Korea has always been an attractive tourist destination for travelers around the world. In addition to modern architecture, beautiful natural landscape, diverse cuisine, unique culture, and busy shopping centers, the Korean government always has policies to promote tourism to attract visitors. If you are planning to travel to Korea, do not miss this article. So, what to know before going to Korea and what to know when traveling to South Korea? Let’s check out top 13 things to know before going to Korea (things to know before going to South Korea) and things to know before traveling to Korea, things to know before visiting Korea (things to know before visiting South Korea) to find out the answer to help you have a great trip to the land of Kimchi below.

Traditional Hanbok costume | things to know before going to korea
Myeongdong night market
The bustling street of Myeongdong.
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Seoul street food | things to know before going to korea

Things to know before going to Korea: How to getting around Korea

Korea is also an Asian country with a developed public transportation system. So traveling in Korea will not be very difficult if you grasp some basic information below. I will show you how to get around in each region.

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From Incheon airport to Seoul

Most of you going to Korea for the first time often choose to come to Seoul first, so I will guide on how to getting around Seoul and nearby areas. Incheon Airport is quite far from the city center (about 70 km), so do not be foolish to take a taxi. Choose AREX Express Train or bus is the best.

Seoul_Buses
Seoul Buses | things to know before going to korea
  • Bus: At any terminal of the airport there will be signs to the bus ticket counter. You should buy tickets to the station closest to your hotel, check the bus number and go to the bus stop that printed on the ticket. Remember not come too late because the bus in Korea always is on time.
  • AREX Express Train: I recommend you choose this way because it’s the cheapest and fastest way to Seoul center. Book in advance at Klook you will save a little more than buying directly at the airport.
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AREX All Stop Train | things to know before going to korea

After booking, you will get an e-voucher via your email, then go to the ticket counter to change your electronic voucher to a paper ticket, then get on the train ^^

Arex Train ticket show the seat number, cabin and magnetic card to enter AREX train station | things to know before going to south korea

Link to book AREX train tickets: [Limited Offer] AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket in Seoul.

Travel in Korea with T-money card

Seoul subway Line 3 train
Seoul Subway Line 3 train

T-money will be a good friend to take you all the way of the land of kimchi. This is a multi-function card that helps you take public transportation such as bus, subway in the cities of Seoul, Busan, Jeju and a few other places such as Geonggi-do, Daejeon, Incheon …

Link to buy T-money card: Klook Tmoney Card Pick Up and Delivery (ICN/TW/MY/TH/PH).

Transportation Cards
Using T-money card on bus by swipe

Using public transportation to travel in Korea you can save you quite a lot of money. Especially the subway system, it connects all the districts of Seoul and surrounding areas. It means you can go by subway to wherever you want. It’s cheap and convenient, there’s no reason not to take the subway.

Seoul subway map

With the holy T-money card, you won’t have to buy single tickets when you want go, just swipe the card at the station entrance or on the bus. When the money runs out, top up again via tickets vending machines available at all subway stations. Or you also can top up at convenience stores. Buy once you can use the card for your trip or the next trips. The validity of the card is 50 years, so you can keep it for the next trip when you return to Korea to use =)))

T-money card top-up machines

Things to know before traveling to Korea: Where to stay in Seoul?

Actually, this depends on your preference and budget. If you like the bustling areas, easy to find food and shopping, you can choose Myeong-dong. I see most tourists coming to Korea stay here. I am not too important in terms of accommodation, just cheap and “not dirty” is okay. Save money for food, haha. Only a small note when choosing accommodation is that you should choose hotels near the subway station to save travel time. Not too far, it only takes about 10 minutes to walk from the hotel to the station is okay. Further away it will be very tiring to walk!

Hongdae Seoul
Nice view hostel at Hongdae, Seoul

It is not too difficult to find a cheap hotel in the center such as Myeongdong, Hongdae … Room rates per night ranges from 20-25 USD per person. However, you must book in advance to have good price.

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Shopping and dining paradise in Myeong-dong | what to know when traveling to south korea

List of hotels near the center for anyone who needs this. If you find a hotel you like, just book right away, don’t need to check it too much because Living Nomads has already checked it out for you. Rest assured ^^.

Things to know before visiting Korea: Clothes

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Korea in winter | what to know when traveling to south korea

South Korea has four distinct seasons, in which the summer temperature is very high, from 30-40 degrees Celsius and in the winter, the lowest temperature is -20 degrees Celsius. You should choose suitable clothing for each season and bring follow sneakers because you have to walk a lot.

What to know before going to Korea: What to eat in Korea?

Black-Pork jeju
Black bork specialty in Jeju. | what to know when traveling to south korea

Only when you have enough to eat, you have the power to explore, right? In Korea, in addition to the shopping paradises, cosmetics, and beauty scenes, food is a thing you can not miss. Those who love Korean movies are probably familiar with some special dishes here. But where to eat for delicious? I have reviewed the details bit by bit here, anyone who like me should refer to it before going.

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Grilled lobsters
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Seoul street food | what to know when traveling to south korea

Korean food is very diverse, picky and quite spicy. Some dishes you should try when coming to Korea are tokbokki (spicy rice cake), fish cakes (odeng), patbingsu, barbecue… Special traditional dish that nutritious is Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup). It will be interesting if you try to go into a small tent in the middle of the street and eat tokbokki like Korean movies.

Credit: 5 days in seoul blog. seoul-street-food-1533289916-1000X561
Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes), one of must eat foods in Seoul
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Korean Seafood and Green Onion Pancakes (Haemul Pajeon) | what to know when traveling to south korea

Most of you will have to walk to restaurants in Korea because “good food” is not easy to find. Not every step out of the subway station is find hot eateries right away. You should definitely have to own a 4G sim card to connect to the internet to find the way. Want to eat well, you have to take a little hard, hehe.

Link to buy 4G sim: Prepaid SIM Card/4G Data SIM Card (KR Airport Pick Up) for South Korea (Unlimited Data).

Things to know before visiting South Korea: Where to go in Korea?

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Jeju, the paradise island of South Korea. | things to know before going to south korea

It is not difficult for you to search out interesting attractions in Korea, so many detailed articles. So I only will introduce some suitable places for a trip itinerary because you can’t go to all of Korea in one trip.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

cherry blossom in spring of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul (1)
Gyeongbokgung Hall | things to know before going to south korea

First, let’s go to some places in Seoul first. Gyeongbokgung Palace – the most beautiful palace in the land of kimchi. You can visit the palace from 9am – 6pm in March to October. From November to February, the opening hours of the palace is 9am – 5pm. The entrance fee is 3.000 won/adult, 1.500 won/children. The palace closed on Tuesdays.

Gyeongbokgung palace hanbok
Tourists wearing Korean traditional costumes at Gyeongbokgung | things to know before going to south korea

You can rent Hanbok to take photos at the palace here. Full clothes, shoes, hats, hair neatly. Who wants to be the royal bride, book Hanbok right away. If you wearing Hanbok traditional costume, you will get free admission to the palace. It’s awesome, right?!

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Hanbok and stone wall of Gyeongbokgung | things to know before going to south korea

Link to book Hanbok here: [Sale] Hanbok Experience (Hanboknam Gyeongbokgung Store) with Korean Hairstyling.

Seoul Bukchon Hanok Village

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Bukchon Hanok Village, one of the best places to visit in Seoul. | things to know before traveling to korea

Near the Gyeongbokgun Palace is Bukchon Hanok Village, after visiting the palace you can stop by here. The village has a unique architecture with ancient wooden houses, high slopes, a traditional beauty of the land of kimchi. There is also a Hanbok rental service, if you do not like wearing Hanbok at the palace, you still have the opportunity to wear Hanbok here.

hanbok
Hanbok, the traditional costume of South Korea | things to know before traveling to korea

Link to book Hanbok here: Bukchon Oneday Hanbok Rental Experience (4/24 Hrs).

N Seoul Tower

| things to know before traveling to korea

N Seoul Tower located on Namsan Mountain – the highest point in Seoul, where you can watch the whole city of Seoul. The cable car price is about 8.500 won/round-trip. There are also many interesting recreational activities here. You should come here in the afternoon, then visit, eat, dinner… then watching the Seoul at night on the observation deck of the tower.

N Seoul Tower
Night View | things to know before traveling to korea

Book the tickets to visit the tower to save 20% here: N Seoul Tower Ticket Combos in Seoul.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon stream
Cheonggyecheon Stream | things to know before visiting korea

Cheonggyecheon Stream flows in the heart of Seoul city, familiar image on film. This is definitely a check-in spot that cannot be missed.

Nami Island

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Row of yellow ginkgo tree in Nami Island. | things to know before visiting korea

If you’ve been to Korea, don’t forget to set foot on Nami Island. Remember guys! I firmly believe that anyone who loves Korea will know this island. Sometimes you probably don’t know the name, but see the picture, you will know where it is (I swear !!!) because the Winter Sonata movie filmed here. Anyone who doesn’t watch Korean movies should goes (like me) because it’s really beautiful. Beautiful all year round, four seasons are attractive to visitors. Whoever goes with lover, or a newly married couple should choose this place for the vacation!

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You can getting around the island by bike | things to know before visiting korea
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Magical Nami in winter | things to know before visiting korea
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Romantic destination for couples | things to know before visiting south korea
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The scene in Winter Sonata movie | things to know before visiting south korea

Looking at the pictures above is very beautiful, right? After watching, I just want to come back again. Nami is more than 60km from Seoul. However, do not worry, following my guide is always easy and cheapest. Please trust me =))). I book a tour package of Klook to visit Nami, French Village, Garden of Morning Calm, 3-IN-1 with extremely reasonable price. The shuttle bus will pick up you in Seoul, with your guide accompanying you throughout the tour. Spending 1 day on this tour is really not wasted at all!

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Romantic autumn scene on Nami island | things to know before visiting south korea
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Four seasons in Nami Island

Link to book the tour: [Limited Offer] Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm, and Gangchon Rail Bike Day Tour from Seoul.

If you have more time, let go further to other cities and islands of Korea such as Busan or Jeju Island. Klook’s products & services in Korea will make your self-sufficient journey to Korea more interesting. Plus the Korail Pass, you can travel smoothy throughout Korea. Guide to using Korail Pass card helps you save maximum travel costs for the trip here.

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Gamcheon culture village, Busan | things to know before visiting south korea

Things to know before going to Korea: What to buy as gifts from Korea?

korean banana milk
Korean banana milk | what to know before going to korea

I don’t know about you, guys, but as for me, I want to bring back home everything from Korea. Everything is cute and cheap, especially cosmetics. Very tempted !!! If you don’t sober you will burn your wallet as a gambler. I have drawn from my experience, giving you things you should really buy as gifts when visiting Korea. Please refer to it to avoid repeat the same my mistakes here: Must buy in Korea — Top 23 cheap, famous & best things to buy in Korea (South Korea).

Craft a Souvenir with Korean Traditional Paper
A craft souvenir with Korean Traditional Paper | what to know before going to korea

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from Seoul you can refer to:

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Pink muhly grass in Korea in autumn. | what to know before going to korea

Are you looking for more Korea travel tips? Read more: Korea travel tips — 10 useful tips to traveling to South Korea for the first time.

Living Nomads celebrates and is inspired by explorers and their passion for travel, curiosity about the world and unique points of view. Travel is eye-opening. Curious. Daring. Fun. We are here to help you travel better, cheaper & longer! Discover the art of traveling anywhere you want.