Yayy! So you’re going to South Korea! Yay for you! I’m jealous. I want to go again. Here are some things I wish I knew when traveling!
First off, Korea is f*king amazing. The food is so good the atmosphere is lively and there’s history everywhere. BUT it is a different country than the U.S or Europe. It’s a whole lot different on that side of the world.
FACT: Don’t buy ANYTHING from the department stores. Korean department stores like Lotte and Shinsegae are fabulous. Gorgeous 6-10 floor buildings with so much shopping and dininggg but here’s the catch- it’s all so expensive it’s a waste of your money. Unless you want the high end luxury products don’t buy anything here. Just eat at a restaurant, and browse through the stores. See what you like and then head to Myeongdong or Hongdae and almost the same thing for a fraction of the price. Another tip- department store employees are supposed to bother you. That’s their job-“customer service”. Most of the employees can speak several languages to better aid the clientele so Chinese and Japanese are the most common followed by English.
FACT: Duty free shopping centers are meant for us travelers. Bring your passport! When you purchase items over $30 you can get a special receipt so you can get back the money you paid on sales tax. So when you’re at the airport coming back home there are little booths to enter your receipts and get your money back. I tried and the booth I got was complicated..so make sure you get to the airport way before your flight so if you have trouble you can ask someone to help 🙂
FACT: There are no trash cans on the streets. Only subway stations or dining places. It’s cause in Korea you have to pay for trash removal so it’s less convenient there than it is here in America. And don’t be one of those rude foreigners who throw their trash on the street..please~
FACT: Don’t always think there’s going to be a toilet when you go to the bathroom. Some places in Korea still have old school bathrooms with a squat toilet. So it’s a hole in the floor and you squat! I only saw it once at the Bupyeong subway station and was so confused I didn’t even use it.. I just walked out and found another bathroom LOL.
FACT: Restaurants don’t always have napkins.
FACT: Water is self-served. (Go get it youself.) There are jugs of water and cups in the corner most of the time with a sign that saves 물은 셀프 or 셀프 “water is self or self”
FACT: Transportation is so reliable you’ll never be late again. Unless of course you’re the one who’s running late.
FACT: There is a mountain in every direction no matter where you are in Korea. Your thighs gon’ burn.
FACT: Korea has hundreds of islands. Korea itself is a peninsula but hundreds on islands on all sides of the mainland! I have cousins that live on an island on the east side of the mainland. I need to go there next time..hehe 🙂
FACT: Not every commercial building or restaurant has a bathroom. Read more on dining in Korea here
FACT: you will see random ass English words that don’t make no sense LOL
<- Case in point.
FACT: There is no tipping in Korea. At all. Not at restaurants, nail salons, gas stations, hotels, NOTHING. Yayyyy.
FACT: The sales tax is already included in the price of products in Korea. So if you’re shopping for clothes, the price on the sales tag is exactly the price you will pay. So you don’t have to calculate a 6% sales tax or anything. So simple!!
FACT: Coin- Noraebang! Coin Karaoke rather. Asian countries are known for being karaoke obsessed and Korea is no different! What we do have in addition to karaoke rooms is coin karaoke! It’s miniature versions with smaller rooms and smaller costs. You can get 3 songs for about a quarter (.25 cents)! So you can sing for however long you wish! Normal karaoke rooms charge by the hour and $30 an hour. I loved Coin roomsss! Here is a pic on the left of a coin Noraebang at a movie theater arcade!
FACT: There will be cigarette butts. Everywhere. Smoking is very very common in Korea. Look at that shit!! (picture above) This was taken in Itaewon. Ugh I hate cigarettes..
FACT: There is smoking in bars and clubs. You are warned. I swear my lungs were begging for mercy after 10 seconds.
FACT: Alcohol is sold in convenience stores as well as grocery stores in Korea. Idk about other places but this is not legal in my hometown. Where I was raised, alcohol was only allowed to be sold in liquor stores.
FACT: Even the suburbs in Korea look like cities. In my suburbian American neighborhood you have to walk 2 miles to get to the grocery store and the nearest mall is 20 minutes away. The only thing around my house is more houses and elementary schools. In Korea..whew! It’s amazing. My cousin lives in Osan and it’s so cool! Right outside their apartment you can walk to 4 different cafes within 5 minutes. There’s bunches of dining places and grocery stores so it’s a huge reason why a lot of Koreans don’t need their own cars. Location location location 🙂
All in all I freaking love Korea. These are just a few things I thought you should know before you have the time of your life<3
Until next time loves!!