An A to Z of things we’ve seen, experienced and eaten since moving to Korea. Plus, a chance to show off some of our exceptional iPhone photography.
A – Autumn
Autumn is arguably South Korea’s most beautiful season. This photograph was taken in one of the streets of Buamdong, a quiet area of North Seoul.
B – Busan
Busan is Korea’s second largest city. It’s also famous for being a coastal city with some great beaches. This photograph was taken in winter in Busan hence the almost deserted nature of the beach.
C – Chuncheon Province
Chuncheon province is a stunning area of South Korea filled with greenery and lakes. It’s only an hour north of Seoul making it a perfect quick getaway.
D – Drunkeness
Alcohol and being overly drunk is normal in Korean society. Soju shots are swallowed to counteract spicy food and ajushi‘s (middle-aged Korean men) in business suits can regularly be seen red-faced and over the limit out in Seoul after work hours.
E – Extreme Sports
Winter snowboarding is fun, cheap and easy in SK. This photograph was taken at Phoenix Park, known unofficially as a snowboarding resort, in Gangwon-do province.
F – Festivals
While there are many traditional festivals in Korea there has also been a spate of excellent music festivals in recent years. This picture was taken at international fest Global Gathering in Korea, 2011.
G – Galbi
When people think of delicious Korean food, BBQ galbi (marinated ribs) usually comes to mind.
H – Han River
Crossing the Han on one of Seoul’s many gargantuan bridges is one moment I look forward to every day in Seoul. With views like this one, near the assembly building and Yeoudio park, how could I not?
I – Ice
Winter in Korea is slippery. The snow comes, the pavements go unsalted, and slips and falls are abundant.
J – Jirisan
Korea has a ton of mountain ranges. Jirisan is one of the most epic.
K – Kimchi and Korean Food
We’ve already mentioned galbi, but an A – Z of Korea isn’t complete without a reference to kimchi, the fermented spicy cabbage side dish eaten with every meal.
L – Language
The Korean alphabet is easy to memorise, but twisting your tongue around certain Korean words can be difficult.
M – Monsoon Season
Monsoon season is dire in Korea. The rain feels like it goes on forever and a strong pair of waterproof boots are a must in the humid wetness of high summer in the ROK.
N – Neon Lights
East Asia is known for its love affair with neon and Korea is no exception. The cities of the peninsula have embraced 24-hour culture so lit-up signs advertising restaurants, bars, clubs and noraebangs (karaoke rooms) are everywhere.
O – Octopus
While not as hardcore as eating sanakji (wriggling chopped up octopus tentacles) some people may balk at chowing down on this shared seafood dish.
P – Public Transport
One amazing thing about Korea is the excellent public transport infrastructure. The Seoul subway is cheap and efficient, although it can get a little packed at rush hour.
Q – Quirky Cafes
You can barely walk 20 metres without tripping over a cute and quirky cafe, which are often independently run.
R – Rooftops
City rooftops are a great place to hang out and take in the view. Unfortunately, many rooftop bars are covered over but private residences often have an open rooftop you can sneak up to.
S – Soju
Soju is the alcohol of South Korea. For less that $2 you can soak away your blues with this spirit.
T – Temples
One of the wonderful things about Korea is the mix of modernity and tradition. Buddhist temples are always awe-inspiringly decorated and remind people of Korea’s ancient past.
U – University Festivals
Spring time university festivals are fun to visit.
V – Vacations
As previously mentioned, public transport in Korea is excellent, which means travelling around the country is a doddle. This means visiting islands off Incheon in the west of the country in just under a few hours from Seoul.
W – Winter
Winter in Korea is freezing but also beautiful. There are usually blue skies galore in this season.
X – X-rated Statues
Korea is full of odd statues that appear from nowhere. This strange, x-rated statue can be found on Namiseom island.
Y – YG Family Concert
YG Entertainment are the music label of PSY, Big Bang and 2NE1, some of South Korea’s biggest pop stars. This photograph was taken during their 2011 concert.
Z – Zoo Cafe
Zoo is a chain of cafes which fills its establishment with incongruous cuddly toys. It’s bizarre but fun – kind of like Korea.
What’s on your A – Z of Korea list?
The images are mainly from @terrifictor @tallullahelle and @chinchamag on Instagram. The Jirisan picture is by Michael Beech.