Hitchiking in Korea
Have I done it? You bet I did. ^^
I experienced hitchiking mainly in Jinbu, Gangwondo when I wwoofed in Santisuk.
Min Young and me – We missed the daily bus from Lee Seung Bok Memorial to Pyongchang; which runs like 6 times a day. So we both hitchhiked our way like 3 times. First, with a kind driver who could take us until the junction between Jinbu and Pyongchang. Then another lady until in front of her son’s school and finally with a group of guys who just had lunch + soju who sanely drove us until Pyongchang’s bus station. Crazy? Not really but they reeked with alcohol. Yikes..sul nemsae! ( ^^
Min Young, Casper and me – We were dead bored and dampened because we couldn’t join Hae In and her father to Buddha’s Birthday Celebration at Jinbu that night. So what we did was, we quietly sneaked out from the house and hitchhiked along the light less and creepy road to Jinbu. We were lucky because we got our ride immediately! The best part was the gentlemen were a Canadian and his Korean friend who spoke fluent English. Both of them work as water theme park designer and were designing a private water theme park in Gangneung. I envy their job. They got to travel the world on fun assignment!
Angelica and me – Initially our plan was to brisk walk because sitting around and no play in Santisuk during winter made us fat. We loss count of time and the weather was getting colder by the time when we realized that we were so far away from Santisuk. After so many failed attempt on hitchiking, suddenly a farmer with a truck loads of tools stopped. It was funny because he was drunk but he could still drive! I was stupid enough to invite him to Santisuk for a cup of coffee and later got a good bashing from Nandida for being one. ^^ Although I couldn’t understand everything she said I knew she was concerned about our safety.
Angelica, Dave and me – We decided to be kids again and walked up to Gyebang mountain. We hitchhiked up to the mountain with an old couple. They couldn’t speak English but I just tried my best with my decent Korean repertoire which means broken Korean..hehe. When we went down the mountain our ride was with a bunch of construction workers in truck and one of them could speak Spanish! Wow…so along the way the guy practised his Spanish with Angelica.
Andy and me – We hitchiked twice to Jinbu. It snowed so hard that day but I didn’t know why we were so stubborn to go out even though Nandida had warned us. It was seriously cold. We managed to get a ride with a guy who could bring us up until the hot spring. Then, we walked until the junction between Jinbu and Pyongchang. From there, we had a ride with a man who has stayed in Los Angeles and spoke decent English.
Myself – I failed to hitchhiked from Pyongchang to Santisuk and I walked about 20km for 2 hours. My body was so sore from snowboarding the night before and I was amazed at myself why I didn’t just call Nandida for a pick up. I knew I was crazy but I told to myself that if I didn’t walk at that moment I wouldn’t be able to breath in the gorgeous sights of Gangwondo anymore in future.
The one below might not be a hitchiking experience but I think I would not get the same treatment in Malaysia or maybe never. ^^
There was once when I returned from Seoul, I missed the daily bus and didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi. So I thought hmmm..I would just grab a taxi and once we reach Santisuk I would ask Nandida for some money..hehe. But I was in for a surprise. When I told the taxi driver to wait for the money, he just waived his hand and said it was okay. I looked at the charged meter it read 14,000 won. :O Koreans surprised me and made me almost to tear so many times. T_T Kamsahamnida!
Tips on hitchhiking in Korea
- Although in general Korea is pretty safe for hitchhiking but be warned: Try it at your own risk
- Just say Anyonghaseyo to greet the driver and don’t forget to say Kamsahamnida to thank them for their kindness.
- Some of the drivers may not be able to bring you until your desired destination so be thankful
- Don’t hitchhiked at the corner of a road or winding road; choose your spot wisely.
- Smile and don’t curse them if they don’t stop for you (although you can’t help it sometimes..hehe)
- DO NOT give money in exchange of their kindness! Perhaps some token from your country as remembrance would be more appropriate.
For more information checkout Hitchwiki for South Korea.