What do people who are not a K-pop fan think about South Korea?

South Korea is an amazing place to be as a foreigner.

Everything is so convenient and easy to access. Convenience stores are literally everywhere, sometimes even 10 seconds walk from each other.

Seoul is truly is a 24 hour city. If you go to Itaewon at 4 or 5am in the morning, it’s full of people, partying and clubbing etc Gigantic 2 or 3 story cafes and great Korean restaurants are everywhere, and most of them are open until 5am or 24 hours. Clubs are open until 6am and it is literally full of people until then.

Subways are very convenient, and so are buses and taxis, which are not that expensive.

Most Koreans eat out – because the food is not that expensive. Conversely, the supermarkets tend to be much smaller and more expensive than in the West.

Korea is incredibly safe, I mean you see girls wearing the shortest of shorts or skirts walking on the street at 3 or 4am in the morning without a care in the world. If this was the USA…

Attention to appearance and fashion sense – I LOVE that everyone is so well dressed and almost every girl wears makeup and dresses very feminine. So different than in the West where everyone dresses so casually all the time.

Cosmetic stores are everywhere and often very good quality. There’s literally surgery to fix everything. Too fat? too much acne? Eyes are too small? Nose is too wide? going bald? want to never have to shave again? any kind of cosmetic issue can be easily fixed in Korea for a reasonable price.

Service is amazing. I always wait to cut my hair in Korea’s hair salons because you get your hair cut and styled by one (or two) beautiful hair stylists, they give you a great head massage and you get escorted out to the door. No tip required or expected. And price is reasonable.

Lots of couples on the street. (This can also be a bad thing if you are single – it makes you feel more lonely)

You can go to Korean spas at anytime of day and they are almost everywhere. I would usually go there at around 4am or 5am and just soak in the saunas and hot and cold springs. You can even sleep there for an extra fee. I don’t believe you can do this anywhere else.

Most Korean franchises and stores are actually using English names and their menus will be in english. the only websites that are restricted are porn websites. You can use your Visa/Mastercards everywhere. These are especially convenient to a foreigner in comparison to traveling in China.

and just the number of people outside at all times. Coming back to Vancouver or San Francisco, it was like a night and day difference. by midnight in a Western city, the streets are completely dead and all the shops are closed. In Seoul, people are everywhere, in the shops, bars, cafes, alleys etc up until the early morning. I remember taking a midnight bus from Seoul university to Gangnam, its full of people, and seeing 4 girls on the bus that looked like they came out of a model magazine, no one else is paying attention to them, this is just a usual bus in Seoul at midnight and thinking ‘this could never happen anywhere else in the world’.

for traveling of course, Seoul / Korea is amazing. For living – well the work and school conditions are not so great.


In the future, will it be better to live in China or in South Korea?

This is highly dependent on personal preference, but for me definitely Korea.
Reasons why:
-Koreans generally speak more english and most of Korean franchises and some restaurant or cafe menus are actually in English – this makes it easy for foreigners to get adjusted. In China, you won’t see much english anywhere.
-It’s marginally safer. I know China is already a pretty safe country, but Korea is even more. For example I could leave my phone at a table anywhere and not have any fear of it being stolen. Scams are *far* less than in China. Did you know that in Korea you could actually live rent free if you lent $100k-$200k to a landlord and get it back after a specified period? It’s called Jeonse. I can’t imagine that system actually working in China – they would take that money for sure.
-I can access all my websites (Facebook, Gmail, Youtube, Twitter, Quora, Instagram etc) without using a VPN, not to mention Korea has faster internet in general
-I don’t need a visa for 6 months (China you can get a 10 year visa but you still have to go to embassy and pay a fee to do it)
-Korea is generally cleaner. Yes I know at night the streets can get dirty but in the morning and daytime usually trash is all cleaned up and there’s no trash cans on the streets at all.
-You have to bring your own toilet paper to the bathrooms in China. That’s annoying. In Korea its just there – just like in Western countries.
-There’s a rating system which means I can see sexual/violent movies or games if I want to. In China all that is censored.
-I can use my foreign credit card! In China they only accept Alipay / Wechat pay (need a Chinese bank account, not possible for foreigner tourists), or Unionpay credit cards. Since all my credit cards are American/Canadian, I can’t use them in China and have to use cash. In Korea, they all work fine.
-I like Korean girls better. I know, some people just outright dismiss Korean girls because of plastic surgery but here’s why you shouldn’t:
Most Korean girls haven’t had surgery (check the stats), they pay alot of attention to their appearance with great fashion sense, feminine outfits (skirts/dresses year round for some), great hygiene (shower twice every day + wax/shave everyday), lasik or contacts instead of glasses and great makeup skills. But that’s just appearance.
I found that a lot of Chinese girls care TOO much about money or career. Korean women don’t ask guys about their salary or job usually, they care about a guy’s personality more. And they are very sweet and loving to their bfs and husbands (some are devoted enough to completely cut off contact with any other guys they know when they are in a relationship).
No nationalistic spiels about how much better their country or they are compared to others either. Not one Korean girl I met has ever bragged about her country or her race, and all of them had positive views of Chinese girls. On the other hand, ask a Chinese girl about Korean girls and you will get very polarized responses.
I don’t have to pay *everything* for a Korean girl; she will usually pay for coffee or buy gifts for me (I even know some girls who insist on paying for dinner); with Chinese girls it doesn’t seem like they ever buy guys anything. Also, no expectations about cooking or housework (Korean guys usually dont do this), and no dowry for the wedding either. See? It goes so much beyond plastic surgery.
But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns with Korea, I admit China has some pros too the biggest of which are:
-Cheap cost of living and
-More diverse cuisine
-Work culture is a lot more lenient. In Korea its not uncommon to work 60+ hour weeks and have to drink with your boss everyday – in China its much more relaxed than this


Why is South Korea more advanced and successful than China?

The premise is debatable. Let’s take an unbiased look at the achievements of each country in the last 20 years:

China since 1999:

-Has lifted millions out of poverty

-Sustained enormous YoY GDP growth under Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping

-Hosted their first Olympics

-Rose up to surpass Japan as the world’s second largest economy

-Has technologically caught up to both Japan and SK with high speed bullet trains, 5G wireless technology and smartphone technology

-Now has the world’s second largest military budget after the USA

-Dominated the economically developing world with initiatives in SE asia, middle east + africa with the 1B1R initiative

-Owns a significant portion of the Hollywood industry: Legendary Pictures for example is wholly owned by a Chinese company

-Boasts the world’s second largest tech startup scene after Silicon Valley in the USA

-Has the world’s second most billionaires after the USA

-Chinese brands like Lenovo, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, ZTE, DJI, Hisense, etc have risen up and overtaken Korean/Japanese brands

-Approval rate of Xi Jinping at over 85%

-China global approval rating has surpassed the USA China’s global approval rating has surpassed the U.S.

South Korea since 1999:

-GDP/capita remains the fourth highest in Asia, after Singapore, Japan and ROC (Taiwan)

-Economy was hugely impacted by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis; since then the economy has been growing but at a far slower rate than China has

-Technology wise, Samsung and LG have overtaken Japanese brands Sharp, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Pioneer, Toshiba, Fujitsu, NEC etc and essentially pushed them out of the market. Hyundai and Kia have caught up to Toyota, Honda and Nissan with regards to quality perception.

-Continues to develop great public infrastructure, the fastest internet speeds in the world and free public wifi anywhere Every public place in Seoul will have free WiFi by 2017

-Minimum wage increased but unemployment rate, especially for the youth, continues to lag behind other developed countries

-Startup scene in South Korea is still quite anemic due to the remnants of the conservative Chaebol culture which continues to dominate the South Korea work industry; this makes it wary for investors to offer venture capital, and more difficult for small companies to compete which leads to the unemployment rate situation above

-Moon Jae In (President of SK) approval rating at a mere 45% Moon’s approval ratings at 45% after 2 years in office – Koreans have rarely sustained high approval ratings for their Presidents due to corruption, scandals, and the generally more conservative society

-Korean entertainment scene has exploded and KPop and KDramas and ‘Hallyu’ has made Korea into one of the most popular entertainment juggernauts in the world

So back to the OP’s question, is South Korea really more advanced and successful than China? Perhaps in only a few areas.

-GDP/Capita -> China is catching up on this front, but the reason SK had a huge head start is because they had a market economy for 2 decades longer than China did, and because SK was one of the four East Asian Tigers (all small East Asian countries), it developed very fast in the 70s-90s, China had to struggle under the Mao era for 2 decades.

-Entertainment industry -> China’s heavy handed approach to censorship kind of handicaps them in this area, but China’s entertainment industry is mostly domestic focused. They have such a big domestic market that they don’t need to export that industry yet. South Korea on the other hand, has to export in order to survive, and they’ve perfected the art of marketing to foreigners at this point, which is why they have succeeded so well with their Hallyu industry. It’s worth to mention that China owns many Hollywood studios as well, which also means they don’t need to necessarily export their own movies; they can just leverage Hollywood movies to make money.

In the economic, business and technology sense, China has caught up and/or exceeded Korea.