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TRAVEL GUIDE TO KOREA

 

We’ve gathered the following information for  you in preparation for your trips which we thought were appropriate.  If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-785-1233.


Airport Taxes

All non-Koreans leaving by air must pay a W28,000 departure tax and W10,000 for transference. The departure tax for international passengers is included in the ticket price.

Baggage

On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 44 pounds of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility.  At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small additional fee.

On board luggage is limited at the sum of three dimensions of 115cm in total and weighting under 26.4 pounds.

Climate and Clothing

Korea’s climate is regarded as a continental climate from a temperate standpoint and a monsoonal climate from a precipitation standpoint. The climate of Korea is characterized by four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Spring lasts from late March to May and is warm. Various flowers, including the picturesque cherry blossom, cover the nation’s mountains and fields during this time. Summer lasts from June to early September. It is a hot and humid time of the year.  Autumn lasts from September to November, and produces mild weather. It is the best season for visiting Korea. Winter lasts from December to mid-March. It can be bitterly cold during this time due to the influx of cold Siberian air. Heavy snow in the northern and eastern parts of Korea makes favorable skiing conditions.

From mid-March through late-May, and mid-September through mid-November you can wear long sleeved shirts and slacks plus possibly a cardigan or a jacket. During summer, June through August, short sleeved shirts and shorts would be a good idea. Late November through early March you must be prepared for the cold. A scarf and gloves are recommended for January and February, and remember that it snows at higher elevations in Korea.

Communications

There are three types of public telephones in Korea: coin-operated telephones, card phones, and credit card phones.

A local call costs 70 won (US$0.06) for three minutes. Intercity calls cost considerably more. Coin phones return coins that are not charged, but do not return change for partially used 100 won coins.

Card telephones can be used to make international calls as well as local and intercity calls. Telephone cards come in 2,000, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 denominations and are on sale in shops close to telephone boxes and in banks. There are also credit card phones, which you can use with major credit cards.

Korea is the world’s most wired country, the nternet service is offered in public places such as airports, train stations and bus terminals in Korea. PC bangs and internet cafes are also handy places to get internet service and easy to fine throughout the country. Many PC bangs are open 24-hours and some have snack bars with beverages, noodles, other snacks available.

Postal Service: Korea Post is fast, reliable and reasonably priced. Domestic First Class Mail: Up to 5g: 160 won/ From 5g to 25g: 190 won. Domestic Express Mail: Up to 5g: 240 won/ From 5g to 25g: 280 won . Packages for the local area: Up to 2kg: 1,500 won. Post Cards: 160 won per card.

Currency

The Korean currency consists of a ten thousand, five thousand, and one thousand won note, and five hundred, one hundred, fifty and ten won coin. Recently, a dollar exchanges for about 1,200 won. Exchange rates may change at any time according to the market conditions. When you need to exchange your foreign currency into Korean won, visit a bank, exchange service center, or an authorized exchange. Foreign issued ATM cards may have limited use at ATMs in different countries. Please refer to your bank for more information.

Traveler’s checks are economical because they will receive higher exchange rates and can be purchased at a cheaper rate. They are used like cash at hotels, department stores, restaurants and shops, but it is better to exchange them for cash for more comfort. Visa, American Express, and Thomas Cook are used in Korea, and these checks can be exchanged into cash at banks or exchange booths.

Visa, American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and others are used at hotels, department stores, large restaurants, and stores.

Customs Regulations

A written baggage declaration must be submitted to a customs officer upon entry. Passengers must clear customs through either green, white, or red channel. Passengers who have no articles to declare should use the green channel. If a passenger declares non-duty-free articles voluntarily, the declared amount will be accepted and the clearance procedure will be expedited.

Electricity

Voltage in Korea is 220 volts, so a transformer will be needed to operate 100-volt appliances. Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American appliance to take 220 Volt current.

Food and Water

Water is untreated and not safe to drink, but bottled mineral water is for sale everywhere and we recommend that you use bottled water for drinking.

Health Matters

No vaccinations required for entering Korea from anywhere around the world.  You can also contact the Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) 404-639-3534 for updated information.

There are many hospitals where some English are spoken in Korea. International clinics at large general hospitals like Severance Hospital, Asan Medical Center or Samsung Medical Center are recommended.

Holidays

New Year’s Day – Jan 1st
Seollal – January/ February
Independence Movement Day – Mar 1st
Arbor Day – Apr 5th
Buddha’s Birthday – April – May
Labor Day – May 1st
Children’s Day – May 5th
Memorial Day – Jun 6th
Constitution Day – Jul 17th
Liberation Day Aug 15th
Chuseok September/ October
National Foundation Day – Oct 3rd
Christmas Dec 25th

Passports and Visas

Any foreign visitors wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport. Citizens of many countries, including the US, are not required to obtain a visa for tourism prior to entry.

Time Difference

Korea Standard Time is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Tipping

On tour tipping of $10-$12 per person per day is customary.

Sometimes, expensive restaurants and luxury hotels may add a service charge of 10%. Thus, you do not necessarily have to prepare for extra charges since it will be included in the bill. On tours with private sightseeing, gratuities of $5-$10 for travel guides, $2-$3 for drivers per person per day is customary.

Most goods and services in South Korea are subject to a standard value added tax of 10%. This will be included in the price so you don’t have to worry about being charged extra on top of the price quoted.

Transportation

Airport and Sightseeing transfers are included in our tours. Airport transfers are provided via private cars and sightseeing will be provided via air-conditioned motor-coach. if you wish to explore Korea on your own, transportation in Korea is both safe and efficient. Korea’s public transportation system is very extensive and cheap, accessing almost every place imaginable.

Fast and reliable highway buses operate on expressways throughout the country, connecting almost all major points. However, be advised that English language schedules are not available. Various tour companies offer bus services to most of the well-known tourist sites for visitors who prefer not to use the intercity buses. For details about these tours, contact the travel agencies scattered throughout the city.

Local buses are the most common means of transportation in Seoul. They are frequent, reliable, and inexpensive. Seoul’s bus network serves every part of the city. The adult fare is 600 won regardless of distance. City coach buses, called jwaseok bus, more comfortable and they are air-conditioned. They stop less frequently and travel through congested areas faster.

Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive in Korea, clean and safe. There are taxi stands in most busy city areas, and taxis can also be hailed on the streets. The fare system is based on both the distance and the time taken. Fares are 1,600 won for the first 2 km and 100 won for each additional 168 m. If the taxi is going less than 15 km per hour, an additional charge of 100 won per 41 seconds is added to the fare.

What to Pack?

Valid Passport. Travelers Checks. Copy of Your Airline Ticket. Your Medicines. Departure documents. Travel alarm clock. Camera(s), batteries & films. Sunscreen/Tan lotion.  Pocket size Kleenex. Extra luggage locks/keys. First Aid kit. Soft, foldable slippers. Extra set of eyeglasses. Folding Umbrella.  Comfortable walking shoes.