Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tour guiding throughout Seoul

 
Writer: Hyejin Lee
  

I’ve been working with “ What’s up Korea” for over a year. In the beginning I just wanted to give information about Korea to foreigners who wanted to know more about my country, but then I realized that a lot of them wanted to experience the real Korea. I started hosting events around Seoul where I live and where my business is based. Hosting events was exhausting and disappointing because I had to create everything alone. It was challenging to gather people together but when I did I felt happy and it was rewarding.


One day Stephanie from Indonesia sent me a message on Facebook saying she needed a local guide while she traveled in Korea. I didn’t know how she found “What’s up Korea”. Somehow I wanted to help her and decided to personally guide her. I also asked Korean “ What’s up Korea” members to assist with this, just in case some of them could help her when I wasn’t available. I didn’t anticipate that many of the sites' members would like to spend their precious time helping someone they don’t know. I was totally wrong and pleasantly surprised. A lot of Korean members wanted to help her just because of the fact that she loved Korea.

<Stephanie and Liz at a restaurant>


I checked her itinerary, searched some other sights and attractions not noted in her itinerary and according to accessibility made a new schedule for her. I also made plans with two other Koreans who volunteered to help her.
On the day when I was scheduled to meet her, I felt very nervous because it was the first time I guided a visitor in Seoul. I hosted several sightseeing events in Seoul but this felt totally different. She arrived with her friend , Liz.
We briefly introduced ourselves and started visiting sights together. It rained a lot that morning so we couldn’t follow the itinerary exactly as planned. Thankfully Stephanie and Liz were very understanding and enjoyed the trip despite the changes in plan.

<Gyeonghoeru>

We visited Kyeongbok palace, a royal structure which literally means "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven."We saw the Gyeonghoeru (Royal Banquet Hall) and Jagyeongjeon Hall,the home of Queen Sinjeong. We then headed to Insadong, a street that has past and modern cultural Korean items.

<Ssamji gil in Insadong>

By lunch time the weather became scorching hot. After Lunch Stephanie and Liz shopped at Etude which is a Korean cosmetic store famous in Indonesia ( I didn’t know that it was popular in Indonesia before then.) in Insadong and we also went to BukchonHanok Village which is a place where visitors can see Korean trditional houses. When we traveled we talked a lot about different things. I also could learn cultural differences between Korea and Indonesia,it was such a wonderful time for all of us.

<Three of us at a coffe shop in Insadong>

While we were looking around Bukchon Hanok Village two little boys kicked an ice ball at me and my leg was bruised. Stephanie and Liz were really worried about me. It wasn’t really a big deal, but this showed me how much they cared about me and I was so touched by that.

<Bukchon Hanok Village >

We just met for a day but I felt like we became close through group traveling.
We also went to Samcheongdong and Dongdaemun,a large market area in Seoul. If they had traveled without my assistance they wouldn’t have seen as many sights and attractions, nor learned as much about Korean culture on an one day trip than they did with my help. You might think that they were lucky to have me as a guide but I was more fortunate and richly blessed to have met them and introduced Korea to them. Of course it wasn’t without sacrafice, I collapsed at home from exhaustion after touring Seoul with them. I was so happy that I could help somebody and it made up for the expended energy.
If you want to travel and need some local guides, don’t hesitate to message me.
I’d love to help you. In fact judging from the response of  “What’s up Korea” members, many Korean people would be glad to help you enjoy the beauty of Korea.
Let’s be friends!!!!



                                                             








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