Sunday, July 29, 2007

Seoul, walking

Getting around Seoul is pretty easy. The subway system covers most of the places in town and it's relatively easy to navigate around. All the stations are numbered and it's useful when the Korean name gets too long and tricky. Ticket price for most downtown destinations is about US$1.
The service is efficient and the trains and stations clean. Stop announcements are only in Korean so you have to watch out for the stations you want.
Taxis are everywhere but there are at least 3 different types and they are priced differently. The cheapest ones are in white or silver color, then black ones. Then you have station wagons (we called it dog catcher's van), and they are the most expensive off all. Basically a 15 minute trip costs US$8 to US$10 in white or silver ones, slightly more in blacks but US$25 in the dog catcher's van so be careful. Take a look at the avant garde electronic gadget shrine in our dog catcher's van we took one night.

Downtown Seoul is cosmopolitan but there are lots of parks and palace gardens dotted around. Like most Asian cities there's always at least one park where old people chill and hang out.
I always liked food markets and we had a great time looking at all the local dried goods market.
On that day we also came across an electronic market specializing in CCTVs and speakers (weird combination I have to say), a paper market with wall papers and carrier bags, an office furniture market, a street with bathroom fittings. Here we have a street with little hardware stores.

Our map indicates a small "stream" running all the way across downtown Seoul and we went to check it out. It was more like an artificial drainage canal but I thought the city had done a really good job dressing it up. It's green, pleasant and cooling and most importantly away from the traffic.

At night the canal is a popular hangout too. In this section there are little rocks in the water you can walk across. The kids were all having fun.

A small side street off the busy Insa-dong.

A small street rally. An unfamiliar sight as we're used to living in Shanghai.
Myeong-dong, my haunt for this trip. It could get a lot busier.

Friday night in Myeong-dong. It was full of young people, street vendors selling food and generally useless accessories.
Here's an example of the junk (my husband's word) being sold there. We couldn't work out what you would do with open-toe socks. Strange, but cute I suppose.

An old city gate at Dongdaemun. Somewhat similar to the ones we saw in North Korea.

Before I made it to the legendary Dongdaemun shopping centres which open till 5am, I had a look at the local markets. There are streets specializing in different products such as hats, shoes, clothes, plants, can find everything there.

No comments: