Heading to Korea soon? Don’t miss our top 10 tips and things to know for a smooth and enjoyable trip. Experience the best of Korea with confidence and ease!
South Korea has become a popular destination for international tourists in recent years, with many attributing the increase in visitors to the “Korean Wave” or Hallyu. There are many reasons to visit South Korea, from its rich history and unique culture to its breathtaking landscapes and delicious cuisine. However, Western tourists should be aware that Korean culture may be quite different from what they’re used to. It’s crucial to take note of visa requirements, social etiquette, and cultural differences before booking a trip to South Korea.
Here are 10 tips and things to know before traveling to South Korea to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
In order to ensure a smooth trip to South Korea, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on visa requirements, airport transfers, and Covid-related restrictions. Non-Korean visitors must obtain a K-ETA Visa, an electronic visa that grants travel authorization to the Republic of Korea. It is essential to apply for this visa in advance, as the process can take up to 72 hours. The official Korea Electronic Travel Authorization website provides comprehensive information and allows travelers to complete the necessary form online.
Learn a few local words
Hangul is the official writing system of the Korean language, and its name means “great script.” Opposed to the Chinese writing system, which relies on characters that must be memorized, Hangul is phonetic, meaning it consists of letters that can be pronounced. Although the script may seem unfamiliar at first glance, it is actually quite simple to learn.
Cheap and easy transport routes
South Korea boasts an exceptional public transportation system that is both easy and affordable to use. Upon arrival, tourists should acquire a T-Money card, which can be utilized on buses and subways in various metropolitan cities. Taxis are also widely available and fares are according to distance and time. However, tourists should avoid premium-priced black or “deluxe” taxis, which allegedly provide better services.
Download navigation maps and metro apps
When traveling to Korea, it’s important to remember that Google Maps may not be the most reliable navigation app to use. Many places may not be on the app, which could make it difficult to find your way around. To avoid this, it’s best to download popular navigation apps in Korea, such as KakaoMap and Naver Map. Also, there are travel apps like Seoul Metro and Busan Metro Map that can make your journey easier. It is one of the most important tips and things to remember before planning a trip to South Korea.
The global pandemic has brought about significant changes, particularly in the regulation of immigration policies worldwide. South Korea’s approach to managing the spread of Covid-19 has been noteworthy, and the use of the Q-Code is one of their strategies. The Q-Code is a QR code that contains a traveler’s vaccination information and is required to be scanned during immigration upon entry into South Korea.
Getting a local Korean SIM card can be handy
It is a good idea to check if your SIM card will work in the country you are traveling to before you go. Using your own SIM card in South Korea might not work well due to limited service. To access the internet, maps, phone calls, and texting, getting a prepaid SIM card before your trip is best.
Public bathrooms and drinking water booths
While many public restrooms may have Western-style toilets, it is still common to encounter squatting toilets. It is important to ensure that the porcelain’s front aligns with the tips of your shoes to avoid splashing.
The tap water here is safe to drink, and you can feel free to drink water from the taps all over the city. However, if you are uncomfortable drinking water from taps, you can easily buy a water bottle from local shops at just KRW1500.
Best season for visiting Korea
The ideal time to plan a trip to Korea is during the spring and autumn months, as it offers the best weather conditions for comfortable traveling. South Korea is home to many breathtaking tourist spots, and selecting a time that avoids extreme temperatures will be advantageous when planning your vacation. The spring season is particularly popular among visitors because of the magnificent cherry blossoms throughout the country, offering a stunning sight to behold. It is one of the most important tips and things to remember before planning a trip to South Korea.
Tipping can be avoided
Although restaurants and other services in Korea provide excellent service, tipping is not customary or obligatory. While taxi drivers, hairdressers, porters, and bellboys may appreciate gratuities, Korean culture does not promote the practice of tipping.
Places to visit and do some shopping around Korea
The shopping experience in Korea is quite limited. There isn’t much haggling, unlike in Bangkok, because the prices are fixed. The only times to get something are when the stuff is already quite cheap. The main places to visit around South Korea are Seoul and Busan. Most of the famous tourist spots lie in these two cities. However, you can book a tour package that can help you explore the city and also explore the offbeat places of the country.
In conclusion, Korea is a beautiful country that is worth exploring. To make the most of your trip, it’s important to keep these 10 tips and things to know in mind before you make the trip to Korea. From learning a few basic phrases in Korean to respecting local customs and culture, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. By following these tips, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, sample delicious food, visit stunning natural and man-made attractions, and connect with locals in a meaningful way. Whether you’re planning a solo adventure or a family vacation, Korea is a destination that offers something for everyone.
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