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Busan, South Korea

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Guest Seoul Sister

Hi everyone,

I am not sure whether there would be any interest to see some of the places we have visited here in Asia, so I am going to limit my photos to the very beautiful harbour and holiday city of Busan to the South of South Korea. To the inhabitants of Seoul, Busan is as a little village, yet when we went there we discovered a massive city with more than 4 million ppl ! Busan has a well-known harbour and very strong links to the Russians who have always used this harbour as the closest one to home. There is a very big shipping route along the East coast of Korea, going from Busan to Vladivostok (Russia). Hope you find it interesting, and let me know if you want to see more of other Asian attractions we have visited.


Seoul Sister


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My sista!

Don't look half bad to me-wouldn't mind living there myself. Lovely :ilikeit:


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Guest Seoul Sister


Oh, ja, I love it there ! For an Asian city it is really unpolluted, especially the water ! I remember when we were in China, we couldn't even swim in the sea, as the water is so polluted from all of the tanneries up in the rivers that you end up with severe rashes, respiratory problems, burning eyes, etc from swimming in the sea. :blush: In Busan it is not the case, clean and safe, really nice ! We stayed to the East of the city at Hyundai Beach. We went during the normal school term, which meant that it was nice and quiet, except for on the weekends, when it tends to get very busy. But hey, that's Asia !! :ilikeit:

Love from here



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It is indeed interesting, I am visiting South Korea and China in Early July for about 11 days on business and will make time to see as much I can of the area and culture.

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Guest Seoul Sister

Hey Marius,

Oh wow, really !! How cool is that ! Where in China are you going ? And are you coming to Seoul or which city in Korea ? How long will you be in Korea ?


Excited Sista !!


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It will be finalised this week, however tentatively I will be in Incheon,Gimpo,Ulsan Korea and Shangai, Wanxiang in China. It will be 100% finalised this week though. Do you know any of these places ? Interesting scenario with the arrangements - I am a South African Pasport holder ( working on changing that ! ) living in Australia with also a German and French multiple entry visa in my passport requesting a multiple entry visa to Korea and China. Confused ? Imagine the people at my work having to explain all of this to the Korean and Chinese embassys when arranging my visas :(:hug:

Any tipe are welcome, I have been in several countries but never an Asian country.

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Guest Seoul Sister

Hey there,

Yes, I know all three places in Korea.

Inchon is the major International airport (mostly used for intercontinental flights), west of Seoul and also a major industrial area. When coming in from outside of Asia, you land at Inchon, which is an island, connected to the mainland with a HUGE bridge. Inchon is a brand new area and they are doing their best to attract foreign investment, etc. All of the major hotel chains have hotels there, but there isn't really all that much to do or see. It's about an hour's drive from Seoul.

Gimpo is another airport of Seoul. It is built in a part of the city and is that Asian airport (most Asian flights land here), we have another airport for national (local) flights. Gimpo is in Seoul and from there you can get to anywhere in the city, to see and do just about anything you want.

Ulsan is a coastal city to the South-South-East and is very close to Busan. (Of which I have posted the pictures). I have never been there, but if it's anything like Busan, I'm sure it will be great. Will you be travelling to Ulsan by KTX ? If you have the opportunity to do so, I would recommend it. It's a high-speed train, which travels through the mountains, reaching speeds of up to 700 km/h and it goes from Seoul to Busan in 3 hours. It's a fantastic way to see the country. Korea is 12 times smaller than South Africa, but 70 % of Korea is uninhabited (mountainous). 1/4 of the population live in Seoul.

Do you have an idea of the hotels you will be staying in ? Names or areas ?

Tips for Korea:

1. Take and receive everything with you right hand.

2. Hand out your business card when you meet someone.

3. Stand at least a meter away when meeting someone and bow your torso (a little), nodding your head down slowly, with you arms next to you. (Do not reach with your hand to shake hands, unless they do so first !!)

4. When taken to lunch/dinner never leave your dishing up spoon in the dish

5. Do not face someone when taking a sip of your drink/turn to the side and take a sip

6. Be on time

7. Try to join in when invited out for dinner (expect to be taken for Norre-bang (pronunounce nô-rê bang (as in afrikaans scared) which is Karaoke, after dinner.

8. Be prepared, Korean business ppl drink excessively. Mostly Maek-chu/Soju which is Rice wine (Korean version of Japanese Sake) Be warned it is very strong and potent !! :wacko:

9. If you don't like spicy food be very careful. General rule : If it's red it BURNS !! Koreans eat extremely hot foods, spicing it up with chillies, chilly-powders and red peppers. They also have two pastes one green and one red, VERY HOT, be warned !!

10. Do no drink the tap water. And if you can remember, do not eat the ice in Cold Drink as it is mostly also made from Tape water !!

11. Do not quibble when it comes to paying bills. The one who invites is the one who pays, especially with business dinners/lunches

12. If out on the street or in a market, never touch any animals ! NEVER. Not cats, dogs, birds, etc, NADA.

13. Do not buy food from street vendors.

14. If you buy fruit that is open (not wrapped in plastic or in a container of some sort) wash with soap before eating.

15. Black taxi's are luxurious - starting rate W 4500. Normal grey taxis are cheaper starting rate W1900. If the taxi driver does not understand you say : Free interpreter. He will give you his phone. Look on the window next to you (when sitting at the back) there is a phone nr with the word free interpreter. If you dial this number an English speaking operator will translate anything you wish to say, or will explain to the driver, where you want to go. (Will also look up the Foreigner's Help nr for you)

16. You do need to tip in restaurants, hairdressers. (Unless the service was outstanding, you will need to tip if you stay in a luxury hotel, and can tip a taxi driver if you feel like it, never more than W 1000)

17. For easy conversion of currency take W 1000 = US$ 1

18. Always have the name and phone nr of your hotel or a contact Korean person who speaks English with you.

19. Korean format for names is Kim Jay Hoon. Surname first, name second. Most common surnames are :

Kim, Lee, Park, Chung, Chang, Han. Names are usually two words : Nam Ju, Ju Won, Yoon Jeng, etc

20. If ppl speak to you in Korean, and you don't understand say : No hangol (han-ghôl), it means I don't speak Korean, they will get the message quick enough !! :lol:

21. When at the coast you are only allowed to swim when the flags are out and only waist deep... :rolleyes: I know ! Welcome to Korea.

22. If you have had a beer (Hite, OB and Cass are local beers) and would like a second.. Don't say Another please, as they will bring you another kind of beer... :rolleyes: Say ONE MORE, then they will know what you mean.

23. If you only get to do one thing in Seoul, go to Namsan Tower, go with the cable car and go up the Tower, it's worth it. If you have a day, you can do a day tour of Seoul, do a palace tour or visit the DMZ. DMZ is the De-militarized Zone, the border between North and South Korea and there you get a glimpse into North Korea...

24. Do not eat, drink or smoke on public transport.

25. *phew* Even if you can just remember one, you would have made a good impression somewhere...

These are all Korea specific. I haven't been to the areas of China where you are going, but I have been to other parts of China and will think of some general tips..

Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace

The City to the North-East from Namsan Tower

The City to the East from Namsan Tower

The City to the South from Namsan Tower

Lemme know if I can answer some question for you, especially on culture/food/travel/ or anything else. If we are still here during your visit, I would love to show you around !

Love from here

Seoul Sister


If there are spelling mistakes, please bear with me, too tired to check it now. :yawn:

Edited by Seoul Sister
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Hi SS,

Thanks a stack for the valueble info about the culture etc. It will help alot as we are going on business from around the 3rd July and it help to understand the culture. We are staying in the Hilton Hotel I know, exact area I have forgotten now. I have copied your info piece to also share with my collegues going with. I will let you know if I have any further questions. Again thanks for the info, any other info you think of value will be appreciated.

Thanks ! :rolleyes:

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Guest Seoul Sister

Hey again,

You're very welcome. I'm so chuffed someone is finally interested in KOREA !! :ilikeit:

Most Koreans who have had some contact with foreigners, especially Yanks, don't really expect Westerners to adhere to their cultural ways. They have seen that our traditions and theirs differ vastly and are therefore not too easily offended if you can't remember to do everything their way. It's more a case of impressing them when you do something right, than of offending them when doing something offensive. They are generally very friendly, kind-hearted and easy going, so you shouldn't have a problem, as long as you are always polite and friendly.

I have thought of a few other things that may help you:

- Consider the fact that you may spend some time during the day without your shoes on. When you eat traditional Korean food, you will be seated on the floor, at low tables, and you will take your shoes off, either as you enter the room, or as you prepare to sit at the table. You may want to stick to sober black/brown/blue socks as business ppl in Korea tend to stick to the uniform of sober black/brown/blue suits, and Mickey Mouse socks may provide entertainment you weren't bargaining on.. :whome:

- When sitting at the low tables on the floor, never stretch you feet out in front of you, as you will have ppl sitting opposite you. Cross your legs, under the table, doesn't sound bad... but after an hour or so you might start paining in areas formerly unknown to you, switch your legs, or position slightly, but refrain from stretching them out.

- Medicine : It might be handy when travelling both in Korea and China to bring pain medication, diarrhoea medication (Immodium) eye drops and allergy medicine. We have been having a particularly bad season with pollution. We have had about 5 really serious dust storms that come over from China, and ppl have had severe allergic reactions. If you are generally prone to allergies, best to bring medicine with as Seoul is not allergy friendly at all. The air quality is poor at the moment, and I have had red, itchy eyes from just walking 4 or 6 city blocks in the last while. It is not impossible to get medication in Korea, it is just difficult to find a pharmacist who speaks English. Chances of getting some sort of tummy bug in China are quite big, probably better to be prepared.

- Respect in Korea is a major cultural thing. All elders need to be respected, always, everywhere. Being older means being wiser and deserving respect. At work older ppl will be respected purely on basis of their age. Position also demands respect, so if someone holds a senior position, he should be respected, doesn't matter if he is an idiot or not.. :whome: Respecting someone includes things like, allowing them in through a door first, keeping quiet when they speak, bowing lower than them, listening and taking note of what they say, being polite towards them, etc. Interesting thing, in Korean culture if you are an adult and you are not married, you are classed as a child. So even if I am 30 and you are 40, if I am married and you are not, I deserve respect, and my opinion counts more than yours.

- The title on your business card is CRUCIAL and according to this you are judged. They have the most amazing titles on their cards and according to the title they work out their ranks.

- Traditionally Koreans only did business with families. There was a very strong sense of loyalty between families and once you have built up a network of families you work with that was that. They only did business with ppl they really trusted. This has obviously changed a bit, but their need to know you better, in order to have a successful business partnership with you still exists. Don't be surprised if they ask you about your personal life - family, children, wife, interests, home, hobbies, etc. This is in a quest to know you better and also a way of figuring out where you fit into their whole hierarchic structure of respect. It is a compliment if a Korean asks you about your personal life, it means he is trying to build a friendship or partnership/connection with you.

- Phone numbers :

Foreign Tourist Information 1330

Tourist Complaint Centre 735 0101

Medical Assistance in English (24 Hrs) 010 4769 8212 / 010 8750 8212

Foreigner's Community Service (FOCUS)- (02) 798-7529, 797-8212

Cell phones from other countries don't work in Korea. If you want to phone internationally, you need to dial 001 for an international line. Most hotels also have card phones you can use, which is a lot cheaper than phoning from the hotel. They usually sell the cards at reception. The foreign tourist info number is also a general helpline. Best to phone FOCUS during the day and 1330 if you need some help after hours.

I have been thinking of some Chinese things, will post them a little later.

Do you know which Hilton you will be staying at ? There is the Grand Hilton Seoul, and the Millennium Seoul Hilton. Websites : Grand Hilton or Millennium Hilton.

Love from Korea

Seoul Sister


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Guest Seoul Sister

Hi Marius,

First off, sorry, I just saw that a mistake has slipped in with all of the spelling errors.. :(

16. You do need to tip in restaurants, hairdressers. (Unless the service was outstanding, you will need to tip if you stay in a luxury hotel, and can tip a taxi driver if you feel like it, never more than W 1000)

Should read :

16. You do NOT need to tip in restaurants, hairdressers. (Unless the service was outstanding, you will need to tip if you stay in a luxury hotel, and can tip a taxi driver if you feel like it, never more than W 1000)
Mostly a service charge is already included in the price and a tip is not needed. Also look carefully as many prices do not include VAT, especially services often exclude VAT. Usually marked with an * and accompanying VERY small print at the bottom of the page, often in Restaurants and Hotels.

Another tip I have thought of for Korea has to do with Tattoos. In general tattoos are frowned upon. Many spas and saunas do not allow ppl with tattoos and many hotels will only allow you at their swimming pool if your tattoos are covered. It is something to keep in mind - especially when doing business with Koreans - Keep your tattoos covered up, out of respect for them.

Tips on China :

Nothing can really prepare you for what you will experience in China. The size of the country and the masses and masses of ppl is just beyond anything we as Westerners have ever experienced. While the rest of the world measure things in hundreds of thousands, sometimes Millions, China mostly measures things in Billions. I remember having a cable super fast connection in our hotel suite in China, yet my email message took 15 minutes to move... :angry: While normal ISP's boast hundreds of thousands of users, the biggest in China has 2 billion clients. We do not have a comprehension of any of this until we get to China. It is not uncommon to pick up the phone, to not have a dialling tone, as all of the lines are occupied, just put down and try again.

I remember China as a country of extremes. The rich are extremely rich, the poor dirt poor. In the countryside you will see millions of really extremely poor ppl, I found it very disturbing, especially to see so many children living on the streets. Roads are wide, and congested with thousands of cars (most in seriously bad shape) doing whatever they want to get to their destination the quickest. Sidewalks are broad and carry mostly cyclists and motorbikes. Pedestrians are free-meat/picnic snacks (as hubs calls them) and mostly walk in sky-walks which are enormous tunnels built for crossing these congested roads without losing limbs. Bridges are the biggest you have ever seen, roads are the widest you have ever seen, 8 lane highways in both directions, is nothing uncommon. (The Yanks think bigger and better, but they have no idea, compared to the Chinese). I found the difference between urban and rural enormous. Most ppl in rural areas had blank looks on their faces, doing hard physical labour, working 16 hour days, looking sad and lifeless with pained and sad expressions. Most of the ppl I came across in the platteland had never seen a Blonde person in real -life and even tho' I had grown accustomed to being exceptional in Korea already, the reaction of the Chinese was waaay more extreme and at times very unpleasant. I was mobbed wherever I went, even had my hair pulled from my head, while waiting in the check-out line of a very exclusive shop, by the ppl behind me in the line. (Collecting my hair as souvenirs) :blink:

China is the Factory of the world and the Africa of Asia. In some regions the air is extremely polluted, cities (in the South, where we were) are concrete jungles, with no parks or plants. Extreme economic growth is seen wherever you go, with huge constructions of buildings and new roads everywhere you go. Many Highways have an entire lane/ sometimes 2 dedicated to trucks carrying all kinds of materials from harbours to factories. Extreme weather : monsoon floods, draught, snow, dust storms, etc. are commonplace in China and I read in Time magazine that 200 million Chinese are affected by extreme weather every year !!

In the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, ppl are generally cultured, educated, refined and some even able to speak English. You can expect to see foreigners, schools for foreigners and restaurants catering for foreign tastes. Ppl with money tend to stick to these cities, and there are many fantastic ancient Chinese things to visit, often with an English speaking guide whom you can pay a daily rate.

Taxis in China are something else !!!! Most of the taxis are red, VW Jettas. Drivers will do what they want, when they want, with no regard for the safety of you, themselves or anybody else. Do not expect them to only drive on the roads either, as sidewalks are often used to bi-pass traffic lights. We even had the interesting experience of a Taxi driving up against traffic up the off-ramp of a major-Highway in an attempt to get us to our destination faster... :ilikeit: A friend of mine who has visited both Shanghai and Beijing was in an accident where a taxi driver, hit a cyclist. The cyclist was bleeding, taxi driver stopped, saw that the cyclist was still moving and continued to drive further... Welcome to China.

My hubs has given training to many Chinese IT staff of different Telecom companies. He has always enjoyed his business relationship with the Chinese as they are HIGHLY qualified ppl. In his first class, all of the attendees where schooled from Master's degree level upwards !! :cry: They were bright, hard-working and eager to please. (Also very shy and unwilling to ask questions or admit when they did not know something).

Ethically we differ vastly from the Chinese. Do not expect the same ethical business relationship you would have with for instance the Japanese. Chinese are wheelers and dealers. 'Presenting gifts' and wining and dining someone to get a deal is not uncommon. Things are never straight forward with the Chinese and be careful to trust too easily !! Get things on paper, with signatures and commitment !!

Chinese food is nothing like the Chinese take-aways we have learnt from the Yanks. Chinese food consists mainly of Noodles, noodles and more noodles. Even for breakfast, when eating traditional Chinese you can expect Noodles.. Loads of Noodles dishes are oil based, and I remember one morning waking up to the smell of Noodles in Fish-Oil, which made me miss Weet-bix even more. The Chinese make sounds while eating. When you enjoy your food, you are expected to make slurping, slooshing and smacking noises, while eating in silence, like we are used to, means that you are not enjoying your food ! This is really something to get used to, in combination with the smell of different oils and fishes for breakfast... Hope you will be staying in a hotel that caters for foreigners !! :holy: In Shanghai, you will see some Western Influence, whereas you will see China as she has exists for thousands of years, untouched by foreign influence in the platteland..

China is not nearly as safe as Korea. Especially petty crime is everywhere, be aware of your surroundings and keep personal belongings in inside pockets. It's not South Africa either, so you don't need to be scared or paranoid ! Just use common sense and try to not be too much of a tourist, with cameras around the neck and wallets hanging from back pockets. When possible, use the safe in your hotel, especially for important documentation and valuables e.g. passports, jewellery, cameras, etc.

Hallo is pronounce Knee How. Doesn't matter whether the Chinese person you are speaking to is Cantonese or Mandarin, they all appreciate it if you bow (same thing as in Korea) and great by saying Knee How. Creates a great impression ! :ilikeit:

Most of the rules with regard to buying food/ drinking water/ medication etc count for China as well.

Hope you will have a wonderful time in both China and Korea.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else ! Can't wait to hear all about your impressions of the two !!

Love from here

Seoul Sister


Edited by Seoul Sister
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