Ben and Kirsteen's World Trip 2005/6 travel blog

Pretty detail of Palace roof

B at the palace

B and K with the city in the background (check out our...

K in the mamoth national museum

3 for a traditional lunch

B: We arrived into Seoul at 6 in the morning from Bangkok. Our outbound flight was due to leave at 4pm so we had 10 hours to kill. We decided to enter the country (which was a very simple and quick process) and do a tour of Seoul. There is a company called Transit Tours which took us on a whistlestop 5 hour tour of the capital including a traditional Korean lunch. It needed a minumum of 3 to run and fortunately for us there was a young Mexican guy called Adolpho also wanting to take the tour.

The main palace was closed as it was a public holiday but we still managed to see some temples, palaces, shops, the World Cup stadium, museums and had a very tasty lunch.

Korea is an interesting place and is like a mixture of Chinese and Japanese cultures. The people are quite wealthy and friendly towards tourists. Seoul itself is wedged in amongst large hills and it is forbidden to build above a certain level on these hills so there are green peaks above the city's buildings.

K: I felt so crappy when we got off the plane, that's my excuse anyway for going searching for a MacDonald's egg McMuffin. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, I was to be dissappointed. I could not believe it, every other country we've visited has had a MacDonalds's breakfast menu!

Still we decided to go on this tour as its the one we had the numbers for although I fancied going to see the demilatarized zone near the North/ South Border. The tour was pretty good and a brilliant idea for passengers in transit, as who wants to spend ten hours in an airport - plus we got two more stamps in our passport.

The area was very mountainous and reminded me of places we had visited before - particularly in the stories of the palaces we visited. In that they had existed for hundreds of years but, like Japan, they had been burnt, rebuilt, burnt, rebuild and so on. Regardless, it was lovely to see the old palace that had been preserved in the middle of Seoul city.

We only got about 40 minutes in teh National museum which wasn`t nearly enough if you imagine trying to do the British museum justice in that time. We also got to go shopping, although we didn`t buy anything it was again really familar but we also tried some traditional Korean food Korean style (sitting on the floor), very tasty with comedy name of Bam Bit bot or something along those lines anyway.

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