South Korea is a great place to visit! I have lived here for more than 12 years and still have not explored it even thoughit is only about 1/3rd the size of Oregon state. Yes, gas is expensive, running about 7 USD a gallon or $1.70 a liter. Coffee is only expensive in coffee houses. Food is great and lots of it can't be found anywhere else. Shopping is great. Safety, except for the highways is comparable to a country village in an Amish village at 4:00 am. Personal crime is almost non-existent. very little pickpocketing, mugging, purse snatching. Bikes are not allowed on the expressways, but the secondary roads are well maintained. Restaurants are unbelievably cheap. We often go out for a meal and rarely spend more than 8 bucks for the two of us. Hotels can be found anywhere for $25 a night and goshiwans are as little as 5 bucks a night. There are bathhouses (two kinds) in nearly every town where you can soak all day for 5 bucks and in the other type, you can spend the night and get the soak for 7 bucks. There are temples, old palaces, great museums, friendly people, and the odds that you will ever even be stopped let alone get a traffic ticket are next to zero. In 12 years the only time I have ever been stopped was at a drunk driver stop where everyone has to breathe into the tube. They don't even do that for bike riders. There are ferries out of Pyongtaek to China and Russia, and one out of Sokcho for Russia. I pay $169.00 a year for my bike insurance.
Bad things. Red lights only mean hurry up and beat the green light traffic, so you NEVER go when the light turns green. Wait a few seconds for the red light runners to clear. Korean drivers never use their mirrors and will pull out from a curb without looking, change lanes, cut in front of you, and do just about every stupid thing you can imagine--and do it every day--many times. You have to drive expecting the worst because it is going to happen. It is a bit stressful. Korea is crowded. Forty-nine million people live basically in a strip of land 200 miles long by 40 miles across. Seoul metro is 20 million. Traffic jams can be amazing. cars and bikes use sidewalks. bikes will go the wrong way on a one-way street and expect you to get out of their way. There are no street numbers and no one knows how to tell you how to get somewhere: "Go straight 10 minutes, go right 3 minutes." worse is if they don't know where you want to go, they will tell you how anyhow and you can wind up in only God knows where. Buy maps and use them. The maps are pretty good. If you are planning on visiting within the next 9 months, drop me a PM and it will be my privilege to assist in anyway I can