Lost In Korea – Korea FTW!Solo Travel, south korea, Working Abroad — By KissairisM on April 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm
by Kissairis Munoz
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about all the quirky aspects of Korea that I still don’t understand. And while it was fun to dish on the things I haven’t fully embraced yet, there are so many random things that I’ve come to love. Here are some of my favorites.
Cheap healthcare? Yes, please.
Coming here from the US, my mind has been blown at the affordability of healthcare in Korea. Doctor’s visits for $5. Getting my teeth cleaned for $30. Even my dermatologist charges only $10 a visit! I came back from a trip to Thailand with a souvenir that wouldn’t go away — a raging stomach bug. After a trip to the emergency room and an IV in my arm for five hours, my hospital bill was a whopping $20. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s been speedy and top of the line care as well. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I even got LASIK eye surgery here. I received amazing care at half the price of what it costs at home. That’s what I call a bargain.
Koreans got it right on how easily things should get done. You can pay your monthly utility bills at the post office or 7-Eleven for no charge. ATMs fees from an out-of-network bank range from 60 cents to $1. Pay for your taxi — or even your makeup at one Korean cosmetics chain — with your subway card. Does it get any easier? I don’t think so.
Never feel self-conscious.
One of the first things I noticed about Korea was that people check themselves out everywhere. At home, if you walk by a storefront window, you try to sneak a peek at yourself while making sure no one notices. Here, it’s no big deal for girls orguys to stand and primp whenever possible. There are whole sections of public bathrooms devoted to mirror space for touching up your makeup. You’ll see guys styling their hair and girls painting their nails on the subway. As weird as it was at first, now it’s pretty sweet. Every place is your living room! That and no one bats an eyelash as you fix your hair or adjust your tights. Honorable mention: dogs with dyed hair.
It’s embarrassing when a canine is more stylish than you.
Keep warm with heated floors.
This might not be on the same level as cheap meds but after surviving a particularly brutal winter here, it deserves a shout out. Winters in Korea are cold and windy. But thanks to the way the heating systems are set up, the heat comes up from the floor and warms up rooms that way. Say goodbye to cold winter toes and hello to toasty feet. Honorable mention: heated toilet seats. You never know what you’re missing until you sit on one in the dead of winter.
Photo credit: Omar Omar/flickr, Kissairis Munoz
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