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Can I drink alcohol on street in Korea?

Can I drink alcohol on street in Korea?

South Korea is a country with a strong drinking culture, and it is not uncommon to see people enjoying alcohol on the streets. However, whether or not it is legal to drink alcohol in public places in Korea is a question that arises frequently among tourists and expats. In this article, we will explore the laws surrounding public drinking in Korea.

The Law on Public Drinking in Korea

In South Korea, public drinking has been banned since 2011 under the National Health Promotion Act. This means that drinking alcohol in public places is illegal and can result in a fine of up to 100,000 won (~$90 USD). The law applies to all public spaces, including streets, parks, and beaches.

Exceptions to the Law

There are some exceptions to the ban on public drinking in Korea. One of the most notable exceptions is during festivals or events where drinking is allowed within designated areas. Additionally, some areas such as certain parks and traditional markets may allow public drinking, but it is important to check for signs or ask locals for guidance.

Drinking Culture in Korea

Despite the ban on public drinking, South Korea has a well-established culture of drinking. Alcohol is often consumed during work-related events or social gatherings with friends and family. Many Koreans also enjoy drinking on the streets during warm weather months or while watching sports matches.

The Effects of Public Drinking

The ban on public drinking was put in place to reduce incidents of public disorder and to promote public health. Public drinking can lead to littering and noise pollution, and it also encourages excessive consumption of alcohol. Additionally, excessive consumption of alcohol can have negative effects on the body and can lead to serious health problems.

The Consequences of Public Drinking

If caught drinking in public, the police may issue a fine or write up a report. This can lead to a criminal record, which can impact future job prospects and other aspects of life. It is important to keep this in mind and to drink responsibly in private settings.

Alternative Drinking Options

Despite the ban on public drinking, there are plenty of options for those who want to enjoy alcohol in Korea. There are many bars and clubs that offer a variety of alcoholic beverages, as well as traditional Korean drinking establishments such as hofs and sojubangs.

The Importance of Respecting Local Laws

It is important to respect the laws and customs of the country you are visiting, even if they differ from those in your home country. Ignoring local laws can lead to serious consequences and can tarnish your reputation as a responsible traveler.

Tips for Responsible Drinking in Korea

If you do choose to drink alcohol in Korea, it is important to do so responsibly. This means pacing yourself and drinking plenty of water between drinks. Additionally, it is important to avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and to avoid driving while under the influence.


In conclusion, while public drinking is illegal in Korea, there are still plenty of options for those who want to enjoy alcohol responsibly. It is important to respect local laws and customs and to drink responsibly in private settings. By doing so, you can have an enjoyable and safe experience in South Korea.



Can you walk around and drink in Korea?

In South Korea, there are no laws against drinking in public, so it is common to see people enjoying their drinks on the beach, in parks, or leaving bars.

Are foreigners allowed to drink in Korea?

The legal age for foreigners to consume alcohol in Korea is 19, although individuals officially become legal drinkers on January 1st of the year they turn 20, as age is calculated based on the start of the new year. This rule applies to most adults.

What is the Korean drinking rule?

In Korean culture, it is customary to offer alcoholic beverages to adults with respect using both hands. When pouring a drink, the right hand holds the bottle while the left hand lightly supports the right wrist.

Is it OK to kiss in public in South Korea?

Public displays of affection, like kissing, are frowned upon and considered inappropriate by older generations in South Korea. However, younger adults are more accepting of it, though it is still not encouraged by elders. Dressing nicely is essential in South Korean culture and is seen as a way to show respect.

Why do you turn away when drinking in Korea?

Koreans show respect to their seniors while drinking by turning their heads away when taking a sip, rather than facing them directly. This is a cultural tradition that is still practiced today.

Is there a big drinking culture in Korea?

Alcohol is a significant aspect of South Korean culture, with a strong presence in their daily lives. It is considered almost mandatory to drink and is deeply rooted in their traditions, often being consumed during important occasions like New Year, Rice Planting, and their Day of Thanks.

The Importance of Cultural Sensitivity

When traveling to a foreign country like Korea, it is important to be culturally sensitive and aware. While drinking alcohol is an important part of Korean culture, it is also important to understand that excessive drinking and public drunkenness are not acceptable. It is important to be respectful and mindful of local customs and traditions.

The Role of Soju in Korean Drinking Culture

Soju is a traditional Korean alcoholic beverage that is often consumed during social gatherings or meals. It is made from rice, wheat, or barley and has a high alcohol content. Soju is often served in small glasses and is meant to be sipped rather than consumed quickly. It is important to keep in mind that soju can be deceptively strong, so it is best to drink it slowly and in moderation.

The Importance of Hydration

Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the night. Many Korean establishments offer water or other non-alcoholic beverages for this reason. It is also a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you when going out for the night.

The Benefits of Drinking with Friends

Drinking with friends or colleagues is an important part of Korean culture. It provides an opportunity to bond and build relationships. However, it is important to drink responsibly and not pressure others into drinking more than they are comfortable with.

The Importance of Eating While Drinking

In Korea, it is common to eat food while drinking alcohol. This helps to slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream and can help prevent overindulging. Many Korean establishments offer food options that pair well with alcohol, such as roasted chicken or fried snacks.

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