Friday, May 19, 2017

One Heart Spring Fest 2017 - Stitch & Bitch

This weekend we are going to be at the One Heart Spring Fest in Anjeongri. It turns out that this festival is actually like two festivals in one. The Spring Fest is put on by the US Military and it happens on the US Military Base (see information below to see what you need to access this section of the festival). The One Heart Fest is organized by the City of Pyeongtaek and PIEF.
Camp Humphreys Spring Fest
12 - 6pm Inside the Gate

-Saturday, May 20: SpringFest 2017 from Noon – 6:30 p.m. at Independence Park. Korean-American friendship and cross-cultural understanding. Enjoy live entertainment, children’s games and crafts, inflatable bouncers and slides and food and beverage sales throughout the day. Not authorized at this event: pets, oversized bags, weapons, hard-sided coolers, food and alcohol (available on-site for purchase), fireworks, pop-up tents and shade structures. For more information, call DSN 753-8820.

RULES for getting on base to see this section of the festival:

"All Korean Nationals and non-USFK foreigners who want to go through the Humphreys main gate to attend the Spring Fest on May 20th from 1200-1830 need a photo ID: KID, ROK Driver's License or Passport. Children up to 12 years old do not need an ID. Teens from 12-18 need their school ID to enter the garrison on normal business days but I did not get confirmation if they need it for Spring Fest. Have teenagers bring their ID's just in case." Sig Flips the Table
Pyeongtaek One Heart Fest:
1 - 10 Outside the Gate

Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation (PIEF) is hosting the "12th One Heart Spring Fest” which is an interactive event for the participants, in hopes of promoting mutual understanding between the Koreans and foreigners residing in Pyeongtaek. No special ID is required for this part of the festival.

South of Seoul and
Sig Flips the Table host a
1pm - 7pm

For our part, we are partnering with Sig Flips the Table to host a craft / information booth at the One Heart Festival. We will be sharing information about navigation apps, catching taxis, calling daeri drivers, and more while we stitch friendship squares. The final result will be displayed at the PIEF Center in Paengseong. Our booth will be located across from Hwa Hwa. Be sure to come see us :) 

You will be able to find us across from Hwa Hwa Korean BBQ (use the search feature to quickly find the location). It's in the South of Seoul app (available in Google Play and the Apple App Store). Their is a direct link to both WAZE and Kakao Navigation available in the listing. It's nearly impossible not to find us :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BRIX Delivery now in Songtan

BRIX Delivery
OPEN 10am - 10pm Daily
Cash only. Won or Dollars

For those living near the Osan Air Force Base main gate who have struggled to find enough delivery options, your life is about to get a lot better. BRIX Delivery has launched expanded service in your area.

For a 5,000 won/$5 they will pick-up from any of the restaurants or cafes in the SED to and deliver it within 2km of the Osan Air Force Base Main Gate.

Want some Thai food? No problem. Feeling life fish tacos? They can make it happen. Need some cake and coffee stat? Just give BRIX a call.

Since we at South of Seoul feel like this is a service that needs to stick around, we are partnering with BRIX to make it super easy for you to figure out where you can order from. Here is what you need to do:

Grab your smart phone, open the South of Seoul app and then...
  • SEARCH for BRIX Delivery in the Pyeongtaek Food & Fun section of the app.
  • SELECT the restaurant you would like to order from.
  • CALL directly to BRIX Delivery via the app by clicking on the black scooter icon.
  • SEND BRIX a picture of your address. You can find this on a utility bill. Keep this in your phone for future orders.
  • PRESENT your app to your delivery driver who will validate your delivery via the BRIX Rewards program in the app. You will recieve the 11th delivery FEE free.
Now those living in Songtan can get burritos, tacos, pasta, kebabs, pad thai, adobo, sushi and much more delivered right to their door.
You can download the South of Seoul App from:


Friday, May 12, 2017

PIEF: Traditional School Celebration

Finding a sense of community is one of the most important parts of feeling at home. In our home countries we know how to do that based on habits and cultural rules. We have the usual places we go and the usual things we do. As we move around from town to town we can usually recreate these experiences since we all share a culture and a language. However, when we move abroad all this changes. It becomes harder to find those centralized experiences that bring us together with others. This is why PIEF and their events are such an important part of our community here in Pyeongtaek. They give us a place to gather and build community.

Two weeks ago they launched their latest gathering called the "Traditional School Celebration" and we went to check it out. We don't have kids and we've seen just about all the cultural things there are in Korea so we weren't exactly sure what we would get out of it, but doing all the things is what we signed up to do when we started this blog and then the app. So exhausted from our busy schedules and, honestly - less than enthusiastic - we set off.

As usually, we enjoyed ourselves far more than we thought we would. Was it the coolest thing we have ever done in Korea? Nope. Was it packed full of experiences that changed our lives? Absolutely not. "So why did you love it?", you might find yourself asking. We loved it because it was beautiful and community focused. We loved hanging out with our friends and watching kids play. We loved seeing local martial arts folks demonstrate their skills. We enjoyed making things in the tents and talking even more with our friends. We loved being outside. We loved slowing down and taking time to just be present in our community. We loved the fact it wasn't too much, it was just enough and we didn't have to run all over damnation to do it. We loved that this was just a super chill Saturday event that didn't leave us exhausted. Parking was easy, the events are in a confined space, you can bring a picnic, and you can just relax and be entertained. If we had kids we would totally bring them here on Saturdays to run amok while we chat with our friends. This is what we need more of in our lives.

Those Spiderman socks.
It's also just a very cool opportunity to have an up-close and personal look at how people in our area used to live. In Pyeongtaek there are only two traditional Korean schools that still exist. One is in a rural area kind of near Songtan, and the other just happens to be in the middle of Paengseong near Camp Humphreys (where this event is held). These schools are no longer used for regular classes, but instead host Confusion rituals throughout the year. So this is a pretty unique chance to be close the history. It's a very unique opportunity PIEF has opened up for our community and I, personally, am very grateful for the experience.

This event isn't about hype, it's about a wonderful healthy way to get out of the house and go meet people. Please, grab your kids, your friends, your date and just go spend a few hours here hanging out. Meet people. Start conversations. Make some friends. It's the perfect place for it.

WAZE PIN/ID: Buyong Elementary School

You can download the South of Seoul App from:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Recommended Air Quality App

We love to be outside and spend most of our time outside, so avoiding smog is important.
It's true. The air quality this  year the air quality in Pyeongtaek is the worst we have seen in our seven years here. However, it hasn't really been cramping our style too much because we have been testing out some handy air quality apps that help keep us headed to the best places to breath. That's right, you can use your hand phone to avoid the worst air quality. Let's talk about the myths of air quality and how understanding them can help you spend more time outside on the right days at the right times.

MYTH 1: All Korea is smoggy. No reason to go anywhere this weekend.
Korea is surrounded by ocean and covered in mountains. Heading an hour south, west or east can change everything. It's nearly impossible (but has happened) for the ENTIRE country to be smoggy all at once. Sure the air quality is terrible in Seoul or Pyeongtaek or Busan,  or other major cities. However, it doesn't mean that every inch of Korea is covered in smog. It means that cities and city adjacent areas are covered in smog. It also means it's time to consider going to the beach, mountains, or islands for some outdoor time. Check your app so see where the low smog areas are and go there on the weekends.

MYTH 2: The sky is blue today. The air must be perfect! (or vice versa)
It's also important to not that bad air quality isn't always something you can see. Sometimes a beautiful blue day can be terrible. Also, low visibility doesn't always mean bad air quality. This is ESPECIALLY true in Pyeongtaek in the spring and fall when temperatures from the ocean and the rice paddies are creating a lot of fog and mist. Just because it's white out doesn't mean it's smoggy. It just means we have cold and warm air mixing. Check your app to see what the actual levels are.

MYTH 3: I checked my app this morning. I better not go outside today. (or vice versa)
Smog is in the air and the air is moving, especially in west Pyeongtaek where winds come off the ocean. Hour to hour the winds move smog around. It might be terrible in the morning and then cleared out by lunch time. Or the other way round.  It's important to choose and app that gives you updates on big changes in air quality so you know immediately when things have gotten better or worse.

MYTH 4: If it's bad in Pyeongtaek City it must be bad in ALL of Pyeongtaek. 
Not true at all. West Pyeongtaek tends to have far better air quality than downtown. It's important to find an air quality app that has detailed information about the Pyeongtaek area so you know where the besting hiking trails or the best parks to hangout in for the day. Don't stay inside just because it's bad in your neighborhood. Check your app and head toward the best air.

What we use: Air Matters
The app that we are really loving right now for keeping informed about local air quality is Air Matters. We especially recommend using it with the Notifications turned on. As active people, we find it incredibly usefully to be immediately notified of the changes in air quality in our area. We also like the fact that this app allows us to track multiple areas in Pyeongtaek so that we are always aware of where we can go for a walk. Here are some screen shots from our favorite app so you can see how useful it is and maybe give it a try.

We track multiple neighborhoods since we are out and about all day.

Keep notifications on to always stay current.

Area map helps you quickly see which way to go.

Even though Bijeon was terrible in the morning, it was the place to be in the afternoon.

You can download the South of Seoul App from:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Earth Day 2017: Wrap Up

Before we begin, we want to make sure to thank the City of Pyeongtaek for donating the trash bags, PIEF for their consummate support, to PUB 210 for donating a prize and of course Sig Flips the Table who brought this idea to life and brought us all on board with her vision. We look forward to catching the video of the event from On Your Mark World in the near future.

When Sig Flips the Table decided to head-up the First (hopefully annual) Earth Day Pyeongtaek we were really excited to support her efforts. We are big lovers of the earth and all it's air and other cool stuff the keeps us alive. Plus, we love getting together with people and working. Nope, neither of these things are a joke. We love Earth and work.

Since we are sort of in charge of documenting and sharing what's happening around town, our Earth Day was a bit longer and more busy than most of the groups. We started in Paengseong and then moved over to Songtan. We were super excited to see a variety of different groups out picking up trash and bringing the communities together.  It was pretty inspiring to be honest. Here are few of the Earth loving folks who pitched in.

Here you can see a before and after of the magic that we worked. It took four trash bags to clean up this particular lot.

However, in Songtan (nearish Osan AF Base) we found a different story.  Despite the fact the SOS group seemed to be the only ones active in the area on Earth Day, the place was super clean. The residents do an amazing job. The business area needed some work, but the parks and residential areas were nearly spotless. Even the empty lots weren't that neglected. We felt very proud of adopted neighborhood. It's defiantly loved by it's residents. In an hour we only managed to fillup two bags between three people.

It was fabulous to get to meet people we've only seen online, give back to the community that's given us so much support for the last seven years, and support the wonderful tradition that Earth Day as become over the years. Hopefully next year even more people will get out and celebrate together here in Pyeongtaek.

You can download the South of Seoul App from:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Seoul Survivial Tips: Hammock Cafe

Going to Seoul is filled with wonderful delights, beautiful memories, and - for me - exhaustion. All the new things, the walking, the planning, and general busy pace of city life makes me want to curl up and die... I mean take an afternoon nap. Thankful, in Korea I have the option of just taking a rest. It's one of my favorite parts of life here. 

This weekend I decided to try a new place that I've not visited before. It happens to be located in one of my favorite areas of the city not far from the palaces, in the middle of adorable coffee shops, galleries, and artisan shops.

Located on the third floor, the Nazzzam hammock cafe is a soothing escape. The owner (who speaks near perfect English) maintains a quiet and relaxed atmosphere where all you have to do is sit your butt in a hammock and fall asleep. She even brings a blanket and covers you up, adds privacy curtains if needed, and makes you a nice cup of tea when it's time to go. It was the PERFECT amount of rest to help me get the most out of my trip. I can't wait to go back.

Pro Tips: 
When you arrive be sure to take your shoes off, put on some slippers, and then tuck your shoes in one of the bags hanging by the door. 
Closes earlyish, between 5-7pm This is best for grabbing a nap before or after lunch.

General Information:
Cost: 6,000 won cash for an hour of rest, includes a cup of tea.
Address Korean: 서울시 종로구 계동 115-1 3층 
Address Romanized: (3rd floor, 115-1 Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul)

For those who are unfamiliar with Seoul, you can easily get to the hammock cafe from Pyeongtaek:

  1. Take the bus from Songtan or Pyeongtaek to Nambu
  2. Catch the Orange Line going north 
  3. Exit at Anguk station and walk from there. 
  4. Use a maps app on your phone for walking directions.

You can download the South of Seoul App from:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Now Booking: Bus to the Daejeon Barefoot Festival

TICKETS: 18,000 won roundtrip
Sunday May 14th, 2017 

Let's get our feet dirty and celebrate the coming summer. South of Seoul;s and Bundang Social Club are teaming up to sponsor a bus to the Daejeon Barefoot Festival leaving from Jeongja Station at 7:50 AM and the back side of Pyeongtaek Station at 8:50AM. This is one of South of Seoul's favorite spring events. The path is stunning and the mud delightful. 

The festival has a great variety of fun activities, including traditional music, dancing, walking barefoot through tranquil mountains, fun performances, hand crafts, a 7km walk, and even a 13km "marathon!"

This trip is not a tightly planned affair. You will be on your own during your time at the Festival. No one is telling you what to do or where to go. Just freely enjoy yourself and your time in the forest. 

First Annual Earth Day Pyeongtaek

Our stretch of road.
We are excited to announce that we are supporting the wonderful blogger Sig Flips the Table in presenting Pyeongtaek's First Annual Earth Day on Saturday April 22nd. The City of Pyeongtaek has been fabulously supportive of this event and will be providing free trash bags to all participants. They can be collected at Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation in Paengseong or Songtan. Read Sig's the full article HERE: to learn the details and then join a local Earth Day team or sponsor a team of your own.

Team SOS will spend the afternoon cleaning a section of country road that runs between Songtan and Paengseong. This stretch of road is rural but also heavily trafficked by US military personnel and local fisherman. It's a beautiful area with excellent pick-nick locations so it should be a lovely day. If you would like to join us we would love to have you. We will start from the public parking lot located across from the large power plant. Just send us a message at southofseoul(at) so we know how much stuff to bring.

Video blogger On Your Mark World will also be there to document this very cool event and make sure everyone knows that they missed. Looking forward to seeing all the photos and hashtags on the 22nd. Let's get out there and clean!!

When: 10am
Where: 평택시 오성면 안화리 47-3 
Lunch Plan: Let's have a picnic together. Everyone bring something to share.
What you need to bring:
  • Work gloves
  • Water
  • Clothes that can get dirty
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • A snack to share
  • A food item to share for lunch
What SOS will bring:
  • We will pickup the bags from PIEF for the group
  • We will bring extra water
  • Items need for setting up the picnic (eating utensils, cups, plates, etc)

Please share the posters below and the Sig Flips the Table's Blog with as many people as you can. This is our chance to show Pyeongtaek residents "Thank you" for their warm and understanding hospitality by pitching in and helping make the area shine.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Useful Phrases for Pet Owners

Always remember, if you don't feel comfortable speaking, you can simply show the server your phone and point the the phrase you need. You can also save these images to your phone for emergencies.

Although ideally we recommend visiting a vet with strong English skills, we also understand that this is often impossible. We also understand that even when a vet speaks English or an expat speaks Korean, misunderstandings still occur. We have compiled this list to empower pet owners to do their best for their fur babies in a stressful situation.

Korean Translation provided by Pyeongtaek Korean Tutors. One-on-one Korean language tutoring with a Certified Korean as a Foreign Language teacher.