Korean Highway Rest Stops

Whenever we can, we prefer to spend our weekends in the countryside. Lucky for us, Korea has a well-connected number of highways that allow us to travel conveniently. Of course, traveling outside the city on a holiday is a different story.
When going to the countryside in Korea, the trip is as exciting as reaching the final destination — all because of the highway rest stops! If I were the driver, I would take a break at every rest area, but that would mean stopping six or more times on a 200-km long trip ;p
Like the rest areas in other countries, the ones in Korea also have the basic amenities – gas station, restrooms, convenience store, information center, ATMs and food stores – enough to provide comfort to the weary drivers and passengers.
In Korea, there are some rest areas that provide more than the basic services. If you’re lucky, you may catch a live performance:

Restrooms, traffic info and a live performance
Restrooms, traffic info and a live performance

Depending on the city where a rest area is located, one can find food stalls selling Korean snacks like “tteokbokki” or spicy rice cake, “ho tteok” or pancake with sweet sesame filling, “hodu kwaja” or walnut cookie, “ojingeo” or squid and more. Some rest stops also have food courts selling Korean rice meals, noodles and even “Western” food like pork cutlets, fried chicken and burgers.
Grab a bite of your favorite Korean snacks; or sit down for a meal.
Grab a bite of your favorite Korean snacks; or sit down for a meal.

On a cold winter day, I enjoy having “ho tteok” or the pancake with sweet sesame filling with a hot cup of Americano. I usually buy a 3,000 won bag of “hodu kwaja” or walnut cookie to eat in the car.
Hot americano, ho tteok and hodu kwaja
Hot americano, ho tteok and hodu kwaja

My husband, the driver, would always look for massage chairs. My son would always ask if there is a playground, park or mini-rides. Some rest areas also have batting cages. Most cities would have stores selling their specialty products. I’ve also been to a few rest stops that have fashion outlets.
Massage chairs, batting cage, playground and park
Massage chairs, batting cage, playground and park

Korean highway rest stops make traveling a lot more convenient. They make me look forward to our next weekend trip ;p


  1. Betchay, it is a really good topic.
    Thanks for your writing.
    After I made a travel to Korea, I find myself missing Korean highway rest stop badly whenever I drive a long distance on the US highways. As far as the highway rest stop is concerned, the US is way behind Korea. The difference is so big that it is hard to believe that the US is the first class country when you just look into the high way rest stop, compared with that of Korea.
    As a matter of fact, these days I wonder which country between Korea and the US is the more advanced country. Now in many aspects Korea is more advanced and more comfortable to live than the US. For example, various technologies, the high way management such as the highway rest stop and highway road quality, city safety, public transport, international airport, customer service, government officer friendliness and efficiency, universal health insurance, lots of parks (esp, mountain parks), jjimjilbang, inexpensive restaurants, the beautiful and safe whole country within 5 hour driving range, the world first-class mega-city Seoul (only New York in the US could be compared with Seoul, LA and Chicago are behind Seoul, taken overall), Pusan city ( Pusan is called Korea’s San Francisco but I think Pusan is more beautiful than San Francisco. I am convinced that Pusan is one of the 2 most beautiful harbor cities in the world along with Sidney.)

    1. It could be because Korea is a small country that it’s easier to manage? Since you mentioned government officers, I agree that Korea has efficient and friendly public servants. I’ve never been in a government office for more than fifteen minutes! When I recently applied for a new passport, it only took me 7 minutes. The civil servants are very helpful and they would always try their best to serve you any way they can.
      Oh, when I complained about my health insurance last November (my fee was raised to 96,000 won), it took me more than fifteen minutes waiting for my turn but everything turned out well and my fee is back to 23,000 won.

    2. I’ve only been to Busan once. I’ve also only been to San Francisco once. I miss San Francisco. I thought that if I ever have to live in the US some day, I’d like to live in San Francisco…

  2. everytime I go to Baguio, i always look forward sa rest stop in Sison Pangasinan. Kasi gustong gusto ko yung barbeque na tinda nila dun, hehe.
    I can’t wait to visit korea, sana walang maging hassle sa pag-apply namin ng visa. The walnut cookie by the way looks delicious!

    1. Hi foxylady! Korean barbecue is a must try too. Lots of barbecue stalls where I live. The Apgucheong chicken barbecue is a must, if you can find one.

    1. Nice pictures! I have to learn how to take pictures well ;p
      I looked at the map and there are actually more highways now… like the 17 and 171.

  3. If i had to choose where to live outside Philippines, i will definitely go for Seoul or even its outside cities. Its true that Korea now is leading in many aspects in terms of economy, technology and etc. Its a beautiful city to live…Just wondering why there were so many Korean living here in Philippines…Well, may be they have there own reason why they prefer here in Philippines than Seoul…

    1. akisha, in as far as I know, I will try to give an answer for your wonder why many Koreans are living in Philippines.
      1. Many Koreans are living extensively throughout the world, not just Philippines. In Asia, many Koreans are living in Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Hongkong and some are living even in Srilanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. There are more Koreans living in each of Japan, China, Indonesia, Vietnam than those in Philippines. The main reason is that Korea has lots of factories and corporate branches throughout the world, so there are many dispatched Korean employees and their families. You have to know that Korea is the world 7th largest export country (558.8 billion dollar in 2011). Korea is expected to be the world 5th largest export country within 3 years. The export volume difference between Korea and France(the world 5th largest export country, 578.4 billion dollar in 2011) was just 19.6 billion dollar in 2011.
      2. Some Koreans prefer Philippines because many Filipino can speak English, which is good for Korean kids’ English education, and Philippines is less expensive than other English speaking countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and closer to Korea. And these days there is another trend for the Korean. The trend is that many Koreans would like to retire to the friendly foreign countries. For that, Philippine is always a good candidate. Many countries in the world are desperately keen to attract the retirees to their countries since it is very lucrative business. The Korean retirees in Philippines would spend much more money perennially than short-term tourists.

      1. Thank you for that. I know that Koreans flock to the Philippines because it’s near and the people could speak English. I forgot about the Korean companies operating in the Philippines.

  4. I want to give you one good example of how greatly the Korean are contributing to the local economy in the foreign countries.
    In San Paulo, Brazil, about 40,000 Koreans are living.
    Those 40,000 Koreans in San Paulo have built the garment and fashion industry in Brazil and now they are operating about 2500 textile and garment factories and they are employing more than half million Brazilians.
    Those 40,000 Koreans in San Paulo are supplying more than 60% of Brazil textile and garment demand. It is not Zero Sum Game because those 40,000 Koreans created this industry in Brazil. And by employing more than half million Brazilians, they are contributing greatly to the Brazil economy.

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