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Seoul (Seoul Selection Guides) Paperback – September 30, 2011
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My wife and I have lived in Seoul now for 5 months, yet have found all of the guidebooks about Seoul limited to cliché tourist spots, pockets of expat existence, and repetitive babbling about how exotic it is without ever giving any real background information. And few offer photos to help you plan your way. And the maps look like something a passerby might draw for you on an ATM receipt.
This book is nothing like that.
I received the book as a present this week, and it is a practical guide to Seoul and surrounding environs, and at the same time passes as a mini-coffee table book - the quality is just fantastic, both in photography, content, and print durability.
We particularly like the very well designed maps, which are similar to those in the Seoul magazine published by the city. They point out the major points of interest in full color and miniature depictions of landmarks, making it very easy to navigate the most cramped marketplaces.
The guide also tells a story. I get the feeling this book respects my intelligence and offers a deeper level of information that I have had to suffer with the Lonely Planet Seoul guide.
This book is very readable as well. You will feel as if you are stepping into the pages of a travel magazine - literally - as you visit each location listed in the book.
Finally, if you are moving to Seoul or just visiting, you will definitely want this book. With the other books, I felt like I was dealing with a brick of newsprint, but this books makes this megacity come alive and more accessible.
The best aspect of this book is its thorough description of different neighborhoods in Seoul with pictures that help give a flavor of different parts of the city. Maps are overall helpful (more on Seoul maps below) and I appreciated the "best of" lists at the beginning of the book. This is the best guidebook for Seoul based on my experience with other other Seoul travel guides (Lonely Planet, Moon) that other family members purchased, none of which came even close in terms of the depth found in Koehler's guide.
However, as much as I enjoyed reading Koehler's guide, the practicality of the book is a problem. First, before I left, I reviewed the language section with a Korean-speaking coworker, and she was not impressed. Although the book provided "useful expressions," saying them was another problem as the author did not describe how to pronounce different vowel combinations or consonants used in the romanization of hangeul. Second, the book lacks logistic details. For example, hotel descriptions were weak and details regarding visiting the DMZ were lacking compared to other guidebooks. I'd refer to other guidebooks or the internet to plan the logistics of your travel. Third, although Koehler provides "best of" lists, I don't think he was critical enough about his description of things to see or do in Seoul that you felt you could prioritize neighborhoods or sightseeing locales. As much as his book has a lot of depth, you may not have a great idea of what to do or see first beyond the "best of" lists provided by the author. Finally, let's talk about food. For many foreigners, their major entry into Korean culture is through food, and I know for me, I was excited about trying authentic cuisine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Decent book, but hard to find things on the maps. Could have been more explicit about particular place. Also, the book organization is a bit haphazard. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Salvo
I ordinarily buy Lonely Planet, but this is a very good alternative. I would certainly consider others by this publisher.Published 9 months ago by SW NY
There are pros and cons. Despite the cons, I would recommend this book because it comes packed with wonderful information. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Aerith Gains
This fantastic book was a great guide for our 4 days in Seoul. It's very extensive and covers many possible options for your trip, not just the 10 most famous attractions. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Em
Good to read at home. Too heavy to take tours of the city.Published 17 months ago by Luciano Ferraretto
Recently I traveled to Seoul and it was very helpfull, it saved me some time and learnead ahead of time things about KoreaPublished 18 months ago by Juan
I found this book very useful and accurate. It gave me good insights and helped me focus my visit in a very large city. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Monica
Nice pages and pictures. It brought back my travel memories in Seoul. This book is so spot on some many places. Read morePublished on May 17, 2014 by Eric