It is so hard to take that first step out the door to go exploring in Korea. We don’t have our trusted Google Maps and there are limited GPS services in English. Last I heard, the bus driver drives like a maniac and Seoul is one of the biggest cities in the world, I might get lost! But then again, I hear stories of people staying on post for 6 months at a time and never leaving. That sounds equally crazy! What if I told you that enjoying Korea is as easy as downloading your favorite fitness app and walking out of the Pedestrian Gate?
Important Pokemon Go Korea Links:
Pokemon Go Korea Facebook Group – The leaders of this Seoul group put on huge raids each weekend. This is the go-to page Pokemon Go Group for everyone living in Korea.
Busan Pokemon Go Facebook Group – Mostly in Korean
English Visit Korea Site – Pick a place to start your Pokemon Go adventure. Big cities and train stations are best for Pokestops.
List of Museums in Seoul everyone should see! Museums often have a lot of Pokestops available.
One of the wonderful things about living here in Korea is re-discovering the art of an afternoon stroll. It wasn’t easy for us to become a single car family again when we sold our truck back in the states but all of this walking has turned me from a couch potato into an average healthy person. I’m not here to tell you of the medical miracles that come from walking once a day, I’ll leave that to the doctors. What I want to do is encourage everyone to drop the guidebooks and discover Korea the old fashioned way, through unplanned exploration. What better way to explore and get fit than buy downloading a fitness app for my smart phone to encourage me to get out there and move?
I began my fitness app search like everyone else by using the factory default step tracker and setting up daily goals. Then the notifications telling me I failed to make my daily goal began rolling in and I knew I didn’t want a nagging Mom for a phone. I looked for more entertaining fitness apps like zombie runners, adorable monster pals with outfits and other games where you earn a currency to buy more goodies. Most games fell flat for me until I found a galaxy exploration game called Walkr that uses your steps to power your ship to the next planet. It was good enough until I learned of the imminent release of Pokemon GO.
Did you know you don’t have to be a die hard Pokemon fan to enjoy Pokemon GO? I’ve never played a Pokemon game before I downloaded the app and I was floored at how many varieties of Pokemon are available to catch and how easy the game is. You don’t need to be a pro to play and enjoy Pokemon Go, I’ll leave the min/maxing of Pokemon stats to my husband and the kids.
Pokemon GO is simple. Walk around and catch Pokemon, gain Pokeballs, eggs and supplies, and use your steps to hatch more Pokemon. By itself that doesn’t sound like very much but where Pokemon Go has every other fitness app beat is pre-determined locations for users to walk to. Niantic, the developers for Pokemon Go, utilize actual locations from their other games to create Pokestop destinations for players to walk to and to collect supplies and eggs. In the game window, select the Pokestop that you want and follow the map until you find it. As you walk to a Pokestop you can catch Pokemon, stop for a soda, enjoy a book store, grab a bite to eat, etc. The list of things to do while playing Pokemon GO are endless.
I bet you’re wondering if this game is going to try and lead you off a cliff or into the ocean. The locations used for Pokestops are imports from a previous game by the same company. The Pokestop locations are tried and true by other gamers around the world and more are appearing every month. Players can expect to find Pokestops at temples, outdoor sculptures, historical buildings, churches and your favorite convenience stores and restaurants. For Korea, many stops lead users to art exhibits, stone sculptures, gorgeous Buddha temples, 7-11’s, Lotterias and KT Phone stores.
Not every town is lucky enough to have a lot of Pokestops, many villages only get one or two. Seoul is the best place in Korea to find rare Pokemon and to fill your bag with Pokeballs. Are you tired of the same old Itaewon or Insadong? Go ahead and visit Insadong again but this time let Pokemon Go be your tour guide and see where it takes you. Head up to the COEX Mall and use Pokestops to lead you around Gangnam to find new restaurants, shops and art.
Military bases themselves don’t have a lot of Pokestops due to GPS restrictions. Camp Humphreys has some Gyms at Water Towers and a Pokestop at the Flightline Tap Room / Alaskan Mining Company, which makes it the perfect place to drop a lure to draw in more Pokemon and enjoy a classic American breakfast.
Remember when I said small towns often don’t have Pokestops? Not true if the town is near an American military base. Outside of Humphreys main gate is a steady line of Pokestops all the way up into Songwha-ri. Pokemon Go is the perfect chance for Camp Humphreys residents to find all the secrets in our little town of Paengseong. I lived here for over a year before I finally stumbled upon Humphreys’ very own Dream Depot, a craft store, because of a Pokemon Go walking event.
It’s ok if Pokemon Go really isn’t your thing, I get it. But if you are a family who is still trying to convince themselves that maybe Korea isn’t all that bad, let the kids download it and have them lead the way. As a family, go explore Paengseong, Seoul, Songtan, Daejon, Busan, etc. Find the school stores with fidget spinners, try red bean ice creams at the convenience stores and discover a hidden mural in a back alley. Pokemon Go has made each of my trips into Korea just a little bit more exciting. As a family, we all pull out our phones and go exploring together. It’s a treasure hunt to find unique locations that you, your family and your friends will remember for years to come.
Looking to be a pro-Pokemon Go player? I can’t say enough good things about buying a Pokemon Go Plus. With a Go Plus, I can easily catch 40+ Pokemon in an hour but it does tend to use up your Pokeballs quickly. If money is no objective to catching them all, invest in a Go Plus and your Pokedex will fill up faster than you expected.