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4.16.2017

Seoul Searching | Sending Mail from Seoul.

If there's one thing I never imagined I would be doing while in South Korea, it's to go to the post office and actually send mail. But I eventually did, all thanks my niece Sam's school project.

My cousin Mary, who's based in Southern California, asked me a favor to send a postcard from Korea and address it to her daughter's school. Sam is currently in first grade, and one of the lessons in her Social Studies class is to locate places on the map through the use of postcards. I thought this was a fun way to teach kids about geography, and a nice way for relatives and friends to reconnect outside of social media.

And so I went hunting for postcards and easily found them at one of the souvenir shops in Myeongdong. A set costs 5000 won (around Php 200 or $4), and contains 12 postcards depicting some of the famous tourist spots in South Korea. It's a good thing there's a post office in our neighborhood, just a stone's throw away from where we live.
Hello, Korea Post!
Yue and I dropped off Sam's postcard before heading to Insadong, and I was completely blown away by Korea's postal service. There are no long lines, the staff are very helpful and friendly, and the rates are extremely competitive.
Inside the Korea Post.
As soon as we entered the post office, we were greeted by an English-speaking employee who ushered us towards the queue number machine. She asked me what type of mail will I be sending, and I showed her the postcard that Yue was holding. She smiled, and asked us to sit down while waiting for our turn.
Our number from the queue number machine.
There's a table near the waiting area where you will find various types of mailing forms - Air, Surface, EMS, just to name a few. They also have pens, in case you forgot to bring one; a calendar for date reference; a calculator if you want to compute the postal rates for yourself; reading glasses, in case you can't see clearly what you're filling out, and tissue, just because. 
Mailing forms, and other things that you will need to send mail.
Located on the other side of the room is the packing section, where people pack their boxes and tape them up for mailing. Here, you will find scissors, markers, glue, and packaging tape which you can use free of charge. They also provide bubble wraps, too. Just let the postal clerks know and they will give you rolls of bubble wraps - again, free of charge. Talk about awesome customer service!
Markers, packaging tape, glue...
The boxes, however, are not for free. Each box has a corresponding rate with the smallest box priced at 400 won (around Php 20 or $0.35).
Box sizes and their corresponding rates.
It didn't take long before our number was called. Well, more like flashed on the LCD screen right above the counter. Yue kept on looking at the screen, patiently waiting for our number to be flashed on it. And when it did, he stood up right away and excitedly marched with me towards the counter.
Waiting for our number to be 'called'.
The postal clerk checked my postcard, weighed it (though it's almost weightless), and billed me at 370 won (around Php 17 or $33). Upon checking the Korea Post website, this is the standard rate for post cards sent to international destinations. I was amazed at how cheap the rate was. I'd probably pay double or even more if I were sending mail from the Philippines!
Hassle-free service, brought to you by the Korea Post.
I fished for change from my coin purse, and placed it on the plate in front of the counter. The postal clerk then took my payment and printed my receipt. It was a painless, hassle-free transaction, and I was very much impressed! All the more after I got word from my cousin that my postcard arrived in a few days' time!
My postcard for Ceana, my goddaughter and daughter of Icar aka My Charmed Mom.
A few days later, we went back to send another postcard - this time, for my goddaughter Ceana, who's currently based in San Francisco. Her mom - my good friend, Icar - asked if I could send Ceana a postcard, too. And I did! Because Korea's postal service simply rocks! :)
Korea Post office in Myeongdong. 
Marker for Young Sik Hong, father of the Korean postal system.


To know more about the rates and fees and the zones covered, visit the Korea Post website. 



3 replies:

travelpogi said...

very interesting! i always wanted to visit Seoul! i hope i can visit it someduay!

-kelly reci

Mai C. said...

How awesome! It's been a long time since I had to send mail like this. I forgot how the whole thing works in the PH! It sure is fast in Korea though.

Xoneia Tayag said...

I don't think I've ever sent snail mail before. Even when I was a kid and I had projects my parents would usually do it for me. It's nice that sending mail from Korea is not much of a hassle.