Moving in Korea: Life Changes from Seoul to Pyeongtaek

Are you considering moving in Korea from Seoul to Pyeongtaek? After a lifetime in Seoul, I did just that and there are 5 things I learned along the way that might help you.

The Choice to Move From Seoul

As someone who lived in Seoul all her life, I had never expected to live in a rural area like PyeongtaekI had always envisioned myself as a big city girl, loving the fast-paced lifestyle in Seoul, where there was always something happening.  But due to work and other factors, moving to Pyeongtaek became a choice I needed to make.

Despite my job moving cities making the moving choice for me, I did have advance warning. I used this to my advantage. Before I moved, I slowly immersed myself in Pyeongtaek and got to know the area a bit until I moved down there completely in 2018.

Adjusting to Life in Pyeongtaek

Although I quickly got used to living down South of Seoul in Pyeongtaek-si, fully feeling the experience of moving in Korea took time to adjust. It took living in the new area for a while to fully realize the differences between living in a more rural area and up in the city.  Some of the differences were easy to adjust to and others were more complicated. Now, I’d like to share my thoughts in hopes that they might help others who also make the jump from city to rural living.

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5 Things I Learned Moving from Seoul to the Countryside

Keep in mind, the following list reflects my view of moving in Korea based on my lived experience. You might find that you have a whole different list. That said, it’s always helpful when we share our lens on the world for others to draw knowledge from.

1. A car became handy here, unlike in Seoul.

I was not a driver up in Seoul.  As a matter of fact, I refused to drive in Seoul because the traffic scared the living life out of me.  After relying on taxis for a few years, I finally started driving in Pyeongtaek.  It has opened up more opportunities for me.  While I have yet to master the expressway, going around locally to grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes has made it easy with a car.  In fact, driving in Pyeongtaek is easier than in Seoul because of the following reason.

2.  Pyeongtaek is less crowded and has less traffic.

Sure, some areas are more crowded and have traffic, but it is nothing like what I used to experience up in Seoul.  Even my Korean auntie noted that Pyeongtaek is so much easier to drive.  I have to agree 300% and am very grateful that I am driving around here than Seoul!  But for the times when I don’t want to drive, I still rely on public transportation here . . . which leads to my next reason.

3. Public transportation is not as extensive in Pyeongtaek, but apps like KakaoBus and Subway come in handy.

Seoul has spoilt me with its fantastic bus and metro systems.  Yes, Pyeongtaek has decent public transportation, but it took me a while to get used to the fact that sometimes those buses and trains do not come as frequently as what it did in Seoul.

This is when I quickly learned that KakaoBus and Subway apps come in handy.  With the bus stop close to my home, I would look at the app to see when the next bus would come to my stop and then know when to leave my house instead of going out and hoping a bus will come in a few minutes.  Same thing with the train on line 1; I would look at the Subway app to get an idea when the next train would be and leave accordingly.  Of course, if all else fails, there is always the taxi!

4. Pyeongtaek has great “five-day markets”.

Called 장날 (jangnal), these five-day markets were not something I encountered living in good ol’ Yongsan-gu.  Well, if there was one, I was not aware of it.  But I quickly learned about these markets and was happy to note that I live near the 4-9 Market in Songtan!  Funny story, I literally thought it was a store called “4-9 Market”, and I walked around looking for that specific store until I gave up and asked my co-worker for the location.  Then I learned exactly what this 4-9 Market was and how it functioned.  These markets are fantastic and you can find some great deals and products.  There are several different ones scattered throughout Pyeongtaek!

5. Pyeongtaek is huge — which allows for cafes and restaurants to have bigger spaces.

Lastly, Seoul had me get used to small restaurants and cafes.  Pyeongtaek had me get used to larger cafes and restaurants.  Then I remembered that Pyeongtaek is pretty big, with more land for people to open up larger businesses.  Places like Cafe Archives in Oseong-myeon made me go “holy !@#$%” at the size.  I can definitely appreciate the space down here.  There are plenty of more places for me to explore, and I look forward to that.

Conclusion

I will always consider Seoul to be my home city, but Pyeongtaek has grown on me immensely in the last few years. Moving in Korea from Seoul to Pyeongtaek worked out well for me. I have come to appreciate what Pyeongtaek has to offer, and I look forward to seeing what else I can experience here.  If anything, Seoul is still nearby, so it is there for me when I need my city life again!

Learn More About Pyeongtaek

Now I also volunteer with South of Seoul and help moderate the Pyeongtaek Food & Fun Group on Facebook. We have over 11,000+ members who love to discover new things. Please come join us in the group and learn about all the places I visit and share your own!