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Moon South Korea (Moon Handbooks) Paperback – June 2, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Travel to South Korea was a big step for this young Scandinavian from Minnesota, but go he did with never a regret. Two years' experience in the Peace Corps were some of the best and worst of times, but always an education. Two more years of teaching privately in Korea were followed by a slow sojourn from Seoul to Bali, and from there across to the Khyber Pass, before returning to the United States. Robert Nilsen has returned to South Korea four times since, to total nearly seven years of living, working, and traveling in the country. In addition to writing Moon South Korea, he has assisted in rewriting a travel guide to Indonesia, and revises the Hawaii series for Avalon Travel: Moon Hawaii, Moon Kaua'i, Moon O'ahu, Moon Maui, and Moon Big Island of Hawai'i. Now that the fourth edition of this book is on the bookshelf, Robert hopes to spend more time on other interests while the reader uses this book to explore one of Asia's least known yet wonderfully fascinating countries.
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Product Details

  • Series: Moon Handbooks
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; Fourth Edition edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598800590
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598800593
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn Ed on August 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the 2nd, 3rd and this 4th edition in the Moon series of Robert Nilsen's books on South Korea. I also have the Lonely Planet editions on Korea. When I go to Korea, and I have gone more than a half dozen times, I find that the only book I need to take is Nilsen's. It's hefty for a paperback because it's more thorough.

You get not only the expected tourist information on transportation, accommodations, places to eat, etc., but also a very thorough-going choice of locations and things to see and events to attend throughout the provinces and cities of South Korea, arranged clockwise around the map of South Korea, beginning in Seoul. The items Nilsen chooses range from entertaining to seriously historical and/or cultural. This book is for the traveler who wants more than a surface experience of Korea. In fact, Nilsen includes capsule cultural, historical, geographical, economic, language, etc. information and useful appendices, including a bibliography of more in-depth works on various aspects of Korea, all located in the back of this latest edition.

Nilsen spends 95 pages on Seoul [compared to Lonely Planet's 62] and is similarly thorough for the rest of South Korea, yet also includes, toward the beginning, a guide to seeing much of Korea's highlights for the traveler who does not have a great deal of time, whether only a few days or up to three weeks.

This is also an excellent book for the armchair traveler who wants to become acquainted with Korea in more depth than one can usually expect from a travel book.

I would suggest getting this book well ahead of a trip to Korea, so that you can familiarize yourself with the riches of this tome and therefore make your trip more meaningful, as well as more enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By dev on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not sure why people are being so hard on this book. I lived and traveled to South Korea a few times and found this book to come in quite handy. I used this book right after it came out, so I found myself at restaurants and hotels that the owners didn't even know they were featured in it, which was amusing. I'm sure it's a little different now. I liked this guide much more than Lonely Planet (I used both) and found the maps and suggestions to be quite helpful. I visited Gwangju, Boseung, Seoul, Incheon, Cheonan, Sokcho, Andong, Busan, Gyeongju, Tongyeong, Geoje, Jeju, and a few others and the books always came in handy. I always supplemented the book with the free tourist information that Korea is fabulous about handing out.

Happy travels, this book will serve you well!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Williams on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We recently spent three weeks touring South Korea. We bought 3 guidebooks: Green Guide, Lonely Planet and this Moon guide. As usual, we mostly used the Green Guide for a variety of reasons, including that it made trip planning much easier because of its rating system (if your taste in travel mostly agrees with its taste, which ours does). We used Lonely Planet less and hardly ever cracked the Moon guide - no time really.

After returning from the trip, I spent quite a bit of time with the Moon guide and found it well written and most interesting. Of the three guides, the Moon had by far the best background information on the history and culture of South Korea. It would be a good purchase for this reason alone. It also had quite a few interesting side bar tidbits in the main part of the guide. Site descriptions are much more in depth compared to the other guides.

One problem with the Moon is that it is fat and heavy to lug around - especially in a day pack. It is not as slick as the other guides (no color pictures or glossy pages) which would have considerably added to the already heavy weight. I noticed that its value judgements are often much different than the Green Guide. We would have taken a somewhat different trip if we had relied primarily on Moon, but I'm not sure what to think about that.

Should you buy this guide? I think it is too heavy for most to want to lug around when out and about during the day. If you have the time to do the extra reading at night during the trip (or at home before or after the trip), you will be well rewarded with this guide. The extra weight in the suitcase is worth it for those traveling heavy (like us). For those who travel light, it may not be worth the weight to bring it along. It is still an excellent choice for home reading before or after the trip, however.
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