Welcome to South Korea!

South Korea is a technologically advanced developed country driven by a high educated and skilled workforce.
South Korea combines an ancient and storied culture with ultra-modern amenities. In South Korea, bustling urban centres, serene pastoral gardens and palaces share the area. There are pop-music sing-alongs and folk dancing, martial arts and street festivals, fast food and long-fermented specialties full of spice and fire. You easily can find dozens of reasons to justify a vacation to South Korea.

QUICK FACTS

Official Name:Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Capital:Seoul
Location:The Korean peninsula is divided between north and south making Korea one of the most famous divided countries in the world. South Korea is located in northern Asia. It is surrounded by ocean on 3 sides, making it a unique geographical location neighboring Japan and China with Seoul is the capital city.
Goverment:Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Dialing Code:+82
Time Zone:GMT +9
Climate Weather:Korea’s year is split in to four seasons.
Lasting from April to June spring is generally regarded as the best time to visit.
The very best time to visit is autumn (Sep – Nov) when the temperature is mild.
Korean winter (Dec – March) is long and cold. This is also the perfect time to go to South Korea for skiing, snow boarding or any other snow related activity.
Population:51.4 million
Land Area:100,210 km2
Official Language:Korean
Currency:Won (W)
Foreign Currency Accepted:USD ($), Euro (€), Pounds (£)
Entry requirement:EU citizens do not require a visa to enter South Korea for up to 90 days
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter South Korea for up to 180 days.
Indonesian citizens who visit South Korea need a valid visa issued by the Republic of Korea.

All visitors must hold a passport with at least two blank pages valid for at least 06 months beyond the date of your arrival. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry.

Health Tips:Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Air pollution, including yellow dust pollution, is common in South Korea throughout the year and especially during spring months.

General information

The Korean peninsula is divided between north and south making Korea one of the most famous divided countries in the world. South Korea is located in northern Asia. It is surrounded by ocean on 3 sides, making it a unique geographical location neighboring Japan and China with Seoul is the capital city. Population of South Korea is around 52 million with most of them residing in Seoul metropolitan area.
Most of the Koreans do not have a formal religion. However, 27.6% are Christians, 19.5 are protestants and 15.5% are Korean Buddhists from the total population.
South Korea is visited by 10 million international travellers each year.

Time deference

GMT +09:00

Compare to Indonesia, South Korea is 2:0 hours ahead compare to local time.
That means when it is 12:00 in Jakarta is 14:00 in Seoul.

Compare to France, South Korea is 7:0 hours ahead of France
That means when it is 8:00 am in Paris France, it is 3:00 pm in Seoul South Korea.

When to visit

Korea’s year is split in to four seasons. Lasting from April to June Spring is generally regarded as the best time to visit. The whole country is painted by the abundant cherry blossoms that decorate South Korea’s green.
Korea’s summer on the other hand can unbearably hot, humid and steamy. It is better to avoid monsoon season; more than half of the countries annual rain falls from early July to late August.
The very best time to visit is autumn (Sep – Nov) when the temperature is mild. Korean mountains erupt in a magnificent array of reds, yellow and oranges with law rainfalls.
Korean winter (Dec – March) is long and cold. This is also the perfect time to go to South Korea for skiing, snow boarding or any other snow related activity.

Money and currency

US$1 = 1123.00Won (currency rate can be varied depending the day you search)
Euro€1 = 1255.00 Won
WON1 = IDR 12

South Korea’s official monitory unit is the ‘South Korean Won’. The Koran currency is consists of 50,000, 10,000, 5000 and 1000 notes.
Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged for cash at banks or exchange booths; A number of stores still accepts cheques instead of cash.
Most business in Korea accepts payment by credit cards, including major hotels, department stores, large restaurants and other stores. Visa, Master, American Express and other credit cards can be used, however check the service availability before making purchases as some stores may not offer this service.
When you need to exchange your foreign currency in to Korean Won visit a bank, exchange service centre or an authorized exchange booth. (Bank business hours: 09:00 – 16:00, closed Saturday, Sunday and public holidays).

Electricity

Electricity sockets in South Korea are of type C and F. The standard voltage is between 220 – 240 volts AC and standard frequency is 60Hz . If your appliance’s plug does not match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug.

Telephone and how to call

South Korea country code +82 and Seoul city code is 2.

Cell phone service providers all have different prices for international calls. If you plan on calling outside of the country a lot, you may want to figure out which provider offers the lowest international call rates to the country you’ll be calling the most.
Basic carriers and telecommunication operators offer international calling cards at different prices. Depending on what country you are calling, rates can vary from as little as $0.02 USD a minute to $0.50 USD a minute. International calling cards are sold at nearly every supermarket, convenience store, transport hub, etc.

Visa requirement

EU citizens do not require a visa to enter South Korea for up to 90 days
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter South Korea for up to 180 days
Indonesian citizens who visit South Korea need a valid visa issued by the Republic of Korea.

Visa not required for maximum stay of 30 days for nationals of Indonesia if:

  • Holding a visa issued by Australia, Canada, USA or New Zealand only if in transit from/to those countries through Korea.
  • Arriving and departing from Jeju (CJU) for tourism purpose.
  • Previously entered Korea at least 4 times within the last 2 years or at least 10 visits in total.

Vaccines and Travel insurance

Most travellers to South Korea will need vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid fever, as well as medications for travelers’ diarrhea. Because of a recent outbreak, all travellers should be immunized against measles. Additional immunizations may be necessary depending upon the circumstances of the trip and the medical history of the traveller, as discussed below.

When travelling overseas it is important to take out travel insurance. An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive.

How to go to South Korea

France to South Korea

Non-stop flight time from Paris to Seoul is around 11 hours.
Fastest one-stop flight between Paris and Seoul takes close to 13 hours.

Airlines operated from Paris
Air France, Korean Air, Asiana airlines

However, some airlines could take as long as 41 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration.

Indonesia to South Korea

Non-stop fight time from Jakarhta/Bali to Seoul is around 07 hours 15 minutes.
Fastest one-stop flight between Jakartha and Seoul takes close to 09 hours.

Apparently, connecting flights and direct flights with stopover take longer time than non-stop flights. In such cases, Jakarta – Seoul flight time depends on the layover destination specified by your airline or the one you choose while booking your ticket.

Airlines operated from Indonesia to South Korea
Garuda Indonesia, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, Indonesia AirAsia

Transportation in South Korea

The Seoul subway is the longest system in the world, with 508km of track and more than a dozen lines running across the city’s 25 districts. The immaculate, hi-tech stations have signage in both Korean and English, and digital touchscreen kiosks provide real time information, maps and tourist information. During rush hour, trains arrive every two minutes and off-peak, they arrive every five, making commuting and travelling around the city convenient to residents and tourists alike. Also convenient is the free Wi-Fi (available in stations and subway cars) with
high download speeds and uninterrupted service, not to mention the subway cars’ digital TVs and heated seats in winter.

Fares within Seoul cost between 1,250 (basic fare for 10km) and 2,000 won. Sub-way tickets can be purchased with cash from an Automatic Vending Machines (ATVM) dispensing machine located at every subway station. Instructions are provided in Korean and English at such machines. However it is best to use a prepaid transit card to obtain a discount. The most frequently used transportation card is the ‘T-money Card’. It is available for purchase at ticket windows of subway stations or at convenience stores and vendor kiosks that post a ‘T-money’ signboard. By using the T-money Card, instead of cash, the card user can get an approximately 10% discount on the regular fare. The price of the T-money Card is 2,500 won, and the card can be easily recharged for amounts ranging from 1,000 won to 90,000 won.

Buses

Seoul has four different bus categories which are also color coded. The colors are Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow. Bus numbers indicate districts in Seoul, enabling passengers to identify the bus departure point and destinations. Yellow Buses circulate in the Central Business District (Downtown area), connecting major tourist, shopping and business area.

SEOUL CITY PASS

This pass is similar in use to the T- card but it also enables tourists to access the SEOUL CITY BUS that take you around the downtown and palaces. By using the SEOUL CITY PASS you can board and get off from the bus at any time or place you want, all day, as many times as you like. With this pass tourists can also use the public bus and rail system up to 20 times per day ie metropolitan subway and Blue/Green/Yellow buses.

1 day pass 2 day pass3 day pass
 Rate15,000 won25, 000 won35,000 won
Seoul City Tour BusNo limit, 1 dayNo limit, 2 dayNo limit, 3 day
Subway/BusUp to 20 times a dayUp to 20 times a day
Maximum a total of 40 times
Up to 20 times a day
Maximum a total of 60 times

Special food and drinks

Drinking Chamisul soju, a rice spirit, and at times Makkgeoli, a rice wine – or any other type of spirit for that matter – is very common in Seoul. Luckily, there are plenty of nutritious foods, which can alleviate many of the deleterious affects of alcohol. If you go out with Koreans, expect to eat plenty of grilled meats like the Korean-style bacon named Samgyeopsal. Alongside will be an assortment of banchan, or side dishes.

These banchan include the delicious tastes of lettuce wrap, a spicy paste called gochujang, a savory garlic and salt flavored sauce, as well as the ubiquitous kimchi. Kimchi, served at every meal, can be an acquired taste – once acquired, however, it is nothing less than an addiction. Korean cuisine specializes in many things, but especially in fermented foods. If you eat lots of Korean food, you should start to feel a healthy shift in your diet.

Places to go and things to do

Gyeongbokgung Palace

World heritage listed palace was the first roral palace originally built in 1395. Gyeongbokgung Palace was located at the heart of newly appointed capital of Seoul and sets within a large park in Jongno-gu. It is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897).

Seoul City Wall

Just outside of Seoul, you can walk among the ruins of Gwanghwamun Fortress. It is oroiginally built in 1396 surrounding Seoul, now a beautiful scenic way to explore. It is 18,6Km long and stands at average height of 7-8m.

Myeong-dong

This is known as Seoul’s shopping mecca for it’s beauty outlets, malls, street stalls and many more places to explore.

N Soeul tower

Namsan Seoul Tower was built in 1969 as Korea’s first integrated transmission tower beaming television and radio broadcasts across the capital. Since opening to the public in 1980, it has become a much-loved Seoul landmark.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea with over 10,000 stores that line the streets around Namdaemun (Gate), the main southern gate of the old city wall. Due to the wholesale nature of the market, shoppers can comparison shop for the lowest prices on all sorts of goods. Namdaemun Market is also packed with interesting things to see and eat, making it a popular destination for both locals and international visitors alike. Namdaemun Market is renowned for its vast size and the variety of goods it offers.

Dongdaemun Market

Dongdaemun Market is a large commercial district comprised of traditional markets and shopping centers that covers the entire area around Dongdaemun Gate, a prominent landmark in Korea. It is Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district featuring 26 shopping malls, 30,000 speciality shops, and 50,000 manufacturers. All kinds of goods can be found here including silks and fabric, clothes, shoes and accessories, electronics, leather goods, sporting goods, office supplies, pet products and toys.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

This is an 11 km long modern stream that runs through downtown Seoul. Created as part of an urban renewal project. The stream starts from Cheonggye Plaza, a popular cultural arts venue, and passes under a total of 22 bridges before flowing into the Hangang (River), with many attractions along its length.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Designed by world renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, DDP is the world’s largest atypical architecture. Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the newest and most iconic landmark of the Korean design industry. Located at the center of the Dongdaemun area, the DDP will serve as a key venue for design-related shows and conferences, exhibitions, and other events and gatherings.

Lotte World

This is one of the must-go places when you are in Seoul! The amusement park features both indoor (Adventure Park) and outdoor (Magic Island) sections. More than anything, though, the largest draw of this amusement park lies in the fact that it is located in Seoul, easily accessible via public transportation.
Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, which is away 325Km away from Seoul, offers an atmosphere reminiscent of Miami with the large Haeundae beach.