February 25, 2015
I gotta say, this was an odd TL;DR to handle, because it put us in a very different position. Everything we do in these videos of ours is from the perspective of people living in South Korea. However, we meet tons of people that are just visiting for a week or two, and so we started wondering about what we could say that might make their stay easier. Learning how to recycle or turn on your ondol isn’t really that useful if you’re in a hotel, right? We’ve met far more visitors than expats in Korea, so we figured it was time we talked more specifically to the crowd of people that are coming to South Korea for a vacation. So here are some more things you should prepare for if you’re just visiting. Let’s go!
I don’t really hear people talking about this enough. Well, let me rephrase that: you can take black taxis, but they’re more expensive than regular taxis. Why? Supposedly they’re given black taxis if they drive ten years without an accident. Hell if I know how anyone could do that. I almost get clipped on a daily basis. IT’S SO STRESSFUL TO DRIVE HERE! So, if you’re ok with paying extra, take a black taxi, and just ask him how he’s so damned good at driving.
If you want to wear a hanbok and climb a mountain and eat bibimbap (did you know that Korea has four distinct seasons?!) then it might be your thing, but I’ve always found that Korea Tourism is more written from the perspective of what Korean people think foreigners are interested in rather than what foreigners are interested in. Korea Tourism would better be named “Korean Pride.” And, don’t get me wrong – climbing mountains and wearing hanboks and doing cultural stuff is great in itself, but Korea Tourism isn’t really trying to suggest things that anyone I’ve ever spoken with is interested in. They’ll suggest stuff like “Go to the Tulip Festival down in flin-flon nowhere” or stuff like that. AH! I know this point is gonna piss some people off. That’s just our take on the KTO. Maybe your experience is different.
Korean businesses don’t really open early. They’re more likely to stay open late instead, which is great for us, because we’re night owls, but we’ve had people visit us that are morning people, and they were bored to death in the mornings. Most of the cool shopping areas, the good street food stalls, all open later in the afternoon. So push yourself to stay awake later; you won’t miss out on much.
This might sound basic, but we’ve had friends visit us once and, after teaching them how to drink in Korea, they didn’t know how to get back to their hotel. It would have been easier if they had their hotel’s card on them, and just had given that to the taxi. All taxis have Navigation systems in them, so they can type in the addresses easily. So, just in case, bring a card with you, so you can enjoy a night if drinking if you feel like it :D
So that’s it for all we can think of at the moment. I’m sure we’ll remember something else in the comments and we’ll mention it there for sure. Otherwise, let us know if you’ve traveled to South Korea and if there were some things you wished you knew before you got here. Yeah!