How to buy a subway ticket and how to take subway in Korea(with Pictures)

Recently I forgot to bring my credit card from home to go to work that I had to buy the subway ticket for taking a subway. Fyi, most of the credit card in Korea has the IC chip inside that it is possible to pay the transportation fee just placing the credit card in the machine.

So on that day, I had an idea for taking all the pictures while I’m using the subway ticket and posting about how to buy a subway ticket in Korea. I will start introducing!

Taking the subway in Seoul is a best way to travel in Seoul. As you can see a lot of subway stations in Seoul in below map, you can go almost everywhere just with the subway.

If you want to see the full size of Seoul subway map go to the below link.
http://seoulsublet.com/subway-metro-map/

Step 1

First, you have to go to the subway vending machine and prepare the cash. The basic fare is 1,350KRW(about 1 dollar) and the there is an addtional fee depend on the distance; 100KRW(about 1 cent) for each 6.2mile(=10Km).
Press the English language button than you can see every info. in English.

Press the most left part of the button in picture as it is the ‘Choosing travel destination(목적지 선택)’. Then the in the screen it appears the amount of cash I have to put.

Put the cash in the ‘insert bills here’ part in the above picture which is in the left side. Then you can have the change with the subway card.

Don’t forget to return the subway card in later when you arrive the destination. If you return, you can get back the subway card deposit. The amount is 500KRW(about 0.5 dollar). Now it is done for the buying ticket.:)

Place the subway card in the entrance then you can go inside. Now take the subway to the destination. All the Seoul subway line do the English services that you don’t have to worry about missing the station. Check the subway map and listen the women’s English voice in subway, you can’t miss it!

Now I arrive in destination. But when I place the subway card in the machine it says ‘my subway card balance is lack’ that I had to go to the ‘Deposit Refund Machine’. I think maybe I pressed the wrong subway destination when I buy the subway ticket.


There is a ‘Fare Adjustment and card reload machine’ when you go upstairs after you leave the subway.


First put my card in number 1 part where is red in above picture. Then the lack amount appear in the screen. I put the cash inside the machine then the subway card is charged.


Place the charged card in the subway entrance. Now the last step is left.


You have to go to the ‘Deposit Refund Machine’.


Insert the used subway card where the arrow is in above picture.


When you return the cared, you will receive 500KRW(about 0.5 dollar) with a coin.

Thanks for reading.:) If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

6 Types of Korean Popular Bibimbap

As you might already know the Bibimbap is one of the popular Korean dish and Korean eat the Bibimbap often. But did you know there are diverse types of Bibimbap that Korean commonly eat in daily life?

In fact, there are so many types of Bibimbap depends on the ingredients inside but today I will introduce the most popular 5 types of Korean Bibimbap.

The Bibimbap word could be divided to Bibim(비빔) and Bap(밥). The Bibim means mix and the Bap means rice. So the Bibimbap means ‘Mixed Rice’. When we eat the Bibimbap first we have to mix the rice and the other ingredients that this meaning make sense.

1. Jeonju Bibimbap(전주비빔밥)

Jeonju is the region in Korea where located in South. There are many other Korea region’s Bibimbab, but the Jeonju Bibimbap is the most popular regional Bibimbap.

You can check the Jeonju location in below map. Jeonju is located in south of Korea.

The taste of the Jeonju Bibimbap could be different from the restaurant and the season. There are about 30 kinds of Jeonju Bibimbap’s ingredients and the ingredients in the bibimbap can be changed depends on the season. The main ingredients are rice,bean sprouts, gochujang(Korean red pepper paste), stir-fried beef, egg and sesame oil. These are the basic ingredients that it is like the fixed ingredient. But the minor ingredients are spinach, bracken, Songi muchroom,green pumpkin…etc. and these could be changed depend of the restaurant.

The two main characteristics for the Jeonju Bibimbap are in below.

1) The way of making rice

The most common way of making rice is boil rice just with water, but the Jeonju Bibimbbap’s rice is quite special. They use the meat broth water for making rice. The adventage of using the meat broth water is the gain of rice does not stick together that it is good to mix the rice with the other ingredients.

2) Bean sprouts soup

One of the Korean food’s characteristics is the side dish, rice, soup comes together. For the Jeonju Bibimbap, usually bean sprouts soup is served with the bibimbap.

3) Use the raw egg

Many kinds of Bibimbap use the fried eggs but the Jeonju Bibimbap use the raw egg.

2. Dolsot-Bibimbap(돌솥비빔밥)

Dolsot(돌솥) means the stone pot. Dolsot-Bibimbap is served in a very hot stone pot that the food is still getting cooked when you are eating. When you are eating you need to be careful as the Dolsot-Bibimbap is usually really hot!

One of the Dolsot-Bibimbap’s characters is in the Nurungji(누룽지). Nurugji is the crust of overcooked rice as you can see in below picture.

Dolsot-Bibimbap is keep cooked in hot stone pot even when you are eating that the Nurungji(=crust of overcooked rice) is naturally made. The Nurungji’s taste is crispy that many people like it including me.:)

Usually the Dolsot-Bibimbap’s price is little expensive than the normal bibimbap.

3. Yukhoe Bibimbap(육회 비빔밥)

Yukhoe Bibimbap means the raw meat Bibimbap. The origin of the raw meat Bibimbap is in the Japanese invasions of Korea war on 1592~1598. During the war women made the food and carried to the soldier but there were no time to prepare the side dish and the soup in separately that the women gave the lean meat and the seasoned vegetables with the rice. This is how the raw meat Bibimbap is made.

4. Sliced Raw Fish Bibmbap(회비빔밥)

Raw fish Bibimbap is the Sashimi Bibimbap. In Korean it is called Hoe-Bibimbap(회비빔밥) as the Hoe(회) means the raw fish. It is also the popular food in Korea. Korea is on the peninsula that the fish is a major part of Korean cuisine and the Raw fish Bibimbap is the common food.

You can see the raw fish, veggies and rice are mixed in a spoon. Sometimes when people are eating the raw fish just with dipping in red chili-pepper paste and felt the amount of the raw fish is lack they mixed the remain raw fish, veggies, rice and mix it. Then the people could not feel the raw fish is shortage.

5. Bean Sprouts Bibimbap(콩나물 비빔밥)

The characteristic of the Bean Sprouts Bibimbap is in the seasoning. Most of the Bibimbap use the Goghujang(=red pepper paste) but the Bean Sprouts Bibimbap uses the soy sauce as you can see in below.

The people who like the spicy food put the dried red pepper powder in the soy sauce.

6. Sanchae Bibimbap(산채비빔밥)

Sanche Bibimbap means the mountain Vegetable Bibimbap. It does not have the meat for the ingredient. One of the origin of the Sanche Bibimbap is in the Buddhist monk. When the monks live in the mountain they made the Sanche Bibimbap with using the wild greens ingredients.

One of the popular temple foods in Korea is the Sanche Bibimbap as this food does not use the meat in ingredients. You can check the mixed Sanche Bibimbap in below.

The sesame oil makes the rice tastes more aromatic and soft.

Thanks for reading.:)

If you have any questions, please leave the comment.

Gwangjang Market-Explore the Korean food and Clothes-Part 2

In Gwangjang Market-Explore the Korean food-Part 1 I wrote about the most famous food type, but in part 2 I will write more about my experience with the food I ate and also the clothes shopping tips. In Gwangjang market there are lots of the food markets and also the other types of the market which are selling the fabric, Korean traditional clothes…etc.

When I went to the Gywnagjang market, I first ate the Drug Kimbab(마약김밥) with the Korean fish cake(오뎅) and Tteok-bokki(떡볶이: Korean rice cake) for lunch. The good thing is it was in a one combination menu that I could taste the diverse food at a cheap price. I only paid 5000 Won(about 5 dollars).
The food taste was also good!

When I was eating the food at a street food place and I could see many people came and ordered the food that the drug Kimbab(마약김밥) all runout and they were making quickly again.


This was the street food place I ate the lunch. You see the picture you could see the chair is colored like the foil.

The good thing is heat ray was inside the chair that it was okay to eat food in cold winter even the restaurant is in outside.

After I ate lunch, I choose the Sweet Rice and Suger-filled Korean Pancake(호떡) for a dessert.

It was just cooked that the taste was so good! I walked around the market with eating the Korean pancake.


This is the daily supplies market.


There are many stores where selling the clothes and the fabric in a cheap price that people also visit the Gwangjang market for buying clothes. Normally, it is crowded on Saturday or on weekdays night that if you don’t like the crowds I recommend to go there on a weekday afternoon.

There are four tips to shop clothes in Gwangjang market.

First, decide the clothes you want to buy. Comparing the Korea department store such as Lotte, Hyundai, Shinsegae department,there are so many stores that if you don’t decide what to buy, you will be exhausted for looking all the clothes.

Second, bring the cash.

Normally, you can pay with credit card almost everywhere in Korea but not the Korea traditional market. If you try to pay with the credit card the store person doesn’t like and normally say “You have to pay 10% additional price because of the tax”. So bring the cash and pay with it.

Third, don’t accept the first price.

This will be same as the other countries market. It is possible to bargain the price and make the lower price.:) The store person might say “Basically the price is 30K won but I will give you in 10K won”.(30K KRW is about 30 USD). But don’t accept the first price and bargain the price. Then you might be able to buy at a more lower price! Also, remember the few Korean word such as “lower the price please(가격 깎아주세요)” or “It is expensive(너무 비싸요)”. The Gwangjang market’s store people are usually the old Korean that many of them can’t speak English.

If you like to know the basic Korean language which is useful for shopping click here.

The last tip is you have to know your clothes size well before starting shopping in Gwangjang market. Most of the clothes stores in the market are small that normally there is no fitting room inside the clothes stores. So it is hard to wear the clothes before purchasing that knowing your size will help you to buy the right size clothes.

Thanks for reading.:)

Gwangjang Market-Explore the Korean food-Part 1


My home is quite far from the Gwangjang market, but I had a chance to visit the north part of the Seoul to buy clothes, and on a way home I visited the Gwangjang Market.

This is the Seoul map and the Gwangjang market is in the red part. The arrow in the picture says Gwangjang market Korean pancake, raw beef, drug Kimbab(광장시장 전&육회&마약김밥).


After I entered the market I could see lots of people are in there.

After I passed the other market I finally went in the food market part! In Gwangjang market the below three foods are famous.

1. Drug Kimbab(마약김밥)

The reason why the drug is in the name is not it has the drug inside but it means the Kimbab is really tasty and is easy to be addicted to the drug. The size of Drug kimbab is smaller than other normal Korean Kimbab.

2. Bindaetteok(빈대떡)

Bindaetteok(빈대떡)is the mung-bean pancake and it is one of the famous traditional Korean pancakes.

3. Korean Style Raw Beef(육회)


The way of eating the Raw beef is first mix the raw beef with the egg and then eat! You can check the pictures of the step is in below.

Many people also eat the Raw Tartare Bibimbap(육회 비빔밥).

The difference of Raw tartare Bibimbap and the normal Korean Bibimbap is just the Raw Beef was added in ingredient.

-Gwangjang Market address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 88 (예지동)
-Gwangjang Market open hour: General stores: 08:30-18:00
Restaurants: 08:30-23:00
Clothing stores: 21:00-10:00 (Next day)

You can check the more Korean foods and the clothes shopping tips in Gwangjang Market-Explore the Korean food and clothes-Part 2 article which I will post in next week.

Thanks for reading:)

Is there Kimchi Refregirator in each Korea home?

The answer is YES. Kimchi is traditional Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings and eats Kimchi all the year. Until the mid-1990’s when the Gimjang(김장: making Kimchi) is done, each Korean home put the Kimchi in a crock pot and buried underground as the picture you can see in below.

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Korean take out the Kimchi little by little when want to eat.

Now, most of the Korean live in an apartment without a garden, people put Kimchi in the refrigerator. However, the Kimchi in regular refrigerator easily got too sour that people had to make Kimchi often. This is because usually, people open the refrigerator often as there are various food and beverage in there and then the refrigerator’s temperature changes. Is is not a good condition for Kimchi.

Meanwhile, Kimchi refrigerator is just for keeping Kimchi fresh and 85% of all Korea households have Kimchi refrigerator. The good thing is Korean already have the normal refrigerator that can prevent opening the Kimchi refrigerator often. It was first created in 1992, there was only the cover type’s Kimchi refrigerator.

Currently, Kimchi refrigerator has two types of its design.

1. Cover Type


This was the first type of Kimch. Currently, people does not use the cover type a lot, and most of people buy Stand type or Stand combination type.

2. Stand Type

The adventage of the stand type is it is easy to take out the Kimchi from the refregerator comparing the cover type.

3. Stand Combination Type


This is the type for putting both normal eating food and the Kimchi in one refrigerator.You might have a question of “what is a difference of the stand combination type and the stand type?”. In fact, Kimchi’s appropriate temperature is a little different with the normal food. Also, Kimchi needs time to be matured after the Kimchi is first made and putten in Kimchi refrigerator. When the Kimchi is in mature, the refrigerator temperature will be higher than for the normal food that if we put together the other food will go bad. Accordingly, the Kimchi and other food need to be in different part in the refrigerator.

After the Kimchi is matured, the Kimchi is kept in cooler temperature comparing the normal refrigerator and normally we don’t open the door often that many people put the veggies and fruit to Kimchi refrigerator to keep it fresh. My mom also do when has to keep the veggies and fruit for 5-8 days more in a home. When I eat the fruit, I can feel the fruit kept in Kimchi refrigerator is more fresh.

Thanks for reading.:)

4 unusual things about Korean culture

Each country has a different culture and the people habits are also different. Some of the Korea life cultures might be surprised to you. Today I will introduce 5 Korean common habits which I’ve heard it is wired from foreigners.

1. Leave the laptop on the table and go washroom

If you are in Korea, you might see many people leave the laptop when they go the washroom. I was in a coffee shop in Korea with US friend and she asked me “why people leave the laptop on the table? Aren’t people stole the laptop if it is on the table in public place?”
Before I’ve didn’t think seriously about my laptop could be stolen if I leave in public place. I think it is one of the cultures in Asia. Many people in Japan also leave their laptop on a table in a coffee shop and go the washroom. I saw some person leave a laptop on a cafe table, came back in 1 hour and it was still there.

2. Put Smart Phone or purse on table to save a seat


If you visit the restaurant and cafe you could see some people put the smartphone on a table to save a seat. I could see fewer people do than 3-5 years before, but still, there are few people who do put the smartphone on the table and leave there in few minutes. You could see in Japan too.

That doesn’t mean theft doesn’t exist in Korea. But the pickpockets and thieves are not high in Korea that people don’t worry for their stuff to be stolen.

2. Go toilet with friends

When I was in elementary school from fist grade to third grade, I could see many of the girl students went to the washroom together and even some of them went inside the toilet together.
This is because I assume young girl students thought going toilet together is one of the proof they could show to others as “WE ARE CLOSE FRIEND”.

When the students go to the upper grades in elementary school, fewer students go inside the toilet together, but many of them got the washroom together. I think it is one of the Korea friendship cultures.

3. Cross arm with the same sex

When you walk on the street in Korea you could easily see the girls and women walking with arms linked around the elbows, touching skin-on-skin. Or sometimes you could see the girls are holding hands with they are walking. I’ve heard there are other Asian countries where also has this similar culture. In Korea, cross arm with a friend is not mean the homosexual relationship. It is just the one of the expression that they are close.

4. Go clinic often

Much Korean go clinic(small private hospital) even with the little cold. Definitely, Korean go clinic goes often than American. But it does not mean Korean got cold more often than American.
Korea medical fee is much cheaper than the US. When people go clinic for cold in Korea it cost about $4 for a check-up and cost about $5 for the medicine. This is because every Korea citizen is registered in Korea national health insurance and much of them additionally registered in private health insurance. Accordingly, it does not cost a lot for going a clinic, especially with the light cold.

Thanks for reading:)

If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

How Korean make Kimchi in home?-Part 1 Shopping

Kimchi is one of the essential food for Korean and people eat it at nearly every meal. Now many Korean buy the packed Kimchi product but still lots of Korean families make Kimchi in a home. Today I will introduce about what I went shopping today for buying Kimchi making ingredients.

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This is the packed Kimchi. Making Kimchi is a hard work that many people buy packed Kimchi instead making it.

Kimjang(김장) is the traditional process of preparing cabbages for fermentation into Kimchi. Usually, cabbage for Kimchi is most delicious in November that Korean usually do the Kimjang between the end of the November and early December. My family planned to do the Kimjang in next Monday(Dec. 5th) that me and my mom went the big market for buying the ingredients.

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In above picture, it says ‘Kimjang vegetable collection'(김장채소 모음전). Currently, it is the Kimjang season in Korea that the market I went today made the new sell section only for selling the Kimjang ingredient.

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There are many kinds of Kimchi but broadly it is divided into cabbage kimchi and radish Kimchi. My mom decided to make the radish Kimchi which is called Kkakdugi(깍두기) in Korean that we bought the radish.

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It is my cart for Gimjang shopping. It got full of the radish and other Kimjang ingredients.

For making the Kimchi, first the cabbage needs to be salted. But it needs a lot of effort to put the salt in every cabbage leaf as you can see in below that many Korean buy the cabbage which is already salted.

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-6-23-43-pm Continue reading

Korean Street Food eating Habit-Bunsik part 2

I introduced in Bunsik part 1, how much Korean love eating street food with dipping the food in the sauce. Today I will introduce another Korean eating habit and good combination menu to order in Bunsik restaurant.

1. Crush a boiled egg in Ttobokki(떡볶이)

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Normally one or two boiled eggs are in Ttobokki. Some Korean like to crush a egg in Ttobokki and eat with the sauce.

2. Frying powder in Odeng-tang(오뎅탕/Fish cake soup) or in Tteok-bokki soup(국물 떡볶이)

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The left one is fish cake soup with frying powder, and right one is Ttobokki with frying powder.

3. Completely mix rice balls(Ju-Mok-Bap/주먹밥) in Tobokki

Some Korean who really love sauce even put the rice balls into the Ttobokki sauce and eat after mix.

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Right one is the picture rice balls mixed with Ttobokki sauce.

Some Korean Bunsik restaurant made new menu which already foods are dipped in Ttobokki sauce. I think this is because they found Korean like sauce.

The new menu with sauce is:

1. Fried food with Ttobokki sauce.

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This dish already has the sauce in it that people no need to additionally order Ttobokki for the sauce.

2. Fried rice with Ttobokki sauce.

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Thanks for reading. 🙂

Korean Street Food eating Habit-Bunsik part 1

Bunsik(분식) literally means “food made from flour” like Ramyeon, noodles, bread, but currently all the cheap food which sells in Bunsik restaurant are all include, such as Tteok-Bokki(떡볶이), Gimbap(김밥), Sundae(순대), Fish cake(어묵).

“Dip the food into the Sauce” is a typical Korean eating habit which you could easily see in Korea.

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This picture eating cucumber and pepper with red pepper paste(Gochujang).

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This is onion eating with chunjang(Back soybean). Many Korean eat like this in Korean Chinese restaurant.

Today I will introduce how Korean love eating street food with sauce. Korean use Ttokbokki or Rabokki’s soup for the souse and some people dipping almost all the food when eating.

1. Gimbap(김밥) in Ttokbokki

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2. Korean spring rolls in seaweed(Gimmari-김말이) in Ttokbokki(떡볶이)

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3. Sundae(순대) in Ttokbokki(떡볶이)

Sundae(순대) is originally made by steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients. It is similar with Sausages as it originally also made by stuffing an animal’s internal organs into its intestines.

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4. Chicken in Ttobokki

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5. Rice balls in Ttokbokki

Rice balls are traditional Korean and Japanese food. Not all but quite a lot of Korean Bunsik(분식) restaurant also have rice balls.

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6. Fried food in Ttokbokki

Normally there are various kinds of fired food in Korean Bunsik restaurants;veggies fried, squid fried, perilla leaves fried, pepper fried, shrimp fried, sweet potato fried…etc.

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Type of the fired food doesn’t matter. Many Korean prefer eating fried food after dipping in Ttokbokki sauce.

7. Odeng(fish cake) with Ttokbokki

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In next time I will introduce another Korean Bunsik eating habit.

Thanks for reading.:)

Cheong-gye-san mountain hiking story

Cheong-gye-san(청계산) mountain is extended from Seoul to Gyeonggi-do(경기도), and it is one of the popular mountains which many Korean visit. After the Cheonggyesan station opened on 2011, going to the Cheong-gye-san got more convenient. I hiked the Cheong-gye-san(청계산) mountains in weekend as it is easy to go the mountain if I take new Shinbundang Line.

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Take the gate 3 exit and walk through the road, you could see the Wonteogol(원터골) passageway. I’ve walked the below course which is about 1.86miles(3km) and it took about 1hr 30min. The Maebong peak is 1911ft(582.5m).

“Wonteogol Entrance->Wonteogol Yaksuteo(mineral spring)->Kkalttakgogae Ridge->Heliport->Maebong Peak.” If you like to know more about the Cheong-gye-san’s course click here.

If you keep walking you could find the Cheong-gye-san mountain’s entrance. The weather was good and it was weekend that I could see lots of people were hiking the mountain. If you hike the 청계산 you could see many huge rocks.

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One of the rock which you can see in below is called Door rock(돌문바위) as the rock has a open space like a opened door.

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In above picture’s sign it says ‘Receive the vital force of Mt. Cheong-gye'(청계산의 정기를 듬뿍 받아가세요). I could see many people are walking around the rock.

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This is just before the top of the mountain. The view was awesome and I could see the Jamsil-dong with lotte building.

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The road just before the top of the mountain is quite steep.

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This is the top of the mountain.

Thanks for reading.:)