You can meet cultural tourist guides anytime you visit Seoul’s most representative tourist attractions such as Gyeonbokgung, Unhyeongung and Bongeunsa Temple. The cultural tourist guides are volunteers who help tourists understand Korean culture by providing explanations and stories about cultural heritage and tourist spots in Seoul. The two hundred cultural tourist guides introduce the best of Korean culture to tourists from home and abroad in four different languages (English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean).
They guide tourists through thirteen courses covering eleven representative tourist attractions of Seoul. The tour courses are as follows. Gyeongbokgung & Hyojadong course, Jongmyo & Changgyeonggung course, Bukchon & Unhyeongung course, Namsan Fortress & Hanok village course and Choi Sunu House & Gilsangsa course. They also provide guide services at the War Memorial of Korea, the Insadong promotion center and the Cheongwadae Sarangchae.
The most popular tourist course is the Gyeongbokgung route, followed by Bukchon and Jongmyo. Recently, the Cheongwadae Sarangchae has become a must-see attraction among Chinese tourists.
As the demand for cultural tourist guides grows, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is planning to develop thirteen new courses in the second half of this year. Seoul’s rich cultural assets will enrich the new tourist products differentiating themselves from other regular tour courses.
The metropolitan government will also increase the number of languages provided from four (Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese) to twelve by 2014. French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Hindi and Arabic will be provided, and the number of cultural tourist guides will also increase to 1,000 by 2014.
One of the guides said, “We explain Korean history and culture to tourists from home and abroad, and it is very rewarding in that we can introduce our outstanding cultural heritage to the world. I feel proud when some of the foreign tourists say that they have come to meet the real charm of Korea through our explanation.”
If you want to go on a tour with a cultural tourist guide of Seoul, make a reservation three days in advance by phone (02-6925-0777) or on the website (visitseoul.net).