South Korea For Digital Nomads in 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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As of today’s 21st century, Seoul has been known as one of the world’s newest developed cities. With a population of nearly 10 million people, this city is one of the world’s biggest megacities. Visitors and locals even find it easy to relocate to the country without disturbance. Would you love to know more?
Being a digital nomad in South Korea is a blessing. The profession has been tossed around in headlines more prevalently in recent years. And why do you think this is possible? Of course, the coronavirus has created a phase where people now rethink working in their comfort zone without restrictions.
In fact, some countries like Finland, Barbados, Estonia, and many others are even offering visa sponsorship programs for digital nomads’ expatriates as a result of the Covid-19. This visa allows nomads to work in the country tax-free for a specific period of time. Prior to the global pandemic, many countries witnessed low-cost flights, and marketing campaigns contributed to hotel reservations.
Now, each country is looking for a way to boost its tourism industry. This way, South Korea isn’t an exemption. While you might have understood the realm of traveling to this country, it’s also better to know what it takes to become a digital nomad. Is it safe for expat? What is the cost of living in 2021?
These are the questions we’ve provided answers to in this article. In addition, we have researched everything you need to know, considering your stay as a digital nomad citizen in the country. Have you ever wondered why digital nomad is becoming increasingly popular? Worry less, and continue reading!
Why Digital Nomad is Becoming Popular
As the Covid-19 vaccines start to roll out in different destinations worldwide, thousands of people have been yearning for a change of scenery and wondering when they can get out on the road again. Some prefer to take office jobs (9-5) while others prefer remote jobs. But, why remote job?
Feeling Happier With Varieties
As a digital nomad, choosing your office is one of the essential things. Here, you don’t have to work in the office, instead choose where you work, whether a coffee shop or a co-working space; the decision is yours. As the Covid-19 taught everyone to stay alone, many people believe the internet is the new nomad. This way, you might even feel happier with some variety in your work environment.
Creating Your Time
It’s no doubt that you’ll have enough time for yourself while engaging in a digital nomad job in South Korea. As explained in our previous post, digital nomad work allows you to create your time and choose your own working hours. More so, you can choose to start the day with a scuba dive and work through the night. And this is because; there’s no one stopping you from doing what suits you at the moment.
Laptop is Appreciated Everywhere
Since you’re going to be working with your P.C, you can take it to any destination. Surprisingly, for a digital nomad, your laptop can be appreciated anywhere. Meanwhile, numerous surveys have disclosed that the daily commute is one of the reasons why people hate 9 am -5 pm jobs. And of course, during 2021, many workers dropped the commute in exchange for staring at the walls of their own space.
Enough Time for Leisure
Another reason why digital nomad is becoming increasingly popular is because it gives workers enough time for leisure. Aside from that, most digital nomads rate have more time for leisure, which is the top perk of freelance life. You can play and work in balance which could be a lifestyle that never needs to end.
Less Stress and No Dress Code
According to research, around 20 percent of people cite long working hours as the main cause of stress in their lives. On the flip side, some 10 percent are stressed by office politics. This means being your own boss and setting your own hours whenever you like to contribute to a stress-free life.
Again, you don’t have to stress yourself for the everyday dress code. Some people love wearing suits; other people feel it’s like a school uniform for grown-ups. But as a digital nomad, you can wear what you like (whether that’s Gore-tex and snowshoes) and work with your laptop.
In South Korea, many employers would love to hire a proficient, skilled worker. With that being said, you might be considered to work from home if you have the required skills the company is looking for. Moreover, being able to choose your own direction means plenty of opportunities for personal development.
And of course, you’ll learn what is really important in life, without other people’s ideas and preconceptions clouding your judgment. In South Korea, we can tell you that digital nomad is becoming increasingly popular and that’s why you need to explore the country as an expat.
Opportunity to See the World
If you have the mindset of becoming a digital nomad in South Korea, you’ll definitely be opportune to see the world. This is because; with your wireless lifestyle made possible by digital technology, you can set up almost anywhere and move to a new location if you fancy a change of scenery. So, would you love to work in one place all year or move with changing seasons? Well, the decision is yours.
Best Digital Nomad Cities in South Korea
We’ve been emphasizing that South Korea is one of the world’s most tech advanced nations. And this is not a false statement but a reality. They have fast internet speeds, motivating working environment with all the needed amenities to survive as an expat. Now, take a look at the best digital nomad cities here.
Of course, it’s no doubt that Seoul remains one of the best cities in South Korea for the digital nomad. As the country’s capital, Seoul is home to over 10 million people and offers all the benefits of living and working in a big city paired with the charm of old Asia. Again, the city’s infrastructure makes remote working and digital nomads very convenient for expat exploring the city for the first time.
What to Do in Seoul
What to do in Seoul isn’t a quickly answered question because it’s a city full of delightful contrasts. The town has many sacred shrines and royal palaces built centuries ago. Meanwhile, it’s home to magnificent modern structures and a bustling contemporary cultural element. Below are some of the things to do.
● Opportunity to See Namsan Park’s Nature – It’s no secret that travelers and Seoulites like to visit this place for a view. After all, the sprawling park is home to N Seoul Tower and its observation tower. Nonetheless, taking in a bird’s eye view of Seoul and the park itself can grace your day.
● Exploring the Living History – Another thing to do in Seoul is to explore the living history in Bukchon Hanok Village. There are roughly 900 of them, and their construction took place around 600 years ago, during the Joseon Dynasty.
● Exploring the Grounds of Changdeokgung Palace – This place offers the best-preserved glimpse of Seoul’s royal past. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this place was built in 1412, and it has survived fires and military insurgencies to remain a breathtaking study in Korea’s royal heritage.
2. Jeju Island
Jeju Island is another city to consider if you’re planning for a digital nomad in South Korea. Besides, it’s one of Asia’s most up-and-coming nomad destinations as it promises what every remote worker aspires to. Some of the things to enjoy here include unbeatable web speed, coworking spaces with a backdrop of volcanic mountains, beaches, resorts, waterfalls, and many other things, to mention a few.
What to Do in Jeju Island
If you want to travel around and view South Korea, Jeju is the right place for a digital nomad. This island is so stunning, and it has several breathtaking landmarks. In this section, we will walk you through the lovely things you can do while enjoying your stay on Jeju Island. Now, check it out!
● Visiting the Jeongbang Waterfalls– Located in the South of Jeju Island is this wonderful waterfall, and it’s among the top three famous waterfalls on the island. It has a unique feature because the water here goes directly into the sea. Also, it usually takes about 5 minutes along the way to enjoy this fantastic view.
● Enjoying a Thrilling Cart Experience – Another thing to explore as a digital nomad is to visit Jeju Island to enjoy a thrilling cart riding experience. For a fun and memorable moment, you can head to wind 1947 Jeju Extreme Circuit and get your hand on one of their classic vintage carts. Here, you can ride alone on one of the longest track courses in South Korea while enjoying Mount Halla view.
● Visiting Jeju Folk Village – This is another place to look at in South Korea. It is a small town located at the foot of Hallasan Mountain, and the houses here have black lava rock walls with curvy alleys to block the wind. If you want to know more, you can refer to this platform later.
This is the third biggest city in the country. It is situated in the middle of a flat valley 80km from the seacoast. The Daegu may lack Jeju’s laid-back atmosphere and Seoul’s modern urbanity, but you’ll find official coworking spaces here. So, be rest assured of a lovely environment while working as a digital nomad. However, they have old traditions through festivals and free Wi-Fi hotspots around.
What to Do in Daegu
The benefits of relocating to this place as an expat cannot be overemphasized. As one of South Korea’s largest cities, it can be surprisingly challenging to find information online about what this centrally located metropolis has to offer travellers. Not only is that, but working or living in Daegu is great.
● Explore the Bustling Downtown – While Daegu isn’t quite as large and bustling as Seoul and Busan, the downtown area is still a great place to visit. Here, you can experience amazing Korean food, the best cafes in Daegu, and even maybe do a little partying with friends and check out the Daegu bar scene.
● Explore Seomun Market – Seomun market is another thing to look forward to when you’re exploring South Korea as a digital nomad. Besides, it’s the place to go in to sample amazing Korean street food. Not only that, but you’ll see that it’s a large traditional market with vendors selling fares ranging from clothing.
● Visit the Late Night Bulgogi – Visiting the late-night bulgogi tents to dine and drink with the locals is also crucial. Moreover, if you’re looking for one of the best local experiences in Daegu, look no further as this is the right place. It’s even located in an unsuspecting neighborhood of the city, making you enjoy a feast on delicious bulgogi and udon noodles.
Expats Cost of Living in South Korea
There are many facts about South Korea that expats need to know before moving to the country. For example, avoid giving gifts with red writing, and many more. Nonetheless, you should be aware of the cost of living as a digital nomad. Even if you choose to work online all day, check the cost of living as explained below.
|Description of Goods/Services||Estimated Cost (2021 Update)|
|Monthly rent for 85 m2 furnished accommodation||1,508,000 won|
|Utilities (Heating, gas) for 1 person||2500,000 won|
|Hourly rate for house help||16,000 won|
|Microwave 800/900 watt||99,500 won|
|Transportation (monthly ticket)||85,000 won|
|Personal care varieties||50,000 won|
Healthcare in South Korea (Update)
We’ve always emphasized that healthcare in South Korea is much more affordable than what you’ll expect in other western countries such as the United States of America. Also, the National Health Insurance programme is compulsory for all expats. So be rest assured of your safety in the country.
Owning to the affordability of healthcare in 2021, the country has become a medical tourist destination. And this is especially true for cosmetic procedures and LASIK eye surgery that many expats take advantage of.
Fun Facts about Living in South Korea
Korea is more than just K-Pop, and it’s definitely getting an increasing amount of publicity around the world. These days that the country is rapidly changing, you should get a glimpse of the fun facts about South Korea before planning to relocate. Without much talk, below are the seven fun facts about Korea.
1. Asking about Blood Type is Common
One thing that might be strange to you as an expat in South Korea is seeing people asking about genotypes. In fact, their neighbors in Japans are also similar in that way. Besides, while people in other countries may or may not know their blood type, every South Korean certainly knows theirs.
2. South Korea Baby and one year Old
The school of thought about babies in South Korea is quite different. Here, the baby stays in the womb for about nine-month. This way, they are considered to be one year old after birth. Therefore in South Korea, a newborn baby is known everywhere to be one year old when born. So be wary of this fact.
3. Fan Death and Superstition
In South Korea, an urban legend started years ago that electric fans left on while you’re sleeping in a room with the windows and door closed can cause death. Not only that but it is also believed that the fan can lower body temperature and cause hypothermia in the body system.
4. Home to Largest Drinkers
Have you ever wondered about the home to largest drinkers in Asia? Look no further as South Korea remains the top on the list. A lot of people are even surprised to see that Koreans are considered one of the top drinkers in Asia by far; this is because; they actually have a strong drinking culture compared to other neighboring countries in Asia. Meanwhile, this can be rooted in their tradition and culture.
5. Valentine’s Day Is For Guys
If you’ve ever wanted to surprise you guys on valentine’s day, you need to go on a tour to South Korea on that day. And just when you thought there were enough Hallmark holidays, South Korea upped the ante, and they introduced the White day instead. This day is essential, another Valentine’s Day held a month later.
6. Titles over Names in South Korea
One of the most interesting fun facts about South Korea that get expats confused is the reality of titles over names. At the same time, the culture in South Korea is very hierarchical, and it is not necessarily based on age but title. So, this can be somewhat confusing at the workplace. But thankfully, a digital nomad doesn’t have to worry as you’ll likely spend all your day comfortably working anywhere you like.
7. Home to Medical Tourism
South Korea has long been known as a popular destination for medical tourism, specifically cosmetic surgery. Aside from this fact, it is known as one of the world’s highest places for plastic surgeries done per capita. Again, people come from all across the globe to enhance their looks during a short trip to this wonderful country.
Best Attractive Destination for Digital Nomad
South Korea is on everyone’s radar right now. While it is a suitable place for a digital nomad, there are many attractive places that you may consider during your stay in this country. Do you need more convincing? Below are the country’s most beautiful sites.
● Jogyesa Temple in Seoul
This 620-year-old Buddhist temple may be the most photographic spot in the Insadong district, with streams of pink and yellow lanterns on the ceiling and window shudders carved into the shape of trees. While you’re free, this is one of the best attractive places to visit in Seoul as of the time of writing this.
● Food Capital of the Country
As we continue to describe the best places to visit in South Korea, always have it in mind that Jeonju is the food capital of the country. It let you taste the best of South Korean food like Bibimbap, Makgeolli rice wine, Choco Pie, and plenty of other lip-smacking cuisines and drinks.
● Capital City of Gangwon
The capital city of Gangwon is another popular weekend gateway from Seoul. At the same time, this is the right place to have a great honeymoon in South Korea due to its romantic charm. Surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges, gardens, colorful foliage, and many more, this place is incredibly awesome.
Frequently Asked Questions about South Korea
Does a digital nomad need visa in South Korea?
In many countries, digital nomad doesn’t need a visa to enter. However, in South Korea, visas for digital nomads are travel permits that legalize the status of traveling professionals. Besides, like tourist visas, they are easy to obtain and do not require lengthy paperwork and a work contract.
Can you be a digital nomad on a tourist visa?
Visa laws in most countries are not set up to deal with this modern way of working online. And many countries term it as illegal to work from their abode while visiting the country on a tourist visa. So, you might not be able to use this kind of visa to work as a digital nomad in South Korea.
Do Digital Nomad Pay Tax in South Korea
In the United States of America, self-employed digital nomads may have to pay Social Security tax. In fact, if you’re self-employed outside this country, you’ll still owe U.S self-employment tax on foreign earned income. But the truth is; you don’t have to pay tax if you’re living in South Korea as a digital nomad.
Which countries give digital nomad visas?
There are many countries that offer this package. If you’re considering moving to another country to enjoy your digital nomad lifestyle, you should try these countries. They include Georgia, Norway, Malta, Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic, and many others, to mention a few.
South Korea is one of the best countries suitable for the digital nomad in today’s world. Visitors and locals love this place because of the network, incredible nature, and more. Nonetheless, you need to do research well to select the best sites for expats. Or choose the ones above to enjoy your visitation.