Rejuvenate at a Highway Rest Stop

Rest stop on highway from Pusan to Geoje Island

I know - seems silly to write a post about rest stops.  But Korea's rest areas are post-worthy!  

Korea has wonderfully clean and amenable rest areas along its highways.  They are an oasis during a long trip between cities, providing a chance to rejuvenate and stretch.  During one drive from Seoul to Pyongchang, the bathrooms in the rest area we stopped at had glass panels exposing enclosed garden courtyards, with bamboo and pretty flowers.  Quiet wood-flute music set a peaceful ambiance. Outside, walking paths wound through lovely spring gardens and over small ponds. 

 Rest area between Seoul and PyongChang

Rest area between Seoul and PyongChang

Korean rest areas usually offer a variety of stalls, including the "hole in the floor" version, as well as typical toilet seats.  Search around until you find one that suits your expectations; stall doors usually have a picture of what's inside.  Some even have bidets and "family stalls" with adult and child-size toilets. Most major rest areas also provide nursing stalls with sanitized changing tables, rocking chairs, bottle warmers, and other supplies that a new mom might need. The focus on a broad range of needs and preferences is extraordinary!

Food courts at rest stops likewise offer something for everyone, including Korean, Chinese, and Western dishes. Western food often has a Korean flair, so prepare for the unexpected.  On our way from Pusan to Namhae during one trip, my mom ordered a "ham and cheese omelet".  Inside her omelet was spam, cheese whiz, ketchup, and mayonnaise.  

Even if you aren't hungry for a full meal, at least grab some fresh, steaming boong-ok-bang!  These tasty little treats are like small donuts, steamed in molds to look like chestnuts. They are filled with sweet red or white bean paste and sometimes have walnuts inside.  They are OMG-delicious!!