Got a bunch of questions about Korea recently and though I will compile a list of those and will update it along the way. Feel free to drop me a note and I will add more things to it as time goes by..
most people that want to stay in Gangnam area (Gangnam-gu near work) stay around this area. There are alot of officetel (think of it like your neighbor could be a tuition center) and there are residential areas. heres the few popular residential areas.
M Cherville (5 mins walk) - Usually self furnished but can negotiate some furniture
Desian Luv (10 mins walk) - Usually semi furnished
Star Tower (10 mins walk) - Fully furnished
A more expat and foreigner friendly environment would be Itaewon/Hannam area (Yongsu-gu across the river) about a 30 mins commute to work. More English friendly I guess but I felt it wasn’t much more than Gangnam area but definitely may more foreign food.
You need a Korean number to get most things done so.. Just get a KT sim. its basically almost the same price between the different telco companies. there’s a big KT (with one guy that speaks pretty good English) when u walk out of Gangnam station exit 1 and walk along for 5 mins. get a prepaid simcard first (sold by per gb + initial card fee) and when you receive ur ARC (alien registration card), you can go back to the same shop to get a 12 months contract and get some savings. I went with the 100GB a month plan.
In Seoul and at work - totally not necessary, a lot more people speak English and you can totally get by with just Chinese
Out of Seoul - nice to have, menus are usually all in Koreans and lesser people speak English
Buses, Trains and Airport shuttles
get a TMoney card from one of the vending machines at the subway station, eventually ur bank debit card will become your Tmoney but you need it for the first couple weeks. buses and trains pretty much get you anywhere around Seoul. Taxi is not expensive (meter starts at ~5000KRW and theres no midnight surcharge or peak hour surcharge) but traffic here is so bad it makes more sense to just stick with bus and train. Uber doesn’t really work here and you need kakao Taxi. Google maps also doesn’t work here, download naver map, kakao map and kakao metro and you are good to go.
ICN airport - usually I take airport shuttle buses comfortable and ~15,000KRW to get you door to door approx 90 mins need to pay by cash or by Tmoney card tho you can use credit card to buy the ticket at the airport.
GMP airport - usually I take train ~couple dollars and approx 45 mins
once you get your ARC card, no preregistration needed, you can use the fast track lanes when clearing airport customs coming back to Korea. (basically like global entry in US)
Groceries, online shopping and food
Lotte mart and Emart are the ones I go to most but you could also do most groceries online too. order all my supplements from iHerb.com and cheap and good. 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month the large grocery stores (emart, Lotte mart, Costco) are closed. My Friend uses a rhyme to remember it
1 and 3 come and see
2 and 4 close the doors
I buy a lot of random stuff online G-market and Coupang (e-commerce website). some stuff I still get from amazon but rarely (shipping is expensive and you get taxed for >150usd)
Ubereats, shuttle and foodfly are where I get most my food deliveries.
License conversion and how to get ur license back (took me multiple trips to get it done, there’s a foreigner desk, speaks decent english, pretty fast and convenient)
You need 4 documents to convert your license
Go to ur embassy in Korea to get ur foreign license certified and also translated
You need to wait till you receive ur ARC card
You need to get a certificate of entry and exit from immigration office, Samseong station exit 5 (CALT Building 2F)
Four passport size photos
You bring them to the Driving license center, Samseong station exit 1 (Road Traffic Authority Driver License Examination Office Gangnam)
Do some paper work while you are there and once license is converted, they will take your current license and issue you a korean license within an hour.
How to get your license back
You need to have an airplane ticket/ travel confirmation out of Korea, bring it back to the driving center and they will return you ur license (weird rule but ya that how’s it works)
Things to do around Seoul
First couple weeks I got here got really excited and was mostly across the river in the tourist side, I no longer spend much time there anymore unless friends pop by and wants to go.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Hongdae area - young area quite hips
Gwangjang Market - Netflix street food lady works here
Dongdaemun design plaza
Itaewon foreigner land basically feels like you are in LA
I hike quite a lot within and out of Seoul
Inwangsan personal favourite and close to other attractions
Out of Seoul
Jeju island - Hallasan
DMZ/JSR (though JSR is currently closed)
Favourite food around Gangnam
Ginseng chicken soup (24hours) - 한방삼계탕
Cold noodles - Eulmildae 을밀대 - 냉면
Korean army stew - 송탄부대찌개
Sugi’s seafood pot - 숙이네 조개전골