I lived and worked in Seoul, Korea, from 2010 to 2011. Just to clarify, I am not, nor do I speak, Korean. Furthermore, I had no particular interest in Korean dramas or pop stars. Hence, you might ask, “Why did you go to Korea?”
Frankly, I do not not know myself. But I can most certainly retort with a “Why not?”. In Alastair Reid’s poem, “Curiosity,” there are two types of people — dogs and cats. A dog person opts for stability (e.g. family, work) while a cat person seeks the unknown. Contrary to popular proverb that “curiosity kills the cat,” the poem contends that it is the lack of curiosity that kills us. For only the curious, “have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all.”
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I survived Korea splendidly. But that was luck and, I would say 87%, attributed to meeting a lot of great people. For those who don’t like to leave having a good time to chance, there are a thing or two you should know about the city.
Seoul (city overview)
Seoul, the capital of Korea, is a bustling metropolis. From history to culture to shopping to foods to night lives, the city has got it all.
The Korean alphabet, or Hangul, consists of 10 basic vowels and 14 basic consonants. Created by King Sejong of the Josen Dynasty (1392~1904), the alphabet can be easily memorized in a day or two.
- 안녕하세요 (anyong-haseyo) Hello / Hi
- 감사합니다 (kamsahamnida) Thank you
- [ ]주세요 (ju-se-yo) Please give me [ ]
From Airport (Incheon/Gimpo) to City
Choices include airport shuttle bus, subway, and taxi. Airport shuttle bus is by far the best choice in terms of price and convenience. With eight routes and buses departing every 10~30 minutes, you can simply hop on and enjoy the ride.
In the City
Again, options include bus, subway, and taxi. The comprehensive subway system, which connects every districts in the city and the surrounding area, is a great way to travel. Not only are subway lines color-coded, station names are available in Chinese, English, and Korean.
- Ssangmun (쌍문) : This is where I lived and my school is just a 10 min. walk away.
- Myeongdong (명동) : My favorite shopping location — Lotte Dept Store, Roem, Kosney, to name a few favorites
- Hong Ik & Ewha Woman University (홍대 & 이대) : Young, trendy, and popping with students, areas near the two universities offer a plethora of cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as shopping at a budget.
- Express Bus Terminal (고속버스터미널) : From here, you can take a bus and go to all major cities, such as Chuncheon, Busan