South Korean Travel Tips

South Korea is a fast developed country in Asia. It has unique culture and interesting free time activities. In Korea it is not common to visit a friend's house or even move in together with your loved one until you are married, so they have created many fun places to spend time, to meet with friends and to have fun. Many stores are open 24 hours because schools and work days end late. Here are our tips on what to do if you find yourself visiting South Korea.


1. Noraebang, karaoke room

Koreans love to sing. That's why they have special karaoke rooms to fulfil the need to express the creativity of singing. When you think about karaoke you may first think it is about performing in front of complete drunk strangers, but that’s not the case in Korea. The noraebangs are rooms just for you and your friends to use. In the room there's karaoke machine and mics, of course also some place to sit down. If you happen to love Korean pop music, this is your heaven. Most of the songs are in Korean but there's also popular English language pop songs, e.g. ABBA and Adele. Don't miss the chance to sing Gangnam style by the famous PSY! The rooms usually cost about 10 000 Won for you to sing for an hour.  


2. Korean sauna  

Saunas in Asia are quite different from Finland. Sauna is not a place to just bathe and get warm, it’s a place to hang out. If the sauna place is big, there may be many different temperature saunas. But in every sauna, you get special sauna clothes what you wear. It is basically t-shirt and shorts. You can sleep in the sauna, as they offer a blanket and a pillow. So, if you don’t find any hostel or Airbnb you can spend the night in an affordable Korean sauna.  


3. Shopping  

When going shopping in Seoul you might get free samples from the shop workers outside trying to get people in. They give you a shopping basket which has a mask. If you feel courageous, you can just walk by the shopping streets in Seoul and collect free samples and masks along your way for free. But I still recommend you go into those makeup stores and look around, because Korean cosmetics are very high quality. For clothes shopping, know that Korea loves one size and sadly is not that big. For that matter if you walk into a store and the shop assistant immediately says that they don't have your size, don't get offended, the culture is that they want to help you to not waste your time.  


4. Food

Let's not forget about food! Korean food is very spicy. Their common side dish kimchi is cabbage which has Korean red pepper powder. Tteokbokki is another spicy food which includes stir-fried rice cakes, fish cakes, boiled eggs and scallions. Grilled meat is something every Korean loves. Shabu Shabu meat is a chinese-japanese dish that also Koreans often eat. In this one the hotpot has thin pieces of meat and veggies boiled in hot water. Bibimbap has veggies and rice, it can be easy to make it vegan by ordering it without meat. Kimbap is Korean version of sushi, they don't use any raw fish. Japchea is another possibility to order without meat, it is sweet potato noodles. Drinking wise, if you like alcohol try Korean soju. Soju is rice liquor and it's like a national alcohol drink for Koreans, it is very strong. One bottle from store is about 1000 Won.  


5. Theme cafes  

A cat and dog cafe? So last season. Korea has a café where you can enjoy your drink and pet a sheep. You read that one right, a sheep. Thanks Nature Café in Seoul is a place to eat tasty desserts with some adorable sheep. But that’s not all, there's also café named a raccoon café. The name says it all, in that café you are able to pet raccoons and take pictures of them. In both places the animals are free to move inside the café.  


6. Streets of Hongdae  

In Hongdae you get entertainment for every sight. It is a common place for busker singers and dancers to showcase their talent. Along the way there's all kinds of cool street art. Hongdae is a place for Korean youth to express different fashion styles, music and art. It's named after Hongik University because the street takes you there. If you are looking for urban, indie, relaxed side of Seoul check out Hongdae.  



Photos by Pixabay and by Emile-Victor Portenart on Unsplash