The Best 30 Things I Like About Korea, Plane Ticket To Korea Not Included!
What is Korea famous for today? This is an interesting question that we decided to answer. Decades ago, Korea was just a small poor country. Today, it’s a different story.
From “Hermit” kingdom to the birthplace of K-POP, Korea has become the place to visit in Asia for tourists around the world.
Thousands of tourists visit Korea each day to buy goods, experience culture, watch the latest KDrama movies and listen to KPOP music. But K-POP is not the only thing that makes Korea famous.
It is true that K-POP has had a significant part to play in getting Korea on the map. There is much more about Korea than meets the eye. So, are you ready? We painstakingly put together our top 30 things Korea is popular for. Let’s go.
Top 30 Things Korea Is Known For
1. K-POP. Without a doubt, Korean Pop has become a mainstream music genre throughout South East Asia, Asia, South America, Canada and parts of the United States. Hugely popular and listened to by fanatic fans throughout the world, this music genre has taken over the world with its “Hallyu Wave” Monsoon! Check out our K-Pop latest trending posts here.
2. Korean Dramas. Just about every South East Asian country households that have TV know about Korean Dramas. Also known as K-Dramas, these dramas have become an entertainment powerhouse delivering movies that are funny, romantic, and dramatic. Who doesn’t know about the tense Korean drama endings that show two or more people images? Check out our popular posts about the K-Dramas and Film Locations.
3. Hangul. The official Korean language is one of the few languages in the world that is considered the most easiest language to learn. A prevalent language due to it’s easy to learn linguistics, it has become a language to learn for international businesses and visitors. Why? Samsung, LG, K-POP, and K-Dramas. Many people leave their own countries and come to Korea to work, play, marry, learn and even start a successful career. If you are curious or interested in learning about Hangul, check out our posts about Hangul here.
I don’t know of any other country that created a unified language system so everyone could educate themselves. It was a reform attempt at the different social classes that existed.
Most languages spoken throughout the world were sophisticated, spoken and read by nobles and people of “higher class.” The “common class” only spoke and read with a limited vocabulary.
Hangul did away with that differentiation between Koreans by being a language that everyone understood and spoke. As a result South Korea is one of the most literate and homogenous language in the world.
4. All Four Seasons of the Year. Korea has one of the most beautiful Cherry Blossom Festivals each year. You can ski in the winter, hike in the spring, swim in the beaches during summer and see the beautiful colors during autumn. If you would like to plan your vacation and need to know the best times to visit Korea, then read this post.
5. Tourist Attractions. Gyeongbok Palace and the changing of the guards. Seoul Tower, Traditional Old Folk Hanok Village, COEX Mall, Lotte World Mall, Seoul Sky and Lotte World Tower. Need I say more? OK, then. How about the SM Town Entertainment Museum? They sell pillows with Sooyoungs (SNSD) image.
6. Yummy and Delicious Foods. Kim Chi, Bulgogi, Kal-Bi, Jjangmyeon, Bibimbab, Tteokbokki, and Kimchi jigae. Let’s not forget those famous fish cakes on a stick made famous by Korean dramas. Also, try eating a live squid. I don’t think its delicious but it is a unique way to eat!
7. World Heritage Sites. A World Heritage Site is an area or landmark that has received protection by international treaties due to it having cultural, scientific, historical or other significant importance. Jeju Island is one of the World Heritage Sites in Korea. Considered the “Hawaii” of Korea, its a popular attraction with Korean newlyweds who spend their honeymoon there. Many Korean celebrities live there, as well.
8. Technology. Samsung and LG are two largest corporations in Korea. They account for a significant part of Korea’s Gross National Products exports each year. I’ve owned Samsung Note cellphones since the very first one, and ever since then, I’ve bought a Samsung Note cellphone each year. I own a Samsung Note 8 now. I haven’t had a problem with any of the Samsung Note phones. My television is LG. My parents, especially my mother, have said always buy Samsung and LG products, they are very proud of Korea and want to support Korea, even through me. I haven’t disobeyed them yet. Call me a momma’s boy.
9. Plastic Surgery. From rich to poor, established business people to aspiring actors and actresses, many people throughout the world visit Korea for plastic surgery. It is an established, time tested business, expanding and developing each year. Some Korean actresses and actors undergo plastic surgery to help their career. It has become a multi-million dollar business drawing in money, new techniques, and technology. Gangnam is known for from Psy’s video “Gangnam Style!” but plastic surgery is a contributing factor in Gangnam.
10. Hanbok. The Hanbok is a traditional clothes worn by the Korean people during the Goryeo and Joseon dynasty. Today, it is kept and collected as a cultural asset but in those times the type of Hanbok worn denoted social status. Japan has its Kimono, Korea has Hanbok. Made from different fabric materials from standard to exotic materials like silk, the cost to getting it custom-made varies. Time to complete goes up as the price goes up and can be as cheap as several hundred dollars and expensive as thousands of dollars. Popular locations you can buy it is at Dongdaemun and Gwangjang market.
11. K-Beauty. The beauty industry in Korea has become a multi-million dollar industry due to its extreme popularity locally and abroad. Korean dramas and K-POP helped become the platform to build the K-Beauty industry. The Korean Beauty industry includes; cosmetics, plastic surgery, orthodontics, dentistry, hair stylists, physical training, and even food. You can see many Korean girl/woman Youtubers promoting K-Beauty. “Joan Day”, is one of those girls, as an influential Youtuber, she reviews different Korean Beauty products.
12. Ship Building. South Korea has one of the largest ship building industry in the world, coming in 1st place in 2019. Korea has a maritime history, dating back hundreds of years. Ever heard of the Great Naval battle of Admiral Yi against the Japanese Imperial Navy? On October 26, 1597, Admiral Yi commanded the remnants of Joseon’s Navy. Called the Battle of Myeongnyang, he decisively defeated somewhere between 125 – 350 Japanese ships with only 13 ships. The Japanese Imperial navy outnumbered Admiral Yi’s navy 10 to 1. Admiral Yi’s victory saved the Joseon Kingdom from subjugation and occupation. He is considered one of the greatest heros of the Korean nation.
13. Korean Pottery and Ceramics. Korean pottery and ceramics techniques date back to ancient Korea. Sharing ideas and techniques with the ancient Chinese, the Korean potters produced highly sought-after works of porcelain, ceramics, vases, cups, jugs and bowls.
Did You Know? Ancient Korean Potters were so sought after, many Korean potters and artists were forcibly kidnapped by Asian countries during the late 16th century.
14. Korean Archery. Ancient Korea has an important history with the use of the bow and arrow. It was an important weapon for the Koreans during the Three Kingdom Wars, against the Chinese, Japanese and Mongols.
Different types of long range weapons were created by the Koreans, with the arquebus, and the gakgung being the most important ones. It helped the Koreans defeat the Japanese in the Battle of Haengju and the Battle of Ulsan.
Today, the skill and art of the bow has transitioned to a recreational sport, even there Korea has been dominate in the World Olympic archery competitions. One reason is that Korea produces excellent coaches.
Did You Know? During the 2012 London Olympics, many teams from different countries had Korean coaches. That speaks volumes on the knowledge of them.
15. De-Militarized Zone. The DMZ is roughly 160 miles long and 2.6 miles wide. This demilitarized zone separates North Korea from South Korea. It was established in 1953 to create a buffer zone. Inside the buffer zone, no acts of aggression is suppose happen. No weapons fires, no grenades, no conventional fighting.
Did You Know? the Korean War never ended? Instead a ceasefire was agreed upon and the DMZ was to ensure there would be no contact with North Korea and South Korea.
16. Broadband Internet. Korea has one of the fastest broadband internets in the world, beating even Singapore. South Korea introduced 5G but they are building their broadband network to deliver even faster broadband internet. You will even get Wi-Fi broadband reception at underground subway stations! The cost of broadband internet is very economical and doesn’t hurt your wallet.
17. Teaching English in Korea. Where else in Asia can you teach English like South Korea and get paid a great salary? Korea has been the top tier country to teach English. Back then, just about anyone with a TESOL certificate could teach English in Korea.
That brought low quality English teachers to Korea. Nowadays, there are more stringent qualifications, but if you have a bachelors degree and English is your first language, you can teach English in Korea. Salary is one of the best in Asia for English teachers, and you get free food and a free apartment! I know what my next job is going to be!!!
18. Online Shopping Networks. I believe this service was perfected with Korea. Why would I say that? It is true that I am Korean, but I have first hand experience with online grocery shopping in Korea. I’ve ordered groceries online, and realized Korea has one of the fastest delivery times, 2 days. The delivery person left it at my door, how awesome is that? I was out working, and they called saying they had my delivery. I told them that they could leave it outside my door. When I got home, my groceries was waiting for me when I got home. No one stole it!
19. Free Filtered Water. Free water? What’s so special about that? If you’ve haven’t been living under a rock your whole life, you would know that free filtered water isn’t something you can get anywhere. It’s a commercially sold product.
However in Korea, free filtered purified water is considered a courtesy service like the napkin is for customers. The water you get at other countries is most likely tap water. The water in Korea is not only filtered, but you can get it hot or cold. You will see water filter machines at restaurants, cafes, stores, etc.
20. High-Quality Efficient Public Transportation. Without a doubt, South Korea has one of the best efficient subways, railways, and buses. They arrive at their stops on a consistent timely schedule, you will see timetables at each stop giving you information on each arrival. You can set your watch by their schedule, no joke. You don’t need to drive a car or ride a taxi here. The subway and bus transportation are very cheap.
21. Soju. It is the Korean “Nations Preferred Alcoholic Drink.” A favorite drink in Korea, soju is drunk with any meals. Some Koreans drink it during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and for snack. Korea is one of the countries that drink the most hard liquor per capita in the world. If you can drink vast amounts of soju, you will earn the nickname “Tank!” That probably must mean why Bobby Lee calls himself “Tank!” Bobby Lee is a Korean male comedian that has been in MadTV as the character “Tank!”
22. Dogs Breeds. What comes to mind when talking about Korean dog breeds? Usually, it’s the Jindo, but there are other fantastic dog breed types in Korea. Here are the main 7 dog breeds:
• The Korean Mastiff, also known as the Korean Dosa or Mee Kyun Dosa
• The Sapsali dog
• The Nureongi, otherwise known as the Korean Yellow Spitz
• The Donggyeongi dog is a rare Korean breed
• Pungsan dog
• Jeju dogs
23. Aegyo Concept. The Aegyo (Korean: 애교; Hanja: 愛嬌) is a concept “coined” in Korea referring to a cute display of expression, voice, and behavior. KPOP celebrities like SNSD, Red Velvet, APink, GFriends take this practice to the extreme, but the Korean babies seem to have a natural ability that doesn’t require any training and practice. Once seen and heard, you may never go back to regular expressions ever again.
24. Mukbangs. Never heard of a mukbang? It’s a video usually lasting 30 minutes of someone eating. They will eat huge King crabs, lobsters, crayfish, a slab of tuna, pizza, fried chicken, just about anything while recording it on a camera and a high-quality audio recorder. After seeing it a few times, I feel that it relaxes and soothes me, lulling me to sleep. No joke.
25. Auto Shows. I’ve gone to my first auto show in Korea. I have to say; I got interested in these Korean auto shows. Now, my goal is to visit them each year, schedule permitting. There are so much exciting things to see, the cars, cosplayers, vendors, and the most important the Autoshow racing models! Even Korean celebrities like, “Wassup Man”, have been sighted at the auto shows. The main car shows are held each year in Seoul and Busan. Check out the Seoul Auto Show 2018 Post.
26. Underground Shopping Malls. These malls are just excellent places to visit. Everything is literally in these malls, and you don’t have to go up to the surface. Well known shopping malls like the COEX mall and Lotte World Mall have hotels and residences built on top of the mall. If you had a residency at one of these malls, you would never need a car or take public transportation to go anywhere for food, entertainment, and shopping.
27. Movie Theaters. These movie cinemas are on another level of customer service. I’ve been to many movie theaters back home in the United States, but after being in Korea, the movie theaters in the United States seem to be “economy class” theaters. Korea also has “economy class” theaters but also has the “business class,” “first-class,” and even the “suites class” movie theaters.
Each of these classes of movie theaters offers a different type of movie-watching experience. Of course, the price will reflect that. Once you’ve ridden in “first-class” its difficult to go back to “economy class.”
28. Snack Boxes. Ever heard of “Korea” themed snack boxes? Well, there are many different types of snack boxes available in the market. Thank God! Now, whenever I get the craving for Korean snacks, and I am lazy to go to the stores to buy them, I order them online. It comes with a cool looking snack box and items. There are other box sets like KPOP boxes, KBeauty boxes, and more! Oh Yeah!
29. Tae Kwon Do. What would this post be if I didn’t mention the National martial arts of Korea? It is a martial arts focusing on speed and agility, helping the practitioner become stronger, flexible, faster, and gain athletic endurance.
You get what you put into it, so don’t expect any results if you are lazy. It was a fighting style originally developed in Korea by martial art practitioners who incorporated fighting styles from China, Japan, and India.
It is not the best or strongest fighting style in the world, I believe no one martial arts style is the strongest or best. If there was a strongest martial arts fighting technique, it would have to be Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) that incorporates what works into a single fighting style tailored towards the individual.
30. Themed Cafes. I’ve been to Cat Cafes, Dog Cafes, Camera Cafes, Owl Cafes, the list goes on and on. The animal cafes have the animals that the cafe is named after, you order a drink and play with the animals. The camera cafe is shaped like a camera, you order a drink and look at the old-school camera technologies. There are many other cafe types in business.
Don’t misread this post the wrong way. I am not trying to say that only Korea has the best stuff in the world, that would be wrong and only someone that has no experience in other cultures would ever say that. This post is about what I think is best about Korea. If you plan on visiting Korea one day, check out this post to get ideas for your vacation itinerary. Other than that, Saerang Haey Yo and see you on the next post. Fighting!
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DISCLAIMER: The paragraphs above is my attempt at Korean English humor. I am a Korean-American, so I believe it is ok. If you don’t like it, then don’t read the paragraphs above. Too late, you already done it.