3 min read

Rainy Days in Korea - Walk Together

Rainy days, umbrella etiquette, feeling safe, and maps.
A Baskin Robbins, in a traditional building, lit up during a rainy night.

As someone who lives in Los Angeles and oftentimes goes months without the sound of rain, walking videos from places that actually get rain are such a blessing. Today, I've got a handful of videos from Walk Together, all recorded in Korea, where it happens to be a rainy day (or evening/night)!

We kick things off with an evening walk around Bukchon Hanok Village. This traditional village is surrounded by many of Seoul's most famous royal shrines. One of the best parts of each of these videos is that they come with quick previews of what's to come. In this case, it's a three minute cut of some of the various sights and sounds you should expect.

When I went to Korea just before Covid kicked off, this is one of the areas we explored the most. Honestly it's such a lovely place. The country has its problems just like everywhere else, but as a visitor the ease of transportation and access to shops around every corner was super welcoming.

For this week's post, I did something a little different. Though I doubt it provides all that much value for you all, I thought the idea seemed cool and I wanted to do it. So I did it.

If you find yourself curious as to exactly where the video is, I've gone and mapped the entire walking path. This particular video starts in the north where the red line begins. I change colors whenever the person doubles back on the path so you know when ground is being retrodden.

For those who want to dig into even more detail, I even made a map in Google Maps with the line defined so you can poke around the nearby stores and see more information for yourself.

Sadly, the satellite imagery of South Korea is pretty bad so you'll need to rely on the default view. There's still street view, but as a whole the South Korean government considers high resolution satellite data to be an issue of national security. (Something I find particularly painful when it comes to Microsoft Flight Simulator. The whole country is missing a ton of detail).

I'm not sure if I'll continue to do things like this. While the process is a fun challenge, it's going to be much more difficult in areas I'm unfamiliar with and the entire thing takes a good while even with the video playing at 2x speed.

Anyway, I've babbled on enough. This isn't the reason you're here.

The next video is on the south side of Seoul, across the Han River in Songpa-gu. It's a super popular business and touristy area home to Lotte World which is an indoor park complete with a skating rink, aquarium, parades, etc. There's also Lotte World Magic Island, a place akin to Disneyworld. Plus, Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in Seoul. Walk Together doesn't get to those areas until late in the video, however.

I'm not confident enough to say it's a rule, but with how much it rains in Korea, one thing we learned very quickly is how umbrellas are handled. Just about every store has either a plastic bag to put your umbrella in so it doesn't get the store soaked, or has a place to leave your umbrella at the door, like a bin or something. When we were there, people would just reach in and take whatever they grabbed first. Most umbrellas look the same and function the same, so everyone was just grabbing whatever. Is that normal? Who knows! But every time we put our umbrella in one, someone walking out had grabbed ours.

This next video is nearby, but sports a foggy evening where it has just stopped raining. Honestly, if it's not too hot and muggy out, that's one of the best times to be out and about.

I really do miss the feeling of security in Korea. Don't get me wrong, there's still violent crime, but guns are basically nonexistent. Whereas there are more guns than people in the United States, Korea has just 0.2 guns per 100. Basically, one in 500 people has a gun. You still need to be smart, but as someone who would rather be out at night than during the day, I wish it was safer and more encouraged here.

All right, that's it. I won't blabber anymore. For the last video we head south to Gurye Sansuyu Village to enjoy the rain, flower blooms, and countryside.

I lied, by the way. Here's another map (Some guessing going on here as he goes offroad).

Have a good week!