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I was watching a video from the YouTube channel We Fancy, they have some good videos if you want to check them out, that had to do with rest areas in Korea.  If you’ve ever taken a long road trip in the U.S., you’ve probably been to one of these and know that they can vary as to what they offer.  Korea is no different in that department.  If you ever take a bus trip, or a car trip along the highways in Korea, you will probably stop at one of these rest stops.  But they can be very different than the ones in the United States.  So here are some of the things that I found to be different at the rest stops I went to in Korea compared to the ones I’ve gone to in the U.S.

Parking

A lot of rest stops in the U.S. have good parking for cars and small trucks, but not for buses and larger trucks.  Korea is just the opposite.  The bus trips that I’ve taken in Korea tend to stop at these rest stops halfway through the journey. The parking here is big enough to fit several buses without them having to park near cars and trucks.  This leads to a safer experience for everyone.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be a very scary place at a number of U.S. rest stops.  They are in isolated areas and may not be cleaned or visited very often.  They can also be small with very few toilets, which is not a good thing if you are in a caravan with a several cars. Korean bathrooms that I’ve gone to have been much bigger, brighter and cleaner than a lot that I’ve been to in the U.S.  But I must point out that the ones I’ve been to in Korea did not have soap when I went to wash my hands.  (It could be that I missed the soap, or were too used to the American style of having soap where the sink is, but I don’t thinks so.  It would be fair to not that some of the U.S. rest stops that I went to also had ran out of soap, so it can depend on how often this is checked.)

Souvenirs 

Want a selfie stick?  How about a golf  visor like you see older Korean women wearing?  How about some K-Pop merch?  You can find this and more at souvenir shops at Korean rest stops.  The prices that I saw were usually reasonable.  This is something that I don’t recall seeing in U.S. and can be a nice option if you are taking a bus back to Incheon to fly out of Korea, but don’t want to pay higher prices in the airport.

Food

A few rest stops that I visited in the U.S. McDonalds or some kind of sandwich shop with it, but most had only a vending machine, if that.  Korea is totally different.  There are hot food stalls in the main rest area.  The food here is often cooked on site in front of you, with some having customizable options. The food choices may remind you of what you would see at street stalls in Seoul. Because all of the food makers are competing for  you business, the prices, quality and portions sizes tend to be very good.  I’ll take rest stop food from Korea over McDonalds anytime.

Gas

Finally is something that would come in handy at a lot of rest stops in the U.S. and that is gas.  The gas stations tend to be at the end of the rest stop right before you exit.  Because each time that I’ve gone to a Korean rest stop it has been on a bus trip, I cannot tell you if the gas prices are reasonable or not.  If you are coming from the U.S. and are driving across the country, you will want to keep in mind that Korea, like the rest of the world, uses the metric system, so you will not see prices per gallon of gas.  While some rest stops in the U.S. do have gas, they tend to be the ones that have a food court, the majority of the ones that I’ve been to do not have this option.

If you are traveling in Korea and you want to go from one part of the country to another, you may be tempted to just take the train.   Train travel is a nice and fast option to go from one part of the country to another.  However, if you want to take your time and really see the country, car or bus travel is a great option.  If you do take this option, don’t forget to enjoy what time you can spend at rest stops in Korea.  It will likely be an experience you will enjoy.

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