What's New in Korea

Festival Season; Operator Plans N. Korea Tour; Business Stays in Seoul

By: David Peterkofsky

Festival Season

The Korea National Tourism Organization is touting several cultural festivals being held in Korea this fall. Among the upcoming events is the Geumsan Ginseng Festival (Sept. 6-15), held in rural Chungcheongnam-do Province. The area is known for its ginseng, which is priced 20% to 50% lower when sold locally vs. in other areas. Highlights include a dig-it-yourself harvest trip and cooking classes. Events take place in and around the Ginseng Museum. Web sites: www.geumsan.chungnam.kr or www.insamfestival.co.kr.

The Andong International Mask Dance Festival (Sept. 27 to Oct. 6) celebrates the mask dances developed by peasants in ancient times when the ruling yangban elite forbid open criticism of themselves. Apart from dance performances, the event includes fireworks, a chariot battle and a food festival. Web site: www.maskdance.com.

The Gimje Horizon Festival (Oct. 3-6) pays tribute to the region’s rice-farming heritage, with hands-on events including the making of traditional farm tools and scarecrows; catching grasshoppers; and even a fish-catching contest. Web site: www.egimje.net.

Operator Plans N. Korea Tour

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Universal Travel System recently led its first tour group to North Korea, and the company has slated a second North Korea trip for Oct. 12-20.

Highlights of UTS’ recent trip included a stay at the 45-story Hotel Koryo in Pyongyang; a visit to the USS Pueblo, a U.S. Navy ship captured by the North Koreans in 1968; and Panmunjom, the border village guarded by both North Korean and U.S. military.

The October departure will feature a similar itinerary; cost is $3,460 per person, double, land only. Roundtrip air from Los Angeles is approximately $825. Call 310-393-0261 or 800-255-4338.

Business Stays in Seoul

Long-term business travelers to Seoul have a new accommodations option in the newly opened Coatel Chereville, in the southern part of the city.

The Coatel Chereville, located on Teheranno Street in Seoul, features 365 guest rooms, including suites for long-term visitors, rooms for shorter-staying guests and living suites with office facilities.

All suites have kitchens and washing machines. Rates range from approximately $150 to $325 per night, with discounts available for long-term visitors.

Call 011-82-2-6288-3400. Web site: www.coatel.co.kr.

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