10 Things You Should Absolutely Avoid Doing in South Korea
Faux pas in South Korea you should try to avoid as a tourist.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
South Koreans are quite straightforward people. They have unique cultural characteristic. It's exciting to visit South Korea, especially if you have been exposed to the world of K-drama.
As a traveler to South Korea, you should avoid certain faux pas when you visit the country. We shall take a look at a few No-No's that you should absolutely avoid when visiting South Korea.
10 Things You Should Avoid Doing In South Korea
한국에서 피해야 할 것들
1. Drinking Etiquette
South Koreans love their alcohol. They follow certain rules when drinking. If a younger person drinks with elders or seniors, then one needs to turn the head away and drink so that the elder/senior won't see them.
Turning the face away before taking a sip is a polite way of drinking in front of your elders in South Korea. You can even cover your face with a hand and drink.
2. Speak Softly
It is important to control your volume when talking on the streets or on public transport. It's considered rude if you are loud when talking.
3. Clothing Etiquette
It's normal to see South Korean girls and women to wear short skirts and shorts. However, low cut-tops or exposed shoulders are still considered taboo.
4. No Shoes Indoor
When in South Korea, be sure you remove your shoes outside before entering a house, temple, or even certain school. They have home slippers for you to wear indoors.
5. Avoid Random Seat on Public Transport
It is important to check if the seat on public transport is not reserved for the elderly, differently-abled, or even pregnant women.
If you sit on a reserved seat, be ready to be scolded by an elderly or get piercing looks from strangers.
6. Never Leave Chopsticks in Rice
It is a bad omen if you leave your chopsticks in your rice bowl upright. They resemble the incense sticks burned at a funeral. Thus, indicating you are inviting death to a dinner table.
7. Use of Both Hands
In case of accepting or giving gifts or shaking hands when greeting, make sure you use both hands and offer a slight bow. Even placing your left hand on your right wrist when exchanging cards is accepted.
8. Be Careful When Mentioning Japan
The Koreans have a long, complicated history with Japan. There are many instances in history that makes people sensitive regarding their relationship with Japan. So be extra careful when mentioning Japan.
9. Be Prepared to Answer Your Age
Don't be offended if a stranger asks your age before your name. It is common in Korea to ask about age when striking up a conversation.
Asking age will help the person treat you like a hyeong (형), Namdongsaeng (남동생), or chingu (친구). Age helps determine if one needs to speak formally or informally with another person.
10. Never Use Red Ink
Never write a person's name in red ink. The reason being, in olden times, the names of the departed souls were written in red. It would be better to stick to black or blue when writing someone's name.
These are just a few things that help you follow the local etiquette in South Korea. Although most Koreans won't be offended by faux pas by foreigners, it is good to try and follow the local traditions.