10 things I couldn’t live without in Korea.

It always amazes me how people who haven’t been to Korea assume that we have no internet and that I live in some random village in the back of beyonds where people don’t talk to me and I have no friends.  Well, that’s totally not the case.  Everything anyone needs in life can be found here, so here’s the top 10 things I couldn’t live without;

1. T-money card– Otherwise know as your trasportation card.  You just top it up with money and away you go.  You can use it on subways and buses and in Seoul, taxis.  Since I don’t have a car (yet) I use this ever day to go and come home from school.  So easy to use and they come as a charm so you can attach it to your phone or keys (see picture).

2. Laptop– Korea has some of the fastest internet in the world.  If I didnt have my laptop, I literally couldnt survive.  Of course, I could also use a P.C. Bang in an absolute emergency but it’s all about the laptop for me…………

3. A.R.C.- or Alien Registration Card.  The card you get when you arrive and you need it for everything, get a phone, bank account, doctors etc…..so I couldn’t live without mine.

4. Transportation; The transportation system here is the business.  The buses always run on time, theres several buses going the same direction so always a choice.  Subway is the same, clean, effective, sometimes a little crowded but what can you do????????

5.  Barry’s Tea & my kettle:  A ridiculous reason but I couldn’t live in Korea if I couldn’t drink tea.  What would be the point???? What would I offer people who came over??????? What would I drink in the morning????? or the afternoon?????or at night??????? or in the early morning after a few drinks????????????

6.  Phone– I love my phone. It keeps me up to date any time any place. I can check emails, tweet about ridiculous stuff, check facebook, use Google maps to make me not so lost…  And it makes phone calls……..

7. I-pod: All those mornings, I miss the bus and have to wait 10 minutes would be so boring if I hadn’t my I-pod.  The headphones also serve as a people deterant.  If theres someone you’d rather not talk to, simply put in your headphones and guaranteed they won’t come near you.

8. Bank: This one is a bit random but I couldn’t live here if I didn’t have my bank account.  I mean, ok, I could keep my money in my apartment (or spend it as fast as I could) but how would I send it home? Not having a bank account would only encourage me to spend every penny.  And not only that but sending my money to Ireland is sooooooooo easy.  And I enjoy the process. Unlike Ireland, the system in the bank is excellent.  Get a ticket for the area you want (regular teller, money exchange), go to that section and wait for your number to be called.  And the people in the bank are so great, they bring you the forms in advance to as to save time late, put your umbrella in plastic, offer you coffee while you wait and then they find some randomer who speaks English to serve you, should Korean be an inconvienence.  Excellent…….

9. 02-1330- Tourist Information Line– No one understands how great this number is.  It’s the magic number and the woman is the magic woman (although I’m fairly sure it’s different women but whatever).  So if you need to know anything remotely touristy in Seoul, just call and ask and they’ll tell you.  Seriously, you have no idea how brilliant it is…….. 

10. Jihachul app– Actually I don’t know how to spell 지하철 in English, sorry, but it’s this amazing app of the subways in Korea.  You simply choose the stop you leave from and the stop you’re going to and it calculates the fastest way/ fewest transfers/ how long it’ll take EVERYTHING! It’s in English so the days of getting on the wrong subway are well and truly over.

4 thoughts on “10 things I couldn’t live without in Korea.

  1. Things I… I won’t say CAN’T live without… but things that make me love love love living here:

    1. soup dishes in the winter — seolleongtang, galbitang, samgyetang, kalguksu, sundubu jigae, kimchi jigae, dwenjang jigae, budae jigae… warm the soul.

    2. covered markets – those semi-outdoor, traditional bazaar-style markets you find in the older parts of the city or town, where old folks give you great prices or freshy freshness, or just a taste of how things used to be.

    3. restaurants with one thing on the menu… and old people lined up out the door to eat there. Lots of restaurants get lines out the door, but if OLD people willing to wait, you can be sure it’s not because the place is trendy, or was featured on a power-blogger’s food porn blog… but because the food is soul-food, cheap, delicious, and generously portioned. Best of all is Gwangjang Market by Jongno 5-ga station on the dark blue line.

    4. the public transportation – especially in the city, but even if you’re traveling around the country, if you’re handy with a transit card, good at reading bus schedules, and not above hailing a cab from time to time, there’s no need to own a car here.

    5. the tourist help lines here’s the place to find all the local numbers: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/GK/GK_EN_2_7_1.jsp – Korea’s really made an effort to become more accommodating to tourists who don’t speak the language, and this is one of the absolute best initiatives they’ve come up with so far.

    6. broadband speed.. EVERYWHERE. Every time I’m streaming Youtube videos on the subway, downloading bus arrival times out in the countryside, or making a video skype call from a motel out in the boonies, I should blow a kiss at the nearest Korean flag.

    7. Chats with taxi drivers and friendly old people – the better your Korean is, the more fun these are, and the more varied the conversation becomes.

    8. The everything festival of everywhere always: there are a whole buttload of fantastic festivals celebrating everything from seasonal phenomena (flowers blossoming etc.) to traditional arts (masks and dances and foods), to the newest of the new developments in Korean culture… and if it’s not a festival yet, it’s probably a street party (world cup soccer games, flash mobs, flea markets, random live shows)

    9. Jongno/Gwanghwamun/Bukcheon/Myeongdong – I’ve lived in this area for about 2/3 of my time here, and it’s absolutely inexhaustible… partly because there’s so much to see and do, and partly because it changes so quickly that even if you’ve tried everything, two weeks later there’ll be something new to try again.

    10. People-watching (and eye candy) everywhere – old people playing baduk in parks, little kids splashing in public water fountains, couples speaking in goopy voices in coffee shops… or breaking up loudly on the steps to a subway station…, little kids wearing hanbok on festival days… and at every crosswalk, whether you dig X or Y chromosomes, there’ll be at least one person coming the other way who’s an eyeful of style, beauty, handsomeness, high fashion and immaculate grooming, to give your eyes a treat as you pass.

    better leave it there, not that I couldn’t go on…

    • Yep!!!!!!Seemingly there are a few places but I always go to Haddon Supermarket. It’s near Itaewon. It’s at the entrance to Hannam Heights Apartment complex. Google the name and I’m sure you’ll find a map. If you don’t get back to me and I’ll give you more detailed directions!!!!!!!

      • Awesome! Thank you so much! Was having my Irish fiance’s mother send us some, but it would be much cheaper/easier to get it here. ^_^

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