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:

Previous
Long distance relationship advice
Free text and call Korean apps
Korean emoticons

 

69 thoughts on “How to send mail to Korea

  1. Today, I sent my very first small package containing 2 pairs of soccer socks. Have you ever used the surface mail express? If so, how long does it take for them to receive the package if it were to travel by surface mail express? If not, do you think it’s possible for them to get it in 20-21 days? D:

    • Just speaking from my own experience, it can range between 2 weeks and 3 months I think. My friend from South Korea sent me a package which took 3 months to enter the Uk. Her sister once sent a package by surface mail which took 2 weeks. It varies depending on postal service and country. / distance. This is just my experience but good luck!!

    • I have no idea which country you are from. My country doesn’t offer “surface mail express” option. I tried googling it but I didn’t find anything.

  2. Hello! My friend was sending me a package but it got returned to her in Korea. She sent me a picture message of the box and it looks like she wrote my address correctly. I’m not sure what happened. Do you have any ideas? We are both confused!

    • That never happened to me.

      Did she send something that is not allowed through the customs in your country?

      Is it possible that you were not home when the package got delivered but the postman didn’t leave a note?

  3. Hi there! I’ve been searching everywhere and can’t seem to find the correct way to write my friend’s address. She sent it to me in a confusing way and I’m worried that if I write it wrong, my package will not be mailed. She sent her address like this: 연희로 XXX, 시대문구, 서울시, 대한민국, 둥유주택 나동 XXX호
    She also sent one before the one above where it said: XXX Yeonhui-Dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, Dong-yu Building Na dong XXX ho, and told me that after Korea was her address and Na was the name of the building (Which never showed up on the Road Name Address Information System website.).
    What I know:
    대한민국 mean Republic of Korea
    서울시 means Seoul
    시대문구 means Seodaemu-gu
    I also have her phone number to write and area code. How would I write her address (with her phone number)?

  4. Heya i was wondering if you could help me a bit more on the address stuff, I have got his address but the postal code I got is only 5 digits, his address is

    Room 102
    Hang – nam -dong 732-17
    Yongsan_gu
    Soeul. City
    South Korea

    I would appreciate thhe help, thanks. :)

  5. Hi,

    I sent a parcel to a friend working in Korea and she never received it.
    I posted with a tracking number and when I track it on the UK website it says it left the UK.
    But when I track it on the Korea Post website no information is displayed.

    Do you know how we can find it? It was worth about £400. :(

  6. Pingback: Shipping to Korea | Hanguk Babble

  7. Hello, I want to send a letter to my boyfriend in SK but he lives in the student residence at Soonchunhyang University and only gave me the school’s address so I don’t know how to address the letter properly, should I write his name only or the school’s or both? I’m confused :( hope you can help me out, thanks! :)

  8. This helps soooo much! Thank you!
    I’m want to send a friend a gift. She lives in an apartment.
    I hope I have this right. >_<
    Any help seeing a mistake would be super appreciated!

    Apartment Seowang # – Dong, ####
    Beomeo-ri, Mulgeum-eup
    Yangsan-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
    ### – ###
    South Korea

  9. Hi! Is there a possible way to send a package to a soldier in the DMZ? It’s just a jar of cookies and a letter, nothing big :)

    • Well, I don’t want to trick you and tell you it is going to be alright no matter what you write, but I wrote it differently several times and it arrived without any delay. But also writing the mobile phone number is the best because then you can be sure they can call the recipient and find it where they are.

  10. Hello dear…firstly ur post had been helpful .thank you
    i am going to send a letter to my friend who is jn militry training now and he gave me his militry adress as well but im kinda confuse coz the adress is straigth forward without pincode or anything…
    i cant ask him now coz he went back to army n we cant cntct now…in such case what il do..
    shall i just post with whatever adress he gave me??

  11. Hi! This article was very helpful. I have one question though. I’d like to send a letter to a music company. Do I write in English or Hangul?

  12. Hi. Is this address okay. Its my friends address to post to. I don’t my think it has a postal code by the looks of it.

    Republic of Korea , City
    X-gu
    Xdong
    X apartment nnn
    Xth floor Room Number nnnn

    Also. Do u think the layout is okay
    Thank you btw

  13. Pingback: Mail-to |

  14. If I want to send a self-adressed letter to Korea with a Korean stamp on it, can the receiver send me a reply with that self-adressed letter which has a Korean stamp on it?
    And which number should be on the Korean stamp for a letter from Korea to Germany?

    • I’ve never attempted to do this myself, but if you have unused Korean stamps I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

      The price of the letter depends on its weight. I don’t have such information. It would be best if you checked that on Korea Post’s website.

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