I believe that most people will think of delicious food, shopping malls, and great weather whenever they talk about Seoul but for me, the deepest impression that Seoul left on me is the great people that live there. They are truly friendly, helpful, and warm.
I traveled to Seoul, South Korea with my elder sister and aunt on November 2010. No one of us knew Korean so we had trouble ordering meals and getting directions but we were so lucky that we met a lot of helpful and friendly people who are willing to help us even though we can’t communicate properly with each other. They try to understand us with our body language and simple graphics.
Most of the menus in Korea restaurants are without pictures of food. What will we do if they can’t understand English? The simplest way is to point on those pictures, which were pasted around their shop. Sounds funny? But it really works.
We had no plans and didn’t know which are the “good” restaurants. We just simply picked a restaurant whenever we felt hungry. Basically, all restaurants to us are great and friendly. The most important thing is the experience. I am enjoying the exploration process.
One of the warmest restaurant that we found was at Myeongdong. This family is so cute and friendly. We loved their truly warm hospitality.
The boss knows that we can’t speak Korean so he tried his best to serve us and told us how to eat Korean BBQ the traditional way.
I enjoyed walking around Hongdae and the Ewha Uni. area. Their creativity impressed me. I found that most of them are so lovely and relaxed. Youngsters sing songs on a swing, parents and their kids play around at the playground, and old folks just relaxing and sitting at the side. It is so peaceful and lovely.
Aside from these, I found out that Hongdae and Ewha Uni area is just like a big family. Maybe most of them are from the same university? I guess so, because they seem to know each other at that area. I was enjoying this environment and had fun watching them playing with friends, shouting and making jokes with each other.
Don’t be surprised if they can’t understand English and don’t worry, they will give you a great big smile and try to understand what you want.
My conclusion is… you will never feel helpless and lonely in Seoul, South Korea even if you can’t communicate in their language. You will find that people in Korea will help you with all their heart. They will run around in the railway station just to help you find the right exit. They will point and bring you to the right location if you get lost even if it is far away from their original location. I am sure that I will travel to Seoul again because the people there had touched me deeply. How about you?