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Traveling to Korea

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi ladies! DH and I leave for a 10 day trip to Korea next week (I'm SO psyched!!)
I'm going for work, but to be honest, the reason I get to go (instead of my co-workers)-is because my boss knows DH is Korean-American and wants us to have this opportunity to visit family that is currently located just outside of Seoul.
Anyway, we have been reading up on cultural differences and language there- does anyone have any tips??? I know I have to be a little more conservative in dress than usual, but beyond that, I'm not sure.
post #2 of 7
I'm not Korean, but have some experience. Just be extra polite to the older folks, and make a point of valueing their experience.
post #3 of 7
I would say be polite and accept whatever is offered to you. I remember people being so sweet to us tourists and it seemed like whenever I bought anything, the shop owner would throw in something else. And be humble. Enjoy it for me, too.
post #4 of 7
Yeah, be polite, respectful, and put up with stuff you wouldn't put up with at home. Expect people to be curious. You might get a lot of stares - people aren't shy about staring! I was there when I was pregnant and got a lot of strangers touching and even poking my belly. I didn't find they were polite about it, more like they were interacting with the belly and I didn't exist.

Enjoy the food!
post #5 of 7
Go and enjoy! I spent nearly six years living and working in Korea before meeting/marrying hubby and moving back to the U.S. and would still be on that side of the world if the U.S. Army hadn't seen fit to relocate us.

As far as dress, avoid anything strapless, avoid tank tops, and avoid anything with major cleavage. You'll see younger Korean women wearing all the above, but some of the older generation are still offended by bare shoulders. Shorts should be within a couple of inches of your knees, but skirts can be shorter without raising any eyebrows.

Do expect to garner some attention if you're outside Seoul. It won't be negative, but people may well be curious to see what the foreigner is eating, buying, etc. Also, if you visit a sauna while you're there (and they're worth a visit!), be forewarned that Korean culture doesn't have the same inhibitions about same-sex nudity that western culture does. Total strangers may try to scrub your back, wash your hair, etc. They're just trying to be friendly, and they'd do the same for/to another Korean.

When paying for goods or services, use two hands to extend the cash. Not a huge deal, but a common courtesy in that culture.

Oh, and if you find yourself on a standing-room only bus or subway, don't be surprised if someone with a seat tries to take whatever you may be holding --including child or purse. They're not trying to kidnap or steal. They're just trying to be helpful. :-)
post #6 of 7
And Koreans typically have different ideas about personal space. Americans will usually stand about armslength apart to talk. A Korean who likes you may hold your hand and stand much closer than Americans are comfortable with. :LOL Don't take it the wrong way, it's just friendly.
post #7 of 7
From what ex-h tells me, be prepared for squat toilets and carrying your own tp.
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