If you like to do free and easy, and yet do not know how to speak Hangul, then does it mean you should forgo the free and easy approach? Well- no, if you prepare some basic resources for communication.
Here's some ideas.
1. Getting around (Taking taxi, Buying Train Ticket, Bus ticket at stations)
If you are getting around major train stations and locations, then print out destination card in hardcopy or in your phone like this:
How to quickly put together a destination card
Once you have decided on your destination goto Visitkorea website, and key in the destination using the search function.
You will get all the information that you see in this picture:
Name of destination in English and Hangul,
Address in English and Hangul
Image, (in case, eg: Taxi driver needs a reference)
If you need to get to your accommodation, booking Apps such as Agoda offers a "Taxi helper" card, which has all that you see in he destination card, plus a Google map. Do note that the prints on the taxi helper is a bit small, so the middle age taxi drivers may find it hard to read. You may wanto screenshot the taxi helper card as image, so that you can print or use the zoom features to magnify the image.
2. Ordering meals
As recommended in section 1, preparing a food card for the food you like to try goes along way in ensuring your experience at local markets and restaurants is hassle free. Local food stalls may have their menu on their store banner outside the restaurant. The small sized, family owned ones rarely have printed menu. So it helps if you have pictures to tell them what you want when you are seated and ready to order.
A picture card should have the following information:
Name in English and Hangul; picture of the dish.
You can find more of these recommendation Korean dishes at the following website:
This is one of the more organized Korean food blogs I have seen. The food is categorized by generic name followed by explanation of the different varieties within each category. Get your list of must tries before you depart for Korea and remember to make your own food card so that you can feast well in Korea! :)
Eat in Korea however, does not tell you where you can go to get these food. Refer to my blogs on specific destinations, or refer to the Eat section to find out more.
3. Reading street signs, banners, any Hangul signs
This doesn't work perfectly, but it will give a an idea of what some of the sign means.- Using the Google translate-Camera-image detecting feature. Here is a video to show you how to use it. As mentioned in section 2, some menu in restaurants are printed on banners hung somewhere in or outside the restaurants. I have used it to get a good idea how much the item costs.