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  • Overview

    South Korea is a country of natural wonders, teeming metropolises, and romantic legends. Tourist discover the hidden treasures of the mountainous Korean peninsula, poking southwards from the eastern end of the Asian continent.

    South Korea has been separated from North Korea by a demilitarised zone since 1953, flourishing to become a stable and mature democracy. Its 50 million people inhabit nine provinces and are concentrated in seven megacities.

    Ringed by mountains, the capital of Seoul is the largest and most frequented city. The world's tenth largest city, its ancient shrines nestle beneath soaring skyscrapers in an urban sprawl of vibrant nightlife, unforgettable dining, and unique attractions.

    Another area rich in tourist attractions is the southeastern region, with its wealth of archaeological treasures. Gyeongju, ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, is an open-air museum boasting tombs, temples, pagodas, and ruins dating from as early as 57 BC.

    With its luxury hotels, the Bomun Lake Resort is a fine base from which to explore the area. New resort complexes are currently under construction to open up this fascinating area to even more tourist opportunities.

    The least populated area of the country is Gangwon-do Province, on the eastern side of the peninsula. Here, remote forested mountains and valleys are studded with small towns. This area, which played host to the Asian Winter Games in 1999, is fast becoming one of the world's most sought after skiing destinations. For the rest of the year, visitors are drawn to the province's magnificent beaches and scenic hiking trails.

    Those seeking a romantic getaway should head for South Korea's resort island, Jejudo, known as 'Little Hawaii' because of its subtropical vegetation, volcanic landscape, sandy beaches, and sparkling waterfalls. The island is dominated by the towering Mount Halla volcano. But visitors need not fear a natural disaster as the volcano was last active in 1007.

    Centuries of relative isolation has allowed South Korea to develop and maintain a distinct and unique culture. The past few decades have seen the country transform into a global powerhouse, with a combination of ancient history and cutting-edge modernity proving a huge pull for travellers.

    Despite being a small country, South Korea is home to 11 UNESCO-listed sites. 10 of these are cultural and one is natural. The sites include the Changdeokgung Palace Complex; the ancient dolmen structures found at various sites; the Gyeongju Historic Areas; the Haeinsa Temple; the historic villages of Hahoe and Yangdong; Hwaseong Fortress; Jeju Island; the Jongmyo Shrine; Namhansanseong; the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty; and the Bulguksa Temple.

    The Korean Wave has seen a massive appreciation growing internationally for Korean pop culture, with K-pop and fashion hitting the mainstream. The biggest urban attractions are thus often booming entertainment, buzzing nightlife, and restaurants.

    Visitors exploring South Korea should consider purchasing passes tailored to their experience or location. These exclusive tourist cards can be used for transport, accommodation, entrance fees, and even shopping.

    Gyeongbokgung

    The jewel of Seoul's five historic palaces, Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395 by Lee Seong-Gye. Founder of the Joseon Dynasty, he established the city as the capital of Korea. The magnificent rectangular palace now contains the National Museum of Korea and National Folk Museum of Korea, featuring royal apartments and staterooms, gardens, and elegant lotus ponds.

    The pavilion features on the 10,000 South Korean won note. The palace is in a process of continual restoration as new archaeological treasures are uncovered and restored to their former glory. This historic palace complex consistently ranks as one of the best loved tourist attractions in Seoul.

    Address: 1 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu
    Transport: Five-minute walk from exit 5 of Gyeongbokgung station (Seoul Subway Line 3)
    Opening time: The palace's operating hours are generally 9am to 6pm but these times can change depending on the season. Check website for details.
    Gyeongbokgung Gyeongbokgung Joon-Young, Kim
    Jeju Island

    Jeju Island is one of the most popular holiday destinations in South Korea and can be reached by ferry from Busan. Found off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, it enjoys relatively warm weather throughout the year. Visitors generally flock to its beaches, as well as the volcanic Mount Hallasan.

    The island is home to a number of interesting museums, including the Folklore and History Museum, the Independence Museum, and the fascinating Haenyeo Museum which provides valuable insight into the tradition of the Haenyeo women divers of the island.

    Jeju Island has many fascinating natural wonders, including the Gimyeong Maze, the Manjanggul lava tube cave, the hexagonal-shaped Jusangjeolli cliff, and Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. Iho Beach is made up of both yellow and dark grey volcanic sand, creating beautiful patterns in the tidal waters.

    Visitors to Jeju Island can go on numerous tours of the island or they can relax on the beaches or at hot spring resorts. There are many hiking trails and going scuba diving is definitely one of the top things to do on Jeju Island.

    The island has a broad range of hotels and accommodation options and there are many small restaurants serving up regional delicacies ranging from live squid to mandarin oranges, mushrooms, abalone, and wild boar.

    Address: Jeju-do
    Jeju Island Jeju Island Martin Chen
    Lotte World

    Fun and thrills are the order of the day at Seoul's main theme park, drawing about six million annual visitors. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Lotte World is the largest indoor theme park in the world.

    The park is divided into an indoor and outdoor section. Inside, Adventure Land covers acres of streets representing different countries filled with hundreds of activities, entertainment activities, shops, restaurants, and ongoing parades.

    Outdoors, Magic Island offers thrilling high-altitude rides, laser shows, and pleasant walking trails around a lake, all set in the shadow of a fairytale castle. There is also an indoor ice rink and a fascinating Folk Museum, complete with miniature villages.

    Address: 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu
    Transport: Jamsil Subway Station (Line 2 and 8). Take exit 4 directly to Lotte World
    Opening time: Operating hours are 9.30am to 10pm.
    Lotte World Lotte World Jeremy Thompson
    Insadong

    No visit to Seoul is complete without exploring the capital's heart and artistic soul. Known colloquially as Mary's Alley, the alleyways of the Insa-dong District contain antique shops and countless art galleries that delight collectors and casual browsers alike.

    From ancient Chinese pottery to yellowed books and delicate jewellery, most visitors manage to find a treasured souvenir or special gift among the quaint stores. There are plenty of restaurants, taverns, and traditional teahouses in the area too, ensuring shoppers stay refreshed while seeking out treasures.

    Address: Insadong Junction, Jongro-gu
    Transport: Subway to Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line No.3)
    Insadong Insadong Katie Haugland
    Namsan Park

    Namsan is the mountain that stands as a sentinel in the centre of Seoul, proving to be a popular recreational feature in the city. The route through to the top is not extremely high and hiking through the park isn't too challenging.

    A cable car and stairway take visitors to the summit, where there are several attractions such as the Maritime Aquarium, botanical gardens, and fountains. Seoul Tower, at 1,575ft (480m), offers a fantastic view of the city and surrounds, as does its revolving restaurant.

    Also set within the park, the Namsangol Hanok Village centres on five restored historical Korean homes. Depicting the environments of various social classes from the Joseon Dynasty, the village is a time capsule with a peaceful pond and pavilion set in the midst of the city.

    Visitors can not only explore the houses, but also enjoy traditional tea, shop for souvenirs, browse traditional crafts, or try their hand at ancient games like neolttwigi (jumping on a see-saw) or arrow throwing. On weekends in summer, traditional wedding ceremonies are held at midday.

    Address: 100-177 Hoehyeon-dong 1-ga Jung-gu
    Transport: A 10-minute walk in the direction of Lila Elementary School from Myeong-dong Station on Seoul Subway Line 4 (Exit 2 or 3)
    Opening time: The park's operating hours are generally 10am to 11pm but these times can change depending on the season and weather conditions. Check website for details.
    Namsan Park Namsan Park Jordi Sanchez Teruel
    Changdeokgung

    One of the Five Grand Palaces built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung is set within a large park in Jongno-gu and the whole complex has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Located east of Gyeongbok, Changdeokgung is also referred to as the East Palace.

    It was the favoured palace of many kings of the Joseon Dynasty and in accordance with the Three Kingdoms of Korea period, its buildings blend harmoniously with the natural landscape. At least 600-years-old, this historic site is one of Seoul's touristic gems. The colourful and intricate architecture is set in expansive gardens, a peaceful green place which is ideal for a meditative stroll.

    Address: Jongno-gu
    Transport: Subway line 3, Anguk Station, Exit 3. Subway lines 1, 3 or 5, Jongno 3-ga Station, Exit 6.
    Opening time: The Palace's operating hours are generally 9am to 6pm but these times can change depending on the season. Check website for details.
    Changdeokgung Changdeokgung Daderot
    Jogyesa

    Jogyesa serves as the primary temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. First established in 1395, Jogyesa is located in the district of Jongno-gu in central Seoul. In 1998, Jogyesa made international news when several monks occupied the temple for more than 40 days in a power struggle between factions of the Jogye Order.

    A highlight of this attraction is a lacebark pine, an ancient white tree within its grounds said to be around 500 years old. The principles of Buddhism have been taught at this temple for more than a century and visitors keen to interact with the monks and learn something about their faith can join one of the temple's teaching programmes.

    Address: Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu.
    Website: www.jogyesa.org
    Jogyesa Jogyesa parhessiastes
    Jongmyo Shrine

    Jongmyo Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and celebrated as one of Korea's foremost cultural treasures. Built in 1394, it's the oldest Confucian shine in the world and often holds ceremonies, rituals, and traditional dance performances. Jongmyo is the official shrine of Korea's Joseon Dynasty, with it serving as the chief place of worship for the royalty of this line.

    The shrine is made up of a number of halls as well as a small cloister, with its interior, roofs, and ceilings exquisitely painted and decorated. Jongmyo is the term used for a place where memorial services are performed and it's therefore unsurprising that the shrine is home to more than 40 memorial tablets of past kings and queens of Korea. Tourists visiting Seoul will find that Jongmyo is situated within walking distance of the Changdoekgang Palace and the two attractions can be conveniently combined while sightseeing.

    Address: 157 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu
    Transport: Take subway lines 1, 3 or 5 to Jongno-3-ga subway station.
    Opening time: The Shrine's operating hours are generally 9am to 6pm but these times can change depending on the season. Check website for details.
    Jongmyo Shrine Jongmyo Shrine Oskar Alexanderson
    Seoraksan National Park

    The mountain of Seoraksan in Gangwan Province is one of the most scenic settings in South Korea and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Seoraksan National Park is home to the country's third highest peak, reached by means of a variety of trails up the mountain. For the less physically inclined, there is a cable car that runs some of the way up the mountain.

    The most popular time to visit Seoraksan is during autumn, when the surrounding foliage creates a visual feast with the leaves changing from green to the colours of auburn, red, yellow, brown, and gold before dropping. Seoraksan is best accessed from the small seaside city of Sokcho on Korea's east coast.

    Aside from the gorgeous flora, there is also a host of wild fauna to spot in the reserve. Together with rare plants such as Edelweiss and diamond bluebell, endangered animals like the Amur goral, Korean musk deer, and Tristram's woodpecker are also found within its borders. A total of around 2,000 animal species exist in the park.

    Address: Gangwan-do, Sokcho-si, Seorak-dong San 16
    Fall in Seoraksan National Park Fall in Seoraksan National Park Phil Venditti
    Beaches in Busan

    Busan is home to a number of excellent tourist sites. Yet its standout attractions must be its beaches, which are famous throughout Korea and draw tens of thousands of vacationers annually to the busy port city.

    Busan's beaches are best experienced in spring, autumn, and winter, as between mid-June and the end of August (Korea's official beach season) they can become unpleasantly overcrowded. Busan's main beach is Haeundae, which sports a good amount of fine golden sand and good swimming conditions.

    The area surrounding Haeundae Beach is also full of trendy bars and restaurants, a wealth of shopping opportunities, and lots of accommodation options, making it the perfect base for a weekend getaway in Busan. The next beach down the pecking order is Gwangalli, which has a great view of the Gwangan Grand Bridge, and on any given day will play host to a number of informal volleyball games.

    Slightly more remote beaches, which might not suffer too much from overcrowding, include Songjeong with its cleaner waters and bigger waves (ideal for surfing) and Dadaepo, located in a river estuary about five miles (8km) from downtown Busan which features shallow waters and outstanding natural scenery.

    Haeundae Beach Haeundae Beach TravelingOtter
    Busan Aquarium

    Korea's largest aquarium and one of its most talked about tourist attractions, the Busan Aquarium is a sure-fire winner guaranteed to delight visitors of all ages. The aquarium is a major operation and spread over three levels, with its main tank containing an astounding three million litres of water.

    The Busan Aquarium is home to roughly 35,000 marine animals from more than 250 species, and features special exhibitions to showcase rare and exotic creatures such as jackass penguins, clawed otters, electric eels, sharks, piranhas, giant turtles, and an assortment of colourful sea jellies.

    Visitors largely view the sea life from the confines of an impressive 260-foot (80m) underground tunnel, through enormous acrylic windows that allow for photography. Of particular interest to younger visitors is the aquarium's 3D simulator located on the first floor, a cutting-edge piece of technology that gives you a taste of what it must be like to explore the ocean floor on foot.

    One of the best things to see in Busan and a must for family vacationers, the Busan Aquarium is a delightful way to spend a few hours marvelling at the ocean's riches before heading upstairs and out onto Haeundae Beach to catch some sun.

    Address: Haeundae Station, Busan
    Busan Aquarium Busan Aquarium Kaede
    Galbi Restaurants

    A quintessential Korean pastime and a good everyday option for budget-conscious travellers, galbi restaurants are immensely popular places which are full every night of the week with locals, expatriate workers in Korea, and tourists.

    The basic concept of galbi is simple: patrons sit around a private barbecue grill and order portions of raw, succulent pork, which they then cook themselves at their own leisure. Of course, over the course of the evening, the waiter will bring a seemingly unending selection of complimentary side dishes (banchan) to the table, including the ubiquitous national dish kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), a variety of jjigaes (soups), pajeon (pancakes), bean sprout salad (kongnamul), spicy soy bean paste (doenjang) and more.

    Over and above the culinary experience of eating in a galbi restaurant, tourists will love the laidback atmosphere and unique social dynamic of cooking food with friends in a restaurant setting. Alternatively, solo travellers or newly-arrived expats will find that galbi restaurants are the perfect places to meet people and establish new friendships. Alcohol (usually consisting of soju or maekju, a type of beer) is always served at these establishments and is generally quite cheap.

    Dak Galbi Dak Galbi tomcensani
    Itaewon

    Without doubt the most popular area of Seoul for foreign visitors, the gritty neighbourhood of Itaewon is one of Korea's coolest and most cosmopolitan urban enclaves. Located near the US army base in Seoul, Itaewon is full of great bars, restaurants, clubs, and shops.

    Shopping in Itaewon is a unique experience, selling anything from fine tailored suits to cheap plastic jewellery and extremely rare vintage records to American football jerseys. The area is also celebrated for its wide range of restaurants. Aside from fast food joints and galbi restaurants, people can tuck into French cuisine, fine Indian and Pakistani curries, and thick steaks and racks of barbecue ribs.

    As wonderful as Itaewon is during the day, it comes alive at night. Travellers will find an inexhaustible selection of clubs, bars, discos, karaoke rooms, and live music venues. Some of these are very upmarket and feature international DJs, while others are pretty seedy. An exciting and edgy neighbourhood, Itaewon is the perfect base for young visitors looking for an unforgettable big city experience in Seoul.

    Address: Yongsan-gu, Seoul
    Itaewon at night Itaewon at night S/Sgt Stull

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The climate in Korea is temperate, with four very distinct seasons. South Korea has a continental climate characterised by very cold, dry winters and very hot, humid summers. Spring and autumn are relatively short and temperatures are mild and generally quite pleasant, making these the most comfortable seasons to visit South Korea.

    Spring is generally quite short and occurs in late March and early April. South Korean summers arrive suddenly in late April and are warmed by moist prevailing winds from the Pacific Ocean. Typhoon season is from June to September, and while South Korea doesn't experience typhoons like those in Southeast Asia, the southern parts of the peninsula do experience a lot of rain. In fact, most of the rain falls in summer during a monsoon season known as jangma.

    Autumn passes through the peninsula from late September through October, with winter setting in sooner in northern areas such as Seoul, and autumn lasting longer for the southern cities, such as Busan.

    South Korean winters are harsh with temperatures dropping below freezing and icy winds blowing in from Siberia. Mountainous areas as well as the northern areas of the country experience some snowfall but the southern parts and coastal regions experience little to no winter snowfall.

    Sanchon

    Don't miss the experience of dining at Sanchon or sipping tea in their attached teahouse. Run by a former Buddhist monk, this restaurant specialises in vegetarian dishes prepared with ingredients from the mountain valleys and flavoured with subtle herbs and roots. The menu features a perilla seed soup, radish mushroom and red pepper wraps, Goso-namul (seasoned goso, a wild vegetable favoured by monks), as well as a tofu stew and traditional Korean pastries. Traditional folk dancing every evening is made more colourful by Nong Ju rice beer or a glass of fruit wine. Reservations recommended.

    Address: 14 Gwanghun Dong, Jongno-gu, Insadong
    Website: www.sanchon.com
    Myeongdong Hamheung Myeonok

    Myeongdong Hamheung Myeonok is one of the best Seoul restaurants to go to for a relaxed naengmyeon (cold noodle) meal. Their sweet potato noodles can be enjoyed in a delicious oxtail broth or perhaps with spicy hwae (raw fish). Open daily from 9.30am to 10pm, reservations not required.

    Address: 26-1 Myeongdong 2-ga
    Doore Yoo

    Tony Yoo is a Michelin-starred chef who aims to celebrate Korean food at his restaurant Doore Yoo. A fine dining experience set in a beautiful interior of wooden beams and stone walls, the surrounding neighbourhood with its many traditional Korean houses only add to the atmosphere. As one can expect from such a talented craftsman, the menu can vary. However, it is mostly centred on vegetable-heavy cuisine originating from the country's Buddhist temples, as well as modern reimaginings of traditional Korean cuisine using only authentic fermented sauces and pastes. There's also a foraging menu for those who ask a few days in advance. Open Monday to Sunday, 11h00 to 15h00 and 17h00 to 22h30.

    Address: 5-24, Insadong 4-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
    Dugahun

    Dugahun is found in the backyard of the Hyundai Gallery. Its name meaning 'very beautiful house', the premises have a wonderful old-fashioned style while its lovely outdoors area is ideal for alfresco dining. Menu favourites include the king crab, grapefruit and avocado salad, and the glazed beef tenderloin. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and Monday to Saturday for dinner, reservations recommended.

    Address: 109 Sagan-dong
    Wan Chai

    Chinese cuisine is popular in Seoul, as evidenced by the large number of Chinese restaurants. One of the tried and trusted restaurants is Wan Chai, with its vast menu covering all the traditional favourites. Named after Hong Kong's nightlife district, Wan Chai is popular with young Koreans and serves tasty Chinese food in a relaxed environment. Highly recommended are the spicy noodles and spicy Hong Kong shellfish.

    Address: 5-35 Jangchun-dong, Seodaemun-gu
    Baekje Samgyetang

    Opened more than 40 years ago, Baekje Samgyetang sits in the crowded Myeong-dong shopping area. Diners are seated on comfortable floor cushions around the restaurant's polished wooden tables and served traditional Korean cuisine, soups, and stews. Its samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is best accompanied by a glass of insamju (ginseng wine), while other options include ogolgye tang (silkie soup) and dakbokkeum tang (spicy chicken stew). Open daily from 9am to 10pm. Reservations are accepted but not required.

    Address: 50-11 Myeongdong 2-ga
    The Flying Pan Blue

    The Flying Pan Blue is located in a quiet Itaewon alleyway, serving as a popular café set in a lofty building charmingly furnished with mismatched chairs and furniture. The menu includes many western favourites, like chicken curry sandwiches, Saturday brunch pancakes, bagels with cream cheese, poached eggs, and the delicious chocolate mud (brownies with wine sauce). Open from breakfast till 9.30pm Monday to Saturday, reservations recommended.

    Address: 123-7 Itaewon-Dong
    Incheon International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 30 miles (50km) from central Seoul at Incheon.
    Time: GMT +9.
    Transfer Between Terminals The two terminals are connected by inter-terminal shuttles.
    Getting to the city: An express railway connection operates between Seoul station, Gimpo Airport, and Incheon International. There are bus routes travelling from Seoul to Gyeongsang, with a late-night bus service as well as free shuttles between terminals and the garage. Tickets and information can be obtained from the Bus Ticketing Office at Exits 4 and 9 indoors and Exits 3B to 6B and 10A to 13A outdoors. There is also a ferry service from Incheon Port, while taxi companies are present at the terminals.
    Car Rental: Europcar, Avis, and Sixt operate from kiosks at airport arrivals.
    Airport Taxis: To catch a taxi into Seoul, exit Arrivals via Gates 4 through 8, cross the street, and make your way to the taxi stands located at platforms 4C to 7C. The taxi ride to Seoul central will cost between KRW 55,000 and KRW 110,000 during the day, and take around one hour. Road tolls and surcharges may be added to the fare. Drivers seldom speak English so write down your destination in Korean on a piece of paper.
    Fascilities: This well-equipped airport has bureaux de change and banks, a large variety of restaurants and other eateries, numerous duty-free shops and a basement supermarket. There is a mobile phone rental outlet and internet kiosks, pharmacies, saunas, hair salons, a post office and luggage storage facilities.
    Parking There is short and long-term parking located within walking distance of the main terminal. Short-term parking rates start at KRW 1,200 for the first 30 minutes, to a daily maximum of KRW 24,000, but prices vary according to parking lot. Long-term parking, connected to the terminal building via shuttle, starts at KRW 9,000 per day.
    Website: www.airport.kr
    Gimhae International Airport
    Location: The airport is on the western side of Busan, about ten miles (16km) away.
    Time: Local time is GMT +9
    Transfer Between Terminals The terminals and parking facilities are linked via a shuttle.
    Getting to the city: There are three bus routes going from the airport to various points within the city. Many intercity buses are also available. The airport also connects to Busan's subway system and light rail, and connections can be made to most parts of the city.
    Car Rental: The car rental desk is located on the ground floor of the Domestic Terminal. Seven different rental agencies operate out of Gimhae, including Samsung and Kumho Rent-A-Car.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis and limousines are available outside both terminals.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include banks, currency exchange services, payphones, luggage storage facilities, shoe shine, convenience stores, duty-free shopping, and various dining options.
    Parking Short-term parking is charged at KRW 900 for the first 30 minutes, and KRW 300 every 10 minutes thereafter, up to a daily rate of KRW 10,000 from Monday to Thursday for any period exceeding five and a half hours. From Friday to Sunday and on public holidays, daily parking is KRW 15,000 for between eight and 24 hours. Long-term parking is KRW 7,000 per day and KRW 10,000 per day over weekends.
    Gwangju Airport
    Location: The airport is located 7 miles (11km) from downtown Gwangju.
    Time: Local time is GMT +9.
    Transfer Between Terminals Only one terminal handles passengers, while the second terminal is for cargo only. No transfers should be necessary.
    Getting to the city: Buses, taxes, and limousine buses are available to the city centre. There is also a subway station at the airport, which connects to central Gwangju along a single route.
    Car Rental: Lotte Rent-A-Car and AJ Rent-A-Car offer car hire services at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the terminal building.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include shops, cafes, and a tourist information desk.
    Parking There are two parking lots at the airport. Parking in Lot 1 costs KRW 500 for 30 minutes and KRW 200 for every 30 minutes thereafter. Daily parking is KRW 9,000 during the week and KRW 10,000 over the weekend. Fares in Parking Lot 2 are marginally cheaper.
    Jeju International Airport
    Location: The airport is located just over two miles (4km) from Jeju city centre.
    Time: Local time is GMT +9.
    Getting to the city: A number of buses link the airport to new Jeju and old Jeju. There are also limousine and city tour bus options available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include AJ, Lotte, Jeju Car Rental, and Jeju Island Car Rental. Car rental offices are located next to Gate 2 on the first floor of the terminal.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available in either regular or deluxe options. A fare in a regular taxi to Jeju City Hall is KRW 9,000 and the journey will take around 30 minutes.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include a bank, currency exchange facilities, ATMs, a tourism help desk, luggage storage, shopping (including duty-free shops), coffee shops, restaurants, a pharmacy, and a food court.
    Parking There are parking lots in front of the passenger terminal. Parking costs KRW 600 for the first 30 minutes and KRW 200 for every 10 minutes thereafter. Long-term parking costs KRW 10,000 per weekday and 15,000 per day on weekends and holidays.
    Pohang Airport
    Location: The airport is located six miles (10km) east of Pohang.
    Time: Local time is GMT +9.
    Getting to the city: City Bus 200 links the airport to the city. Travel time is between 20 and 25 minutes. Taxis are also available.
    Car Rental: Cheonma Rent-A-Car offers car hire facilities at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available to transport passengers to various stops in and around the city of Pohang.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include banking, a restaurant, a snack bar, a library, a business room, shops, and a smoking area.
    Parking Parking is free of use and is located directly in front of the passenger terminal.
    Ulsan Airport
    Location: The airport is located four and a half miles (7km) from Ulsan city centre.
    Time: Local time is GMT +9.
    Car Rental: Car rental is available and companies represented include Avis, Kumho, and Korea Express.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the airport. An average fare to City Hall is around KRW 6,000 and takes 30 minutes; Ulsan Station is KRW 19,000 and takes 40 minutes.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include ATMs, restaurants, an information and tourism desk, and a convenience store.
    Parking Parking is available opposite the terminal building and is free for the first 10 minutes. Thereafter costs are KRW 600 for the first 30 minutes and KRW 200 for each additional 10 minutes up to four hours and 15 minutes. Thereafter parking is charged at a flat rate of KRW 5,000 per day.
    Money:

    The official currency is the South Korean Won (KRW). Currency can be exchanged at most banks and at casinos. Most merchants in the cities accept major credit cards but Koreans traditionally prefer cash.

    ATMs at banks are usually accessible only during banking hours and instructions on the machines are generally only in Korean. Most public ATMs at convenience stores and subway stations are available 24 hours. Dollars are accepted in a limited number of major locations and hotels.

    Language:

    The official language is Korean.

    Electricity:

    Electric current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin, round plugs are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: A valid passport is required for entry. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

    UK nationals: A valid passport is required for entry. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

    CA nationals: A valid passport is required for entry. A visa is not required for stays of up to six months.

    AU nationals: A valid passport is required. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

    ZA nationals: A valid passport is required. A visa is not required for stays of up to 30 days.

    IR nationals: A valid passport is required. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

    NZ nationals: A valid passport is required. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All visitors require a valid passport, a return or onward ticket, sufficient funds, all documents for the next destination and a contact address in South Korea. Those requiring a visa should obtain one from a Korean Embassy or Consulate before entering the country or, if they qualify, apply for an e-visa and carry their Electronic Visa Issuance Confirmation. Visas are not required for passengers holding APEC Business Travel Cards, provided the back of the card states validity for travel to South Korea. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    There are no required vaccinations for entry to South Korea and standards of medical care are high. Payment for treatment is usually expected in advance. Travel insurance with provision for repatriation is recommended.

    Typhoid inoculations are recommended for those who plan to spend prolonged periods in rural areas. There is a small risk of malaria is rural areas. Tap water is chlorinated but may cause stomach upsets, therefore it is preferable to drink bottled water.

    Tipping:

    Tipping is not customary in Korea. Sometimes, expensive restaurants and luxury hotels may add a service charge of 10 percent. Taxi drivers are usually tipped small amounts if they assist with baggage.

    Safety Information:

    Most visits to South Korea are trouble-free. The crime rate against foreigners is low, but it is still advisable to use sensible precautions, particularly in safeguarding passports, money and credit cards in crowded areas, and travellers should be cautious, particularly at night, travelling only in legitimate taxis or public transport. The political situation is generally stable but since the Korean peninsula was divided by a demilitarised zone in 1953, tensions have risen and fallen on occasion. It is wise to be informed about current conditions. You should carry some form of identification at all times.

    Local Customs:

    English is not widely spoken or understood, so if you plan to use taxis or other local services it is wise to have instructions written down in Korean. It is advisable to carry some form of identification at all times. Social harmony is crucial, and public anger or criticism that causes an individual to 'lose face' or dignity is a serious breach of etiquette. Koreans will go out of their way to maintain a comfortable situation.

    Business:

    The increase in trade with Western countries has meant that Koreans do not expect visitors to understand all the nuances of their culture; however, attempts to respect traditions are appreciated. Koreans dress conservatively and formally and it is important to do the same. Koreans like to do business with people whom they know and often introductions via a third known party are necessary. Greetings often consist of a bow, followed by a handshake. Introductions are very important and ascertain the hierarchy, often according to age, which is to be observed and respected. Usually the most important person will be introduced first. Greetings and pleasantries in Korean will be appreciated, including 'an-yong-ha-say-yo' (hello), and 'kam-sa-ham-ni-da' (thank you). Business card etiquette is vital: cards should be given and received with both hands, with the details translated from English into Korean or Chinese on the alternate side, and must be treated with the utmost respect. Each one is to be read carefully and the name acknowledged. It is important, when issuing cards, not to stack them or keep them in one's wallet or purse. Koreans are referred to by their surnames or family names first and then their given names second and it is best to ask in advance how to address the person. The giving of gifts is appreciated and often reciprocated. Business hours are generally 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

    Communications:

    The international dialling code for South Korea is +82. Telecommunications are well developed.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers (over the age of 19) arriving in South Korea may bring in the following items free of customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco products; 57g perfume; 1 litre of alcohol (only those over 20 years old); and gifts valued at not more than 400,000 won. Products from communist countries are prohibited, as are fruit, seeds and any published or recorded material deemed to be subversive or obscene.

    Useful Contacts:

    Korea National Tourism Organisation, Seoul: +82 (0)2 729 9600 or www.knto.or.kr

    South Korea Embassies:

    South Korea Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 939 5600.

    South Korea Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7227 5500.

    South Korea Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 244 5010.

    South Korea Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6270 4100.

    South Korea Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 460 2508.

    South Korea Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 660 8800.

    South Korea Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 473 9073/4.

    Foreign Embassies in South Korea :

    United States Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 397 4114.

    British Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 3210 5500.

    Canadian Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 3783 6000.

    Australian Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 2003 0100.

    South African Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 792 4855.

    Irish Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 721 7200.

    New Zealand Embassy, Seoul: +82 (0)2 3701 7700.

    South Korea Emergency Numbers : 112 (Police); 119 (Ambulance and Fire).
    South Korea
    Korean DMZ

    The Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) is a roughly two mile (4km) stretch of demilitarised land that divides the Korean peninsula in two. The DMZ was established in 1953 at the end of the Korean War, remaining not only as one of the most heavily-armed and guarded territories on the planet but also as the last surviving relic of the Cold War.

    Daytrips which leave from downtown Seoul include guided tours of North Korean infiltration tunnels and the site of negotiations between the warring countries called the Joint Security Area (Panmunjeon).

    Upon entry, visitors are required to put their signature on an indemnity form acknowledging that they are entering a hostile area, where they face 'the possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action'.

    Another interesting aspect of the DMZ is that, due to the total absence of development in the area for nearly 65 years, the wider area has become the site of what must be the world's most unlikely wildlife sanctuary.

    An area of serene and unspoiled beauty, the sanctuary is home to several rare and endangered species, such as Asiatic black bears, Siberian tigers, Amur leopards, and beautiful migratory birds. There are some hotels and hostels in the area for those who want more than just a tour.

    Address: Korean peninsula region
    Transport: Since tours of the DMZ are strictly by reservation only, visitors will need to engage the services of a tour company to visit the site.
    Opening time: The DMZ is closed on Mondays and Korean national holidays
    Korean DMZ Korean DMZ Driedprawns
    Incheon

    Hop on a bus and visit Incheon, a major Korean port city on the West Sea. About an hour from Seoul, the surrounding irregular coastline and mountainous inland terrain provide a popular outdoor playground. While Incheon is home to an international airport, this doesn't stop it from being a charming little city surround by rice fields.

    Since the days of the Joseon Dynasty, the city has been famed for its therapeutic hot springs and the downtown hotels all operate public bath facilities and swimming pools. Visitors bathe in the spa waters, hoping to enjoy relief from skin ailments, eye problems, neuralgia, and gynaecological disease. In the Incheon Ceramics Village, there are hundreds of studios and shops with kilns producing traditional porcelain.

    Transport: Buses depart for Incheon from Dongseoul Express Bus Terminal and from Gangnam Express Bus Terminal.
    Incheon Incheon travel oriented
    Hwaseong Fortress

    Hwaseong Fortress is yet another of South Korea's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The fortress is situated in Suwon, south of Seoul central but still within the greater Seoul area. Hwaseong Fortress was completed in 1796 in order to protect the capital from Japanese invasions.

    The three-and-a-half-mile (5.7km) fortress wall weaves in and out of the modern buildings and roads of Suwon. Visitors to Suwon can climb parts of the fortress wall and marvel at the intricate and often colourful architecture that makes this extraordinary stone edifice blend in to its surroundings in a typically Korean, harmonious fashion.

    The Hwaseong fortress includes 41 watchtowers, the Great South Gate, Paldalmun, and Seobuk Gongsimdon. There are also some traditional teahouses in the vicinity of the most popular sections of the wall where visitors can stop for a refreshing cup of iced tea.

    Address: 910, Jeongjo-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
    Transport: Take Seoul Subway line 5 to the Suwon station.
    Opening time: Operating hours in the summer season are 9am to 6pm and in the winter season 9am to 5pm
    Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon dnc
    Everland

    Everland is South Korea's version of Disney Land. This massive amusement park is situated on the outskirts of Seoul and is the perfect daytrip for visitors travelling with kids. Everland has a selection of rides ranging from heart stopping to sedate.

    The amusement park hosts a variety of restaurants, a safari section, and a snow sledding area for winter visitors. There is also a fantastic water park called Caribbean Bay, a racing track, a golf course, and flower display gardens, as well as a twice-daily procession of cartoon characters and trapeze artists through the park.

    Address: 199 Everland-ro, Pogog-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
    Transport: Take bus number 6000 to Yongin from Suwon Station, there is a free shuttle bus from Yongin to Everland.
    Opening time: Operating hours are 10am to 10pm
    Website: www.everland.com
    Beautiful flowers on display at Everland Beautiful flowers on display at Everland mhambleton