13 Things I Love About Living in South Korea

While South Korea is not all rainbows and sunshine(thanks in part to the Yellow Dust from China),there are times when a foreigner enjoys his time here.  He finishes a long day of teaching, enjoys a hearty helping of Korean Barbecue, looks up at the night sky illuminated by neon flashing lights, turns down an offer for a sex massage, goes home and watches the Avengers for free online, and thinks. . ."this is the life."

This is the follow up to the extremely popular 10 Things I Hate about South Korea article.  So, without further adieu,

13.  Cars drive on sidewalks – Somehow people don’t like this.  I think life is much more exciting when a car can also hit you on the sidewalk.  No longer are sidewalks sanctuaries of safety.  You need to make it inside the building before you stop looking both ways to cross the street.  Think of Korea as your secret bonus level of Frogger.



12. Seoul Subway -It’s clean, fast, and convenient.  It’s really that impressive.  The only thing this guy and I have in common, besides an obvious lack of interest from women or a social life, is that we both love the Seoul Subway System.



11.  Korean Rest Stops-  Like everything in Korea, when they decide to do something they do it big.  Rest stops on road trips are massive and often have hundreds of visitors at a time.  The food options are limitless as there are several food stands and restaurants serving traditional korean food, dumplings, space ice cream(dip n dots), wieners, and roasted nuts.  Additionally, there are places playing music that are selling cd’s and along with all sorts of touristy stuff.  You would think a Korean rest stop is a mini-mall.  If you’re lucky, you might actually catch a mythical Peruvian flute band as can be seen on South Park.



10. No Tipping– You do not tip bartenders or waiters in South Korea.  This means a 3 dollar(3000 won) beer is really only 3 dollars.  No longer must you debate how polite you are or fight with people over the proper amount of a tip(Fyi, it’s 20 percent) for the bill.  In other words, you save a lot of money.  I’m sure the bartenders and waiters here are compensated…no, they’re probably screwed.  However, it’s rude to even try to tip in most cases so do not do it and don’t feel guilty about not doing it.


I miss my chic-fila





This is a great read on tipping practices and concept of free refills in Asian countries


9.  The Use of English Signs.  Despite the huge sums of money Koreans spend on making sure their children understand grammatical rules better than the rest of us in the Western world, they still don’t seem to teach the things that really matter(like speaking).  A word of advice to Korea business owners, before you invest so much money into an expensive sign, consult a native English speaker for a small sum of money.  Although, if you fix these problems life here is less entertaining for me.


They must have some very dry pizza!


Sometimes grammar isn’t the only way you screw up in English.(This club plays techno too lol)


8.  Reserved seating in Theaters. This one isn’t funny, it’s just smart.  When you watch a movie at a theater in Korea,  you actually choose your seat when you purchase your ticket.  No more worrying about finding a seat and if you purchase a ticket in advance, your seat is reserved even if you are running late.


Old Boy, one of the best Korean movies ever!




7.  Free Furniture-  I have moved over 6 leather couches for myself and friends that we found in the garbage.  Korean trash can be a lucrative gold mine with patience.


6. Waffles, ice Cream, weiners, and fried chicken-  Koreans take the best of American Cuisine and multiply it exponentially.  The density of places that offer donuts, waffles, ice cream, weiners, and fried chicken is unimaginable.



5.  Three Coffee Shops on Every Corner- You know that saying, “there’s one on every corner.”  Well in Korea, there are about four on every corner… often right on top of each other.  I think this is awesome.  The free wi-fi is worth it’s weight in gold as a foreigner and if you are addicted to coffee and tea like I am; all I can say is welcome to heaven.


Similar to my addiction for coffee


Count the Coffee shops…there are five

4. BLack Out Korea–  Before you laugh at these pictures.  Please understand that within a generation South Korea has established itself as one of the best economies in the world.  One generation ago, they were ranked with the likes of Uganda.  Currently, they have one of the 10 largest economies in the world.  This did not happen by accident, this generation and these people work their(excuse my language) asses off.  First of all, hats off and congratulations to Korea.  Unfortunately, when you work this hard and under this much pressure you need a serious release valve.  Thus, when Koreans drink they do not hold anything back which leads to this website.  It is very common to pass people seriously intoxicated who walk in very peculiar lines or look dead on the sidewalk. It’s also really, really funny.

3.  Community-  While the foreigners run to Itaewon, Hongdae and Gangnam; most Koreans just chill in their neighborhoods outside sitting on furniture with friends and a few bottles of Soju.  I wish I had a few more friends who knew how to chill like Koreans do.

3b. Noraebong.  This is Korea’s version of Karaoke.  You rent out a private room with your friends and have a karaoke party.  You might Noraebong with 3 or 4 people or go Roman style and stick 30-40 people in a room while on vacationing on Jeju Island.  I miss my horde of fans at the Karaoke bars back home but there is something intimate about only noraebonging with your friends that I find surpasses the drunken shenanigans of American style karaoke.

3c. Cell phone use acceptable during all social situation–  I love the sight of an endearing Korean couple sharing a romantic dinner together while staring at their cell phones the entire evening.  It is perfectly acceptable to check facebook, twitter, and chat on your phone  in front of your date or friends who care enough to see you in person.  No need to be sneaky about it here, it’s perfectly acceptable to do it out in the open.  With this etiquette how many painful conversations could I had avoided back home.



2. Korean Girls.  Even though I’m not a big fan of Korean woman and vice versa, I can’t deny that Koreans are the most beautiful people in the world. They are all thin, tall, well dressed, and work very hard to maintain their appearance. I’ve theorized that since they all have dark hair and dark eyes, they’ve become extremely sensitive to minor imperfections like wrinkles freckles, etc. Due to their high standards, they are obsessed with beauty, youth and plastic surgery. This obsession makes an ugly girl in Korean standards appear quite attractive by western standards. Korean people also age extremely slow so it’s not impossible to mistake a 35 year old for a high school student.

Nonetheless, despite how hard I try to ignore it. . .the women here are just beautiful. I can’t even go downstairs to have coffee and work on my blog without having my eyes ripped away from screen because some korean bombshell is in the room. Thus, against my best efforts Korean women are number two on my list.



1. Food. What’s better than women? Food! Korean food is the best thing in the world. Apart from my daily helpings of kimchi, I love g(k)imbap rolls, bibimbap, chamchi dishes, all of my jiggaes, kimchi pancakes, sunbudu, street food, seafood, all of the unlimited side dishes, korean barbeque, soups, and….everything. I can’t even put it into words. You don’t have bad days in Korea as long as you at least one Korean meal. It magically makes everything else that much better.



21 Comments Add yours

  1. David Sheffield says:

    Enjoyed the article and the pictures. Keep writing.


  2. terry says:

    great information about S Korea


  3. A korean says:

    I am a Korean with a regular educated level. You should reconsider No.3c – Acceptable to use a mobile in any situation. NO WAY. The Koreans you witnessed with those thing lost their manners. I admit Koreans are busy all the time to work or to have furn. But, Cell phone abuse during conversation or date is not ACCEPTABLE to educated person. You should mind your closed friends.


    1. kaliber411 says:

      Thank you for your comment. I think my wording was a little too strong as it is not always acceptable to use your cell phone in social situations. Hopefully, my readers have enough common sense to understand that. However, it is much more of a common practice and it is much more acceptable to use your cell phone during social situations in Korea than it is in America. I do not think this is something that is bad or should be frowned upon; it is just something I have noted that is different between our cultures. Koreans love electronics and their cell phones, and I share that affinity with them. As far as being a “regularly educated Korean,” my 7th grade(2nd grade middle school) students helped me prepare for the math section of the GRE to attend a master’s program back home. I’ve found most Koreans to be extremely well-educated, especially when compared to individuals back home in the states. However, they LOVE their cell phones like Floridans love key lime pies.


  4. Stephen says:

    Highly disagree with number 1. Though I enjoy Korean food, after being here for over 2 years and working at an elementary school, I have grown really tired of Korean food and I’m sick of the rice/kimchi/seaweed soup served for every meal. I still enjoy a variety of food from restaurants (when you can change it up) but overall, it’s really boring. Yes, I’m aware how unhealthy western food can be. However, it’s anything but boring.


    1. brentdsheffield says:

      My Hagwon doesn’t buy me lunch, I’m jealous! I love Korean food!


    2. Stephen says:

      I just wanted to add this: I worked at a Hagwan for my first year and the headmaster gave everyone kimbap EVERY night. At first I was elated at getting (free) food, this delicious “Korean sushi roll” every night. Now, I cannot eat kimbap anymore, so sick of it. As for street food, I do enjoy the waffles and an occasional walnut cookie or red bean fish. But the main street food is NOT delicious: hot dog on a stick, breaded peppers, breaded bits of mystery meat, all deep fried (the deep fried shrimp is alright). These greasy snacks, although very cheap and convenient, are not delicious. I will get tons of opposition on this, but I must also declare that ttok-bokki is also NOT delicious. Rice cake has absolutely zero flavor, it’s just chewy. Slather it in hot sauce and you get a little snack that’s tolerable once or twice. After that, were in the “boring” category again. Don’t mean to be a buzzkill on the “Korean food is the number one reason I love Korea”, just want to share how I feel about that. By the way, my favorite Korean food is bi-bim-bap, and I could eat that everyday. But I will NOT eat that everyday, in fear that I will grow sick of it like all the other food around here.


      1. Nico says:

        Whether anything is boring or otherwise is only a matter of personal taste, is it not? I find it unfair of you to condemn Korean food as “boring” while maintaining that Western foods are not. As if its a fact rather than an opinion.All my Korean relatives here in the States find American food “boring” at best and “inedible” at worst. What makes your opinion more valid than theirs?


    3. brentdsheffield says:

      Write blog piece about this and I’ll be happy to post it. You seem pretty passionate about it! I was just trying to write something for laughs.


  5. Stephen says:

    Korean women should be number !!!! But, my favorite actress, Lee Min Jung, is not in that video!?!?


  6. lleeina says:

    I’d have to say, Korean women (even men) are the best dressed people in the world and also the world’s top 1 in vanity. Western women tend to put heavy makeup, while Koreans are so stressed about skin care. I admit skin care is a better investment, but I think they take beauty way seriously than anywhere else in the world. Their beauty regimens are like the same as breathing! It’s something I really admire about them. But sometimes, I think it really is overkill.


    1. Part of it they bring on themselves, part of it is due to how competitive Korea is. The population is extremely bright and intelligent often with the same qualifications. So, looks are extremely important to convey an edge over their peers. It’s the only place i know where a picture is required to submit an application.


  7. Nikki says:

    Im with you on number 3! I much prefer having drinks sitting at a plastic Family Mart errr C(CVSforYOU)U table.. they could have enlisted some outside help on that re-name as well, just doesn’t flow like Family Mart haha.


  8. Freebies! Freebies! Besides some of those you have mentioned (definitely not the Korean women for me), freebies top my list. ^^


  9. m says:

    oh about the pizza place I think they really intended to say DESERT, not Dessert. It’s written in Korean below the signage.. But yea, I’ve seen many misspelled English words in Korea, on signs, clothes and nearly everywhere I go. Why can’t they just use Korean, which obviously vast majority of people in this country will understand perfectly…


    1. Nice. I’ll have to fine a better sign. Why desert pizza? Still makes no sense. Their pizza is awesome!


  10. Czarina Maye says:

    I am flying to South Korea this first week of July and I cannot wait to experience all of this! 🙂 Specially the Korean bbq! Nomnomnom. 😉


  11. Kim says:

    Great post! I totally agree with you. I once went to a Korean BBQ and I fell in LOOOVE with Kimchi Jiggae! And I also prefer the Korean Chopsticks over the wood ones. The metal ones are more comfortable to me haha.

    I also find Korean People beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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