"Springtime in Korea" South Korea by trek06
South Korea Travel Guide: 6,380 reviews and 17,032 photos
I met Mr Park, a Captain Seaman on the airplane over to Korea. The airline attendant asked him if he understood English as we were seated at one of the emergency exits, to which he replied "Un Pequito", so she went off looking some Korean language help. He borrowed my "Lonely Planet guide" and then we started talking in English. He was flying home to bury his mother on a mountain. Mr. Park explained to me about Korean culture and it's 5000 year history and I caught most of it. I would run into Mr Park 4 days later in Jeon-Ju, this time with his family in tow on their way home to Busan, after burying his mother. What are the odds of that. Small Country!(but lots of people).
I made a seperate page for my trip to Kyongju, KR (Gyeonju), but Seoul is included in these pages.
Korea is all mountains, and a great place to go hiking. It's people are very honest. The first restaurant we went to, had it's till (a shoebox of cash) in the front window by the exit. The air polution however is extreme in Korea. Yellow dust storms originating from the Gobi desert in China that has time to cultivate nasty bacteria attached to the particles. Although I didn't feel much culture shock there are many subtle differences in Korea. People bury their dead, in individual sites on hillsides or mountains all over the country. Buses and other vehicles cruise through solid red lights, when they see there is no other traffic. Police leave their lights flashing all the time. School children say "hi" to you and then laugh or giggle at the way it sounds to them. A lot of people wear dusk masks because of ground level traffic fumes and even in the mountains because of the general blanket of smog. Except at a sauna or temple, everywhere else people seem to be in a rush, running for a bus or scurrying across the street. It is very formal and people introduce themselves by their last name. Cash is the way to go and many restaurants don't take cards. The oldest adult male always pays the bill.
People are very currious about you if your non Korean, since you stand out. They are very helpful, which makes it easy to get around even with no Korean language skills. Just point at the picture of what you want ot eat or show them the name of the place you want to go on paper.
There are saunas everywhere and they are a great place to relax after a hike. In Seoul and Busan it is easy to find western food, but in the rest of the country much more difficult.
I enjoyed Maisan Provincial Park, and Daedunsan Provincial Park near Jeonju and the Sokguram Grotto near Gyeongju.
- Pros:Nice People, great hiking, interesting culture!
- Cons:Pollution, yellow dust days
- In a nutshell:a hikers dream...
A favoirite pastime of gentlemen to play in the park. more travel advice
The airport Limousine Bus services are excellent. Very comfortabel and affortabel. I took one from Incheon International... more travel advice
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