i had done a lot of preparation for my first trip to korea in 2011, but i never anticipated that one of my first culture shocks would be the size of the towels. during the first week that i was there, i stayed at hi seoul youth hostel. i reserved a private room for 4 days and it was like i was staying at a luxurious hotel, but without the price tag. 10/10 would recommend.
while i was checking out my quarters, i noticed that the bathroom had been stocked with what appeared to be hand towels only. so i called the front desk and requested some bath towels. when i received these “bath towels” i discovered that in korea, there was no apparent distinction between bath towels and hand towels. it was rather shocking since i was used to using huge towels at home after a bath or shower. i later learned that this is because most korean homes don’t have adequate space to store gigantic towels, so the smaller towel is a clever way to utilize available space and still get the job done.
a friend later taught me how i could use one of these towels to wrap my hair after a shower, a skill i am rather proud of. however, i never became advanced enough to use less than two towels per shower. it’s still a bit of a work in progress.