Travel Basics

One-Stop Convenience Store!

Living in South Korea would be devastating and full of journeys. Everywhere you turn there will be something interesting, new and different, which makes the time in South Korea very amazing. From taking the subway to exploring the local Korean convenience stores. Things might simply not the same as they are back home and that is sort of point of travelling across the world, especially South Korea!

GS25, convenience store.

What’s the best is, you can always have a one-stop-shop that satisfies the everyday needs of Koreans in one place. From being able to quick charge your cell phone to grabbing a bag of shrimp-flavoured chips to eating dinner, I bet you will find all that you need! Moreover, I don’t think you can find as much items as you can find in other countries especially in Europe. Maybe some gas stations are often the only option for those looking to do some late-night shopping however, they are poorly stocked, gratuitously overpriced and hard to find within the metropolitan area and therefore, a disappointment.

ⓒ wikipedia

So, a different landscape in South Korea where the convenience store chains are everywhere and ubiquitous such as GS25, CU, 7-Eleven, Ministop and more. The vibrant glow of their neon signs lights up every street, avenue and alleyway of Korea’s cities and even some in rural places. In Seoul, most of the large apartment buildings have on of these stores at ground of basement level.  With most of life’s necessities just a short elevator ride away, residents can go days or even weeks without leaving the building. If your building lacks an integrated convenience store, it’s rare to have to walk more than five minutes in search for one store.

ⓒ wikipedia

Since all of the convenience store around South Korea are 24-hours, somehow it can be your bodyguards to wander around at night. At least during summer, Seoul comes alive at night. Besides, this also why Seoul stands out more compared to many others since the abundance of convenience store are differ. And for sure, where else can you get a decent food at midnight right? Ramyeon is such a popular go-to meal that in most Korean convenience stores you will find booths where people can sit or stand and eat Ramyeon. Boiling water is also available to fill your cup as are chopsticks, spoons are there as well but most Koreans choose to dig the soup once the noodles are done.

ⓒ pieliny / flickr

Nothing to worry (unless you are Muslim, you can have a hard time to find an edible Ramyeon), there are endless kinds of Ramyeon that you will find including kimchi, chicken, curry, spicy seafood, and many more! You need to explore yourself to the convenience store around your sitting place and you can find your preference of Ramyeon. It will soon become your go-to snack of choice. For more reference regarding the best Ramyeon to experience, you can visit here.

Convenience store appears in Running Man TV show.

Furthermore, during winter too, convenience store might be your number one favourite place you want to find. During the cold weather, there are not much place that can provide you high Temperature temptations unlike these convenience store. When you are tired of walking around in the cold weather, it is a good idea to take a break and have a warm rest at the nearest convenience store since they usually provide the heater air conditioner so you cannot be frozen outside. It might sounds weird, but I bet you will be going to need this soon. Instead, having a hot coffee during the cold weather is a vibe that you might not want to miss too. So, it is a good chance!

ⓒ TFurban / flickr

Not to forget, while you are munching on some snacks or Ramyeon, you can always recharge your phone at one super-quick battery charging stations. At some places, it might cost you around 1000 won, otherwise, it is a free plug charging so your phone will be charged in no time. Nonetheless, some subway stations also provide a wireless charging for 2019 and upward released phones. In case of emergency, you might need it.

One of the provided space with microwave and ATM machine.

Water kettle, charging stations, and a spot to sit seems good enough right? What is the best, is that most of the convenience store in South Korea provide microwave so you can have your to-go food deliciously warm and fresh from oven kind of taste. Imagine buying a Ramyeon with a stick of sausage, and you can immediately boil a hot water while putting your sausage in a microwave to be heated. Then you can sit comfortably while charging your phone, and suddenly your foods are ready. Without any due, you can just have your to-go meals easily just like that. And for sure, you might not need to queue for a place to sit like how you might need to queue to have a meal in other fast-food restaurants. Just chill and enjoy your meal.

Convenience stores may be a bit more costly than traditional markets, but it is very convenience and 24/7. Otherwise it doesn’t called convenience store right? If you have chance to visit South Korea, you are going to find yourself in these stores very very often.

🇲🇾 Syed Ahmad Nabil

Syed Ahmad Nabil, an ungraduate student in Sungkyunkwan University. Came all the way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and enjoys travelling and photography literally pretty much.