Traveling in Korea can be quite an experience if you are accompanied by a person who knows the place well. But, if you or your group are new to the place, there are certain things that you should know before you pack your bags. First of all, you need to know as much as you can about the people, their cultural background and the laws prevailing in the country. Do your homework thoroughly and if that’s not possible, hire a local guide to enjoy your trip the most. Below mentioned are a few tips that may help the first timers understand what to expect at this new place.
Traveling in Korea – Some important facts and tips
The number of days you want to spend traveling in Korea depends on your reasons for travelling there. Some people visit Korea for sight seeing, some for shopping, some are medical tourists and there are yet others who visit the place for a cosmetic makeover. However, the majority of the people visit Korea for sight seeing, if this is you, a minimum of 10 days is required to travel around the country and visit all those remote villages that are worth paying a visit. Now let’s have a look at certain important factors that you will come across during your stay in Korea.
Whenever you are travelling outside the country, you will have to take utmost care of your health and hygiene, or the entire tour becomes a nightmare. Generally, most of us take utmost care as far as drinking water is concerned. However, in Korea, there is no need to worry about it. There are taps everywhere that supply clean drinking water and there is is no need for you to buy water bottles from the local store. Koreans all over the country use this water for their domestic purposes as well. So, it is relatively safe to drink water from a tap even in public areas. Which ever tourist destination you may visit, you will find quite a few number of public toilets and you will be surprised to see that they are very clean. They even have the toilet paper intact. On the contrary, you will not find enough dustbins to put the trash away. So you will have to carry the trash until you find a dustbin. As far as weather is concerned, it can grow very hot in here, especially, in between July and August. You can hardly step out of your room without applying sunscreen lotion and wearing a cap on during this period. The best time to visit Korea is during Spring season, which is between April and June.
Travelling in Korea – Taxis, Sub-Ways and T-Money Cards
You will have to use a lot of public transport while traveling in Korea. Most foreign travelers get to know a lot of information from Seoul form. However, this information can not be accurate at all times, some things might have changed or no more in existence. KTO website doesn’t have enough information either. Unlike many people think, getting the T-money card is easy, but finding a machine having English buttons and to get a refund of the unused money in the card isn’t. If you are using the sub-way for just about 3 to 4 times a day, then it is suggested that you opt for single use ticket which is much more cost-effective compared to the T-money cards.
While hiring taxis, you need to be even more careful. There are cheap taxis as well as the expensive ones. You might not be able to differentiate the cheaper ones from the expensive ones. Here is the tip. Avoid black taxis as much as possible as they are often expensive and instead, opt for orange or silver cabs, they are generally less expensive. Also pay attention to fares, as far as possible insist the drivers to go by the meter and not on a fixed price basis. This can sometimes be expensive, but it allows the drivers to charge only that much which actually costs them.
Culture and Language
Koreans give a lot of respect to their culture and their language (Korean). Not many people, including vendors, speak English. Even if you go to the busiest of the tourist places, you can hardly find any sales person who can communicate with you in English. Most of the pricing issues and bargaining is done through calculators and hand gestures. So, it is recommended that you hire a local tourist guide if you want to go on a shopping spree.