South Korea has everything a traveler would need in a country. Those that love history and culture can also experience the latest trends in technology when visiting Korea. Don’t forget about the food! If you are traveling to South Korea just once, you should definitely visit Seoul. While Seoul has become very modernized, they offer a lot of historic value with Korean museums/galleries, traditional Korean houses, palaces, and temples all across Seoul. They are blended nicely next to South Korea’s new and innovative structures and the fast-paced business industry. This mixture of the old and the new is what makes it an adventure when exploring Seoul. Therefore, you won’t be able to see everything in one day so we recommend you make it a week in Seoul to get the full experience. However, before traveling to South Korea, here are some things you should know.
COVID Quarantine Conditions for Non-Residents
This information has been updated for 1/1/2022. All inbound travelers are required to quarantine themselves for 10 days upon arriving in South Korea. There are some examples granted in some cases. Short-term travelers need a K-ETA before arrival and to apply here. Travelers will need to quarantine at a designated government facility at their own cost (KRW 1,500,000 per person). Quarantine facilities are randomly assigned and cannot be changed for personal reasons. In addition, the Consent for Isolation must be completed and submitted to the airlines.
During the 10 day quarantine:
- Visitors will be tested automatically at their quarantine facility.
- Transportation from the airport to the government facility is provided.
- They shall download the latest version of ‘Self Diagnosis’ prior to entry in Korea and conduct self-diagnosis twice a day. You will also receive a phone call from the KCDA every day to check on your status.
- Packages of food and other necessities will be provided to you.
- Under no conditions, except emergencies, you must leave your quarantine facility. Smokers are encouraged to find alternatives.
- After the 10 days of quarantine, if the local authorities assess the person is still at risk, it could require a third PCR test. If not considered at risk, the third PCR test is not obligatory.
Before traveling to South Korea make sure you understand South Korea’s Visa information. For U.S. citizens that are traveling to Korea for tourism or business, there is no need for a Visa. Those that do need a Visa are students looking to study in South Korea. They will require a student Visa. The image below shows which countries do not require a visa when traveling to South Korea. Countries without a specified period have a limit of 90 days.
How much do things cost?
When traveling to South Korea it is very important to understand how much things cost. But first, you will need to understand the Korean won. 1,000 Korean won is pretty much equal to $1. Therefore if something is 10 million won, that is around $10,000. Below will be a complete breakdown of how much things will cost in South Korea. Now, these are general prices so you can have a baseline of how much things cost so you don’t get ripped off.
Meal at an average Korean restaurant – 10,000 won
- Price of Beer – 5,000 won
- Price of a shot – 5,000 won
- Caffe Latte – 5,000 won
- Price of a can of Soda – 1,000 won
- Subway Ticket (One-Way) – 1,250 won
- 5 Min Taxi Ride – 4,000 won
- 30 Min Taxi Ride – 15,000 won
- Movie Ticket – 12,000 won
- Hotel – 150,000 won
- Motel – 70,000 won
How to get a subway metro card
To ride public transportation like subways and buses in Seoul, you will need a T-Money card. The good news is that these T-Money Cards can be found in almost any convenience store like 7-Eleven, GS Mart, and CU. You can charge the card at the convenience store or at a subway station.
If you don’t want to buy a T-Money card, you can always purchase a single journey card at any subway station. You’ll have to pay a 500 won deposit when buying the ticket (1,250 won). You will get the deposit once you enter your single journey card into a return machine at the arrival station.
There is an option to get the Seoul City Pass Card. It is pretty much like a T-Money card with added discounts for certain tourist attractions, exhibitions, tours, and restaurants. The card allows you to use the subway and buses for free up to 20 times per day. The Seoul City Pass Card is available for purchase at tourist information centers, subway stations, and even convenience stores. The price of the Seoul City Pass Card is 15,000 won for a 1-day pass. 25,000 won for a 2-day pass, and 35,000 won for a 3-day pass. You can also use these cards to ride the city bus.
Foods you need to try
South Korea is known for its delicious food! We did a whole article on some of the best Korean Foods of all time. So make sure you check that out.
What Apps Do I need to Download?
When traveling to South Korea, there are only 2 key apps you need to download for the best travel experience. Other articles will tell you to download 8-10 apps, however, trust us, you only need these three when traveling to South Korea.
Naver is pretty much the Google of South Korea. Google maps do not show you the way to a destination. With Naver Maps, you will never get lost in Korea. It even tells you which subway lines and buses to take to get to your destination in the quickest way possible.
This is the WhatsApp of South Korea. Koreans mainly use Kakao to communicate with each other. When visiting South Korea, you will mainly use KakaoTalk to send messages. However, if you are planning to stay longer, there are other options within KakaoTalk that can make your stay easier.
Where should you stay in Seoul?
Seoul is a very big city, and for those who are visiting Seoul for the first time, it is crucial to stay in a location that gives you access to all the best tourist attractions, nightlife, and restaurants in Seoul. So where is the best place to stay in Seoul? No question, it is Gangnam. Gangnam offers tons of shopping opportunities, some of the best restaurants, hotels, and clubs in Seoul. The area is a very rich area and all the top luxury brands and high-end restaurants are located there. Best of all it is in the center of Seoul, which means you can get to any destination within 30 minutes taxi ride.
Places you must visit
There are so many places to visit when traveling to South Korea. However, if you want a complete breakdown, we did an article on the coolest places to visit in Seoul. Makes sure you check it out.
No Tipping in South Korea
There is no tipping in South Korea. Sometimes it can be looked at as rude. So it is recommended you do not tip at all. You don’t have to tip at a bar or club either. The same goes for taxi drivers, tour guides, and even Doorman.
No added Tax
Korea has a sales tax of 10%, however, it is already included in the price. Therefore whatever price you see advertised or listed, that is the exact price you will need to pay.