The word ‘bang’ in Korean (방) is one of the words that most foreigners should know once arriving to Korea. This word means ‘room’ and it can be attached to many different types of places where people can gather and spend their weekends or afternoons. Here are the 4 types of ‘bang’ you should know and some of my favorite ones.
PC Bang -The first that most students will talk to you about is the PC bang. PC bangs seem to be everywhere in South Korea. There are about three that I can see outside of my apartment window. This is where your students can go after school or before our academy and play some of the most popular computer games in South Korea. Two of the most popular would be MineCraft and League of Legends. Knowing some of these games and what they are about can definitely help you build repoire and get on your students’ good side. An hour on the computer can run as little as 300 Won. Once you get there, many of these PC bangs sell food and drink for relatively cheap. If you are interested in going to a upper scale PC bang, you may want to check out K-pop idol Shindong’s DraQuara PC Castle. As a Super Junior member, he was able to turn PC bang into a must see located in the Jamsil/Songpa area.
DVD Bang - Another thing that I can see outside of my apartment window are DVD rooms. Costing about 10000-20000 won/video, groups of students can watch recent Korean and English DVD movies and relax in their own private theater. Originally, this was a place where young couples would go to ‘kill some time’ before going to their parent’s home. However, now these rooms have become more popular because they offer large TV screens or projection monitors, comfy couches, and even blankets to snuggle in during the cold Korean winter. Many of the most popular DVD rooms are located in the Hongdae and Sincheon area.
Jjimjilbang (찜질방) - The Korean bath house. Many foreigners (North Americans) I know have been afraid to enter because we do not have many of these from where we are from. I was very intimidated to go to one myself. Upon entering, you can go to one of the numerous sauna-like rooms and rest your head while your pores open up. Personally, I have never been a fan, but it is a great place to go to if you are unable to make it back to your apartment from a night out of partying. Some jjimjilbangs start at around 8000 won for 6 hours. If you are not interested in jjimjilbang, you can strip down to your birthday suit and go into the bath areas. There are many different temperatures of water where you can go and relax your aching body. One thing that you should try is to get a Korean body scrub ‘seshin’ . It is really uncomfortable but you will feel refreshed when all of your dead skin cells are removed. The most popular jjimjilbangs in Korea are Dragon Hill Spa outside of Yongsan Station (Seoul) and Spa Land, which is one of the largest in the world, located inside the Shinsegae Department Store (Busan).
Noraebang (노래방) - Outside of Korea, we call it karaoke, but try not to call it that while you are living here. My favorite of all the ‘bangs’, this has become at least a monthly thing that we do amongst our group of friends. For every company dinner we have, we end our night inside a noraebang that usually serves alcohol and side dishes. But not all noraebangs are like this. My favorite chain is called ‘Luxury Noraebang’ and the reason why I think it is called that is because you can get free ice cream to soothe your vocal chords. Plus, it is really ridiculously nice inside. Many of the noraebangs have a mixture of Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese songs. Go on and impress your friends!
After working for five years in banking, Marc decided that it was time for a change before he got too old. He left the stress from his 9-5 job to do something new and different. After coming to Korea with a group of buddies, he landed in the Gangdong Branch in Eastern Seoul. When he's not teaching and doing head instructor duties, he is out about traveling Korea, looking for the new, old, and undiscovered places to visit.