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Is Korea a state-of-the-art country?

t-money seoul metro cards, cool korean technology

T-money cards that are sold in Seoul

People ask me what I love about living in Korea. One of the things I’m always amazed by is the technology which makes living here feel more efficient, easy and pretty darned cool.

Here are 7 cool state-of-the-art things that Korea’s got…

1. T-money and rechargeable transportation cards

In big cities, much of Korea’s transportation system runs on rechargeable smart cards and smart devices, which take the place of cash.  You can reload money onto your card by placing it down on the card reader; but the technology is powerful and highly sensitive. Rather than search for a card at the bottom of a bag, I’ve seen frazzled ladies in a rush slap their entire purse on the sensor and have it still read

daegu metro card, korean metro cards

Daegu metro card machines add money onto the cards when you place the card on the plate. (See the T-money cards on photo above)

How it works:  Touch chips are embedded inside and are readable by card-reading machines. These cards are used primarily for transportation – buses and metros- but in Seoul, which runs under the T-money system, you can use them in some taxis and convenience stores, as well. Supposedly, this touch chip technology are in watches, portable memory sticks, rings, and bands, even cellphones.

Way to go, Korea! Rechargeable devices are more economical and eco-friendly!

2. Bank checkbooks that get written and balanced at the ATM

Gone are the days when you had to manually keep record of your bankbook and spending. This is by far one my of favorite conveniences. In Korea, just insert your bankbook into the ATM machine and not only can you use it to withdraw money from the ATM, but it will update your bankbook with your banking transactions. In fact, when your bankbook page is full, the machine will even flip to the next page to continue updating it for you.  Seriously, this saves me a lot of handwriting!

korea atm machines, banking in korea, using the Korean atm machines, banking technology in korea, card readers in korea, cool technology in korea

Sticking my bank book into the ATM machine to withdraw money and to get my bank book updated with all my latest transactions

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3. Satellite TV and CCTV.

I mentioned this in my last post, but I’ll mention it again…

In Korea, it’s easier to  ask– What doesn’t have satellite TV? Taxis, express buses, restaurants, my cellphone and my dentist’s office all have them.

satellite tv in dentist chairWatching TV as I sit in my dentist’s chair and wait.

cctv is everywhere in korea, surveillance technology in korea

cctv is everywhere in korea, even on highways!

CCTV surveillance is also just as ubiquitous as TVs, so much so, I thought I’d mention it again. While literally everything in the public gets surveillance (even the highways), the culture doesn’t pervert its use (at least not as far as we know).  Big Brother system helps to effectively reduce crime around the nation. Thus, Korea is one of the safest countries as far as crime and violence goes!

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4. Controlled toilets

heat controlled toilet seats, high technology toilets in Asia, luxury toilets in Korea, cool technology in korea

Korea bounces between its porcelain hole in the ground and it’s western bowl and when winter chilling your bum (there’s no heating in public places), both are highly unpleasant. Every once in a while however, in hotels or the limelight of Seoul chic, I’d find a heated toilet with bedee and uh, air drying action.  It’s got remote buttons to control heating, bedee and a small handful of tricks that I’ve not used.

heated toilets in korea, cool luxury toilets in korea, cool technology in korea

technology in korea, cool toilet technology in korea, high-tech toilets in Asia

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5. Electronic vacancy signs in bathrooms.

technology in koreaPhoto is taken in Busan’s train station.

Is the bathroom stall occupied or vacant? The electronic sign will light up to let you know. While this isn’t widespread across Korea, you’ll occasionally find them in alongside highways at popular rest stop hubs, in bathrooms where there are many stalls.

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6.  K-pop!

The Korean wave is heating up and finding global fans with speed. When I see Korean pop videos it blows my mind! K-pop is the look, style and flash-n-sparkle that inspires Korean youth, these days. Fun, sexy, innocent, bold and futuristic, K-pop will seduce you with high-beam costumes, high-octane power dance moves and lavish glitz! Just click ‘Play’, dial the volume up a notch and prepare to be dazzled!

2pm hand's up video, kpop boy bands, popular kpop boy band 2pmFrom  2PM‘s  video “Hands Up”

2pm hand's up video, kpop boy bands, popular kpop boy band 2pm

wonder girls nobody music video, cool kpop girl groups in korea, wondergirlsFrom  Wondergirls‘ video “Nobody”

tara roly polyTara’s video “Roly Poly”

big bang love story, kpop boy bands, popular kpop boy band big bangBig Bang

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7. Korea’s got Mc Donalds 24 hour delivery

Hokey entry, I know. But when I first saw this I literally freaked. I was raised with Ronald and the golden arches. Still, even to this day, I don’t know of McD’s in the U.S or in Asia that is 24 hour and has delivery service!  If Korea’s got it, Dang! That’s pretty state-of-the-art to me!mc donalds delivery, mc donalds in korea, mc donalds in seoul

mc donalds delivery, mc donalds delivery in seoul, mc donalds in korea

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What is the most state-of-the-art country for you? What have you experienced that made you feel it was state-of-the-art?

26 Comments

  1. Cin says:

    Singapore has the atm thing (you can withdeposit/withdraw/transfer $, update bank book, pay bills, recharge money cards), and rechargeable transportation cards (which also allows commuters to “tap” through gates at the train station or on buses from many years back… I think a decade back or more. 24-hour food delivery via online sites or mobile apps is common too. McDonald’s, supermarkets, drugstores and some popular retails stores allow payment by tapping the credit card on a device. It’s kind of like a cashless society. High tech toilets are uncommon, probably due to maintenance cost and lack of need.

  2. AREX says:

    Hi, Good information about Korea. Here is one more tip for using transportation in Korea. If you have a ‘T-money card’, you can take all transportation like subway, bus. T-money card is rechargeable and refundable so it could be so reasonable. In ICN(airport), you can buy some good package about transportation. At ‘travel center’, you will see ‘express train and T-money card’ and ‘express train and international taxi’ packages. With express train, you can go to the central of Seoul(Seoul station) directly, after then, you can use T-money card to take all transportation. Fare is 8,900won and this is special deal for only foreigners. If you are interested in these and want to get more information, please find a ‘travel center (located in B1 in ICN). Thank you.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @AREX Thank you for sharing! This is something many travelers can benefit from.

  3. facebook_silvercoin89 says:

    Totally agree!! and in addition to mc delivery service, there are thousands of foods that can be delivered at midnight!!!! like fried chicken, chinese foods, potato stew(Gamjatang), Bossam(pork), and so on…

  4. Natalie says:

    Love this post. Korea always surprises me with how high-tech it is. Just when you think you’ve seen it all – you find something new. My favourite modern bits and bobs in Korea are the interactive google maps at the subway stations in Seoul, the TV screen thing in Gangnam that projects your face onto the side of a giant building, and the newest and most freaky addition to Korea’s ultra modern capital – ‘the cloud building’ which has not been built yet, but you can check out the plans for it here: http://www.writingfordesigners.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/a-cloud-towers-korea-6.jpeg

    • @Natalie: Yeah, good one! That cloud building really rocks! The architecture should be on this post as well! I’m always pretty impressed with the futuristic buildings I see in Seoul. But I wish they would spread the wealth. You only really find them in Seoul. Korea always surprises me.

  5. Laura in Cancun says:

    I love the T-money idea!!!

    We have 1 Burger King in Cancun that delivers, but they only go to certain neighborhoods.

  6. iamthewitch says:

    I just love Korean electronic toilets! The first time I was there, I spent a few minutes just trying out all the functions.. It was quite fun! LOL!

    • @iamthewitch: I love playing w/ them too. But once I pressed a button and it didn’t seem to do anything. As I was pulling my pants up, it shot water up. It was the bedee & I walked away with wet pants.

  7. Gray says:

    Wow! Who knew they were so much more technologically advanced than the rest of us? I’d love some of these things in the US, like checkbook/ATM thing and the electronic vacancy signs in bathrooms–that would save us all from a lot of embarrassing moments. Though I think we’d all be in big trouble here in the US if McDonalds offered delivery service. LOL.

    • @Gray: True, delivery service w/ Mc Ds, we’d just be supersizing everything and the US would have even more of an obesity problem than it already does! I love the checkbook thing–it’s my favorite!

  8. Wow Korea really sounds state of the art country! Haven’t been there yet, but definitely give it a go. So far the most high tech place I’ve been to was Japan, with all their vending machines, capsule hotels, cyber toilets, neon signs and all 😉

    • @Jarmo: Japan, I’d definitely love to visit. I’ve been hearing so much about their vending machines & capsule hotels– I can’t wait to try them out. Cyber toilets I’ve not heard of yet, but I’m guessing there’s a lot to explore there!

  9. Megan says:

    Enjoyed this read. A lot. Miss you <3

  10. Andrea says:

    Not sure about K-pop, haha, but sounds like they need to export these things! I love high-tech…really want to check out more Asian countries for this. I remember Singapore feeling quite state-of-the-art but I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the efficiency of places like Korea and Japan.

    • @Andrea: I hear similar hubbub around Singapore too; I’ve yet to visit but their sightseeing attractions and such, sounds like it could be sparse. That’s what folks tell me, at least. Japan I expect would be crazy! Can’t wait to visit there!

  11. Noreen says:

    I’m from Malaysia and the McD in Malaysia has 24 hour delivery too. In fact some of the KFC delivers too.

    • @Noreen: That’s very interesting fact about Malaysia I didn’t know! I remember seeing only one McDonalds in Malaysia.. at the Melacca bus station. Usually I like to check them out when I visit different countries (the menus are always “slightly” different with a few very culturally specific food).

  12. Mika says:

    Haha, when i came to Korea last year for my first time i also noticed the 24/7 McDonalds immediately 😀

    I also like the super-faster-than-light-high-speed Internet !! I downloaded once 7GB in less than 10 minutes !! With peaks over 15 MB / sec.. woohoo !!

    Also i am in love with the variety of food.. there is always something new to explore here 🙂

    Just the language is giving me a hard time here kkk 😉

    Cheers Mika

    • @Mika: Thanks for commenting. Hi-SPEED INTERNET!!! YES!!! That’s one I forgot! Internet in Korea is the quickest i’ve experienced so far.
      Unfortunately, I can’t indulge in the variety of food and the fact i’m vegetarian makes me a bit more skeptical of things. LOL. Hang in there with the language though. It’ll be an adventure!

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  • […] you for visiting our Teach English In Korea article.Working abroad as a teacher can be a richly rewarding experience. Those who do it return with the un…l that is needed is a passport from an English speaking country and a degree in any subject. The job […]

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