• Tue. May 28th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Traveling To South Korea: 5 Essential Tips

Even since before Gangnam Style lit up the world and was the first YouTube video to cross 1 billion views, South Korea has been a favorite tourist destination.

Between incredible history and culture, delicious food, beautiful destinations, and 24/7 activities, there’s so much for travelers to sink their teeth into.

But before you head off though into the land of K-pop, idols, and incredible delights, be sure to pay attention to these five expert South Korea travel tips to have an amazing vacation.

1. Get a T-Money Card

T-Money cards can do a little bit of everything. Not only are they good for all of Korea’s excellent public transportation—including on Jeju island—you can also use it to pay for goods at convenience stores and even get things out of compatible vending machines. To sweeten the deal, you can even use them to pay for your taxis.

That’s why they’re essential not just for travelers but everybody in Korea. Take out some cash, load up your card, and be ready for adventure.

2. Connectivity Won’t Be Cheap

Unlike traveling to Southeast Asia, getting a travel SIM card or rental phone in Korea can be pricey. The cheapest options will end running you about US $50-60 for just a few days.

Fortunately, there is WiFi nearly everywhere in Korea. In addition, on the subway and sometimes on busses, there are tons of cafes, restaurants, and other places that have it.

However, as with anywhere, you need to be careful when using public WiFi. You don’t know if hackers have put malware on the network or who might be monitoring.

Do yourself a favor and install a VPN on all your devices. VPNs protect and encrypt your internet connection making it difficult for anybody to track what you do. That’s why whether in Korea or even back at home, you should always use one.

3. Learn a Little Korean

Although most Korean study English in school for at least 5-6 years, there are still many people who don’t speak English or have a hard time understanding it.

Fortunately, a little travel Korean will get you very far. Use an app like Learn Korean so you’ll know some of the basics. It not only will make getting around much easier, but it is a nice way to make some friends and be a good guest in the country.

4. Embrace Saunas and Jjimljilbangs

Korean saunas and jjimljilbangs (relaxing rooms) are absolutely the best places for travelers. Not only is it a good place to get cleaned up, but you can soak in the tub, detox after a long night out, and generally chill.

They are a major part of Korean culture and a nice place to taste authentic Korean living. But here’s the best part. You can stay in many saunas overnight for as little as US $5, and since they are open 24/7, they are a good option for people arriving late at night who don’t want to pay for an expensive hotel room.

There’s even an excellent sauna at the Incheon Airport to refresh before leaving the country.

5. Embraces Busses (and trains)

The Korean high-speed train network is truly excellent. You can get just about anywhere in the country in under 2.5 hours.

But the busses are what truly rock. The busses, which are much cheaper than the trains, will take you places the train networks won’t connect to. They are also very comfortable and have excellent schedules. Some intercity busses leave as often as every 10 minutes!

Likewise, Seoul also has dedicated bus lanes for the city busses. That means you can zip across Seoul much quicker than the taxis around you that will be stuck waiting in traffic.

So, while Seoul’s subway may get all the glam, don’t miss out on the incredible busses there.

Have an Incredible South Korean Adventure

South Korean is impressive. That’s a lot of the reason why so many people go there to teach English and end up never leaving. Whether you want to ski at PyeongChang, relax at the beaches of Busan, or soak up all the city lights of Seoul, there’s so much to do and see.

That’s why we have one last piece of advice. Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy Korea. It may be small, but it’s packed with so many things that you’ll have a hard time leaving!

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