Local Information

1) Hotel & Transportation

Lotte Hotel (Seoul)
30 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul

http://www.lottehotel.com/seoul/en/

The conference venue, Lotte Hotel Seoul is conveniently located in the heart of Seoul’s central business district near Myeongdong and features two hotels-Main Building and New Wing-boasting 1,120 guest rooms combined. Lotte Hotel Seoul,  Korea’s 5-star best luxury hotel, is a perfect hotel of 5-star hotels in Seoul for your tourism providing luxurious accommodation options designed by 4 world`s leading design firms.

The Hotel features an indoor swimming pool, a health/fitness center, spa, and sauna.

Hotel Alternatives

There are a variety of hotel options nearby to suit a range of budgets and hotel “Star” levels.  For example, use expedia.com with destination “Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea”

Location & Transportation
On Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/dfiaXH2zvaS2

KAL Limousine Bus from Incheon Int’l Airport (most convenient):
https://www.kallimousine.com/eng/guide01_en.html
http://www.lottehotel.com/seoul/en/location.asp (click on “KAL Limousine Bus”)

  • Bus Line: 6701
  • ₩16,000 one way (₩10,000 children 6-12)
  • 1 hour 20 minutes to city center (subject to traffic)
  • Bus departs every ~20-40 minutes (depending on time of day)
  • Purchase tickets at the bus ticket counter at the airport
  • Bus pick-up at bus doors 4A and 10B
  • For return trip to the airport, bus picks up right outside the Lotte Hotel.  No need to pre-purchase a ticket, as cash can be used to pay upon boarding the bus (for the return trip only).

Train/Subway:

  • Take the Airport Express route in the direction of Seoul Station for seven stops
  • Change trains at Hongik University Station
  • Take Line 2 (Green Line) clockwise for six stops
  • Get off at Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station; take Exit 8 from the station, which is directly connected to the basement level of the Lotte Hotel.

Taxi from Airport:

    • Taxi stands available at the airport. Costs vary depending on traffic conditions, but will always be more expensive than the above options.  Typical costs range from ₩60,000-₩100,000.
    • Exit the airport through any gate between Gates 4 and 8 of the passenger terminal (arrival area), cross the street, and go to the taxi stands (4D-8C).
    • You may be approached by drivers offering a taxi ride. We do not recommend going with these drivers; go to the official taxi stands.

If you want step-by-step instructions for any of the above (down to the operation of the ticket-purchasing machines), see: http://asiaenglish.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/GK/GK_EN_2_2_2_3.jsp

2) About Seoul

Seoul, a global city

Seoul is the capital of Korea with over 600 years of history. It is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economics.

In Seoul, the world’s 10th largest city, the past and present co-exist in a fascinating way. Ancient palaces, gates, gardens, and valuable art collections in museums attest to the illustrious past of the city while the glistening facades of soaring skyscrapers and the busy streets represent its vibrant present. Seoul is home to many old historic sites like the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces, and places with traditional culture like Bukchon Hanok Village, Insa-dong, and Namdaemun Market. The shopping and entertainment districts of
Myeong-dong and Apgujeong, and Asia’s largest underground shopping center Coex Mall also draw a large number of tourists every year. The Hangang River, which runs through the center of the city, is also a distinctive landscape of Seoul that offers a myriad of resting areas for citizens.

Seoul has now turned its attention into becoming an eco-friendly and culturally rich city after the recent decades of development and growth that helped improve life quality. In Seoul, visitors will find highly skilled human resources and the world’s best information-technology infrastructure. Seoul’s beautiful natural environment, low tax burdens, and social security expenses for foreign business make it a great place to invest, do business, and live.

 Helpful Booklets for Seoul Visitors:

ATTRACTIONS IN SEOUL

Namsan Mountain (N Seoul Tower)

The N Seoul Tower offers an amazing panoramic view of Seoul. It is located on top of Namsan Mountain, which is also the city’s largest park and botanical garden. Enjoy a hike to the peak or ascend via cable car. For more information, please refer to this website.

Cultural Shows (Non-verbal Performances)

Seoul offers a variety of non-verbal performances that anyone can enjoy. Among them is Nanta, a popular show running since October 1997. After a run on Broadway and tours around the world, it has achieved impressive international success, receiving rave reviews and selling out quickly wherever it is performed. For more information, please refer to this website.

Museums (National Museum of Korea)

The National Museum of Korea is the largest exhibition facility in Asia and among the six largest museums in the world. Here you will find a variety of collections that promote the uniqueness and beauty of Korean culture. With many stunning items including National Treasure No.83, the “Gilt Bronze Seated Maitreya”, the museum is very popular. Educational tours and cultural performances are available. Admission is free. For more information, please refer to this website.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung was the main palace through much of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Unlike other palaces in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung’s rectangular space is surrounded by large gates on all sides. It also has three granite walkways, extending from the main entrance to the mail hall. This hall was where all important matters were conducted. For more information, please refer to this website.

Deoksugung Palace

Located at the corner of Seoul’s busiest downtown intersection, Deoksugung Palace is famous for its elegant stone-wall road. It is also the only palace that sits alongside a series of western style buildings that add to the uniqueness of the surrounding scenery. Deoksugung Palace originally belonged to Wolsandaegun (1454~1488), the older brother of King Seongjong (1469~1494) of the Joseon Dynasty. It became a proper palace when Gwanghaegun (1575~1641) ascended the throne and gave the palace the name Gyeongungung in 1611. Afterwards, the name was then changed back to its orginal title of Deoksugung.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Shopping (Myeong-dong)

A must-visit location for foreigners, Myeong-dong is Korea’s number one shopping district. Located in the heart of Seoul immediately adjacent to the conference hotel, you will find the area bustling with people all week long. Myeong-dong offers tourists a wide variety of shops, from fashion items to popular brands for young people. Every corner extends to visitors excellent, traditional restaurants. Even if you’re not interested in a full meal, a variety of local delicacies will round off your visit to the area. Located near Myeong-dong, the Dongdaemun Shopping town also offers a wide selection of fashion items at very affordable prices.

Traditional Markets (Namdaemun Market)

Namdaemun Market is the largest and oldest traditional market in Seoul. You can find just about anything you are looking for. This 24 hour market is a true treasure trove offering a vast variety and bargains galore.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Korean Cuisine (Galbi)

Galbi is either beef or pork marinated in a sauce of soy sauce, minced garlic, sesame oil, and pear juice, and grilled over a charcoal fire. A similarly delicious dish is Bulgogi (Barbecued beef) marinated in a combination of mixed sauce, and grilled to perfection. Galbi restaurants are abound in Seoul making it easy to enjoy this delicious dish.

Art and Design (Insa-dong)

The streets of Insa-dong are alive with traditional Korean culture. This area has been the center of culture in Seoul since the Joseon era. A large variety of arts have surfaced in the neighborhood over the years, making it an exciting place to experience a wide diversity of genres. On the weekends, with Insa-dong closed to vehicle traffic, the streets are full of life with festivities such as parades, traditional wedding processions, music and dance performances. You will find that time flies as you wander from shop to shop, immersing yourself in the long, beautiful history of Korea.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Family Fun (Amusement Park)

Lotte World is the perfect place for entertainment as the world’s largest indoor theme park, complete with 42 different attractions and spectacular festivals. The theme park is filled with rides, an ice rink, a folk museum, a lake and much more. Nearly 6 million visitors come to Lotte World every year. The indoor year-round. Seoul Grand Park, on the outskirts of the city, is a theme park housing Seoul land, Seoul Zoo, and Korea’s National Museum of Contemporary Art. While Lotte World offers excellent indoor entertailment, worlds-beautiful nature and a theme park combined in one location. This is a favorite place of many locals.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Mountains (Mt. Bukhansan)

Seoul is a capital city surrounded by graceful mountains. The locals love bukhansan National Park as much as the Hangang River. This beautiful mountain displays the seasonal changes in all
their glory. Many hikers visit this national park on the weekends. A variety of routes are available for all ages and all types of hikers, from beginners to experts.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Hangang River (Cruise)

The Hangang River is one of Seoul’s most popular attractions, a constant source of pleasure and relaxation. A cruise along the river is an excellent way to view the romantic side of Seoul.  Relax, feel the cool breeze and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  

Temple Life & Temple Stay (Bongeunsa Temple)

Situated near Coex, Bongeunsa is a peaceful oasis. This temple is open all year round, and all Buddhist events held here are open to visitors. It also has exhibits explaining much of the history of modern Buddhism. Hundreds of people visit this temple every day. A variety of Temple-stay programs are also available.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Global Seoul (Itaewon)

Itaewon is a place where races and cultures exist together in harmony, making it a truly global village in the heart of Seoul. Seasonal international parties, such as Halloween parties, are held here each year. You can also find a variety of unusual and intriguing items here from all over the world. The streets are lined with exotic eye-catching shops, and most merchants are able to communicate well with visitors. Another popular place to experience a different culture is “Little Tokyo”, located in Dongbu Ichon-dong, close to Itaewon.  For more information, please refer to this website.

Samcheongdong-gil Road

Samcheongdong-gil Road stretches from Gyeongbokgung Palace to Samcheong Tunnel. Just past Samcheong Tunnel, at the end of the walkway, you’ll find Samcheong Park–a park famous for its thick forest and scenic views. Samcheongdong-gil goes through the middle of the city, but is a peaceful, quaint area. The street is lined with cafes, museums, antique shops and a number of famous art galleries. Since each art gallery building along Samcheongdong-gil has its own unique architectural design, taking a walk and appreciating the buildings is a journey in itself. Many galleries have their own cafes, restaurants, or craft shops, allowing visitors to enjoy art, shopping, and lunch all under one roof. For more information, please refer to this website.

 

3) About Korea

Korea, a fast growing country

Korea is a beautiful country located on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia, often referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm”; A country surrounded by sea on three sides, while boasting green forests, open fields as well as meandering rivers.

Korea is a place that is alive with a rich tradition and culture that spans 5,000 years of history; An attractive country of changing sceneries and foods in each distinctive season of spring, summer, fall and winter; and A nation that produced the “Miracle of the Han River”, a stunning economic and social transformation forged by its people out of the ashes of the Korean War in 1950 and the subsequent division of territory.

Land

The Korean Peninsula extends southward from the eastern end of the Asian continent. It is roughly 1,000 km (621 miles) long and 216 km (134 miles) wide at its narrowest point. Mountains cover 70% of the land mass, making Korea one of the most mountainous regions in the world. The mountain range that stretches along the east coast falls steeply into the East Sea, while along the south and west coasts, the mountains descend gradually to the coastal plains that produce the bulk of Korea’s agricultural crops, especially rice.

Administrative Division

The peninsula is divided just slightly north of the 38th parallel. The Republic of Korea in the south and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north are separated by the Demilitarized Zone. The Republic of Korea consists of eight provinces and one special self-governing province (do); the capital Seoul; the six metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon and Ulsan, and 74 cities (si) and 85 counties (gun).

 Language

The Korean language, like Hungarian, Turkish, Mongolian and Finnish, is classified into the Ural-Altaic language group. Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) is composed of ten simple vowels and 14 consonants. A group of scholars under the patronage of King Sejong the Great developed this systematic rendition of spoken sound in 1443. Hunminjeongeum , a historical document which provides instructions to educate people on the use of hangeul, is registered with UNESCO as a World Heritage, and UNESCO also awards the “King Sejong Literacy Prize” every year in memory of the inventor of hangeul.

 Korean Clothing — Hanbok

Hanbok has been the Korean people’s unique traditional costume for thousands of years and represents the beauty and grace of Korean culture. The beauty of hanbok lies in the harmony of its colors and its bold, simple lines. Its beauty and quality are judged by three elements: otgoreum, or the long ribbons of the top that form a knot; baerae, or the curve of the sleeves; and git, the way the band of fabric that rims the collar and the front of the top overlaps.

 National Flag

The design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang forces in Asian philosophy. The red and blue circle respectively represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang and yin. The two forces together embody the concepts of continual movement, balance and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The trigrams on each corner of the rectangular flag symbolize heaven, earth, water and fire.

National Flower

Every year from July to October, a profusion of mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) blossoms grace the entire country. Unlike most flowers, the mugunghwa is remarkably tenacious and able to withstand both blight and insects. The flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means immortality, and accurately reflects the enduring nature of the Korean culture along with the determination and perseverance of its people.

Climate

Seoul has all four clearly distinguished seasons. Spring begins around early March; cherry blossom and flower festivals around the entire country signal the official coming of spring. The summer months can get quite hot and humid, but be ready for random spurts of coldness when stepping into a subway car, bus, or any other air-conditioned facilities in Seoul. For about a month starting from mid-July is the rainy season. Autumn start around September and boasts beautiful scenery as leaves begin to turn into fall colors. The winters in Seoul can get quite harsh. The temperature can drop as low as 15 degrees below zero (Celsius) during the coldest days.

Spring Summer Fall Winter
– late March to May
– warm
– June to early September
– hot and humid
– September to November
– mild weather
– December to Mid-March
– cold and dry

WEATHER FORECAST

http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/

Korean Food

Korea was once primarily an agricultural nation, cultivating rice as their staple food since ancient times. These days Korean cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of meat and fish dishes along with wild greens and vegetables. Various fermented and preserved food, such as kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal (matured seafood with salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste) are notable for their specific flavor and high nutritional value.

The prominent feature of a Korean table setting is that all dishes are served at the same time. Traditionally, the number of side dishes varied from three for the lower classes to twelve for royal family members. Table arrangements can vary depending on whether a noodle dish or meat is served. Formal rules have developed for table setting, demonstrating the attention people pay to food and dining. Compared to neighboring China and Japan, a spoon is used more often in Korea, especially when soups are served.

A diverse array of food and dishes can be found throughout Korea.

 Electricity

In Korea, 220 volt outlets are most common. (two round pins)
If your appliance plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.

Tax

Any product with this “Tax Free Shopping” sign will give you a refund on VAT. You must depart Korea within 3 months of the purchase.

How to get Tax Refund

  • Purchase your items at any shops with this “Tax Free Shopping” sign and receive a payment slip.
  • When departing, you need to get a stamp issued from the customs officer after showing him the purchased items and payment slip.
  • At the Cash Refund Office in the airport, you can receive the amount of VAT. You may also be able to get a refund at the airport of your destination.

Cell Phone Rental Service

CDMA cellular systems are widely used in Korea. SK Telecom and KT are providing a SIM card roaming service to allow you to use your GSM subscription in Korea. At the International Airport, you can rent a special CDMA cellular phone which accepts your SIM card. Please check the links below for more details.

 

* Adapted from information at ACM/IEEE ISCA 2016