That’s what I like about you, Korea

No, this is not the Asian follow up to that tv series starring Amanda Bynes, but rather a short list of the different things I like about, and living in, South Korea.

1. Fast Internet

The one thing every single person in Korea, or who’s ever been here, would agree to. The internet in Korea is super fast and we’re kind off spoiled over here. I have no reason why it’s this quick only in Korea, but I’m not complaining. And this is regardless of your medium. 3G is pretty much non-existent seeing as you have access to LTE/4G everywhere. Again, super fast! I once had a student explain the difference between slow and fast as 3G and LTE. So it was kind of funny when I went to China (the Superpower) and they advertise 3G cellphones and packages.

It's true!

It’s true!

2. Food

Before I came to Korea I was scared that I would not like the food and that I might not eat a steak, ribs or boerewors again. Well, the reality is that you can find anything you want to eat in Korea and that with minimal effort you can enjoy whatever foreign food you fantasize about. I don’t really do that and I’m yet to have a steak (I know right, eight months without a steak). Yes it will be a little more expensive, but not everything cost more. I, for one, really like the Korean food and even cook Korean food (without rice) for myself when I’m home alone. My favourite Korean food include:

  • Kimchi jjiggae (spicy soup usually with some pieces of beef),
  • Dakgalbi (spicy stir-fry chicken and vegetables),
  • Samgyupsal (Korean pork bbq),
  • Kimbab (seaweed rolls).
Monique and Susaar enjoying some Dakgalbi and Makgeolli in Chuncheon.

Monique and Susaar enjoying some Dakgalbi and Makgeolli in Chuncheon.

Samguypsal (Korean bbq).

Samgyupsal (Korean bbq).

3. 24/7 Convenience stores 

I know you can get these convenience stores in most countries, but not all of them have the vast majority of items for sale as these Korean stores. And alcohol! Lot’s of different alcohol available 24/7. From beer, soju (Korean spirits) and makgeolli (rice wine) to a bottle of Chivas Regal or Absolut Vodka. All of this at reasonable prizes too. Most of these convenience stores also have a little deck with tables and chairs where you can enjoy your food and/drinks. So if hanging out in a dark bar is not your thing, you can always hang out in front of the CU, 7 Eleven or Family Mart . There is literally one of these stores around every second corner. Convenient, right?!

I’ve recently done a CU Crawl here in Chungju where we went around and drank one beer at 15 different CU’s around the city. The purpose of cause not to get sloshed (who were we  kidding), but to see more of the city we don’t usually see on our daily routes. Mission(s) accomplished and I bet plans for another CU crawl is in the pipeline.

4. Meeting new people

Without exaggerating, I’ve met new people and made lots of new friends from all over the world on almost a weekly basis. There is a helluva lot of foreigners in Korea and if you dare to socialize (not just going out, but study groups too), you’ll get to meet a lot of them (us?). I’m not going to drop names, but I’ve made lots of new friends from all over the world all over Korea and it’s always great to share stories and experiences. Here’s to all my new friends, and all the new ones I’m going to meet! Cheers!

New friends in Namhae.

New friends in Namhae.

5. Public Transport

Boy oh boy, has my life changed for the good by coming to Korea. Because of the great public transport system and the affordability thereof, I have absolute no desire to get, nor drive my own car.  I can commute to and from school via taxi or bus and during the weekends when we travel around, I make use of the intercity buses, trains and the KTX (Korean bullet train). One of the coolest experiences though is to take the subways in the bigger cities. Again, really cheap and super efficient. All these means of transport are on time 99% of the time and it’s always possible to use any of to get to your destination,

Other than that, it’s safe to walk around at any time of day and night or to bike around to get where you need to be.

6. Amazing views with an active lifestyle

Even though South Korea offer amazing views AND promote a healthy and active lifestyle, these have to go hand in hand. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself over the weekend or during the late afternoon, you are guaranteed to see someone walking, running, biking or exercising along your way. People of all ages here like to be active and it has rubbed off on me (and I guess lots of others). There are a lot of standard gym equipment in the parks or on the hiking trials which anyone can use and they are usually in a good working order. Free gym – who wouldn’t!

Talking of hiking, this seems to be the most popular form of exercise here because of all the mountains and hills in around the cities. It seems though that one needs to be dressed  for the occasion and all the hikers are dressed accordingly in their bright colors and sport their different accessories. It’s not a necessity though and anyone can enjoy nature at it;s best.

Hiking mount Samaksan outside Chungcheon.

Hiking mount Samaksan outside Chungcheon.

Biking also seems to be popular and it’s common to see groups of cyclists on the trains or buses on their way to or returning from a bike trip. Again, dressed for the occasion in the same attire as the hikers use. I wish to one day too go on one of these biking trips. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Obviously there are more stuff that I like about South Korea, and also some stuff that I don’t enjoy that much, but look out for follow-up posts regarding this soon.

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