Coming to Korea
Author’s note: Coming to Korea posts are written with the newer expats in mind. If you have a more experienced perspective to offer, please share in the comments!
EDIT 9 May 2013 to add some more information.
As I’ve been making the transition to Thailand and the next chapter in life, some of the more basic questions began to crop up: where are some good neighborhoods to live? Which foods are worth trying? Where are the best places to get a drink? Sure, some of this can be done through the internet, but the best source of information remains the person on the street that knows the area. If More >
UPDATED to include information about goshiwons.
A quick update to readers here in Chris in South Korea: in case you hadn’t heard, Chris is no longer in South Korea. He’s in Thailand now, exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new street foods. Check out the new blog at Chris in Thailand – www.chrisinthailand.com.
OK, so the question was asked on Ask a Korean first, which I’ll quote here:
I’m seriously thinking of moving to Seoul. Do you have an idea of what the budget listing would be for about a 15 week stay in Seoul, a detailed tally of expenses? Are there any other More >
After five years and 1,300 blog posts, I was a little shocked to realize I hadn’t written a single post on grocery shopping in Korea. Let’s rectify that now.
Author’s note: ‘Coming to Korea’ posts are written with the newcoming expat in mind.
Head to any major grocery store – Emart, Homeplus, and Lotte Mart being the three main ones – for the biggest selection of foods, drinks, snacks, and groceries. Expect a cacophony of noise coming from the fish and meats section – they’ve gotta sell them now! - which is typically close to fruits and veggies.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Carts require a More >
Think of it as 500 Korean phrases if you like – either way, the idea here is a bit different from most other ‘learn Korean’ books. Take a look at it on iTunes, or keep reading to learn more.
The gist here is to make it easier to communicate the basics, and maybe even learn a few yourself. If you’re interested in really learning the language, consider checking out my other book, Korean Made Easy. That book features thousands of the most commonly used words and phrases, along with enough grammar points to give you a serious start to learning the language. It’s also done up in an irreverent way More >
Author’s note: everything old is new again, especially when blogging about the same things and places for several years. This seemed a good time to publish a question that’s commonly asked, upon realizing how long it’s been since I’ve seen a blogger in Korea approach the topic.
Do you have a question about Korea? Do a quick search on the blog, then send me an e-mail at chrisinsouthkorea AT gmail DOT com and your question might be answered here!
A reader writes in:
My name is [H.]. I discovered your blog today & am in love with it. I’ve been thinking about teaching in Korea for a a bit & I More >
AT first glance, Korea doesn’t look to be the cheapest place to travel. As one example, take a walk down Gangnam’s main drag and peruse the sky-high prices for clothes (they want how much for a t-shirt?!). Get away the luxury clothes and pretentious restaurants, however, and a surprisingly cheap side of Korea emerges. It’ll never be as cheap as Vietnam or Cambodia, but you can confidently make it on US$40 a day and have enough left over for souvenirs.Accommodations: the biggie for most people.
Cheap: If you’re traveling More >
Coming to Korea means learning about a whole new set of brands. Sure, some franchises are basically the same around the world – McDonalds and KFC are just two examples – but there are plenty of local stores that take their cue from abroad. Presented here are 20 stores you’re probably familiar with, and their local equivalents worth checking out.
1. Walmart / Target / Kmart / Tesco = Emart / Homeplus – the ever-present discount department stores are a welcome sight to new expats. Homeplus holds a slight advantage in my personal opinion, mainly because they offer a number of Tesco-brandedMore >
AUTHOR’S note: ‘Coming to Korea’ posts are aimed at folks still new to Korea. If you’ve been in Korea for awhile, consider this a review =)
COMING to Korea means a new lifestyle – resolved. That lifestyle often comes with a few trial-and-error bumps along the way – mistakes you don’t have to make. While most of these can become habit in a couple weeks (or maybe a few months), at least a couple of these take a special effort for most.
- Accepting a quoted taxi fare. These come from the more unscrupulous taxi drivers out to make a few More >
ALTHOUGH far from healthy, Korean street food is just the thing to cap off a night on the town. It’s hot, fast, and cheap – what more can you ask for during the cold Korean winter?
Street food in Korea can be divided into two basic categories: Korean, and stuff adapted from abroad. The former category involves anything from dried squid (imagine a seafood-flavored beef jerky) to a fish-shaped pastry with red bean paste filling. From the Western world, you can expect to see hot dogs, corn dogs, and even some Turkish kebabs.
A distinctly Korean element of street food is alcohol, and there’s no More >
CALL it a singing room with alcohol, a chance to be mortally embarrassed, or a way to impress that cutie you’ve been chatting up all night. Either way, the noraebang allows you that opportunity. Noraebang translates to ‘singing room’, it’s an opportunity to make a fool of yourselves. It’s so much more fun when you know what to do, so keep reading.
Noraebang are everywhere in South Korea – next to places to drink and eat, there are seemingly more noraebang across the country than anything else. While they’re difficult to generalize, most will sell the More >