An yong hi hasayo

As I reflect on my three weeks in South Korea, I have to thank my friend Seungju who patiently helped me learn some basic Korean before my trip. It made a huge difference — not so much in Seoul — but everywhere else.

Back at Hangdo Island pier
Korean tourists from Central Korea on Hangdo Island pier

Like most big cities, people were too busy to talk to tourists. But as soon as I hit Mokpo in the south, I met the most friendly and helpful people, and knowing a little Korean went a long way. Not only was the owner of the hotel where I stayed near Gatbawi Seacliff the most friendly and helpful I met in all Korea, but on my trip to Hongdo Island I met other Korean hikers who talked to me at length.

Gyeongju
Gyeongju

On the subway in Busan I met a friendly woman — a pleasant reminder that travel is not just about seeing sights, it’s the people that make all the difference.

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