Discovering South Korea + 4 Things I Like + 1 Thing I Dislike #EarthinKorea

Discovering South Korea + 4 Things I Like + 1 Thing I Dislike #EarthinKorea

Hi Earthlings!

Let me tell you a little secret: this is my first time in South Korea! Yep, I’m a newbie here, just landed a few years ago at the Incheon Airport for a layover. And guess what? I’m not exactly a K-pop or K-drama aficionado. Shocking, right? I’ve watched a few shows and listened to some songs, but I wouldn’t call myself a super fan. So, I stepped into this vibrant country with a pretty blank slate, not knowing much about the rave, except that they have amazing beauty products (who doesn’t know that?). Despite my initial cluelessness, South Korea has been surprising me in the most delightful ways, and I just can’t keep it to myself. So, grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea, and let me take you on a whimsical ride through my adventures here.

The Public Transportation Dream

public transportation south korea

First off, let’s talk about something that feels like pure magic: public transportation. If you’ve ever lived in a place where traffic feels like a never-ending saga (hello, Metro Manila!), you’ll understand my awe. In South Korea, the buses and trains are always on time. Always. It’s like they’re enchanted or something! You can set your watch by them, and they’ll still be spot on. No more anxiously looking at my phone, praying I won’t be late. Here, it’s smooth sailing—or should I say, smooth riding? The subway system is particularly impressive, with its clean, efficient, and extensive network connecting almost every nook and cranny of the city. The stations are well-maintained, and the trains arrive like clockwork. It’s a commuter’s dream come true.

And the buses? Equally impressive! They have their dedicated lanes, which means no more getting stuck in traffic jams. The routes are well-planned and cover even the most remote areas, making it easy to explore beyond the bustling city centers. Plus, the fare system is integrated, so one card gets you on both buses and trains. Convenience at its best!

Shh… Can You Hear That?

Another thing I adore here is the sweet, sweet silence. South Korea is blissfully quiet, and it’s been such a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of noisier cities. Walking down the streets, I don’t feel like I’m in a constant battle against a wall of sound. Instead, there’s this calm, almost serene atmosphere. It’s like the entire country has mastered the art of whispering. Even in the heart of Seoul, the noise levels are surprisingly low. Trust me, your ears will thank you.

Public spaces are incredibly peaceful. Libraries, parks, and cafes are all designed with tranquility in mind. It’s easy to find a quiet corner to read, work, or just relax and watch the world go by. Even the nightlife in Myeongdong, while vibrant, doesn’t reach the deafening levels that I’ve experienced in other major cities.

The Recycling Rhapsody

Now, let’s talk trash—but in a good way! South Korea has this fantastic garbage segregation system that makes my eco-friendly heart sing. Recycling here isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a way of life. They have it down to a science, and seeing everyone actively participating is incredible. The attention to detail is impressive, from sorting plastics to composting food waste. It’s like being part of a big, environmentally conscious family. Plus, it’s made me a lot more mindful about my habits.

Here’s how it works: you buy specific plastic bags for food waste, which you can find at any convenience store. Each type of waste has its own designated bag or bin, and there are strict rules about what goes where. If you don’t segregate your trash correctly, you can get fined. It’s taken very seriously here, and the commitment to recycling is evident everywhere, from homes to businesses to public spaces. You can leave your trash at designated street corners for collection, but only if you’ve segregated it properly. It might sound overwhelming at first, but the system is so well-organized that it’s easy to follow.

Leave Your Valuables Unattended

leave your valuables unattended

One thing that has blown my mind is how trusting people are here that they can leave their valuables unattended! Imagine walking into a busy fast-food restaurant and seeing wallets, cell phones, and expensive bags just sitting on tables with no one around. In South Korea, it’s a common sight! People here can leave their belongings on their seats without a second thought, confident that no one will swipe them away. It’s such a refreshing change from constantly being on high alert for pickpockets and thieves. This level of trust speaks volumes about the community spirit and respect people have for each other’s belongings.

A Tiny Hiccup: The Language Barrier

Of course, no place is perfect, and there’s one little thing that’s been a bit of a hiccup: the language barrier. While South Korea has been a dream in so many ways, not a lot of people speak English. It can be a bit challenging, especially when I’m trying to ask for directions or order something new at a restaurant. But hey, it’s all part of the adventure, right? I’ve been picking up some Korean phrases, and the locals are always so patient and kind, which makes it easier.

I’ve found that learning a few basic phrases goes a long way. The effort to communicate in Korean is always appreciated, and people are generally very helpful. Plus, there are plenty of translation apps and guides available to assist. The language barrier has made my experience more enriching, as it has pushed me to learn and adapt in new ways.

Wrapping It Up

All in all, my journey in South Korea has been nothing short of amazing. From flawless public transportation to the peaceful ambiance, stellar recycling practices, and the incredible trustworthiness of people, this country has so much to offer. And even though the language barrier can be tricky, it’s just another part of the exciting tapestry of experiences that come with living abroad.

Stay tuned for more of my South Korean escapades, and who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself dreaming of visiting (or moving!) here too.  If you want to apply for a South Korean Visa check this out.  Until next time, stay curious and keep exploring!

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