This is the first in a new series which will highlight the best things a place has to offer. We’re going to start with a brief overview of South Korea as a whole as many things apply to South Korea in general and not just one town or city. We will look at the key things to see and do, the most popular things to eat, some key online social links so you can get the most out of your time living (or just visiting) South Korea.
Basic Introduction to South Korea
South Korea (대한민국) is in Eastern Asia with Japan to the East, China to the West, North Korea (the only land boarder) to the North and Okinawa (Japan) to the far South. South Korea has a population of around 50million people who mostly live in the caption region in the North West. The common language is Korean and the official religion is Buddhism. It has one of the world leading economies with; Electronics, Telecoms, Car production, and Shipbuilding being the main industries. Poverty, crime, drug use and violence in South Korea is low.
What to See & Do
South Korea has so many amazing and interesting things to both so and do, so we’re going to limit this list to just our personal top 5 to do and top 5 to see. We’ll also keep them quite general as most specific options will be covered in the individual city articles. Here are our top 5 things to do and top 5 thing to see in South Korea;
To Do Top 5
- Karaoke Rooms – Know as 노래방 (Noraebang) which translates as Singing Room, they are a super popular and fun place to hangout with friend, family and often co-workers. The ability to sing is not needed in a Noraebang. (more information)
- Learn Korean – Korean is a beautiful but complex language to learn with many people coming to Korea to learn it. Although knowing Korean in Korea is not essential a little goes a long way. (more information)
- Ski – South Korea is slowly becoming a popular winter sports destination and will host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchun. (more information)
- Hiking – South Korea 80% hills & mountains and therefore is a great place for hiking and mountaineering. Groups of expats and locals alike travel around Korea year round hiking. (more information)
- Video Gaming – This is mainly online PC based with games such as Starcraft, Diablo2, Fifa Online and Sudden Attack being the most popular. PC Bangs are filled with young and old playing these days 24/7. (more information)
To See Top 5
- Temples and Palaces – Although over the years and during wars many were damaged or destroyed, the Korean government has rebuilt and restored many all over South Korea. Most major towns and cities have at least one. (more information)
- Live Sports – South Korea has a number of professional sports leagues. Baseball and Football (Soccer) in the Summer along with Basketball and Volleyball in the Winter. Other sports such as Golf, Horse Racing and Martial Arts are also popular. (more information)
- Jeju – This island just South of the main Korean peninsular is considered as one of the 7 nature wonders of the world. (more information)
- DMZ – Officially called the “De-Militarized Zone”. This is the boarder between North and South Korea, this is the easiest way to see one of the most secret nations in the world. (more information)
- Wildlife – South Korea has a wide range of different bird and animal species. The most famous animal is maybe the Moon Bear (Black Asian Bear), although it’s very rare it can be from in a small area of Gangwon-do. (more information)
These of course are very general suggestions, but individual regions and cities have different things to both do and see.
What to Eat & Drink
This section could be endless as there are so many wonderful Korean foods and drinks to choose from, therefore we’re going to list just 5 foods and 5 drinks (including one strange one) and we’ll keep the descriptions short and sweet. Links for more information are included:
- Kimchi (김치) – There are 100’s of different variations of Kimchi, however in it’s most basic description is spicy fermented vegetables (commonly cabbage). (more information)
- Kimbap (김밥) – Simple to make hard to master, Kimbap is dried rice, vegetables and sometimes meat or fish wrapped in dried seaweed. It is similar to Japan sushi. (more information)
- Galbi (갈비) – This is beef marinated in a type of Korean soy sauce. (more information)
- Bibimbap (비빔밥) – This is a very simple dish and is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with Vegetables and Chill paste. (more information)
- Ddeok (떡) – This is a Korean ricecake and it either used in meals such as Ddeokbokki and also as a sweet. (more information)
- Soju (소주) – Very similar to Russian Vodka in taste. This harsh liquor is sold everywhere and is very popular with Korean men. (more information)
- Korean Tea’s (차) – Tea is very popular in South Korea and comes in many different flavours and styles, the most popular is Green Tea – (more information)
- Makkoli (막걸리) – Our personal favorite, known as Korean Rice Wine. Made with fermented rice. (more information)
- Yujacha (유자차) – This is a citron tea made normally with lemons and sugar. (more information)
- Beer (맥주) – There are a number of different beer brewed in South Korea and now there is an increasing number of microbrewery’s. (more information)
There are so many more but we’ll leave that for another day.
Here are some top sites for meeting fellow expats and travelers, some sites of events, as well as sites for learning more about living in South Korea.
Facebook – Mainly groups but also the pages, these aspects of Facebook are a fantastic resource of finding out about events, activities and things to do. You can also link up with people who are looking to do the same things as you. Depending on which area you’re in will depend on which Group is best for you.
Dave’s ESL Cafe – This forum has been running for many years and is home to countless pages of information regarding living in South Korea from social tips, advice on employment and general comments on life in South Korea and teaching ESL. If you’re looking for advice this is a great site to check out.
Waygook.org – Another forum and very similar to Dave’s ESL however a little more focused on the positives of life in Korea plus it has a huge selection of teaching resources.
Coachsurfing – Mainly the forum section, this is a little less teacher focused and more of everyone. Many events, activities as well as tips on visiting Korea. A good place to find like minded people.
Meetup.com – Many independent events are listed here, although mostly in and around Seoul there is always something going on.
Fresh Korean Events – We have a close partnership with this company and they run some really fun and well planned events. The events are mainly in the Seoul and Incheon areas, and many are free.
Korea 4 Expats – Many upcoming events happening all over Korea are listed here. It also features an easy to use interface plus there is limited advertising and Spam.
Visit Korea (Official Page) – The site lists basically all of the key things to see and do, including upcoming events.
Living in the following Cities:
The next 5 parts will look at living in the following cities; Seoul, Incheon, Suwon, Anyang and Yongin. When the articles are posted links will be posted below:
Thank you for your interest in learning more and living in South Korea, sorry that this article is a little brief but it’s just an overview highlights the key things. South Korea as a whole as so much to offer covering everything would be a fun but endless task.
If you have any questions and comments please fell free to leave them below.Tim Modern Seoul firstname.lastname@example.org