How to ride the Incheon Airport Limousine Bus

Incheon Airport Limousine Bus: How to Hitch a Ride To Your Korean Destination

What people from Busan think of Seoul

This is bound to get interesting. Whenever you compare to cities, you run the risk of stereotyping and oversimplification.  It’s complicated, we know. We asked a bunch of people living in Busan to give us their opinion of Seoul. Some people might have gone a little overboard, but you’ll get the idea…

1. I. CAN’T. BREATHE.

Seoul is too busy! Busan has fresh air and the sun reflects off the cold, blue water. Nature is accessible and feels like it’s just… closer. I feel like I can breathe here.

2. You mean, there are no waves?

Sure, the water isn’t too far from Seoul… but you won’t find a beach with waves like the ones we have in Haeundae. This definitely increases my quality of life in Busan.

Winters in Seoul

Winters in Seoul

3. That’s the cost???

The cost of living is way lower in Busan! Seoul is very class-based. Clubs and bars in certain areas (Gangnam, Apgujeong, Itaewon) can be pretty expensive.

4. Too cold!

Busan is the warmest city during Korea’s freezing winters. Seoul is too cold for me.

 

 

5. Wait, I can actually speak English here?

It’s always crazy how many people speak English in Seoul. The people are generally more conservative and English is not as widely spoken in Busan.

Seoul Subway Map

Seoul Subway Map

6. How am I  suppose to read this subway map?

Busan isn’t as big as Seoul, so it’s a lot easier to get around here. The subway in Seoul is huge – I’m sure people living there get used to all the different transfers, but it’s just more simple down here.

7. Too many people!

Sure the beaches get pretty crazy during the summer down here, but Seoul is crowded all the time. There are just too many people for me.

 

Here’s more on what people from Busan think of Seoul: what would YOU add?

Most Popular posts of 2014

The Most Popular posts of 2014: It’s always hard to predict what the reader wants to know. These posts hit a common nerve and you were interested in reading this. Here are the Top 10 most popular posts of 2014 (so far), and we don’t plan to stop posting more of these any time soon… Did you miss any of them? Which one was your favorite?

10. Arriving in Korea

You’ve waited weeks for this moment, perhaps even months. You have landed at Incheon Airport, and you’ve been told how to get out of the airport (take a bus into Seoul, look for someone holding your name when you come out of baggage claim, etc). But you probably have no idea what comes next, right?

Here’s how to make your first weeks after arriving in Korea a little less stressful.

 

9. The ultimate checklist

It’s crunch time, and you’re preparing to actually GO ABROAD! It probably feels like everything is happening way too fast… and truth be told, it probably is. With that in mind, here’s the ultimate checklist to help ensure that you have everything covered…

 

8. Weird facts about North Korea

According to Kim Jong-Il’s biography, he was born under a double rainbow as a new star appeared. He  started to walk at 3 weeks old, and claimed to be able to control the weather by his moods. What are some other weird facts you’ve heard about North Korea?

 

7. Weird places in Korea

Yes, we know about all the must-do’s in Korea.. But how about the weird, the different, the unusual places in Korea…?

 

6. Useful websites in Korea

Are you new to Korea? Have you been here for a few years? Either way, we’ve found these useful websites in Korea to be super helpful in planning nights out, weekends away, or exotic trips out of the country.  We hope this list will assist you as you create memories overseas!

 

5. What I wish I knew before coming to Korea

What I knew of the world changed during my first few days, weeks, and months in Korea. I did my research, but there were a few things that I missed. This is what I wish I knew before arriving in Korea.

 

4. Living cost in Korea

So you’re coming to Korea, and you’ll be earning around 2.0 – 2.1m KRW (average starting salary for a 1st year teacher). You’re probably wondering what your living costs in South Korea will look like, right? How much can you save? How much can you send home to pay off student loans? How much will you have in your pocket to spend on traveling?

 

3. Returning home after being abroad

Reverse culture shock, according to Investopia:

“The shock suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.”

You just returned from a place that is very different. The language, the customs, the way of living… and now you’re “home.” But if it’s “home,” then how come I feel so… out of place?

 

2. Learn to read Korean

Did you know that you could Learn to read Korean in less than an hour?! This picture is famous for being a good way to learn to read Korean, in just 15 minutes… (Took some of us closer to an hour), but imagine spending 1 hour – and being able to save so much more time in the future, by being able to read!

 

And the most popular post of 2014:

 

1. What not to say to an expat

I’ve been gone for a while, and I know you don’t fully understand the ways that I’ve changed. So, to every expat-friend-and-family-member-ever. Here’s what NOT to say to an expat.

 

What topic will be more popular then this one? Let us know, and we might just write about that next!

 

Returning home after being abroad

Reverse culture shock, according to Investopia:

“The shock suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.”

What are you looking at…

 

You just returned from a place that is very different. The language, the customs, the way of living… and now you’re “home.” But if it’s “home,” then how come I feel so… out of place?

Reverse culture shock affects everyone differently, but there are different transition stages that might help shed some light on what you’re experiencing:

 

 

 

Phase 1

In the beginning, being back home is an adventure. You are finally able to eat all those foods you have been craving.  You can speak the same language as everyone, read signs, and best of all – you can catch up with all your friends.

Yum! Korean street food

 

Phase 2

Unfortunately, the “honeymoon” phase does not last forever. It’s great to be back, but you slowly realize that people’s lives went on without you. It seems like the world changed, but it’s actually you who changed through your experience. You start to see that people expect you to be the same person as you were before. After all, it’s only been a year (or two), right?

Not only do you have to juggle people’s expectations, but you find yourself becoming… bored. Remember how you used to walk outside, and there was always something new to look at? Bus rides and subway rides were exciting?Even grocery shopping was fun?  It starts to dawn on you that those simple adventures that are a part of everyday life overseas do not take place at home.

You share your experiences with people around you, yet they reply with snarky comments about how you’re bragging. Showing off. “It was just a year or two of your life,” and people don’t seem to be interested. All the while, you keep thinking – “Exactly! It was an ENTIRE YEAR! So much happened!” Ibn Battuta once said: “Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” It doesn’t help if no one is there to listen. It helps to find others who’ve lived overseas. Joining Meetups in your area can be a great place to start.

Just as traveling became a part of your life, make sure you remember that having a family, for example, became part of your friends’ lives. You want them to listen to your stories, so return the favor and listen to their stories, too.

Returning home after being abroad

Phase 3

This is up to you. Returning home after being abroad won’t be the easiest thing to do, so find people with similar interests, go explore your hometown, and try out those traditional Korean restaurants in your area… they might just surprise you! And above all, find a jimjilbang. Trust us. A good jimjilbang is therapeutic on a bad day.

Korean Bank account

How to open a Korean Bank account

One of the first things to do in Korea, is opening a bank account. With so many banks to choose from, it can be quite a mission to decide which bank to go to. It is common for schools to provide assistance or recommendations to banks nearby the school or in the area. Here’s a little bit of information about how to open a bank account in Korea

 

Process

If you are on a Student or Work visa, it’s pretty simple to open a bank account. You might be more restricted if you are on a Tourist Visa.

To be able to open a bank account, you will need the following:

Passport 

ARC (Alien Registration Card): Even if you don’t have your ARC yet, you will still be able to open a bank account, but you’ll just be a bit more limited for the first month. You might be able to get a bankbook, and only receive the card once you show your ARC, but you’ll be able to get by without too much trouble

– They will provide you with a form to fill in (Make sure that you have your Korean address with you, and check that your name is written, as per your Passport)

 

You should be able to receive your Bank card and Pass Book (Bank book) within a few minutes.

 

Different Banks

 

KB (Kookmin)

This is the most popular bank, as you will find numerous branches all over Korea.

 

 

 

NH (Nonghyup)

The phone staff is knowledgeable and they provide good service, but doing online banking is a headache. NH is quite popular outside of Seoul.

 

 

Shinhan

They pride themselves as a Strong and Healthy Bank that could withstand any crisis. They have branches and ATM’s everywhere

 

 

Woori

They do not have the best service, as they use translators instead of people, qualified in the banking business, to answer questions. Their website is however compatible with all major browsers, unlike some of the other banks

 

 

Hana

It is one of the larger banks in Korea with branches in U.S.A.,  Japan and China.

 

 

 

KEB (Korea Exchange Bank)

They provide teachers great service in English and their site is very user-friendly. It’s is the only one that offers foreigners-only bank accounts that record all transactions in English.

 

 

Overseas card

Most international cards should work in Korea. It’s possible to withdraw money directly from most of the ATM’s. Make sure that you have one of the following cards though:

– Maestro

– MasterCard

– Cirrus

 

International transactions

Overseas Remittances

To send money overseas,  it is necessary to designate a specific bank as the one you will use for these transactions. It is advised to bring proof of your bank account bank home, to make transfers in between a lot easier.

 

Banking hours:

Generally between 9am- 4pm on weekdays, but might vary from one bank to another. Some are open over weekends.

 

 

 

 

Weird facts about North Korea

15 Weird Facts about North Korea

1. Kim Jong-Il was so afraid of flying that he would travel in 6 custom-made armor trains, built just for him.

2. Kim Jong-Un’s basketball hero was Michael Jordan.

3. Most traffic control is performed by female traffic directors (reportedly handpicked by Kim Jong-Il for their beauty). Traffic lights are switched off to save electricity.

4. North Koreans can’t turn off the Government radio installed in their homes. They can only reduce the volume.

5. Many North Koreans have not heard the news that humans now walk on the moon.

6. No dogs are allowed in Pyongyang (the capital).

7. North Korea has the fourth-largest military in the world, at an estimated 1.21 million armed personnel.

8. Only military and government officials can own motor vehicles.

9.  North Koreans must abide by one of 28 approved haircuts. For example, unmarried women must have short hair. Married woman have many more options.

10. Women are not allowed to ride bicycles in Pyeongyang. Men are only allowed to bike through parks, alongside streams, and next to the Daedong River.

11.  The elder brother to current leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Nam, was passed over  to become the heir apparent leader after being arrested in Tokyo in 2001 for traveling to Disneyland on a forged passport.

12.  Pyeongyang is built similarly to Seoul, with a big river running through it — the Daedong River is North Korea’s equivalent of the Han River in Seoul.

13.  According to South Korean government + UN estimates, some 154,000 North Koreans live in prison camps.

14. According to Kim Jong-Il’s biography, he was born under a double rainbow as a new star appeared. He  started to walk at 3 weeks old, and claimed to be able to control the weather by his moods.

15. With the exception of residents in the captial city, the Internet is almost completely inaccessible in North Korea. Access is granted by permission by government authorities.

 

What are some other weird facts you’ve heard about North Korea?

Sources