If you’re planning to teach English or spend your vacation in Korea then knowing what Koreans do for entertainment will be very helpful for your experience. Here are forms of entertainment unique to Korea that I have seen to be available nearly everywhere during my time teaching in Korea.
DVD bong. Rather than only go to the movie theater or rent a movie to watch at home, in Korea you can watch movies in your own private room. The rooms have a large sofa, drink holders, drinking fountain and blanket. They also allow you to bring food in to the rooms, so you can easily bring a pizza to eat during the movie. Every DVD bong that I have been to offers a wide variety of movies, including several English movies that are popular in the US and various foreign films that can be played with English subtitles. You can either go by yourself, with a group of friends, or bring a date (which is very popular amongst Koreans). The cost is about $6-7 per person, but I have seen that the more people you have in each room the cheaper the rate.
Jjimjilbong. These are up-market dry saunas. Korea is filled with many public spas and baths, but jjimjibongs are the top-end. These often include a gym, hairdresser, TV, cafe, internet, and more. Many times, people may stay the night at one of these saunas rather than pay for a hotel because they are open 24 hours and you can easily relax and freshen up at a lower cost. Depending on the spa, you can bath in nearly anything you wish: ginseng, tea, mineral water, coffee, seaweed, pine needles, and more. Koreans look at spas as a great way to cleanse the body of toxins and to help sooth muscles and minds. Prices vary depending on the luxuries offered. Also, I should note that when visiting a spa in Korea, but prepared to feel comfortable in groups of Koreans without clothes, as this is something many foreigners may be hesitant about initially.
Noraebong. This is a very popular place to be in the evenings. While living in Korea, I have always gone with friends at night typically after eating out and/or having some drinks. Noraebongs are private rooms used to sing karaoke. Both English and Korean songs are available. Depending on the Noreabong, rooms can fit about 10 people. Like DVD bongs, you are allowed to bring your own food and beverages in as well.
PC bong. These private rooms are predominantly dedicated to young gamers, though you may find an occasional web-surfer or e-mailer.
Hiking. With a country so mountainous, it should not come as a surprise that Korea’s most popular leisure activity is hiking. Parks with hiking trails are located throughout the country so there are many choices to pick from. However, I have found that it may be wise to check up on the level of difficulty before you decide to go because you don’t want the unpleasant surprise of hiking up very steep rocks for 3 hours if that is not what you bargained for.
Taekwondo. While in Korea, try learning the world’s most popular martial art – taekwondo. Millions of Korean children learn taekwondo at private academies throughout the country. Many of these academies are more than welcome to have foreigners sign up for their classes. Talking with friends, most all of the classes are not spoken in English but you can easily follow along with each pose and positions to learn.
More by Jennifer:
Dos and Don’ts for Eating Korean Cuisine
Benefits of Teaching Overseas
Celebrating Korea’s Thanksgiving