I been in Korea since December 2018 for on-site commisioning (working stuff) and just come back to Malaysia on February 2019. Entering Korea with Short-temployee (단기취업) - visa C4 and allow me to stay in South Korea for a maximum period of 90 days.
Brace yourself, winter is coming!
On december until end of february there will be winter season. I asked people around what to be prepare since I don’t like cool temperature! I start preparing my stuff before fly to South Korea. I spent almost ∓ MYR 1,200 to buy hand heater, winter jacket, long john shirt and pant, lots of food, ceramic cooker and new luggage bag.
Thanks God, my company kindly understand for muslim like me, it will be harder to find halal food in South Korea and I need to bring halal food together with me. I provided a flight ticket with extra 10kg of checking luggage instead of only 20kg for normal ticket, which now total of 30kg. Yeah, I bring lot of food with me!
Honestly, I would like to say there is many Malaysian people are in Seoul city! It everywhere..LOL
I staying on hotel Bella (호텔벨라) near to Bansong-dong, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do. Yeah, it quite far from Seoul and no Malaysian people around except me and my partner. I think this is couple hotel, pfu.. almost everyday I can see couple check-in and bum-bum (do sexual stuff). The wall is not sound proof, I can hear the girl moaning from my neighbours room on same floor..LOL, any how..actually,this is stupid because it disturbing my sleep and my rest time.
Korean people are shy but friendly, most of them don’t know how to communicate using English. You need to learn they mother of tongue language or just try to survive anyway. I choose to survive and try to adapt with them.
The coldest temperature I gone through was -10℃ when heavy snow fall from the sky..
Does South Korea have fastest internet no #1 in world?
Actually, connection speed just same like Malaysia but they don’t capped the bandwith. Unfortunately, every connection in monitored by Korean goverment. Internet censorship are happening here.
I cannot watch Youtube video that contain aggresive stuff (I just trying to watch martial art video). You need to have korean phone number for verification. P2P torrent and IRC are usable. No port was blocked. Lot of seeders and peers comes from this country, if you are kind of downloader person then surely you will love it.
I have international driving license and I got Kia Sorento car for my transportation. It took me 1 days to get familiar with the road. There lot of CCTV and speeding camera around.
For public transportation, you can use subway or bus to go anywhere you want. Grab T-money from convenience store, it much easier instead of bringing splitted cash just for fare. If you able to find Korea Tour Card instead of T-Money, then it will be better because you may get a discounted price ticket of Everland / Lotte World / Petite France, or even additional discounts at shopping centers, restaurants, and theaters with Korea Tour Card.
Download Naver map or Kakao map or Kakao Drive on you mobile phone for functionality such as GPS navigation, public transportation fare, parking and alarm for speeding camera. For Naver map, you need Korean phone number for verification before using the GPS route when driving. I use Kakao Map and Kakao Drive when driving, Naver map when using bus and Kakao Subway when using subway.
Don’t use google map when driving, because it useless and outdated. South Korea bars exporting local mapping data to foreign companies because of the overt threat of North Korea.
Always respect pedestrian cross/walkway, you don’t want to hit or you will be in big trouble.
Buses and lorries are stupid, they change road line without concerning CITO aka MSLM (MIRROR, SIGNAL, LOOK BACK FOR BLINDSPOT, MANEUVER). It quite dangerous if you drive to close with them.
Be careful when driving during winter. Road are slippery, slow down when taking a corner or changing road line. If winter are too heavy, please consider to put chain on your vehicle tyres.
You must drive on right lane, not left lane. So driver position are on left side of the vehicles. Parking are so small, so you need to squeezy around into the parking lot. Anyway, cars are cheap here, so mostly Korean people buy branded and big car. Combine if this two infomation, good luck if you are fat guy who trying to open car windows after parking. Hahaha..
If you comes to South Korea, there is some halal food restaurant at Seoul. Careful with food stall at Dongdaemun, please try to avoid and don’t trust Halal signboard. They may using alcohol or pork ingredients. There is lot of comfirmed halal food to eat, so please avoid doubtful (vaguely halal and haram) food on the street.
I recommend you to eat at Rasaku restaurant at Ittewon and Kampungku restaurant at Dongdaemun.
Lot of snack and instant food contain prohibited ingredients. If you are using Google translator to read those ingredients information. It maybe inaccurate, because Google translator cannot properly understand Korean language. You might want to try Papago Translator which is developed bu Naver company, but it don’t have camera instant translator. Else just try ask the seller / cashier if they are around, ask them are this food contain meat or alcohol by showing pig and alcohol picture and use sign language to them (act like you are mute, not blind)
If you prefer to speak, here some of word that I know and might be helpful:
I dont eat meat;
“전 고기를 안 먹어요.” – Jun gogi reul an muguyo.
I can only eat vegetable and seafood:
“야채와 해산물 요리를 먹을 수 있어요” – yache wa hesanmul yori rel mogelsu isso yo
I don’t drink alcohol:
“저는 술 안 마셔요” – jo nen sul an masho yo
So now, you understand why I bring lot of food from home to here?
I visited Suwon and Ittewon, there is musolla or mosque that you can pray here. Since Suwon is much near to me, I go to Ashrafia Masjid / Suwon Mosque (Kyung Hee Islamic Center) for Friday prayer. Don’t expect to much, I prefer to called it as musolla, it just like a office room, anyway Alhamdulillah it good enough for Friday prayer. You can find mosque at Ittewon. Most of muslim people are live here. You can find lot of Halal food restaurant and convenience store here.
How I take ablution / Wudhu during cool weather? Like normaly I does in Malaysia, because this is the what I feel right. Yeah, it freeze me up. You might want to read “Fikah Luar Negara – Mudah Praktik Islam di Mana-mana” written by Maszlee Malik & Hamidah Mat to understand more about taking ablution during winter. I also looking for this book now.
Prayer time are too different, even Korea just 1 hour ahead from Malaysia. I use “My Prayers” mobile application. The timing for Fajar is around 4:30AM, Zuhr around 11:50AM, Asar around 2:50PM, Maghrib around 5:30PM and Isha around 6:40PM. Friday pray normally start at 12:30PM at Ashrafia Suwon Mosque (Kyung Hee Islamic Center).
Korean working style
There is a slogan “Korean work fast, fast, fast!”, anyway I am a disipline guy who trust in systems development life cycle. I have lot of thing to complaint, but I just keep it down. Anyway, it end up good and smooth :)
There is lot of celebration just like us, so there is lot of public holiday also in South Korea.
They also like to celebrate unlocked achievement, same like Japanese and Austrian.
Hurm.. there is not much to talk about this topic…
Souvenir from korea
Here some shopping tips, go to Namdaemun Market (남대문시장) and try to find yellow building. Go and find any store that put Ringgit Malaysia in front of they shop. They are friendly and cheaper compare to other shop and location. T-shirt also cheaper here compare to other place. Go across to next building, there you can find brooch and bracelet, use my previous tips by finding any store that put Ringgit Malaysia in front of they shop.
If you go to Dongdaemun, please dont come too early. Around 12:00PM is prefect, you can rest and eat and around 02:15 PM you can go to Dongdaemun flea market. On Sunday, there is alway promotion at cosmetic shop. I prefer with Natural Republic, they can deduct duty free directly and discount price for traveller (bring your visa). If you fan of K-popers, go to underground (subway), there is some shop selling k-popers stuff there.
There is some other place, but but I forgot the name but this two is enough for you. Hehe~
안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo)
Let say goodbye for now, I not sure if I need to come again to South Korea for supporting this project again or for next other project. Everything is pricey here, I don’t like it. I am just a poor guy :’(
I took Airport Limousine Bus (I need to walk around 7 minutes from my hotel). I so sleepy, luckly I don’t miss Incheon Airport terminal 1 bus stop.
My flight ticket are Air Asia Premium Flex, so I don’t need to que so long but somehow the operator lady during luggage check-in are so rude. Hurmm.. Maybe I not handsome enough, my hair are messy and I am smelly ( because I wearing long john and winter jacket, now I am perspire like just having a suana)..Hahaha
Flight departed on 03:10 PM and arrived around 10:00 PM. Alhamdulillah…
Now I can eat nasi lemak, roti canai and ayam goreng!