"Polite Drinking Practices" South Korea Local Custom Tip by DSwede

South Korea Local Customs: 218 reviews and 162 photos

Just a brief note on some polite drinking practices if you are going out and drinking with the locals. If you are with businessmen or clients, it will do you a great service if you understand a few unwritten rules. They will honor you with more respect if you can play by their rules:

- you should not drink freely from your glass until a group toast has been made.

- It is important to keep an eye on other people's drinks. You should offer to pour them before they have to ask for it themselves.

- It is not mandatory, but it is good form to not pour your own glass. Korean custom is common to actually pass the bottle to someone and have them pour your glass.

- If you really wish to impress your local Korean counterparts, after you have been drinking for a while (and when you have finished your glass), offer your empty glass to someone. Then pour them a drink in 'your' glass. This gesture of having a drink from another person's glass is a manner of opening your mind and in essence stepping into their shoes for a moment.

- If a toast is raised, Korean's bring their glasses together based on seniority. The oldest or most important person's glass must be the highest. Every person younger or lower in position shall raise their glass to a respective height. Placing your glass below someone else's is a way to show them respect.

- Also remember my other tip about showing respect with the placement of your left hand. You want to maintain that while refilling drinks or offering glasses, etc.

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Jan 30, 2008
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse


DSwede Used To Live Here!


“What I lack in experience, I make up for in curiosity”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 8 8
Forum Rank:
0 0 1 3 1

Have you been to South Korea?

  Share Your Travels