KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
OFFICIALLY THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA
LANGUAGE - KOREAN (HANGUL)
CURRENCY - KOREAN WON
SAYING HELLO - "AHN-YEONG-HA-SAY-OH"
Put some respect on it with an "Anyeonghashimnikah" or say a quick, informal hi with "Anyeong."
THANK YOU - "KAM-SA-HAM-NI-DAH"
The "k" here is such a soft k that it almost makes a "g" sound. This (and most other Korean words) is spoken quickly... and with a bit of a whine... "Kammmsaaaamnidahhh."
DON'T MISS - DONGDAEMUN DESIGN PLAZA
With it's futuristic and minimal design, this is easily one of my favorite spots in the city. Don't believe me? Check out the DDP photos in the Urban Photographer's Guide to Seoul.
MUST EATS - DAKGALBI... KOREAN BBQ... AND ALL THE KIMCHI
If you're in Seoul, and are in the mood for sushi (or FRIED GREEN TEA ICECREAM (!)), head to my favorite sushi spot in the city.
TRANSPORTATION MUST HAVES - T-MONEY CARD
This transit card can be used for everything from the metro and taxis to convenience stores and coffee shops. Get one as soon as you arrive and charge it up - you're definitely going to need it.
Seoul has lots of free public wifi, but you may not want to rely on this alone.
Whether you're flying in to Incheon International or Busan's Gimhae International, you can pick up a portable wifi egg or a 30-day unlimited SIM card conveniently at the airport. (Be sure to reserve yours ahead of time)!
MUST HAVE APPS
If you're visiting short term, the subway app, maps.me, and naver map are really helpful for navigation.
If you're planning to stay long term, be sure to also download KakaoTalk, KakaoTaxi, and food delivery apps like Yogiyo.
34.8869° N, 128.6239° E
HOTEL INSPIRATION POINT
When you hear “Korea,” you’re probably more likely to think kimchi, K-Pop, or kim Jong-un than you are to think “Island Getaway.”
However, South Korea’s picturesque and easily accessible Geoje Island is actually the perfect place to spend a quiet weekend away from the city.
37.6970° N, 127.8887° E
Sometimes, life in the city is downright hectic... Thankfully, Korea’s amazing public transportation makes it easy and cheap to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Seoul.
In the mountainous province of Gangwon, about an hour outside of Seoul, I found one of my favorite little escapes.
37.5665° N, 126.9780° E
Seoul. runs. on. coffee.
In this city, cafe and Americano hangs are a way of life, and there is absolutely no shortage of spots to grab one. Some cafes have cute desserts, and some have your favorite, furry, four-legged friends. Others have ball pits and booze. No matter what, cafes are everywhere.
Check out The Cafes of Seoul for some of my favorite caffeine dispensaries in the city.