Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Seoul.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. Birding is emerging in South Korea.Check out this site to help find the spoon billed sandpiper, Chinese goshawk and the Pechora pipit.
Birds Korea - (birdskorea.org/Birds/Birding_in_Korea/BK-BK-Practical-Tips.shtml)
Fat Birder – (fatbirder.com/links_geo/asia/south_korea.html) offers another comprehensive report
And let’s not forget our friends at Birding Pal (birdingpal.org/Korea.htm) who provide local support
Botanically Yours – Interesting gardens for our horticultural friends.
The Namsan Botanical Garden - San 1-103, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, 82-2-753-2563 offers 13 gardens featuring 269 species that include a garden of herbal medicine, apricot trees, wildflowers, royal azaleas, shrubs, commercial plants and a garden for the blind.
Another interesting garden is the Seoul Iris Garden – Daily: 7 AM- 8 PM, 916, Madeul-ro, Dobong-gu, 82-2-954-0031. The garden has a wide array of irises, plus a ‘Medicinal Plant Garden’ and ‘Wetland Park.’
Farmers Markets – Fresh local produce protein and craft items.
Seoul Jungang Traditional Market – Daily: 6 AM-9 PM, Seoul Jung-gu Hwanghak-dong 409, large market providing food items as well as crafts.
Beverage Experience - A note in regard to beverages in Seoul: When ordering tea your expectations will no doubt be exceeded. Korea has many unusual teas that include: Omiga tea, Citron tea, Chrysanthemum tea, Daechu tea, Green plum tea, Corn tea and Barley tea.
Local beers are pretty good.
Jeannie Cho Lee offers the following advice on pairing wine with Korean cuisine. “For Asian cuisine wine needs the ability to adapt to a wildly diverse array of flavors.”
“Lighter bodied wines with greater acidity and lower alcohol work with most Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai food. A cool climate Pinot Noir works well because of its high tannins and high acidity. (We like a Zinfandel)
Many white wines work for the same reasons. Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio and Albarino are good choices.
Avoid highly aromatic varieties like Gewurztraminer and lightly sweet Rieslings.”
Pudoju is a fruit wine made from rice and mixed with grapes, it’s cheap. Makgeolli is Korean rice alcohol that is also cheap and sweet. Wolhyang is a little more upscale alcohol. Soju is distilled liquor made from sweet potatoes. Popular brands of Soju are Chamisul and Chum Churum. Androngsoju, a step or two up, is hand crafted liquor. Korea imports wines from around the world that are found in most restaurants.
Transportation: Getting around Seoul is a breeze. Check out this site (kias.re.kr/sub06/sub06_06.jsp)
Shopping: Shopping in Seoul is world-class. There are three department stores to check out: Shinsegae Department Store at 52-5 Chungmuro, 1-ga, Jung-gu, Hyundai Department Store at 429 Apkujong-dong, Kangnam-gu, and Lotte Department Store at 1 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu. Our cousin also recommends the Myeongdong Shopping District in Jung-gu and the Namdaemun Market at 49 Namchang-dong, Jung-gu.
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (koreabusinesscentral.com/page/seoul-global-business-suppor)
U.S. Embassy:( usembassy.gov) U.S. Embassy, Consular Section/American Citizen Services (ACS), 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea 110-710, Tel: 82-(0)2-397-4040
Day One: Cousin Wu suggests a visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace – W-M: Nov-Feb: 9-5, Mar-May, Sept, Oct: 9-6, June-August: 9-6:30, 22, Sajik-ro 9-gil, Jongno-gu, 82-2-1330
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the grandest of all five palaces. The premises were destroyed by fire during the Imjinwaeran War (Japanese Invasion, 1592-1598).
However, all of the palace’s 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919).
The 19th-Century palace buildings on the Gyeongbokgung grounds that survived the Japanese rule of Colonial Korea and the Korean War include several pavilions and halls.
Of particular importance is the National Folk Museum – W-M: Nov-Feb: 9-5, Mar-May, Sept, Oct: 9-6, June-August: 9-6, 37, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, 82-2-1330
The National Folk Museum of Korea presents over 4,000 historical artifacts that were used in the daily lives of ordinary Korean people. Here you can fully immerse yourselves in previous domestic and agricultural lifestyles, and learn about Korea’s cultural beliefs.
Let’s go native for lunch at the Noryangjin Fish Market – Open 24/7, 688, Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, 82 2 1330
Here there are over 700 shops that sell everything from shrimp, flounder, and live octopus to the exotic spoon worm, sea cucumber and sea Ray.
We go to Noryangin to see the spectacle, and to consume some fish. After you pick out your fish and do a little haggling, take it upstairs to the Jinnam Sushi Restaurant where they will prepare it for you while you have a glass of Makgeolli (Korean Rice Wine) or Soju (distilled liquor) at a nice table.
Let’s visit the President or at least his residence, Cheong Wa Dae or as it’s known the Blue House – 90 minute tours Tu-Sa at 10, 11, 2 & 3, Seoul-si Jongno-gu Sejong-ro 1, 82-2-1330
The buildings of Cheong Wa Dae are comprised of the Main Office, Yeongbingwan (Guest House), Chunchugwan (Spring and Autumn Pavilion), Nokjiwon (Green grass), the Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) Valley, and the Seven Palaces.
We suggest that you walk along the Nokjiwon and the Mugunghwa Valley to see the flowers, the fountain and a phoenix statue.
Our cousin strongly suggests that we make a reservation (it’s a must) to see the Korea Furniture Museum, 330-577 Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, 82 2 745 0181
Here you’ll see 10 exquisite hanok (traditional Korean houses) structures fitting together on approximately 6,600 square meters of beautifully groomed landscape plus 2,000 pieces of Joseon Dynasty furniture. Here their motto is, “We used to live like this.”
Dinner is at Si Hwa Dam – L & D: Daily, 152 Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, 02-738-8855
Try the Korean-style crepe which is a thin green pancake covered with organic sprouts, seafood and dusted with Parmesan cheese or the steamed rice cake sandwich with bulgogi, served on a classic Korean ink blotter table.
Another favorite is the kimchi carbonara spaghetti which is a creamy blend of tart kimchi, egg, bacon, cream and squid ink noodles.
For dessert go for the tart omija tea.
Day Two: Today we breakfast at The Parkview at the Shilla Hotel – B,L,D: Daily, Seoul Jung-gu Jangchung-dong 2(i)-ga 202 (The Shilla Hotel, 1F), 02-2230-3374
Enjoy unlimited lattes with your yogurt, pudding, eggs, cheese plates or even king crab legs.
The grounds of the War Memorial of Korea – Tu-Su: 9:30 – 6, 29, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, 82-2-1330 were once the headquarters of the Korean Infantry.
You can learn all about Korea’s war history by visiting the War History Exhibit or view different kinds of weapons and military equipment.
There is an exhibit that honors the spirit of those who perished fighting on the battlefield. This memorial is the largest of its kind in the world.
Next let’s visit the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – Mar-Oct: Daily: 10-6, Sa,Su: till 9, Nov-Feb: Daily: 10-5, 313 Gwongmyeong-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, 427 701, Tel. 82 02 2189 6114
Here you will see an array of international artists, such as Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff and Marcus Lüpertz. The More the Better by Nam-June Paik is a show stopper.
Additional pieces by celebrated artists such as Nikki de Saint-Phalle, Jonathan Borofsky, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Cesar Baldaccini, Enzo Cucchi, Jim Dine and Christian Boltanski are also shown here.
Time for lunch at Le Saint-Ex – L & D: Daily, Yongsan-gu itaewon-Dong 119-28-140-200, Tel: 795-2465
Start with the salmon platter with potato blini or the raviolis stuffed with blue cheese, pear confit and caramel. Enjoy a glass of Faively Aligote with either.
Then have the steak and frites with the Pommard 1er Cru. For dessert go with the cheese plate.
This afternoon let’s explore the National Museum of Korea – Tu,Th, F: 9-6, W, Sa: 9-9, Su: 9-7, 137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Tel. 02 2077 9000
The National Museum of Korea is the flagship museum of Korean history and art in South Korea, and is the cultural organization that represents Korea. It is a place where you can explore the essence of Korean arts and culture.
The museum combines Korean history, life, and arts from hand axes of the Paleolithic period to celadons of the Goryeo Dynasty, to paintings of the Joseon Dynasty and to modern photography.
Dinner tonight is at Byeokje Galbi – L & D: Daily, 1-4, Yangjae-daero 71-gil, Songpa-gu, 82-2-1330
This is one of the best places in Seoul to truly enjoy the authentic taste of Korean beef. Beef used in their dishes comes from cows raised on a Pocheon farm under the direct management of the restaurant.
Our cousin suggests either the barbecued beef ribs with seasoned soy sauce or the short ribs. You might also enjoy the Pyeongyang style buckwheat noodles.
Day Three: Start your day with breakfast at The Egg and Spoon Race – B,L,D: Daily, Seoul Seodaemun-gu Daehyeon-dong 54-9, 02-312-5234
Our first choice is the “Potato Omelet Plate,” which includes three fluffy eggs filled with spinach, tomatoes, bacon, cheese and, of course, potatoes or their waffles with a kimchi like side dish of chopped radish and jalapeno.
This morning let’s visit the Leeum Samsung Musuem of Art – Tu-Su: 10:30-6, 747-18, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, 82 2-2014-6901
The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art has a Museum 1 and a Museum 2. Musuem 1 houses Korean traditional art and Museum 2 exhibits works of art by Korean and international contemporary artists.
The buildings of The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art were designed by the internationally renowned architects Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas to combine the past, present, and future of art and culture, and are in themselves remarkable artistic experiences.
Leeum seeks to be a center of Asian art. It is a museum of new ideas, and bridges the East and the West, with its eye on the future. Enjoy a new world of art and culture in Leeum, where the past and present coexist, and where art, culture, and people share an urban architectural space in harmony with nature.
For another artful experience we can visit the Seoul Museum of Art – May-Oct: M-F: 10-10, Sa,Su: 10-7, Nov-Feb: M-F: 10-10, Sa,Su: 10-6, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, 82 2-2124-8800
SeMA has a collection of approximately 3,500 pieces of art including painting, sculpture, installation, media and the works of the masters in art history such as Hwan Gi Kim, Young Gook Yoo, Nam June Paik, Woo Hwan Lee, Seo Bo Park and Myoung Ro Yoon as well as contemporary artists who are active around the world.
Our main meal today is Sanchon – L & D: Daily, Insadong off Insadong-gil, 02 735 0312 is a religious experience.
Sanchon is a Buddhist restaurant opened by Buddhist Monk Jeongsan, who is an expert on Korean Buddhist temple food.
The vegetarian marinades, glazes and seasonings are unique. 20 small courses are served at both lunch and dinner.
Meals are made with natural ingredients such as vegetables and mountain herbs and are cooked without chemical additives.
If you visit for dinner you can expect entertainment by drummers and dancers.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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