Free Things in South Korea that are Pretty Amazing

Free things? Yes please.

Here’s some of the neat stuff in Korea that’s on the house.

Lingua Asia Free Things in South Korea that are Pretty Amazing

Key Takeaways

  • Free ambulances
  • Free phone chargers everywhere
  • Free tool rental

1. Free exterminators

Lingua Asia Mapo Fire Station

Something about insects really puts Koreans off. So much so that busting bugs is a free public service.

Wasps are viewed as an emergency on par with a house fire. If you see a nest in Korea, you can actually report them to the fire dept. Calling 119 will conjure up a bone fide exterminator to your residence for some cold-blooded insecticide.

This works for other hive-building creatures as well. It’s unclear whether they relocate the bees, but they do ask what kind of insects you have.

2. Free Wi-Fi

Lingua Asia_Wifi free zones dont exist

Not that impressive these days, but Korea had free Wi-Fi before it was cool.

It’s nice to have some shady public Wi-Fi in a pinch and most public spaces offer it.

3. Free ambulances

Lingua Asia ambulance korea

No running away from one with a broken leg and calling an Uber to avoid bankruptcy.

I actually had a full blown ambulance show up during a covid quarantine to escort me for testing. I felt like some kind of millionaire.

The catch is that people won’t yield for ambulances.


There’s a rumor that celebrities and jaebol use them as rich people taxis.


4. Free tours

Lingua Asia Gyeongbokgung guard changing ceremony

Korea loves tourists. Seriously, visiting and living there are totally different experiences.

Walk around with wonder in your eye and a camera in hand and the people will part like the Red Sea for you. They’ll shower you with directions if you look confused while holding a map.

The Seoul City Government even runs a totally free walking tour for visitors.

The two biggest museums in Korea are 100% free as well! The War Memorial of Korea and The National Museum are so chock full of neat stuff that you can make a day out of each.

Show up in a hanbok to Gyeongbokgung Palace and you’re in for no charge.

Buddhist Temples are all gratis of course as is Eunpyeong Hanok Village.

Not a bad deal for travelers.

5. Free phone chargers

Fully charged cell phones seem to be a human right in Korea. I feel like I’m in a sci-fi movie when I see wireless chargers on bus benches and even inside buses and KTX.

6. Free COVID care packages

You probably saw these online, but they’re for real. I actually got two of them.

Feasting on Choco pies while doing my best Oldboy impression was one of the highlights of my pandemic experience.

7. Free money

Lingua Asia Free money

OK so this was a special situation and I had paid taxes for years. But the local and national governments were both giving out some ridiculous stimis and free stuff during the rona.

All in all, I got a few grand multiple times because I was a business owner. It also helped that my company was registered in Gangnam-gu, cause they have money.

It was distributed according to industry and when business-owners thought it wasn’t enough, they went out and protested till they upped it.

It’s nice to see the government working for the people.

I also received regional currency cards to boost the economy for local businesses.

I’ll never forget how much this helped me both practically and psychologically, since I didn’t worry about money much. I instead focused on building this blog in the downtime, which some consider a better use of time.

8. Free college

Lingua Asia Yonsei University

Not everywhere, but Yonsei University actually had free tuition for non-Koreans who wanted to get their master’s degree in country.

These programs come and go, so be on the lookout!

9. Free tool rental

Lingua Asia free tool rental in Korea

No more cheapo tools from Daiso.

You can check these out like a library book at dong offices (동사무소) or community centers!


10. Freeish cell phone plan

Lingua Asia MVNO sim card

We’ve officially reached the point of the listicle where the writer has run out of ideas and is reaching.

Don’t leave yet! This one’s interesting.

Korea has MVNO or surplus bandwidth that’s bundled and sold for pennies on the won. 2 dollars a month for a phone plan isn’t free but it might as well be.

Sure, society may view me as “budget”, but I’m too old to care.

11. Freeish health care

Lingua Asia Health checkup in Korea

You’ve probably heard rumors that Korean health care is free.

It isn’t.

You have to pay around 100 dollars a month for public health care (I know, my freedoms!). If you’re financially stressed, they can lower it to 20 dollars a month.

The good news is, everyone has affordable health care in the event of a serious health calamity (I went to any doctor in the country and never waited more than 20 minutes).

The better news is you can always buy private insurance if that isn’t enough.

Sounds so crazy it just might work.


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Did we miss anything?

Let us know your thoughts or questions about free things in Korea!

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