After my last guide, where I talked about planning and flying to Seoul, let’s take it up a notch this week. It’s time for me to share a few neat tips and tricks I’ve picked up from my time in Seoul. Anything from getting around more easily, to interacting with the locals… Here we go!
Don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid to ask, don’t be afraid to try new things. Looking for somewhere? Are you lost? Don’t speak the language? Your best option is to ask one of the locals. Most of them will be more than helpful, and even if the communication is a bit short, they will try their very best to encourage you.
Talk to people!
Some locals will panic a bit and might not want to talk to you if you don’t speak the same language. However, most of them will be delighted to speak to you. More so, if you have a bit of a Korean vocabulary, they’ll find you absolutely adorable. It doesn’t matter how little you know, or how bad the pronunciation, as long as you try. Some might try and correct you, don’t take it personal. They’re just trying to help! So, talk to the shopkeepers, greet people at the tourist attractions, and put yourself out there!
Try new things
Seoul is a myriad of new, exciting experiences. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve gone out one night with a plan, and ended up doing something entirely different. Maybe someone came up and asked me to a bar? Maybe that other group of foreigners over there somehow merged with yours and suddenly you’re in an entirely new place. Maybe you and your friend just felt like singing and booked a Karaoke room (Noraebang), belting the latest k-pop tunes for 2 hours straight. Who knows? Be open to new experiences!
“Pork intestines… Are you serious?”
Yeah. That was my initial reaction too. It’s surprisingly tasty! Nothing put on the table in front of you will kill you. Try it, and if you don’t like it, that’s ok! Try something else! Korean cuisine contains all kinds of exciting and new flavours, I can guarantee you’ll find something you’ll like!
Learn to go with the flow
When travelling, everything rarely goes exactly the way we imagined it to. Things go wrong, crises occur, but in any situation, there’s almost always a solution. Go a new way, find a different activity. Don’t let something that didn’t go according to plan ruin the day. Seoul is filled with things to do and experience every day. Learn to roll with the bad things, and your entire holiday will become so much better.
Get a T-Money card
Taxi’s and cabs in Seoul are many and cheap. But those money are also well spent elsewhere. If you are spending any amount of time in Seoul, get comfortable with the subway system. Most signs are written in Hangeul, Romanised and English, and you’ll get anywhere in the Seoul area very easily. You can chose to but a new ticket for each journey, but I recommend stopping by a 7-eleven or other similar shops and ask for a T-Money card, which you can easily fill up at the subway station, should it run out of cash.
There is more to Seoul than Idols
Many westerners have been lured into the charm of Seoul and South Korea from the world of K-pop. Me included. There is nothing wrong with that at all! However, when you are finally there, I recommend spending your valuable time on other things than simply stalking your favourite idol. Seoul has so much to offer, and only a small part of it revolves around the entertainment industry. It is not called the City of Lights for nothing. Seoul never sleeps, and even though spending a day or two, or moments in between, carefully camped outside SM or YG building, in hopes of finally glimpsing your ultimate bias is completely understandable and expected… just remember that there is an entire world of a city waiting for you as well!
That is it for this weeks Survival Guide. Comment and let me know, if you have any more suggestions and ideas for what I should write about next! And remember to check in next time for my top sightseeing points of Seoul.
See you then!