Korea is a fast paced, fun city with lots of places to visit and things to experience. It’s also got a unique culture, customs, and ideologies that are the norm to us who’ve lived here for years, but not to those visiting. Here is a list of things that foreign tourists find to be fascinating, unusual and maybe even shocking in Korea. Let us know if there are any you agree with!
1. Lightning Speed Wifi
Unless you’re stranded at the top of a mountain with literally nothing and no one around you, chances are that you’ll probably be able to access wifi almost anywhere here. Not too surprising as we’re the proud owners of the world’s fastest average internet connection speed. 55% of you love how fast the wifi is and find it handy when looking up information about a tourist spot. Also, if you have absolutely no sense of direction at all, then you’ll be in good hands as you can look up where your destination is anytime.
Though wifi is almost everywhere, some places like subways require you to pay to access it, so if you want to be able to have it wherever you go, a portable wifi device aka a wifi egg is your best bet. With this bad boy, you can travel all over Korea and use the internet whenever and wherever you want!
2. The Cutting Edge Subway System
The subway system in Korea is an absolute gem as it’s reasonably priced, quick and efficient. Exploring the city will be a piece of cake! You seriously won’t be needing a car here.
The subway fare is very inexpensive and transfers are also super convenient, with signs in English all over the station that make navigating a breeze. Oh, and there’s an app with a map of the subway system, complete with timetables showing times for the first and last train – all in English. How awesome is that?
3. Cutting Food Not With Knives, But Scissors?
Many of you apparently don’t use scissors to cut your food back home. But it’s a heck of a lot easier than using a knife, that’s for sure. The convenience and time effectiveness of cutting food with scissors, especially with thick and coarse meat or kimchi is incomparable to using a knife. And who wants to be waiting around for a thick piece of meat to be cut into pieces with a knife, especially when they’re starving! It’s just so much more efficient. Speaking of meat, check out all these delicious places to satisfy your taste buds. And be sure to cut them with scissors!
4. A Foot Mask? Snail Cream? Yes, They Do Exist
Korea’s the mecca of skincare and beauty- there’s no denying that. There are tourists in Myeongdong dragging heavy suitcases that they fill with skincare and makeup products on the daily. And who could blame them? They’re inexpensive and though some of them look and sound ridiculous, Korea’s definitely ahead of the curve and thrives in the creative department when it comes to coming out with new products that have endless claims promising to make us look gorgeous. And you know what? A lot of them actually do work- just look at all the people on the streets who have gorgeous, translucent skin!
The shelves are lined with cute hand lotions shaped like apples and chocolates, eyebrow stains that stay on all week, creams with snail slime that claim to make you look 10 years younger, masks not only for your face but also your lips… the list is endless. It’s quirky and gimmicky, and it sells. Check out our ultimate guide to Korean cosmetics here.
5. The World’s Most Dangerous Border. Dun dun dun…..
Sounds terrifying, right? It’s actually not that bad at all, as long as you follow the (very strict) instructions from your guides. A lot of you love the DMZ Tour and are fascinated by it since it gives you a glimpse of our (not so) friendly neighbor, North Korea. Prepare to be fascinated as you take a tour of this area barricaded with barbed wire fences and guard posts.
If you want the closest view possible of the North, the exclusive JSA tour is your best bet, since you can witness North and Korean forces standing face to face, experiencing the full-fledged tension between the two firsthand.
Your head could be on the chopping block and you could be whisked off to a prison camp in a heartbeat, so make sure you abide by the dress code, photography restrictions and behavioral rules. For example, you can’t wear rip jeans because apparently, the North Koreans used it as a form of propaganda to show that Westerners can’t afford new jeans!
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