Etiquette

There are several social rules that Koreans stick to, although foreigners are generally given some slack.

  • Meetings and greetings A quick, short bow is most respectful for meetings and departures. Use both hands to give or receive business cards (an essential feature of doing business in Korea), money or gifts. Receive money crossing one hand over the receiving arm.
  • Shoes Remove your shoes on entering a Korean home, guesthouse, temple or Korean-style restaurant. Some temples indicate a side entrance for non-monks.
  • Eating & Drinking Pour drinks for others and use both hands when pouring or receiving. Use chopsticks or a spoon to touch food and don’t leave either sticking up in a bowl of rice.
  • Loss of face A mishandled remark should be smoothed over quickly, and if you sense someone trying to change the subject, go with the flow. Arguing is best avoided, even if you are in the right.