What You Need to Know When Traveling to South Korea

Find everything women travelers in South Korea need to know about healthromancewomen’s rights and safety.

All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!

  

Health

Feminine Hygienic Products

Meghan says: Pads are readily available in Seoul. I can’t say the same for tampons because I don’t use them. Sanitary wipes are also available in the different drugstores.

Birth Control

Meghan says: Various methods of birth control are available. You can buy condoms in drugs stores and convenient stores. Birth control pills and other contraceptives are available with a prescription and visiting the OBGYN here is surprisingly affordable.

Recommended Gyncologists and Doctors

Meghan says: I’ve only been to one but the ladies there are super nice. It’s called MediFlower Clinic and it is located nearby Seoul University of Education close to Gangnam. There is a receptionist there who speaks almost fluent English and the other staff know at least a little English.

 

Romance

Dating Locals

Meghan says: I find the dating culture here to be very different from the United States. Couples are the norm here in Seoul. Seriously, everywhere you look you see couples. PDA isn’t very extreme here. Instead, couples hold hands and cuddle while in public. Be aware that it’s normal for relationships to move extremely fast. Gestures such as holding hands or even hugging can be taken as you really liking that person. Be sure to vocalize your intentions and don’t just assume that dating here is the same as in your home country.

Types of Men

Meghan says: I’ve come across three different types of men here. The clinger, the playboy, and the super sweet yet oblivious guy.

The clinger is the type of guy who you see a movie with and let hold your hand and then proclaims his love for you within the week.

The playboy is pretty much the same in every country. When he first meets you, his friends joke about him being a player but he swears that “I am no playboy. Believe me.” Don’t.

And then there is the sweet guy, the typical “oppa” (older brother/male friend) who will take care of you and always be there for you but is completely clueless when a woman likes him.

LGBTQ Friendly

Meghan says: Unfortunately many Koreans claim that “gays don’t exist in South Korea.” That is seriously what I’ve heard word for word from multiple locals here. I did recently go to a gay pride festival here and it was really great getting to see people spending the day in a safe environment. There are LGBTQ bars here and I hope the younger generations will start changing the overall attitude here.

 

Women's Rights

Women’s Rights

Meghan says: I’ve met some pretty independent women here, but as with many countries, women are treated as weaker. A lot of women still play up the vulnerable and cute thing here because that’s what the men like. It can be frustrating sometimes.

Local Women

Meghan says: Aegyo! It basically means acting cute and innocent. It is disturbing sometimes when you really think about it. A lot of women here treat their boyfriends and husbands like fathers and they act like little girls. I’ve been labeled as too tough on multiple occasions because I refuse to act like some of the local women.

Another thing is the materialistic attitude here. Everyone is expected to look their best at all times from head to toes. It can be stressful at times to be surrounded by women who try to look perfect in every manner, from what they wear to getting plastic surgery done.

Women-Specific Environments

Meghan says: I haven’t come across any place which are specifically for or not for women.

Perception of Foreign Women

Meghan says: A lot of times I just get nonchalant reactions when people learn I’m American, but there are times when I get asked about my home country and if it really is like how they show in the movies. A lot of Koreans I have met really do believe the USA is exactly like it is in the gangster movies they see or the trashy reality TV shows.

 

Safety

Transportation

Meghan says: I’ve never had any problems taking public transportation here or heard of any problems from any of the women I know. Just be aware and if you are going home after a night of drinking, try to have a buddy with you.

Shady Areas for Women

Meghan says: Again, not that I know of. I honestly feel safer in Seoul than I’ve ever felt anywhere else, including my home country. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always be aware of your surroundings.

Clothing

Meghan says: The fashion style here confuses me sometimes. It’s absolutely okay to wear the shortest shorts and skirts here, but showing your back or too much chest and arms is considered too sexy.

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