South Korea has a lot to offer for digital nomads. Great food, fast internet, modern infrastructure, yes local craft beer, 6 month visas, and more. In the past couple of years I had a chance to visit Seoul and Busan several times over the years.
Who is Seoul For?
I think Seoul is for a Digital nomad that is more established and that loves the big city vibes. I found Seoul to be a bit overwhelming, but it’s great to experience. There are many co-work spaces, it’s modern, fast internet, easy to get around, and there are lot of difference areas you could base yourself or just transit through. Seoul has the incheon airport, which connects it to Malaysia as well as Vancouver Canada.
Who is Busan For?
Busan is the second largest city and it has several awesome beaches like gwangalli beach . I prefer Busan as it is more chill, and the city feels more manageable, and you still get a lot of the perks of South korea like fast internet, modern city, and safety. Busan also connects to Kuala Lumpur and Nagasaki Japan. If you want to find out more about Busan check out this article.
More about Seoul
Seoul has amazing food for the soul like pork rib bone soup, dumplings, bugolgi beef bbq, bim bam bop and more. I decided to make a visit to film and sample the food and use Seoul to fly to Vancouver. South Korea has potential for Digital nomads despiet the higher cost. We will be exploring some of the info that digital nomads want to here.
Getting in, getting connected, and Where to Stay
I booked a 6 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, but you can find cheap flights from Bangkok or Taipei. Unfortunately Ubers’s are expensive so I took an airport limo bus ($9 us) to the Ramada hotel in Dongdaemun. The bus pretty much stopped in front of the hotel. I decided to rent a mobile router as it would give me 4g Internet unlimited data up to 3 devices. This cost me $42 us for the 5 days. They also had single sim packages.
Where did I stay
I stayed at the Ramada Encore hotel in Dongdaemun. I did plenty of research between my friends, airbnb, and trip advisor. I found the airbnb’s more on the high end, and the Ramada had the right combination of value, convenience, location, good reviews, and it was a modern hotel. As I said I got dropped off right in front of the hotel. There is a starbucks, convenience store, bus stops, and the Shinseoldong Subway station within a 2 minute walk radius. This subway is on line 1 and goes directly to city hall station. The lobby has a decent work area and local coffee shop and nearby starbucks was spacious and featured a fast Internet connection. I got a good room on the corner of the 16th floor. The was room was relatively spacious for Seoul, everything was clean, modern, and I had a decent view. The wifi wasn’t as fast as I wanted, but I just used my mobile router. The staff spoke a decent level of English to help me get around.
What did I eat and drink
I ate everything from noodle soups, dumplings, fried chicken, beef bulgolgi, jap chae potato noodles, bim bam bop, and pork rib hangover soup to name a few. I marked some pins for the restaurants I went to. You could find a good meal for about 7000 won $6.2 US. The portions were large, and fresh kim chi and side dishes seemed to come standard. I tried the local beer Cass and also some craft beer in Hong dae and Itaewon areas. I recommend trying out the Magpie Ipa in Hongdae. It comes from Jeju island and goes for about 7000 won. Coffee’s ranged from 3000 to 4000 won and offered free wifi.
I took some pov footage from the bus and airport limos using DJI Osmo to capture that unique perspective. If you’re interesting in filming with this camera check out my course. I know its hard to unpack to get out the camera after a long trip, but I made an extra effort because I knew taxis would be expensive. I used the DJI osmo to capture some unique angles at Gangnam and Itaewon areas. I brought out the Canon SLR with the 50mm F 1.4 to capture some nice nightlife footage as well. I explored the hotel and discovered they had rooftop access. I took full advantage of this to get some aerials around Dongdaemun. I brought my drone, but from my research it seemed like if I didn’t fly at the designated drone park at Hangang park Seoul, then I might be at risk for a fine. From my research the footage from there wasn’t particularly scenic and it was at least 1.5 hours in transit just to get there. Instead I went to the DJI Flagship store in Hongdae area. I understand that there are only some official flagship stores worldwide so I made the visit. It was worthwhile as I got to see pretty much all the current gear and get some hands-on with the DJI goggles connected to DJI Mavic and touch the latest small drone dji spark. I ended up partnering with my local friend to complete filming of a Digital nomad guide to Seoul Korea.
During my trip I made a nice Stock footage sale of a filtered coffee $105 US. That was a nice reminder to keep on filming food and drinks. Stock footage is how I’ve managed to earn a passive income using video footage I’ve shot. You can learn more about it here.
Where did I work
I decided to switch my workflow to less laptop work and more content producing footage. This is always more fun and makes more sense on a short expensive trip. I rather do the laptop work from a location that I’m going to be more settled in. I worked at some cafe’s like Starbucks, the Ramada Encore lobby, my room, and the Noah Co-work space. I tried to make a visit to the free Dcamp cowork space, and Hive Arena and Wework at Gangnam They were closed due to holiday. Dcamp is free and the latter 2 are paid co-work spaces, which are not cheap The cafe Internet speeds were fast enough to get some work done.
4 days is just scratching the surface of Seoul. It is a large city and although there is good public transport it takes a long time to get around to the different areas. I didn’t really explore the main tourist attractions nor did I visit many co-work spaces, nor did I visit Jeju island. If I did return to Seoul I would bring some company and might try out Gangnam or Hongdae areas. Seoul is not as expensive as you would think once you have taken care of your accomodation. It will just take time to fully expore what it has to offer.
What is the Next Step?
I recommend you enroll in my Digital Nomad in Asia course for a deeper dive into South Korea as well as other destinations in Asia I’ve liked in like Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Taipei Taiwan, and Chiang Mai Thailand. You can check out the course as well as some free lessons here.
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