Teaching Koreans to Walk on the Right

One thing that I had to train myself to do when I first came here was to walk on the left side. I used to walk on the right side when I was in the Philippines. In the schools that I attended (grade school at Angeles University Foundation and high school at Sta. Catalina College in Manila), there were even signs or reminders to walk on the right side since we also drive on the right.

It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of conscious effort to “untrain” myself of right side walking. Now that I’m a left-side walker, thanks to my six years of stay in Korea, the Seoul City government has been campaigning for right-side walking. They had even changed the directions of escalators like the one below.

Posters informing people to walk on the right side are also found everywhere. Stairs also have signs, and yet people still climb up and down on the left! It would take some time before people should be expected to adapt to right-side walking.

A few months ago, the city government also launched a campaign for people to just stand on the escalator and not use it as a treadmill. Subway escalators have lines in the middle so people could stand on the right and walk (or run) on the left side. This campaign isn’t so successful as people still stand on the left and run on the right.

9 thoughts on “Teaching Koreans to Walk on the Right

  • September 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm
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    is this something new miss betchay? my friends always tell me to stay on the right side when using the escalator coz the left side is for those who are in a hurry, sort of like a passing lane when you’re driving on a freeway right? and this is something i would always remember coz one time an ajoshi said something to me coz i was in the way. confusing!

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    • September 30, 2009 at 10:40 am
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      hi klyte! that’s for the escalator… the direction of the escalator used to be on the left, then they changed it to the right… now people has to walk on the right side

      Reply
  • September 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm
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    so true…i used to live in Busan for almost two years and I always end up crashing with a Korean when i go up or down the stairs. its difficult when you are so used to the right and everyone is on the left side.

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    • September 30, 2009 at 10:36 am
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      but now that i got used to walking on the left, we have to walk on the right again

      Reply
  • December 22, 2009 at 9:53 pm
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    its nice to know that u know too much about koreans.. how many years have u been there?

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    • February 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm
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      hi Joon! I’ve been here for almost seven years.

      Reply
  • October 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm
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    that is another funny thing i witnessed in korea. eventhough there are no one in a hurry, no one will misuse the right side of the escalator! koreans are so principled =)

    Reply

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