Recently our posts have been deviating from the intial reason this blog was started:
1. To help/advise other expats living in Korea.
2. To tell the rest of the world about what is going on here in Korea.
So with that being said, its time for a simple post that gets back to those basics.
People ask me crazy things about living in Korea.
When I went back to South Africa earlier this year, people couldn’t believe that I was coming back for a second year. “But WHY are you going back there? Isn’t it difficult to live there?” Well to tell you what I told them… No. It’s not difficult to live here. Sure it’s a change and certain things are harder to come by but for the most part… it’s an easy life.
Which is why I spend my weekends doing things that I couldn’t afford to do in South Africa or were not worth the effort there. Like getting a manicure. If you gasping with shock at the fact that manicures exist in Korea then do read on!
A few weeks back my friend Shardale (oh so kindly) treated me to a manicure and pedicure- yes I am that blessed with such a wonderful friend. We met at Songtan (Navy blue line #1 Seoul Metro) which is an area surrounding the Osan US Army Base.
If you’re in Korea, the best way to describe Songtan is that it’s a mini Itaewon. (Itaewon is the red light district in Seoul- many natives try to claim that it is the former red light district, but no one can deny the seediness of the place at night and prostitutes that come into the bars at night looking for their next customer).
Anyway the good thing about Songtan is that due to its proximity to all the US soldiers, all the establishments there have staff that speak English. So we met there (its convenient for the 2 of us since we don’t live near each other) and went off to a place called Escape Spa.
Truthfully, I have received some fabulous manicures here in Korea but in this instance, the manicure and pedicure were the not best I have had… but I left feeling far more civilized than I was 24 hours prior to it. And the best part was they had every single colour of polish under the sun and the talented manicurists did all these whimsical & cute designs on our nails!
Shardale tried out the Dr Fish pedicure pool at the salon. After a quick wash of the feet, you proceed to stick your feet into the tub. And then these lovely fish start eating your feet. I would never think of doing such a thing because my feet are far too ticklish!
Korea makes me way girly-er than I ever was in South Africa. In fact I hardly ever wore nail polish at home and now I wear nail polish frequently here! I think it’s because I’m constantly observing the way Korean girls carry themselves… so put together and feminine. Korean girls do it so simply, too. When they do their nails, it’s almost always just one colour. Only sometimes will you see a bit of nail art and stickers- never fake nails. Here is more nail art that the ladies at Escape can do:
So if you are in Korea… and your feet have done too much walking and your hands are feeling decidedly un-glamorous… pop into any of the numerous nail salons around for a little pick me up… Sometimes we need to take a break from the sightseeing and cultural side of life!
So yes- you can get a manicure and a pedicure in Korea! I have also had my hair cut more than once in Korea with great results. I recently had my hair coloured and was impressed with the level of service I received at a place in Cheonan. So please don’t assume that Korea is some crazy place where you will never be able to cut your hair or get your nails done!
Escape Spa (031-665-9751) in the Songtan shopping district (seven train stops from Suwon station and seven train stops from Cheonan Station). If you get lost, phone them for directions they speak perfect English and accept Korean won or US dollars.
In Cheonan there is a wonderful place called Star Nails which is slightly pricey but phenomenal. When I lived in Incheon, I had a few manicures in the Bupyeong Underground Market and in Seoul, two places I recommend are Tiffany nail and Pro Nails (both in Itaewon).