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Old 09-12-2010, 01:26 AM
 
Location: East Valley, AZ
3,852 posts, read 8,285,363 times
Reputation: 3997

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I have a brother who has lived in Korea on and off for the last 8 years. He's only had one visitor the whole time--our mom.

Today, during a conversation online, he asked me when I was coming to visit, and added he wasn't kidding.

Has anyone here been to Korea before? What's it like? How long did you go there for and how long would you suggest a newbie stay?

I'm seriously debating on going. Flights are less than $1,000 r/t which is a heck of a lot less than I was thinking.

This could be my chance to FINALLY get a stamp in my passport!
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,411 posts, read 26,246,787 times
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You have family there, you'd be crazy not to go! Just stay there for as long as you could handle staying with your brother. It'll be a great time, Korea is a safe and developed country.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:06 AM
 
Location: San Diego
5,027 posts, read 13,420,830 times
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I'm coming with you.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,369 posts, read 18,022,288 times
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I spent a year there. The country looks a lot like New Jersey to me. It's developed, yet between cities you'll see a lot of open fields fields and industrial areas. Streets are safe, however you still want to be careful in Seoul, especially the subway's where they have their share of sketchy homeless inhabitants.

Overall, it's safe and you'll feel as though you are in the United States with the exception of the Hangul signage everywhere and some of the cultural differences. For example, when I went to a movie theater in Gunsan City, the snack of choice was dried squid, which is packaged whole in celophane wrappers. So all through the movie the theater smelled like dried squid and you can hear the krinkle of wrappers echoing throughout. The movies were in English with Korean subtitles. So there are subtle differences, but you won't feel as though you landed on another planet or anything.

The restaurants over there are great! When you want service or need the waitress, there is a button you press on your table and they come right over to assist. Food is really good. Have him take you to the area just outside Osan Air Base. It's a shopping district where you can buy sports jerseys, faux mink blankets, and have just about anything you want custom made for a fraction of the cost in the states. If you go during the autumn months there are beautiful parks to see the foliage and visit some temples while you are there. Lot's of beautiful nature walks in Korea, and the people are friendly overall.

I would urge you to go, especially since your brother has been there so long and can give you the grand tour. Stay for as long as you can.
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,245 posts, read 44,937,745 times
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Go, definitely. Even a superficial knowledge of Korean will enhance your trip if you can find time to study a bit.

If they have Korean in the series, get your hands on a copy of Korean in 10 Minutes a Day - these books start with the who-what-where-why words, and instead of an academically rigorous approach they are "rough and ready" in terms of teaching you a few words and phrases that will be useful.

Likewise a good phrase book - you can at least use it by pointing to what you are trying to say.

You get a lot better treatment if you at least try to speak the native language to some degree (well that's been my experience in Russia, Ukraine, and Germany)

Not only language but some knowledge of the culture, stuff like taking your shoes off before coming into a home, (this is true in Russia and most of the East but not certain it's true in Korea) also can make your trip better.

IIRC you are LDS, there may be language materials you can get from your church/ward/etc. too.

I'm certainly not saying you need a PhD in the language to visit a country, but even a 50 to 100 word vocabulary is an amazing improvement over 0.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:21 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,355,235 times
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MAtheBanker, I wouldn't trade my two years in South Korea for anything; had a wonderful time. Even with the fact that I lived on an American air base, I still traveled extensively and saw the Korean people as very warm and friendly, especially if you make a little effort, as the posters above describe. Let us know how you liked it if you go!
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:09 AM
 
Location: East Valley, AZ
3,852 posts, read 8,285,363 times
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My brother is an English teacher for an elementary school near Gongju. Before, he did the same thing in Chungcheong, which is where my mom went to visit. If/when I go, I'll get to go to school with him and he's a big traveler, so he'll take me to all sorts of places. He took my mom to the South/North Korea border--I'd love to go there!

When he's been home, he's made all sorts of Korean foods for our family. I like most of them, and will occassionally buy them here when I go to the oriental market.

The closest I've come to going out of the country is on a cruise to Cozumel and Belize
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:58 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,142 posts, read 11,479,636 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAtheBanker View Post
He took my mom to the South/North Korea border--I'd love to go there!
Just don't make the guards on other side mad....oy!
I hope you get to go soon and show off some pics!
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Old 09-15-2010, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,278 posts, read 1,925,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAtheBanker View Post
I have a brother who has lived in Korea on and off for the last 8 years. He's only had one visitor the whole time--our mom.

Today, during a conversation online, he asked me when I was coming to visit, and added he wasn't kidding.

Has anyone here been to Korea before? What's it like? How long did you go there for and how long would you suggest a newbie stay?

I'm seriously debating on going. Flights are less than $1,000 r/t which is a heck of a lot less than I was thinking.

This could be my chance to FINALLY get a stamp in my passport!
I've never been, but my old college roommate was S. Korean. I used to go to some of his family functions. They are some of the warmest, friendliest, most respectful people I've met. And they were always intrigued by me, the American.
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:29 PM
 
1,492 posts, read 6,961,429 times
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Going over Christmas and my fare was almost 2k but found $1400 tix from the east coast...so if you can go for less than a grand, grab those tickets!!!
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