Seoul Day Trips
Korean DMZ © Driedprawns
Korean DMZThe Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) is a roughly two mile (4km) stretch of demilitarised land that divides the Korean peninsula in two. The DMZ was established in 1953 at the end of the Korean War, remaining not only as one of the most heavily-armed and guarded territories on the planet but also as the last surviving relic of the Cold War. Daytrips which leave from downtown Seoul include guided tours of North Korean infiltration tunnels and the site of negotiations between the warring countries called the Joint Security Area (Panmunjeon). Upon entry, visitors are required to put their signature on an indemnity form acknowledging that they are entering a hostile area, where they face 'the possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action'. Another interesting aspect of the DMZ is that, due to the total absence of development in the area for nearly 65 years, the wider area has become the site of what must be the world's most unlikely wildlife sanctuary. An area of serene and unspoiled beauty, the sanctuary is home to several rare and endangered species, such as Asiatic black bears, Siberian tigers, Amur leopards, and beautiful migratory birds. There are some hotels and hostels in the area for those who want more than just a tour.
Address: Korean peninsula region; Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_ENG_2_2_2.jsp; Transport: Since tours of the DMZ are strictly by reservation only, visitors will need to engage the services of a tour company to visit the site.; Opening time: The DMZ is closed on Mondays and Korean national holidays
Incheon © travel oriented
IncheonHop on a bus and visit Incheon, a major Korean port city on the West Sea. About an hour from Seoul, the surrounding irregular coastline and mountainous inland terrain provide a popular outdoor playground. While Incheon is home to an international airport, this doesn't stop it from being a charming little city surround by rice fields. Since the days of the Joseon Dynasty, the city has been famed for its therapeutic hot springs and the downtown hotels all operate public bath facilities and swimming pools. Visitors bathe in the spa waters, hoping to enjoy relief from skin ailments, eye problems, neuralgia, and gynaecological disease. In the Incheon Ceramics Village, there are hundreds of studios and shops with kilns producing traditional porcelain.
Transport: Buses depart for Incheon from Dongseoul Express Bus Terminal and from Gangnam Express Bus Terminal.
Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon © dnc
Hwaseong FortressHwaseong Fortress is yet another of South Korea's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The fortress is situated in Suwon, south of Seoul central but still within the greater Seoul area. Hwaseong Fortress was completed in 1796 in order to protect the capital from Japanese invasions. The three-and-a-half-mile (5.7km) fortress wall weaves in and out of the modern buildings and roads of Suwon. Visitors to Suwon can climb parts of the fortress wall and marvel at the intricate and often colourful architecture that makes this extraordinary stone edifice blend in to its surroundings in a typically Korean, harmonious fashion. The Hwaseong fortress includes 41 watchtowers, the Great South Gate, Paldalmun, and Seobuk Gongsimdon. There are also some traditional teahouses in the vicinity of the most popular sections of the wall where visitors can stop for a refreshing cup of iced tea.
Address: 910, Jeongjo-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do; Website: whc.unesco.org/en/list/817; Transport: Take Seoul Subway line 5 to the Suwon station.; Opening time: Operating hours in the summer season are 9am to 6pm and in the winter season 9am to 5pm; Admission: General Admission: Adults KRW 1,000; Teenagers KRW 700; Children KRW 500
Beautiful flowers on display at Everland © mhambleton
EverlandEverland is South Korea's version of Disney Land. This massive amusement park is situated on the outskirts of Seoul and is the perfect daytrip for visitors travelling with kids. Everland has a selection of rides ranging from heart stopping to sedate. The amusement park hosts a variety of restaurants, a safari section, and a snow sledding area for winter visitors. There is also a fantastic water park called Caribbean Bay, a racing track, a golf course, and flower display gardens, as well as a twice-daily procession of cartoon characters and trapeze artists through the park.
Address: 199 Everland-ro, Pogog-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do; Website: www.everland.com; Transport: Take bus number 6000 to Yongin from Suwon Station, there is a free shuttle bus from Yongin to Everland.; Opening time: Operating hours are 10am to 10pm; Admission: General Admission: Adults KRW 56,000; Children KRW 44,000
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