Living in Seoul for a month is exciting, making your list of what to buy and things you want to do. Of course, you are also planning where to stay and where to go for a month. But before that, I want to share with you the 10 must-to-know tips when living for 1 month in Seoul.
Accommodation is the most important thing you should check before coming to Seoul. Instead of staying in a hotel, I highly recommend guesthouses, hostels, or Airbnb. Because they are cheaper than hotels plus they provide free breakfasts. Aside from that, you should also consider a few things when choosing your place to stay.
- Clean and safe
- Near to subway station and airport bus stop
- The location is not too complicated
Hongdae, Chungmuro, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, and Itaewon are the best places to stay. Because you can see and experience a lot of things in these places without getting too far.
Another tip, if you are arriving late at the guesthouse or at the place that you are staying and no one will be at the front desk, inform them and ask for the door password and keys to leave them at the front desk.
2. Transportation Card and Prepaid Simcard or Wifi
Buying a T-money or a Discover Pass is very important when you use the subway and buses in Seoul. You can make a personalized card or just get one from the airport as soon as you arrived and you can also reload it right away. Another thing is you can also refund the remaining balance of your card before living the Seoul.
Having a prepaid sim card for a month is also important. But before leaving your country you should check if your phone is unlocked or not. Because you may not able to use the prepaid sim card when your device is locked. Another tip to make it more convenient for you, buy a sim card online in advance. But if you don’t want to buy it in advance you can also get one at the airport once you arrived.
You can choose from Unlimited Data for 30 days or Unlimited Data + phone calls for 30 days if you need to receive and send voice calls.
3. Phone Apps to Download
Well, before traveling to Seoul for your one-month stay it is best to download the needed apps in advance for you to study how to use them. Here are the phone apps you need to download.
- Kakao Metro – Kakao Metro is an app that I use for the Seoul Subway. It’s easy to navigate and it also teaches you the nearest platform to the exit or when you need to transfer to another subway line. It also shows how many minutes and hours is the travel time.
- Naver Map/ Kakaomap – This is also needed to avoid being lost. Aside from that, you can also check here the nearest station, bus stop, cafes, restaurants, and others.
- Kakao Bus – So if you plan to take the bus to Seoul for transportation you can download the Kakao Bus. This app shows the arrival time of buses and bus stops.
- Naver Papago – Not all people who live in Korea speak your mother tongue so downloading a translation app like Naver Papago is highly recommended.
- Kakao Taxi – Kakao Taxi is very convenient to use when you want to ride a taxi because you can set the starting point, and dropping point and you can also see the estimated amount that you need to pay. For Kakao Taxi, you need a Kakao account to use it.
4. What to bring?
What you need to bring will depends on the season that you are going to Seoul. So if you are planning to live in Seoul during the summer you need to prepare summer clothes like shirts, shorts, light pants, sandals or slippers. Bringing a sunglass, summer hat, or cap plus a handy fan is a must. An umbrella should be included in the list too since it rains during summer in Seoul.
But if you plan to stay in Seoul during the springtime, long sleeves, pants, jackets, or coats are needed. Autumn is a bit weird weather, it’s cold in the morning and evening and hot during the daytime. So better bring some long sleeves, a jacket or cardigans, a scarf and autumn boots for OOTD.
Packing for winter is the hardest since you need to bring thick clothes like knitted sweaters, padded jackets, winter coats, gloves, bonnet, scarf, and winter boots. So I suggest not to bring many since you can able to buy some in Seoul. But maybe you don’t want to spend money on new ones, Seoul has a lot of flea markets like in Dongmyo where you can buy winter clothes at a cheap price.
Aside from your clothes you also need to bring a Type C travel adaptor for your gadgets the plug has two round pins and the power sockets in Seoul have two earth clips on the sides. The voltage supply is 220V and 60Hz.
5. Learn Basic Korean Words
Well, when you plan to live in Seoul for a month you should be ready for some basic Korean words like greetings (안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo), 안녕히 가세요 (Annyeonghi gaseyo), 안녕히 계세요 (Annyeonghi gyeseyo), saying thank you 감사합니다 (kamsahamnida), saying sorry 죄송합니다 (joesonghamnida).
When you are invited to eat at a friend’s house you say 잘 먹겠습니다 (Jal meokkesseumnida) before eating and 잘 먹었습니다 (Jal meogeotseumnida) after eating.
When you want to buy something and you want to know the price you’ll say 얼마 예요 (Olma yeyo?). When you are lost and you don’t know where you are you can ask 여기 어디예요 (Yeogi eodiyeyo?) Whenever you want to receive something or you want to buy something you can also say 이거 주세요 (Igeo Juseyo).
There are so many words that I wanted to share but it will be a long list to better get a Korean book that is easy to read and understand.
6. Subway/ Bus Etiquettes
It might be your first time traveling and staying in Seoul so knowing the subway and bus etiquette is very important. Here’s the list that you need to check out.
- Do not sit in elderly seats even if it’s empty (but if you have a baby with you you can take a seat)
- Pink seats are for pregnant women.
- Lower your voice when you are talking to someone or on the phone.
- Foods and drinks are not allowed in buses and subways (they should be inside a plastic bag)
- Enter the subway after all the exiting passengers have left.
- If you have a big backpack, wear it in your front or put it in the space for baggage.
- Line up when entering the subway or taking the bus.
- When taking off the bus, push the bell button before arriving at the bus stop station.
(It’s not like in the Philippines you gonna say “para po”)
- Don’t be a PDA. Elder people don’t like it. (I’m taking the subway most of the time and I have several experiences with this from tourists and locals and sometimes it’s not really appropriate especially when kids are around.
7. Going to K-marts, Souvenir Shopping
In Seoul, plastic is out, especially in big supermarkets and shopping outlets. So I highly recommend that you bring an eco bag with you every time. This will make you save an amount of money and you’ll also can help Seoul with its environmental campaigns in reducing the use of plastic.
One more thing, don’t forget to ask for your receipts when you buy something for your tax refund when you leave Seoul.
For souvenirs, Myeongdong and Namdaemun have a lot of them. But if you are looking for crafts and arts check out Insadong. For cheap but fashionable outfits visiting the Express Terminal Underground Shopping mall is the best.
8. Clean your table before you go
In Seoul, there are restaurants and food chains that are self-service and you need to clean your table before you leave for the sake of the next customer.
9. Always walk on the right side
This one is also very important for you to avoid clashing with other people. So always remember to walk on the right side.
10. Garbages should be thrown properly
Littering in Seoul has a punishment when you are caught. So don’t ever ever do that if you don’t want to pay a fine from 30,000 to 50,000 won. A lot of places in Seoul don’t have trash bins so if you have something to throw and you can’t see a garbage bin you need to bring that all the way to your home. Another thing is, that garbages are thrown separately from general waste, plastics, plastic bottles, styrofoam, boxes, papers, and others. So if you are confused about throwing your garbage you can check the pictures on the trash bins.
These are the 10 must-to-know tips when living for a month in Seoul and I hope that this post can help you in your future stay in Seoul!
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