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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (1)

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (8)
Tip from Lucky Llanes

You’ll spend most of the day walking. Wearing heels is fashionable but it will really be uncomfortable after few hours.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (2)
Tip from Sharleen Gayle O. Tagab

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (5)
Tip from Julia Hartmann

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.


Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (6)
Tip from Analou Dedal

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)

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (4)
Tip from Shayne Palalay

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (3)
Tip from Christine Hermann

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!

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (7)
Tip from Abigael Tria

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (9)

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (11)
Tip from Charina Chan Santiago

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (14)
Tip from Kim Pinda

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (13)

Museums like National Museum of Korea, National Hangeul Museum, and War Memorial or Korea don’t have any admission fees. Sometimes, they even have a free guide who can tour you around the museum.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (15)

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)

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (10)
Tip from Orlinda Fernandes

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.

Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea (12)
Tip by Paul Manzano

Get information from reliable sources: Visit Korea| Visit Seoul | How To Seoul
And of course, from people who experienced it first hand like Travel with Karla.


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.


29 Replies to “Tips for First Time Travelers to Korea”

  1. I always recommend that people bring a full-sized towel when they visit Korea – they can be so hard to find here and I like to be able to fully cover myself!

  2. just want to add.. in korea there are so many self service area.
    first, they don’t have a lot of service crew on their fast food chain. you order and you get your order when its ready they will just give you an electronic number alarm.that when you’re food is ready they will notify you tru that. then after eating dont just leave your mess at the table. its also a self need to clean your table.they have an appropriate area where you need to segregate your trash. don’t worry there’s an english translation. that’s one of the good things that korea has SELF DISCIPLINE.

    1. I totally agree!
      In addition to this, in supermarkets, people have to bring their own bags and pack the things they bought. (They don’t have baggers)

  3. Reblogged this on nheedz and commented:

  4. I love how well laid out your tips are and some I would have not thought of. What is a T money card?

    1. It’s a reloadable transportation card.

  5. These are definitely some useful tips! Thank you for sharing.

  6. The Blonde Diary says: Reply

    Great tips! I live in Florida and we don’t have a subway so I never think of downloading the subway apps before i go somewhere! I’ve always wanted to visit Korea for the delicious food.

  7. Thanks for these complehensive tips! Glad that you included something about halal. The halal industry and market is huge!

  8. these are great tips for those who are about to travel to Korea. It’s best to study up on places that practice other cultures/religion/etc… so you don’t offend the locals. ; )

  9. Great tips! I like how you did the post with posters/collages! It’s a great way to present your ideas!

  10. Great tips for visiting Korea, to be honest it’s not somewhere I’d really thought about going to but I’m keen to explore Asia x

  11. Bookmarked this page for future reference. I would love to visit Korea next year.

  12. Thanks for the useful tips Karla! I will save this for future use.

  13. Great tips! I will be definitely sharing them with my friends travelling to Korea soon!

  14. This is a great list! I especially advocate the free cultural activities. So many things happen, especially in Seoul, that are free to take advantage of but so many people don’t. Also traditional Korean Buddhist meals can’t be beat!

  15. wow these tips are so useful

  16. Good tips.. And it is accompanied with cute pictorial too.!!

  17. Thanks for the useful tips, now I know what to do when I’m in Korea.

  18. wow these tips are so useful for me in the future.

  19. I definitely think it is important to brush up on your Korean before your travels. After all it is not only a necessity but also polite to observe their customs and I believe that learning their language is a sign of respect.

  20. Great tips! I have never been to Korea and have no immediate plans to, but I would like to one day for sure!

  21. Would love to visit! Will save this tips for my time there!

  22. YES! Best part of this post? Vegetarian details! I love that you spared a thought or two for us vegetarians. The Far East is quite a challenge for us pure vegetarians and I definitely did not know Bibimbap was vegetarian. I have to try it in Kuala Lumpur then.
    “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.”
    This is another part of South Korea that is new to me!
    Thanks for the excellent info!

  23. Having just returned from Korea I could not agree with them more. Especially you need good shoes. Lot of walking to do!

  24. This is very useful. I’ll surely bookmark this for future use

  25. Nice tips, very informative.

  26. Practical and useful tips! And really agree on the language part, definitely need to learn some basic Korean if you are on your own there.

  27. Oh. It’s so useful. Thank uu😊

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