Travel to South Korea

South Korea South Korea South Korea South Korea South Korea
South Korea

Asia’s third largest economy is also Asia’s next hot tourist destination. South Korea is a compelling place where the pursuit of technology has not eclipsed a reverence for tradition and the ways of old Asia. Korea, a winter sports paradise, will host the 2018 winter Olympics.

Seoul – has been South Korea’s capital for around 600 years.  Today, Seoul is a bustling metropolis; as almost half of South Korea’s total population live in Seoul, there is a huge demand for all services.  The city is divided by the Han River. North of the river is all about culture and history, while south of the Han, its all business.  In recent years, Seoul has successfully hosted many international events, and international tourism has increased as a result.

Busan – From mountains to beaches, from hot springs to hiking trails, South Korea’s second largest city is a high energy port town with boatloads to offer.  Start your day at the fish markets and watch how seafood is auctioned, and end your day at a fine restaurant experiencing first hand what an accomplished chef can do with that piece of fish.  In the middle of the day, visit Nomeosa, a Buddhist Temple built in 678 AD at the base of Geumjeong Mountain. If you have the energy a hike is a great way to work up an appeitite.

Gyeongju – Known as the museum without walls, Gyeongju is the monuments and antiquities hub of South Korea.  The capital of the Shilla dynasty from 57 BC for over 1,000 years, there is so much of historical interest in the region that those with a passion for the past would do well to stay several days. In the 1970s, the city began a cultural revival and the preservation and restoration work that has been carried out has saved a cultural heritage for generations to come. 

What comes as a surprise to first time visitors is how quiet, peaceful and traditional South Korea is outside of the 24 hour a day megalopolis of Seoul. Caught up in the ultra modern, beyond high tech vibe of South Korea’s capital, its hard to imagine that a very short distance away are hiking trails, ski slopes, bicycle paths, beaches and Buddhist monasteries.

People

The Republic of Korea has a population of 52 million.  Almost half of South Koreans claim no religion. Of the other half, 23% are Buddhist, 18% are Protestant and 11 % are Catholic.

Language

The official language of Korea is Korean, English is spoken in the tourist sector.

History

From the 1st century AD until 668 AD, Korea was made up of three separate kingdoms, namely the Shilla, Koguryo and Pekche, In 668 AD the three kingdoms united and became one -  the Shilla kingdom.

The Mongol Empire ruled Korea from 1231 until Japan invaded in the 1500s, and made Korea a part of the Japanese Empire. Japanese rule lasted, despite aggression from both China and Russia, until Japan lost WW II when Korea was divided into two zone. The Soviet Union took the north, and the US took South Korea.

In 1950, the North invaded the South and the Korean War began.  Aided by United Nations forces, South Korea fought back and prevailed, regaining their territory.

South Korea achieved independence in 1948.

Currency

The won is the official currency of South Korea. The symbol is ₩; and the code is KRW.

Best Time to Travel

The best times of year to travel in South Korea are in spring (April – June) and autumn (September – November).  Summer is extremely humid, and the monsoon season is July and August. Winter is quite cold, so unless you want to ski, its best to avoid the months of December – March.

Health Requirements

No shots or medications are required for American travellers arriving directly from the US. Please check with your travel clinic for their recommendation based on your personal health history.

Visa Requirements

US nationals are eligible for a 90 day visa on arrival. You will be required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of return and at least 2 blank visa pages.  This is subject to change without notice.

Tipping & Porterage

South Korea is mostly a no tip culture, but please reward service people who make an extra personal effort.  Tipping guidelines will be provided in your final Trip Packet.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express less so.  Cash is needed for shopping at street markets

Electrical Appliances

South Korea operates on 220 volts, 60 hertz and requires plug type C or F
For information on plugs and voltage, please visit http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/   

Water

Water in South Korea is considered potable but for travelers, it is safer to use bottled water.


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This Destination

South Korea

Related Destinations

Bali & Indonesia
Bhutan
Cambodia
China
Hong Kong & Macau
India
Japan
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
Nepal
Northern India
Philippines
Singapore
South Korea
Southern India
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam

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