Warm up to these Korean Innovations this Winter
It’s been a winter wonderland in Seoul this past week. While the snow looks pretty through the windows of my warm apartment, it makes me shiver just thinking about the arctic temperatures outside. Here are some innovative products that Koreans often use to beat the winter chill. I’ll be joining them for sure!
Throw these in the pockets of your winter coat and keep your hands warm with inexpensive and portable hot packs. Easily purchased at convenience stores in a variety of shapes, these small packages are actually chemical heat packs that use chemistry to create that tingling warmth. Air activated hot packs contain ingredients like salt, cellulose, iron, water and activated carbon. Once you open up the package, the reaction to oxygen starts generating heat. These hot packs usually last a few hours and are disposable after use.
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Wearing this long, two-piece undergarment under your regular clothes will help keep your body temperature up and blood circulating well. Thermal underwear is popular and has a long history of use in Korea because of its excellent insulation. This undergarment creates a thin space of air next to your skin, trapping heat, as well as wicks away moisture from your skin. This is probably why the government often promotes wearing them to save energy and reduce your home heating bills in the winter time. You can buy them in most stores that sell underwear as well as supermarkets.
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I know this sounds like a strange recommendation, but Seoul’s subway cars are always nice and toasty in the winter. The heaters are located under the seats, so you can roast yourself nicely on a trip around the looping Line 2, the super-long Line 1 or the fully automated New Bundang Line. The same is true in other big cities like Busan and Daegu as well. In some areas of Seoul, brightly lit pedestrian tunnels run between subway stations allowing you to take a stroll without the biting wind. Downtown you can walk all the way from City Hall near Deoksu Palace to the restaurant heavy Euljiro 1-ga area to the eclectic shops near Euljiro 4-ga.