What kinds of activities are recommended by international residents living in Korea for tourists in Seoul?
The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organization surveyed 500 international residents in Seoul about the top 20 cultural experiences in the city in April, 2010. Seoul city recently announced the results of the survey, ‘Greatest Top 20’, and added that the metropolitan government will develop tailored tourist routes for tourists based on the survey results. Most preference surveys targeting tourists have focused simply on food and normal tourist spots so far. However this survey was conducted asking about the various experiences tourists can enjoy in Seoul, so its results are expected to become a real help to visitors of the city.
|Category||No. 1||No. 2||No. 3|
|Namsan Experience||N Seoul Tower||Park/Walking trail||Cable Car|
|Cultural Shows||NANTA||Korea House||Break-dance Show BABY|
|Museums||National Museum of Korea||National Folk Museum of Korea||War Memorial of Korea|
|Royal Seoul||Gyeongbokgung||Changing of the Royal Guards at Deoksugung
|Shopping||Myeong-dong||COEX Mall||Dongdaemun Market|
|Traditional Markets||Namdaemun Market||Gyeongdong Yangnyeong Market||Janghanpyeong
(marinated short rib barbecue)
|Full course Korean meal||Bibimbap
(pot rice with seasoned vegetables and beef)
|Art & Design||Insa-dong||Hongdae Art Street||Worldcup Park Design Gallery|
|Family Entertainment||Lotte World||Seoul City Bus Tour||Seoul Forest|
|Mountains||Bukhansan National Park||Cheonggyesan||Bugaksan|
|Hangang (River)||Hangang River Cruise||Hangang Park||Bicycle riding|
|Health & Wellness||Jjimjilbang
(Korean dry sauna)
|Buddhist Insights||Jogyesa Temple||Bongeunsa Temple||Hwagyesa Temple|
|Best Walking Streets||Samcheong-dong||Cheonggyecheon
|Hands-on Experiences||Fitting Hanbok
(traditional Korean outfit)
|Global Seoul||Itaewon Street||Cheongdam-dong||Seoul Arts Center|
(Korean distilled liquor)
|IT||Digital Media Center||Yongsan Game League||Samsung d’light|
Many of the European tourists love the exciting nightlife of Seoul, and the survey found that the Hongik University district is their most popular location, followed by Apgujeong-dong and Bugak Skyway.
Jjimjilbang which is a health facility mainly consisting of saunas was chosen for the best health & wellness experience in Seoul, and temple cuisine, medical checkup and hand acupuncture were also favorites.
Many people think bulgogi (barbecued beef) is one of the most representative Korean foods, but galbi-gui (marinated short rib barbecue) surprisingly, was ranked first in the category of Korean cuisine. And the survey found that samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), kalguksu (noodle soup), jeon (assorted pan-fried delicacies) & makgeolli (rice liquor) and street food were also popular with tourists.
The survey results showed that the places popular with locals are gaining popularity with tourists as well. Myeong-dong and Dongdaemun ranked first and second for shopping, and Yongsan electronics market, Coex mall and Cheongdam-dong followed. And many respondents selected Samcheong-dong, Seonyudo and Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong as the best walking streets.
This survey gave us a new perspective on what interests international residents and tourists about Seoul, beyond the conventional tour routes of Myeong-dong, Insa-dong and the royal palaces.
“The Hongik University area is full of colorful street murals, vintage clothing shops, small galleries, a flea market, cafes and clubs, and walking on the streets of this district you can feel the youthful energy. Art, youth and freshness represent this area,” a survey respondent said. “Myeong-dong is the best place for shopping. The streets of Myeong-dong appear to keep changing, but you can always find good restaurants in the alleys. The streets of Myeong-dong have never been boring to me, and that’s the charm of Myeong-dong,” he added.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government released the survey results, and developed various theme-based tour courses based on the results. For example, the one day course of Korean cuisine is as follows: Jogyesa (lunch: bibimbap & pajeon) → Insadong → Tteok museum → Cheonggyecheon → N Seoul Tower (dinner: bulgogi). Courses can be searched for based on theme and time on the website of the Seoul Tourism Organization. (www.miceseoul.com)