Hey you! Yes, you the one that is staring at the door, wishing you were somewhere other than there. Are you feeling exhausted? Do you have a cutout of a picture from that certain travel magazine of a far way place pinned to the wall of your cramped over packed cubical? Are you one of many that struggle throughout your career to achieve a work-life balance? If this describes you, well you are not alone and there is an answer. The good news is that it is that time of year and you have worked very hard. You really deserve a vacation that will reset the mind and spirit for the coming year making you feel smarter and more alive and it can be affordable and yet fantastic. Maybe you have always wanted to take a trip to Asia and not sure where to go? Have you ever thought about South Korea? South Korea has a lot to offer and is a real treasure for the discerning and frugal travelers. It is, in fact, a very safe country that has much to offer for the young and mature, family or single and/or group travel. There are not too many countries that can boast world-class art districts, wine districts, club districts and food districts, not to mention vacation resorts, theme parks and amusement parks with very little commuting time, which means you spend less time traveling and more time living. If you are looking for any of this or maybe a combination of all, then choosing South Korea will be the right choice. You can really have it all.
Before you travel, it is a very good idea to plan and know what you need to pack. South Korea is truly a great destination for all seasons. The big question is, what do you want to see and do? Hey, come on now. I know what you’re thinking, can this true? Yes, it is true, and I am glad you asked. Have you ever heard or met “that guy”? You know the one that everything bad seems to be happening to and walks around with the poor me attitude. Don’t be “that guy” getting on a plane and flying all the way here and going back telling horror stories of their trip to Seoul, when he or she failed to plan and stayed in a hotel the whole trip afraid to venture beyond the hotel door. Boring!!! I mean what was that guy thinking, right? Just don’t be “that guy” and everything will be alright, maybe even perfect.
Ok, enough about “that guy” and let’s continue to talk about that awesome trip you are going to take. Most people only hear about South Korea on the news because of North Korea, the country that shares the peninsula with, and sadly, way too often. Recently, South Korea has become host to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the last Olympics hosted before was the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. If you watch any movies then you might have noticed the two Korea is being used more and more often as a backdrop for the movie and music industries, K-POP being the most well recognized. The city of Seoul is the capital and one of the largest cities, with Busan and PyeongChang coming in a close second.
When arriving here in South Korea, the first thing you will notice, besides the beautiful women, well-dressed gentlemen, and happy children, South Korea is not a third world country. South Korea is on the leading edge of innovation and modern living through technological advancement. It is evident everywhere you look from advancements in medicine to computers to having a top-rated public transportation system. If the language barrier is a concern, calm your fears about not knowing the language, all the traffic and transit signs are in English and Hangul. Seoul itself has been ranked as having one of the best public transit systems in the world, which means you will have no problem getting around Seoul and the rest of South Korea.
The easiest and less expensive way to get around is by far public transportation. The transit system branches throughout South Korea, there is almost no place in South Korea that there is not some kind of public transportation. The KORAIL which is the metropolitan train has lines numbered 1-11. The price of the ticket is based on the distance traveled and you can use the metro to travel around Seoul and outlying villages to avoid traffic. The KTX lines are the more luxurious of the two and have both conventional trains and high-speed trains. Of course, if you chose the latter, rather you are in a hurry or just want to enjoy the trip many travelers highly recommend the train.
If you so choose and possess an international driving permit then you can rent a car, most cars have multi-lingual Navigation, all you need to do is know where you want to go but take it slow at first because the roads can be tricky and you could spend a lot of time looking for a parking spot and missing out on what really matters.
So maybe you are tired of the hustle of a big city and your desire is to get away and enjoy a relaxing day in the country-side, but you don’t want to give up the cuisine, music, and spirits. What if there was a place that you could go hiking in the mountains, riding bikes along a river or just sampling local and multi-culture cuisine without the crowded streets? Have you ever seen that commercial where a group of friends grab an ice-cold brew after coming off a majestic mountain trail and wished that could be you? Well, my friends, it can be and there is a place and it does exist. Come on let’s travel through South Korea, the land morning calm. There are many smaller towns not too far from Seoul by way of a train, cradled by a mountain range, quiet, quaint and peaceful. A river runs lazily along the mountain range on its way south. When stepping off the train travelers are greeted by a sign that says welcome. Upon exiting the stations, you will be surprised to see a vibrant lively town that offers so much to do at every turn, day or night. This is where you truly can sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of your favorite blend while watching a spectacular sunset.