Traveler compares Taiwan to Korea

Interesting comparison. Taiwan is slower paced then Korea. And thats a good thing.

More comments to follow. Share your comparisons if you have been to both .

Seoul is a sight to be seen. It looks like a first-world metropolis, on par with anything Japan has to offer, unlike the distinct third-world vibe radiating from Taiwan’s buildings. There are also some very nice historic buildings/monuments that have been excellently preserved, unlike Taipei’s old buildings which are all either leveled or inevitably turned into coffee shops… and aren’t that old to begin with.

During my trip there I felt like Koreans have Taiwan beat so far in terms of their urban development, fashion sense, and domestic demand for Korea-made products. Transport and most living expenses were cheap, except for food, which cost an arm and a leg by Taiwan standards (I never spend over NT$200 a day here). The cheapest thing I ate was a bowl of jjajangmyeon (炸醬麵) for about 5500 KRW (around US$5) at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

Taiwanese food is better, Taiwanese people are way nicer – especially in the service industry, there is a life to society here whereas Korea seemed sort of dull and quiet… and you know, all these ugly buildings really grow on you. But I’m sure that most Westerners would be impressed by Seoul, and very underimpressed on Taipei on first impressions.

As an aside, Korea also has lots of things for tourists to do, at least it seemed that way. There are a lot of “must-sees” and nice little spots that are developed well to cater to tourists’ needs, and I saw a lot more Westerners there than I ever have in Taiwan. As far as whole-packages go, I feel like Taipei 101 is all that TP has to offer. Other places like Tamsui or Bitan are nice day trips, but you find that there isn’t much to do there once you arrive, especially if you don’t speak Chinese. While Koreans seem completely unwilling to speak English under any circumstances, I didn’t have too much trouble communicating by speaking it to them… though I had no idea what they were saying in return. In general, I think Taiwan and Korea are tied for English level (come on Taiwan, you can do better than that!)

Addendum: The biiiiiiiggest difference between Taiwan and Korea? In Taiwan, pick up a huge camera and point it at a cute girl and she’ll smile and pose. In Korea, just walk around with a camera in your hand, and people hide their faces like you’re Kim Jung Il come back from the grave to eat their brains.

I think ultimately, Korea and Taiwan are very similar in terms of their development over the last few decades. Korea has pulled ahead, though, simply by the accident of being the winning side in its civil war and because they have a lot more space than this tiny island. Just my two cents.

Hokk, couldn’t have said it better myself, I’ve been to Seoul many times for business. It’s very well laid out and constructed, clean and modern like the Japanese. Taipei is more grotty and noisy and the buildings more higgedly piggedly. Seoul is projects a city with huge wealth ad power, Taipei does not.

Seoul is more international feeling even if it does not have many foreigners.

The people are the biggest difference, with Koreans not being particularly fond of foreigners, and when they get drunk they can be particularly rowdy.

Both countries are fairly insular in their outlook, but the Koreans harbour a giant chip on their shoulder, while it seems it should be Taiwanese who have more cause for that attitude.

Both countries have a long hours, ping ming culture, with focus on family wealth and large inequality and people are on the scrap heap at 40+ in terms of average employees.

There are some awesome people here, but this is just nuts. The level of service here, like many things, is incredibly uneven–unless of course you define “nice” in the service industry as “slouching around, checking their phones, and not paying attention to their jobs.” :raspberry:


I find professional service lacking in Taiwan, but at least it is not intentional rudeness.

HHII: Indeed. And just so I’m not misunderstood here, there are some businesses in Taiwan where the service level is off-the-charts good. And in some other places, not so much!


Yes it can be a case of all or nothing, I think when you pay the big money service can be provided.

Regular people can be good at providing the Japanese concept of ‘service’, basically going out if their way to help.

I think the biggest difference in terms on long term planning and development between Korea and Taiwan is that at the end of the day, Korean leaders no matter how corrupt identifies with Korea. Where as leaders in Taiwan for the longest time could care less about the development of Taiwan or the welfare of Taiwanese people.

If you life in one place and compare it to another you just visit for a brief amount of time, how accurate can that comparison be? I visited Korea two times and spend there like less then two weeks in total. The people I met seemed all very friendly, I was even invited to one family’s home for a coffee when asking for directions. Now based on that, I thought Koreans are very friendly. I didn’t really like the weather and thought the landscape wasn’t that thrilling, but I went there in the colder season, and didn’t see much more than then northern part of the peninsula. So, how accurate could a comparison be? Two weeks in Korea, many years in Taiwan.

Of course, I like the idea that Taiwan is the better place to live and travel in and it probably is. :sunglasses:

Seoul is very modern with high rises and not many scooters clogging the streets.

Clean? Sorry, Seoul is not clean. The countryside is even worse, better yet, visit any Korean town with a US military base nearby and tell me its clean.

I just spent a week playing tourist in Seoul. I mainly spent time in Hongdae and Gangnam. Honestly, there were many times where I forgot that I was in an Asian country. Hongdae is the university area so lots of people were happy to speak English to us and those who couldn’t speak English were able to speak Mandarin to me or Japanese to my other friends.

But I guess if you take a group of four young western girls then people are generally going to be friendly to them.

Agree, to a point, and definitely don’t try to take pictures of dogs in cages. I did manage to take a few shots the couple of weeks I was there, though: … 867152081/

A very good point. My comparison of Taipei to Seoul, though, is based on my first impression of Taiwan when I landed here in 2006, memories I hold very fondly and very close to my heart. From that perspective, I think it’s a fair comparison.

Agree, to a point, and definitely don’t try to take pictures of dogs in cages. I did manage to take a few shots the couple of weeks I was there, though: … 867152081/[/quote]

Where can I see more of your pictures I must have more of your pictures I think I’m in love

I would change the name of the capital from Seoul to Seoless, and South Korea to Purgatory. I had the misfortune of going there once. I didn’t like it.

Oddly enough the only time anyone has been rude to me in any restaurant in Taiwan is when I went to an authentic Korean restaurant. My wife had been before with her friends and wanted to introduce me to Korean food (my wife enjoys watching all the crappy Korean dramas… which is why I ended up spending a week in Purgatory a few years back). Anyway, the moment I walked in the Taiwanese manageress, wife of the Korean chef, came over and asked if I could use chopsticks… before we had even sat down. I said yes. Then she said American’s don’t like Korean food. I told her that I wasn’t American, I’m from England. She went over to her husband and chatted for a bit. I felt a bit uncomfortable, but to be honest, I’d rather put up with that silly cow and her husband’s antics for an hour than spoil my wife’s evening. So we sat down. Each dish seemed to be banged down on the table. The woman told me I was using the chopsticks wrong (which I wasn’t) and just buzzed around out table for the whole meal. Anyway, the food seemed pretty bland. Kimichi is ok as pizza topping (at pizza hut). But I never went back.

Dr. Jellyfish can you post the address of said authentic Korean restaurant, I do enjoy Korean food and have found very few decent ones in Taiwan.

Korea has better infrastructure and is more modern, but the people have a HUGE chip on their shoulder and cant help but talk to foreigners about how much better Korea is than the rest of the world.

Taiwanese is less modern structurally but the people (at least in Taipei) have a far better and more realistic view of the rest of the world. Taiwanese seem happier and far less bothered by whitey. I think being of Chinese heritage gives people here a stronger, more confident sense of self (especially if you are a Taiwanese who sees Taiwan as superior to China), Korean have historically been bullied by world powers so they have a desire to prove themselves and harbour resentment towards outsiders.

In a nutshell, a lot of the worst experiences of xenophobia in Taiwan that people complain about on these forums are VERY common occurrences in Korea.

It “was” close to the Far Eastern Hotel, on a road/alley just off Dunhua Nan Road section 2 (敦化南路二段). The particular road was called 四維路. There should be a McDonalds and a Japanese Tonkatsu restaurant around there. I went about 5 years ago. I didn’t know until about 10 mins ago that it closed a few years back. I can’t remember it’s name. It wasn’t very flashy, but it was supposed to have authentic Korean food. We had rice in a hot stone bowl (I got a lecture off the lady that I wasn’t scraping the rice properly or something like that), we also had some sort of lettuce and beef wraps, and of course kimichi. Don’t know if they’ve relocated or have just stop doing business. So, sorry, but you won’t be able to enjoy their food or their friendly service…

so really near Kingjoin? … sic&dg=opt

I’m not sure what Kingjoin is, but the place I went to was off Dunhua section 2, not section one, and was pretty close to the Far Eastern hotel. Well, from the Far Eastern you just needed to cross Dunhua and them navigate those smaller streets and alleys. As I said, it’s closed (apparently), and I went a long time ago. Perhaps if anyone knows of an authentic Korean restaurant, run by a Taiwanese lady and her Korean husband, then perhaps it’s them.