Before I enter South Korea, I heard a lot also read a lot articles saying that it is difficult to ask direction in South Korea, particularly when you ask it in English. They say most Korean people will try to avoid you speaking English. Which is for me somewhat not always necessary true.
This is my experience as foreigner in Seoul sometimes ago, Seoul is a big metropolitan city, where you can find tourists every where you go downtown the city, mostly Japanese, Chinese and some westerner.
Though it is consider easy to find a place in Seoul, most of the sign written also in English, I did get lost once when I tried to go to Korea culture center in Myeong-dong, talking about a wrong misleading information I found on the net. It said, just get off exit 4, walk 100meter and turn left. Gosh~ if it wrote exit 8 instead of exit 4, I would find the place easily.
Where am I? I’m lost HELPP
So I end up walking toward the opposite direction, passing the streets, call the center but still couldn’t find the area. Until I met this young lady, her name is Amy, I just wave at her at she smiles back, anxiously trying to help me to find the place. But guess what, she barely speak English, she only knew one two words like go straight, left, right~~ amazingly. The naver map (instead of google map ~ Korean only using naver map to find location) is really helpful, i just show her where I want to be on the naver map, and she knew how to help me to find a place, she doesn’t just point out where it is, but she even accompany me to cross the street.
Just waw, I felt so helpful. Turns out asking street direction to native Korean is not intimidated at all, and the articles that said most people would run and avoid you because they afraid to talk in English is unproven! Do you think this is just one luck?
Well I don’t think so, I tried so many times, and most of the time the native Korean is eagerly to help me out. Another Korean girl, did it again for me when I got lost from Ansan trying to get back to Seoul. I was confused because the train suddenly stop and I had to get off and wait another train but toward different direction. She ride the same direction with me, and walk me to my destination station, I didn’t have a chance to ask her name, but she is really really helpful to me. It was very late at night around 10pm.
So, my suggestion is if somehow you have a chance to visit South Korea, Seoul particularly, donot afraid to ask help to people there, yes, of course you can choose which kind of people you like to ask, I mean try to ask people who has student looks or executive office looks, the chance are higher they will not run and help you out instead, because they are not afraid to talk back in English although it is not perfect, and most of the time I can sense them very happy that they can communicate and help a foreigner like me.
I also suggest you to download Naver maps on your android phone, because its really help when you travel solo.
Happy travel to South Korea.＼(^▽^＠)ノ