Korea, South

Korea, South


The name Korea derives from the name Goryeo (also spelled Koryŏ). The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo (Koguryŏ) in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name. The 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, and thus inherited its name, which was pronounced by visiting Persian merchants as “Korea”. The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company’s Hendrick Hamel. Despite the coexistence of the spellings Corea and Korea in 19th century publications, some Koreans believe that Imperial Japan, around the time of the Japanese occupation, intentionally standardised the spelling on Korea, making Japan appear first alphabetically. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the official name for the entire territory, though it was not universally accepted. The new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon (Old Joseon). In 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk (Korean Empire). The name Daehan, which means “great Han” literally, derives from Samhan (Three Hans). However, the name Joseon was still widely used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted. There were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (대한민국 임시정부/大韓民國臨時政府). Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea (대한민국/大韓民國) was adopted as the legal name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, the informal term South Korea was coined, becoming increasingly common in the western world. While South Koreans use Han (or Hanguk) to refer to the entire country, North Koreans and Koreans in China use the term Joseon as the name of the country. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Busan Reiki Meetup – Welcome to our monthly reiki share, for reiki practioners and people interested in experiencing reiki in a relaxed, friendly environment. A fun event for a weekend, and a place to meet people interested in health and well being. We hope to create a community interested in reiki and holistic health. [meetup]

Busan Social Group – This group is for people who want to make new friends and socialize. Are you interested in learning Korean or any other languages? Do you want to make new friends? Or do you want to just come here listen to music and relax? Anyone is welcomed 😀 There is a shared lounge and an open mic, so you can bring your guitar and play, too 🙂 [meetup]

Busan Village – We all are fellow travelers on the road in search for home~ a place where you can be comfortable and just be yourself. A long journey full of adventures is awaiting for us to be explored and a silent whispering awakens our dormant spirits, “Do not fear but believe”. [meetup]

Climbing In Korea – This is a group for people who love the outdoors. We go hiking, trekking, camping, kayaking, rafting and rock climbing. [meetup]

Drinking Party & Free Clubbing Korea(맥주파티 & 프리 클러빙)! – Welcome to INTERNATIONAL PARTIES & CLUBBING IN KOREA! group. Our goal is simply to provide fun and well organized social events to allow you. INTERNATIONAL PARTIES & CLUBBING IN KOREA! [meetup]

Friends in Korea – Meet People in Seoul! 외국인 친구 만들기 – Make new friends in Seoul in 2016! [meetup]

Global Korea! (한국인&외국인 친구!) – This is a group for anyone interested in making new friends, partying with new friends, study Langua etc. Everyone is welcome. I started this group because to make new friends and help foreigners learn Korean culture and language. Looking forward to having fun with everybody. [meetup]

Lets Talk About – Guys I need about 10 people who will be interesting to make talk about a lot of things with your own experience, here in Korea as a foreigner. It will be kind of “debate” chatting with 10 Korean about some title like “Language problems” or “Country Hero” and so on~ So If u ready to talk about it~ Let’s Meet with those 10 Korean and talk about it~ [meetup]

Pusan Fun Times Meetup – This group is for students who want to meet new friends from various contries or living in Busan. I hope many people from many place would get to know each other and have fun:) [meetup]

Runsploring Seoul – As a Runsplorer, we pick a starting location and route. Then we run at a comfortable pace and stop if we come across an amazing view, landmark, or anything else that sparks our interest. The ultimate goal is to have fun while staying in shape. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Korean Cupid – KoreanCupid is a leading Korean dating site helping thousands of single men and women find their perfect match. Whether you’re looking for a friend, a date, or the love of your life, find them in a fun and secure environment on KoreanCupid. [korean cupid]

KorLuv – Whether you are interested in dating a Korean girl or boy or you simply want to meet new people and make friends, KorLuv is your answer! A new and exciting Korean dating site, where you can talk, play and make new acquaintances at no cost whatsoever! [korluv]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Hab Korea – The BEST custom Korea private tour company! / Korean Food and Culinary tours, K-POP & K-Drama tours, Cultural & historical tours, DMZ / JSA tours, Photograpy tours and more! [hab korea]

TripHackr – Specializing in Travel Hacking by providing the tools, reviews, and information you need to travel for less and maximize your trips around the world. [triphackr]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Bukchon Hanok Village – Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, located adjacent to the Gyeongbukgung Palace, is one of the most interesting things to do in Seoul. Exploring the streets and checking out the Korean traditional homes was a lot fun. Within the village there are also a few homes that have opened their doors as guest houses – not the cheapest, but looked like a great experience. [migrationology]

Coffee at a Coffee Shop – There’s an amazing amount of coffee shops in Seoul – I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many coffee shops per block as in Seoul, apart from the streets of Hanoi. Hongdae is a good area to chill out and sit down at a trendy high tech coffee shop, and almost all have wi-fi. [migrationology]

Dongdaemun – Yet another wild Seoul shopping destination, Dongdaemun is not really a single market, but rather an entire area that is dedicated to shopping. It’s an entire commercial area where you can find just about everything imaginable for sale. [migrationology]

Garak Wholesale Food Market – Garak Market is the biggest and craziest distribution wholesale food market in Seoul. Food comes to this market from around the entire country to supply the city. It’s so big, that it actually just appears to be a bunch of warehouses. It’s quite a bit more organized than a market like Samrong or Long Bien. [migrationology]

Gwangjang Market – Without doubt, if you like to eat, indulging in Korean street food at the Gwangjang Market will be one of the top things to do in Seoul. For myself, it was probably the coolest thing I did. [migrationology]

Gyeongbukgung Palace – One of Seoul’s most renowned historical attractions and most visited sites in the city is the Gyeongbukgung Palace. It was one of the main palaces during the Korean Joseon Dynasty, originally constructed at the very end of the 14th century. Unfortunately, the palace was destroyed during the Japanese invasion in the 1500’s, but it was rebuilt and remodeled some 200 years ago. [migrationology]

Han River Walking / Riding – The Han River is one of Korea’s largest, and it goes right through the center of Seoul. Along the banks of the river, throughout most of the city, is a lovely recreational area set aside for exercising and sports. [migrationology]

Hike in Seoul – One thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Seoul is that there are lots of hikers – especially riding the subway. You’ll know they are hikers as they are decked out in model perfect gore-tex jackets, North Face backpacks and mandatory trekking poles. Namsan is located right in the middle of Seoul, but there are also many other places to hike near the city. [migrationology]

Hongdae (Hongik University) – Another popular area of Seoul is near Hongik University, known as Hongdae for short. The area is a pleasant part of town that is great for walking, dining, and yes, shopping some more. The streets are lined with lots of stores and also a fabulous array of restaurants – some of them cheaper to cater to the students. [migrationology]

Ice Cream Selections – Koreans really know how to make ice cream well, and not just fresh ice cream, but some of the best ice cream packages I’ve had are sold at convenience stores through Seoul. There are so many specialty delicious looking ice creams that it’s worth it just to try all of them. [migrationology]

Insadong – One of Seoul’s most touristy areas of town is known as Insadong. If you’re looking for Korean souvenirs to bring back, this is a great place, but kind of expensive place to buy things. There’s also plenty of food options, like delicious mandu, and lots of Korean street food snacks. [migrationology]

International Itaewon – One of the international melting pots of Seoul is Itaewon, some areas even look like Cairo. There are lots of international restaurants, stores, bars and clubs. If you’re in the mood for a delicious shawarma, head on over to Itaewon where you’ll have a nice selection. [migrationology]

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple – Located in the middle of Seoul’s business high rise buildings district is the Jogyesa Korean Buddhist temple. It’s almost always buzzing with locals and tourists streaming in and out. The temple is a Zen Buddhist temple, though it reminded me of the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple in Colombo. [migrationology]

Korean Barbecue – It all eventually comes down to the food… and Seoul, South Korea, is literally a heaven on earth for foodies. During my entire visit, I was enthralled and confused at the same time, debating what to eat, and trying to eat as much South Korean food as possible. It was a lot of fun. [migrationology]

Korean Street Food – One of the finest things to do in Seoul is to explore with your stomach. Just as eating street food is one of the best things to do in Bangkok, so it also is in Seoul! [migrationology]

Lotte Mart – I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do in any city is visit a supermarket to just walk around and see all the different things available for sale. I also love outdoor markets, but indoor supermarkets are also very interesting. [migrationology]

Lotte World – Lotte World is a magical Korean amusement park that is one of the biggest indoor parks in the world! They also have an outdoor section known as Magic Island. Step inside and you’ll be transported into a world of thrilling rides and adventurous activities. [migrationology]

Myeongdong Shopping – Shopaholics will rejoice when they head to Myeongdong – it’s one of Seoul’s busiest and most shopper insane areas of town. From the latest Korean cosmetics and fahion to the brightest neon colored sneakers, there’s all kinds of stores in this outdoor mall. [migrationology]

N Seoul Tower – Central Seoul revolves around the N Seoul Tower that sits at the top of the Namsan mountain. It is a communications tower that is open as an observation and entertainment tower as well. Going to the top offers the opportunity to get one of the best overall views of the city of Seoul, somewhat like the Menara KL Tower. [migrationology]

Namdaemun Market – Located in the central area of Seoul is one of the city’s largest and oldest markets – the Namdaemun Market. This is Seoul in its most thrilling local flavor. There’s a downstairs section where you can get all kinds of imported things, including imported liqueur and things like Skippy peanut butter and GNC supplements. [migrationology]

Noryangjin Fish Market – A little more organized than the fish market in Dar Es Salaam, Seoul’s Noryangjin Fisheries Market is a bedazzling display of the finest and freshest seafood. The seafood is kept so fresh in water that it sometimes looks like you’re in a pet store instead of a food market – isn’t that awesome! [migrationology]

Seoul Children’s Park – I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up at Seoul’s Children’s Park – and at first I wasn’t all that thrilled. However, after walking around for a while, I realized it’s a giant green park area with not just cool things for kids, but for just about everyone. [migrationology]

Suwon’s Hwaseong Fortress – About an hour and a half from Seoul, Suwon’s Hwaseong Fortress makes a great day trip. Built in the 18th century, the Korean castle is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of South Korea’s most important historical sites. [migrationology]

Walk along the Cheonggyecheon Stream – In an effort to renew the greenness in a seemingly endless city sprawl in central Seoul, the Cheonggyecheon stream and recreational area was created. It’s a long 8.4 kilometers where you can stroll along the stream and play in the outdoors – even though you’re in the middle of Seoul. [migrationology]

War Memorial and Museum – I wasn’t actually even planning to visit, but the War Memorial and Museum turned out to be one of the pretty cool things to do in Seoul. At the entrance there’s a number of statues and memorials in remembrance of South Korea’s biggest wars. Inside the building are exhibits of tactics and weapon displays. [migrationology]



Andong International Mask dance Festival (안동탈춤축제) – The Andong International Mask Dance Festival is held around the end of September each year. At one of the venues, Hahoe Folk Village, Korea’s vibrant traditional performing art is still a part of everyday life. The main venue is in nearby Andong, a city in North Gyeongsang Province. Visitors can not only enjoy Korea’s talchum (Korean masked dances), but there are also international masked performances. After the sun sets, enjoy Hahoe’s highlight performance “Seonyujul Bulnori” where fireworks fall like rain, creating spectacular reflections on the river. [korea herald]

Bongpyeong Cultural Festival (봉평 메밀꽃축제) – Bongpyeong Cultural festival is surrounded each autumn by beautiful buckwheat flowers. The flowers are often associated in Korea with remembering your first love, an idea that comes from a famous novel “When the Buckwheat Flower is About to Blossom” by Lee Hyo-seok. The story takes place right at the location of the festival at Bongpyeong, Gangwon-do province. The event takes place on Sept. 3-21. The main purpose of this festival is to appreciate the natural beauty of Bongpyeong by welcoming visitors and sharing different cultural experiences. [korea herald]

Boryeong Mud Festival (보령머드축제) – Boryeong has beautiful scenery with mountains and beaches. Its mud festival takes place on Daecheon beach. Participants slap on mud packs made from Boryeong mud, which is claimed to be a great way to improve your skin tone with its high level of minerals, germanium and bentonite. Other exciting activities include mud wrestling, the “mud king” contest, fireworks and slides greased with mud. This is one of the most popular festivals among Korea’s foreign community. There are International nighttime events such as hip hop and dance parties. “Boryeong Mud Festival” takes place in mid July each year. [korea herald]

Boseong Green Tea Festival (보성 녹차축제) – Each year Boseong celebrates its tea industry and culture by promoting the Boseong Green Tea Festival. This festival is held May 1-5. There are a variety of activities such as making tea and learning about tea culture. Next year, the city will celebrate the 37th Boseong Green Tea Festival. [korea herald]

Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival (청도 소싸움축제) – In 2010 the bullfighting festival was held on March 17-21. This is an annual event and tickets are sold for an affordable price at approximately 4,000 to 5,000 won. The previous event had 132 matches and there were other activities including introductions to the cultural values of bullfighting. [korea herald]

Damyang Bamboo Festival (담양대나무축제) – Damyang-gun in South Jeolla Province, known for its rich green forests, celebrates its bamboo festival each year at Juknokwon for five consecutive days in early May. The ecosystem is known for its spectacular scenery which contains lots of bamboo, other trees and cultural sites. More than 1.2 million tourists visited Damyang for the 2009 Festival. The festival includes orchestral concerts, traditional music, riding pedaloes, fishing and lots more. [korea herald]

Hampyeong Butterfly Festival (함평나비축제) – The Hampyeong Butterfly Festival is celebrated each year around the end of April in Hampyeong, South Jeolla Province. Visitors can experience thousands of different butterflies at the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival. In the fresh spring weather, visitors can walk through fields of wild flowers and observe the butterflies in their natural habitat. They can also observe rare butterflies up close and learn about ecology. [korea herald]

Icheon Ceramic Festival (이천 도자기축제) – The Icheon Ceramic Festival is another exciting annual event. There are lots of lessons and experiences to try out. Intriguing programs range from making your own ceramics to learning methods of drinking tea. Other events include ceramic exhibitions, sales and performances. This event usually lasts from second week of May until the first week of June. [korea herald]

Jindo Sea parting Festival (진도 신비의 바닷길축제) – A few times during the year, the sea around Jindo in South Jeolla Province parts and visitors can walk along a narrow path through the sea from the mainland to a nearby island. This phenomenon, sometimes called the “Moses Miracle,” is caused by the tide. The path is approximately 2.8 kilometers long and is 40 to 60 meters wide. The next festival will be held on March 19. [korea herald]

Jinju Lantern Festival (진주남강유등축제) – This is a very special festival with hundreds of stunning paper lanterns floating down the Nam River. The lanterns come in all shapes and sizes. In this particular festival which is usually held for more than a week after the first day of October, visitors can write wishes and attach them to lanterns. [korea herald]

Mountain Trout Ice Festival (화천 산천어축제) – Each year throughout January, visitors are welcomed to celebrate the beautiful scenery of crystal clear ice and amazing white snow at Hwacheon, Gangwon Province. The Mountain Trout Ice Festival features exciting activities for families, travelers and couples. Its special activities include mountain trout ice fishing, snow sledding, ice sculpture and many more programs. [korea herald]

Muju Firefly Festival (무주반딧불축제) – Don’t miss this magical experience. As the sky darkens, thousands of fireflies light up the sky with their beautiful natural illumination. The firefly festival is held each year in mid-June in Muju, North Jeolla Province. Fireflies are considered to be very special and are designated as one of Korea’s natural monuments. Activities include a nighttime “fireflies exploration event,” a chance to experience fireflies’ natural environment and trout fishing. [korea herald]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bus – Local city buses provide a frequent and inexpensive service (from ₩1150 a trip, irrespective of how far you travel), and although rural buses provide a less frequent service, many run on an hourly or half-hourly basis. Put the fare in the glass box next to the driver – make sure you have plenty of ₩1000 notes because the machines only give coins in change. [lonely planet]

Subway – Six cities have a subway system: Seoul, Busan, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju and Incheon. The subway (also referred to as the metro) is a cheap and convenient way of getting around these major cities, and since signs and station names are in English as well as Korean, it is foreigner-friendly and easy to use. [lonely planet]

Taxi – Taxis are numerous almost everywhere and fares are inexpensive. Every taxi has a meter that works on a distance basis but switches to a time basis when the vehicle is stuck in a traffic jam. Tipping is not a local custom and is not expected or necessary. [lonely planet]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Busan Website Design and Development Meetup – This is a group for anyone living in Busan who want to learn or improve on their web design and development skills. All skills are welcomed. Both Koreans and Expats are encouraged to join the meet up. Our main focus will be learning wordpress (at first) but we can have different workshops depending on people’s interests. [meetup]

Cloud Native Computing & K8s Korea – This is group for anyone interested in cloud native computing, including kubernetes, containers, microservice architecture, even some virtual machine related topic. [meetup]

Jamsil Brunch Toastmasters – Join to improve your public speaking, leadership, impromptu speaking, storytelling, and management skills. Toastmasters is an international organization from the USA. We are all volunteers helping each other improve our confidence and professional ability. [meetup]

MBA Network in Korea – This group is for all business-minded people. We are a couple of enthusiasts who want to enjoy our MBA life and get as much as we can from the money we pay for our education.  [meetup]

Seoul Web Technology Meetup – All about Web. From the front to the back-end with coffee! [meetup]

WordPress in Korea- Dabory – We are to be more professional and business-oriented in developing and building websites in WordPress. As for WordPress was developed in Php – Php developers are more than well come to this Group. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Busan English Adventures- 외국인 친구들과 함께하는 파티 – Meet young professionals in a fun and friendly English speaking environment. Learn and experience different cultures while creating new friendships and lasting memories. All ethnic backgrounds welcome to join this meetup. [meetup]

GLEX – Gyeonggi Language EXchange(경기 언어 교환) – We are a group of people who are interested in language exchange and foreign friends. Every Wednesday from 7:30 am We gather in various places of Anjo Jungang-dong. It aims to communicate with new friends (Korean / Inglesa / Chinese / Japanese / etc.) regardless of their nationality. Come with your friends and go play. Welcome to beginners! Welcome late! [meetup]

Globalseoulmates – tep out of your comfort zone! Meet new people, make great friends, learn a language. Share some stories, laughs and drinks. [meetup]

Hongdae Meet up and Language Exchange – GSM – Every Wednesday afterwork, and every Sunday during the day people from around the world meet up in Hongdae. People share language, stories and laughs over a coffee or beer. About 50 people join each meet up and there are always new and old faces. [meetup]

KoreaNetwork- International Networking – Welcome to KoreaNetwork! Expand your social and professional network in Korea!All professional backgrounds, levels, and nationalities are welcome! [meetup]

Pizza party: A language exchange – This is a group for anyone interested in pizza, beer, people and language exchange. All skills levels are welcome. I started this group because I went to a lot of language exchanges and wanted to make something that would be fun and helpful for everyone. Join us as we play games, enjoy conversation with new people and have some pizza and beer. [meetup]

Seoul Screen English Meetup – This group is for people interested in improving their real English skills in a fun, friendly, comfortable environment. On our big projector screen we’ll be watching some interesting movies (e.g. Love Actually, The Devil Wears Prada etc), TV shows (The Office, Friends, The Simpsons, Gossip Girl etc), Songs (Radiohead, Jason Mraz, The Beatles etc) and speeches (Obama, Steve Jobs, Oprah etc) and be practicing our listening skills, real-world vocabulary building and communication skills with many discussion questions. [meetup]

The Busan English Party- Korea 부산 외국인 친구 사귀기 – Make friends, meet friends, feel free to bring your friends! [meetup]

The Seoul French Party- Korea 외국인 친구 사귀기 프랑스어 – Hello! We are a group of people interested in the French language who meet every week in various areas of Seoul. We welcome people of any nationality who have an interest in interacting in French to make new friends. [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Gay Korea – A place for gay Koreans, their fans, supporters. [facebook]

Koreans United for Equality (KUE) – KUE is an alliance between LGBTIQ Koreans and allies of multi-generations. [facebook]

LGBT Korea – LGBT Korea is here to spread the news and events of the LGBT community of South Korea in English! [facebook]

Lgbtq+ Allies in Seoul – LGBTQ+ = Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and + for everyone else. Love, respect and dignity for all. [facebook]

LGBTQIA and Allies in Korea – This is a group for LGBTQIA+ in Korea and their friends and supporters. [facebook]

Queer Koreans Alliance – We are an alliance of organizations devoted to supporting LGBTQ in Korea and Korean-American communities. [facebook]



Places in Korea, South

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