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Travelling solo in the East

“20 minutes until arrival” the pilot’s voice echoed through the cabin “Please prepare the cabin for landing”. I could feel my excitement building, knowing that South Korea will soon be right outside the door. A humid Seoul met me with its warm and welcoming embrace – this is going to be good.

The rush of waiting for my luggage and catching a taxi passed in a whirl of stolen moments. On my way to my accommodation, I had glimpses of futuristic buildings and hidden lanes - waiting to be explored.

My days were spent by visiting ample amounts of temples, indulging on Korean street food and embracing the local culture. It is crucial to apply some “Retail Therapy” in the city center for your soul and wellbeing (bring lots of money because you will shop until you drop). In South Korea the side dishes are free and it is important to wear your fat pants when going for dinner.

The public transport was easily accessible and efficient, something that makes travelling a breeze. If you however don’t feel like waiting for the train, there was always

something worthwhile to see and experience down the street. It was easy to make friends with locals who are more than eager to show you around and teach you about their customs.

After taking the 1st Class (super cheap) carriage in the bullet train, I departed for Busan. Busan is a big city filled with tourists and many opportunities for a young traveler. Busan has a vibrant nightlife and atmosphere suitable for young individuals who enjoy being social. Here we had a karaoke experience on the beach and got featured on live television on a local network during the singing contest. Needless to say – I didn’t win.

During our excursions I walked past a vendor selling silkworms – as a snack. Of course, when in Rome … I was hesitant at first but eventually curiosity took the better of me. I had to try it, it’s safe to say – it’s not for me.

I experienced South Koreans as welcoming, friendly, warming, charming people. They are eager and proud to share their culture and they like to educate people about their customs. South Korea is extremely safe and you can easily walk around in the streets at night and feel completely safe. It is easy to get lost as everything is big but it’s easy not to care about being lost because it is simply a remarkable place to be.

The next part of my adventure included a day-trip to Gangnam. I was hoping to do the Gangnam Style, however I’m not that good at dancing. Here I explored the picturesque cityscape, met with friends and had a real Korean Barbeque for dinner.

Overall South Korea met my wildest expectations, stole my heart and left its footprint on my life.

I would highly recommend this country to any individual who likes exploring!

Author: Anlo van der Merwe

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