My Favorite Things About Korea–Pt2

I’m in need of this post today.  Feeling a bit homesick and just blah.  I’m on summer vacation, but just feeling annoyed with this and that.  Not sure if that technically qualifies as homesick or not, but there it is.  I really wish fruit wasn’t so expensive here and also that it wasn’t sold pre-packaged.  Sorry Korea, but I don’t need 6 apples, especially when those 6 apples cost about $7 and when things seem to mold and go bad so quickly.  It’s hard for me to eat that much fruit in such a short amount of time.  I’d also like to buy 2 tomatoes, not a box of 12.  Even if the boxes are buy one, get one free.  I don’t need 4kg of tomatoes.  ESPECIALLY when they are also $7 a box.
Ugh.  I’m actually thinking about getting into a bit of indoor gardening to minimize costs.
I’d like to plant some tomatoes, but I need a bit more space for that.  I might start with basil as it’s a bit easier to manage.

Anyway…to the good stuff, right?

5. Transit Cards: Buses, Taxis, Subway
Korea’s public transport system, as I’ve mentioned before is cheap, punctual and very convenient.  Did I mention cheap?

I don’t take the bus very often because I prefer the subway, taxis and walking, but the bus is a very popular mode of transport in most Korean cities.  You can use a transportation card (T-Money card) to pay quickly as you board.  The cost is just over 1000won.  You also get a discount on subsequent buses if you use your card when you travel.

More on transportation

Subways are clean and typically well connected to train stations, intercity bus stations and other popular areas.  I love that I can get from one end of the city to the other for under 2000won ($2).  Pretty nice.
Taxis are also pretty cheap–2,300 won (I’m 99% sure this is the basic fare as of 2014, but don’t hold me to it.)  This is also for the city of Daejeon.  It’s a wee bit more expensive (maybe 2,500W) in bigger cities like Seoul and Busan.  Basically $2.30-$2.50 and an extra 100 won (.10) every 30-40 seconds or every 140-150 meters.
I try to avoid taking the taxi in cities like Seoul and Busan unless I’m with a group of friends because then we can divide up the cost, but here in Daejeon, it’s pretty reasonable.  In those other cities, I’ll just take the bus or the subway.  Again, cheap, clean, punctual and well-connected.  The cost for taxis goes up to about 2,600 won after midnight (about 12-4/5am, and adjust accordingly for the other cities).  Still, not bad at all.

More on taxis here.  Ignore the price information though as that isn’t accurate, but everything else looks good.  Also, Seoul and Busan (bigger cities) have a bigger variety of taxis, but they’re still EVERYWHERE.  Unless it’s raining.  😦  haha
Just an example, but I can go from my apartment to the train station (about 15 minutes drive) for about $8.
Public transportation tends to shut down around 11:45pm-midnight and taxis run all night.
Taxis also accept the T-Money (transportation cards), which is nice and convenient if you don’t have cash.  You can load them up at subway stations and some 7-11 convenience stores.  I stick mine in my phone case behind my phone and I can tap it quickly while going on the subway or bus.  No messing with paper bills or coins.  Some bank cards also have an option where you can use that card as your T-money/transport card as well as a bank card.

T-Money card variations–card and keychain styles

T-Money card reloading machine in a subway station and a place to buy individual tickets.

Turnstiles at the subway–place your card on the reader at the top to go through. Money is automatically deducted from your card. No card? You can get a chip from one of the machines after you pay with cash at one of the other machines.

6. Colored District Trash Bags
Each district (gu 구) within a city has a different color trashbag (which you can pick up from some “marts” or convenience stores and all grocery stores.
The thing I like about this is that you can use these plastic bags as grocery bags and then turn around and reuse them once you get home as trashbags.  Same bag.  No extra waste or plastic.  They come in a few different sizes for any size trashcan you might have.

Note:  Food waste and plastic go in separate containers.

Trash bags

Food Waste Tub–looks a bit like this

7. Public Bike-Sharing Program–“Tashu”
I love, love, looooove this.  This is a newer program (from what I’ve read) and I’m grateful that it’s here in Daejeon.  There are stations set up throughout the city and you’re able to basically rent a bike for however long.  Typically up to a few hours, but to each their own.
You find a bike station (typically in well populated areas, but they’re scattered throughout the city) and each bike station has 10+ bikes (depending on the city and how populated that particular area is.
Again, you can use your T-Money card for this or have it added to your phone bill.
Anyway, you check out the bike and you can return it to any bike station in the city.

More info here.
Prices are on the website, but up to an hour it’s free and (up to 3 hours) it’s 500won (.50) for every additional 30 minutes.  Over 3 hours it’s 2000 won (about $2) every 30 minutes.

Bike Rental Station

Also, there are goverment/city workers that come by and repair bikes as needed.  Also, if a bike needs to be checked out or repaired, there is an option for that on the checkout machine and someone will come by to take it to the repair shop.

Remaining Topics:
*Carrying pizzas/watermelon
*Food Delivery
*Baseball games