- Day 1: Arriving in Korea
- Day 2: Sim Cards & Wifi
- Day 3: The Subway System in Korea
- Day 4: Restrooms & Recycling
- Day 5: Doing Laundry in Korea
- Day 6: Money Exchanges and ATMs
- Day 7: Ordering Food in a Korean Restaurant
Day 1: Arriving in Korea
My name is Cindy Nguyen, and this is the start of a series based on the first week of living in Seoul. My experience will be different from many of you that will be traveling to Seoul as I’ll be staying in Seoul for three months. This article is for those that are traveling to Seoul for the very first time. But whether you’re staying for an extended amount of time or just a couple of months, this guide will help cover aspects of transitioning into the Korean lifestyle and the best places to visit in Seoul.
Day 1 consists of flying into Incheon International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. It’s known for its fast immigration and baggage claim, and the time from leaving the plane to getting outside the gate terminal took less than 30 minutes. And in an alternate reality where I could afford to pay first class, I would have been out of the airport in less than 10 minutes.
You should head to the nearest bank/money exchange center as you leave the gate. There are a couple inside the airport, usually marked by currency symbols. It’s safe to exchange around 100,000 won at the airport for transit/emergency payments until you get a little more settled in and find a place with a better exchange rate.
You have three options for getting to Seoul from Incheon Airport:
1. Take the subway
Korea has a great metro system; taking the subway (express) from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station (Center of Seoul) will take about an hour and a half. It’s the cheapest option (3,000 won); however, if you’re arriving alone and have heavy luggage, it’ll be hard to carry it down to the subway station and through the many escalators and stairs. “Subway Korea” by Malang is a helpful metro map application available for Android and iOS that will help you figure out where to transfer and where to get off to where you want to go.
2. Take the bus
Right outside the airport, there are buses that take you to Seoul. You can pick between the standard bus (9,000 won) or the deluxe bus (15,000). Tickets need to be purchased at the ticket counter outside or purchase your bus ticket from a bus attendant standing near the bus stops (cash only). Bus attendants will help you load your luggage onto the bus. The bus ride will take 45 minutes. However, on a busy day with traffic, it could take up to an hour and a half.
3. Take a taxi
A standard taxi will cost around 60,000 won. A deluxe taxi (black taxi) will cost 100,000 won. The deluxe taxi will offer better customer service. This option is best when you’re alone and have a lot of luggage since it’ll take you directly to your destination. You can book one at the many transit booths at Incheon Airport or book an international taxi online before your arrival at www.intltaxi.co.kr.
Personally, I took a taxi because I arrived alone and had two large suitcases. I booked an international taxi online before my arrival and checked in at the booth at the airport. Then, my driver came to meet me and helped me with my bags. The cost came out to around 55,000 won (cost depending on how far your destination is from the airport), and you can use a VISA or Mastercard credit card to pay if you don’t have much won on you.
Even if you decide not to take the subway, you’ll need a metro card. The Korean metro card is called T-Money and can be bought at charge machines (below) in many subway stations (3,000 won) or at a convenience store (4,000 won). You can then load your card at one of the charge machines. Incheon Airport has a convenience store you can buy and charge your card at, also. Note that the charging machines only take cash.
Guesthouses in Seoul
Before traveling to Seoul, you must consider where you will stay once you land. We did an entire article on the things to know before traveling to Korea, so make sure to check it out as well. Once you make it to Seoul, it’s time to get to your location, whether it’s a guesthouse, hotel, or a place you’ve already booked. I definitely recommend booking a place to stay beforehand, even if it’s only for a few days while you go hunting for a more permanent place.
Guesthouses are a good option for short stays and can go as low as 18,000 won/per night and as high as 50,000 won/per night, depending on the room size and accommodations. On the cheaper side, you’ll most likely share the room with 3+ people. Another perk of booking a place before you arrive is that the owners will know you’re coming and can meet you at the station or give you directions. It’s also a good place to socialize with other travelers that visit Korea. A google search for “guesthouse” along with where you hope to stay, such as “Hongdae,” “Ewha,” or “Sinchon,” will give you many options and reviews for great guesthouses.
I live in a goshiwon, which is a small, compact room often used by students and new graduates. Don’t let the photos below fool you; the single rooms are pretty small. It’s a cheap alternative to an apartment if you don’t need much space. The cost runs around 200,000-500,000 won a month. You have options of choosing a room with a bathroom + shower for a more expensive price and a room with a shared bathroom for a cheaper price. Goshipages is a good online source for foreigners to check out different goshiwons and their accommodations, but it will be very helpful to have a Korean friend make the reservation for you, so nothing gets lost in translation.
A goshiwon usually also provides free rice, ramen, and kimchi, along with laundry detergent. There are mostly single rooms, but some do have the option to get a two-person room. There is also the option of female-only places. If you’re staying in Seoul for a month or longer and are okay with compact spaces, I’d recommend it.
Airbnb is a good option for staying with locals or finding an apartment to stay in at any time. If you’re up for socializing and looking for a place to crash for a few days, the Couchsurfing community in Seoul is exceptionally welcoming.
Hotels/Motels in Seoul
Those that are traveling to Seoul for the first time and can afford it should consider staying at a hotel, which runs anywhere from 80,000 won per night to 400,000+ a night. Motels can run as low as 40,000 won.
Whichever option you decide on, you’ll need to get directions from the closest subway station to where you’ll be staying. The directions should include the exit you’ll need to take and where to go after you get out of the station. Yellow signs in the subway station indicate an exit, numbered 1 to however many exits there are.
Once you get to your room, it’s best to get settled and breathe it all in. When I arrived after my 14-hour flight, I was severely jet-lagged and slept through the afternoon and night. Don’t be afraid to sleep off the jet lag, it’ll take a few days to wear off but try to adjust your sleep schedule to Seoul time. You’ll need the energy for tomorrow’s adventure.
Day 2: Sim Cards & Wifi
Before you’re ready to take Seoul by storm, there are a couple of essentials we have to talk about. I didn’t realize how many little things I needed to take care of just to get situated. First, I’m going to talk about getting a sim card or a prepaid Korean number.
If you’re traveling to Seoul for an extended time, you’ll probably want to get a Korean phone number and a good amount of data.
When you buy a prepaid sim card, you’re purchasing a plan with a limited amount of minutes and data. I bought my sim card from EG http://egsimcard.co.kr/ mostly because of the convenience. They can order the prepaid sim card online and then pick it up whenever they arrive between the gates at Incheon Airport. If you don’t want to buy it online, you can also buy it right at the airport at any of the collection areas. It’s also easy to recharge your minutes or data online or through a mobile app. It also helps that EG Facebook is foreigner-friendly, so you can ask questions in English and get a reply within a couple of hours.
You will Need Data When Traveling to Seoul.
Will you need data? For me, the answer was yes. If you’re new to Seoul or you’re directionally challenged like me, you’ll get lost. Data will be your lifesaver in those places that don’t provide WiFi (see below). And it’s a safety net for when you’re supposed to be meeting up with a friend and can’t get WiFi. Or when you need to quickly Google Translate something. Trust me; you’ll be happy you signed up for the extra gigs in those emergencies. But if you’re certain you can find WiFi whenever you need it, and your Korean is pretty good, then it may not be worth it!
The basic plan goes for around 30,000 won, including 1-gig of data and a 15,000 won voice call balance (264/minute). There is also a 20,000 plan that only includes voice balance and no data.
Another way to do it is to walk into a convenience store or cellular provider shop (SK, KT, etc.) and buy a prepaid sim card. Your best bet would be in a tourist-heavy area (or the airport) to ensure that the shop is foreigner-friendly or to go with a Korean friend. You can just return to the store to recharge your service or do it online.
WiFi in Seoul
WiFi is a necessity; most of the time, Seoul has covered you. When you’re out and about, look out for the “Seoul WiFi” network, free WiFi set up by the government. In the last couple of years, Korea has been working to get free WiFi all over Seoul. The government claims that by 2017, there will be free WiFi everywhere in Seoul.
While it has gotten better, I’ve only been able to get free WiFi 60% of the time. Your prepaid sim card will often come with free access to Olleh/LG/UPlus WiFi around Seoul, but it still doesn’t cover every area. Much of my “free” wifi comes from an EG sim card providing me with Olleh WiFi.
Here are some tips on places to get WiFi in Seoul!
- Populated Areas – If you’re in Gangnam, Hongdae, Myeongdong, Sinchon, or any of the other populated
- Coffee Shops – If you’re going to a coffee shop just for the internet, ask if they have WiFi before you buy anything because, unfortunately, not all shops provide WiFi. If the shop has WiFi, the password will be posted near the cash register or on your receipt.
- PC Bangs – Internet rooms are all over Seoul and can be a lifesaver if you need WiFi. An hourly charge goes from 400 won to 1500 won depending on the PC Bang. They’re usually filled with gamers.
- Subways – Unlike in other countries where going underground means cutting ties with the rest of the world, the WiFi connection on the Seoul subways is spectacular. Often, you can find free WiFi or Olleh connections on the subway or in the boarding areas. Data works on the subway, too.
- Fast Food Restaurants/Food Chains – Small restaurants will probably not provide WiFi, but Lotteria, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, etc., will provide you with free WiFi in their establishments.
- Tourist-Friendly Places/Tourist Attractions – Tourist Attractions are more likely to provide free WiFi, such as museums, shows,
- IPtime – If you check out the available networks on your phone as much as I do, you’ll see that iptime often shows up wherever you go. I use iptime as my primary source of the internet where I live, as it’s more stable than my landlord’s wifi! You can connect to iptime and iptime5G where it’s available, but in many areas, it’s restricted.
- Olleh – http://first.wifi.olleh.com/en/index_new.html You can sign up for Olleh separately (available in a wide variety of areas in Seoul), which goes for around 3,000 won a day.
- WiFi Egg / Pocket WiFi – If you need internet wherever you go, you might need to go for a paid service: Pocket WiFi, WiFi-Korea, or Olleh’s egg. They usually have a deposit and charge you by the day or month.
- That’s it for WiFi and sim cards! Get that settled, and you’re well on getting situated in Seoul.
Day 3: The Subway System in Korea
Traveling to Seoul is easy and getting around Seoul is a lot easier. The Seoul Metro System is one of the most efficient transit systems in the world. It’s also one of the cleanest. It might look complicated at first, but with a few quick tips and resources, you’ll be transferring like a pro in no time.
First things first, you need a subway card. I will cover three types of cards: the single-journey ticket, T-Money card, and Korean Smart pass.
The Single-Journey Ticket
This card is best if you just need to get from station A to station B. It’ll ensure you only pay the exact charge of getting from A to B. The usual price for one ride is 1,250, but buying a single journey ticket will charge you an extra 500 won. You’ll scan it at the gate when you get in and when you get out. Then, when you arrive at your destination, simply slip the card back into a single-journey machine, and it’ll return your 500 won. You’ll scan your single-journey card just as you scan your T-Money card (detailed below).
We covered getting a regular T-Money card on Day 1 but to recap, a T-Money card is a rechargeable card that you need to scan every time you pass through the gates. For one ride, you’ll be scanning it twice to get on from a station and then off to a station.
You can buy a T-Money card for around 3,000 won at one of these nifty machines found at most stations. The machines have an English option.
The first time you scan your card, it’ll charge 1,250 won. The second charge depends on how far you’ve traveled. Usually, the second scan won’t charge you anything, but if you’ve made many transfers and gone far enough, you might see an extra 100 or 200 won charge.
After getting a card, you must load it at one of the charging stations (pictured above). You can charge 1,000 won or 2,000 won or 5,000 won, or even 20,000 won or more at a time.
Another way to get one is at most convenience stores for 4,000 won. You can choose your card design if you buy it at a store. The airport is the most foreigner-friendly place to get one, as they’ll most likely speak English.
Note: Your T-Money card can also be used on buses and convenience stores!
Note: If you see an error when you scan your card, you most likely do not have enough won in your card and will have to recharge.
Korea Smart Card (Commuter Pass)
If you’re like me and you plan on using the Subway a lot (twice or more a day), then the Korean Smart Pass will probably be your best option. This card gives you 60 rides for 55,000 won for 30 days. That breaks down to 2 rides a day if you divide it evenly. You’ll be saving around 20,000 won, and if you use up your rides before the 30 days are over, you can just reload the card for an additional 30 days.
To get it, go into an informational center at a station and ask for “Jung-gi Seung-cha-kwon” (정기 승차권). The actual card cost 2,500 won. After getting the card, go to a charging station, just as you would for a T-Money card. Charging a commuter pass is the same as charging a T-Money card, except you’ll be charging 55,000 won each time (must be in cash).
Note: The pass only works for the subway system (so no buses or convenience stores), and if you leave Seoul for another city, you can’t use it. But if you’re commuting in Seoul, this will save you some won.
So now that you’ve got your transit card, let’s get to figuring out the system.
Seoul Subway System
It might look intimidating at first glance, but give me a second, and we’ll have you feeling confident about getting you anywhere you need to be.
You’ll often hear/see the lines referenced by their color and number. On these lines are stations. You should first figure out what station is closest to where you’re staying and what line it’s on. So every time you go home, you know exactly what line you have to get on.
One of the best things I ever did was download Malang’s Subway Korea app (available for iOS and Android). It lets you search stations, pick your starting and end points, and then tells you what station you have to get off at, where you need to transfer to, how many stations it’ll take, and how long it’ll take. This app is a lifesaver, and it’s better than standing around with a poster-sized tourist map, squinting to find your station.
Actually, Riding the Subway
Now that you’re on the subway, there are a few things that you might notice. There should be screens that tell you what station the subway stops at and the direction the doors will open. Pay attention, as there will also be a voice on the intercom repeating what’s on the screens.
There are seats reserved for elders, the disabled, and pregnant mothers toward the ends of the subway carts. Signs mark these areas. I’ve seen foreigners overlook the sign and take up these seats, which earns them looks from people nearby, especially if an elderly person is standing. You don’t want to be that guy.
Like anywhere else, the subway is very crowded at rush hour. In Seoul, that’s around 7 pm when everyone gets off work. Be prepared to be squished and pushed and forget all about personal space.
That’s it! Now you’re equipped to handle Seoul’s subway system. If you get lost and end up at the wrong station, don’t panic. Just figure out what line you’re on and what station, plug it into the app, and you’ll be home in no time.
Note: If you ever have a card or some kind of subway problem, there are information centers at every subway station. You might have to play little charades if they don’t speak English, but they’re there to help, so don’t hesitate to go in and ask!
Day 4: Restrooms & Recycling
If you’re living in Seoul, you can’t avoid recycling. It’s a part of the Korean lifestyle, and the sooner you adjust to the system, the less stressful it will be. Today, I’m giving you a crash course on Korean restrooms and recycling, two essential guides to your new Korean lifestyle!
If you can’t read Korean, you might not notice the bathroom signs telling you not to throw toilet paper in the toilet. Coming from the United States, where it’s common knowledge to throw any toilet paper into the toilet, I was shocked and confused. In Seoul, many buildings have very weak plumbing systems and flushing the toilet paper would likely cause major clogging and plumbing problems. No one denies it’s unsanitary, but you don’t want to be the poor sap that clogs the toilet. So, just throw your used toilet paper in the trash can and be on your way.
Toilets vs. Squat Toilets
If you’re unfamiliar with squat toilets, you’ll be surprised to see so many in Seoul. While normal sit-down toilets still dominate public restrooms, many have a good ratio of squat toilets. And just as many people use both. If you feel uncomfortable using one, the good news is that there is almost always a toilet where squat toilets exist (from what I’ve seen). But, a sit-down toilet might not always be available in smaller/older buildings.
Soap on a Stick
Something I found strange when I got to Seoul was the soap on a stick. You’ll often see these babies in public restrooms in the place of the usual soap push dispensers. Everyone uses these, and even though people say soap can’t get dirty, I was wary of using it at first. But “when in Rome,” right?
Koreans are serious about recycling. Most likely, no matter where you’re throwing trash, you’ll have to separate it. At my goshiwon, we separate into two categories: plastics/recyclables and waste. But, recycling in Korea can get as complicated as separating your food waste, paper, plastic, glass, and cans, depending on where you’re staying. If you’re at a cafe or in a restaurant, you’ll usually be separating plastic, food waste (for restaurants), liquid waste (for cafes), and then the rest (most likely paper). English words or illustrations often tell you where to put what. If there aren’t and you can’t read Hangul, just watch someone and do what they do!
If you’re in the subway station, there’s most likely a trashcan nearby, but you’ll have to be on the lookout. They usually separate plastics and paper.
When I stayed at an apartment complex on my last trip to Seoul, we had to separate our food waste into bags specific to our district and our paper, plastic, etc. It was a hassle, but you get used to it after a while, and you don’t want the locals side-eyeing you for being lazy.
If you’re staying at a guesthouse or goshiwon or somewhere foreigner-friendly, it’ll be less complicated as everything will probably be explained by the owner/landlord in English.
More permanent living spaces like neighborhoods or apartment buildings are more strict and might have people monitoring the recycling system.
What to do with your trash on the street?
You’ll quickly notice that there is a huge lack of trash cans on the streets and in subway systems. But if you keep walking, sooner or later, you’ll see either huge bags of trash on the ground or a recycling box where you can separate your plastic and waste trash. People usually just drop their finished coffee cups into the random piles/bags and go on their way.
I know it’s strange and confusing initially, but you’ll get a hang of it. Recycling in Seoul is tough, but it’s important and necessary, so consider doing your part in the community by separating your plastics!
Day 5: Doing Laundry in Korea
After a week or two in Seoul, you might find yourself looking for clean clothes. While Korean washing machines look complicated, they’re pretty easy to get a hang of once you know what the buttons mean. There are many different washing machines in Korea, but the basic settings are the same.
Here are some photos of the various controls you might see.
The first time I came face to face with a Korean washing machine, it was intimidating. In the US, all the washing machines I’ve used only had three or four knobs, including several buttons. Korean washing machines often have both. I was studying how washing machines work will be wise before traveling to Seoul.
The good news is if you’re staying at a goshiwon, guesthouse, or somewhere with a shared washing machine, most of the settings will already be set where you want them. Some might even have translations taped onto the machine, depending on the number of foreigners. It doesn’t hurt to check the options, though; you can do so by ensuring the light shows up next to the options you want.
Here is a quick run-down of the common options on a Korean washing machine you might come across.
전원 (jeon-won) – on/off
동작 (dong-jak) – start
일시정지 (il-shi-jung-ji) – pause
물높이 (mul-nop-ee) – water level
강/고 (kang/goh) – strong/high
중 (joong)- medium
약/저 (yak/jeo) – low
급수 (geub-su) – water supply
세탁도 (seh-tak-doh) – temperature
온수 (ohn-soo) – hot water
냉수 (naeng-soo) – cold water
울 – wool
불림 – soak
세탁 – wash
헹굼 – rinse
Here are the steps I usually go by, which can be common/different from yours depending on your machine.
1. Pull out the detergent tray.
2. Put in one cap of detergent and close the tray.
3. Load clothes and close the lid of the machine.
4. Click the “on/off” button.
5. Click the ” water level” button until the light lands where you want it, depending on the size of your load.
6. Click the “course” button until it lands on basic or other, depending on your type of load.
7. Click the “start” button.
My washing machine has one tray for detergent, and fabric softener would be put in when it comes to that part in the cycle. Many washing machines have more than one tray for fabric softener if you choose to use it.
The majority of Koreans hang their clothes instead of drying them. If you’re living in a shared space, there will be a hanging area. You’ll have to wait to wash your clothes when there’s space to hang your clothes up. If you need to buy a metal clothes rack. If you’re in Seoul in the summer, you shouldn’t wait too long for them to dry, as it gets pretty hot outside.
In my goshiwon, we have a laundry basket for people to move hanging laundry that is done drying to make room for newly washed clothes.
Day 6: Money Exchanges and ATMs
Whether you’re in Seoul for a job, visit, or extended trip, you’ll need to deal with money. Today’s guide is all about money and where you can exchange, withdraw, or deposit it.
How to Exchange Money in Seoul
The airport is the first place you’ll see a money exchange booth or shop. They’ll always be labeled by money signs for different currencies, such as the American $ dollar sign. There should also be a sign that tells you the exchange rate with the currency name and how much Korean won they’ll exchange for that currency. These shops are scattered around Seoul, mostly in tourist areas such as Myeongdong, Hongdae, Ewha, Gangnam, Dongdaemun, etc. I’ve seen the best rates in Myeongdong.
The rule of thumb is not to exchange at the first shop you see. Check out the different rates because some shops have better rates. Make sure to download an application to check the current exchange rate in your home country.
All you have to do is walk in and hand the store owner the currency you want to exchange for Korean won. They will put the bills through a counter and show you how much Korean won they will give you. If you’re good with it, simply nod, and they’ll give you the money and a receipt of your exchange. That’s it!
Note: I noticed that the exchange rate on the signs was only exactly honored when I used $100 bills (for American currency). When I used $50 or $20 bills, even if they added up to 100, the shop usually gave me slightly less for my dollar.
Using an ATM
You can find ATMs at banks, subway stations, and streets. The busier the area, the more ATMs there will be. If you’re in a major station where many tourists go or at a university with many foreign students, the ATM will have an ENGLISH button you can press.
Many Korean ATMs will be able to do withdraws for foreign cards. The fees for foreign cards will be higher, possibly around 3,000 won and up.
They also allow you to view your balance, withdraw, transfer, and deposit. If you use an ATM with English options, just follow the directions to complete your desired process.
If the ATM doesn’t include English options, here is translated vocabulary to help you decipher.
Confirm – 확인 (hwak-in)
Cancel – 취소 (chae-soh)
Close – 닫기 (dad-gi)
Balance Inquiry – 예금조회 (ek-geum-jo-hee)
Transfer – 이체 (ee-chae)
Withdraw – 출금 (chool-geum)
Deposit – 입금 (eeb-geum)
Passbook Update – 통장정리 (tong-jang-jung-li)
Cash – 현금 (hyun-geum)
Check – 표 (pyo)
Passcode / Pin – 비밀번호 (pi-mil-beon-ho)
You must put in your check card before anything.
– Withdrawing will consist of you first putting in your pin, then the amount to withdraw, and then confirming. You’ll receive the amount in 10,000 won bills.
– Depositing can be done by putting in your pin, choosing between a check or cash, putting your money into the slot, and closing it.
If you’re using a Korean bank account, you’ll want to use an ATM owned by your bank to avoid any fees. You can use another ATM if you have to, but there will be a fee (my last fee was 1,300 won).
Day 7: Ordering Food in a Korean Restaurant
Ordering in a Korean restaurant as a foreigner is understandably overwhelming, but there are a few steps to help you ease into the process. Whether you’re ordering at a more traditional Korean restaurant, a barbecue joint, or a western-style restaurant, these tips below will make ordering a breeze.
Going into a Restaurant
One of two things could happen when you go into a Korean restaurant. They will gesture you towards the seating area, and you can just sit down where you want to sit. In most family-owned, traditional Korean restaurants, you can just walk in and sit anywhere. The host will seat you in larger, more expensive restaurants in Seoul.
The second scenario is being greeted by workers who will ask you how many people are in your group, which sounds like 몇 분이세요? (Myeot-bun-ee-seyo?). You can answer using your fingers or using the Korean number system.
one person = 한명(han-myung)
two people = 두명 (du-myung)
three people = 세명 (seh-myung)
four people = 네명 (neh-myung)
five people = 다섯명 (da-seot-myung)
six people = 여섯명 (yeo-seot-myung)
seven people = 일곱명 (il-gob-myung)
eight people = 여덟명(yeo-deob-myung)
nine people = 아홉명 (ah-hob-myung)
ten people = 열명 (yeol-myung)
Many restaurant workers can understand English numbers also. In addition, most Korean restaurants will sell Korean beer and Korean soju and not much else in terms of alcohol.
Korean restaurants often have “self-service” where you get up and get your water, kimchi, etc. Take a look around the restaurant, and you’ll see a self-service area, or the waiter will let you know.
If your utensils aren’t on the desk, they will often be on a shelf on the side of the table. In addition, they might be in a wooden box on the table. Moreover, they might also be self-service, and you’ll have to get up to get your chopsticks, spoons, and napkins.
General Terms when Traveling to Seoul
These will come in handy when you want to ask for certain foods or the waiter for anything.
Seaweed – 김 (kim)
Rice – 밥 (bab)
Meat – 고기(go-gi)
Noodle – 수구 (su-gu)
Water – 물 (mul)
What is this? – 이거 뭐예요? (ee-geo mwo-ye-yo)?
Excuse me! – 저기요! (jeo-gi-yo!)
Delicious/Tasty – 맛있어요 (mas-shi-seo-yo)
Yes – 네 (neh)
No – 아니요 (a-ni-yo)
If there is a menu, you can point at what you want and say 이거 주세요 (ee-geo-ju-seyo), which means “Please give me this?” Just say what you want with the phrase “주세요 (ju-seyo)” which means “Please give me ____.” For example, 밥 주세요 (bab ju-seyo) is “Please give me rice.”
To order an amount of something, use the Korean numbering system.
Please give me one ____. = ____ 한개 주세요. (____ han-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me two ____. = ____ 두개 주세요. (____ du-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me three ____. = ____ 세개주세요. (____ seh-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me four ____. = ____ 네개 주세요. (____ neh-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me five ____. = ____ 다섯개 주세요. (____ da-seot-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me six ____. = ____ 여섯개주세요. (____ yeo-seot-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me seven ____. = ____ 일곱개 주세요. (____ il-gob-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me eight ____. = ____ 여덟개 주세요. (____ yeo-deob-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me nine ____. = ____ 아홉개주세요. (____ ah-hob-gae ju-seyo)
Please give me ten ____. = ____ 열개주세요. (____ yeol-gae ju-seyo)
For example, “Please give me five bibimbap orders” is 비빔밥 다섯개 주세요 (bi-bim-bap da-seot-gae ju-seyo).
포장 (po-jang) means take-out.
Do you do take-out? – 포장 돼요? (po-jang dwae-yo?)
Can I get this to-go? – 포장해 주세요! (po-jang-hae-ju-seyo!)
Tips / Taxes
When traveling to Seoul remember that there are no leaving tips in Korea.
Asking for the Check
“Check please” – 계산서주세요 (gye-san-seo-ju-seyo)
Leaving the Restaurant
As you leave the restaurant, you can say thank you or 감사합니다 (kam-sa-ham-ni-da).
Now that you know the basics of ordering food in a restaurant, go out and enjoy some Korean delicacies. Now you all you need to know for your first week in Seoul. I hope this was helpful!