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Koreans don’t say “Umm” | Korean FAQ

A quick way to tell if someone is a native Korean speaker or not, is to pay attention to whether or not they use sounds such as "umm" or "uhh" often when speaking. This isn't to say that Koreans don't make these sounds (they do), but they often use different sounds than in English.

This video will share some alternate sounds that you can make when you're thinking to sound more like a native speaker.

The post Koreans don’t say “Umm” | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Rainy Day In Seoul: 30 Really Fun Indoor Activities In Seoul

Are you suffering from a rainy day in Seoul that’s come along and messed up your well planned trip? Well don’t worry, this guide to 30 of the best indoor activities in Seoul has you covered! There’s something for everyone, including family fun places, cultural wonders, cozy cafes, and exciting activities you might not even know about.

This list of 30 things to do in Seoul when it’s raining is packed full of great activities that you can also use it as a guide for when it’s not raining. If you haven’t already planned to visit these places, I’d definitely recommend checking them out.

I keep this list updated with the latest weather-resistant things to do in Seoul and, unlike some other guides, this list has been updated to reflect places closed during and after the pandemic.

Read on to find out how to spend a rainy day in Seoul without getting soaked and have an incredible day out whatever the weather. I hope you find something perfect for you.

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A rainy day in Seoul means lots of indoor activities

Are You Having A Rainy Day In Seoul?

I know how you feel, there’s nothing worse than planning an amazing day out, only to find that your plans to visit parks, walk the streets, and enjoy the great outdoors have been ruined by the weather. Fortunately, Seoul is a fun, vibrant city with many indoor attractions for you to enjoy.

This list of indoor activities should have something for almost anyone, traveller or local alike. Cafes, shops, attractions, museums, even bars and clubs, there’s always somewhere to escape the rain in Seoul.

Please note: some of these indoor activities in Seoul might require some online booking, others you might be able to turn up and enjoy at that moment.

A special thanks to Steve Robinson for some of these Korean rainy day pictures. You can check out his other great photos of Korea on his website:

Steve Robinson Photos
Trick Eye Museum: perfect for a rainy day in Seoul

1: Take Fun Photos At The Trick Eye Museum

Book Tickets Online

The Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae is a great place and fun for all the family. Top of my list of things to do in Seoul when it’s raining, this place has so much to keep everyone amused.

This is the world’s first augment reality (AR) museum and really brings the pictures and experience to life in ways not possible before. Experience it for yourself during a rainy day in Seoul.

Nanta Cooking Musical In Seoul

2: Be Amazed At The Nanta Cooking Musical

Book Tickets Online

Be sure not to miss Cookin’ Nanta at one of their locations in Seoul. This is a unique, wacky theatrical performance where energetic chefs bang pots and pans while preparing delicious traditional Korean foods.

Featuring audience participation, you could have the chance to become part of the action and perhaps even be part of their wedding ceremony during the show! High energy and certain to keep everyone amused.

Color Pool Museum in Seoul, Korea

3: Get Colourful At The Color Pool Museum

Book Tickets Online

Featuring a rainbow range of coloured halls to check out, each with their own theme, you’re sure to find the chance to take some incredible photos here.

Each of the 9 themed rooms has its own colour that reflects its ‘scent’, such as the romantic rose hall (one for couples) or the aquamarine ocean breeze hall (ball pools and unicorns).

The rooms are filled with an eclectic mix of giant inflatables, ball pits, slides, balloons, bright colours, confetti, extravagance, and happiness.

4: Find Fishy Fun At The COEX Aquarium

Book Tickets Online

Inside the giant COEX shopping centre in Gangnam is the delightful COEX Aquarium. This is a great indoor activity in Seoul for all the family and a chance to see some animals that actually enjoy being wet.

This awesome aquarium introduces some of Korea’s finest fish, as well as taking you on a journey around the oceans of the world. There are feeding shows, touch labs, performances, and so much more to see here.

Lotte World Adventure is a great indoor activity in Seoul

5: Stay Dry At The World’s Largest Indoor Theme Park

Book Tickets Online

If you’re looking for a full day of indoor fun in Seoul, Lotte World Adventure theme park is perfect for you. Located next to the Lotte World Tower, this gigantic indoor theme park has dozens of attractions for visitors young and old.

There are thrilling rollercoasters, rides, an aquarium, games to play, attractions, an ice rink, and lots more. Most of the park is inside (great for a rainy day in Seoul), but there’s also an outdoor section called the Magic Island that is very Disney-esque if you can brave the rain.

6: Marvel At The Alive Museum & Dynamic Maze

Book Tickets Online

The unique Alive Museum features lots of interactive art displays to create ‘illusionistic art’ and makes for some hilarious shots. Want to see one of the family being eaten alive, part of a video game, or racing around the streets of Seoul? This is the place for you.

The Dynamic Maze, located in the same area, is exactly what it sounds like: an action packed maze that has a variety of tasks you must complete to find the exit. Obstacles range from climbing walls, missions requiring attention to details, screaming and dancing, to simple trial and error.

7: Get Back To Nature At The Thanks Nature Sheep Cafe


One of my favourite things to do when it’s raining in Seoul is to check out one of the many animal cafes. My favorite of those is the Thanks Nature Sheep Cafe, where you can see cute sheep while you sip a refreshing coffee.

There are two fluffy, gorgeous sheep that you can visit and feed during certain times, as well as take pictures with. They’re well taken care of and friendly with guests. You can also enjoy some of the sweet treats and good coffee in the cafe area.

8: Start Feline Better At A Cat Cafe

Hongdae, Myeongdong, Others

You can’t visit Myeongdong or Hongdae and not see somebody dressed in a giant cat costume advertising a cat cafe. There are many to choose from in these areas and they’re really popular with tourists and locals alike.

Relax with a coffee and sweet dessert in the cafe area after getting disinfected and enjoy your time playing with the cats. Wash away the rainy day blues with this purrfect place.

Cafe Yeonnam-Dong 239-20

9: Adjust Your Perspective At Cafe Yeonnam-Dong 239-20


You might want to check your eyesight when you visit Cafe Yeonnam-Dong 239-20. This crazy cafe is designed to look like a black and white comic book and has a unique 2D feel.

Not only are the fixtures really stylish, the coffee and desserts are, too. And they’re not overpriced like some other insta-worthy cafes in the area. Take a break from the rain with this unique cafe.

10: Get Magical At The Platform 9 & 3/4 Harry Potter Cafe


Even if you didn’t receive your letter from Hogwarts, there’s still a chance for a magical Harry Potter experience in Seoul. Escape the rain and choose your wand in Platform 9 3/4 – a Harry Potter inspired cafe in Hongdae.

As you might have guessed, Hongdae is the go to place for unique cafes. However, few let you have such an immersive experience as this one. A truly magical place in Seoul.

Hanok Style Cafe in Seoul

11: Enjoy Traditional Korean Culture In A Hanok Cafe

Insadong, Bukchon, Others
Guide To Bukchon Hanok Village

What did Koreans traditionally do during a rainy day in Seoul? Hide in a hanok cafe or tearoom and wait for the weather to change. Which is what I recommend doing if you’re near Insadong or Bukchon Hanok Village.

Hanok cafes are the perfect place to get a glimpse of traditional Korean life. They often have a rustic charm and provide a delectable range of authentic Korean teas, as well as more modern coffee-based delicacies.

12: Spend Hours Gaming In A PC Bang

PC Rooms In Seoul

This is what a lot of Korean teenagers (and adults) choose to do regardless of the weather. Online gaming is a massive business in Korea and some of the best players in the world come from Korea. Where do they train? At a PC Room, also known as a PC-bang (bang is Korean for room).

You’ll see these places all over Seoul, usually near to noraebang (karaoke rooms) and pool halls. If you’re travelling alone, then this could be one of the best things to do in Seoul when it’s raining and you want to keep dry.

COEX Mall is a great place to visit during a rainy day in Seoul

13: Shop For Luxuries At The Starfield COEX Mall


Shopping enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on the COEX Mall. Asia’s largest underground shopping mall has something for everyone. Local and international brands can be found here, ranging from basic items to the finest luxury bags and goods.

Movie lovers will enjoy the 17 screen cinema. You can learn about Korean culture from the various performances on display, too. There’s even the aforementioned COEX Aquarium. Overall, this is a great place for pretty much anyone to spend a rainy day in Seoul.

14: Marvel At The Enormous Lotte World Tower

Seoul Sky Observatory

The Lotte World Tower in Jamsil stands like a diamond finger pointing up into the heavens in the centre of Seoul. It’s hard to miss the world’s 6th tallest building which stands at 555 metres above the pristine Seokchon Lake.

This is Korea’s largest department store specialising in luxury and duty free goods. When you’ve finished shopping, you can watch the rain from the Seoul Sky Observatory on the upper floors.

Market seller in Gwangjang Market, Seoul

15: Explore Seoul’s Traditional Markets

Multiple Locations
Traditional Markets In Korea

Popping into a traditional market is one of the things I usually do when it’s raining in Korea. These undercover markets are great for learning about the more traditional side of Korea. They’re also great places for sampling some traditional Korean dishes and picking up some bargains.

Check out the underground shops in Namdaemun Market, the indoor shopping in Dongdaemun, the delicious food at Gwangjang Market, and the Seoul Folk Flea Market for some unique experiences.

16: Get Groovy At Anyoung Insadong


The latest cool place to go in Insadong is the Anyoung Insadong Mall. This new building blends Korea’s love of retro and modern concepts to create a bright, open mall with lots of cosy shops and cafes.

You’ll find traditional Korean handicrafts, highly addictive Korean snacks, retro Korean goods, unique artworks and accessories by local artists, and lots more. There’s a lot to tempt you in Anyoung Insadong.

Unique Korean experiences found at the War Memorial Of Korea

17: Discover Korea At The War Memorial Of Korea


Why not educate yourself by visiting the impressive War Memorial of Korea during a rainy day in Seoul. This museum, dedicated entirety to Korea’s military past, not only includes the ongoing war with the North, but also covers famous military battles with Korea’s neighbours, China & Japan.

The interesting displays and models can be enjoyed by anyone and there are plenty of sights to see, such as old castles, historic weapons, and the famous Turtle Ship. Outside the museum there are also dozens of planes, tanks, and other military vehicles you can take photos with.

18: Learn More At The National Museum Of Korea


Go back to the stone age and see how Korea developed into the modern nation it is now. Dozens of rooms full of exhibitions to learn about, and interact with, Korea’s fascinating history at one of the largest museums in the world!

This museum is free to enter (special exhibits have a fee) and you can spend a long time wandering this massive museum. Perfect for when the whole day is rained out. There’s also a nice cafe to check out and a well-stocked gift shop.

Free Things To Do In Seoul
Cooking class in Korea

19: Try A Korean Cooking Classes

Find Out More
Book Tickets Online

There are so many wonderful traditional Korean dishes to sample when visiting Seoul, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could learn to make some to share with your friends.

Take time out of the rain to get hot and spicy in the kitchen with a Korean cooking class. Learn how to make delicious classics such as ginseng chicken soup, seafood pancakes, bibimbap, and lots more. Don’t miss the chance to learn a new skill when you travel to Korea.

20: Get Cultural At An Art Museum

Find Out More

Wandering around slowly, taking in the finer details of some great art is one of the best things to do during a rainy day in Seoul. Fortunately, Seoul has many art great art museums, so you should be within a short distance from one when the heavens open.

New exhibitions and installations pop up all the time in Seoul’s best galleries. My personal recommendations include the Seoul Museum of Art, National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Daelim Art Museum, the Arario Museum, and lots more.

A Korean sauna is the perfect indoor activity in Seoul

21: Relax In A Korean Sauna (Jjimjjilbang)

Find Out More

Known as a jjimjjilbang, Korean saunas are a great place to unwind and recharge your batteries in hot (or cold) water, in a steam room, or in the communal hot rooms. There are great saunas all over Seoul and you can even stay overnight in them if you want to.

Saunas are great for relieving your aches and pains and washing away the dirt built up after a hard day of exploring. You won’t mind getting wet during a rainy day in Seoul if it’s in a sauna.

22: Learn About Local Life At The Seoul Museum Of History


Experience the traditional culture of Seoul at this really interesting collection on all things Seoul at the Seoul Museum of History. Featuring relics from the past few centuries, as well as modern online cyber-displays, you can really immerse yourself in the life of a Seoulite.

You might want to bring an umbrella to see the outdoor exhibition. However, it’s worth getting a little bit wet to see the well-preserved artefacts on display.

Korean singing room, known as a noraebang

23: Sing Your Heart Out At A Karaoke Room (Noraebang)

Find Out More

There are two good reasons why you should visit a noraebang – a Korean karaoke room. First, this is a great place to visit when it’s raining and other places are closed. Second, you’ll be spending the evening as a large number of Koreans do.

Singing and dancing in these karaoke rooms is one of the most popular pastimes in Korea. There are hundreds of noraebangs across Seoul and you’ll find a good mix of Western and Korean songs.

24: Watch The World’s Biggest IMAX Screen


Not only is the world’s largest IMAX screen located in Seoul, it’s also one of the best cinema experiences you’re likely to have. This IMAX includes immersive technologies, such as Screen X, which projects the movie on the side walls as well as the main screen.

Furthermore, you’ll be truly immersed with the 4DX technology, which adds in environmental effects, such as rain, scents, and even moving chairs. Escape the rain in Seoul by getting wet while watching a movie!

25: Explore The Futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza


Visiting the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is an excellent way to spend a rainy day in Seoul and a place I often visit even when it’s sunny. Wander around this iconic building – a futuristic, spaceship-esque design – whilst popping into the various shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries, and curious little spaces.

There’s usually an exhibition or two going on at the DDP, as well as temporary installations such as the DDP Light & Winter Festa and Seoul Light. From spring to autumn you can also find night markets winding through the centre and outside of the main buildings during the weekend.

26: Go Clubbing In Seoul

Hongdae, Gangnam, Others
Find Out More

Seoul has some great clubs and nightlife. Two of the best locations in Seoul for clubbing are Gangnam and Hongdae. Korea’s nightclubs aren’t reserved for the weekends, as locals like to party any night of the week.

You’ll probably find a club open even on a Monday night. If you’re a fan of clubbing, why not escape the rain and dance the night away. Be prepared, though. Find out a bit about what is tolerable in the Korean clubbing scene and stay safe while having fun.

Please note: There is currently a range of restrictions for clubs in place due to the ongoing pandemic. Please check the latest government advice for more information about this.

Playing arcade games on a rainy day in Seoul

27: Hit The Arcades In Seoul’s Cool Districts

Hongdae, Gangnam, Others
Find Out More

You can’t miss the gigantic arcades that take up whole buildings in parts of Hongdae and other cool districts such as Gangnam and Dongdaemun. Inside these shining, beeping caves are dozens of the latest arcade games to play alone or together. If you don’t feel like playing, you can watch the pros on the latest dance or rhythm games instead.

If you want something more than the regular arcade games, you can also try the latest VR games, which include individual and team games where you immerse yourself in other worlds and fight off aliens, race around the world, or even fight against each other.

28: Get Locked Up At The Seodaemun Prison History Hall


I know the idea of visiting a prison might not be the top of everyone’s bucket list for Seoul, but this former prison is actually really interesting and eye-opening. And in places, downright scary. If you want to know more about modern Korean history, I’d definitely recommend this place.

This is where freedom fighters against the Japanese occupation were locked up and tortured, as well as anti-government protestors until the 1980’s. You can see gruesome torture devices, read records of the harsh treatment, and even try getting locked up yourself (hopefully not for long!).

Learning to make kimchi at the Museum Kimchikan, Seoul

29: Learn All About Kimchi At The Museum Kimchikan


Truly Korean, kimchi is the national dish of Korea and a part of every meal – even breakfast. Kimchi is a fermented cabbage or radish dish that is a bit spicy and salty, but very healthy. Now you can learn all about it in the Museum Kimchikan in Insadong.

Museum Kimchikan teaches you all about the history, health benefits, and process of kimchi-making. You can also try samples of different kimchi (there are over 200 types) and take part in a kimchi-making programme on certain days.

Korean couple walking together in the rain

30: Grab An Umbrella And Walk In The Rain In Seoul

Everywhere In Seoul

This final rainy day in Seoul activity is one of the best. Seoul is an incredible city and there is no excuse to waste a minute of it by staying inside the whole time.

Even when it’s raining, you can still explore with a pair of good boots and an umbrella. You can buy umbrellas from one of the thousands of convenience stores scattered throughout the city.

Make no excuses, get out there, get a bit wet, but see some of the best city views you’ll ever see. Wandering around at night in the rain is a pleasure in itself. If you run out of things to do in Seoul when it’s raining, this is always an option.

Looking For More Seoul Travel Inspiration?

If you’re looking for other awesome things to do in Seoul, both indoor activities and outdoor fun for when the sun is out, then check out some of these other articles all about Seoul.

Free Things To Do In Seoul
50 Best Things To Do In Seoul
How To Save Money In Seoul
50 Unique Korean Experiences
Thank you sign

Share Your Thoughts

If you enjoyed reading this article, or if you have any thoughts about it that you want to share, please feel free to leave a message in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback about this article and the subject.

If you want some more recommendations for things to do during a rainy day in Seoul, then you can also ask in the Korea Travel Advice group on Facebook.

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Korean Test Practice with Billy [Ep. 29] – Intermediate Korean (Listening Practice)

If you're preparing for a test, you need as much practice as you can get. But even if you're not preparing for a test, being able to analyze Korean and solve problems is an important skill to have - even for daily conversations with friends.

So I've put together this series for you to practice of various difficulty levels from Beginner to Advanced. Try to solve the ones that match your current level.

Here is the listening example:

오늘도 저희 지하철을 이용해 주시는 고객 여러분들께 감사 인사를 드립니다. 현재 이용하고 계시는 지하철 노선은 일부 지하철역의 보수 공사 문제로 인해 이번 달까지만 정상 운영이 될 예정입니다. 다음 달 1일부터는 노선이 변경되어 일부 역에 정차하지 않을 예정입니다. 보수 공사를 진행하는 역은 빌리역, 키캣역, 고고역이며, 3달간 공사가 진행될 예정입니다. 해당 역을 이용하시는 고객 여러분들께서는 다른 교통 편을 이용해 주시기 바랍니다. 다시 한번 안내 말씀드립니다. 본 지하철 노선은 다음 달 1일부터 당분간 일부 역에 정차하지 않을 예정이오니 이 점 참고하시어 이용에 불편함이 없으시길 바랍니다. 감사합니다.

We would like to say thanks to you, our customer, again today for using our subway. The subway line you are currently will continue normal operation only for this month, due to repair work on some sections of the subway station. From the 1st of next month, the line will change, and will not stop at these stations. The stations proceeding with repair work are Billy Station, Keykat Station, and GoGo Station, and the construction is expected to last for a period of three months. We hope that customers who use these stations will use different transportation ways. Once more. This subway line will not stop at a few stations for a short while, starting from the 1st of next month, so we hope you will please note this to not have any inconvenience to your usage (of the subway). Thank you.

The post Korean Test Practice with Billy [Ep. 29] – Intermediate Korean (Listening Practice) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Ggotsalmun – Flower Latticework Door: 꽃살문

The Latticework Adorning the Daeung-jeon Hall at Guryongsa Temple in Buk-gu, Busan.


Throughout Korea, and at the various Buddhist temples and hermitages that dot the Korean peninsula, you’ll find a countless amount of beautiful latticework adorning the entryways to temple shrine halls. This latticework is typically floral or geometric in design. And while these designs are usually rather stunning in appearance, the exact meaning behind them may be less clear. So what does this latticework look like? Where can you find it? And what does it all mean?

Location of the Latticework

The traditional place to find this latticework, which is known as “Ggotsalmun – 꽃살문” or “Flower Latticework Door” in English, is on the front side entryways of a temple shrine hall. Typically, the more important a temple shrine hall: the more ornate the latticework becomes. So the main hall at a Korean Buddhist temple, whether it’s a Daeung-jeon Hall, a Muryangsu-jeon Hall, or a Daejeokgwang-jeon Hall, it will have the most ornate latticework adorning the front side of the shrine hall. And the auxiliary halls like the Samseong-gak Hall or the Myeongbu-jeon Hall will usually have less elaborate latticework. This isn’t the rule, but it’s something that should be expected when you visit a Korean Buddhist temple or hermitage.

Designs of the Latticework

So typically, you’ll find four different types of latticework designs adorning the entryway to temple shrine halls. The more popular designs are floral and geometric. The two less popular designs that are harder to find adorning temple shrine halls are either animals or Buddhas and/or Bodhisattvas.

In total, there are typically three kinds of design patterns adorning the latticework. The first is a Diagonal Grid; the second is a Upright Diagonal Grid; and the third is the Upright Diagonal Floral Grid. While there are exceptions to these three standard designs, these are the three most common design patterns that you’ll find adorning Korean Buddhist temple shrine halls.

The Diagonal Grid sounds exactly the way you’d expect it to look with intricate cross-hatching of vertical and horizontal wooden strips. In Korean, this design is known as “Jeongjamun.” The wooden strips run at a forty-five degree angle.

The Upright Diagonal Grid, on the other hand, consists of the same diagonal pattern with vertical strips added at each intersecting part of the diagonal pattern. This mesh-like pattern is believed to ward off evil spirits just like the Diagonal Grid pattern.

The third, and final design, is the Upright Diagonal Floral Grid. This pattern is a mixture of floral and geometric designs. Of the three, this pattern is the most ornately designed. And not so surprisingly, it’s also the most popular, especially for the main hall at a given temple. The floral designs that typically make up the design of the Upright Diagonal Floral Grid are lotus flowers, peonies, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums. And yet, while these are said to be the flowers that make up the floral designs of this style of latticework, these flowers are usually too abstract to actually identify. Typically, the wooden flowers have either six (the most common design) or four petals. The reason for this floral design is that flowers are used to pay respect and reverence to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

A picture of Donghaksa Temple in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do from 2004.
Wolgwang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Moon) and Ilgwang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Sun) adorning the latticework of the Daeung-jeon Hall at Cheonbulsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Great Examples

There are a countless amount of great examples of the latticework that adorns Korean Buddhist temples and hermitages throughout Korea. Here are just a few of those examples of this amazing style of Buddhist artistry. Perhaps the most famous is Donghaksa Temple in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do. Other examples can be found at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Gijang-gun, Busan; Tongdosa Temple and Anyangam Hermitage in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do; Eunhasa Temple in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do; Naesosa Temple in Buan, Jeollabuk-do; and Guryongsa Temple in Buk-gu, Busan.


Korean Buddhist temples are so filled with symbolic meaning that even the latticework has meaning. To the uninitiated eye, the floral latticework might simply be pretty and nothing more. However, while this latticework certainly is beautiful, it also has symbolic meaning, as well. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also meant to ward off evil spirits and to give praise to those Buddhas and Bodhisattvas housed behind the entry of the intricate and amazing latticework.

New Website Store

Hello Again Everyone!!

So recently, I decided to open up a store over on the Redbubble website. The store’s name is Inner Peace Art. At my store, I sell T-shirts, wall art, and phone cases. Overall, I like to promote ideas of peace and calm in my products, so that’s what you’ll find in my online store. This store will go a long way in supporting both the maintenance and cost behind the website. Below are a few examples of what to expect from the store. Hope you enjoy!

-Sincerely Dale Q.

Korean Movies – Everything you need to know

South Korean movies sprung to global popularity through the success of Parasite (기생충 ㅣ gisaengchung), the Oscar-winning thriller and black comedy movie from 2019. However, Korean cinema has already been a hugely successful industry for decades within Korea.

Amazingly, Parasite isn’t even among the highest-grossing of all these Korean films! Of course, the film’s massive success makes it the highest-grossing South Korean film when all the worldwide ticket sales are accounted for.

In this article, we wish to give you an overview of the history of Korean films, as well as introduce you to some of the films that have been the most popular among South Korean audiences. Do you think you already know which Korean films they are?

Korean Movies

History of Korean Movies

The Korean cinema is seen to have begun in 1945, just a few years before the Korean peninsula was split into two countries. The factors that have influenced the formation of South Korea’s cinema include the period of time Korea was under Japanese occupation, the Korean War, the business sector and globalization, the censorship by the government, and of course, Korea’s undergoing democratization.

History of Korean Movie

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The Golden Age of Korean cinema has said to have been in the mid-1900s, taking place right after Korean War. During that time, some of the most highly acclaimed Korean films were produced. From the 1970s onward, the movie scene in South Korea fell into a slump. It was revived again in the late 1990s, having led to this era of multiple high-grossing South Korean films.

The globalization of South Korean cinema has also led many South Korean actors and actresses to try their luck in Hollywood. Most prominently, Lee Byung Hun has become a popular actor in Hollywood, while Park Chan Wook and Bong Joon Ho have filmed English language films as well, such as Snowpiercer.

The most popular Korean movies

Did you know that Bong Joon Ho’s movie, Parasite is the 19th highest-grossing movie in South Korean cinema? This means that there are more films of similarly great quality in South Korea. Here are a few:

#1. The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량 | myeongnyang) 2014

#2. Extreme Job (극한직업 ㅣ geukanjigeop) 2019

#3. Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (신과함께 – 죄와 벌 ㅣ singwahamkke – joewa beol) 2017

#4. Ode to My Father (국제시장 ㅣ gukjesijang) 2014

#5. Veteran (베테랑 ㅣ beterang) 2015

#6. The Thieves (도둑들 ㅣ dodukdeul) 2012

#7. Miracle in Cell No. 7 (7번방의 선물 ㅣ 7beonbangui seonmul) 2013

#8. Assassination (암살 ㅣ amsal) 2015

#9. Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자 ㅣ gwanghae, wangi doen namja) 2012

#10. King and the Clown (왕의 남자 ㅣ wangui namja) 2005

We also already have a list of some of the best South Korean films right here. It can be especially great to explore when you want to find a South Korean film to watch to learn the language!

Why are these movies so popular?

These Korean films have been especially popular with South Korean viewers due to the emotions they evoke in the audience. For example, The Admiral, Ode to My Father, Assassination, Masquerade, and The King and the Clown, all have some basis in key periods of Korea’s history.

Meanwhile, Extreme Job, Veteran, and The Thieves are all masterfully made action-comedy Korean films. Along with the Gods: Two Worlds is a movie version of one of the most popular South Korean webtoons, and Miracle in Cell No. 7’s heartwarming story is enough to melt any viewer’s hearts.

The success of Korean films internationally

The highest-grossing Korean films are wildly different from the list of South Korea’s films that the world is most familiar with. South Korean viewers enjoy stories that depict the country’s history, while the international audience seems to love action-packed thrillers of the present day.


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However, prior to Parasite, it has been relatively uncommon to find a South Korean film being shown in movie theaters internationally. Snowpiercer is a notable exception; however, that film is largely spoken in English and features the Hollywood darling Chris Evans.

International interest rose through Hallyu Wave, which paved a way for directors namely Bong Joon Ho, Park Chan Wook, and Kim Jee Woon to be recognized globally. With that said, despite Korean cinema still being relatively new to many audiences outside of East Asia, thanks to Parasite’s success, many upcoming films in South Korea can be expected to gain international interest as well!

Where can I watch a Korean film?

There are several sources from where you can watch films from Korea, including Netflix which we will talk about further below. You may have some luck with sites like AsianCrush. If you are located outside of Europe, you may also really love using Tubi to get your movie fix. Some older Korean films can be found on the Youtube channel for Korean Classic Film. Lastly, perhaps you can even start catching more of these films in Korean cinema!

Netflix on smart phone

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Korean movies on Netflix

The major streaming service Netflix has several popular Korean films for you to enjoy, such as Extreme Job and Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds. You can also find films depending on your preference on the genre, cast, or the year it was released. They even pick out specific films based on the previous ones you’ve watched.

Korean Movie Genres

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve written some ideas below per genre to help you decide on the next movie to watch.

Korean horror movies

South Korea is known to create great quality films in the horror or thriller genre. The perfect example is the movie Parasite by Korean director Bong Joon Ho as it was also recognized as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. Other notable horror films that you can watch are Memories of Murder, Tale of Two Sisters, and Train to Busan. These films are known for the great plot and unexpected twists throughout the movie.

Korean war movies

War films in Korea are generally focused on periods when the Korean peninsula is vulnerable to Chinese and Japanese attacks. These types of films are popular with many viewers being able to personally relate to the story in some ways. Especially Ode to My Father, a film showcasing the country’s history during Korean War and afterward, tells the story of a very fresh and difficult period of time in Korea.

Korean action movies

If you’re into action and adventure, action films in Korea are a must-watch. These films typically will have you at the edge of your seat. Director Park Chan Wook’s film Oldboy, which was starred by actor Choi Min Sik is famous for the epic fight scenes executed smoothly.

Korean comedy movies

Comedy films are often paired with another genre to give the movie a lighter mood if needed. Miracle in Cell No. 7 is an example of a film that will make you bawl your eyes out from crying and laughing. Even if the story is light especially in genres like comedy, Korean cinema has its way of leaving an impact on its audience.

Korean romance movies

This list, of course, would not be complete without romance films. South Korea is known for K-dramas usually leaning towards a romantic storyline, the same goes for the movie. These films will either leave your heart full with their happy ending or empty with their heart-wrenching plot twists. Either way, you can’t deny that romance films from South Korea are unpredictably good.

Korean genre-bending movies

Genre-bending films are those which do not focus on one genre only. Instead, it highlights several genres in one film. A good example is the film “Burning” by Director Lee Chang Dong which covers psychological, thriller, mystery, and drama genres. Train to Busan tells the story of fighting zombies and surviving making this horror, thriller, and action movie fall under this category also.

How many of the Korean films that are most popular in South Korea have you seen? What about the internationally most popular ones? And what is your favorite film currently? Let us know in the comments what you think of these films from South Korea and whether you love watching them as much as we do!

The post Korean Movies – Everything you need to know appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Hongbeopsa Temple – 홍법사 (Geumjeong-gu, Busan)

The Twenty-One Metre Tall Statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) at Hongbeopsa Temple in Geumjeong-gu, Busan.

Temple History

Hongbeopsa Temple is located in the very northern part of Busan in Geumjeong-gu to the west of Mt. Cheolmasan (605.3 m). The name of the temple means “Spreading the Word of Buddhism” in English. Hongbeopsa Temple was first built in 2003. Hongbeopsa Temple was converted from farmland into the temple we see today. And this modern temple has a very modern design, which will be made plain by some of the pictures below. Hongbeopsa Temple was built through the large donation of a female lay devotee, Ha Domyeonghwa-bosal.

Another interesting little bit of information is that Hongbeopsa Temple is home to a bust of Gandhi (1869-1948). You can find this out in front of the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall. This bust was given by the Indian government to the head monk at Hongbeopsa Temple to commemorate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and India. The reason that it was specifically given to Shimsan, the abbot of Hongbeopsa Temple, is that he lent a building for the creation of an Indian Culture Center.

Also of note, Hongbeopsa Temple is home to a very popular Temple Stay program.

Temple Layout

After circumnavigating the perimeter to the temple grounds when you first arrive, you’ll eventually find yourself in the temple parking lot on the west side of the temple grounds. As you pass by the lion-based entry markers, you’ll notice the ever-present giant bronze statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) seated atop the modern Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall main hall at Hongbeopsa Temple. But before the main hall, you’ll first come across a triad of childlike stone statues that embody the Buddhist idea of “Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Speak No Evil.” A little further along, and you’ll encounter a beautiful statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion).

As you near the forty metre tall modern main hall, the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall, you’ll notice the beautifully maintained grounds to your right. Really, it’s one of the best landscaped temple grounds in Korea. To your left is the auditorium-like modern main hall. In front of the wide flight of stairs that lead up to the multi-storied Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall, you’ll find a beautiful bronze incense burner with eight decorative lions holding up the roof of the incense burner. This incense burner runs parallel to a row of perfectly placed mini-bridges that span a network of Koi ponds. And just before you make your way up the stairs to the first floor main hall, and to the far right, there’s a serenely standing statue dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul (The Buddha of Medicine) under an artificial waterfall.

As you finally ascend the flight of stairs that will lead you up to the first floor main hall and the crowning twenty-one metre tall bronze statue of Amita-bul atop the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall, the entry to the massive main hall is to the far left. Here, you can either head into the cavernous main hall, or you can take the elevator up to the fifth floor of the structure, where you’ll find the twenty-one metre tall seated statue dedicated to Amita-bul.

If you first decide to visit the first floor, you’ll first be greeted by a beautiful ceiling of paper lanterns. As for the main altar, you’ll find three large statues. The one in the middle is dedicated to Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). This statue is joined on either side by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) and Rocana-bul (The Perfect Body Buddha). There are also two images of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom and the Buddha near the main altar triad.

After the main hall, you can make your way back to the elevator, which will bring you up to the fifth floor. At the top of the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall, you’ll find an amazing view awaiting you. You’ll also finally come face-to-face with the ever present twenty-one metre seated statue dedicated to Amita-bul. Rather amazingly, you can enter into the massive statue. And sitting on the main altar inside the bronze Amita-bul is a sari (crystallized remains) of the Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul.

After making your way down from the heights of the fifth floor of the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall, you can explore the beautiful grounds at Hongbeopsa Temple, including a large Koi pond out in front of the Dokseong/Sanshin-gak Hall to the south of the main hall. Sitting in the centre of the Koi pond is a large stone statue dedicated to Podae-hwasang (The Hempen Bag). There’s also a beautiful wooden waterwheel spinning to the front side of the Koi Pond. As for the two-story Dokseong/Sanshin-gak Hall, which is surrounded by cherry blossom trees, you’ll find a triad of shaman murals housed inside this temple shrine hall. Housed inside this shaman shrine hall, you’ll find two beautiful paintings dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) to the right and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) to the left.

How To Get There

There is a Hongbeopsa Temple shuttle bus that leaves from the Nopo-dong Subway Station, stop #134, in Busan. This bus leaves every thirty minutes between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, there has to be at least five people for the bus to leave the station. And to return to Nopo-dong Subway Station, the bus leaves Hongbeopsa Temple at fifteen and forty-five minutes on the hour, every hour. As for lunch, buses do not leave between 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Without a doubt, the main highlight to Hongbeopsa Temple is the twenty-one metre tall seated statue dedicated to Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) that sits atop the modern main hall. Adding to the overall artistry of this bronze statue is a hollowed out interior that houses one of the sari from the Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul. Also adding to this crowning statue are the beautiful grounds at Hongbeopsa Temple, as well as the main altar statues inside the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall and the two shaman paintings housed inside the Dokseong/Sanshin-gak Hall.

The entry to Hongbeopsa Temple.
The three statues of “See No Evil, Speak No Evil, and Hear No Evil.”
An elevated Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) statue at Hongbeopsa Temple.
A look past the incense burner and up towards the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall.
Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha) under a waterfall.
A look up at the amazing twenty-one metre tall golden statue dedicated to Amita-bul atop the Daegwangmyeong-jeon Hall.
The chamber inside the hollowed out Amita-bul statue.
And the amazing reliquary and sari of the Historical Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul.
The giant hand of peace.
The statue dedicated to Gandhi backed by Amita-bul.
A look from the Koi pond with Podae-hwasang in the centre of it.
The view from the Dokseong/Sanshin-gak Hall down at the Koi pond.
A look inside the Dokseong/Sanshin-gak Hall. Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural is to the left. And the Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) mural is to the right.

Feeling when to use the Topic Marker (은/는) | Korean FAQ

I've made several videos already (and there are countless more online) about the Topic Marker and how to use it.

The Topic Marker is used for marking the topic of whatever conversation you're currently having - or an individual sentence. There are some things it's used for, and others it's not. This video is not going to be an explanation of how and when to use the Topic Marker.

Instead, this video is about what the feeling of the Topic Marker is, to help you better understand when you should or shouldn't use it.

The post Feeling when to use the Topic Marker (은/는) | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


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