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South Korea with small children

(15 Posts)
Glitterspy Tue 05-Apr-16 20:22:49

Hi, just hoping for some mood music/ general pointers really. We're planning a family trip to South Korea for my brother and his wife's belated Korean wedding party (he and SIL got married in the UK last year). DH and will be travelling over with DD (3) and DS (will be 6 months) in June, with DB, SIL and my parents. Am really, really excited. DH and I backpacked round SE Asia as twentysomethings and went to Bali for our honeymoon but haven't been back to Asia since 2009 and have never travelled to Korea.

The flight doesn't scare me, we've done long haul already with the kids and survived.

The itinerary is 4 nights in Seoul, fly on to 2 nights on Jeju, ferry over for 9 nights in Busan (where the wedding party is), bullet train back to Seoul and fly home.

Initial questions are around practicalities for the kids - what to do, see and eat, any outstanding places to stay - and in Korean culture, where do babies sleep? Cots seem not to exist. We're happy sleeping on traditional mattresses and sure DD will cope too but what about the baby? How do you stop them simply crawling away in the night/ stop dust/bugs/ravening wolves getting at them!?

Also - will people find it idiotic charming and delightful if I dress the kids up in Hanbok for the wedding party? Or dress up myself? My mother thinks it's a wonderful idea, I'm not so sure. Dad and DH have already said they will be wearing suits grin

Any advice very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
ShanghaiDiva Thu 07-Apr-16 12:14:06

Seoul is a lovely city and easy to navigate by public transport. One of the palaces has a changing of the guard ceremony which might be fun for your daughter and I think it is the museum of Korea which has an interactive children's area. They limit the number of children in there at any one time so it is never too crowded. Insadong is great to walk around and there are always some guys selling some kind of honey sweet there which has strands which need to be doubled as they prepare it they shout out the numbers in English - 2..4..8.16.32 etc which is fun for the kids.
I have been to Jeju, we stayed near Seogwipo. There is a botanical park near the centre of the island which is nice and the hexagonal rocks along the coast are also interesting.
No idea about the cot situation - sounds a little strange!
I think the children will look fabulous dressed in Hanbok for the wedding, but would not wear it myself.
Hope you have a wonderful trip.

Glitterspy Fri 08-Apr-16 14:39:10

Thank you so much for the advice! I thought the Hanbok was a step too far! grin

OP’s posts: |
ScarletBegonia1234 Mon 11-Apr-16 18:57:19

I'm watching with interest as we have booked to go to south korea in October with our 18 month old too! Similar to you done lots of Asia backpacking pre children. I'm so excited! I've bought a pea pod travel cot... bit like a pop up tent and really lightweight as I also worried about a toddler in a non child proof room!

Thefitfatty Mon 11-Apr-16 19:11:13

Yikes that's a lot of travel with 2 young kids. Korea is lovely but a culture shock, particularly food wise. It can be difficult to find western food. So maybe bring along some boxes of cereal. Because Koreans love hot and spicy. Try and stay in central Seoul, do gangnam, itaewon, apgujeong or sinchon ( my spelling will be horrendous with this) where you have easy access to the subway and buses. Sight seeing wise a quick look in a tourist guide will tell you all the palaces and important sites (emperial palace for sure). For jeju, 2 days isn't much and may not be worth the added expense. If you can, stay in Seoul longer and so the DMz then take the bullet train to busan. But where possible lengthen the Seoul and area trip and shorten the northern area trip.

Glitterspy Fri 15-Apr-16 13:02:10

Thanks for all the advice! Will check out the pea pod cot. The itinerary isn't really up to us a we're travelling with SIL who's from Busan and so I can't make the Jeju leg any longer, much as I'd love to!

OP’s posts: |
Glitterspy Fri 15-Apr-16 13:03:52

Erm scarlet have you seen

OP’s posts: |
ScarletBegonia1234 Sat 16-Apr-16 07:07:55

Hi yes I had seen that's an old article from years ago. They recalled them and changed the design. The new pea pods have a new design to solve the issue. I've read up on the safety stuff on the new one and it's fine! Very important info if you are thinking of buying one second hand though as I saw an old version on ebay :-(

ScarletBegonia1234 Sat 16-Apr-16 07:08:19

*It's an old

ScarletBegonia1234 Sat 16-Apr-16 07:17:18 I found this review really useful and it discusses the new peapod.

NicknameUsed Sat 16-Apr-16 17:06:45

OH has spent a lot of time in Busan for work. The summer months are very hot and humid and he used to be drenched in sweat every time he went outside. The traffic is awful so make sure you stay somewhere easily accessible.
The food is fiery hot, and they even put chillis on pizza, so keep an eye on what you order foodwise.

Because of the language and cultural difficulties he didn't go out on his own to explore local bars and places to eat like he usually does, but his hotel was on a trading estate and not in the touristy area.

Glitterspy Sat 16-Apr-16 21:01:09

Scarlet that's good to know, thanks for the advice I'll go check them out.

Nickname I guess you wouldn't recommend Busan, on your OH's say so then! Were there any things that redeemed the place in his eyes?

OP’s posts: |
NicknameUsed Sat 16-Apr-16 22:42:06

He is away at the moment so I will ask him when I next speak to him. Bear in mind that he went there for work so won't be familiar with the holiday parts of the city

Thefitfatty Sun 17-Apr-16 06:16:44

Glitterspy It's been over 10 years since I've last been to Busan but, from what I remember, it's a pretty nice spot. There's a Buddhist temple at the base of a mountain there, that was a nice hike. Yongdusan Park has a tower you can go to the top of and get an amazing view of the city. There's also some great beaches.

They do put chillis on pizza (they also put sweet corn and pickles), but you can just get a traditional cheese pizza, so don't worry too much. Luckily there's plenty of pizza places, as well as fried chicken places and great bakeries with loads of different breads, so you will be able to find non-spicy things for your kids. Korean BBQ is also really, really good if you avoid some of the condiments like kimchi.

As for traffic, Busan has a subway system and it's fairly easy to navigate, as is Seoul's btw. They put English on the signs and the subways run like clockwork. Cab drivers are fairly knowledgeable, and although their English might not be great, you can buy a map with the names in English and Korean and just point to where you want to go.

Honestly, I like Busan because it has a lot of nice fresh air (which Seoul doesn't have) and the people seemed friendly.

Just out of curiosity, are your kids blond? If they are (possibly even if they aren't) I would expect them to get A LOT of attention. They don't get as many Way-gooks (foreigners) in Busan as Seoul and they love blue eyed blonde hair kids. ;)

claricestar Sun 17-Apr-16 06:54:31

I worked in busan over 10 years ago too. Yes it is very different but easy to get around by taxi and underground. Lots of western style fast food places... But I agree about the Korean bbq places bring good...everywhere does bowls if plain sticky rice, ask for "bap". I found people in busan to be very friendly...little kids are made a fuss of (I didn't have kids at the time but taught them!). Your kids will be welcomed! Not great for push chairs...most babies and toddlers were worn on backs when I was there, so consider taking a baby carrier.

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