5 Essentials for life in South Korea

So what are the 5 essentials for life in South Korea is becoming a popular destination either for traveling or for studying or just for short-term living. I have lived in Korea for a year for the purpose of study. I got a lot of new experiences living in such a new place. After my safe arrival in my home country, people around me started to ask about all my experiences in Korea. Whatever their purpose in visiting Korea, I told them about general information about living in Korea and what they need to ‘survive’ in Korea. Here is my list of things you are more than likely to need in Korea :

  1. T – Money Card


After landing safely in Incheon International Airport, South Korea a year ago, I immediately purchased a small plastic card called ‘ T – Money ‘. You know what, this card will help you either riding a public transportation or shopping or other things. So,  in my opinion, T – Money is the first thing you have to get when you land in Korea. You can purchase this card in a Seven Eleven (7/11) which are all over in  Incheon International Airport or in every Seven Eleven store you will happen upon on the street. The card price itself is about 2.500 won. So you have to top up the card before using it. You also can top it up in Seven Eleven stores. After topping your card up, your card is ready to be used. When you ride a subway, you just need to tap your card and the nominal inside your card will be cut as the number shown. You can also use T – Money for riding a bus, taxi, or even purchase something in certain stores.t-money1

  1. KakaoTalk


If you plan to stay in a long term, you probably will need this chat application. Most Koreans use KakaoTalk to chat with their fellow Koreans. When they meet someone for the first time, usually asking what each other’s KakaoTalk IDs are is not an odd thing in Korea. So either you’re studying or working in Korea, install KakaoTalk on your devices to stay connect with your friends. It’s easy to be install and use. The emoticons are also cute. I love this part ! You also can make a group call.


So at the time you have no balance on your SIM card, as long as you find a WiFi connection, you can connect to KakaoTalk and stay in touch with your friends. Very useful, isn’t it ? It’s also can be used abroad. So don’t worry if you return to your home country. You still can use this application wherever you are.

  1. Subway Map


The Subway is the most important public transportation that Koreans use daily. Since it’s so comfortable and fast, subway is becoming the first choice if you want to go somewhere and need to hurry. There are several layers to the subway layout so keeping check of where you are going takes some adjusting to at first. So make sure not to get lost. You need to get a subway map to learn about the routes. There are a lot of free subway maps in all subway stations or in the airport. But you also can install an application named ‘ Metroid ‘ on your devices.


This application shows you the route and you just need to touch in which stations you are going to depart and you are going to arrive. Then it shows you the complete route and also the fare. Very convenient and fast. But even the conventional or the paper subway map is easy to understand. Ready to have an adventure in Korea ?

  1. Online Shopping

Why online shopping ? Online shoping is the ultimate tool for you if you just can sit in front of your computer while your project deadline is coming up or you have to do your endless assignments from school but you need to do groceries or finding stuffs that you really need. Just open the online shops websites then with some clicks, your stuffs will be delivered to the place where you stay. I recommend GMarket or Coupang.



You can find everything you need, from groceries, cosmetics, music CDs, books, to even holiday packages. Sometimes they have cheaper prices than the stores. If you want to do groceries, just choose E-Mart online or Homeplus online. Both E-Mart and Homeplus are famous hypermarkets in Korea. But they do have a delivery service to serve their customers who can’t visit their stores. Their prices are competitive, so you can easily compare their stuffs’ prices on their website. Some of them will charge you a shipping fee, but some won’t. You need to pay a certain amount if you don’t need to pay for the shipping fee.

  1. Point Cards

Whenever you visit Cosmetic stores, Bakeries, Book Stores, or Hypermarkets, they usually ask whether you have their point cards or not. Maybe you will think those cards are just useless plastic cards . But hey, actually they bring a lot of benefits. Whenever you are paying at the checkout, present your point card and they will give you either points that can be earned for said transaction or a discount of some sort. I once went to Etude House ( a Korean cosmetic brand ) store in Daejeon.

  happypointpoint cards

  They had up to a 60 % discount event for their loyal customers. When I was about to pay my stuffs, they asked me whether I have a point card or not and I answered not. They explained if I don’t have a point card, I can’t get the discount. They offered me to make the card for free, but since my full name is too long, I couldn’t get the card. Luckily my friend has one and she lent me the card. So from that time, whenever I shopped and they offered me to make point cards, I did agree since it’s also free. They didn’t charge me anything. So I’d like to recommend this way of shopping for you all. Well, actually there are a lot of things you need to have if you live in Korea. But I think, those 5 things above are the most essential things you need to have. Maybe it can help you to adapt while living in Korea.

2 thoughts on “5 Essentials for life in South Korea

  1. Amy on

    I’ve had the Metroid app for 2 years now and it’s in English as well. Is your phone’s language default in Korean? Anyways, there’s a setting in the app to change the language.

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