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Can you drink while walking in Korea?


Walking with a drink in hand is a common sight in many countries around the world. However, laws and cultural norms vary from one country to another. In Korea, a country known for its strict laws and etiquettes, it’s important to know whether it’s acceptable to drink while walking. This article aims to answer the question: Can you drink while walking in Korea?

Understanding Korean Drinking Culture

To understand whether it’s acceptable to drink while walking in Korea, it’s important to first understand the country’s drinking culture. Drinking alcohol is a common social activity in Korea, especially during business meetings and gatherings with friends. However, drinking on the streets is generally frowned upon.

The Legal Perspective

Drinking while walking is not illegal in Korea, but there are laws that prohibit public intoxication and disorderly conduct. If someone is found to be publicly intoxicated or causing a disturbance while drinking on the streets, they may face legal consequences.

Cultural Norms

While drinking while walking is not illegal, it goes against Korean cultural norms. In Korea, there is a strong emphasis on respect for others and maintaining order in public spaces. Drinking on the streets can be seen as disrespectful and disruptive.


There are some exceptions to the rule. During festivals and other outdoor events, it’s common for people to walk around with drinks in hand. However, even during these events, people are expected to maintain order and not cause disturbances.

Drinking Etiquette

When drinking in Korea, it’s important to follow certain etiquette rules. For example, it’s customary to pour drinks for others instead of pouring your own drink. Additionally, when someone older or of higher status offers you a drink, it’s polite to accept it.

Drinking Laws in Korea

Korea has strict laws regarding drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers is very low, and penalties for drunk driving are severe. It’s important to be aware of these laws if you plan on drinking in Korea.

Drinking Venues

There are many places to drink in Korea, including bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. These venues offer a safe and socially acceptable space to drink and socialize with others.

Alcohol Choices

Korea has a wide variety of alcoholic beverages to choose from, including beer, soju, and makgeolli. Each beverage has its own unique flavor and is often paired with certain types of food.

Drinking Responsibly

Regardless of where you choose to drink in Korea, it’s important to do so responsibly. This includes knowing your limits, avoiding drinking on an empty stomach, and staying hydrated.


While drinking while walking is not illegal in Korea, it goes against cultural norms and can be seen as disrespectful. Instead, it’s recommended to drink in designated venues such as bars or restaurants. By following Korean drinking etiquette and laws, you can enjoy a safe and socially acceptable drinking experience in Korea.

Can you drink and walk in Korea?

In Korea, the legal age for drinking alcohol is 19. While it is permissible to consume alcohol in public, there are strict penalties for behaving in a disorderly manner while under its influence, including substantial fines and being taken to the police station.

Can you eat and drink while walking in Korea?

In many cultures, it is not acceptable for adults to eat while walking, so street food is commonly consumed on-site. Using one’s fingers to eat is seen as impolite, and soup is typically eaten with a spoon while chopsticks are used for other food items.

Can you drink alcohol in public in Korea?

In South Korea, it is generally allowed to drink in public. However, if someone drinks to the point of becoming disorderly or using inappropriate language or actions in a public place, they can be fined up to 100,000 won.

What is Korea’s drinking rule?

In Korean tradition, it is customary for someone to respectfully offer an alcoholic drink to another adult with both hands. When pouring the drink, the bottle should be held in the right hand, while the left hand lightly grips the right wrist.

Is it rude to refuse a drink in Korea?

When drinking with Korean colleagues, it is impolite to decline a drink, even if you are offered a large amount. If your boss offers you a drink, it is essential to express your gratitude. This is known as alcohol etiquette.

Is it safe for a woman to walk alone at night in Korea?

For the most part, a woman traveling alone in South Korea can feel safe, similar to most other big cities around the world. However, it is advisable to refrain from walking alone at night in secluded areas. Additionally, it is best to avoid drawing unwanted attention by dressing modestly and avoiding clothing such as crop-tops, miniskirts, or flip-flops.

It’s also important to note that drinking culture in Korea has been changing in recent years. While traditional drinking practices such as business meetings and gatherings with friends still exist, there is a growing trend of younger generations preferring non-alcoholic beverages or drinking in moderation.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Korea’s drinking culture, with many people choosing to stay home instead of going out to drink. Online drinking parties have become popular, with people connecting virtually to share drinks and socialize.

Overall, whether or not you can drink while walking in Korea may not have a clear-cut answer, but it’s important to understand the cultural norms and laws surrounding alcohol consumption. By doing so, you can respect Korean customs and enjoy a safe and enjoyable drinking experience.

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