Wednesday, September 27, 2017

FREE! Fall Middle School Weekend Camp Retreat

Saturday OCTOBER 28th 09:00 - Sunday October 29th 17:00

Registration Deadline: October 10th

We told you guys we were working on another camp with the Pyeongtaek Youth Center and here it is! The planning and execution of the camp is once again headed up by the fabulous Mr. Kim and Ms. Eunice. These two have been phenomenal to work with. (Click here to read more about the first summer camp) 

This middle school focused camp will consist of fifteen foreign students and fifteen Korean students who will spend TWO fun filled days making new friends and participating in fun activities. The camp is all about the exchange of cultures with one day at a Korean facility to experience Korean culture, and one day on Camp Humphreys to learn about the US way of life.

This camp is free to attend BUT on day two we are going to need our families to participate in hosting an event on Camp Humphreys. More on that below. First, lets look at day one.

DAY 1: Pickups start at 9:00am

The first day, Saturday October 28th will be held at the very impressive MooBong Youth Camp that's tucked away in the hills (mountains) of northeast Pyeongtaek. This camp is so beautiful, well maintained, and smells of trees and nature. We could hardly believe how lovely it was the first time we visited. They even have a coffee shop for volunteers and waiting family members. 

Activities will include such things as Survivor (paint ball), climbing, pottery and more. Outdoor activities may change depending on weather. Appropriate safety equipment and professional instructors are on hand to help the campers be safe and have fun while climbing and playing survivor.

The camp has a huge clean cafeteria that serves some lovely Korean food. We had the bulgogi and corn dogs when we visited. It wasn't spicy and they allow students to serve themselves so they can feel comfortable taking what they like and leaving what they don't.

FYI: For students who don't eat Korean food or have dietary restrictions, there will be a microwave, mini fridge, and hot water available at all meals as well as milk at breakfast. Students can feel free to bring their own oatmeal, cereal, or instant meals.

The camp has clean traditional rooms that have a TV, mini fridge and private bathroom. There will be divided by sexes and sleep 5 to a room with a counselor to monitor them. There are no western beds for students. They will sleep Korean styles with a sleeping mat and blankets. It will be like camping outside... except inside with a bathroom and TV. If your child would like to bring their own pillow it's completely acceptable.

DAY 2: Wake up, have breakfast, and head to Camp Humphreys

The second day of the camp will be all about showing the Korean kids how we celebrate fall in the US. Students will be escorted onto Camp Humphreys for a Halloween Party with games, costumes and community potluck, and to attend Fall Fest. (Once you are accepted more exact details will be sent.) The Public Affairs Office is helping us with this but it's also where we all come in. This is our chance to give back. Families of attendees are asked to bring fund foods, volunteer, and help thing setup/take down. We want this to be fun, relaxed, and feel like home.

Treats include things like (but be creative):

  • pumpkin cupcakes
  • chips and scary looking dips
  • cookies that look like goats
  • anything weird and Halloween / fall harvest themed
We will also need some volunteers how can help with:
  • Face painting
  • Creating silly costumes
  • Preparing for the event
  • Cleaning up after the event 
  • Managing the games
  • Lending things to be used as costumes

We are also working with the PAO so we know we can all pull this off together. The most important part of day two is sharing what community feels like. Together we will create a welcoming space that is safe, fun, and filled with what we love about home.

Registration Deadline: October 10th

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to use the SOS app with Kakao Taxi

One of the best things to happen to Korea is Kakao Navi. If you aren't using it, stop now and go download it. It's an app for calling taxis almost anywhere you can find yourself.

YES, it's in Korean. DO NOT let this stop you. Honestly, this is one of the most important apps you can learn to use in Korean and 10 Magazine has done an awesome job showing you how to use it. CLICK HERE to learn more and get it setup on your phone. Slow down, get focused and use this. Taxis are an affordable and necessary part of life in Korea and if you use Kakao Taxi it removes the need to communicate your destination with your driver.

One of the awesome aspects of the South of Seoul app is that it makes it an excellent companion to the Kakao Taxi app because we list all of our addresses in Korean so they can be easily copied and pasted into Kakao Taxi (or other navigation apps).

Here is how it works in 5 Easy Steps

1. Use South of Seoul to find someplace awesome

Once you have determined your destination you can get the address two ways: 1) click the share icon in the header or 2) click directly on the address.

2. Click "Share Location" and then "Copy".

This will give you a copy of the address as it is listed in the app. It does not copy other information from the listing.

3. Open 카카오 택시 (Kakao Taxi)

Keep this in an easy to find location if you aren't comfortable using the Korean alphabet yet. Once the application is installed the app will open to a page like this. The RED address is where you are located. After you call the taxi DO NOT WANDER OFF!

Now click in the circled area to get ready to paste your address.

4. Paste your address. 

See, that was easy. Now click that little blue button on the bottom right. (Sorry we forgot to circle it. It's kind of hiding in this graphic).

5. Confirm the address and by clicking the 도착 button and then hit the big yellow button to call the taxi.

If there is more than one address for some reason, choose the one that closely matches what you pasted.

THAT'S IT!!! You are now free to move about Pyeongtaek easily using Kakao Taxi and South of Seoul. No more base Taxi's for you!

Monday, September 18, 2017

How to Use Our App Listings

Our listings are filled with useful information depending on topic and availability. It's surprising how much you can find poking around one of our volunteer created listings. Let's go on tour together to see what's up. Since we all need to eat, let's look at one of the 40+ Pyeongtaek grocery stores we have listed.

To get started let's enter the Pyeongtaek Area Directory, select Spotlight: Businesses and Groceries & Specialty Foods.  The listing we are looking at today is a popular store located near Camp Humphreys.
We sort by distance

The first thing you should notice when you open the Spotlight: Businesses: Groceries is that listings are sorted by distance from where you are standing at the moment. This is incredibly helpful when you need things right away. We know that many of our users are new to Korea. You don't know where you are or where other neighborhoods are in relation to you. Seeing the distance will help you learn where things are at.  You will also notice that we have taken our many users from the USA into consideration and listed things in miles for your comfort.

We have a quick location view

Now, let's say you want to have a quick look to see exactly where a location is related to you? We have you covered. Just click on the directions button. It looks like the little map marker that we have in our logo. See that blue dot? That's you. The red dot is the business you want to go to. Clicking the red dot will also link you back to the business listing. The blue, pulsing dot will follow you wherever you go. You can use this to create little walking tours in an area. You can walk from one restaurant to another easily. It's a totally awesome way to get oriented.

Read and Post Reviews

So, you have decided a listing looks cool and you want more details. Click on the banner to open for more details. The first thing you will want to check are the reviews left by others. Our community has been fantastic about sharing their knowledge and love for places with those that are coming next. 

You can access these reviews by clicking in two locations; 1) The star on the header bar and 2) in the body of the listing.

Be sure to leave a review once you have visited the location. Facebook posts get lost, and we don't have yelp, so your input matters. With our constantly changing population it's important to those who come next. Leaving reviews empowers new arrivals to hit the ground running. 

We love reviews that are information based rather than feelings based. For example: " I loved it" is wonderful but doesn't share information people need. Instead say, "I loved it because it tasted like home" or "I loved it because they had friendly staff and a kids play area." Also remember, our system doesn't like fancy symbols or emojis, so keep review text simple.

Kakao Navi Links for you and Taxis

Not every listing contains the Kakao Navi link but when it does, it's awesome. We know it's in Korean but it's crazy useful for your cab driver (just hand him the Navi instead of worrying about addresses and names) or when you are walking. When it's embedded in a listing it's like winning the lottery. We include it when we can, but it depends on the technology available to the volunteers who create the listing. It can't be expected, but it can be appreciated.

We give credit where credit is due

As we often mention, South of Seoul is a volunteer based organization (click here to learn about joining the team) and we rely on people like our Pyeongtaek Food & Fun members to recommend places and contribute to the process. (click here to see our submission form) When others take time to share awesome information we make sure they are recognized and appreciated. You can find links to their Pyeongtaek Food & Fun posts, other FB groups, or references for their submissions.

Useful Korean Phrases to Help You Succeed

Now to the coolest part! In many of our listings, including all of our grocery listings, we include links to useful words and information you need to find important grocery items. We know that dealing with the language barrier is difficult when you arrive and are here to help as much as we can. Feel free to send use items you would like added to this list. you can send them to

We currently have useful phrases for:
  • Coffee shops
  • Restaurants
  • Visiting the dentist
  • Grocery stores
  • Butchers
  • Communicating with trip bus drivers

Get Directions DIRECTLY In the App

Believe it or not, the app maps work pretty darn great and offers nice routes. We use it all the time to find places we don't often go.  You can either click directly on the address in the listing or in the location marker in the header. Honestly, this makes it so simple. No having to open another navigation or maps app. The blue dot will follow along with you and just keep it on the blue line. You can also easily share this location with friends. Really, use this. Life will be better.

Share the Listing OR Copy the address

If you want to copy the address and use it in your navigation or put it into Kakao Taxi (You need the Kakao Taxi app NOW. Here is how to use it even though it's in Korean. Be set free from base taxis or wandering the streets at night). Honestly, the South of Seoul app and the Kakao Taxi app are like a match made in heaven because we use only Korean addresses that can easily be dropped into Kakao Taxi. CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW to use them together.

Save it for Later

So you have decided you are interested in a listing and what to remember it forever. That's easy as pie. Just click on the little blue tab that looks like a bookmark. You will be able to easily find your favorite listings later.

Additional Information in the the headers

Now every header has additional information but if you see this little yellow button on the right CLICK ON IT! We have added something useful that's not to be missed. This includes but isn't limited to these two handy features:

Bus Schedules

YouTube Videos of Fun Places to Visit

This certainly isn't everything either. Other things we have embedded into listings include but aren't limited to:
  • South of Seoul blogs about the listing in question
  • Links to where to buy movie tickets online in English and find movie times
  • Culture information you need for places like swimming pools or visiting jjimjilbangs
  • Videos on how to take the subway for those just getting started
All of this information is directly linked to FROM the listings so that you don't have to hunt around the internet for all the information. We are always looking for ways to make your life easier. Now go forth and explore our listings and learn all you can. Life in Korea can be fabulous, all you have to do is get out and love it.