Korea is an amazing place to visit (and in my opinion, a great place to live), but one thing is sure to happen when you come to this country: You’re going to buy things!
Over the years I’ve amassed a large assortment of house socks and fun stuffed animals I just don’t see anywhere else in the world. For this reason, I’ve come to rely on the Korean Post Office to ship items home, to friends, and to save me money when flying! Rather than worry about loading up my suitcases with trinkets and excess weight, I usually send them ahead at the local post office (a Post Office is located inside Incheon International Airport for last minute shipping needs).
I also don’t write many letters these days (thanks to e-mail), but when I do, I just grab an envelope at the Post Office.
But, the main reason I use the Korean Post is to ship a little of Korea to my friends around the globe. You might think it a little intimidating to try and parcel items; it’s not for two reasons. While most of the staff will have limited English abilities, the forms needed are all in English, plus the staff is ready and willing to help you despite any language barriers.
To send items abroad, you’ll need to purchase boxes for shipping. These are quite affordable and come in an assortment of sizes (the boxes above were purchased for 450원 and 500원). The great thing about purchasing boxes here, is that you’ll also received bubble wrap and have access to all the tape you’ll ever need to secure your package.
To ship the package(s) overseas you’ll need a large, rectangular, green form. There are two available. One is for normal shipments and the other is for insured shipments (it has an extra red box on it). As I noted before, all the information is listed in both Korean and English, so it’s quite simple to complete. Be sure to check the AIR and ORDINARY boxes to get your package on its way. A box sent from Seoul to the US will typically take a little over a week. If you’re looking to send a really large (and heavy) box, you can choose the GROUND option (선편). This latter option sends the package on surface routes (a boat) and can take up to 2 months to be delivered (for about 50% of the cost of air mail).
As with most shipping companies, the cost associated with sending items depends on how heavy and how far things are going to travel. My typical 2-3kg package to the US usually is less than 30,000원 and takes only week to arrive at its destination. It makes my time in Korea a little more exciting to know that I can share this great country with so many others for a very affordable price.