lot of similar information. Didn't they resolve the flag issue by having one higher and one with a wider base? Gotta love the DPRK blasting the farmers with the propaganda on a daily basis too. I suspect that the resentment of the US presence by some might be more due to the individual actions of troops stationed there. Most of the people that I met recognized that with marginally stable situations in some parts of the region, having a larger military power present is a necessity to a certain degree-specifically to balance the power and influence of China.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
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jetjack74
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:47 pm

Been to a few places:
Osan AB a few times. Typical, "outside the US military base". Lot's of seedy bars, russian, and eastern European prostitutes, and knock off markets. The DMZ is inaccessible at the moment because of rising tentions between N and S Korea.
Busan, which is quite a spralling place. Lot of bars down by the beachside of the city. It's pretty expensive, and you'll need lots of wan when going out in the city. Credit cards are accepted, but you have to watch where you spend it. Busan has had a rise in credit theft due to organised crime. Especially at the "bye me drink" bars. So keep you credit cards in your wallet if you don't have to use them.
Haven't been out and about in Incheon/Seoul very much.
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wrighbrothers
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:05 pm

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 10):
Not so sure about that. Thought US passports strictly banned travel to North Korea, but a quick check of mine doesn't show that. It does mention that US citizens are prohibited from buying North Korean services..

I think some US citizens visited N.Korea during their mass games/parade.
But North Korea isn't on my top 10 list of places to visit  Wink

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 10):
Go to the DMZ

I'm actualy considering that option !

Wrightbrothers
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OttoPylit
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:18 pm

I actually traveled to ICN in January 2002 to visit my brother who was stationed there as a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot. I took a DL MD-11 from ATL-NRT and then ID90'd on UA from NRT-ICN, first flight on a 744.

Seoul was a nice, yet cold, place to visit in January. It was quite amazing to see so many people squeezed into one city. Everyone has a car, but it seems they mostly rely on public transportation, such as the subway, as if you drive anywhere, you won't find any parking. Many places, people just park their cars and leave them in neutral, so if you are blocking someone, they just push your car out of the way. There was a place called the Bagman, where you can get a variety of very nice luggage pieces at rock bottom prices, and you can even have them embroidered with your name if you like. The guy had airline pilot business cards all over the door. UPS, FedEx, Flying Tiger, Atlas, UA, NW, OZ, KE, cards from pilots practically all over the world. It was amazing just looking at all these cards, they literally covered the entire doorway.

While there, I took a trip down to Osan for the day, and was lucky enough to see a U-2 spyplane take off. While impressive, no matter which way you look at it, its quite a sight to see this bird, with her huge wingspan, to lift off, and pull almost into vertical flight and just start climbing until out of sight.

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to take the military tour up to the DMZ as it was full, but I did see many pictures my brother took on his tours. The guards surrounding the building there on the S. Korean side stand with only half of their bodies facing NK. The rest is hidden behind the building. This is so they can keep an eye on NK, but make a smaller target by remaining partially hidden.

There are guard towers on both sides of the DMZ facing towards the Camp at all times, both North and South Korean. Basically, at any time you have the gun of the other army pointed right at you and you never know if they will shoot. I was also shown photos of the helipad, where VIPs are taken for negotiations and such. Where the helipad is located, U.S. choppers have to fly just inside NK for an easier approach. So, to avoid being shot down by crossing into enemy airspace by the North Koreans, the US Army has painted some green Blackhawks with bright yellow stripes laterally down the sides. This zebra of a helicopter is to signify to NK that this aircraft is on a mission to the camp and is not to be fired upon. Upon landing though, one crewmember is always to be watching the North Koreans, just in case they come under fire and must take evasive action. It was pretty awesome to hear.


In Seoul, there is also the Korean War Museum, I believe. It holds relics from both US and North Korean/Soviet sides, and is a nice visit.

While in Seoul, I found an aviation store that sold aviation artifacts. They had choice after choice of pilot wings, signs, banners, basically anything that had to do with aviation, they had it.

One interesting thing was that inside the city, on every corner, it seemed, there were riot police in uniform and holding assault weapons. Just standing guard. Now, to us in the U.S., I passed by with a cautious eye, as it isn't something we see every day. But to the Koreans, they just walked by without even a thought, which made me also realize that although we may not allow our young children to walk freely along the streets in fear of predators, its not uncommon for a young child to be walking along with no fear or apprehension with cops on every corner. Definately a place to visit and I do intend to visit again at some point.


OttoPylit
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cxsjr
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:27 pm

Just wanted to say a big thanks for all your replies, both the short notes and in depth reports.

It seems, from your input, that there's no reason not to visit South Korea and thanks to this, I shall make it a stop on our next but one tour to Japan, a country I love with a passion.

Thanks again folks!
The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page ....
 
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Yirina77
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:32 pm

I have been to South Korea 3 times....if I may recommend you something, its visit of Demilitarized zone...tourist agencies offer trips to DMZ for about 40 USD, its whole day trip and very very interesting. If you like, I can find web of agency which I had used or send some pictures.
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corocks
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RE: Anyone Been To South Korea?

Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:16 am

I also agree that a trip out to the DMZ was the best part of my visit to S. Korea. One other thing that you can do there, which is not mentioned above is go down in the tunnels that the S. Koreans dug to intercept the N. Korean tunnels coming into S. Korea. It was pretty cool. They still keep guards posted down in the tunnels 24hrs a day.

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