A short note about travel guides… The choice is still limited for travel guides to South Korea, compared to other countries. Since I was planning to only stay in Seoul, I purchased the Lonely Planet Seoul guide. I’ve been here for 2 weeks now and I barely used it. Now that I know more about how the city is organized, I can say that the guide is not well organized at all. Information is hard to find, there are very few maps and they are not detailed. Completely useless for me.
However, I found this French book collection called Cartoville (Gallimard). It’s a small and light book with folded maps. Each map is an area of the city. Not a lot of detailed information, but the maps are great and the size is so convenient, I use it everyday. Definitely worth the price.
I also got the free guide from the Korean Tourism Organization. It covers the whole country, so it’s not the best if you’re going to stay only in Seoul, but it’s a great travel book. It contains lots of information, maps, pictures and travel tips. If you’re planning a trip to Korea, you should definitely get it. It can be found on the KTO website, but you can also get it directly at the KTO near City Hall. I got the old version in Canada, and I went to KTO to take the newest version.
The Korean Tourism Organization is making a lot of efforts to help tourists. We went there to reserve our trip to Jeju-do and it was really helpful. Also, they provide a phone line for foreigners who don’t speak Korean. I didn’t have to use it yet, but I think this is a great idea as not many people speak English.