How to send mail to Korea

How to send mail to KoreaGet tips for sending mail to Korea, find out about Korean address system, how to send packages and envelopes, and see examples of proper addressing.

My fingers were trembling with excitement as I pried opened the package. The package that had been sitting on his desk in Korea just a few days ago. Now it was with me, on the other side of the world. It was the first package I received from so far away. And it was the first tangible evidence I had that he wasn’t just a fantasy. He was real, just as the rough cardboard box in my hands was real. And only one question remained: what is in it?
I think Internet is amazing. It gives us something no one had in the past – instant connection no matter how far away the other person is. Without internet, there wouldn’t be “us”. But there are some things internet can’t convey.Like the soft touch of fluffy pastel colored socks that were in that first package, the seductive smell of perfume he sprayed over them, the smooth plastic cover of bright Korean textbook, the smell of new paper and rustling of pages as I flipped through them, the soothing touch of wooden chopsticks, and the ice cold metal and the clinking of his dog tags.

That package told me two things. One, this man I loved but had never met knew me well: he knew my feet always get cold, he knew I had a big passion for learning his language and loved books, he knew I had been dying to try eating with chopsticks. Two, he loved me too. That was clear when he chose me to be the one to have his dog tags. Dog tags that he had worn for two years, which meant so much to him, and he just gave them to me, a woman he had never met. Beat that internet.

At the same time he sent me his package, I sent mine as well. Even though we had no idea what the other one sent, the contents were surprisingly similar. He sent chopsticks, I sent a fork, he sent dog tags, I sent my necklace, he sent a textbook in his language, I sent a phrasebook in mine…

Those packages told us we can trust each other, they told us the other person cared, and they told us we were ready to meet. We still send packages when we are apart, and while they are not as profound as the first one, they still connect us, and give us a glimpse into each other’s lives. And candy.

 

How to write Korean address

Korean - East Asian vs Western address system

East Asian addressing system vs. Western addressing system

South Korea uses Japanese addressing system. Instead of naming streets, it names areas in between the streets – the street blocks. Instead of assigning building numbers linearly following the street, it assigns them in the chronological order in which they were built. While this complicates things substantially for mail carriers, who might find house number 231 next to a 19, it actually doesn’t matter to you at all when you are sending mail.

There is also a second, newer system, using street names and building numbers in order. It’s coming alive this year, but you can still use the old address until 2014.

What you need to write:

  • Name of the recipient If the address is written in Korean, family name is written first. It is not rude to leave out a person’s title, something that should never be done in spoken Korean. If you wish to include it, write person’s profession (example: 선생님) after the name. If you don’t know their profession just add 씨. You can even write 오빠.
  • Address Korean addresses don’t have any line convention so you can write it all in one line. If it can’t fit, break it into multiple lines as you wish.
  • Postal code should be included for clarity. It is a 6-digit number written in the nnn-nnn format.
  • Phone number is optional. However, as I mentioned before, it is rather difficult to guess where a building is located based on its address. That is why Koreans tend to include recipient’s phone number. I always write down Kimchi Man’s number so if a post carrier can’t find his house he can give instructions on the phone (“It’s the house with the white dog.”)

 

South Korean address format example

This is an example of writing a Korean address on standardized envelope:

How to write Korean address

 

Should I write the address in Korean or Latin (Roman) alphabet?

When I am sending a package from Europe to Korea, I write both, but that is just because I am overly cautious. Romanized address is enough. I wouldn’t advise writing address only in Korean because I seriously doubt people working in post offices outside of Korea will be able to decipher it.

A few final tips when sending post to Korea:

  • South Korea is divided into provinces, counties, etc. which are in Korean called: do, kun, si, ku, dong, op, dong, ri, and so on. You might recognize these endings in the address.
  • Don’t forget to include the country.
  • Relax. I sent a package or an envelope many times only to realize I forgot to include the phone number, or the address in Hangul. It arrived every time promptly and without any problems. Post office knows what they’re doing. :)

 

 

Useful links:

 

If you have any questions or need further help with sending parcels to Korea, leave it in the comments below.

 

 

See more in this series of posts:

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Free text and call Korean apps
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23 thoughts on “How to send mail to Korea

  1. Helpful post. Thanks for sharing this. My ex and I often exchanged love letters and packages and I love receiving his. One thing to remember is to write the zip code. :)

  2. You always have helpful post! Love all the positivity you’re sharing with us. I’ve not sent any mails to Korea yet but planning to, to send to my friends over there. This is wonderful, thank you!

    (P.S. got your comment on my blog – the back to top feature is located bottom right of the blog – like an arrow – appreciate you dropping by! It means a lot!)

    xx Donah @ Sweet Jelly Bean ^^

    • I’m so happy you think our blog is positive. That was the main hope I had when starting it :D And thank you for all your comments and likes!

      Of course, I found the arrow now, it’s huge ^^;

  3. This is really helpful. I was really struggling with trying to find out how to write my Korean pen pal’s address in romanization… the thing he seemed to left out was his postal code but he doesn’t even know what it is. Would his mail be delayed if i don’t include it?

    • In the new address format there should be three numbers (in the old one there were only 2). Kimchi Man’s were in the following format

      xxx-xxx for postal code
      xxx-x
      xx-xx for building number

      Which one are you missing?

  4. Hi, I’m sending mail to my friend in S.Korea for the first time. This is how she told me to write it on the envelope:

    Name
    PSC 3 Box 4555
    APO AP 96266

    Is this right?? She said that it wasn’t necessary to put the country:/

    • I’m not sure. It’s not a format I am familiar with. But it seems to be a PO box rather than an address.

      Put the country on just in case. It won’t hurt if there’s something extra, but it will if there’s something important missing.

  5. Hi, i’m going to send a letter to my friend and she said to write the address like this:

    nnn, Ilchul-ro, Guryongpo-eup, Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

    will that be enough? Thanks :)

    • That really depends on your country and if you postal service would be willing to send something they don’t understand.

      But even though it can be hilariously wrong about translations, Google Translate is usually pretty decent with Romanization.

  6. Pingback: Sending a Postcard to Korea | Hanguk Babble

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