Planning on coming to Korea? What are you going to bring with you in your suitcase? Surely by now you’ve heard stories, about what Korea has or does not have, but as we discovered, a lot of those were just rumors. Since we’ve been in Korea for well over a year now, we can squash those rumors. After visiting Canada for summer vacation, we prepared “a what to pack” and “what not to bother packing” video. Unfortunately, the video could not cover everything, because it would be far too long, so this post will serve as the exclusive extras list of things you must pack to Korea.

Not mentioned in the video are the following:

ELECTRONICS: Simon packed his Wii and PS3, and has had no issue with them whatsoever. Nothing has fried after many hours of usage. The secret? Read your cables! If they say anywhere on them “Input: 100-240v” you’re safe! You can plug in your electronics from anywhere in the world so long as you have a little plug adapter to pop on the top of it. If you don’t have that cable, it’s ok! You can still buy a power converter. Go to any supermarket and in the lighting section (usually), you’ll find a thick, ugly, clunky metal box that will plug into your Korean outlet and let you plug in two of your North American plugs. It ain’t pretty, but it works.

BOARD GAMES: If you’re geeky and like board games like us, we had a hard time finding reasonably priced English games (ie: Scrabble was double the price) and the newer games (ie: Cranium, Apples to Apples) were impossible to find. Playing cards are also expensive. Pack any games you find necessary.
COMFORT FOODS: Fruit teas, chai tea, and your favorite black tea brands are impossible to find or are otherwise really, really expensive. Starbucks does offer a small selection of TAZO brand teas, though.

COOKING FOOD: Dried spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, oregeno, and basil are available in speciality import sections but crazy expensive, and Martina was unable to find liquid vanilla extract anywhere.

COSMETICS: If your skin tone isn’t similar to a Korean person’s skin tone, it can be hard to find pressed power or liquid foundation to match your skin, so come prepared. If you wear contacts and can only use a specific brand of solution, pack a few bottles to be safe.

GIFTS: It’s nice to bring your new employer a gift to thank them for hiring you. If you’re at a public school, get a small gift for your Principal, Vice Principal, and the co-teacher who will be taking care of you when you first arrive. We suggest a product that is only availble in your country. For example, a specific food (we brought organic maple syrup), hand cream/soap (Bath and Body Works is not available in Korea yet, and it’s sought after) or even alchohol (rum, ice wine, or rum filled candy).

Feel free to contact us or leave a comment about anything you’re worried about Korea not having. We might not know all of the answers, mind you, but we might be able to tell you if you should pack it or not.

  1. So I have an interesting question, and am not sure if you guys can answer it. T.T I am of Mexican descent and cook tons of Mexican cuisine, I am wondering if you guys have seen corn tortillas there or maize (big white kind to make corn tortillas with)?

  2. Thank you! I’m about to move to Seoul and I found this very helpful! I heard that you weren’t able to buy peanut butter in South Korea. Is it true?

  3. This is a late comment but I really like your blog and I trust you guys judgement. I heard from a Korean friend of mine that they have TONS of hair products but I have ethnic hair (or should I say mixed with five different cultures hair?) and I rarely use chemicals. Do they have products for that? Thank you!

  4. Hello everyone~ This is a very important(for me) and girly question…. Well, what about waxing? I’m not used to shave, is there some place where I could do it, seems koreans don’t have that amount of hair on their body :$ and another thing, I do use to straightening my hair with permanent, my hair is not curled hard is just frizzed, anyways…. Hair shops do it right? Thanks in advance! :DDDD Fighting~

  5. Hi!
    I’m going to Korea for a month this summer and I can’t wait!

    I have a question: is it true that they use a lot of MSG in their food?

    I’m kinda intolerant to that stuff and I don’t want to be sick. Have you ever been sick from eating at street stands?

     I’ll bring medications for sure!

  6. Hi!
    I’m going to Korea for a month this summer and I can’t wait!

    I have a question: is it true that they use a lot of MSG in their food?

    I’m kinda intolerant to that stuff and I don’t want to be sick. Have you ever been sick from eating at street stands?

     I’ll bring medications for sure!

  7. I think you'll get nabbed at customs. Can't bring food like chips and cheese over, I think, but the rest of the list seems fine…(maybe? I'm not sure). You can find all of that stuff here, but it's not common. You'll have to go to specialty stores to get it.

  8. For the men, I'd brink Whisky. No joke. A bottle goes a long way. For the women, I'd suggest bringing Bath & Body stuff. That works really well :D

  9. For the men, bottles of Whisky. No joke. That's a great present. For the women, presents from Bath & Body.


  10. Once you graduate from university, find a recruiter, like Korvia, and they'll hook you up with a job :D

  11. Well, we let him relieve himself right before we put him into cargo. When we take him out of cargo (after the 13-14 hour flight, plus couple of hours to clear customs), he's totally chill and relaxed. We also thought he'd be covered in crap and vomit, but he turned out to be just fine :D

  12. Thanks! Glad you like our blog. As for hair appliances, they've got tons of em here, so don't pack them. TONS.

  13. We packed the Wii first. Then we got a PS3 in Canada for our first trip there on vacation and packed it with us. We didn't pack both at the same time.

    • Sorry for the delayed response. Didn't see this pop up in my inbox. Anyhow, I'd recommend taking both in your carry on. Don't put anything in your luggage that can break. When we packed our gaming gear, we didn't have to turn it on or anything. People just scanned it and let it through.

  14. First, take them to your vet and ask for all the necessary vaccines and paperwork to bring your dog overseas. Then, call your airport and reserve two spots for your dogs on the plane (which will cost you extra). Take your pets to the airport with you and, voila, that should be it. At least, that was enough for us to bring Spudgy back with us to Korea.

  15. We don't buy hand sanitizer, so I'm not sure how popular it is here, because we've never looked for it. Colgate we haven't seen either, but Korean toothpaste is just fine. Perioe is what we use, and our teeth are spic and span.

  16. That's a great question: I'd pack Soju, because it's very expensive in Canada. Also I'd pack automatic door locks because they're awesome and totally uncommon in Canada as well. Yeah!

  17. Ok awkward answers: Feminine hygiene products can be found here, pads specifically. And Tylenol can be found under its medical name, Acetaminophen. Yeah!

  18. We found it at Hyosung Camera. They had tons of them when we went there.

  19. Jason, thanks for the loads of useful information. You weren't bothering at all :D

  20. Where did you find it, if I may ask? Also, you have an awesome name :D

  21. I was shocked at the deodorant thing. Wow. I thought everyone wore that! For female's and under garments do they not have a clothing store like Victoria's Secret? Their line has all sizes. Oh and yes Simon ranch dressing rocks.

  22. Haven't really been looking for it here, because we packed a large amount of it in our suitcases. We've never actually stumbled upon it, though.

  23. Thanks Thomas. As for the prices, I've found them to be slightly cheaper here, just slightly. If you go to the camera shops in Namdaemun, you could get some great deals, like I did on my Tokina 11-16mm lens.

    • The Tokina was something around 650,000 won, give or take 30,000 won. I don't remember. It was cash. I do remember it being a lot cheaper than what they were asking for in Canada BEFORE taxes. Yeah!

  24. They sometimes have them in Costco. Buy a huge carton of them and never look back.

Related Latest Trending