What are common rest stops look like? A restroom, a few vending machines, and a handful of parking lots. At the seaside, there might be a beautiful view for people to enjoy. In Korea, rest stops are a little bit more special because people not only just take a break from hectic driving but also appease their hunger on the way to destinations. These special spots are named “Hyugeso” in Korean. In Hyegeso, travelers take a short restroom break, take out coffee, buy some snacks, eat some food, and even buy local specialties such as meat and dried seafood.
On national holidays such as Thanksgiving and Lunar New Year’s Day, Koreans take a long drive to their hometown to visit families and friends. Or on a long weekend, summer, and winter vacations, people choose domestic travel instead of going abroad, due to the COVID 19 pandemic. That is when heavy traffic begins and Hyugeso gets busier than ever. Among various Hyugeso, these are must-visit spots for foreigners and Koreans. On national holidays such as Thanksgiving and Lunar New Year’s Day, Koreans take a long drive to their hometown to visit families and friends. Or on a long weekend, summer, and winter vacations, people choose domestic travel instead of going abroad, due to the COVID 19 pandemic. That is when heavy traffic begins and Hyugeso gets busier than ever. Among various Hyugeso, these are must-visit spots for foreigners and Koreans.
If you travel with your pets, some rest stops in Korea are pet-friendly and well-equipped. At Seosan Hyugeso, a spacious pet agility training course within a pet park waits for dogs and their owners. Next to the park, a small pet snack is sold for convenience. The park is open 24/7 and it is free for everyone.
The next Hyugeso you must visit is in Haengdam Island. Haengdam Island – a small island located west side of Korea – has the biggest Hyugeso on the west coastline and only one (that’s on a Korean island?) on an island in Korea. Its sales usually mark at the top in Korea and an outlet store is included as one of its facilities. However, A walking trail along the seaside is what it’s famous for, attracting dog owners to take a short break to enjoy the oceanic view with their dogs.
In other countries, rest areas do not come along with restaurants, convenience stores, and small shops. But everything is there for you at Korean Hyugeso, so you name it! YoungJa Lee, a popular Korean comedian, is known for her own style of delicious Mukbang or eating show. She features on a show titled ‘Point of Omniscient Interfere’ every week to introduce her daily life with her manager. In between schedules, she either eats or drinks. Once, she visited Anseong Hyugeso and had SoDdeok (sausage and rice cake skewer). After that show aired, people ran to the store to try the skewer just like YoungJa did.
There is, of course, another interesting spot to visit. Korean traditional housing, Han-ok, is blended in Gyeonggi-Gwangju Hyugeso. As seen in the picture, the building is full of Korean tradition from the fonts of store signs to interior designs. A Korean traditional restaurant in this rest stop provides a seasonal Korean menu to customers by using seasonal ingredients. You can enjoy cold noodles on hot summer days and hot udon on freezing winter.
It is definitely worth visiting Korean rest stops. After the pandemic, why don’t you take a break from your life to try out some local food, enjoy sceneries and spend quality time at different Hyugesos in Korea!