I’m back from South Korea around two weeks ago, but I’m still living in the hype of visiting this amazing country for the first time. My love for Korean food, K-pop and Korean culture has always been there, so this trip has totally fulfilled my dreams! My mum and I have been discussing when we should go again already 😂 Here are 10 things that explain why this country is so irresistible to us, and why are we so desperate to go again right away!
#1: The super smart & convenient subway system & app
Just like the MTR system in Hong Kong, the subway systems in both Seoul and Busan are very convenient. Most stations are very new and extremely clean. London, it’s time for you to learn something new…We were able to get to most of the attractions by subway very easily.
This app I had on my iPhone is so far the smartest mobile subway app I’ve ever seen! Not only it shows you the fastest routes, and how long does it take for you to travel from one station to another, it even shows you which train cart to get on in order to get to your transfer train quicker! This is so high-tech and intelligent, would love to have this in London too The app not only has the subway maps of Seoul and Busan, it also has three other cities, Gwangju, Daegu, and Daejeon.
#2: How speedy and convenient their internet is
I’ve heard of people saying that Korea has the fastest internet speed in the world. And that is definitely true. My morning Netflix routine was indeed smooth. Not only their internet is fast, wifi access is extremely easy and convenient as well! Before departing for Korea, I’ve reserved a pocket wifi device (wifi egg) to pick up at Incheon Airport. The wifi egg was very easy to use and carry around. It was a bit smaller than an Apple Magic Mouse, but much thinner and lighter. The reception we got when we went out for our day trips was generally fine. I owe a big thank you to this wifi egg device. Without you I wouldn’t be able to update my Instagram and Snapchat 😂, and most importantly find my way around!
(Image credit: http://www.khajochi.com/2014/07/review-olleh-wibro-egg-mobile-wifi-korea-seoul.html)
Even if you don’t rent a wifi egg, there’s public wifi pretty much everywhere in cities. So buying a wifi pass is also another option, it’s a bit like purchasing an O2 wifi pass? But we decided to rent a wifi egg because we were travelling to some rural places…and we all know that we cannot survive without internet… #firstworldproblems?
#3: How English-friendly people are
Unlike many other Asian countries such as Japan, speaking English is absolutely not a problem in Korea. People speak quite good English in both Busan and of course the capital, Seoul. Even the ajjumas (old ladies) and ahjussis (old men) we met at the local eateries spoke good enough English for us to order dishes, and introduce us to the best way to enjoy our food. Almost all of the restaurants we have been to had English menus (and Chinese and Japanese too!), so ordering is definitely not a problem, and that’s why I have eaten way too much good food during this trip (see #10).
#4: How the old is preserved to blend with the new
South Korea is a very modernised nation. But apart from its vibrant metropolitan side in the cities, the traditional history of the country has been preserved. Many old architecture has been kept and became popular tourist attractions. Such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, Dongdaemun, Namdaemun, and Suwon Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site outside of Seoul in Gyeonggi-do.
Suwon Fortress, Suwon
Bukchon Hanok Village
#5: How I see celebrities everywhere
Not that I actually saw my favourite K-pop stars, I wish…but in Korea you can see banners/billboards of celebrities with their endorsed products everywhere. If you’re a k-pop fan, or are familiar with the popular celebrities, you’ll love this place! I was so excited to be able to spot a few of my favourite actors and singers! *fangirl mode*
#6: There’s a shopping mall inside a tube station…
…and I bought quite a few decent clothes with a fairly cheap price. I got a few basic plain t-shirts and each costs roughly ₩10000. Which is no more than £6. And I dare to say the quality is definitely better than the H&M and Primark ones. WAY BETTER.
#7: Hearing music everywhere
A short and cheerful tune to remind you that the laundry is done; a joyful jingle to let you know that the subway train is approaching. How wonderful is this? Also, as a K-pop fan, hearing pop songs that you’re familiar with when walking down the streets is a thrilling experience.
#8: £5 is enough to get you to the top of Seoul
Yup. The ticket to the N Seoul Tower observatory costs ₩9000. Which is roughly £5.
And I’m not telling you I have a discount coupon, and my ticket was only ₩8100. Come on, forget about the Shard, forget about Sky100, let’s all come to N Seoul Tower!
#9: It’s actually fun to shop at a supermarket
As I’ve mentioned above, Korean celebrities endorsed LOADS of things. It’s not only limited to cosmetics and fashion brands, but also cafés and snacks. Therefore if you have the opportunity to visit a South Korean supermarket, you might spot your favourite k-pop group on a biscuit box! Apart from the brand testimonial, the variety of snacks and cooking ingredients is just so wide. Do you have honey flavoured crisps in the UK? Can you get Shin ramyun cheaply in the UK? *wink wink*
#10: Endless #foodporn and #foodgasm opportunities
I’m a BIG fan of Korean food. This trip has indeed satisfied many of my food desires. Pictures are worth a thousand words. See below!
It is extremely difficult to summarise my love for Korea in just 10 reasons. There are a lot of intangible feelings that add up to my extraordinary experience in this trip. There are still many places that we haven’t visited even just in Seoul alone. WE WILL BE BACK! 감사합니다, 사랑해요 (Thank you, I love you 🙂 )