living in Seoul

Explore Asia this Fall with Apple Tours and Travel

Korea has some incredible places to see and explore but sometimes it's nice to get out and travel other Asian lands. While the internet has made independent travel incredibly easy (and I'll be the first to admit, I love planning my own trips), sometimes it's nice to let someone else do the planning and booking and arranging for you. But in a country where English isn't exactly widely spoken, it can be difficult to find a travel agency that can cater to your needs without a language barrier.

Fortunately enough, Apple Tours and Travel, an agency affiliated with the US military's USO, is staffed with friendly English speakers who are eager to help you with your every need. From finding the best deals on airfare to creating itineraries, they pretty much take the dirty work out of traveling. With their help, there's no need to wait in long lines for visa processing or scouring the internet for hotel reviews and rankings.

Korea's Best Grocery Delivery Websites

Seoul is, without a doubt, one of the most convenient places to live in the world. It's a 24 hour city, with businesses remaining open until the wee hours of the morning. It boasts an incredibly efficient and affordable transportation system.  And you can get just about anything delivered to your house. Including groceries. Which is particularly handy when you live in the hilltops of Gyeongnidan like myself.

Below is a list of helpful websites to use when you don't feel like hauling around heavy bags of veggies or fighting ajumma in chaotic supermarkets.

iHerb.com

Although I live in Itaewon and have easy access to a number of international markets, I prefer shopping on iHerb.com for the price, selection of food and quick delivery. iHerb.com is based in America and prides itself on having the best overall value for natural products in the world. You can find just about anything on iHerb, from user-reviewed breakfast foods and baking items to vitamins and toiletries. One of my favorite brands to order is Bob's Red Mill; I'm particularly fond of their gluten-free bread mixes, steel-cut oats, and soups. I'm obsessed with their hearty Vegi Soup Mix for $5.37 USD which sells at Itaewon High Street Market for the equivalent of $10.69. And I won't even get started on the mark-up of vitamins in Korea.

Surprisingly, the shipping is crazy cheap- a flat rate of $4.00 USD for up to 15 pounds. Shipping takes about a week and despite the more complicated customs process as of late, all you need to complete your order is an ARC number (either yours or a co-signer's).

First-time users can use the code STJ541 to save up to $10.00 USD on one's first purchase. Be warned, however, that once you start using iHerb.com, you WILL become addicted.




Hus-hu: Seoul's Best English Speaking Dental Clinic

Going to the dentist can be scary anywhere, but even more so in a place where language barriers exist and clinical procedures aren't necessarily the same as those in one's home country.

Still, one's health should not be neglected simply because one is intimidated by language or unknown procedural costs.  Despite my nursing background, it actually took me a couple years to work up the courage to go to the dentist in Korea.  As a result, I ended up with a few cavities and an urgent need to get myself to the nearest clinic ASAP.  I did a few searches on Google and came across multiple testimonials that led me to Hus-hu Dental Clinic, a highly reputed dental office that caters to both locals and foreigners from all around the world.

How to Stretch Your Won and Save Money While Living in Seoul

 

Recently, I quit my job as an English teacher and decided to study Korean full-time as a university student.  I had forgotten what it was like to live without a steady income and it didn't take me long to realize that my habits of frivolous spending had to come to an end. For good.

You see, when you live in Seoul, especially if you're teaching English, it's easy to throw around money and not even realize you're spending it.  Between nights out bar hopping in Hongdae, dinners at upscale restaurants in Itaewon, daily morning coffee at Starbucks, and shopping dates on Garuso-gil, it's not difficult to blow half of one's salary in just a few weeks.  Of course, since most English teachers do not pay rent or car insurance or any other "grown up" bills that they would otherwise pay in their home countries, saving money isn't much of a challenge, either.


Is Korea Safe?

As tensions rise between the North and South, foreigners question if it’s safe to travel or live in South Korea.


Some catching up on news around Korea

After a nice long weekend with the computer off, it's time to catch up with the news around the area. While a few are kind of laughable, most are worth noting:

Question from a reader: nervous about living in Seoul

A reader I'll call M.G. writes in:

Hey Chris, I found your email on a blog sight about Americans in South Korea. I have recently interviewed with the Army Corps of Engineers for a civilian job in Seoul, Korea, and was hoping you could answer some questions about living in Seoul for me. I am a recent college graduate and have never lived outside of the US. I do not speak Korean would like to know how hard it was for you feel comfortable going out on your own in the city to do typical errands; grocery shopping, buying typical grooming items, going to restaurants, sight seeing, etc. Also, I am 23 years old and was wondering if there is plenty for someone my age to do in Seoul in order to meet some other people my own age. I am not concerned about learning Korean for the job since I was told everything will be done in English, but is learning Korean a nessecity for living in the city in order to function?


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