South Koreans enjoy a far better standard of living than anyone else because they’re light years ahead of the world in virtually everything.
With green living, clever design, smart tech, and digital everything thanks to the genius powerhouses LG, Samsung, and Hyundai - plus doors that open just like Star Trek - Korea is the future.
There’s also delicious Korean food, including many plant-based Korean foods, plus alcohol that’s a health elixir, convenient apps to use, a brilliant language, and, of course - the incredibly inspirational BTS. Yes, they really do have it all.
This is a giant photo essay showcasing my favorite tech, gadgets, infrastructure, and design - and how I think they all make daily life in Korea better, safer, easier, and more convenient than anywhere else on the entire planet.
Fastest Internet in the World: Korea is #1 in the world for fastest internet speed, averaging 95.1Mb/second, and often up to 5-10GB/second. (The US is only a fraction of that, at 18.7Mb/second.)
AI Robots: Get airport assistance from artificial intelligence robots who give navigation, schedules, and advice.
Augmented Reality Information: Find giant digital display screens featuring touchscreen augmented reality that show historical sites in the exact location as they would look today.
CCTV Everywhere: Cctv is virtually everywhere, inside and outside. Nobody’s getting away with anything, ever. Goodbye, crime! Ever even think about leaving your laptop, phone, wallet, and Gucci handbag all on a table at a cafe while you pop to the restroom or go to another store for 30 minutes? You can do it in Korea!
Kakao: Korea’s instant messenger, Kakao Talk, is just one of many Kakao apps like maps, metro, bus, taxi, and it’s very own contactless mobile payment system, Kakao Pay.
Noise Pollution Control: New construction promises to not cause additional noise pollution, displaying digital decibel monitors to check the sound levels.
Gaming Cafes: Pc Bang gaming cafes have state of the art computer and sound systems, ergonomic chairs, food and drink delivery, are the perfect environment to use the fastest internet in the world to play live multi-player games.
Norebang: Korea takes karaoke to a different level. You rent private soundproofed rooms, play with a state of the art video and sound system, and get food and drinks delivered to you while you sing your heart out.
Massive LED Display Screens: Walking around cities, giant display screens
everywhere air news or commercials. It’s a cool distraction while waiting to cross the street.
Airport Guide Maps: Never lose your way at an airport with giant interactive touchscreen digital display guides.
Aircraft Row Boarding: Quickly and easily board airplanes according to row, from the back towards the front, so there’s less waiting, no hassle, and flying is a breeze.
No Carry-On Liquid Restrictions: On domestic flights, there are no liquid restrictions on sizes or amounts, and you don’t even have to take out liquids when going through airport security.
Ultra Clean Airports: Complete with auto-monitored feedback screens, no airports anywhere in the world care this much about cleanliness.
Airport Wireless Charging: Forget messing with wires and outlets, just lay your phone down to instantly charge.
Illuminated Restroom Doorlocks: Airport bathroom door locks instantly turn on an floor to ceiling illuminated red light to signal the stall is in use and locked.
Street Guide Maps: Never get lost with easy location maps citywide.
Rechargeable Transit Smart Cards: Tmoney is a rechargeable smart card to pay transportation fees and shop. It can be used for buses, subway, taxis, and convenience stores countrywide, and also has an app.
Electronic Bus Info Screens: Find electronic real-time bus informations systems on large touchscreen display panels to easily and accurately monitor bus arrivals, with audio announcements. Also free wifi, phone chargers, and heated seats. And as if that’s not futuristic enough, Jeju plans to introduce autonomous bus services in 2022.
Real-time Bus Arrivals and Seating: Track exactly when the bus is arriving down to the second, plus real time seat availability for your comfort.
Live Traffic Displays: Quickly check traffic status with a glance while driving.
Live Transit Times: Real-time travel calculations are displayed to inform you of transit time.
Traffic Safety Warnings: Reminders to drive carefully display yesterday’s accident tolls.
Car Dash Cams: Cars have front and rearview dash cameras installed so all traffic is recorded in case of a scam or accident. Goodbye, road rage.
Wireless Speed Monitoring: On highways, wireless monitors calculate your average speed in any given length. So you can drive as fast as you want as long as you keep your average below the limit.
Wireless Toll Payments: Rearview mirrors hold a chip card inside that allows wireless toll payments to be instantly read and charged without slowing down the car.
Car Door Guard Stickers: Tiny cushions protect everyone’s doors from dings.
Automated Vertical Parking Lots: Computerized buildings move cars floors up to park and store them automatically.
Local Property Booking Apps: Instantly book and pay for a luxurious yet inexpensive local hotel room with just a few clicks on an app.
Unmanned Hotels: Check yourself into a high tech unmanned hotel hotel by simply paying at a machine that will instantly unlock your door for you. Check out by pressing one button and you’re done.
Super Cheap Luxury Hotels: Stay in 5 star luxury hotel suites complete with flat screen TVs, computers, free toiletries and a stocked fridge, all for a fraction of the value. This one is only $30 a night; anywhere else, it’d be well over $300.
Automatic Doors: Enter any cafe, restaurant, or shop simply by tapping your hand on a touchscreen button and the glass door instantly slides open and closed like magic.
Wireless Call Buttons: While out for Korean cuisine, when ready to order, you press a small wireless button at the end of your table that silently calls the server.
Digital Menus: Easily browse, select and order all your food and drinks from a tablet on your table.
Wireless Bill Buttons: Not only to order, when you're ready to go, you can also just press one button to instantly get your bill delivered. No flagging down your server with insane hand gestures.
Wireless Buzzers: Korea’s coffee culture is epic. With so much demand, cafes and takeout restaurants use wireless buzzing pager systems to alert you when your order is ready for pick up.
Digital Order Pickup: Grab your coffee at Starbucks with a digital panel that displays your order number and corresponding drink number location.
Self Ordering Systems: Order and pay for your meal in seconds on computerized self ordering systems, located at most all cafes and restaurants.
Unmanned Vending Cafes: Unmanned cafes are vending machines where you can order, pay, and get your coffee all from a machine.
Robot Baristas: Unmanned coffee pods have robot baristas with 5G AI that can communicate with you while making your cup of joe in record time with perfect accuracy and zero human contamination.
24/7 Food Delivery: Quickly and easily order food anytime with an app, and a scooter will be on its way in minutes.
Solar Powered Traffic Signs: Illuminated traffic safety signs have their own solar power supply.
Wind Powered Street Lights: Street lamps come with their own wind turbine power supply.
Electric Car Charging Stations: Electric vehicle charging stations are everywhere so driving gas-free is super easy.
Bike Rentals: Easily rent city bikes for greener transportation.
Shared Electronic Scooter Rentals: Rent a scooter and ride around town.
Solar Powered Cell Phone Chargers: Public benches come with free solar powered wireless cell phone chargers.
Lighting Advertisements: Graphic images are projected via light to inform and entertain pedestrians, while also providing crime prevention through environmental design.
Air Quality Monitors: Helpful displays show the current air quality along with a cute faces for easy readability.
City Disinfections: Seoul performs regular outdoor citywide clean zone disinfections.
Outdoor Enclosed Smoking Areas: Smokers can avoid contaminating public air spaces by smoking in enclosed, ventilated spaces.
Free Outdoor Gyms: Free state of the art gym equipment is located in residential and natural parks so you can skip the gym membership and exercise outside.
Free Filtered Water Everywhere: There’s free filtered water dispensers for hot and cold water, in restaurants, cafes, common areas, commercial and residential buildings.
Drinking Fountains: Artful, free, and eco-friendly public drinking fountains.
Recycling Stations: Easily recycle glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard, plastic, plastic film, plastic bags, styrofoam, fluorescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs, broken glass, textiles, and batteries.
Clothing Recycling: Easy donation boxes around neighborhoods gather clothes, shoes, and bags to prevent textile waste.
Food Waste Management: A computer will weigh and properly dispose of organic compost.
Limited Waste Allowed: Since you can recycle everything, you should make little waste, especially because you have to pay for and dispose of it in specially designated garbage bags.
Restricted Waste Disposal: Smile, you’re on camera. So don’t ever leave trash anywhere.
Double Energy-Saving Windows: Windows are in double sets of locking pairs to insulate and save energy. A barrier against weather, temperature, and noise, the glass is also shaded to prevent solar radiation transference.
Motion Sensor Lighting: In busy spaces like foyers, hallways, vestibules, and stairwells, lights are instantly motion sensor activated and deactivated to save energy.
Plant Info Plaques: Learn more about the plants around you with easy little information signs and QR codes to scan.
Eco-Landscaping: Natural Parks are designed with oxygen enhancing plants for future generations.
Building Entrance Video Intercoms: State of the art video intercoms allow restricted entry only into residential buildings.
Intelligent Home Networking Systems: Even more video monitoring at the apartment door. Goodbye, robbery!
Smart Home Management Systems: Inspect everything including the pores on your potential visitor’s face with this giant video display screen tucked safely inside your apartment.
Digital Door Locks: My absolute favorite gadget - digital door locks. These make daily life completely keyless and super safe, because nobody’s getting in unless you want them to.
Fingerprint Door Locks: Open your door with your fingerprint!
Vacuum and Mopping Robots: Talking robot vacuums can sweep and mop entire apartments on a schedule and then automatically dock to recharge.
Air Purifiers: Smart air purifiers silently clean the air inside the home.
Home Air Purifier Systems: Homes comes with air purifier systems already installed, including vents, 24/7 monitoring system, and digital wall control panels.
High Tech Electronic Toilets: Electronic toilets are a treat for your senses and your butt. No more cold seats. Some even come with lights, sound, and aromatherapy.
Magnetic Soap: Bathroom soap stays clean and dry attached magnetically to its holder.
Smart Touchscreen Refrigerators: Reach-in panels and digital touchscreen displays make Samsung fridges awesome.
Fast Dry Knife Rack: Knives dry fast and are easily organized and stored safely inside the cupboard.
Sink Drain Strainer: A simple strainer stays hidden under a cover and has a handle to easily lift out to empty.
Kitchen Multimedia Systems: Because any chef knows that you can never have too many gadgets in the kitchen. Answer the door, watch tv, play music, and more, with this foldable swivel flat screen.
Touchscreen Light Switches: Who has time to be pressing buttons or flicking switches when this cool touchscreen pad will turn your lights on and off instantly.
Water Heated Mattress Pad: Hot water steam circulates inside a mattress topper to ensure warm and cozy sleep.
Boiler Control Panel: Easily activate and adjust hot water and floor heating. Turn the boiler off with just one button to save energy and money when not in use.
Digital Heating: Easy smart control panels to instantly adjust heating and keep your toesies warm.
Room Heating and Cooling: Dual air conditioning and heating units are installed in the ceiling, per room, with smart wall controls. More efficient than central air, because you only use it in the room you need it, when you need it.
Electronic Drying Rack: Save energy, money, and your clothes, with a ceiling mounted electronic drying rack with a remote-controlled retractable rack.
Energy Saving Smart Outlets: Smart outlets switch themselves into power saving standby mode to save energy and money when not in use.
Covered Panel Outlets: Cleverly designed covered outlets hide the outlet and protect it from getting wet, so you use the hairdryer in the bathroom and hair doesn’t go all over your house.
Covered Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors are hardwired and completely covered in safety design panels. Never replace a beeping battery again.
Elevator Call Buttons: Why wait for the elevator? A touchscreen call button located inside your apartment will call the elevator for you instantly.
Eye Soft Paper: Paper is printed with specific luminosity and saturation for eye health while reading.
BPA-Free Receipts: Safe BPA-free receipts prevent contact with the carcinogenic chemical.
Makgeolli: The Korean sparkling rice wine that’s also a health elixir because it’s full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and more.
Clean Skincare: Korean skincare products are free from 7 harmful ingredients.
High Tech Healthcare: Korea has high quality, high tech, ultra modern healthcare at affordable cost. Prescriptions are automatically sealed into individual doses to ensure patients take their medication correctly.
Automated Defibrillators: Get instant emergency assistance with easily accessible wall mounted automated external defibrillators.
Kitchen Gas Detectors: This smart device monitors the house for kitchen gas leaks and alerts if danger.
Touchscreen Utility Shutoffs: Instantly disconnect the power and gas to your entire apartment with one tap.
Manual Gas Valves: Manually turn off the gas to your kitchen stovetop with double safety t-valves so gas isn’t constantly flowing when not needed.
Emergency Intercoms: Instantly call for help with a touchscreen hardwired emergency assistance panel.
Escape Route Lighting: Illuminated fire safety escape routes light up in an emergency to lead to safety.
Stairwell Safety Lighting: Helpful stairwell lights display the connecting floor numbers, illuminate the landing, and point you to safety.
Stair Blindness Safety: Special markers nearing stairwell landings alert the blind.
Fire Safety: In residential buildings and hotels, fire safety is taken extremely seriously. Find multiple alarm panels, emergency flashlights, water hoses and fire extinguishers on every floor.
Outdoor Fire Extinguishers: More fire extinguishers outside on the streets.
Spray Can Fire Extinguishers: Skip the bulky hose fire extinguishers by using an easy spray can in a pinch.
Fireproof Doors: All homes have thick, tightly sealed, secure fireproof front doors.
Stairwell Anti-Fire Shutters: Retractable shutters will close off entire stairwells in the event of fire.
Descending Life Lines: Emergency descending life lines are located inside your apartment and in the hallways to safely rescue you out of a burning building.
Safe Zone Boxes: In case of danger, find a yellow safe zone box, push one button, and you’re instantly enclosed inside, and monitored on camera, while the police are on their way to rescue you.