South Korea travel advice
Planning your trip
South Korea has an efficient bullet train network between cities and metro systems inside them. However, the country doesn’t have much infrastructure for getting international visitors to the main attractions. Your specialist will use their extensive knowledge of the country to get around this issue. They’ll design a seamless trip that includes all the sights and destinations that you want to see, according to your interests and preferences.
Korean is the official language on the peninsula. English is often spoken in Seoul, but its use is limited in local restaurants and markets. The further from the cities you go, the less likely you are to encounter English.
Food & drink
South Korea is highly regarded for its complex cuisine, which ranges from simple street food to complex temple meals with many courses. Fish is featured prominently, caught off the peninsula’s coastline and often served raw. You’ll also find plenty of dishes made from beef, pork and chicken — fried chicken is one of the country’s signature dishes. Strong spices and bold tastes are common, and a South Korean table isn’t fully set without a bowl of kimchi, their popular fiery fermented cabbage condiment.
The national drink, soju, is a strong rice wine with a widely variable alcoholic content. You’ll also find beer served throughout the country, especially alongside fried chicken.
In recent years, the influx of international visitors means that South Koreans have been more willing to cater to vegetarianism or other dietary requirements.
Festivals & public holidays
South Korea celebrates 13 national holidays. The two biggest — Seol (New Year) and Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival) — are timed to the lunar year, and shift around the Western calendar. Your specialist will help you plan around those celebrations, which often entail long traffic jams as the cities empty out and urban dwellers head to rural hometowns. The first of January is also celebrated.
Children’s Day, which falls on 5th May, is a celebration of the country’s youngest generation. Family-friendly destinations likes zoos and amusement parks are packed for the holiday.
There is no tipping in South Korea.
The country calling code for South Korea is +82. Your specialist can help you determine how your phone will work in South Korea, depending upon your provider. Wi-Fi is available at all hotels and most train stations, but when you’re out and about, we suggest renting a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Your specialist can help you arrange this.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
When to go to South Korea
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to South Korea.
11 hours direct (London to Seoul)