Explore South Korea [Part I]
Why South Korea? That’s the first thing most people ask when they hear where we went on vacation. While most people think of warm climates, scenic vistas, excellent food, vibrant culture, and fun shopping as perfect options for a holiday— for some reason they routinely miss the mention of South Korea, yet all of those destination attributes are covered. I wouldn’t have chosen it for a vacation myself, except my wife had lived there for a semester during college. Since I had that window into the culture, I knew what to expect and was thrilled to visit. We had a great time, and I can happily recommend a South Korean vacation to anyone.
Now, I know I just said that South Korea was a great vacation spot; but it would be a better destination for certain kinds of people. If you’re looking for a sense of adventure, and you appreciate real foreign experiences over cookie cutter hotels, South Korea is for you. It definitely helps if you travel with someone who’s been there before, or knows the language a bit; but it wasn’t impossible for me to survive and get around. There’s a surprising amount of English written on signs and displays, and most people are very happy to help you out— when in doubt, pointing and smiling go a long way.
South Korea is very headstrong with their national tourism campaign, which promotes (mostly Chinese) visitors to come over and shop; at giant malls, and street vendors, and subway stations… virtually everywhere. If there was one thing that we did each day, without even planning, it was shopping. Shoes, clothes, bags, accessories— while name brand items are popular there, you’ll still be able to find some cheaper than in the US, with many limited edition designs you can’t get stateside. However, the most fun was picking out cheaper goodies in the subway stations that had… less than accurate English phrases on it.