Are you planning a visit to South Korea for the first time?
Maximize your experience by brushing up on Korean culture and helpful travel tips. Before arriving at a new destination, it is always accommodating to learn about the culture and customs to help you adapt to the new environment. Our world is filled with diversity and unique traditions that you may not have encountered or even heard about. Here are 7 things to keep in mind before traveling to Korea.
1. Be Aware of your Hand Gestures
The first thing to keep in mind when visiting a new country is mannerisms. It is important to not disrespect any locals and one way to do that is to keep your hands to yourself. Although giving hugs may be viewed as a warm welcome from where you are from, it can often make Koreans feel uncomfortable. Body gestures such as hugging or putting your hands around one’s waist or shoulder can make them feel disturbed. A way to greet one another is by shaking hands. Keep in mind with elders, it is respectful to shake with both of your hands.
2. Public Bathrooms
The public bathrooms in Korea may seem unusual if you are only familiar with Western-style toilets. It is odd to think that there are different ways to use the restroom but in Asia, you are most likely going to find squatting toilets. Get familiarized with how to use the restroom when squatting because it may be intimidating if you have never done it before. Keep in mind if toilet paper is provided, it is usually dispensed outside of the stall. Before you travel to Korea it will be best to stock up on packs of tissues. It will be helpful to carry your own pack as most restrooms do not provide it.
3. Get Familiarized With Using Chopsticks
Unlike traditional wooden chopsticks, Korean chopsticks are made of metal which makes it more difficult to hold. There is also chopstick etiquette to keep in mind when you are with other people. Don’t leave your chopsticks sticking vertically from a bowl, use them to stick your food, or point them at other people. To show respect to the elderly if they are present at the table, refrain from picking up your chopstick before they do.
4. Korean Food
Many Korean dishes include a lot of spice. If you enjoy having a flavorful kick in your meal look for dishes that contain an orange or red color. For those who prefer nonspicy meals, they are not difficult to find. Street food contains many tasty options from sweet to savory. Regardless of what you are craving, the options of food and drinks in Korea are endless. Keep in mind with any type of service in Korea, leaving a tip is not required or expected. If you do decide to tip, the amount you leave is up to you.
Getting around in South Korea will not be something a foreigner will have to worry about due to the many options of public transportation. The subway station is the most efficient for travelers. It holds more than 400 stops covered by the most visited places in the city. Another method to get from point A to Point B is with the help of a taxi driver. Even if they don’t know how to speak English, they can still get you to where you are going by showing them a business card or simply showing them the address of your destination.
6. Korea’s well-known Beverage
Banana milk is the ultimate drink to have in Korea. The beverage is easy to find in almost every convenience store. It is highly recommended by locals because it is affordable and promotes healthy benefits from drinking milk. The trend began when the Korean government wanted to encourage citizens to consume more milk. Today it is an everyday essential for locals and something foreigners must try.
7. Indulge in K-Beauty
If you are planning to pack your 7 step skincare routine, you may want to consider leaving it at home before traveling to Korea. Korea is famous for anything beauty related. Department stores and duty-free shops are stocked with all things skincare and makeup. The streets are filled with posters advertising beauty and youth to men and women. You may not know this but Korea is known for medical tourism. People travel all over the world to get cosmetic surgery done by skilled Korean surgeons.
We Hope to see you soon
Now that you got a glimpse of the Korean culture, we hope to see some new faces who travel to South Korea. While you are here, dive into the culture and experience something you do get to see from your home town. There are countless dishes to try and landmarks to visit you can easily be entertained here for over 90 days.