Sunday, October 3, 2021

Tips for traveling in South Korea

In our previous post "Where to visit in Seoul, South Korea?" we talked about the best places to visit in Seoul. In this post we give general tips and info about traveling in Korea.

Seoul, South Korea

1. Download Naver map in your phone! 
Google maps doesn't work in Korea properly so by using Naver map you can make sure you will find your way to the right place. It is better to copy paste the addresses in Korean letters to find the correct locations!

2. Get a T-money card!
It costs 2500-4000krw You can purchase this travel card anywhere in convenience stores like 7-Eleven, CU or GS25. After buying the card you can recharge money in it and travel more conveniently all around Seoul with travel card. T-money also works in Busan or when going to Everland by bus.  By T-money travel card you can transfer for free from metro to bus or vice versa within 30 minutes and the tickets are slightly cheaper as well.

3. In Korea you don't have to worry about pickpockets as much as in other countries
In Seoul you can easily leave your bag to reserve a seat in a cafe or leave your phone on a table while visiting the bathroom. Koreans are very reliable people and almost everywhere you can find CCTV so it is safe to walk alone even in the middle of the night without worrying about your safety too much. In more international areas like Itaewon it is better to pay more attention to your belongings.

4. Try these Korean foods
Korean barbecue ์‚ผ๊ฒน์‚ด, bulgogi ๋ถˆ๊ณ ๊ธฐ, cold noodles ๋ƒ‰๋ฉด, kimbab ๊น€๋ฐฅ kimchi jigae ๊น€์น˜์ฐŒ๊ฐœ or bibimbab! ๋น„๋น”๋ฐฅ. Food in Korea is often very spicy so if you can't handle spicy food remember to tell the waiter to make the food less spicy! Don't forget to try some local soju ์†Œ์ฃผ (drink) as well!

5. Learn a few words of Korean!
That makes Korean people feel more comfortable, it is polite and often is a good conversation starter to make new local friends!

์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š”                 Annyeonghaseyo         =      Hello!
์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ณ„์„ธ์š”            Annyeonghi kyeseyo   =      Good bye (when you leave)
์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š”            Annyeonghi kaseyo     =      Good bye (when somebody leaves)
๊ฐ์‚ฌํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค                 Kamsahabnida             =      Thank you
์ €๋Š” *name* ์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค Jeoneun *name* imnida =   I am *name*
๋ง›์žˆ์–ด์š”                     Masisseoyo!                 =     It is delicious!
๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค                 Bangabseumnida         =      Nice to meet you!

6. Have some cash with you!
Even though almost everywhere in South Korea you can pay by card, it is good to have some cash with you because many local vendors sell some street food which you can't buy by card. Also there are some small fashion stores where by paying by cash you get a cheaper price for the products.

7. Try a photo booth
In South Korea it is easy to find photo booths in every corner with only 5000krw! It is a fun way to make memories with your loved ones and you can wear some funny accessories and choose the theme for your pictures. At the end of the photo booth the machine will print you the pictures!

8. In Korea you pay at the cafes first and in the restaurants it depends on the place.

Generally speaking you always pay your coffee and cake while ordering. In restaurants it is case by case: Sometimes you pay the meal when you order it and sometimes after you are done with eating. Tipping is not necessary in Korea.

9. Tap water is safe to drink...
...but most people don't do it because it doesn't taste good.

10. Don't be surprised if your new Korean friends are too busy to meet you...
...because many of them do long working days until late evenings. Try to catch up on the weekends or during their spare time!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Where to visit in Seoul, South Korea?

Many people go to Japan, Tokyo when they travel to Asia. But have you ever thought about visiting South Korea, the country where K-pop and Samsung come from? If not, take a look of this post and let us introduce you Seoul ์„œ์šธSouth Korea's top city to visit and let us tell why it should be your next destination!

Seoul cherry blossoms
Seoul during cherry blossoms

Seoul is the capital of South Korea with the population of 9,7 million. It is located in the northern part of South Korea and the nearest international airport is Incheon airport ์ธ์ฒœ๊ตญ์ œ๊ณตํ•ญ . This city is a large city full of life and action which will never stop even during the night. You can find hundreds of different restaurants, cafes, bars, fashion stores, game halls, karaoke rooms, temples and anything you can imagine. Only the sky is the limit for this city! If you want to get a feeling of Asian New York, Seoul is the place!

How to get to Seoul city center from airport?
From Incheon airport it is easy either to take Airport Railroad Express (9500krw express/all stops 4500krw), Seoul Metropolitan subway (4250krw) or Airport bus (9000krw) to the city.

Where to visit in Seoul?
1. Gangnam-gu: Gangnam, Sinsa, Apgujeon Rodeo, Cheonnam ๊ฐ•๋‚จ๊ตฌ
Gangnam-gu is a business area with more pricey stores and restaurants, trendy cafes and offices. Here you can also find the famous Gangnam statue, Ceox shopping mall and a city temple Bongeunsa at Samseong-dong, K-star road from Apgujeong Rodeo station and the famous shopping street Garosu-gil or "Green street" at Sinsa-dong. Why not to also pay a visit to the Han river park and have a lovely picnic with your family or friends watching the sunset?

A picture from Gangnam

2. Yeonnam-dong: Hongdae/Hongkik university ํ™๋Œ€
A youth area with local fashion stores, more affordable local restaurants, many bars, clubs and pubs around. Many young Korean artists gather here to perform their dance or music performances. You can go to game hall, have some Korean barbecue, spend a few hours in Karaoke or just walk on the streets of Hongdae in the evening. There is also a famous Thursday Party pub, where many foreign people gather to meet new people. If you go out from exit 3 of Hongdae station you will find a park to chill and many great cafes surrounding the walkway. 


3. Yongsan-gu: Itaewon ์ดํƒœ์›
Itaewon is known to be the area where most foreigners reside. Here you can find a lot of foreigners spending their weekend at the rooftop bars and restaurants. There are foreign marts for imported products, Turkish, American, Italian Japanese and Mexican restaurants and so on. You can also bargain a cheap luggage or go to the small famous bar street called Haebangcheon ํ•ด๋ฐฉ์ดŒ to watch sports match, have a fancy glass of wine or have one of the best pizzas in town at Bonny's Pizza Pub. If you want to see the city view, hike up to Namsan mountain to the famous N Seoul Tower/Namsan tower์„œ์šธํƒ€์›Œ

N Seoul Tower Itaewon
N Seoul Tower Itaewon

4. Myeong-dong ๋ช…๋™
Myeong-dong is a heaven for skincare lovers. Here you find all the Korean cosmetic stores lined up next to each other. At the times the workers lure you in the store and give you free sheet masks or cosmetic samples while visiting the stores — sometimes you don't even have to buy the products to get those free sheet masks! There are also great Korean restaurants, a movie theater and walking towards north you end up to the stream called Cheonggyecheon ์ฒญ๊ณ„์ฒœ. It's a popular spot to get some new Instagram material by the water! If you are interested in animals they also have a Meerkat cafe in Myeong-dong where you can meet the real meerkats and other animals like wallabies!

Meerkat cafe, Myeong-dong
Meerkat cafe, Myeong-dong

5. Insa-dong ์ธ์‚ฌ๋™
Insa-dong is a popular area for traditional Korean art, handcrafts, clothes and tea houses. You will find the stores names only written in Korean letters here. You can try one of the best green teas here in Osulloc tea store or buy some beautiful Korean traditional accessories as a souvenir!

6. Bukchon Hanok Village ๋ถ์ดŒํ•œ์˜ฅ๋งˆ์„
Bukchon Hanook Village is a must to visit when you are in Seoul. It is a neighborhood with traditional Korean houses, a beautiful view facing the mountains and some cafes. One of the best cafes in this area is called Onion Cafe and many times you have to line up to get in. They offer amazing pastries and you can sit down traditional way on the floor while sipping your afternoon coffee.

Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village

7. Gyeongbukgung palace ๊ฒฝ๋ณต๊ถ 
Near Bukchon Hanok village is Gyeongbukgung palace, which is a royal palace from the era of Joseon Dynasty. It is built in 1395 and it has a significant meaning in Korea's history. It is known as the largest palace in Seoul and the National Palace Museum is within the complex. The entrance fee for adults is only 3000krw to visit this beautiful historical attraction. You can also spend some time at the garden or rent a Hanbok — the traditional Korean outfit — to visit the palace with the touch of history on you.

Gyeongbukgung palace

The address of the palace: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

8. Seoul Forest ์„œ์šธ์ˆฒ
Do you prefer a peaceful day in a park? Then Seoul Forest is the place for you. This park is one of the biggest city parks in Seoul. Nearby the park there are streets where you can find bakeries to buy some picnic snacks as well as some great restaurant! There is an amazing burger restaurant called Bas Burger quite near from the subway station. Their fries and chips are so crispy that it is hard to resist them!

Bas Burger, Seoul Forest
Bas Burger, Seoul Forest

9. Bukhansan mountain ๋ถํ•œ์‚ฐ
Are you more of an active person and you want some challenge in your holidays? Prepare your backpack, a couple of bottles of water, some snacks and head towards Bukhansan mountain in the morning. It is the highest mountain in Seoul with the height of 836 meters. The peak Baegundae can be reached in three to four hours depending on your physical condition. The view is spectacular and I recommend to go there when there is less pollution in the air to get the best sight. It is a popular hiking attraction and you will see a lot of Korean ahjummas and ahjussis (older Korean aunts and uncles) hiking with their professional hiking equipment. Don't worry, you will do as well as them with just normal sports wear! Just avoid going to the mountain in the evening or rainy days because it can be dangerous and slippery that time.

Bukhansan mountain
A view from Bukhansan mountain.
10. Everland ์—๋ฒ„๋žœ๋“œ

This theme park is definitely a must if you go to Korea! Everland is not located exactly in Seoul but it is just one hour by bus from there. You will find speedy rollercoasters, Ferris wheel, water slide, a zoo, French garden, game halls and many other interesting things in this amusement park. If you are not afraid of heights or speed, you must try the craziest ride at the rollercoaster T Express!

Everland with the T-Express rollercoaster behind.

The address: South Korea, Gyeonggi-do, Yongin-si, Cheoin-gu, Pogog-eup, Everland-ro, 199

Do you need some more tips about visiting Seoul, Korea? Check out our new post "Tips for visiting Seoul, South Korea!"