K-Hacks: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Seoul

Generally, you only spend more money living overseas because you don’t know the short cuts. So in case you win a free trip to Seoul, here are some K-hacks to keep things simpler.

#1 Free drinking water… Everywhere

Oddly enough though, Seoulistas are attracted to designer water.
Oddly enough though, Seoulistas are attracted to designer water.

Along with the copious abundance of street food and restaurants every 5 steps of the way, you also get free water. In large departmental stores (Lotte Mall, Shinsegae), in phone shops, and even in some underground shopping malls, you’ll spot a water dispenser (with cups, too!) that is more often than not, full. Some may be near the washrooms, but don’t be grossed out, it’s all mineral, no deposit.

TIP: Bring out a half empty water bottle and refill it along the way as you need.

#2 Occasional free coffee

An ideal world; free coffee, and people on wheely scooters.
An ideal world; free coffee, and people on wheely scooters.

Seoul runs on 3 things: kimchi, soju and coffee. While the first two might cost you in one way or another, we have discovered that the roadside vendors often stock a full dispenser of coffee that comes free flow with their food.

TIP: It pays to note that they normally close shop in the wee hours, and they won’t deny a cold, thirsty stranger a free cuppa, especially if they have leftovers.

#3 Take-out pizza is cheaper

Where you can have your seafood AND your bacon in one splitzza.
Where you can have your seafood AND your bacon in one splitzza.

We’re pretty sure it applies to other food too, but generally pizza is roughly 30% cheaper if you go into the store and take it out versus delivery and dining in. This is probably due to the high demand for delivery and extra services (like a salad bar) if you dine in.

#4 Shake, don’t stir

Not only would stirring cause a bigger mess, it's less fun, too.
Not only would stirring cause a bigger mess, it’s less fun, too.

When you get take out food from a restaurant and it comes heat sealed, it’s probably because you’re supposed to shake it vigorously to mix the contents, not painstakingly stir it.

#5 Your Korean age

If they're all older, then why do they seem age-less?!
If they’re all older, then why do they seem forever young?!

Is +1 or +2 your regular age, depending on your birthday. So if you’re 29, you’re actually 30. Read more about this rather confusing system here. Natives will reconfirm this with the year in which you were born, so there’s no point feigning ignorance.

#6 The train is faster

This map is everything once you're there.
This map is everything once you’re there.

Than the road. Always. Safer, too.

#7 Pay with cash, get 10% off

Especially when it's in the thousands.
Cash is king, especially when it’s in the thousands.

Credit cards take 10% off their cut, so retailers are always sure to mark them up by 10%. If you want a cheaper deal, pay with cash and ask for -at least- 10% off. You’re probably being quoted the ‘foreigner’ price anyway.

TIP: Things without price tags are normally negotiable, while things with tags, not. But you can always try your luck if it’s expensive and/or buying in large quantity.

#8 Speak their language

It'll take you 3 hours tops, but will be eternally useful.
It’ll take you 3 hours tops to learn it, but it will be eternally useful.

Not all of it, just 3 phrases. Hello, Thank you and Goodbye. Anyeonghasaeyo, Kamsahabnida and Anyonghigaesaeyo respectively. It’ll get you smiles and great service all around. It helps to learn the alphabet to discern many a lurking Konglish.

Any more hacks to share, nomads?

 
 
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The Luxe Nomad

Like you, we love to travel but we think that staying at beautiful places shouldn’t come with a hefty price tag. That’s why we’ve gone out there and snagged the best design and luxury hotels and resorts in the Asia Pacific region at rates you won’t believe. WanderLuxe is our little corner of the world where we share our inspirations and thoughts about travel!

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