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.
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.
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.