Whether you’re an experienced campaigner or a “newbie”, life in kimchi land can sometimes be challenging, due to language and cultural barriers. Those expats living a distance from the major metropolitan areas are faced with an even more difficult task of navigating life in Korea. The rapid influx of foreigners to Korea has forced businesses to become more expat friendly, and some base their entire enterprises around the expat community. The rapid rise of smartphones, coupled with the fastest and most widely available internet in the world, means resources are only a finger tap away.
Here are 10 websites we find handy.
Korea Tourism Organization
Korea Tourism Organization’s official website provides information related to attractions, travel, transport, accommodation, food and shopping in Korea. The user-friendly site can be navigated in English and several other languages.
The 1330 Korea Travel Hotline, operated by Korea Tourism Organization, is a 24 hour helpline available to local and international travelers wishing to make any inquires or complaints relating to Korean tourism. The knowledgeable and extremely friendly staff provide assistance in Korean, English, Japanese, or Chinese, and even provide interpretation services.
Show me an English teacher in Korea who has not used Waygook.org, and I will show you a Korean that has not eaten kimchi. The go-to website for Native English Teachers in Korea, provides access to thousands of lesson activities and content, which will leave your co-teachers green with envy. The site is also great for job searching, selling and buying second-hand goods, or simply venting on one of the many forum discussions.
Dave’s ESL Café
Like Waygook, Dave’s ESL Café is the godfather of information sources on the Web for ESL teachers. Unlike Waygook, Dave Sperling’s site aims to serve ESL teachers worldwide, not just those based in Korea. This site is ideal for job seekers, as job postings include not only Korea but also Japan, China and the Middle East.
Need baseball tickets? Want to get a pizza delivered? Don’t stress, Ask Ajumma will “order anything in Korea, hassle free”. If it can be delivered or it's a service available in Korea, this virtual concierge service can order it for you. Ask Ajumma is the benchmark for customer service with their fast, accurate and reliable employees.
Cine in Korea
Seeing a movie is a popular activity in Korea, especially for those annoying matching couples, so it is ideal to book your seats in advance. Cine in Korea offers the English-speaking movie junkie an easy-to-use way of finding out when and where the latest movies are showing, as well as an online reservation service.
What the Book?
Finding a bookstore that sells English books can be a nightmare, even more so for those living in the rural areas of Korea. Fortunately, What the Book? offers English language readers a variety of selections which can be shipped domestically. Apart from the online store, What the Book? also has a physical location in Seoul. Click here for directions.
The King of online shopping, Gmarket is a Korean online shopping mall, where people from around the world buy and sell goods. While the item descriptions are in Korean, it has proven popular with English speaking expats in Korea as well as overseas. The virtual shopping mall is relatively easy to navigate, customer support is outstanding and goods are usually delivered within the specified time.
Online hotel reservations has never been easier, with major booking sites fiercely competing for potential customers. Booking.com and HotelsCombined make reserving a room in Korea easy and affordable. Choose a site that appeals to you, filter your search and book your perfect stay with the click of a button.
Korea has one of the most advanced public transport networks in the world. It operates the KTX high speed train and subways systems in 6 major cities. Its extensive bus and rail systems make travelling the country very easy and cost effective.
Find the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get all over Korea by using the bus or train schedule.
Train: Use the Korail website to book one of the KTX express trains, including KTX-Sancheon, or one of the non-express Saemaeul, ITX-Saemaeul, ITX-Cheongchun, Mugunghwa, Nuriro or tourism trains.
Bus: Although there is an English site available, booking a bus ticket has to be done in Korean on the Kobus website.
Subway: There are various subway apps for each city which can be downloaded on your smartphone. You can also access the Seoul, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Busan subway maps online.
Your Local Facebook Page
Whether you have been placed in the hustle of Seoul, or stuck between the rice paddies of rural Taean, there’s likely to be a local Facebook page for your new neighborhood. All you have to do is try searching the name of your town, suburb or area and something should pop-up. Travel Buddies Korea, Every Expat in Korea and English Teachers in South Korea are popular Facebook groups to connect with fellow waygookins.