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GFRA Forums : New or Moving to Geoje - Q&A : Moving to Okpo in January from US - many questions
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Moving to Okpo in January from US - many questions

Laura Hays
Posted: 06 November 2010 - 11:04 PM
We will be moving to Okpo in January 2011 with a 2 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. My first question is about the living space. Our inclination to to move into the Samsung Village and have secured our name on the list for a 3 bedroom. The apartments look first class but photos can be deceiving. The amenities are extensive but I want to make sure I do my research and find the nicest place possible to make our 2 year stay comforable and feeling like home. However, other employees with my husband's project have moved into the Mijin Tower and say it is wonderful. It looks like Mijin is centered closer to schools, shopping and bars and Samsumg Village would require more communting and less walking. Can anyone tell me which location is best for conveniences as well as children? My husband is working with Shell and I am also interested in living near other employees of Shell.
I am already overpacking all the things that I am uncertain that we can purchase locally so other advise is greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Posted: 27 November 2010 - 05:00 AM
Samsung Village is in Gohyeon wich is about a 15 minute drive away. However, there is usually traffic in the mornings and evenings so the commute takes longer. Goyean does have a large shopping complex. The Mijini tower is in Okpo and a closer drive to the international school and day care. Someone else will have to tell you which building is better.
Posted: 27 November 2010 - 04:29 PM
Mijin Tower is as good an apartment as you are going to get in Okpo, the location is very good which reduces the amount of driving you have to do, Gohyuen has the benefit of a large department & food store, but we do a shop once a week and that is more than enough, most westeners live in Okpo because of the Foreigners club, it is a good place to meet up and enjoy the company of other expats.
Gohyuen on the other hand has KFC, McDonalds Pizza Hut, & a couple of cinemas, so for children, Gohyuen might be easier to to keep them entertained.
Posted: 02 January 2011 - 07:06 AM
Hi Laura

We are also moving to Okpo in Feb, however we are staying in the townhouses near the school. I also have an 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter, are your kids going to the Okpo Internatioanal school on Island ? Had a lot of mixed views on the school for the older children, we are going to see how that goes before we decide if its best to go to the IB school in Busan. Or maybe you are putting them into the American school ? Will keep an eye on your replies from others to get any useful info on what to bring !

Posted: 02 January 2011 - 07:34 PM
Suggestions on what to pack mostly copied from "Moving here?" page of this site and will vary depending on how much shipping allowance you have. If you have the option of a sea shipment, take it and pack:

Spices & dried herbs or seeds to grow your own
Food Seasoning
English (or other non-Korean) language books
English (or other non-Korean) cds, dvds region code 3 (NB town-houses have a multi-region DVD player and 2 TVs each with HDMI slots)
Other children's toys / games
Dental floss, Deodorant etc (if you have a particular brand preference)
Baby/Children's medicine, sunscreen, antihistamine, painkillers etc (most parents are more comfortable with brands they are familiar with, and with labels in English)
Tampons (available here, but expensive, and in limited selection)
Clothes/ Underwear (shops do not cater for larger sizes)
Shoes (shops do not cater for larger sizes)
You can get dried lentils, chickpeas, barley, soy beans & kidney beans. You cannot get dried black beans (though tins are available), black eye peas, quinoa, etc. The price of basmati rice is likely to make you wished you packed some. Korean rice is very cheap.

If there's something else specific you're not sure about, ask.
Posted: 03 January 2011 - 03:30 AM

When I first arrived in Korea with a suitcase in one hand a 2 year old in the other and a husband who was supposed to be on a 9 month contract! (nearly 12 years ago!) I would have said you most definitely would need to ship everything. (Cheese was something we could only dream about!).

These days you can get most things that make life bearable (for all concerned!) like deodorant from even the smallest of shops, the pharmacies sell childrens Tylenol in liquid and chewable tablets, even Tampax Super has appeared on Supermarket shelves (hooray!!). L'oreal night and day cremes are in Homeplus. Stuff that I would have shipped until quite recently is everywhere.

Normal / recognisible cleaning products are in Homeplus (which has some Tescos stuff from the UK).

(But if you dye your own hair bring a bucket full of the stuff!! - you will not get your colour here!).

Food stuffs you can get by. Unless you have very particular herbs and spices etc that you can't do without. If you are into homebaking I think finding the right flours etc might be problematic? I don't really know. Koreans aren't huge on Western main stays like bread (it does taste different!) and you will be shocked by the price of potatoes! Pasta and rice is in abundance.

You can buy okay bath towels & bedding (quilts with removable covers, pillows are okay, sheets etc). Again this was something I always shipped up until a couple of years ago.

I am sure there will be loads of things you will miss but that makes those trips back home all the more exciting! And lets face it you can't ship everything!!

Now the brige has been built linking Geoje a drive to Busan for a quick shop to Costco and Shinsegae (Worlds largest dept store complete with a good supply of English books and mags) might be do-able when the kids are at school?! Or weekends.

( is an online book store in Seoul and is fantastic so don't worry about English books).

The one thing I would say is you won't find many clothes above an American size 10 and even then they might be cut differently & fit funny! There is a Gap in Shinsegae and Zara in Busan but both are stupidly expensive. Okay for a one off treat! Same with the under wear - bring plenty for you and the kids! I really don't like the kids undies here! And yes if you have feet above an American 7 is can be a problem. But I am sure somewhere like Landrover, Hush Puppies or the huge shoe dept at Shinsegae will order a bigger size for you (I had a 7.5 ordered once!).

The kids clothes are okay and not too expensive. I have problems now as my daughter is nearly 14 as some of the stuff can be a tad odd! But for my 10 year old boy I just hit Airwalk and he is happy!

Is there anything in particular you are concerned about bringing or wondering if you can buy here? Please just ask here.

Try not to be too concerned. I know its daunting but this place has come on in leaps and bounds and you really can buy (at a price!) most things. And if not there is a direct flight from Busan to Hong Kong (less than 3 hours!) and you can buy everything there (plus Disneyland!).

Best of luck with everything,
Posted: 03 January 2011 - 09:42 PM
Angela- your reply was most helpful. I just stumbled onto this site tonight. We will be relocating in March from Africa so from what you state(Cost-co etc) the place sounds like a dream.

Any other suggestions for housing would be helpful. Our children are grown but we would still want 3 bedrooms if possible. Pros and Cons of local sites would be helpful!
Many thanks!
Posted: 04 January 2011 - 05:24 AM
Hi Nancy,

It really isn't a dream, I hope you aren't disappointed!! Geoje was my home for 10 years (live in Busan now) and there isn't a day goes by when we don't miss Okpo. Think we are small town people!

My point was you can basically get all the essentials and there really is no need to worry about growing your own food or being smelly because of no deodorant!! This used to be the case but not anymore!

You will either love it or hate it on Geoje. Then when you leave, even if you hated it at the time, you will miss it and long to come back! Ask anyone. Its a funny little place that seems to get under your skin!

That being said if I was to move back (which is an impossibilty because of the school) I would live in Gohyon. Its the town (Geoje City) nearest to Samsung Shipyard.

Homeplus is there, Macdonalds, multiplex cinema, and the shopping street is bigger and has more choice than Okpo. Gohyon is a lot cleaner than Okpo and there are a lot less 'foreigners' bars & clubs!!! The Samsung Hotel has a nice swimming pool and I think the horse riding stables are over that way (you would need that confirming).

Unfortunatley the nearest international school would be a 20 minute drive away (in Okpo) but I think you said your children were grown?

Maybe if I was new to Korean expat life and had young children I would feel better being close to them and would live in Okpo but that wouldn't be the case for me.

Plus of course the Foreign Residents Assoc club is in Okpo but you could always hop in a cab from Gohyon!

I am not sure what the percentage is of expats in Gohyon vs Okpo but when I left in Aug 2009 I would have said maybe a third were living in Gohyon? (Go back 5 years and nearly all expats lived in Okpo - things are changing all the time).

Just my own personel opinions.

If I can help with anything specific, just ask.

Good luck,
Posted: 04 January 2011 - 12:23 PM

This has all been so helpful. Good heavens....Homegoods and Starbucks!!! Trust me---I'm coming from Nigeria and that sounds amazing.

Would it be possible to contact you via email so that I don't put alot of specific questions on this thread?

I am a retired teacher/counselor and did alot of volunteer work with an island school off the coastof Lagos- I have a few questions for you. Also- my husband work would be near Daewoo Shipyard and I'm wondering about traffic for him if we live in Gohyon. This may all be a mute point if the company has only certain flats to offer- but would like to discuss further via email if possible. It sounds more like out kind of community with fewer bars and perhaps sailing opportunities.

Posted: 04 January 2011 - 06:13 PM
Hi Nancy,

Always glad to help.

My email is

Take care,
Posted: 05 January 2011 - 12:06 AM
Thanks Angela- we can continue the Q and A via email.
Posted: 28 January 2011 - 01:03 AM
Hi, I am from singapore. My husband and I moved here in early Jan 2011. We are now staying in Jinhae (Changwon) about 50 mins drive from busan.

We really hope to find some long-grained rice here. and wondering if anyone knows if Costco has them?

Thank you.

Posted: 29 June 2011 - 06:41 AM

We're moving over at the end of August from Italy, with two kids ten and 3...not sure about the whole far away etc..etc...

What's the school like in Okpo? We will be near the Samsung shipyard. Is it far from Okpo?

Can you buy Italian food?

Help so many questions....from a worried mother..;^(
Posted: 11 August 2012 - 01:24 PM
I work with a Pat Hays at Shell. Is that your husband?
I have applied and hope to be going to Geoje on a project myself.
Posted: 16 August 2012 - 08:25 PM
You can follow the blog for more info:
Posted: 16 August 2012 - 08:33 PM
Also see
Posted: 19 August 2012 - 07:02 PM
Merits of living in Geoje
GFRA Forums : New or Moving to Geoje - Q&A : Moving to Okpo in January from US - many questions

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