The Republic of Korea, hereinafter referred to as Korea, is a country visited by approximately 10 million international travelers every year. This its long history and unique culture and traditions, the country has a lot to offer to its visitors. Continue reading to learn some more general information about Korea before visiting.

Where is Republic of Korea?

The Korean peninsula, roughly 1,030 km long and 175 km at its narrowest point, has a total land area of 100,033 km2 and is located in Northeast Asia. With Seoul as its capital city, Korea is neighbored by Japan to the east, China to the west and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) across the northern border.

Language

Korean is the official language of Korea.
Check out the useful expression in Korean below.

Hello! annyeonghaseyo 안녕하세요
Good-bye. annyeonghi gaseyo 안녕히 계세요
Thank you. gamsahamnida 감사합니다
I’m sorry. mianhamnida 미안합니다
Excuse me. sillyehabnida 실례합니다
It’s okay. gwaenchanhseubnida 괜찮습니다
You’re welcome. cheonman-eyo 천만에요
Good. johseubnida 좋습니다
Could you help me please? dowa juseyo 도와 주세요
Can you speak English? yeong-eo hasilsu iss-eoyo? 영어하실 수 있어요?
How long does it take to get to HICO? HICOkkaji eolmana geollyeoyo? HICO까지 얼마나 걸려요?


More useful expressions

Business Hours

Government office hours are usually from 9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays. Banks are open from 9:00 to 16:00 on weekdays. Most stores are open every day from 10:30 to 20:00, including Sundays.

Credit cards

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club are widely accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants in Korea. Check with your credit card company for details using abroad.

Currency & Exchange

The currency of Korea is the South Korean won, or won for short. The currency sign for the won is ₩. There are currency exchanges at the airports and select locations around Seoul and elsewhere, but the best way to get money all over Korea would be through ATMs. You can find ATMs at airports, subway stations and most convenient stores. You would use them the same way you would at home and there will likely be a transaction fee of about $3-$5. It is generally a good idea for all travelers to bring at least $100 USD on them that they can exchange when they arrive in Korea in case they have issues with their card

Tip & Tax

Tipping is not required nor expected in Korea. Service charges are included in your bill from rooms, meals and other services at hotels and upscale restaurants. Koreans occasionally do tip when they are especially pleased with the service they receive. Foreign tourists can receive nearly 10% VAT refunds for purchases at Duty Free shops. Goods must be taken out of Korea within three months of purchase to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors can receive a refund on a receipt for a minimum purchases of 50,000 KRW (around 43 USD). To receive this refund, present receipts with the purchased goods at the customs clearance desk at your designated airport when departing.

Electricity Info

The standard electricity supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. Most hotels may provide outlet converters for 110 and 220 volts. Participants are recommended to check with the hotel beforehand.

Emergency Phone Numbers

1339 Medical Emergency
119 Emergencies for Fire, Rescue & Hospital Services
112 Police
129 First Aid Services

Useful Websites

Korea Tourism Organization Go >

Gateway to Korea Go >

Seoul Tourism OrganizationGo >

Seoul Metropolitan GovernmentGo >

Korea Immigration ServiceGo >

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and TradeGo >

Incheon International AirportGo >