Re-appearing on the world's travel radars, South Korea has emerged from history as a dynamic destination full of spirit and surprises.
Enchanting travellers with temples full of mystique, markets brimming with divine handicrafts and some of the most underrated cuisine in the world - isn't it about time you surrendered to South Korea's charms?
Our South Korea trips
Articles on South Korea
South Korea travel highlights
Shop for keepsakes in the malls and markets of Seoul
See palaces, pagodas and temples on a walking tour through Gyeongju
Make tasty, Korean delicacies in a cooking class
South Korea holiday information
At a glance
Best time to visit South Korea
Geography and environment
Top 5 Culinary Delicacies of Korea
Health and Safety
South Korea travel FAQs
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into South Korea. . Most travellers do not need visas for Korea for stays of up to 30 days. You must also have an onward or return ticket.
If you are a male of Korean origin whose name appears on the Korean family register, you may be liable for military service even if you are travelling on your foreign passport.
Tipping in some establishments (particularly more traditional ones) is considered impolite, and is sometimes indicated with a 'no tipping' sign! Western-style, tourist-orientated places, however, usually welcome and receive tips. Use your discretion.
With one of the most developed internet infrastructures in the world, accessing the internet is easy is South Korea. Wi-Fi hot spots and cyber cafes are easily found in the cities, although when travelling in remote areas please be aware that internet access may be harder to find.
Travellers should be able to use their mobile phones in South Korea's cities and urban areas, as coverage is good. As in other countries, rural and mountainous areas may have less mobile phone receptivity. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
South Korea has a combination of squat toilets and western-style flushable toilets. It's a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer or soap as these are rarely provided in public toilets.
Can of soft drink = 2,000 Won
Bottle of local beer = 3,000 Won
Street food meal = 2000-4000 Won
Basic restaurant meal (soup, noodles etc.) = 6000-10,000 Won
Bottle of mid-range wine = 15,000 Won
Sit-down dinner at a nice restaurant = 20,000-40,000 Won
Tap water is considered safe to drink in many parts of South Korea unless otherwise marked. Ask your leader for guidance if you are unsure whether to drink tap water in the area you are travelling in.
Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels and large retailers. Smaller shops and restaurants may not accept credit cards, so always carry enough money to cover purchases, as paying with a credit card may not always be an option in South Korea.
ATMs are plentiful in large cities and urban centres, although not all ATMs accept foreign cards. Look for Global or Citbank ATMs, which usually accept cards from other countries.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
1 Jan New Year's Day
27 Jan Seollal
28 Jan Seollal
29 Jan Seollal
1 Mar March 1st Movement / Independence Movement Day
3 May Buddha's Birthday
5 May Children's Day
6 Jun Memorial Day
15 Aug Liberation Day
3 Oct Chuseok / Korean Thanksgiving
3 Oct National Foundation Day (Gaecheonjeol)
4 Oct Chuseok / Korean Thanksgiving
5 Oct Chuseok / Korean Thanksgiving
9 Oct Hangeul Day
25 Dec Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in South Korea go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/south-korea/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for South Korea
1. Be considerate of South Korea’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.