Ultimate Guide to Gap Year Travel: Tips,...
Location:Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Currency:South Korean won (KRW)
Area:99,720 sq km
Population:51,715,162 (July 2021 est.)
Languages:Korean, English (widely taught in elementary, junior high, and high school)
Religion:Protestant 19.7%, Buddhist 15.5%, Catholic 7.9%, none 56.9% (2015 est.)
Things to Do
1. Exploring the palaces of Seoul
Visit the historic palaces of Seoul, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, to learn about the rich history and culture of South Korea.
2. Hiking in Seoraksan National Park
Explore the stunning natural beauty of Seoraksan National Park, with its lush valleys, towering peaks, and crystal clear streams.
3. Visiting the DMZ
Experience the tension and history of the Korean War by visiting the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates North and South Korea.
4. Trying traditional Korean cuisine
Indulge in the delicious and diverse flavors of traditional Korean cuisine, including dishes like bibimbap, kimchi, and bulgogi.
5. Exploring Jeju Island
Discover the natural wonders of Jeju Island, including stunning beaches, volcanic landscapes, and unique cultural sites.
6. Shopping in Myeongdong
Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Myeongdong, one of Seoul's most popular shopping districts, offering a wide range of local and international brands.
7. Templestay in a Buddhist temple
Immerse yourself in the peaceful and spiritual environment of a Buddhist temple by participating in a templestay program, which includes meditation, tea ceremonies, and temple meals.
8. Visiting the Jagalchi Fish Market
Experience the vibrant and bustling atmosphere of the Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan, where you can find a wide variety of fresh seafood.
9. Attending a K-pop concert
Immerse yourself in the world of K-pop by attending a live concert, featuring popular Korean music groups and energetic performances.
10. Exploring the historic city of Gyeongju
Step back in time and explore the ancient history of Gyeongju, known as the 'museum without walls', with its historic temples, tombs, and artifacts.
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South Korea has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Spring is from March to May, summer is from June to August, fall is from September to November, and winter is from December to February. The temperature in South Korea can vary greatly depending on the season, but generally, the average temperature ranges from 10-20 °C (50-68 °F) in spring and fall, 20-30 °C (68-86 °F) in summer and -5 to 0 °C (23 to 32 °F) in winter.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit South Korea depends on your personal preferences and what you want to see and do during your trip. Spring and fall are considered the best times to visit as the weather is mild and the scenery is beautiful. The cherry blossoms in spring and the fall foliage are particularly popular. However, if you want to experience the beaches and hot springs, summer would be the best time to visit. Winter is the best time to experience the snow and skiing in the mountainous areas.
South Korea experiences a considerable amount of precipitation throughout the year, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in the summer months. The eastern coastal regions of the country tend to receive more rainfall than the western inland regions. Visitors should be prepared for rain, regardless of the time of year they visit.
South Korea has a wide range of hotel options for visitors, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. Visitors can find hotels in all major cities and tourist destinations, including Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island. Many hotels offer traditional Korean-style accommodation called "hanok" which offer a unique and authentic experience.
Guesthouses and Hostels
For budget-conscious travelers, South Korea has a variety of guesthouses and hostels available. These accommodations offer basic amenities at a lower cost than hotels. They are a great option for backpackers and solo travelers.
Vacation rentals such as apartments, villas and traditional Korean houses (Hanok) are also available in South Korea. They offer more privacy and space than hotels and are a great option for families or groups traveling together. They can be found in popular tourist destinations such as Seoul and Jeju Island.
Traditional Korean Accommodation
For a truly unique and authentic experience, visitors can also stay in traditional Korean-style accommodation called "hanok." These traditional houses are equipped with modern amenities and offer a glimpse into traditional Korean life. They can be found in cities like Seoul and Gyeongju, and also in Jeonju Hanok village.
South Korea has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, subways, and trains. The subway system in major cities like Seoul, Busan, and Incheon is fast, efficient, and affordable. Taxis are also readily available in cities and towns.
Domestic flights are also a convenient and fast way to travel within South Korea. Major airlines such as Korean Air and Asiana Airlines operate flights between major cities and tourist destinations.
Car rental is also an option for those who prefer to have more flexibility and independence while traveling. However, it's important to note that traffic in South Korea can be heavy and parking can be difficult in major cities.
Private transportation such as private cars or limousines with a driver can also be arranged for those who prefer more comfort and convenience. These services can be booked in advance and are especially useful for travelers who plan to visit several destinations in one day.
- The currency of South Korea is the Korean won (KRW).
- Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 won.
- Banknotes come in denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 50,000 won.
Cash And Cards
- Credit cards are widely accepted in major establishments, but it's always good to carry some cash for smaller shops and local markets.
- ATMs usually accept international bank cards, but it's a good idea to notify your bank about your travel plans before leaving.
- ATMs are widely available throughout South Korea.
- Look for ATMs at convenience stores, banks, and subway stations.
- Most ATMs offer an English language option.
- Tipping is not widely practiced in South Korea.
- Service charges are often included in bills.
- If you want to show appreciation for exceptional service, a small tip or rounding up the bill is appreciated.
Cost Of Living
- The cost of living in South Korea can vary depending on the city.
- Major cities like Seoul can be more expensive compared to smaller cities and rural areas.
- Accommodation, dining, and transportation tend to be the major expenses.
- Be cautious of fraudulent taxi drivers who take longer routes to increase the fare.
- Be wary of strangers offering drinks or invitations to private establishments.
- Always use licensed taxis and insist on using the meter.