Health & Well-Being, Seoul

15 Reviews

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  • Sligtly hazy, 2013
    Sligtly hazy, 2013
    by Ewingjr98
  • 2013
    2013
    by Ewingjr98
  • Clear skies, 2013
    Clear skies, 2013
    by Ewingjr98
  • sheherezad's Profile Photo

    Dust mite allergy!

    by sheherezad Updated Oct 15, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you wake up at 5.00am with a blocked runny nose and itchy throat you haven't had for years and wished you had brought along a nasal decongestant spray, that's a bad indicator of not just Seoul's infamous air pollution but your dust mite allergy acting up! :( Which means the floor carpeting vacuuming wasn't thorough or strong enough though I requested the 'Fifteen minute service' this hotel encourages before I unpacked ( upon seeing a layer of dust on surfaces after I checked in) plus thorough carpet vacuuming the morning after upon noticing bits of dirt on the unvacuumed wall to wall carpeting the night before..

    So, come prepared with all your allergy medications if you suffer from allergic rhinitis, like I do, and take a long-lasting anti-histamine, instead of one that only lasts 4-5 hours (which was what I did the night before since it's also a decongestant and I thought that would be sufficient)! ;-)

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    Seoul Smog

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 10, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seoul has a very bad pollution problem that causes many visitors and residents to experience health problems. The smog is worst in the summer months, when many locals wear masks over their noses & mouths. Living in Seoul, it is very difficult to keep your house clean with this fine black dust settles over every flat surface!

    To make matters worse, each year in March and April, sandstorms from Mongolia blow into Seoul reducing visibility tremendously.

    In 2013, I returned to Seoul in late April/early May, and the smog was barely noticeable. I believe there has been a significant improvement.

    Seoul Smog, 2003 The skies are clear, 2013 Clear skies, 2013 Sligtly hazy, 2013 2013
    Related to:
    • Work Abroad
    • Study Abroad

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  • Street vendor food POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS!

    by Seoul_expat Written Jun 10, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I just want to reiterate that street vendor food in Korea can and does cause serious food poisonings and even deaths every year. Yes. You heard right.

    I have been warned by Severance Hospital that especially in the summer, cases of E. coli
    Hepatitis A, Listeria and Salmonella explode due to the heat and poor sanitation practices of street vendors. Hep A risk is constant throughout the year!

    I have known 3 people that got SERIOUSLY ILL from eating street food in Seoul, Busan, and Daegu including myself and the most serious of the cases involved Hep A in Namdaemun market in Seoul. Luckily she was able to get treatment for it. Another friend of mine got E.coli from drinking tainted water near Busan, from a vendor that filled a water jug with non-potable water.
    Why would Hep A still be around in a major city like Seoul? Answer is, many people don't wash their hands after using the washroom here. Lack of education about how proper Hygiene works makes for a decent breeding ground for all sorts of dangerous bacteria and potentially lethal viruses. The average washroom is EXTREMELY DIRTY in Korea compared to those in more developed countries.

    YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

    I was a victim of serious food poisoning nearly 2.5 years ago in Seoul. I will NEVER eat at a street vendor stall ever again.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Work Abroad
    • School Holidays

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    AA Meetings in Seoul

    by jburron Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    For those readers who may be abstaining from alcohol I'd like to say: good luck! Korea is a drinking country. They consume over FOUR BILLION (285 ml) bottles of soju here a year (that's over 1.5 per week for every man, woman and child!). Most business deals and social gatherings involve drinking (sometimes to extreme excess) so no matter where you go you will be exposed to copious amounts of liquor and likely be pressured to drink (a lot).

    You can get over this, though. Koreans are, by nature, respectful to principled people--and foreigners are seen as abidign by a different set of rules as it is. If you say that you cannot or will not drink then they will likely accept this and respect your decision (if they don't then they aren't very good to be around in any case).

    The site below has a list of meetings in Seoul and elsewhere...some have very good directions. I imagine the meetings are in English, so there should be none of that famous language barrier we know so well.

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    Trash in Seoul

    by jburron Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's said that South Koreans throw out more food than North Koreans have to eat...and I believe it. Since all meals have 3-7 side dishes and restaurants have strict rules to throw out the leftovers, it seems, this waste really piles up. Hint: don't ever be downwind of a kimchi garbage container in August! (I guess this is my warning to you.)

    All in all, Seoul is a pretty clean place--thanks to the tireless efforts of the many old men who comb through the garbage everyday. They take recycleables away and leave just the 'pure' trash for the garbage trucks in the morning. %L{http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/ccfe6/[The Yeouido Full Gospel Church even has a fundraising campaign where churchgoers bring their cardboard and recycleables to the church (in a massive heap every Sunday, as you could imagine 7 crowds of over 20,000 people could amass).

    However, Seoul still had tons (13,500 a day, in fact) of garbage that needs to go somewhere. Sky Park in Mapo-Gu near the World Cup Stadium is an example of that...it is actually a trash heap. The city covered it with grass, planted some trees on it, erected windmills for some sort of power generation, and called it an eco-friendly park.

    Mmmmm...kimchi.

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    Very Safe

    by newsphotogirl Updated May 23, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I felt very safe in Seoul. Living in San Francisco I learned to keep and eye on my surroundings. I think I started to get too comfortable in Seoul. It was a nice feeling though. I also noticed how polite people were on the subway and other public places. No one talking loud on the cell phone or being rude.

    Reading the daily paper.

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  • ShaneBarber's Profile Photo

    Prostitution in Itaewon

    by ShaneBarber Updated Jan 3, 2006

    Prostitution is still somewhat common in Korea. Recently, the US has cracked down on Americans involved with prostitution, and the penalties are stiff for those caught. Otherwise, policies seem lax, as far as the Korean goverment is concerned. In Itaewon, if you take a left off of the road where Club X/O is located onto the street that leads to Polly's Kettle, there are some decent clubs, but some promote prostitution. This upward sloping road (as well as several others) are known as "Hooker Hill." I am unaware of whether these are Korean girls who are just making easy, albeit dangerous, money, or victims of human trafficking; however, be aware that it is there, and that the penalties for Americans are stiff. From what I understand, many of the clubs just attempt to get an unsuspecting dolt to buy the girls many drinks, charging them something like W10,000 per cheap soju-with-watermelon-flavor-style drinks, for their conversation alone.

    Hooker Hill- turn left, towards Polly's Kettle

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    Beware of Street Food

    by AKtravelers Written Aug 14, 2004

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When I first started visiting Seoul, I always brought Immodium. I still bring it, but now I only need it if I eat the food from street vendors. If you have a sensitive digestive tract, you should avoid this unhygenic food.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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    Chew the Air before You Breathe It!

    by AKtravelers Written Aug 14, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seoul has some of the worst air pollution in the world. This will not be apparent in many of my pictures (or in tourist brochure photos) because most pictures are taken on the few clear days. But in general, Seoul is often blanketed with a thick, choking haze. It is said that breathing Seoul's air is the equivelent of smoking two cigarettes a day.

    A typical afternoon view from the Seoul Hilton
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • sjvessey's Profile Photo

    Atmospheric pollution is awful

    by sjvessey Updated Jun 12, 2004

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    As you can see from this murky sunrise, but there's quite a lot of air pollution in Seoul. Most days the near distance is obscured by a haze which ranges in colour from white to dirty grey. Probably not the best place to go if you have respirtory problems.

    Sunrise through the smog

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  • The clean fresh air of seoul

    by JDwernychuk Updated Apr 27, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    something that might annoy you is the extremely drity air. Everytime i walk along a main street my nosie is burning and at the end of the day my throat is in pain. To add to that I am here during the yellow sand storm. If you don't know what that is it's a strong wind that starts in siberia and sweeps across the Gobi in northren China and picks up the sand. The wind crosses through Bejing and takes all there pollution and it travels over the yellow sea and then passes it in to seoul.

    This normaly happens in march, and April. You can't see the sand but it's there.You will feel your eyes get sore when it's really windy out. It's also why you will see alot of people during that time wearing masks.

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  • jburron's Profile Photo

    Seoul = Smog

    by jburron Updated Apr 26, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's a fact that Seoul has twice the amount of particles (particles of what? I assume it's not healthy stuff) than that of New York--or any other developed country city. (Korea, I believe, has just been upgraded to developed country status.)

    If you have athsma or other such conditions do not come here in the summer. Also, in the Spring (especially May) there is "Yellow Wind". This toxic breeze comes from the Gobi desert where it is pretty tame stuff--but after flying over the moist West Sea it grows fungus and bacteria in its clouds and by the time it gets to Seoul it could be dangerous for kids and old folks. (This is one reason why some kids sport the Hello Kitty face masks.) I haven't noticed anything, and I see people jogging in it, but when the wind is at its worst the city gets a bombed-out look to it (haze and fewer people in the streets).

    The biggest problem, though, is the cars. The number of cars in Seoul has tripled in just ten years (that's 11.76% per year, for us math geeks). The fumes from people's driving habits (see tip on Couples Parking in Local Customs) has prompted the city to issue stickers to drivers that show what weekday they cannot drive to work. (I think the taxi drivers lobbied for this one.) I truly don't understand why people drive anyways, the subways are great and busses and cabs are all over the place...but then, I live almost right next to work.

    The pollution also affects kids or those susceptible to skin irritation. Kids get atrophy (it's so common there are many TV shows about it on Korean news) which is a drying and kind of scaling of the skin...use moisturizer (maybe this is why they are pushing men's moisturizers here, who knows).

    Those ain't clouds!

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  • Hmmmm's Profile Photo

    Children shooting M-16 Assault Rifles.

    by Hmmmm Written Feb 4, 2004

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    Be careful of smiling kids, weilding M-16 assault rifles and AK-47's running around corners, or hiding begind bushes. Because you could get caught in their crossfire and end up getting shot.

    It hurts I tell you. I am alive to tell the story. Why? Because when I got shot, the projectile that hit me was not a fast moving metal bullet but a small plastic ball. Still they leave the gun very quickly, and they can cause a welt. Quite dangerous.

    Playing War. Pic: Aaron Irving

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  • Martin_B's Profile Photo

    Safest place I ever been

    by Martin_B Written Jan 16, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seoul and Korea in general is really safe. I think that the safest country I ever been. You can walk in downtown late at night without any problem. I never felt unsafe anywhere in Korea. The crime there is very low which is very nice.

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  • WebFling's Profile Photo

    Latrine somewhere in Seoul

    by WebFling Written Oct 6, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Spent the night strolling with friends downtown and ended up in a karaoke house. I went to use the bathroom and it was a squat type like the Japanese toilet, but with a weird toilet flush and it took me a while to figure it out.

    toilet flush

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