I know a lot of you are looking to travel to Korea in the future and you may or may not have a travel buddy. I thought I'd share some of my tips and activities I'd suggest for solo travelers here in Seoul!
The first 4 tips deal with activities that are often hard to do alone here in Seoul such as eating, going to a spa, and going to noraebang! The last one, however, are some survival words to learn before your trip.
Here's the video with clips of Seoul to show you examples:
Here's the vocab!
Obviously if you can learn more words you should definitely try, but if you struggle to learn languages, just try to get these 10 down and you'll do great! If you're more talented with languages, learning hangul (the korean alphabet) before coming here will help you out a TON! If you have any Korean language questions feel free to leave them in the comments!
1. 어디에요? / eo-di-e-yo?/ Where?
This is a really important thing to know if you're traveling alone and are worried you'll get lost. You can just say the name of the place you're looking for (or if you have a picture just point to it) and then end with "어디에요?" People will understand what you're trying to ask even if it isnt 100% correct :)
2. 얼마에요?/ eol-ma-e-yo?/ How much is it?
If you're looking to buy something and can't see the price, just ask "얼마에요?" and usually if you're at a street stall or small clothing store they'll whip out their handy calculators and show you the price on the screen so you don't need to worry about understanding big numbers :)
PRO TIP: If you're nervous about getting money out of your wallet quickly (a random fear of mine) in Korea there is no tax so the price that is listed on anything is the price it will be at the cash register. So you can add up the things you're buying in your head, get out the exact change ahead of time, and make your paying faster :)
3. 이거/ ee-geo / this
The next three words are ones you can mix together a lot :) The first is ee-geo which means "this." You can use it like 이거 얼마에요? --> how much is this? or if you're ordering food you can point to a photo and say 이거 주새요 --> this please
4. 하나/ hana / one
Since you're traveling alone you're probably going to get one of a lot of things lol. In Korea they use counters and different number systems, but its totally okay and understandable if you just say ha-na. People will get it and even Koreans sometimes dont use the right counters :) So if you're ordering food you can say ha-na ju-se-yo --> one of these please! or if you go in a restaurant and they ask how many people you can just say ha-na :) its okay to not be perfect, you'll be understood!
5. 주세요/ ju-se-yo / please give to me
juseyo isn't just please so dont be throwing it around like you would say please in english hahaha but you'll use it a LOT. When ordering food you'll say juseyo after everything :)
PRO TIP: Water is usually self-serve in Korea or they'll hand you a giant bottle so you don't need to order water, just look at the other tables and if they have a bottle wait for yours, and if you see a water machine go get your own!
6. 사진/ sa-jin/ picture
Depending on how you say this you could be asking "can i take a photo/are photos allowed" or "can you take a photo of me?" You're literally just saying the word "photo" but with a little miming your point will totally get across no worries!
7. 감사합니다/ kam-sam-ni-da/ thank you
the most important word!! use this all the time! politeness is really important so you can literally never over-use this word. kam-sam-ni-da, kam-sam-ni-da,kam-sam-ni-daaaaa!!!!
8. 네/ ne/ yes
easy! it just means yes :)
9. 아니요/ a-ni-yo/ no
easy! it just means no :)
10. 잠시만요/ jam-shi-man-yo/ excuse me please move lol
Korean has a lot of words for 'excuse me' or getting people's attention, but this is the one used specifically for 'please get out of my way' ;) Korea is really crowded and if you're on a subway and can't reach the door or something just say jam-shi-man-yo or else no one will get out of your way. Be brave and use it!! Most people wont even look at you and notice you're a foreigner if you say this word but at least they'll move! hahhahaha