A long time ago I spent a week driving from LA to the Grand Canyon and back, then took a greyhound bus up to San Francisco.
LA = lots of traffic, not much of interest. Universal Studios was ok. Hollywood was an armpit. Venice beach was fun.
All the national parks I visited on my road trip were FANTASTIC and I’d highly recommend them all. I went to, in rough order of preference (best first):
Canyonlands, Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and they were all great. There are loads of other national parks around that area and I’d love to have a chance to go back someday.
Las Vegas = Mostly only fun if you have money to burn in casinos, which I didn’t. Otherwise, there’s a couple of free shows to see, but basically it’s just loads of hotels and casinos and neon in the center, and then dodgy areas outside that.
Minuses: The aircon in my hostel room was broken and it was insanely hot in there.
Pluses: Quite a few vegas showgirls were staying in the same building and we spent all night drinking margaritas in the pool/hot tub.
Minuses: trying to drive the next day.
the road trip was actually pretty dull though, because it’s just a straight road on cruise control for 6 hours. Make sure you take good music.
San Francisco = Nice city. Kinda european vibe. Fisherman’s wharf is a bit of a tourist trap. Good chinese food in chinatown and micro breweries.
Alcatraz tour was fun and great for photos at sunset. Walked half way across golden gate bridge, but it’s a long way. Again good for photos though. Visited many iconic places from movies.
Favourite place was Haight Ashbury and golden gate park.
Went on a 3 day coach trip to Yosemite from SF. Yosemite is also great, like all the other national parks. Hiked the waterfall. Climbed Half Dome (the easy side, not the real climber side).
Basically, I loved the national parks, but mostly wasn’t that impressed by the cities.
I’ve only been to Seoul briefly. It’s a lot like tokyo, but a bit more lively due to being a little more “undeveloped”, at least in attitude. Japanese people just go there for shopping, massages and cheap BBQ, so it was hard to get anywhere outside that zone for me. But:
It has 5 big palaces with long confusingly similar names. One is always open, the others are open some days. I saw the changing of the guard at the main one, which was pretty cool. (Insanely hot in full sun in summer though). Also went to another one that was much more natural and where half the palace was threaded through a forested hill - that was nice.
It also have 4-5 main market areas with long confusingly similar names. At least one of them is open until about 4am, so you can walk around late at night and it’s still packed and you can still grab food or go for coffee.
There was an ok little “traditional korean village” theme park. Also watched the sunset down by the Han river, which runs through the city.
I liked that outside a lot of the smaller train stations there are loads of outside food stalls, so there’s still a bunch of people eating and drinking outside when you get off the train near your hotel at 1am.
Other than that, I can’t be much help as japanese-style package tours don’t really major on local stuff. I remember reading about a cool old-style town out in the mountains far from seoul, but I don’t remember the name.
I try to nevver go anywhere north of Bristol, but Angel of the North?