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Vending Machines of Seoul, South Korea

South Korea Vending Machine Competition
Here I am in an impromptu battle with a local South Korean man over who can win the most prizes

This is what I love about travelling, you never know when you’re going to make a new friend, English speaking or not.  I visited Seoul, South Korea a couple years ago, and became addicted to these vending machine games.  They’re basically the same as we have in the US, with the claw you drop and try to catch things, but they’re dirt cheap, and the prizes are all gold lighters and chewing gums.

Korean Vending Machine Audience
An audience gathers as we continue destroying the machines

30 minutes and $20 into my attempt at scoring the best prizes in the machine, a gypsy taxi pulls up and parks illegally.  Out hops a Korean guy with some cash.  He puts it in the machine and starts going at it, occasionally glancing over to me.  A few minutes later he wins a giant bat mobile toy and gives me a smile.  Then he realizes how many prizes I’ve won, the top of my machine is covered in them.  He comes over and starts watching me, goes back, wins some more, and comes back to show me his new prizes.  This went on for another 20 minutes, both of us competing to see who could get the best winnings.  It got to the point where people walking by took notice and stopped for a look.  We had prizes covering the tops of the machines and laid out on the floor around us.  At the end of the day, without being able to speak any logical words to each other, we were both quite happy with our success and the exchange of culture.

Competitors But Friends
My new Korean friend and I posing with our winnings

2 days later on my flight to Beijing, all my gold lighter winnings were confiscated at customs…

My Gold Winnings in Korea
The highlights of my loot - mainly gold animal figurines which double as lighters when you push on their tales

2 Good comments on "Vending Machines of Seoul, South Korea"

  • cheryl  @ Friday, January 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    lol why were they confiscated….?

    • Mike  @ Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 7:53 PM

      Because they figured out they were lighters and wouldn’t let them on the plane!

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