Any foreign visitors wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport. Visitors from the United Kingdom who wish to visit temporarily are permitted to enter without a visa according to visa-exemption agreements, or in accordance with principles of reciprocity or national interest. The United Kingdom is included under the visa-exemption agreements and visitors can stay up to: 90 days without requiring a visa. For periods longer than 90 days a Korean Embassy or consulate can issue a special long-term visa. A visitor with a special long-term visa is required to apply for alien registration at a local immigration office within 90 days of arrival.
|Incheon Airport||(032) 740-7013, (032) 740-7030|
|Jeju||(064) 722-3494, (064) 721-3494|
|Gimhae Airport||(051)972-1610, (051)972-1615|
For further details please contact the Korean Embassy in London.
- Address: The Embassy of the Republic of Korea, 60 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ
- Tel: 020 7227 5500
- Consular Section : 020 7227 5505/7 (Mon–Fri, 10am-12am & 2pm-4pm)
- Website : http://gbr.mofa.go.kr/english/eu/gbr/visa/issuance/index.jsp
2. Getting to Korea
The Incheon International Airport, about one hour from downtown Seoul by subway or bus, is the main gateway to Korea servicing flights to and from most parts of the world. Other international airports throughout the country (Gimpo (Seoul), Gimhae (Busan), Cheongju, Daegu, Muan, Yangyang, and Jeju) service flights mainly to Japan, China, Taiwan, Russia, Thailand, the Philippines and other Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
- Incheon International Airport: http://www.airport.kr/pa/en/a/index.jsp
- Korea Airports Corporation: http://www.airport.co.kr/wwweng/main.do
– Tel : 020 7514 0200
– Website: www.flyasiana.com
– Weekly Services to Seoul : 3
– Days of week : Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
– Flying Time : 11 Hours
– Tel : 0344 493 0787
– Website: www.britishairways.com
– Weekly Services to Seoul :
– Days of week :
– Flying Time :
– Tel : 0800 413000
– Website: www.koreanair.com
– Weekly Services to Seoul : 7
– Days of week : All week
– Flying Time : 11 hours
By Ship / Ferry
Tourists can take ferries/ships from parts of China, Japan and Russia to enter Korea through the ports of Incheon, Pyeongtaek, Busan or Donghae. For further information on schedule, fare and trip time, visit the websites below or call 1330, the Korea Travel Hotline.
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- Incheon Int’l Passenger Terminal: 032-880-3300, www.icferry.or.kr
- Pyeongtaek Int’l Passenger Terminal: 031-8024-8963, http://www.pyeongtaek.go.kr/en/main.do
- Busan Int’l Passenger Terminal: 051-400-1200, http://www.busanpa.com/eng/Main.do
- Donghae Int’l Passenger Terminal: 033-531-5611, http://www.dbsferry.com/eng/main/main.asp
3. From/to the Airport
Visitors can take airport buses to Seoul and other regions at the Incheon International Airport and the Gimpo International Airport. Ticket offices at the Incheon airport are located inside (by Exits 4 and 9) and outside (by Exits 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 13) on the arrivals floor of the passenger terminal. At the Gimpo airport, buses to downtown Seoul are located by Exits 2 to 6 on the east wing of the first floor (domestic flights), and buses to Ilsan and Incheon are by Exits 9 and 10 of the west wing.
- Incheon Int’l Airport: http://www.airport.kr/pa/en/a/index.jsp → To & From Airport
- Other Airports: http://www.airport.co.kr/wwweng/main.do → Select Airport → Transportation/Parking → Public Transportation
Airport Railroad Express (AREX)
The AREX is a railway that connects the airport to Seoul Station via a non-stop express train, or an all-stop train making 11 stop stops on the way including the Gimpo International Airport. The Incheon International Airport Station is located by the airport’s Traffic Centre.
【 Photo: Airport Railroad Map (Credit: Airport Railroad Co., Ltd.) 】
- Incheon International Airport ↔ Seoul Station – All-stop 4,150won (58 minutes) – Express 8,000 (43 minutes)
- Gimpo International Airport ↔ Seoul Station – All-stop 1,450won (20 minutes)
Taxis in Korea are available 24 hours a day, and in the metropolitan area they can be largely divided into standard taxis, deluxe taxis, international taxis, and jumbo taxis (minivans). Rates begin at 3,000won for standard, 5,000won for deluxe and 3,600won for international taxis. The average rate for a standard taxi from the Incheon Airport to Myeong-dong is about 60,000won. Fares can be paid by cash, credit card or T-money card (transportation card). If you need interpretation and other assistance, feel free to call the Korea Travel Hotline at 1330 from any phone.
4. Getting around Korea
The Korea Tourism Organization’s website offers detailed information on traveling within Korea.
english.visitkorea.or.kr → Transportation
Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Gwangju have very convenient and extensive subway systems, with the Seoul subway expanding all the way to Incheon, Gyeonggi-do and even parts of Gangwon-do and Chungcheongnam-do provinces. The basic fare for the Seoul subway begins at 1,350won with additional fee added depending on distance travelled. Single Journey Ticket (card) must be purchased at automated machines located throughout the station. The fare will include a 500won deposit which will be returned when card is returned in the refund machine at your destination station. If you need help, press the “Help” button on the emergency turnstile.
This prepaid transportation card can be used on buses, subways, and taxis in most parts of Korea (small countryside regions may not accept cards). They can be purchased at subway stations or any convenience stores with a T-money logo. Cards are 2,500won and must be charged (minimum 1,000won) before using.
This is a transportation card exclusively for foreign travellers. It can be used on buses, subways and the AREX (up to 20 times a day), and taxis in Seoul, Incheon and Jejudo Island. The M-Pass can be purchased at the Tourist Information Center inside the Incheon International Airport (Exits D and C, 1st floor). There are 1-day (10,000won) through 7-day (59,500won) passes.
Local city buses are convenient. Bus fares can be paid in cash or transportation card upon boarding. If using transportation card, be sure to tap card reader when getting off the bus for transfer discounts.
Express & Intercity Buses
The extensive express and intercity bus network takes passengers to pretty much every town and city in Korea. These buses are clean, convenient and on time. Except for Seoul, express and intercity terminals are located very close by if not in the same building.
- Seoul Express Terminal Express: Bus Terminal Station, Subway Line 3, 7 or 9
- Dongseoul Bus Terminal (Express & Intercity): Gangbyeon Station, Subway Line 2
- Sangbong Bus Terminal (Express & Intercity): Sangbong Station, Subway Line 7 or Gyeongui-Jungang Line
- Seoul Nambu Terminal (Intercity): Nambu Bus Terminal Station, Subway Line 3
Passenger trains operated by KORAIL are fast, reliable and affordable. There are several lines including the super high-speed KTX (Korea Train Express), the ITX(Intercity Train Express), the regular Saemaeul and Mugunghwa, and the commuter Nuriro trains. Tickets can be purchased on-site, or online. If traveling on weekends, holidays or during peak travel season, one or two-day prior reservations are recommended. For special discounts and passes go to the KORAIL website. Tel: 1544-7788 / Website: http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizbfForeign_pr16100.do?gubun=1
Korea has a well-developed domestic flight network linking major cities. Reservations can be made at travel agencies, by phone or online.
Another option for traveling in Korea is rental cars, especially when traveling outside of Seoul. Major rental companies are conveniently located near airports, train stations or bus terminals. A valid International Driving Permit (IDP) or a driver’s license issued by the Republic of Korea is required, and some places require both an IDP and a local driver’s license issued by your country of residence. IDPs recognized in Korea are only those issued by a member state of the Geneva Convention of the Vienna Convention, so be sure to check if your IDP is valid for use in Korea. For more information go to the Korea Tourism Organization website: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRP/TP_ENG_8_3.jsp
5. Where to stay
Hotels in Korea are classified by the number of stars, with five stars being the highest level of classification. Approximate rates for a standard room at a 5-star hotel range from 200,000 to 500,000 won per night, 4-star hotels range from 150,000 to 250,000won, 3-star hotels from 100,000 to 150,000won, and 1- to 2-star hotels range from 30,000 to 100,000won per night. Additional 10% VAT and 10% service charge are added to the basic room rate.
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Certified by the Korea Tourism Organization as a superior lodging brand, BENIKEA (short for Best Night in Korea) guarantees mid-priced tourist and business hotels offering quality service and amenities. There are over 50 locations scattered throughout major tourist areas. For a list of affiliated hotels and special rates, visit the BENIKEA website. Online reservations are also available.
Reliable and affordable hotels, motels and inns that meet international standards have been certified by KTO as “Goodstay” facilities. Room rates generally range from 30,000 to 50,000won. More than 180 establishments nationwide have received the Goodstay seal of approval, ensuring guests a comfortable stay in Korea. For assistance in making reservations call the Korea Travel Hotline at 1330.
“Koreastay” guesthouses and homestays are selected through a thorough screening process conducted by the Korea Tourism Organization. These carefully selected facilities are conveniently located near major tourist areas and public transportation. Friendly and foreign language-speaking staff (guesthouse) or families (homestay) will provide a pleasant Korean experience. Website: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ACM/AC_ENG_2_1.jsp
Traditional Korean residences, called hanok, certified by KTO serve as superior lodging facilities. Mostly clustered in traditional villages such as Bukchon (Seoul), Andong, Gyeongju, and Jeonju, these hanok also offer traditional meals and various arts and craft programs in which guests can experience the traditional Korean lifestyle. The rooms are usually ondol (underfloor heated)-style with sleeping mats instead of beds.
www.hanokstay.or.kr > (Korean only)
Budget lodging is available at hostels with room rates ranging from 10,000 to 30,000won. In general, hostels provide dormitory-style rooms sleeping several guests per room, but there are also facilities with single, double and family rooms. Guests who have a Hostelling International card can receive 20 to 30% discounted rates. Reservations are available through the Korea Youth Hostel Association website.
6. What to eat
Kimchi is a traditional fermented food of Korea now popular throughout the world. It has many varieties, each of which uses a different main ingredient and has its own distinctive taste and health-boosting benefits. A single kimchi contains more than ten vegetables and condiments that blend well through fermentation to create a rich and savoury dish. Additionally, kimchi is loaded with “good bacteria” that strengthens the body’s immune system.
Korean cuisine is based on rice. The typical Korean meal table centres on rice, and it can be categorised by the number of side dishes served. Although the word bap literally means “steamed rice,” it also refers to a full meal. Rice is considered the basic energy source of the Korean people, and it is often said that Koreans live off rice. “Have you eaten yet?” is a very common and sincere greeting.
GUK, JJIGAE & JEONGOL (SOUPS, STEWS & HOT POTS)
Koreans enjoy broth dishes for almost every meal, and there are a variety of broth dishes in Korean cuisine. Guk is cooked with enough liquid to fully immerse all solid ingredients. Tang is a soup variation that is cooked by simmering the main ingredient for a long period of time. Jjigae is less watery, seasoned much stronger than soups, and is often served in a stone pot.
BANCHAN (SIDE DISHES)
Banchan, or side dishes show the “balanced diversity” in Korean cuisine. Along with the staple dish of rice and soup, a variety of side dishes offering balanced flavours and nutrients are served together. Each person on the table is served his/her own bowl of rice and soup, and the side dishes are to be shared by everyone.
Today, noodles are often enjoyed as a quick meal, but in the past, noodles were a special occasion food. As farmers mostly grew only rice, wheat was scarce, and so noodles, which are made of wheat flour, were a specialty. Long noodles symbolized a long and happy life, therefore noodle dishes were served on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings and 60th birthdays (Koreans have special celebrations for 60th birthday) to make the occasion more festive.
Porridge can be said to be a variation of rice. Unlike rice, which needs to be chewed, porridge is made by boiling rice in about five times more water until the grains are very soft and mushy. Porridge is usually the first form of solid food for babies, and it is also ideal for elders or patients. Porridge is so easily swallowed and so easy to digest, that the Korean phrase “as easy as eating cold porridge,” refers to a very easy task.
Koreans have brewed and enjoyed their own liquor since ancient times, and a unique traditional liquor culture has bloomed and grown since. Every family had their own way of brewing liquor. Gayangju (home-brewed liquor) was made with much care and devotion to be served on ancestral rites, festive events or when welcoming guests.
TTEOK (RICE CAKES)
While rice and other grains are mostly used for the staple dish of steamed rice, they are also the main ingredients in rice cake. Rice cakes take a lot of time and devotion to make, but nonetheless, they are always served during celebrations and commemorative occasions. People like rice cake for its soft and chewy texture as well as its sweet and savoury flavour, and as the Korean saying goes, “no matter how full, there’s always room for rice cake.”
DAGWA (TRADITIONAL REFRESHMENTS)
Dagwa are teas and sweets enjoyed as desserts or snacks, or when welcoming guests. The colourful and beautifully shaped traditional Korean sweets are a delight to the mouth and eyes, and there are a variety of teas that go well with the sweets.
Current weather conditions in popular destinations in Korea.
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8. Safe Travel
With crime rates lower than the OECD average, South Korea is at the highest level of safety.
1330 Korea Travel Hotline
Diplomatic Missions in Korea
In order to better assist tourists and to improve tourism in Korea, tourist police are stationed in major tourists areas. They are prepared to help with translation and tourist information, and also to patrol illegal activities such as overcharging by merchants and taxis, and other complaints. If and when in need of help, look for Tourist Police dressed in navy blue uniforms. * Patrolling Areas: Seoul (Myeong-dong, Itaewon, Dongdaemun, Namdaemun Market, Insa-dong, City Hall, Hongdae, Cheonggyecheon Stream, etc.), Busan (Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches, Jagalchi Market, etc.) Incheon (Incheon International Airport, Songdo,Chinatown, etc.)
Medical Facilities for Travellers
Many large and general hospitals in Korea are offering top notch medical services catering to both Koreans and international visitors with added enhancement facility, such as the International Healthcare Centre.
Severance Hospital (Sinchon)
- Address: 50-1, Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
- Inquiries: +82-2-2228-5800 (English, Chinese, Russian), +82-2-2228-5801 (Japanese)
- Website: http://www.yuhs.or.kr/en/ (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- Operating hours: 08:30-17:30 (Mondays-Fridays) / 08:30-12:30 (Saturdays) / Closed on Sundays
Asan Medical Centre
- Address: 88, Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul
- Inquiries: +82-2-3010-5001 (English), + 82-2-3010-1192 (Japanese), +82-2-3010-7946 (Russian)
- Phone service in Chinese is currently unavailable.
- Website: http://eng.amc.seoul.kr/asan/lang/eng/main.do (English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian)
- Operating hours: 08:30-17:30 (Mondays-Fridays) / Closed on Saturdays and Sundays
Samsung Medical Centre
- Address: 81, Irwon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Inquiries: +82-2-3410-0200 (English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian) *Phone service in German and Spanish is currently unavailable.
- Website: http://www.samsunghospital.com/gb/language/english/main/index.do (English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, French, German, Spanish)
- Operating hours: 08:00-17:00 (Mondays-Fridays) / 08:00-11:30 (Saturdays) / Closed on Sundays *Schedules for Saturdays are subject to change, please confirm to check in advance.
Seoul National University Hospital
- Address: 101, Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Inquiries: +82-2-2072-0505 (English, Russian, Spanish) / +82-2-2072-7447 (Chinese)
- Website: http://www.snuh.org/english/ (English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish, German)
- Operating hours: 09:00-17:30 (Mondays-Fridays) / 09:00-13:00 (Saturdays) / Closed on Sundays
9. Tourist Information Center (TIC)
Tourist Information Center (TIC), located on 2F of K-Style Hub (Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Seoul Office), is open all year round, and provides a wide range of useful information and services to tourists visiting Korea regarding Korean tourist attractions, accommodations, food, and more in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese. In addition, tour-related brochures, such as travel guide books and maps are provided free of charge. Besides, a Muslim Prayer Room, Experience Zones, cafe and other subsidiary facilities are also put in place for the convenience of all visiting tourists.
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