Travel Tips & Useful InfoAll the useful information you need when travelling to South Korea.
South Korea is 9 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight saving.
The voltage in South Korea is 220v and plugs are of the European variety with two round prongs. We recommend that you pack a universal adaptor. You will also need a voltage converter in order to use U.S appliances.
The currency of South Korea is the South Korean Won (KRW)
Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be converted into South Korean Won (KRW) locally, or you can purchase currency in advance. Foreign currency can be converted at foreign exchange banks and other authorised money changers. Most major credit cards can be used in more upmarket restaurants and hotels and ATMs are common throughout larger cities.
Traveller's Cheques are not recommended as they're often difficult to exchange and incur high fees.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to South Korea from your local health practitioner and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations. As a guide Tetanus, Typhoid and Diphtheria are strongly recommended. There is a malarial risk in some remote areas and from June to October Japanese encephalitis can be transmitted from mosquitoes in rural areas, so do check the current situation and medical requirements before travelling.
The tap water in Japan is generally considered safe to drink, but as a precaution against stomach upsets you may want to drink bottled mineral water, which is readily available from shops, hotels and restaurants.
Largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables and meat, Korean cuisine is delicious and healthy. Traditionally with main meals a quantity of side dishes are served known as banchan, the most popular of these being kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional fermented dish made with vegetables, typically cabbage, radish, onions or cucumbers and flavoured with salt, garlic, ginger, and gochujang – a fermented chilli paste, it can have a very salty and spicy flavour.
A speciality is the Korean barbecue which usually involves beef, pork or chicken. The dishes are typically cooked at the diner’s table on a gas or charcoal grill built into the centre. One of the most popular dishes served is galbi, beef short ribs, often marinated in spices before grilling. In specialist restaurants the diner can cook their own food to their liking at the table, with a waiter on hand to offer help.
Considered a shopper’s paradise, great deals can be had in South Korea on shoes, clothes, leather goods, silk, antiques, handbags, suitcases and so much more. Clothes can be tailor-made and range in quality depending on the amount of money you are willing to part with. Most department stores have fixed prices but the major open air markets such as Namdaemun or Dongdaemun in Seoul offer everything imaginable from well known brand names to near perfect rip offs and it is here where you can barter, just be sure you know whether you are haggling over a fake or a genuine item!