Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea
People have been asking me to give tips for first time travelers to Korea. Instead of just writing my own tips, I also asked some people who already visited Korea. Here’s the compilation of the tips I gathered.
Korea has four seasons. Make sure that the clothes you’ll bring is suitable for the weather. Aside from that, avoid wearing revealing clothes. (Things you should NOT to do in Korea)
Tip: Check out the latest Instagram posts about #seoulsearching to have ideas of the current #ootd in Korea.
You’ll spend most of the day walking. Wearing heels is fashionable but it will really be uncomfortable after few hours.
The Seoul Subway apps contain detailed information about the time of arrival and departure of the trains. It will also give you suggestions about the fewest transfers or the fastest route.
T-Money card is essential while traveling around Seoul. You can use it to pay for the bus, subway, taxi, and even convenience stores. The fare is cheaper when you use T-Money in the bus or in the subway.
Make an itinerary. List the places you want to visit so that it will serve as your guide, but make room for surprises. Making an itinerary will help you save time, money, and effort. (7 days itinerary in Seoul)
Learning basic Korean phrases will help you in building rapport with the locals. What do you feel whenever a foreigner tries to speak your language?
Tip: Say 좀 깎아 주세요 (Jom kaka juseyo) to ask for a discount.
If you get lost, translation apps will save you. It will also teach you how to say the words like kamsahamnida, annyeong haseyo, and saranghaeyo oppa!
In South Korea the power sockets are of type C and F. The plug has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. South Korea operates on a 220V supply voltage and 60Hz. Trust me, you’ll remember this once your phone battery dies.
In Korea, sales taxes are included in the purchase price of each product. Before paying, ask for a tax refund. The store will either not charge you the sales tax or will give you a tax refund receipt in an envelope along with the regular receipt. Visitors who have paid the sales tax on their purchase can get a refund of that tax at designated airports and ports or at tax refund booth in other locations.
Don’t ignore the tourist information centers. It has a lot of useful maps and coupons that you can get for free! Most of the time, their staff know how to speak different languages.
Seoul Global Cultural Center in Myeongdong and Itaewon Global Village Center are good resources for foreigners. They offer cultural programs (handicraft making, Korean language classes, cooking classes, etc) for a very affordable price and sometimes for free. If you have time in your itinerary, you should definitely check these places out.
Enjoy the authentic Korean Cuisine! You can be frugal in buying an air fare ticket and in booking an accommodation, but I discourage you to refrain from spending money for food. Experiencing the food is part of the adventure. You don’t always have the chance to taste Korean food cooked by Koreans. (Things to eat in Korea)
If you don’t eat meat, there are restaurants that can accommodate you. Before the trip, search for the location of these restaurants and plot them in your itinerary. By the way, you can eat Bibimbap if you’re a vegetarian.
I would like to thank the people who shared some tips from How to Seoul group.
Did I miss anything? Feel free to write more tips in the comments below.