I have so much to say about Korea, I don’t even know how I’ll get through it all! But I suppose I can start at the beginning, and then I’ll just work my way through my adventure, shall I? First, an introduction.
I visited Korea over my winter break, almost on a whim. Earlier that month, I had been thinking over my plans for the semester break, trying to decide whether or not I wanted to go to Korea. I was a bit unsure, since I can get by in Japanese and Chinese-speaking countries, but I don’t know any Korean. I was thinking how it would be nice if I could actually go and have a Korean friend take me around, when–wait! I do have a Korean friend!
One of my best friends in California is actually Korean, studying abroad in the U.S. I sent her a message, asking her if she was going back to Korea over winter break and if I could meet up with her, and her reply was incredibly enthusiastic! She agreed to be my “tour guide” and show me all the best spots around Korea for the few days I would be visiting. It was perfect!
I ordered tickets from Peach Airlines–the cheapest Japanese airline there is. (Be careful though–if you’re even a few minutes late, they won’t let you board and you have to buy a ticket for the next flight without any sort of refund for the one you missed.) All I had to do was get from the airport to the hostel on my own–this proved to be much easier than I had originally thought. While waiting in the airport in Kansai, I befriended a few Canadians who live in Seoul, teaching English at an academy. Since my train stop was on the way to where they needed to go, they let me tag along with them, and even gave me an extra metro card of theirs–there wasn’t much money left on it, so I didn’t feel too guilty taking it. From the station, the hostel had provided very specific instructions, so I found it with minimal difficulty.
I stayed at Kimchee Guesthouse in Hongdae–a very good location, I will say. It was my first time staying in a hostel, and it wasn’t particularly the cleanest, but it was warm and the people there were quite friendly, so I didn’t feel too uncomfortable. I made use of the lockers to keep my more valuable items, like my plane ticket and extra cash, safe while I explored during the day. I simply had to trust that the other girls in the room were not desperate to steal my deodorant or go through my extra undies, you know? But for less than $20 per night, I felt I’d gotten a good deal. My first night I wandered around Hongdae a bit, bought some snacks at a local convenience store, and then I went to sleep. The next morning, I woke up to go meet my friend for my first day out in Seoul…