With South Korea’s increasing popularity, it’s no doubt that the country has caught my eye. South Korea is a country located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. South Korea is a flourishing urban country and is considered one of Asia’s most developed. Through its entertainment, food, and advances in technology, travelers are sure to have the time of their lives in Korea. Interests in Korean culture have spread globally and have taken the world by storm. The term Hallyu, literally translating to “Korean flow,” can be used to explain the global spread of Korean culture.
At the center of Hallyu, is the booming entertainment industry of South Korea. From Korean dramas to Korean pop (K-pop), South Korea has left its mark in the entertainment world. South Korean entertainment has always been popular through Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Japan. However, Korean entertainment started to reach other ends of the world after “Gangnam Style” by Psy, a K-pop artist, trended worldwide in 2012. The “Gangnam Style” music video became the first Youtube video to ever reach a billion views and it topped charts in nearly 30 different countries. With such a large impact on the rest of the world, it can be argued that “Gangnam Style” paved the way for the worldwide love of Korean entertainment. Today, other sensational K-pop artists and groups continue to top the charts. Groups and artists such as Big Bang, EXO, BoA, BTS, Girl’s Generation, TWICE, and SHINee are able to capture hearts around the globe. While K-pop is on the rise, Korean drama (Kdrama) is also making a name for itself. Through its talented actors and actresses, it has been able to make the audience, including myself, fall in love and express every emotion possible. Descendants of the Sun, Goblin, My Love From Another Star, and Boys Over Flowers are only a few out of the many dramas that manage to capture attention beyond Korea’s borders. With such a big entertainment industry, many fans and tourists alike travel to Korea to attend concerts and see for themselves.
Besides the entertainment, Korean cuisine is one of my absolute favorites and it is one of the many reasons why I’d love to go to Korea. Living in Southern California, with a large immigrant population, gives me the opportunity to taste different parts of the world, including Korea. Korean BBQ is a traditional meal where different types of meat, including beef, pork, and chicken, are grilled at the dinner table. In Korea, Korean BBQ is cheaper, more flavorful, and authentic. Along with the meat, a large variety of side dishes, including soups, vegetables, and sauces, are also served. An extremely popular side dish eaten at nearly every meal, including Korean BBQ, would be kimchi, spicy and sour fermented vegetables. Eating in Korea would also present fresher tastes as nearly all the ingredients are locally grown. Other than Korean BBQ, there is Tteokbokki, a popular street food consisting of spicy rice cakes, Bibimbap, “mixed rice” topped with a variety of ingredients, and Soondubu Jjigae, a spicy Korean tofu stew. With such mouthwatering foods, it’s hard for a foodie like me to resist South Korea.
Many people who do travel to South Korea feel as if they’ve passed through a time machine and into the future. South Korea is renowned for its advances and interest in cutting-edge technology. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is one of the world’s most wired cities. In fact, 95% of Korean households have access to high speed internet. Travelers to South Korea get to experience the fastest internet in the world. South Korea’s average internet speed at 29 megabits per second (MBps) measures to be 4.6 times as quick as the global average. South Koreans are able to scan QR codes at digital supermarkets and pay using their smartphones. South Korea also has great advances with robots. You can find robots in classrooms teaching students or guarding prisons. In addition to having the world’s fastest internet and a spectacular system of robots, South Korea is home to LG and Samsung, two of the world’s leading electronic companies. By travelling to South Korea, you can travel an extra five years into the future.
The saying, “Sleep is for the weak,” can definitely apply when traveling to South Korea. Nightlife in South Korea is buzzing with life and activity. Cafés, nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, and karaoke clubs tend to be open throughout the night. The Dongdaemun area of Seoul, South Korea consists of skyscraping shopping departments and open-air markets. Dongdaemun usually opens up at around 11 AM and close at 7 AM. With such a large time frame available, you can literally shop till you drop! McDonald’s and other food chains are open nearly 24 hours a day and even deliver, so if you don’t want to leave the premises of home and your hotel, you can always have them deliver any time of the day. Whether you like to party all night, eat out with friends, mindlessly wander the streets, or sing to your heart’s content, there’s no doubt South Korea’s nightlife has something for you to enjoy!
Traveling to South Korea is definitely on my bucket list. After all, with the life of a party, amazing cuisine, and the high tech availability, how can anyone resist giving it a shot? Whether or not South Korea may or may not satisfy your interests, you can’t deny that South Korea is loved by many.