National Holidays in Korea
Korea officially follows the Gregorian calendar, even though there are still few holidays that are based on the lunar calendar. During the official holidays, offices and banks are closed but palaces, museums, most restaurants, department stores, and amusement facilities are open.
The table below shows the time differences between Korea and Major U.S. Cities. Korea does not participate in Daylight Savings, so there is no time change within Korea,
Korea has four seasons: Spring (March-May), Summer (June-August), Fall (September-November), and Winter (December-February). With temperatures varying greatly by season, it is important to dress for the weather.
March to May
June to August
September to November
December to February
When is the best time to visit Korea?
The best time of year to visit South Korea is generally considered to be the spring months of April, May & June, and the autumn months of September, October & November. During these two seasons days are typically sunny and dry with comfortable average temperatures.
Korea’s currency is the won (￦).
There are Four types of Paper money, comes in denominations of 1,000; 5,000; 10,000; and 50,000 won bills.
Six types of Coins come in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 won.
☆ 1 and 5 won coins are not widely circulated.
Most banks in Korea offer currency exchange services. There are Government-certified currency exchange booths in areas frequented by international visitors. Certified booths have a sign with the word “Certified” and currency symbols and they offer exchange service, even outside of regular banking hours.
In Korea, a 10 percent VAT is added on to the price of many purchases. At stores displaying a “Tax Free” sign, foreigners are eligible for a tax refund on purchases greater than 30,000 won.
1. Purchase merchandise of total value greater than 30,000 won at stores displaying the “Tax Free” sign.
2. Show your passport and ask for a refund check when paying.
3. Present your passport, refund check, receipt, and unopened merchandise at airport customs when leaving the country.
4. Receive your cash, check, or credit card refund at the refund counter located near the departure gates.
Korean public transportation system has a reputation for being convenient at a reasonable price. Getting around by public transportation such as bus, subway, and taxi is really easy in South Korea. If you use a transportation card such as T Money, Cashbee, you can easily transfer between bus and subway lines. Most taxis in Seoul accept international credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), cash (Korean Won), and transportation cards.
By using mobile applications, you can easily get information such as route maps, real-time departure and arrival information, and a ‘fastest route’ search service based on real-time traffic conditions, as well as comparing optimum routes and diverse transport methods including car, bus, and subway. Also, taxis can be requested by mobile apps or by phone.
The KOREA TOUR CARD is a transportation and travel card designed exclusively for foreign visitors. It enables convenient access to Korean transportation such as subways, buses, and taxis. This card offers discounts for various activities and attractions such as shopping, food and beverages, performances.
Electrical Adaptor / Outlets
In South Korea, the standard voltage is 220 V. You can use your electric appliances in South Korea with a voltage converter, because the standard voltage in South Korea (220 V) is higher than in the United States.
Internet access is widely available throughout Seoul. Airports, hotels, public facilities such as subway and railway stations, and many restaurants and cafés have Wi-Fi, LAN Internet access, or both. You can even connect to the Internet on KTX trains. You can also go to an Internet café, called a "PC bang,” or PC room, which are found in most commercial and residential areas of the city.
Wireless Internet is widely available in Seoul, which boasts nearly 10,000 free Wi-Fi hot spots. Public service centers and institutions such as transit centers, airports, libraries, hospitals, universities, and even many tourist spots offer free public access. Most hotels, stores, cafés, restaurants, and even taxis offer complimentary Wi-Fi access, although you may have to ask for the password or log in to their system.
Hanok refers to houses built in the traditional Korean style. While tile-roofed and thatch-roofed hanoks were equally common, the former were typically noblemen residences while the latter were mostly houses of the commoners in the past. These days, most traditional hanok that are still used for housing have modern facilities installed within.
Hansik refers to traditional Korean food, centered on rice, served alongside a bowl of soup and a variety of side dishes. Most dishes use meat and vegetables as the main ingredients, and are boiled or steamed in brine or water rather than fried in oil, making hansik very healthy. More than anything else, hansik's most outstanding feature is the amount of fermented foods. The most well-known are kimchi (fermented cabbage), ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (soybean paste), and gochujang (Korean chili paste).
Hanbok is the traditional attire of the Korean people. Worn daily up until just 100 years ago, hanbok comes in various shapes and colors, reflecting the culture and lifestyle of the its time. Nowadays, it is only worn on special occasions or anniversaries. It is a formal wear and many Koreans keep a hanbok for such occasions.
Manner and Custom in Korea
1) Take your shoes off at the door when entering any residence, temple, or guesthouse.
2) Greet people you meet with a short bow—essentially a nod—and soft handshake using both hands.
3) Give and receive any object using both hands.
4) Tipping is not customary in Korea, however, some people may receive it while some may refuse. Just go with the flow!
1) Start your meal once the eldest at the table begins eating.
2) Avoid touching food with your fingers, except when wrapping food in lettuce/cabbage.
3) Refrain from leaving your chopsticks or spoon sticking up from your bowl of rice, and use a spoon to eat rice. 4) Place chopsticks and spoon back in their original position at the end of the meal.
Visitors entering the Republic of Korea (South Korea) must hold a valid passport and visa to enter the country. Nationals of visa waiver or visa-free countries may enter the country without a visa for tourism purposes only. Nationals of non-visa waiver countries must apply for visas at the nearest Korean embassy or consulate prior to entering the Republic of Korea.
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Traveler Support / Emergency Contact
1330 Korea Travel Hotline
Knowledgeable and helpful staff provide assistance in Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, or Malay to ensure each caller has a worry-free travel experience. The KTO's 1330 Korea Travel Hotline provides information and services for most regions of Korea as well as interpretation services.
Tourist Complaint Center
Did you experience any inconveniences while travelling in Korea? The Korea Tourism Organization is here to help you. Please let them know about any inconveniences, suggestions or compliments you had during your stay in Korea.
In the event of an accident or a medical emergency Contact the police at 112 or emergency medical help at 119. If you ask for an ambulance in English, one will be sent to your location. If you have travel accident insurance coverage, contact your insurance provider.
Help Me 119 Service
You can dial 119 from anywhere in Korea, and your location will be automatically identified. Hours of operation : 24 hours/day, 365 days/year Available in 16 languages, including English, Chinese, and Japanese.