Friday, August 03, 2007

Finding out what's on in Seoul

Finding out what's on Seoul has been a bit of struggle at times, so it's ironic that just as we are about to leave I find out about two events magazines that might have been useful. The item in the JoongAng daily brought to my attention two English language magazines ROKon and The Groove. Both have been running for several months now, but I've not seen them for sale anywhere. They both have websites: ROKon where you can download the latest issue and The Groove which has a calendar of some events but does not offer a download.

Seoul Selection, a monthly magazine edited by Robert Koehler of The Marmots Hole, provides 100 pages of reviews, articles and photos of cultural events and social activities. It also includes a calendar of what's on. A weekly email newsletter is available and they have recently added the ability to to download a PDF of the magazine. These three magazines and the three daily English language newspapers provide the mainstay of printed news of what's on in Korea.

SeoulStyle used to have a calendar of events but sadly it stopped being updated in Dec 2006 after the owner moved to Hong Kong. The site is still for sale, if anyone is interested in taking it on. Seoul Steves have started a similar events calendar but while it is not extensive yet, it shows great promise.

The Joong Ang often prints photos of events from the previous day. A good example was the picture of crowds queueing to buy railway tickets for the Chuseok holiday. Residents will know that this holiday date, which falls on 25th September this year, is when the whole of Korea is on the move visiting family members. To ensure you get a train ticket for travel during that period you have to book tickets as soon as they go on sale. It's a shame they did not think to mention it the day before. [And while we are on the subject of trains, what happened to the website english.barota.com? It used to be an English site where you could look up all Korean train times and book tickets. It's been replaced with a new version that looks very flashy, but only does Korean. I attempted to email them to ask what happened, but all the Email addresses listed on the contact us page bounce with the message Bad connection (io timeout)!]

The Korea National Tourist Office website has a good list of upcoming festivals and events and there is a emailed newsletter that highlights two or three forthcoming events that you can subscribe to. There is also a list of some of the cinemas in Seoul, but the majority of their websites are Korean only. The one notable exception is Dansungsa cinema in Jongno Seoul. The Korea Herald and Joong Ang daily write a weekly summary of the movies that are showing, but they do not print any showtimes. Mark of Korea Pop Wars pointed me in the direction of Cine21 (Korean) which has a list of all currently showing movies and where they are on.

Update: The Expat-Advisory website offers a regular newsletter of what's on in Seoul. Subscribe here.

Maybe one day TimeOut will come to town and cover everything to do with 'What's on in Seoul', but until that time you will have to hunt around, or learn Korean to figure it out from the local resources.

1 comment:

Skinny Steve said...

Thanks for the mention! We'll be unveiling our new calendar in the next couple weeks, which will allow people to add their own events. We hope it will make it much less intensive to find, not to mention publicize, events going on around town.