220v 60Hz. South Korean plugs are of the European variety with two round prongs. If travelling to South Korea with a device that does not accept 220 volts at 60 Hertz a voltage converter will be required.
It is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio, if you haven't had a booster in the last ten years. Food and waterborne diseases are more common, so we recommend vaccinations for Typhoid (valid 3 years) and Hepatitis A (validity varies). 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.
Vaccination information can change regularly so please visit your local health care provider for the most up to date information.
Tap water is safe to drink in South Korea although it may be best to avoid this when staying for short periods. It's possible to purchase bottled mineral water at a reasonable price.
Korea’s climate is typically temperate with four distinct seasons. Late March or early April signals the start of Spring when mostly sunny days can be expected throughout March and May. Summer can be rather hot and wet and by June the average temperature is 20°C, monsoonal rains can begin around the end of June lasting through to middle or late September. After a typically humid summer continental winds move in bringing dry and clear weather for autumn and making the month of October the most pleasant time to visit. December to February signals the onset of winter which is cold and dry with occasional snow.
South Korea is 9 hours ahead of GMT. During British Summer Time (end March - October), time is 8 hours ahead.
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 and traveller’s checks can be converted into Korean won at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money changers. Most major credit cards can be used in more upmarket restaurants and hotels and ATM’s are common throughout larger cities.
Largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables and meat, Korean cuisine is delicious. 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.
One of the best known Korean cuisine exports is the Korean barbecue. This usually involves grilling of beef, pork or chicken. The grilled dishes are typically prepared at the diner’s table on a gas or charcoal grill built into the centre of the table or on a portable grill if built in barbecues are not available. One of the most popular dishes served is galbi, beef short ribs, often marinated in spices before grilling. In a specialised restaurant the diner will request from a menu the types of meat they would like, these are brought to the table and the diner cooks them to their liking. For those diners that are new to Korean barbecue the waiter is always on hand to offer help, though typically it is only ever foreigners that need 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. Many department stores have fixed prices but can still be bargained over within reason. 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 the true haggling takes place, just be sure you know whether you are haggling over a fake or a genuine item!