12 Things South Korea Does Faster

November 22, 2016

One of the first Korean words I learned after my arrival to the peninsula was bbali (빨리). Meaning "fast," it's a term used frequently and, in my opinion, perfectly summarizes the entire country in two syllables.

After all, the nation rose from the ashes of the Korean War in a mere six decades to become one of the world's greatest economies. In general, Koreans do a lot of things fast. Here's 10 of them, in no particular order.


There are few places in the world that do public transportation as well as South Korea. Sure, the country may be geographically smaller than other nations but its efficiency in moving its 50 million inhabitants around every day is unsurpassed.

Seoul's subway system is particularly impressive, with hundreds of pristine stations connecting the entire metropolis. Even better, on most lines, passengers rarely have to wait more than a few minutes for trains. The KTX, or Korea Train Express, is even faster with a top speed of 305 km/hour (190 mph) and can take passengers from one side of the country to the other in a mere couple hours. With a system so great, it makes me wonder why anyone would ever want to drive on the consistently jammed streets of the nation.

Technological Advancement 

Seoul is ranked as the world’s “the city of the future” and the “tech capital of the world”—and for good reason. Over the past decade, the country has become a global leader in electronics, digital displays and mobile phones and is home to tech giants like Samsung and LG.

Korea’s remarkable—and super fast—technological advancement is immediately evident when visiting Seoul. Back when I first moved here in 2009 (before the smartphone era was in full swing) I was blown away by the sheer number of people who were using flip phones to video chat or watch TV. To this day, I’m just as impressed with how integrated technology is in everyday life—from IoT-enabled trash cans to virtual reality cafes to signboards that allow people to order groceries by snapping QR codes at bus stops on their phones.

Image: ReadWrite


In a country where one's self-worth is heavily influenced by the presence of a significant other, being single is not something to be proud of. As such, blind dates, matchmaking and even specified bars where singles gather to seek out a significant other play an integral role in the dating scene. When two potential love birds meet, it doesn't take long to figure out where they stand with one another.

Soon after the successful first date, things really start to pick up. After 100 days, couples celebrate their long-term relationship success by visiting Seoul Tower, publishing a lot of selfies on social media and purchasing matching couple rings, shirts and underwear sets. Territory is marked and leashes are continuously shortened as each subsequent month passes.


Marriage is another important institution in Korea and those that remain single well into their thirties are considered to be lost causes. Therefore, when one begins to approach his or her mid-thirties (though men can usually get away with being single longer), anxiety begins to settle in and numerous efforts are made to rope in the most eligible potential spouse.

So long as he or she makes a decent living, has a reputable-ish family and no criminal record (one of violent crimes, anyway), the wedding date is set. It is not uncommon for couples in their late thirties to be wed a few months after first meeting. Baby-making requires a bit of time, after all.


Speaking of weddings, Korean matrimonial ceremonies, despite their importance, are wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am occasions. Families tend to put a lot of dough into over-the-top weddings, if only to show off their financial stability (or to fake it) to the hundreds of acquaintances, business partners and family members that show up for the short ceremony.

The process for the wedding guest is simple. Show up. Pay the customary cash as a gift to the newlyweds. When the ceremony starts, chat with the other guests around you and take your phone calls as needed. Eat the provided meal (which is sometimes served during the ceremony). Leave. Go to the next wedding. All within an hour or less.


Korea's delivery system is a-maz-ing. There's no other word to describe it. Want McDonald's at 4 in the morning? Done, via motorcycle. Low on groceries? Order them on G-Market and have them packed neatly in boxes at your door the next day. Forgot to send your girlfriend her 100 day anniversary gift? Get it hand delivered in minutes. Delivery here is fast, efficient and something I just don't know if I'll ever be able to survive without. Seriously.... I'm lovin' it!

Wait Times

If you find yourself in a bank, government office or even a medical facility in Korea, you will note that there’s no such thing as dilly-dallying.

Customer service here is so incredibly systematic that you don’t have to wait or stand in a line for a long time. And, on top of that, people in these facilities are actually very polite, friendly and accommodating! Who woulda thought?!


Perhaps this started when the country needed to rebuild quickly after the war, but even today, buildings in Korea are constructed at record-breaking speeds. It's not strange to visit a neighborhood and see two or three new stand-alone shops or restaurants whose foundations did not even exist a week before. Unfortunately, the lack of safety precautions and use of cheap materials is most likely one of the reasons construction is so fast. Sadly, problems usually arise in new buildings as quickly as it takes to construct them.


Many acclaim Korea's crazy fast internet speeds (the fastest in the world, to be exact) to its huge online gaming industry. At 24.6 megabits (mbps) per second (whatever that means), Koreans can do just about anything online in half the time it takes Americans. And from just about anywhere, too- from the tops of mountains to the depths of the deepest darkest subway tunnels. Perhaps this is why Korea is also the world's second biggest consumer of porn, despite its illegality.

Getting Drunk

But Korea doesn't just consume porn. They're also the world’s biggest consumers of hard liquor, at 11.2 shots a week on average.

Drinking plays an important role in corporate culture and though things are changing, it's still the norm to hit the soju with co-workers after a long day of work. Koreans also tend to drink more to get drunk rather than to enjoy their beverages (which is understandable, considering Korean alcohol is usually less than enjoyable) so even before midnight tolls, streets are overflowing with red-faced, staggering men in suits and are dotted with piles of... Well, I'll just say that Korea knows how to do nightlife, for sure.


Koreans, in general, may age slower than the rest of us, perhaps thanks to their ridiculously developed skincare routines or high cosmetic surgery rate. But the country itself isn’t so lucky.

Koreans' average life expectancy is predicted to hit 83.5 years in 2050 thanks to better health and nutrition as a result of increased income. Meanwhile, more women are entering the workforce than ever before (and thus putting off marriage and are having less babies) while cultural and societal values are shifting to be less traditional. In 2050, people over 65 will make up 38.2 percent of South Korea’s population—the greatest proportion of elderly people in the world.


When a nation is used to getting things done quickly, it doesn't take much for them to get impatient. Such is the case with trends. Food, music, beauty and fashion trends go as quickly as they come. Such a constant change in people's preferences makes it hard to operate a business, be successful as a musician or even get a cosmetic operation in looks-obsessed Korea (in fact, some are saying reverse plastic surgery is the new thing.)

Strangely enough, some of the latest and most popular trends revolve around reviving the slow pace of the Korea of the past. Slow food. Slow cities. Trips to organic farms, urban beekeeping and weekends glamping in the countryside. All the craze right now. It makes one wonder if these trends will stick around for a while, bringing the younger generations to favor a slower Korea, or if the now-bbali nation will continue to be one of haste.

What else does Korea do fast? Leave your comments in the box below.

Words by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.

You Might Also Like


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I Love this post. Nice to know you. I'm from Indonesia. I want ask something, I will go to seoul on April. is Cherry blossom does exist in Jinhae? :)

  3. Incredible things here. I am happy to look your post. free itunes card codes

  4. Thanks for the best blog.it was very useful for me.

  5. keep sharing such ideas in the future as well.

  6. this was actually what i was looking for,and i am glad to came here!

  7. Thank you for benefiting from time to focus on this kind of, I feel firmly about it and also really like comprehending far more with this particular subject matter.

  8. I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again..

  9. Let’s keep are safe place to play the very best free games for kids! Please click:
    slither.io | wings.io | happy wheels | abcya | fnaf 4 | happy wheels the game free | tetris to play for free!


  10. Let’s keep are safe place to play the very best free games for kids! Please click:

    - slither.io
    - wings.io
    - vanar.io
    - Pokemon GO
    - diep.io
    to play for free!

  11. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.Can you play more games at : friv games online | friv online games | papa’s games | Juegos de deportes | Juegos 1

  12. Let’s keep are safe place to play the very best free games for kids! Please click: wingsio | slither io | abc

  13. This is one of the cult game now, a lot of people enjoy playing them . Also you can refer to the game :
    gold mine strike | pokemon go 2
    The game controls are shown just under . Movement mechanisms primarily include acceleration and tilting controls.
    stickman games | stick war 2 | animal jam 2

  14. Eat ridiculously fast!

  15. Your blog posts are more interesting and impressive. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here.
    lucky patcher l wings.io l geometry dash l launcher l sonic dash l minecraft l temple run 2


  16. Wow. cool post. I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real hard work to make a great article… but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though.
    bloons tower defense 5

  17. All the best blogs that is very useful for keeping me share the ideas of the future as well this is really what I was looking for, and I am
    very happy to come here. Thank you very much
    animal jam codes | five nights at freddy's 4 | hotmail login

  18. Thank you so much admin, while giving us the opportunity to take their link on this forum

  19. Interesting post! This is really helpful for me. I like it! Thanks for sharing!
    - gmail sign in

  20. The article you have shared here very good. This is really interesting information for me. Thanks for sharing!
    - google mail

  21. This is really interesting information for me. Thanks for sharing!
    - hotmail sign up
    - gmail sign up

  22. Highly qualified information because it can provide useful info thanks.
    cara mengatasi kelainan tulang lordosis

  23. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info much.
    I was looking for this certain information for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck hotmail login | hotmail email login | hotmail account login

  24. • Thank you for your information that you've shared. It's really helpful for me. * Street view

  25. Thanks for your article! I have been looking for quite a long time and fortunately I read this article! I wish you would continue to have valuable articles like this or more to share with everyone!
    fb login

  26. Thank you for giving them this great knowledge, really thank you for sharing, hope you will have such great posts as this more.

  27. here are exclusive updates and plot details about our favorite anime Little Witch Academia Season 2

  28. Thank you for giving them this great knowledge, really thank you for sharing, hope you will have such great posts as this more.

    wifi username


  29. I was actually reading your article and found some really interesting information. The thing is quite clear that I just want to thank for it.

  30. The article you have shared here very good. This is really interesting information for me. Thanks for sharing!
    skype login

  31. Oh, great, your article gives me useful information and a fresh perspective on the subject.
    usps tracking


    Dell Customer Support Number

  33. Very good content I enjoyed it a lot keep sharing like this. Panda Antivirus Customer Support

  34. Thank You for sharing such a great Post!! Acer Support

  35. If you really facing an issues in AOL emails service, for more information visit AOL customer support. AOL Support Number

  36. nice post I enjoyed it a lot keep sharing like this Epson Tech Support Number

  37. It is a very informative post. It really helps us a lot.
    AOL Customer Support Number

  38. We provide solution regarding Ms office product. If you need any assistance regarding it than visit us. ms office 2007 tech support number

  39. I really love your article it is very important to us. Thanks for sharing this useful information with us, keep updating us. windows tech support


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Popular Posts

Follow on Facebook