Saturday, 10 December 2016

Seoul Tourism Persons Of The Year: The Red Angels

They're always at the busiest tourist spots in Seoul. And they always go in pairs. You won't miss them; they're wearing red jackets.

They are called the Red Angels of the Seoul Tourism Association. They are the roving tourist information guides whose main duty is to provide international tourists as well as locals with on-the-spot information, and they are able to provide information in English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

They can be found in the most popular spots in Seoul: Namdaemun Market, Garuso-gil (in Gangnam), Myeongdong, Hongdae, Sinchon, Dongdaemun, Bukchon, and Samcheong-dong.

And all week long, from 10am until 7pm, they are in these areas walking around available for any one who's lost or needs travel information.

This Red Angel program started in 2009 and its assigned guides have probably assisted thousands all these years.

I am one of the thousands who have asked for help on a few occasions. One time, I was in Insa-dong looking for an art gallery. It was drizzling and I didn't want to get soaked running around looking for the gallery. The Red Angels, who were, at that time, standing at the center of Insa-dong, were able to give me directions to the gallery! I was impressed! With all the numerous galleries in Insa-dong, they knew where it was exactly! That gallery, the Kyung-In Museum of Fine Arts, was the venue of my friends' art exhibition that year.

They also helped me find the flower market in the middle of Namdaemun, and that visit became a blog, too!

The Red Angels are familiar with the locale's restaurants, caf├ęs, attractions, landmarks, and other interesting corners of the area they're assigned to. When I brought my friends from Manila to Garuso-gil last year, we bumped into the Red Angels and asked them for a suggestion about a good dessert place. 

You can also ask them for information about the subway and bus transportation system, time schedule of popular performances, and also about the nearest clinic or hospital in case you need medical attention.

These very helpful angels in red jackets and hats, are there all year-round, no matter what the weather. Yes, they are there to help even in the freezing winter and in the sweltering summer. 

If you're a tourist walking around Seoul, your biggest worry is probably the language. Although I have always said that getting lost is part of the adventure, you shouldn't worry that much as there are helpful tourist guides also walking around the city's tourist spots, who are there to help you get back on track in your exploration of the city.

All these years, they have contributed an invaluable help to tourists and they have become an invaluable part of Seoul's tourism.

That's why, these Red Angels are my tourism persons of the year. :-)

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