40 Cool Things in South Korea That Will Blow Your Mind

Cool things are cool. I feel like that isn’t said enough.

And Korea has no shortage of said cool things.

Here are all the things I find cool in South Korea.

They probably won’t blow your mind, but if you chuckle slightly at some point, it was worth the effort.

Let us begin!

Lingua Asia_Cool Things in South Korea

1. Communal Hula Hoops

Lingua Asia_Communal Hula Hoops
No need to bring your own

You can tell a lot about a culture by what they prioritize, and hula hoops are high on the list in Korea. And rightfully so, they’re fun for the whole family.

Yes, this is going to be that type of article.

2. Overbearing robots

Lingua Asia_Overbearing robots
How could you say no to that face?

When ajummas aren’t enough to shame you into doing stuff, send in the robots! I for one welcome our new robot overlords.

3. The village tree

In the olden days, every village had a guardian tree. The people would hold shamanistic ceremonies around them to summon rain. Super cool.

With apartment buildings sprouting up practically overnight, these trees are becoming harder and harder to find. Here’s one in a random town on Jeju.

Lingua Asia_The village tree
This tree is at least a few hundred years old

4. Discrimination is A-OK

Not cool necessarily, but mildly amusing.

Discrimination is totally legal in South Korea. As such, it can be an arms race of who can exclude each other more. I still think they’re doing well for being the most homogeneous country behind Japan.

foreigners-only-korea-legal

5. Crime-free zone

Some small villages boast about being totally crime free. It would be a shame if someone were to jaywalk while taking a picture…

6. Wi-Fi free zones don’t exist

Lingua Asia_Wifi free zones dont exist

No need to wait for Starlink, every inhabited area in South Korea is lousy with Wi-Fi. It’s also among the fastest in the world. Not the best place in the world to cure your cell phone addiction.

7. Cellphone chargers

You can walk into one of the thousands of cafes in Korea, and ask them to charge your phone (after you order something). For those who avoid human interaction at all cost, they have chargers on the bus and bus stops now. You can even find them in public parks for when you need to Snap Chat or something.

8. Public health is no joke

Korea handled the pandemic pretty well. When I went there to lie low for a few years, they guided me from the plane to bus to train to a testing and quarantine facility to keep me separated from civilized society. All the buses and train cars were empty and reserved for the unclean overseas arrivals. They even sent an ambulance to pick me up to get tested after a 14-day quarantine.

9. Quarantine packages

quarantine package korea cheongju

Nothing says “stay home” quite like a gallon of sanitizer and 10 ramyun packs. You probably saw these on social media, but I can assure you they’re real. I actually got two of them.

10. Cool vehicles

cute vehicles korea

Yes, I drove the Catmobile all over Oedo near Jeju. And yes, it was totally awesome.

11. Luxury gyms

korean gym chandelier

Does your gym have a chandelier? I didn’t think so. Does it need one? Also a big no.

12. Hanok everything

Lingua Asia_Hanok emart24 convenience store

Why go to a liquor store, when you can go to a hanok liquor store straight out of an alternate universe?

13. Mills everywhere

You can walk into a random mill and walk out with fresh-pressed sesame oil and misutgaru. Great stuff.

14. Campy city decorations

I don’t know who’s in charge of these, but it seems to be the same person throughout the country.

15. “American” restaurants

Nothing funnier than seeing how other countries view yours. At least they don’t serve deep-fried turduckens.

16. Delivery food is an artform

There’s a fried chicken brand called, “Pradak” meaning “Prada Chicken”. Enough said.

17. DIY air pressure washer

korea air pressure wash

You can find these cool things at the base of hiking trails and even at Haeundae Beach. Great for getting sand and dirt off your shoes.

18. Fancy fruit baskets

Lingua Asia_Premium fruit assortments

Sending fruit means you care in Korea. This basket cost me 70 bucks, so I cared a bit.

19. Interesting sculpture choices

funny statues korea

From suggestive foot massagers to full blown nude wrestling, they’ve got it all in Korea.

20. Catch lotto fever

US lotto in Korea

Of course you can play the local variety, but what if you really miss the Mega Millions of the states? Well now you can with an extremely questionable service that buys lottery tickets back home and totally gives you the winnings.

21. Banners banners everywhere

Banners are the billboards of Korea. You can make a fortune in that racket. I’ve seen them for everything from ads to city ordinances. It’s customary on business trips for the employees to pose for pictures in front of a big one with the company name and purpose of the trip.

22. Eat your heart out Joe Camel

Jinro is big on their revamped mascot that kids just love. These jellies are the candy cigarettes of Korea. Gotta get them started young.

23. Interesting flavor choices

Imagine biting into a savory tuna and mayo sandwich and hitting a layer of strawberry jam. Come to Korea and make that happen.

You also get to try “fire chicken” toothpaste.

24. Future apartment stuff

Korea’s good at handling situations where you’re in such a hurry that every second counts. Newer apartments allow you to call the elevator from your room and check the weather at the entrance, so you know whether to bring an umbrella or sunbrella. The answer is usually, yes.

25. Mixed messages on signage

confusing Korean signs

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean what you think it does. It just says that this area isn’t wheelchair accessible and go around. See, not as bad as it seems.

26. Top notch movie theaters

Korean movie theaters
So majestic

Koreans are an expressive bunch, but they know how to watch a movie, in complete silence. Escapism is vital when you’re living under extreme societal pressure.

Movie theaters in Korea are a great place to zone out. They’re brand new and come with cool gimmicks like 4DX, couple chairs and balcony seating. Matinees are practically empty on weekdays!

27. Art villages

Ever since Gamcheon Maul became a big deal on Instagram, financially-challenged neighborhoods everywhere have been churning out upcycled arts and crafts to attract influencers. These places have popped up in every major city, so you won’t have to look too hard to find one.

28. Serious gym ads

Korean gym ad
That’s almost too many jacked trainers for my taste

I’m either intimidated or excited to check these out. I’m still not sure which.

29. Clubbing goes hard

Korean clubbing culture

Clubs are serious business and you’ll find no shortage of novel and interesting places. This one is called “villain” which is trendy slang for anyone who makes your life difficult.

30. Drive-by political rallies

Korean political rallies

You can always tell when it’s election season by the loudspeakers blaring out campaign songs and promises of affordable education and a better future. Go out and enjoy the show!

Lingua-Asia_Line_Lotus

31. Crosswalks for cell phone addicts

When you’re so deep in Reels that you can’t be bothered to look up.

32. Kimchi!

Koreans say “Kimchi” instead of “cheese” when someone takes a picture of them. Very cool.

33. Panic buttons everywhere

Lingua Asia_Panic buttons everywhere

You can call the police with the touch of a button. You’ll find these in parks and public restrooms all over the place.

34. Oddly specific signs

funny dolphin sign korea
How do you not ride that?

From watch out for wild boars to don’t ride the dolphin, they cover a lot of ground.

35. Germaphobe’s paradise

Lingua Asia_UV sterilizer for books

Libraries have UV sterilizers for books and there’s enough hand sanitizer in the country to drown an elephant.

36. Serious sunbrellas

Lingua Asia_Serious sunbrellas

You may laugh, but in 10 years we’ll all be using them. Bonus points if they match your outfit.

37. Umbrella wipers

Lingua Asia_Umbrella wipers

Koreans hate wet umbrellas. They have created technology to avoid that situation at all costs. Why store your umbrellas in plastic baggies when you can wipe them off like a boss?

They also don’t share the same superstition Americans do about opening them inside. You’ll find heaps of them fully bloomed in entrances and walkways of buildings to dry them.

38. Money gifts

money flower boquet korea

I love how Koreans get to the point when it comes to gifts. Money is always welcome as a present as long as it’s in an envelope or worked into an elaborate flower bouquet.

Word is on the street that they sew them into cushions now, so you can sit on your wealth.

39. Cute pet outfits

What’s cuter than a puppy? A puppy in a sweater vest that matches its owner, that’s what.

40. Milkmaids on transformers

It’s been said that the future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed. Well, they spent all their future points on cool delivery vehicles for the yogurt ladies.

 

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Did we miss anything?

Let us know what you think is cool about Korea in the comments!

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