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South Korea - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

The subway is the most efficient and convenient way to get around Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Incheon and Daejeon. It provides a fast, safe, and comfortable means of transportation. In Seoul, it links all neighborhoods with the outlying areas and satellite cities. Destinations and Information in subway are written both in Korean and in English.

There are two kinds of taxis - regular and deluxe. Fares are based on distance and time. The black deluxe taxis are more comfortable, provide better service and, of course, charge more than the regular grey taxis.
If 'Free' light in front of taxi diver turns on, Taxi is free. Take care, most of taxi drivers do not speak English. Ask your guest or the hotel to write the address in Korean.

A regular intercity bus network connects virtually all cities and towns in the country. Regular intercity buses, which make frequent stops, are the least expensive way to travel around the country.

Maps of urban networks: Seoul City Transportation

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Most domestic destinations are within an hour's flight from Seoul. Gimpo Airport, located between the western area of Seoul and the newer Incheon International Airport, is primarily used for international travels. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines handle all domestic flights.

The Korea Railroad (KORAIL) operates three types of trains - super-express, express, and local - along an extensive nationwide network. Super-express (KTX) trains link Seoul with Busan, Mokpo, East Daegu, Gwangju and Iksan. Most popular destinations in the nation can be reached via direct line or a single transfer. Local trains make frequent stops.

Long distance express buses go directly to their destinations, stopping only at expressway rest areas every few hours. Seoul has three intercity terminals providing service to different parts of the country.

One of the most pleasant ways to see Korea is by ferry. Routes are available between Busan and Jeju-do Island, Mokpo and Hongdo Island and Pohang and Ulleungdo Island. There are ships making runs between Busan and Yeosu, with many in-between stops possible at ports along the south coast and the Hallyeo Maritime National Park.

Rail companies: Korail (Korea Railroad)
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Asiana Airlines National Yes Yes
Korean Air National Yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: Driving can be an exciting and effective way of getting around Korea. Extensive road and expressway networks are available, which means you can visit every corner of the country. Road numbers and destinations are clearly indicated on road signs.
Find an itinerary: T2K Map Service

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: Korea has a history long of 5,000 years. As a result, historical sites and remains are very various despite Japanese policy to destroy Korean culture during the colonization (1905-1945) and the Korean war (1950-1953). Most famous tour spots in Korea are located in Seoul (Royal palaces, gates and walls, shrines), Gyeongju (old capital of Shilla kingdom), Kanghwa (temples and fortresses), Suwon (fortress) and Buyo (old capital of Paekche kingdom).

List of Historic remains and sites.

Cultural: Korean museums made a lot of progresses in the past years. National Museum and War memorial in Seoul are the most interesting with the Folk Museum, also in Seoul. At the Gyeongju National Museum you can admire some of the masterpieces of Shilla's period.

List of all Museums / Memorials / Exhibition.

Nature: Mountains, islands and Jeju's volcanoes are the natural treasures of Korea. The most beautiful places are protected by Government there are 20 national parks.
Religious: By tradition, Korea is a Buddhist country, however since end of 21st century Christians' community is more and more important (Catholics and Protestants) and reaching around 25 % of the population. Nevertheless and according to a tourist point of view, Buddhist temples are more interesting than Churches, first are old and located in natural areas, seconds are very modern and situated in urban areas.

List of Temples and Statues

Thermal: Korean people enjoy hot springs and spas. Facilities are very modern and safe.

List of Hot Springs and Spas.

Beach: Korea offers a large range of beaches. Most famous are on the south coast (around or inside Busan city) or on the East Coast (Beaches located on the North-Eastern coasts are only opened during summer time, remain of the year, they are closed by Army). Korea also proposes various islands like the famous and wonderful sub-tropical island of Jeju, classified by UNESCO. In South Jeolla provinces you can enjoy a very large archipelago.

List of Beaches and Islands.

Winter sports: With cold and snowy winter, and various mountains, Korea is a good place for winter sports. Facilities are modern and safe.

List of Ski resorts and Ice skating rinks.

Outdoor activities: The best outdoor activities to practice in Korea are golf (more than 2 millions Korean are golfers) and inking. Korean mountains are beautiful, even more in Autumn. Waking, Diving, Bicycle touring, Bungee Jump, Golf, Extreme Sports.

Consult here the list of all Happening Hotspots.

Shopping: Korea offers the entire possible shopping alternatives, from very large shopping mall to traditional market. In department stores prices are higher than in Europe but it is possible to negotiate prices in markets. Seoul has some of the largest markets in the World (Namdeamum and Dongdeamum), immense like a town's district.

Shopping guide in Korea

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: All passengers and flight crews who arrive in Korea from regions where cholera, yellow fever, and bubonic plague have been detected may be required to complete a quarantine questionnaire.
For further information on sanitary conditions: National Quarantine Station (in Korean)

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Seoul (GMT+9)
Summer time period: None
Climate: - Spring (May): Mostly clear and dry days.
- Summer (August): Hot and humid. Two to three typhoons usually hit Korea during this season. 50 to 60 percent of the annual precipitation comes in summer. Monsoon season (heavy rain season) starts in June and lasts about 30 days.
- Fall (October): A little cooler than spring but still mostly clear and dry days.
- Winter (January): Cold and dry.

Eating

Food specialties: These days Korean cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of wild greens and vegetables. Various fermented and preserved foods, such as kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal (matured seafood with salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste) are notable for their unique flavor and high nutritional value.
Drinks: It is possible to find alcoholic drinks at bars or restaurants or wine shops: Beer, Soju (Korean rice alcohol), western alcohol and wine (mostly imported), etc.
Dietary taboos: None

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: learn-korean
KBS World
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