Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hop on!

Seoul and Korea provide more and more tourist friendly services, and if I never used their bus programs, I'm quite impressed by their dynamism. Two new exciting routes are just starting these days.

At the national level, a new free shuttle bus for foreigners between Seoul and Jeonju will start tomorrow to celebrate the Visit Jeonbuk Year (for 26 weeks, see links and details below). All you need is: to bring your foreign passport, to book online, and to be among the lucky lottery winners (). And if you're too lazy to even plan ahead your trip, know that you land in Jeonju Hanok Village, in Wansan-gu, the historic center. If you missed this great city (great not only for Korean cuisine lovers), you have no excuse now. Even if you don't win the lottery, go!

Seoul-wise, Seoul City Tour Bus inaugurated its Traditional Markets Tour on February 22*. Double deckers will start every 35 mns for a 105 mn journey, and you can hop on and off at any of the 15 stops:
  • 37. Departure from Doota (Dongdaemun Doosan Tower)
  • 38. Bangsan Market (and its baking street, all the ustensils), Jungbu Market (dried fish and food)
  • 39. Lotte Young Plaza (opposite Myeongdong's NOON Square, and next to Lotte Dept Store - if you don't want to shop "traditional market" all the way)
  • 40. Seoul Station Bus Terminal no. 6
  • 41. Namdaemun Market
  • 42. Myeong-dong
  • 43. Jonggak (and Bosingak)
  • 44. Tapgol Park, Insadong
  • 45. Sewoon Electronics Plaza 
  • 46. Gwangjang Market
  • 47. Pyeonghwa Market - Dongdaemun fashion town
  • 48. Dongmyo shrine, Dokkaebi Market (Banghak-dong), Pungmul Market (flea market, Sungin-dong)
  • 49. Yangnyeong Market (oriental medicine)
  • 50. Majang Market (meat and livestock, Majang-dong)
  • 51. Jungang Market (Singdang-dong)
This service is not free, but KRW 12,000 max (for adults), that's a fantastic deal to discover Seoul's main traditional markets in one day (from 9:30 to 18:30), particularly when you don't know the city: seats are equipped with audioguides and screens, and there's even an interpreter on board (ENG/JAP/CHN) to help you decide where to stop and what to do... which may include cultural visits (eg Dongmyo, Insadong, Tapgol, Bosingak), and should include snacks in every market. Why not have your fix at Gwangjang (see "(Gimbap) Drug Wars in Gwangjang Market"), try "Kalguksu alley and Gamegol mandu (Namdaemun market)", eat dry squid in Jungbu Market, red meat in Majang Market?... I should hop off now, before I drool all over the keyboard.

Seoul-Jeonju free shuttle: - email: - Tel: +82.2.1577.2507. Departures 3 times a week - Friday, Saturday, Sunday -, between March 1st and August 25. Check also K-Shuttle lines (, and Jeonju City website (
Seoul City Tour (NB: much more detailed on VisitSeoul) - Tel: +82.2.1544.4239 (Traditional Markets Tour), +82.2.777.6090 (Seoul City Courses)
... and always: - VisitKorea - Korea Travel hotline: 1330

Seoul Village 2013
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* the fifth course after "City Circulation" (26 stops across Gangbuk with all major highlights), "Cheonggyecheon-Royal Palaces" (13 stops), and 2 non-stop "Nighttime Courses" that include the Han Riverside.

20130228 UPDATE

Just received this ad by email (links to VisitSeoul):

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