What to Pack for South Korea
So you have decided to come to South Korea.
Of course, you have or are at least seriously thinking about it. Otherwise, why would you be reading this blog post? Now the big question you are asking yourself is “What to pack for South Korea?”. Well, fear not because I have you covered.
To be completely honest most clothes are available in Korea. If you live in Seoul, you can easily find clothes for any occasion in the many department stores, malls, and street markets. I will say however that if you are an odd shape or wear a size large or bigger a few things will be hard to find for you, a prime example of this will be shoes. MyeongDong (a very large shopping area, just look for the subway stop of the same name) is very foreigner-friendly with many brands that you will find back home. For guys, if you are larger than a size 9 then shoes might be difficult for you depending on style. Sorry ladies I am not exactly sure what the cutoff size is.
Just like clothing, most Toiletries are readily available, with just a few exceptions. For ladies, you will find that the makeup selection is much larger than back home. The only thing I would warn people about (guys and girls) is that a lot of lotions and things have skin whitening ingredients in them so just be on the lookout for that.
with lots of things being available, I would still suggest bringing two things with you. The first is deodorant, this can be purchased in Korea but it will be very expensive, and you will be limited to about one brand. The second recommendation is toothpaste. Just like deodorant, it can be purchased in Korea but you will not be able to really find any with fluoride in it. Not saying this is the cause but most Koreans have several cavities, I do not know if this is a factor or not but, in my opinion, toothpaste without fluoride is basically just like brushing your teeth with something that is mint flavored.
I would recommend an e-reader or tablet of some kind. The reason for this is because it makes getting English books very easy and gives you something to do on all those long subway/bus/train rides. Korea has good public transport just about all over the whole country.
If you like to read physical books, there is a very reliable English bookstore in Itaewon, What The Book. Most bookstores also have an English selection just much more limited. Purchase the physical books when you arrive because it is not exactly a good use of space in your suitcase, and will add weight.
If you bring your cell phone (which I highly recommend) make sure it is unlocked. You can get a sim card at the airport through EG SIM, this is one of the only places I know of that you can get a sim card without having your Alien Registration Card. They are super easy to work with and everything is very English friendly.
Don’t forget to pack outlet adapters, Korea uses 220V outlets. Most electronics like laptops or cell phones will not require an electricity converter a simple prong outlet converter should do the trick. Be careful as not all electronics will be ok with just a prong adapter. Many of my friends have killed their apartment electricity with a hairdryer or fried the power on their Xbox because they forgot about the volt difference.
Reminders of Home
When it comes to long-term travel or just simply moving to have a reminder of home is always nice. This could simply be pictures or something else that you like. Having something to be able to decorate your apartment with is always a beautiful thing.
It’s a good idea that if you have a prescription to bring as much as you can. Bring your prescription along with a signed doctor’s note on official letterhead in case you have any issues with immigration (I do not really foresee this happening but better to be safe than sorry). With that said the medical system in Korea is very efficient and you will most likely be able to get anything you need and probably at a much lower price in Korea. I just like to stay on the side of caution. Most doctors and pharmacists speak at least a little English so anything you need should not be too much of a struggle.
Two things I want you to be aware of are bedsheets and towels. Bed sheets can be purchased in Korea but they are rather expensive. The second thing is towels because many Koreans dry themselves off with what many westerners would consider hand towels. Just like sheets, these can be purchased but at a much higher price than what you might be used to. I know what you are thinking, sheets and towels are not exactly a good use of your limited suitcase space and I agree with you. So for something like that I recommend the Arrival Store. The prices are not too outrageous and they make many things very convenient. However, because of the convenience, many things I feel are very overpriced but for sheets and towels, the Arrival Store is not a bad way to go.
What would be things you recommend packing when you are coming to South Korea? leave your recommendations in the comments below. I hope I answered most of the questions you might have when asking yourself the question “What to pack for South Korea?”.