12 Strange Things in South Korea That Surprise an Inexperienced Traveler

  • Published on Jun 11, 2019
  • Before going to an unfamiliar country, you need to know about its culture. Especially if you are going to Asia where the society still follows certain traditions and has a hierarchical structure. One of these traditional countries is South Korea with its frightening characteristics and unusual taboos.
    So before you fill your belly with kimchi and then hit up a BTS concert, you’ll need to get acquainted with some South Korean “no-no’s” first. Here's the list of bizarre cultural faux pas and downright illegal bans of South Korea so that you won’t spoil your trip to the land of morning freshness.
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    15 Strange Things That Seem Normal Only In South Korea thexvid.com/video/fT0xEelCd-I/video.html&
    Don’t tip at restaurants 0:29
    Don’t play with chopsticks 0:54
    Don’t leave food on your plate 1:24
    Stay away from the number 4 2:08
    Don’t give gifts to your teacher 3:08
    Don’t let your tattoos show 3:59
    Don’t wear plunging necklines 4:41
    Don’t make too much eye contact 5:31
    Be careful when taking photos in public 6:17
    Don’t get into arguments, especially with elders 7:00
    Don’t blow your nose in public 8:02
    Toilet talk isn’t taboo 8:41
    #southkorea #traveling #strangerules
    Music by Epidemic Sound www.epidemicsound.com/
    - Restaurant and café employees get paid really well, so tipping is seen as an incredibly rude gesture and a jab at their dignity.
    - Holding the sticks vertically and sticking them vertically into rice are associated with death in South Korea because it resembles the incense sticks stuck in the sand at funerals.
    - When visiting someone’s home in South Korea, it’s impolite to refuse refreshments and even more offensive if you don’t finish what’s been served.
    - You might feel uneasy about the number 13, but a lot of countries in East Asia have the same attitude, only with the number 4.
    - The age-old tradition of giving gifts to teachers for Teachers Day on May 15 was made illegal in South Korea back in September of 2016. The law prohibits teachers from receiving gifts from students or their parents.
    - Many East Asian countries don’t like tattoos, and they’ve even managed to encode this into their laws. In South Korea, it’s illegal for tattoo artists to practice their work, and only licensed medical doctors are legally allowed to ink people.
    - A lot of women there will stick to high necklines or wear layers under low-cut tops just to err on the side of caution. However, the attitude towards miniskirts is drastically different!
    - It’s important to avoid looking directly into someone’s eyes if they’re older than you or they have a higher position (like your boss).
    - If you’re out and about in the streets of Seoul (or anywhere in the country for that matter), never take photographs with strangers in the frame. It might land you a fine or a night spent at the police station.
    - You might well be a rocket scientist, but in South Korea, you have to listen to your elders, especially if they’re rocket scientists, too. No, just kidding about that last part.
    - You know it’s polite to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, but take extra precaution when it comes to blowing your nose in Korea.
    - Now, this might come as a surprise given all the other things on this list, but talking about your #1 and #2 is totally normal in Korea! And I’m not just talking about between family, friends, or partners - even colleagues will go into great detail about their bodily functions!
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Comments • 5 987

    BRIGHT SIDE  5 months ago +3947

    Hey there, BrightSiders, would you like to visit South Korea?

  • Jacob Rayne mercado
    Jacob Rayne mercado 2 hours ago

    Uneasy for number 13* me:thats not that number it is 666

  • PJ
    PJ 4 hours ago

    Great. How to control an entire population and deny them any civil rights. Smashing...

  • The Marvel Dork
    The Marvel Dork 5 hours ago +1

    I live in Indonesia, but most of these apply here too :P

  • 먼지인 • 1,000년 전

    I'm a Korean. (Not from North Korea)
    There is distorted information.

    You can leave food on the plate. Some people force themselves to eat, but if it's not tasty or you're full, let's just leave it.
    You can show you a tattoo. But don't try to sit high in the company with your tattooed body. If it is a corporation, it can be fired at a shareholders' meeting. There is a prejudice that tattoos are crazy people, but that's what very few people think. However, the practice of tattooing for beauty purposes in South Korea is illegal.
    You can wear high-exposure top clothes. Although the penalty was severely exposed under the Criminal Penalty Act, for that reason, the fine is not paid after 2000. But don't wear it if you're afraid of eyes.

  • Irene Choi
    Irene Choi 16 hours ago

    i am korean and this video is very misleading. most of the infromation is either old or just plain wrong. if any of the veiwers watch this and go to korea, i can tell you almost none of the so-called rules are really official.

  • your video
    your video Day ago

    We want to see What's the strange thing of America.....

  • ca min
    ca min 2 days ago +1

    뭐라해삿노 하나도 못알아먹긋네
    I am Korean but I don't know what this video means because It's English :(

  • Joe Peroni
    Joe Peroni 2 days ago

    Coming next: how to eat a fried egg using chopsticks, in a way that won't insult your South Korean hosts. You need practice to do this, & at least 100 eggs. Knife & fork, please.

  • 당떨어져
    당떨어져 2 days ago


  • Amber Lee
    Amber Lee 3 days ago

    Lol, didn't know u know Bts Hahahhahaha

  • jleverhart
    jleverhart 3 days ago

    Where did you do your research for this video? Most of this is wrong from what ive seen. Also, its Ajumma not azooma, or however you were saying it.


    I shouldn't visit Korea because if an old lady had to cut in front of me . She would be going down 🤣

  • 배가령
    배가령 4 days ago

    I am a Korean. There is no truth in this video. There is no such culture in Korea. Especially, I've never heard of chopsticks. I want you to do a proper investigation and make a video. I hope not everyone misunderstands Korea.

  • delta_kid0015 xd
    delta_kid0015 xd 4 days ago

    I live in Korea and I was born in Korea so I already know about all of this stuff

  • 폴인잉
    폴인잉 5 days ago

    as a Korean most of these things can accept if you are foreigner but Don't argument with elder ppl this is real it makes you look very rude and bad in Korea

  • SungDoo Kim
    SungDoo Kim 5 days ago

    #3 ? I think it's wrong. That was long time ago when S. Korea was extremely poor but nowadays it's okay if you want to leave your food while invited to someone's home or at a restaurant.

    • 폴인잉
      폴인잉 5 days ago

      음식 남기는건 딴것보다 음시깅 맛이 없어서 남기나라는 오해를 줄수 있어서 그런거 아닌가요? 흔히 중국 사람한테 대접받을때 음식을 다 먹으면 음식이 모자랐나?하고 미안해하고 한국사람한테 대접받을때 음식을 남기면 음식이 맛이 없었나 하고 생각한다고 많이들 말하는데

  • David J
    David J 5 days ago

    You haven't done your homework Bright Side.

  • Patrick Wentzell
    Patrick Wentzell 5 days ago

    Oh geeeeeeeze come on I don't want laws enforced by the way I logged a good one in the bathroom a prize winner now I'm not alright with a lot of these rules however over politeness I have a problem with too many thank yous is not polite at all in fact it kind of gets irritating over time another thing is I do not except blessings no way it's an Illusion to me some imaginary gesture and I just say no thanks to the blessing

  • Thegreatsuperhero YT

    Im south korean also

  • Thegreatsuperhero YT

    I visit south korea and like bts

  • Stephanie Wright
    Stephanie Wright 5 days ago


  • Alphavirusx X
    Alphavirusx X 6 days ago

    Thats why many peoples dont want to go south korea

  • Snowlight and the Banana Crew

    I’m from South Korea,

  • mausteri
    mausteri 6 days ago

    Dont say its too cold in sauna or speak to anyone in Finland

  • The nomad
    The nomad 6 days ago

    I guess if I ever go to South Korea 🇰🇷 I have to wear long sleeve shirts all the time

  • Sparka
    Sparka 7 days ago

    This just tells me you people need to STOP BEING OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING

    If I didn;t eat it, its because I'm full or its gross or I just don't want it. Too bad if YOU don't like it, mind your own business.

  • Red Apple
    Red Apple 7 days ago

    The TheXvid observed Korean really well. However you don't have to keep it all. Just respect it will be fine Because American culture is also considered respectable in here.

  • John Ryu
    John Ryu 7 days ago

    Its Ajume ma

  • Erin에린
    Erin에린 8 days ago +2

    “Don’t leave food on your plate”
    That’s incorrect you can do it
    “Don’t let your tattoos show”
    Incorrect You can show your tattoos

  • yellowhxddie ;
    yellowhxddie ; 9 days ago

    BTS is good

  • Eric Lee
    Eric Lee 9 days ago

    Sorry bright side... but as a Korean I wish this video didn’t exist...

  • Sanjana Kadam
    Sanjana Kadam 9 days ago

    I went crazy when I heard BTS CONCERT😍😍😍🤩🤩🤩

  • Rosenda Ocampo
    Rosenda Ocampo 9 days ago


  • 박수현
    박수현 9 days ago

    In South Korea tatoos is okay !You guys doesn't have to worried about tatoos! Recently ,In Korea many people got tatoos!!

  • Ruchir Sajwan
    Ruchir Sajwan 10 days ago

    I swear none of it makes sense 🤦🏻‍♂️

  • 06jiwon
    06jiwon 10 days ago

    Almost all of these are wrong. The eye contact tut hing is very weird. The clothing and photos are also wrong. You are so stpid.

  • 필성희
    필성희 11 days ago +1

    Imma Korean


  • Jaylie Modrigo
    Jaylie Modrigo 11 days ago

    Hotel de luna 404.

  • L S
    L S 12 days ago

    " dont take pictures of strangers" weil actually Germany has that law too

  • Overpro
    Overpro 12 days ago

    this information is distorted

  • Overpro
    Overpro 12 days ago


  • Overpro
    Overpro 12 days ago

    This is not strange. and #4 is also in China

  • Seraphil1
    Seraphil1 12 days ago

    Are you sure you didn't find a list of Japanese customs and mix it up with South Korean? Cuz a lot of these sound really Japanese like the stigma on the number 4 and tattoos.

    • fatimah anwaar
      fatimah anwaar 9 days ago

      they also have the stigma on men's facial hair associating it with affiliated gangs criminals or corrupt leaders

  • Up North Yooper
    Up North Yooper 12 days ago

    That place is messed up, 12 reasons not to go.

  • Songmi Han
    Songmi Han 12 days ago

    What? #1? They get paid extremely well? Are you kidding me? Their minimum wage is way below countries like US. Its ok to leave tips, they won’t be intimidated. Trust me I’m Korean.

  • Vanessa Lambrecht
    Vanessa Lambrecht 13 days ago

    lots of these are wrong...

    ZOOOPY 13 days ago

    I disliked, and do you know why? It isn't because I don't like this video or the information, it's because it actually encourage you to obey this outdated and tyrannic socialist idea, that you should not argue with older people etc.

  • mianhe joanne
    mianhe joanne 13 days ago

    4? Whattt HAHHAHA, kaya siguro ako minamalas dahil im not afraid to 4

  • nidhi kate
    nidhi kate 13 days ago

    Is @BRIGHTSIDE an army too! Ahhh BTS! BTS!

  • Joshua Lee
    Joshua Lee 14 days ago

    Even south korean myself, didn’t know all these rules. Thanks Bright Side!

    Btw Î’m gonna steal all your cheese

  • Unicorn Brother
    Unicorn Brother 14 days ago

    As a Korean I enjoyed this video. It’s very interesting, but most of the info here is very exaggerated. If you visit Korea, You can ignore pretty much all the info here, and just use the common sense.
    However, There are a few things I have to remind my family when we visit Korea.
    1. Try to use utensils. use fingers only when other Koreans use fingers for eating. They tend to use chopsticks or forks a lot more (for things Americans consider finger food) than Americans and feel very uncomfortable seeing Americans using fingers when they eat. They don’t demand Korean manners to Americans, but they cannot help feeling very uncomfortable and may want to “help” you.
    2. No taking pictures of other people without permission. Korean are very sensitive about it. I-phones in Korea have clucking sounds to let other people know the photo-shooting (it’s mandatory by law).

  • Pilot Plays
    Pilot Plays 14 days ago

    Taboo in my country (America):
    * clears throat loudly *

  • Yosemite Y
    Yosemite Y 14 days ago

    만드는거 진짜 귀찮았나봐요ㅠ
    Wrong info again on #12. That is disgusting...

  • Yosemite Y
    Yosemite Y 14 days ago

    It's ok if you can't finish your plate. Republic of Korea is a free country.. nothing's wrong with that.

  • KenJI Lee
    KenJI Lee 15 days ago

    On Asian number 4 means die that's true

    JIE ZYL LAWAS 15 days ago

    감사합니다. 새로운 강의를 받았습니다 정보 BrightSide에 감사드립니다.

    JIE ZYL LAWAS 15 days ago

    Speaking of (Bts)are you an Army???
    Comment and Like

  • ace lightsky
    ace lightsky 15 days ago +2

    Well im watching this 4months since the upload there is atleast 5 or 4 mistakes especially you can give gift to teachers in southkorea and i live in southkorea

    • ace lightsky
      ace lightsky 15 days ago +1

      Or is it just my school that allows it

  • Mozammil Athar
    Mozammil Athar 15 days ago

    Guess I will use spoon