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Don't Do These Three Things When In South Korea
20 May 2017IDEASBY SweetEscape

You may have a slight clue about what one shouldn’t be doing when in South Korea, perhaps learned firsthand from your TV screen aka K-pop drama. But learning more about what cultural mistakes to avoid during your trip to South Korea will bring extra confidence when interacting with locals during your holiday. Ready to find out what NOT to do when in South Korea? Here are three things should pay attention to.

Eating and Drinking

Drinking etiquette is a big thing in South Korea. And if you happen to be in a restaurant with someone much older than you or an Ahjussi/ Ahjumma, it’s best that you obliged when he/she offers you a shot of soju or other beverage. This is considered an offering of friendship and respect so refusing the drink is similar to rejecting friendship. However, if you can’t drink alcohol, simply replace it with water or other soft drink because it’s the gesture that matters rather than the drink itself.

The proper way to drink a shot in front of an elder or senior is to turn your head to the side of back away as a sign of respect. Even if it’s just a few difference in age gap, this is a common ritual when going out drinking with friends and family.

If you want to master the etiquette in Korea and impress everyone, simply be more attentive to everyone else by pouring drinks to their cups. After everyone has their fill, you can then pour one for yourself or maybe you will have someone else pour it back for you out of respect. Also, make sure you start pouring from the eldest one in the group then shifting it to others.

When you’re out for a group meal in a restaurant, make sure to let the oldest person to have the first taking out of the dish served before you do. Respect to elders has always been the main theme of etiquette when in South Korea. Unless if you’re out eating with your closest friends, it’s best to be patient and let the seniors lead the way to opening a meal.

The sharing culture is also another important one for South Koreans. It’s a way of showing love to the society by being generous to others. So if you happen to have snacks in your hands, make an effort to offer it to your group of friends as a way of good attitude.

Giving and Receiving

The “two hands” culture probably is the simplest but one of the most important manners to master with South Koreans. When giving or taking, make sure to get in a habit of always using both hands or you’ll be considered as rude. This is also the rule when you want to pour a drink to someone, especially of higher rank or a senior, to show respect and good attitude.

General Interaction

Especially the elders’! Never ever pat or touch someone else’s shoulder or head to greet them or as a way of joking, because you are being disrespectful. It is best to keep your hands to yourself with South Koreans, including someone older or even opposite sex, or you’ll be considered as having feelings or simply, impolite.

When in a public transport or a restaurant, do remember to lower your voice because South Koreans do not appreciate loud noises. In fact, they are known to shush or remind you to keep it down. Our best advice? Simply talk in normal volume and you won’t be bothering anyone’s comfort.

Still in doubt when traveling to South Korea? Make sure you come prepared with a local guide such as our photographers who not only know all the best ways to interact with South Koreans, but also the best places to visit for that perfect holiday in South Korea.

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Sidney and Etha Mohede: Christmas Tradition in Our Family
12 Dec 2019STORIESBY SweetEscape

Among the Indonesian Christian community, Sidney and Etha Mohede are extremely popular. Sidney is best known as an award-winning gospel singer-songwriter and one of the pastors of a Jakarta-based megachurch, while Etha is a social media influencer. This Christmas season, we had the opportunity to talk with The Mohedes about their Christmas tradition, how they're going to spend this year's Christmas, and the importance of photography for their family.

by Priscilla for SweetEscape in Amsterdam
by Priscilla for SweetEscape in Amsterdam

1. Tell us about Christmas in your family!

We think our family's Christmas is just like any other family's. When we're in Jakarta, on Christmas morning we'd wake up and open our Christmas presents. But, since these couple of years we spent our Christmases traveling overseas, we'd open the presents before we fly off.

Also, we like to think that the trip itself is the present for the entire family, and we are happy to enjoy the trip together, just us and our three children.

2. Any particular Christmas dinner tradition?

Our family's Christmas dinner usually happens on the Christmas Eve, with simple dishes and no special table decorations. We always like to finish up all the hassle before Christmas Day itself. On Christmas Day we'd usually just eat simple take outs and just enjoy our time together.

However, we think that our family's dinners–be it Christmas or not–is a tradition in itself. We want to make sure that every family member sit around the table at dinner time. We see nowadays in modern families, at dinner time everybody's still busy with their own things; the kids watching videos on their tables, the parents still busy with their gadgets... We don't want that in our family. We make sure that everyone sits around the table and really enjoy our time together, including on Christmas dinners.

by Donny for SweetEscape in Bali

3. Where will you be spending Christmas this year?

This year we'll be going to Europe, namely Italy and the Netherlands. This would be our first time in Italy, and it's a 3-families trip. We're flying off to Dusseldorf, then we'll travel to Milan and meet the other 2 families there. Then we'd spend 7 days in Italy and 7 days in Netherlands, so in total it would be a 14 days trip.

by Dennis + Dewi for SweetEscape in Amsterdam

As for the detailed itinerary, we honestly have no clue, but we've already booked a car to drive around. We want to try a road trip-style holiday this time around, and we think it would be fun! It's going to be an adventure!

4. We know you travel a lot, especially Sidney. Do you take photos of your trip?

Of course! For me (Sidney) personally, I love photography because it is a way I can express my passion easily. I was an art major in university, and my first passion was drawing and painting. But drawing something takes a lot of time. With a camera, I can capture the beauty of what I was seeing wherever I go with a single snap. I can still use my brain and eye for the compositions and colours, and I can express my visual arts passion in an easy way, without having to spend more than 30 minutes to draw one picture.

by Dennis + Dewi for SweetEscape in Amsterdam
by Dennis + Dewi for SweetEscape in Amsterdam

Which is why, we also love SweetEscape very much, because the idea of not being the one who takes the photographs and actually being photographed once in a while is really fun! Honestly, I'm (Sidney) not a big fan of being photographed, like most guys, I believe. But for a family photo, it's always nice to have, since most of the times we'd have to take turns taking pictures with the kids, or resort to selfies. With SweetEscape, we don't have to worry about this, and all five of us can be in the picture together!

by Dennis + Dewi for SweetEscape in Amsterdam

SweetEscape connects you to thousands of local professional photographers in more than 500 cities around the world, so you can capture every moment and get beautiful photos directly to your devices in just 48 hours after your session. This holiday season, capture more with SweetEscape's JINGLE DEALS, where you can get sessions starting as low as USD 50! Download our app, book your session today and let's #MakeLifeMemorable!