In May 2004, my wife and I travelled overseas to South Korea and Japan.
We wanted to go to South Korea and Japan, because my wife teaches English to many people from these two countries. She has been teaching people from these countries since 1990, and has built up a great collection of friends who keep in touch. We wanted to meet up with some of these friends, but also spend enough time on our own to enjoy both destinations as independent travellers.
Both South Korea and Japan are very safe countries in which to travel around. We did a lot of preparation for the trip, which paid off with how smoothly it all went, and with the number of things we enjoyed.
Before we left, South Korea was looming as the destination that was going to give us most of our worries. We were worried about communication problems, getting enough enjoyable food, whether it would be too noisy for us, etc.
We needn't have worried, however. We found many people there (apart from the friends we knew, of course) who went out of their way to be hospitable, helpful, and friendly. We enjoyed all the food we tried, and found many exotic and interesting things to explore and ponder. It was also an inexpensive destination - we found the prices of food, transport and accommodation to be a little cheaper in most cases to similar items in Australia.
We now know that South Korea is an excellent travel destination, and that South Koreans take pride in showing visitors warm hospitality.
A view of the Bulguksa temple buildings amongst its leafy setting
near Gyeongju (explained on page 4).