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Video: 12 Strange Things in South Korea That Surprise an Inexperienced Traveler

VIDEO: 12 Strange Things in South Korea That Surprise an Inexperienced Traveler
06/11/2019 10:05 45.2K 1.8K 1.9M

Before going to an unfamiliar country, you need to know about its culture. Especially if you are going to Asia where the society still follows certain traditions and has a hierarchical structure. One of these traditional countries is South Korea with its frightening characteristics and unusual taboos.

So before you fill your belly with kimchi and then hit up a BTS concert, you’ll need to get acquainted with some South Korean “no-no’s” first. Here's the list of bizarre cultural faux pas and downright illegal bans of South Korea so that you won’t spoil your trip to the land of morning freshness.

Other videos you might like:
Never Do These Things in Foreign Countries 10 Crazy Things That Seem Hot in Foreign Countries 15 Strange Things That Seem Normal Only In South Korea

Don’t tip at restaurants 0:29
Don’t play with chopsticks 0:54
Don’t leave food on your plate 1:24
Stay away from the number 4 2:08
Don’t give gifts to your teacher 3:08
Don’t let your tattoos show 3:59
Don’t wear plunging necklines 4:41
Don’t make too much eye contact 5:31
Be careful when taking photos in public 6:17
Don’t get into arguments, especially with elders 7:00
Don’t blow your nose in public 8:02
Toilet talk isn’t taboo 8:41

#southkorea #traveling #strangerules

Music by Epidemic Sound

- Restaurant and café employees get paid really well, so tipping is seen as an incredibly rude gesture and a jab at their dignity.
- Holding the sticks vertically and sticking them vertically into rice are associated with death in South Korea because it resembles the incense sticks stuck in the sand at funerals.
- When visiting someone’s home in South Korea, it’s impolite to refuse refreshments and even more offensive if you don’t finish what’s been served.
- You might feel uneasy about the number 13, but a lot of countries in East Asia have the same attitude, only with the number 4.
- The age-old tradition of giving gifts to teachers for Teachers Day on May 15 was made illegal in South Korea back in September of 2016. The law prohibits teachers from receiving gifts from students or their parents.
- Many East Asian countries don’t like tattoos, and they’ve even managed to encode this into their laws. In South Korea, it’s illegal for tattoo artists to practice their work, and only licensed medical doctors are legally allowed to ink people.
- A lot of women there will stick to high necklines or wear layers under low-cut tops just to err on the side of caution. However, the attitude towards miniskirts is drastically different!
- It’s important to avoid looking directly into someone’s eyes if they’re older than you or they have a higher position (like your boss).
- If you’re out and about in the streets of Seoul (or anywhere in the country for that matter), never take photographs with strangers in the frame. It might land you a fine or a night spent at the police station.
- You might well be a rocket scientist, but in South Korea, you have to listen to your elders, especially if they’re rocket scientists, too. No, just kidding about that last part.
- You know it’s polite to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, but take extra precaution when it comes to blowing your nose in Korea.
- Now, this might come as a surprise given all the other things on this list, but talking about your #1 and #2 is totally normal in Korea! And I’m not just talking about between family, friends, or partners – even colleagues will go into great detail about their bodily functions!

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Comments (5,634)

    Hey there, BrightSiders, would you like to visit South Korea?

  • ARMY Mina Gomes
    ARMY Mina Gomes


  • ARMY Mina Gomes
    ARMY Mina Gomes

    I want !!!!!! As a BTS ARMY i want to visit South dream place😊😄😄😄

  • 단이 DANI
    단이 DANI

    Hi I'm DANI, a beauty youtuber in Korea. 🇰🇷🇰🇷 Your video is very interesting. I've subscribed, so I'll come to watch your video often

  • The Perfect lord
    The Perfect lord

    Yes, obviously, cuz my favourite bouband, BTS is from there n I'd surely like to meet them one day there 😍

  • A 30 family
    A 30 family

    who does'nt like visiting s.korea????🤔🤔🤔

  • Lora Gradinarova
    Lora Gradinarova

    no what for I'll break some rule 100% without even knowing it

  • Salti

    Yup but I’m too young so I have to wait a bit heh

  • Kathy Carlssen
    Kathy Carlssen

    Waitstaff in restaurants are well-paid?? Hoho....good joke there. 😢 When the minimum wage was raised to a near livable amount, people lost their jobs. Maybe BS is talking about some swank place downtown. But the mom and pop places in normal neighborhoods cannot afford to pay generously. Relatives get dragged into work or hours are shortened. Survival is not easy these days. 😵

  • ng đc jlhjkhoc nguyen
    ng đc jlhjkhoc nguyen

    Yes standing in my house to haven free size s from the night sky and the taste in one's mouth the day after

  • 국제커플제주 고고브리
    국제커플제주 고고브리

    Some of this information is correct, but some of it is outdated. While tattoos are not viewed in the same light as in western countries, there are plenty of young Koreans who have ink. As a foreigner, most Koreans won’t care that you have a tattoo (so long as you can cover it for work). If you’re just visiting, most people couldn’t care less.

  • sheine bee
    sheine bee

    Why does idols sneeze in front of their fans Charrrrr

  • powerpunch 5678
    powerpunch 5678

    I live in India and in India teachers day is on 5 September

  • Jun park
    Jun park

    Leaving food is no problem in Korea. I m a korean

  • ᄒ-ᄒTaeSHOOK

    I lived in korea for 3 years and I feel like they added some fake infos in here to fill up space

  • 박준수

    I don't like culture of south korea

  • Swee Loong Thong
    Swee Loong Thong

    I always wish to travel to South K and Japan. “Before you go eating Kimchi” = Me:Laughing “And go to BTS concert” = Me: Mom! We need to cancel the tickets! “Avoid the number 4” = My lucky number 😭

  • Ahn James
    Ahn James

    There is distorted information in this video... 3. "Don't leave behind the food" You can leave your food behind... I mean why would we be angry or be mad at customers who left their food at the restaurant...(especially the side dishes. It is super rare to see people even for Korean who actually finish their side dishes...) 6. "Don't expose tattoos" Yes, Korean society sees the tattoo as a negative thing. However, this view has been constantly changing and a lot of people are now okay with tattoos. (and tbh, nobody cares...) 7. "Don't wear Plunging necklines" (Sign)... People do wear exposed top clothes... I mean, we are not living in a society that prohibits peoples' fashion style... Plus, some other points were over-exaggerated and misleading our TRUE culture... Also... "Before you fill your belly with kimchi..." That's a big yikes for me...

  • Kyla Eunice
    Kyla Eunice


  • Krystal Java
    Krystal Java

    Here's my tip for the number 4, say either 3 or 5. Thank me later.

  • Error 'n Janelle[Errorelle]
    Error 'n Janelle[Errorelle]

    'Dont let your tattoos show' BTS Jimin: Yolo (I mean I'm not sure if it's a real tattoo but please hes ripped his shirt with a fake one) And it's illegal to sell gum in my country :)