SOUTH KOREA

SOUTH KOREA

SOUTH KOREA

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Name: Gyeongbokgung
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Gyeongbokgung was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built in 1395, it is located in northern Seoul, South Korea. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings' households, as well as the government of Joseon.

Gyeongbokgung continued to serve as the main palace of the Joseon dynasty until the premises were destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (1592–1598) and abandoned for two centuries. However, in the 19th century, all of the palace's 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Prince Regent Heungseon during the reign of King Gojong. Some 500 buildings were restored on a site of over 40 hectares.

In the early 20th century, much of the palace was systematically destroyed by Imperial Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex is gradually being restored to its original form. Today, the palace is arguably regarded as being the most beautiful and grandest of all five palaces. It also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum within the premises of the complex.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyeongbokgung
Name: Namiseom
Location: Chuncheon, South Korea
Namiseom or Nami Island is a half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea, formed as the land around it was inundated by the rising water of the North Han River as the result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944. Its name originates from General Nami, who died at the age of 28 after being falsely accused of treason during the reign of King Sejo, the seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Although his grave was not discovered, there were a pile of stones where his body was supposed to be buried. It was believed that if someone took even one stone from there, it would bring misfortune to their house. A tour company arranged the grave with soil and then developed Namiseom into an amusement park.

Naminara (lit. "Nami Country") is a micronation, and the "visa" issued by Naminara is required in order to enter Namiseom. It declared itself a self-governing country in 2006 as acceding to General Nami's natural greatness of soul and appointed Ryu Hongjun as the 1st head of culture and Suzanna Samstag Oh as a foreign head.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namiseom
Name: N Seoul Tower
Location: Seoul, South Korea
The N Seoul Tower, is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea. At 236 metres (774 ft), it marks the second highest point in Seoul. Built in 1971, the N Seoul Tower is South Korea's first general radio wave tower, providing TV and radio broadcasting in Seoul. Currently, the tower broadcasts signals for Korean media outlets, such as KBS, MBC and SBS.

Many visitors ride the Namsan cable car up the Mt. Namsan to walk to the tower. The tower is renowned as a national landmark and for its cityscape views. It attracts thousands of tourists and locals every year, especially during nighttime when the tower lights up. Photographers enjoy the panoramic view the tower offers. Each year, approximately 8.4 million visit the N Seoul Tower, which is surrounded by many other attractions South Korea offers, including Namsan Park and Namsangol Hanok Village.

The N Seoul Tower is illuminated in blue from sunset to 23:00 on days where the air quality in Seoul is 45 or less. The Tower puts on many different shows, including the "Reeds of Light" and "Shower of Light.”

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_Seoul_Tower
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO SOUTH KOREA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Korean
Currency: South Korean Won (KRW)
Time zone: KST (Korea Standard Time) (UTC+9)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +82
Local / up-to-date weather in Seoul (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for South Korea travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to South Korea, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO SOUTH KOREA.

The currency of South Korea is the South Korean won, denoted by ₩ (ISO code: KRW) and written 원 (won) in the Korean language.

Bills come in denominations of ₩1,000 (blue), ₩5,000 (red), ₩10,000 (green) and ₩50,000 (yellow). The ₩50,000 is very practical if you need to carry around a reasonable amount of cash, however it can be hard to use on goods or services with a value of less than ₩10,000. The ₩50,000 can be hard to find and often only provided by ATM’s that display a picture of the yellow note on the outside.

₩100,000 “checks” are frequently used, and some of the checks go up to ₩10,000,000 in value. These checks are privately issued by banks and can be used instead of cash for larger purchases, such as hotel rooms.

Coins mainly come in denominations of ₩10, ₩50, ₩100 and ₩500. Very rare ₩1 and ₩5 coins do exist. Generally speaking it is rare to buy anything valued less than ₩100.

Banking and payment:

Credit card acceptance at shops, hotels and other businesses on the other hand is very good, and all but the very cheapest restaurants and motels will accept Visa and MasterCard. Even small purchases such as ₩4,000 for a coffee are okay. This works well since credit cards have good exchange rates, however if you are using a foreign card then you should ensure with your bank that there isn’t a fee for this foreign transaction.

ATMs are ubiquitous, although using a foreign card with them is rather hit and miss, except for foreign bank ATMs like Citibank. There are however many special global ATMs which accept foreign cards. They can generally be found at Shinhan/Jeju Bank, airports, in areas frequented by foreigners, in major cities, some subway stations, and in many Family Mart convenience stores — most of the time indicated by the “Foreign Cards” button on the screen. Some banks, such as Citibank, have a fee of ₩3,500 for foreign cards. Before heading to the countryside where foreign cards are less likely to be accepted, be sure to have cash or another source of money.

T-money smart cards are an alternative source of payment accepted widely, especially for public transportation. (See § Smart cards.) Some other cities have their own smart cards, and topping up T-money outside of Seoul can be a problem but at Shinhan/Jeju Bank it should always be possible. You may need to ask the local cashier for help due to the Korean-only menus/buttons.

If you plan on staying in South Korea for a longer time, you’ll probably want to set up a bank account at a Korean bank such as Woori Bank, which can then be used at the bank’s ATMs throughout the country. (Even some non-local accounts can do this, e.g. Woori Bank accounts setup in China come with an ATM card that can be used with all its ATMs in South Korea.) Many banks will even allow you to open an account on a tourist visa, though the services you will be able to access will often be very limited. Some of the larger banks may have English-speaking staff on hand at their major branches.

SMART CARDS:

Seoul’s public transportation smart card is known as T-money (티머니 Ti-meoni) card. This can be used on many local buses and subways throughout the country, as well as some taxis. Fares and transfers up to 30 minutes are calculated automatically; just tap on and tap off when riding on buses and trains. (In some buses in the countryside, you only need to tap on; watch locals to see what they do.) It even gives you a ₩100 discount on bus and subway rides, which is even more reason to use it. The card costs ₩4,000; it can be purchased at convenience stores displaying the T-money logo, as well as at ticket vending machines in subway stations. You can get back your credit in cash afterward, less a ₩500 fee. Some retail shops may also accept payment by T-money. T-money is also usable on the public transportation systems in many other cities, so it is a good option for travelling around South Korea.

Other cities may have their own public transportation smart cards as well such as Busan’s Hanaro Card. Unlike T-money, these cards are often not usable outside their respective metropolitan areas, making them somewhat less useful for visitors unless you plan to only stay within that area.

BY PLANE:

South Korea is a relatively small country with a fast and efficient train service, so flying is not necessary unless you are going to the island of Jeju.

Nevertheless, plenty of airlines fly between the main cities at a cost comparable to the KTX train. Most flights are with Korean Air or Asiana, however many new options exist with budget airlines such as T’way Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, Jin Air and Jeju Air (which despite the name also serves the busy Seoul–Gimpo to Busan route). Service is similar between full service and low-cost airlines on domestic flights; low-cost airlines offer free soft drinks and 15 kg of checked luggage.

BY TRAIN:

National train operator Korail (KR) connects major cities in South Korea. A large amount of money has been plowed into the network and trains are now competitive with buses and planes on speed and price, with high safety standards and a good deal of comfort.

South Korea’s flagship service is the high speed Korea Train eXpress (KTX) with services from Seoul to Busan, Yeosu, Mokpo, and Masan (with new services opening all the time). The trains use a combination of French TGV technology and Korean technology to travel at speeds in excess of 300 km/h. The fastest non-stop trains travel between Busan and Seoul in just over two hours. There are drink vending machines on board and an attendant that comes by with a snack cart which includes reasonably priced beer, soda, cookies, candy, sausages, hard-boiled eggs, and kimbap (rice rolls).

Non-KTX trains are poetically ranked as Saemaeul (새마을, “New Village”), Mugunghwa (무궁화, “Rose of Sharon”, which is the national flower of Korea) and Tonggeun (통근, “commuter”), corresponding roughly to express, semi-express and local services. All Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains can travel at up to 150 km/h. Saemaeul trains are a little pricier than buses, while Mugunghwa are about 30% cheaper. However, Saemaeul trains are extremely comfortable, having seats that are comparable to business class seats on airplanes. Since the introduction of the KTX, there are much fewer Saemaeul and Mugunghwa services, but they are worth trying out. Tonggeun are cheapest of all, but long-distance, unairconditioned services have been phased out and they’re now limited to short regional commuter services. Most longer-distance trains have a cafeteria car with a small cafe/bar, computers with internet access (₩500 for 15 minutes) and a few trains have private compartments with coin-operated karaoke machines!

Saemaeul and some Mugunghwa trains are equipped with power plugs on laptop seats.

Smoking is not permitted on any Korean trains or stations (including open platforms).

Seoul also has an extensive commuter train network that smoothly interoperates with the massive subway system, and Busan, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju and Incheon also have subway services.

Tickets are much cheaper than in Japan but more expensive than other Asian countries — although the damage can be lowered by travelling on local trains rather than KTX. Buying tickets is fairly easy: self-service terminals accepting cash and credit cards are in multiple languages and are very simple to use. Station staff can usually speak basic English. Most stations are clean, modern and have good signposting in Korean and English, and compared to China or Japan, Korea’s rail system is very user-friendly.

Pre-booking any train tickets a day prior (be they KTX, Saemaeul, or Mugunghwa) is recommended for weekend trips, as all trains can be booked up for hours on end. On Sunday in particular, all but local trains may regularly be completely booked up. If you don’t reserve tickets in advance when departing busy hubs such as Seoul or Busan, you may see your options reduced to “unallocated seating” on the slowest local trains (sitting on the floor in the unairconditioned space between carriages, or standing in the toilet for much of the trip). You are, however, free to sit on any seat that seems free until someone with the ticket to that seat shows up. If you are confident in your Korean, you can ask to reserve seats on sections that are available and travel standing up the rest of the way.

Korail pass:

The Korail Pass is a rail pass only for non-resident foreigners staying less than 6 months in Korea, allowing unlimited travel for a set period on any Korail train (including KTX) and including free seat reservation. The pass is not valid for first class or sleeping cars, but you can upgrade for half the price if you wish. The pass must be purchased at least five days before travel (preferably before arrival in Korea). It’s not cheap as it needs a substantial amount of travel (e.g. Seoul–Busan round trip) to pay off and severe limitations on usage apply during Korean holidays and peak traveling periods including Lunar New Year and Chuseok. Prices as of May 2015 are for a 1-day pass ₩66,900, 3-day ₩93,100, 5-day ₩139,700, 7-day ₩168,400, and 10-day ₩194,400, with discounts for youth (age 13–25), students and groups.

Joint KR/JR Passes between Korea and Japan also exist, however, considering how much of a discount the JR Pass offers, and how strikingly little the KR Pass does by comparison, it usually makes sense to just get the JR Pass.

Rail cruises:

Korail Tourism Development provides a rail cruise called Haerang, which enables the customers to travel to all the major sightseeing destinations in Korea with just one luxury train ride.

BY BUS:

Buses (버스 beoseu) remain the main mode of national transport, connecting all cities and towns. They’re frequent, punctual and fast, sometimes dangerously so, so fasten the belts you’ll often find in the seats.

There is a somewhat pointless division of long-distance buses into express buses (고속버스 gosok beoseu) and intercity buses (시외버스 si-oe beoseu), which often use separate terminals to boot. In addition, local inner-city bus (시내버스 si-nae beoseu) networks often connect directly neighboring cities. The express vs. intercity bus differentiation comes down to whether the bus uses the nation’s toll expressways (고속 gosok). In practical terms, express buses are marginally faster on long runs, but intercity buses go to more places. For additional comfort, look for udeung buses (우등 버스) which have just three seats across instead of the usual four; these cost about 50% extra. However, some intercity buses use udeung buses without extra fares on highly competitive lines such as Seoul–Andong routes. A fourth type of bus exists, which is the airport limousine bus, a separate network of express buses that ferry people directly to and from Incheon International Airport. The airport limousines typically use separate pickup points from the intercity or express bus terminals.

No Korean buses have toilets, and rest stops are not standard on trips of less than 2 hours duration, so think twice about that bottle of tea at the terminal.

Unlike trains, the bus terminal staffs and drivers are less likely to speak or understand English.

The Korean Express Bus Lines Association have timetables and fares of the Express bus routes in South Korea on their website.

BY BOAT:

Ferry boats surround the peninsula and shuttle out to Korea’s many islands. The main ports include Incheon, Mokpo, Pohang, and Busan. The most popular destinations are Jeju and Ulleungdo.

There is daily service from Busan to Jeju (April 2013). There are mostly undiscovered and scenic islands near Incheon that can seem almost deserted.

BY CAR:

An International Driving Permit (IDP) may be used to drive around South Korea. In general, road conditions are good in South Korea, and directional signs are in both Korean and English. Car rental rates start from ₩54,400/day for the smallest car with a week’s rental. South Korea drives on the right in left-hand-drive cars. South Korea also follows the American practice of allowing cars to turn right at red lights as long as they (in theory) yield to pedestrians. In contrast, left turns on green lights are illegal unless there is a blue sign pointing left saying 비보호 or a green left arrow.

If you are traveling in the big cities, especially Seoul or Busan, driving is not recommended as the roads often experience heavy traffic jams, and parking is expensive and difficult to find. Many drivers tend to get reckless under such conditions, weaving in and out of traffic. Drivers often try to speed past traffic lights when they are about to turn red, and several cars (including fully-loaded public transit buses) will typically run through lights after they have turned red, whether pedestrians are in the crosswalk or not.

Koreans consider driving rules as guidelines only, and don’t expect to be punished for parking illegally or cutting through a red light. This means that if you want to drive you will need to do so assertively by pushing yourself into an intersection and forcing other cars to yield.

A GPS is highly recommended while navigating Seoul or Busan. Lanes end or turn into bus lanes with little to no warning, and it may not always be obvious where turns are allowed. A good rule of thumb is to stay in the middle lane as cars will often illegally park in the right lane while the left lane will become a turning lane with little warning. Because of stringent national security laws that mandate navigation processing be done on local servers, Google Maps does not give driving directions in South Korea. Alternatives are Apple Maps, Bing Maps, crowd-sourced Waze and Korean KakaoNavi.

BY TAXI:

Taxis are a convenient, if somewhat pricey way of getting around the cities, and are sometimes the only practical way of reaching a place. Even in the major cities, you are extremely unlikely to get an English-speaking taxi driver, so it will be necessary to have the name of your destination written in Korean to show your taxi driver. Likewise, get your hotel’s business card to show the taxi driver in case you get lost.

Although doing so is illegal, cab drivers, particularly the cheaper white cabs on busy Friday or Saturday nights, may deny service to short-distance fares. A very handy technique to counter this is to have your destination (hotel name, or the district (구 gu) and neighborhood (동 dong), in Korean of course) written in thick black ink on a large A4 sheet of paper and hold it to the traffic. Passing cab drivers responding to long distance call outs, or with space in their cab in addition to an existing fare in that direction will often pick you up en route.

When hailing a cab in particular, ensure you follow the local custom and wave it over with your hand extended but all your fingers extended downwards and beckoning as opposed to upwards in the Western fashion (this style is reserved for animals).

EAT:

Korean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular outside of Korea, especially in other parts of East Asia and the U.S. It can be an acquired taste, with lots of spicy and fermented dishes, but it’s addictive once you get used to it and Korean food is definitely in a class of its own, mixing spicy chilies and copious amounts of garlic with delicate ingredients like raw fish. Although Korean food is quite low in fat, a fact attested to by the observation that very few South Koreans are overweight, those with sodium-limited diets should beware, as Korean cuisine can be heavy in salt.

A Korean meal is centered around rice and soup and likely a fish or meat dish, invariably served with a vast assortment of small side dishes known as banchan (반찬). The humblest meal comes with three types while a royal banquet may well feature twenty types of banchan. In addition to kimchi, typical side dishes include bean sprouts (콩나물 kongnamul), spinach (시금치 shigeumchi), and small dried fish.

The ubiquitous kimchi (김치 gimchi), made from fermented cabbage and chili, accompanies nearly every meal and ranges from mild to roaringly spicy. In addition to the common cabbage type, kimchi can also be made from white radish (깍두기 ggakdugi), cucumbers (오이 소박이 oi-sobagi), chives (부추 김치 buchu gimchi) or pretty much any vegetable that can be pickled. Many different dishes are made using kimchi for flavoring, and kimchi is served as a side dish as well. It is not uncommon to find Korean tourists carrying a stash of tightly packed kimchi when travelling abroad.

Two more condiments found in almost every dish are doenjang (된장), a fermented soybean paste akin to Japanese miso, and gochujang (고추장), a spicy chili paste.

While many of these dishes can be found throughout Korea, every city also has its own regional specialties, such as dakgalbi (닭갈비) in the city of Chuncheon.

A common perception among Koreans is that foreigners don’t like spicy food, so you might have to spend some time convincing people otherwise if you really want to eat something hot. And while Korean food undoubtedly has the neighboring bland-dieted Japanese and northern Chinese breathing fire, if you’re accustomed to, say, Thai or Mexican food, you may wonder what the fuss is about.

Foreign food restaurants are also popular, albeit usually with a Korean twist. Fried chicken has been adopted and many believe it better than the American original. Pizzas are also ubiquitous although you may wonder quite where the inspirations behind the toppings came from. Vietnamese and Mexican food appeals to Koreans as well. Japanese restaurants of all varieties are very common. Strangely enough, authentic Chinese food is somewhat hard to come by, and Koreans often think of Korean Chinese dishes such as jajangmyeon (자장면, noodles topped with a thick brown sauce, distantly related to a northern Chinese dish) with tangsuyuk (탕수육, sweet and sour pork) as Chinese dining.

Etiquette:

Korean utensils (수저 sujeo) consist of a spoon (숟가락 sutgarak) and chopsticks (젓가락 jeotgarak). Unique in Asia, Koreans use chopsticks made of metal, which don’t burn when used over a hot grill and are easier to wash and reuse. Restaurants typically provide stainless steel chopsticks, which unfortunately for the chopstick learner, are very difficult to use! These thin and slippery sticks are not as easy as the wooden or plastic chopsticks but you’ll still manage with some fumbling.

Spoons are used to eat rice, soup, and porridge. (Koreans find it strange that their Asian neighbors eat rice with chopsticks.) Dongaseu (돈가스, Japanese-style tonkatsu or fried pork cutlet) is eaten with a fork and knife. Many Korean restaurants may also offer Western cutlery to a Westerner.

When eating as a group, communal dishes will be placed in the center and everybody can chopstick what they want, but you’ll still get individual portions of rice and soup. Unless you are eating royal cuisine, most dishes are served family style.

In many traditional households, children were taught that it is impolite to speak during meals. Don’t be surprised if there’s complete silence while eating. People, particularly men, will use mealtimes to quickly eat up and move on to other things. This can be attributed to the short mealtimes during military service that most young Korean men must perform.

Some etiquette pointers:

  • Do not leave chopsticks sticking upright in a dish, especially rice. This is only done when honoring the deceased. Similarly, a spoon sticking upright into a bowl of rice is also not a good sign.
  • Do not pick up your chopsticks or start eating until the eldest at the table has begun to eat.
  • Do not lift any plates or bowls off the table while eating, as Koreans consider this to be rude.
  • Do not make noises by hitting your utensils on the food bowls and plates.

Restaurants:

Going hungry in South Korea would be difficult. Everywhere you turn, there is always somewhere to eat. Korean restaurants can be divided into a few categories:

  • Bunsik (분식) are snack eateries that have cheap, tasty food prepared quickly.
  • Kogijip (고기집), literally meaning “meat house”, are where you’ll find grilled meat dishes and fixings.
  • Hoejip (회집), “raw fish house”, serve slices of fresh fish akin to Japanese sashimi, known as hwe in Korean, and free side dishes. You’ll normally find these restaurants cluttering the shores of any waterway.
  • Hansik (한식) serve the full-course Korean meal (한정식, hanjeongsik), a Korean haute cuisine that originated with banquets given at the royal palace. Traditionally served all at once, restaurants today will serve courses separately. The meal starts with a cold appetizer and juk (죽, porridge). The main dish includes seasoned meat and vegetable dishes that can be either steamed, boiled, fried or grilled. After the meal, you are served traditional drinks such as sikhye or sujeonggwa.
  • Department stores have two types of food areas: a food hall in the basement and full service restaurants on the top levels. The food hall areas have take-away as well as eat-in areas. The full service restaurants are more expensive, but typically have the advantage of picture menus and good ambience.

Barbecues:

Korean barbecue is probably the most popular Korean dish for Westerners. In Korea, it’s split into bulgogi (불고기, thin cuts of marinated meat), galbi (갈비, ribs, usually unmarinated), and a few other categories. In these, a charcoal brazier is placed in the middle of the table, and you cook your choice of meats, adding garlic to the brazier for spice. A popular way of eating it is to wrap the meat with a lettuce or perilla leaf, adding shredded green onion salad (파무침 pa-muchim), raw or cooked garlic, shredded pickled radish (무채 muchae) and ssamjang (쌈장, a sauce made from doenjang, gochujang, and other flavorings) to your liking.

The cost of a barbecue meal depends largely on the meat chosen. In most Korean restaurants that serve meat, it is sold in units (usually 100 grams). Pork is by far the most common meat ordered; it’s much cheaper than beef and according to diners tastier. You’ll rarely see filet mignon; instead, common cuts of meat include ribs, unsalted pork bacon (삼겹살 samgyeopsal) and chicken stir-fried with veggies and spicy sauce (닭갈비 dak-galbi). Unmarinated meats tend to be higher quality, but in cheaper joints it’s best to stick with the marinated stuff.

Rice dishes:

Bibimbap (비빔밥) literally means “mixed rice”, which is a pretty good description. It consists of a bowl of rice topped with vegetables and usually shreds of meat and an egg, which you mix up with your spoon, stirring in your preferred quantity of gochujang, and then devour. Particularly tasty is dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥), served in a piping hot stone bowl (watch your fingers!) that cooks the rice to a crisp on the bottom and edges.

Another healthy and tasty option is gimbap (김밥), sometimes dubbed “Korean sushi”. Gimbap contains rice, sesame seed, a Korean variety of spinach, pickled radish, and an optional meat such as minced beef or tuna, all neatly wrapped in dried seaweed, topped with sesame oil and sliced. A single roll makes a good snack or a whole meal depending on your appetite, and they travel well. What differentiates Korean gimbap and Japanese sushi is how they prepare rice: gimbap usually uses salt and sesame oil to flavor the rice, while sushi uses sugar and vinegar.

More of a snack than a meal is tteokbokki (떡볶이), which resembles a pile of steaming intestines at first sight, but is actually rice cakes (떡, tteok) in a sweet chili sauce that’s much milder than it looks.

Soups and stews:

Soups are known as guk (국) or tang (탕), while jjigae (찌개) covers a wide variety of stews. The line is fuzzy, and a few dishes can be referred to with both (e.g. the fish soup-stew dongtae jjigae/dongtaetang), but in general, jjigae are spicier and thicker while guk/tang are milder. Both are always eaten with plenty of white rice on the side.

Common versions of jjigae include doenjang jjigae (된장찌개), made with doenjang, vegetables and shellfish, and gimchi jjigae (김치찌개), made with — you guessed it — kimchi. Sundubu jjigae (순두부찌개) uses soft tofu as the main ingredient, usually with minced pork added, but there’s also a seafood version called haemul sundubu jjigae (해물 순두부찌개) where the meat is replaced by shrimp, squid and the like.

Budae jjigae (부대찌개) is an interesting type of Korean fusion food from the city of Uijeongbu, where a US military base was located. Locals experimenting with American canned food like Spam, sausages, and pork and beans tried adding them into jjigae, and while recipes vary, most of them involve large quantities of fiery kimchi. Most places will bring you a big pan of stew and put it on a gas stove in the middle of the table. Many like to put ramyeon noodles (라면 사리) in the stew, which is optional.

Popular tang soups include seolleongtang (설렁탕), a milky white broth from ox bones and meat, gamjatang (감자탕), a stew of potatoes with pork spine and chilies, and doganitang (도가니탕), made from cow knees. One soup worth a special mention is samgyetang (삼계탕), which is a whole spring chicken stuffed with ginseng and rice. Thanks to the ginseng, it’s often a little expensive, but the taste is quite mild. It’s commonly eaten right before the hottest part of summer in warm broth in a sort of “eat the heat to beat the heat” tradition.

Guk are mostly side dishes like the seaweed soup miyeokguk (미역국) and the dumpling soup manduguk (만두국), but a few like the scary-looking pork spine and ox blood soup haejangguk (해장국), a popular hangover remedy, are substantial enough to be a meal.

Noodles:

Koreans love noodles, and the terms kuksu (국수) and myeon (면) span a vast variety of types available. They’re often sold in fast-food noodle shops for as little as ₩3000. Wheat-based noodles are a staple of Korea.

Naengmyeon (냉면) are a Korean specialty, originally from the north. The thin, chewy buckwheat noodles served in ice-cold beef broth are a popular summer dish — although it’s traditionally a winter food! They’re also a classic way to end a heavy, meaty barbecue meal. The key to the dish is the broth (육수 yuksu); the recipes of well known restaurants are usually closely guarded secrets. Generally comes in two distinct styles: Pyongyang naengmyeon and Hamhung naengmyeon.

Japchae (잡채) are yam noodles, which are fried along with some vegetables (commonly cabbage, carrots, onions) and sometimes beef or odeng (fishcake). Mandu (만두) dumplings are also very popular and are served up in steamed or fried as an accompaniment to other foods, or boiled in soup to make a whole meal.

Ramyeon (라면) is Korea’s variant of ramen, often served with — what else? — kimchi. Korean ramyeon is well known for its overall spiciness, at least when compared to Japanese ramen. The Shin Ramyun brand of instant noodles are exported to over 100 countries.

Jajangmyeon (자장면) is considered to be Chinese food by Koreans, being somewhat related to northern Chinese zhájiàngmiàn, a wheat noodle dish served with a black sauce that usually includes minced pork, onions, cucumber, and garlic. It’s typically served at (what are liberally described as) Chinese restaurants. Its sauce contains some caramel and therefore makes the overall dish sweet. A popular combination is jajangmyeon with “Chinese” sweet and sour pork and chicken.

Finally, udong (우동) are thick wheat noodles, akin to Japanese udon.

Seafood:

Since Korea is a peninsula, you can find every type of seafood (해물 haemul), eaten both cooked and raw. Restaurants where you pick your own fish — or bring it from the fish market next door — are popular, but can be very expensive depending on what you order.

Hoe (회, pronounced roughly “hweh”) is raw fish Korean-style (similar to sashimi), served with spicy cho-gochujang sauce (a mixture of gochujang and vinegar). Chobap (초밥) is raw fish with vinegared rice, similar to Japanese sushi. In both dishes, the bony parts not served raw are often made into a tasty but spicy soup called meuntang (매운탕).

Another cooked specialty is haemultang (해물탕), a spicy red hotpot stew filled crab, shrimp, fish, squid, vegetables and noodles.

Whale meat is available in a few restaurants in the cities and at festivals in smaller coastal towns, but is not easy to find and unlike Japan is not considered part of national culture. The city of Pohang has a long history of whaling, and its seafood market still openly offers whale. South Korea has outlawed whaling following the International Whaling Commission international moratorium in 1986, although makes an exception for whales caught by accident during regular fishing. Whale meat sourced from Japan has been sold in some restaurants, which is illegal (although the law is usually ignored). Whale restaurants are easy to identify, with pictures of whales on the outside leaving you in no doubt. If you choose to eat whale then you should understand that the species in question could be endangered and therefore a decision left to your own moral compass.

Other:

Jeon (전), jijimi (지짐이), jijim (지짐), bindaetteok (빈대떡) and buchimgae (부침개) are all general terms for Korean-style pan-fried pancakes, which can be made of virtually anything. Pajeon (파전) is a Korean-style pan-fried pancake laden with spring onions (파 pa). Haemul pajeon (해물파전), which has seafood added, is particularly popular. Saengseonjeon (생선전) is made of small fillets of fish covered with egg and flour and then pan fried, and nokdu bindaetteok (녹두빈대떡) is made from ground mung bean and various vegetables and meat combined.

If barbecued meat is not to your taste, then try Korean-style beef tartar, known as yukhoe (육회). Raw beef is finely shredded and then some sesame oil, sesame, pine nuts and egg yolk are added, plus soy and sometimes gochujang to taste. It’s also occasionally prepared with raw tuna or even chicken instead.

Sundae (순대, pron. “soon-deh”) are Korean blood sausages made from a wide variety of ingredients, often including barley, potato noodles and pig blood. Sundae is very tasty in spicy sauce or soup.

A squirmy delicacy is raw octopus (산낙지 sannakji) — it’s sliced to order, but keeps wiggling for another half hour as you try to remove its suction cups from your plate with your chopsticks. Sea squirts (멍게 meongge) are at least usually killed before eating, but you might be hard-pressed to tell the difference as the taste has been memorably described as “rubber dipped in ammonia”.

DRINK:

Drinkers rejoice — booze is cheap and Koreans are among the heaviest drinkers in the world. Due to the strict social norms in effect at the workplace, the drinking hall tends to be the only place where inhibitions can be released and personal relationships expressed. Significant business deals are closed not in the boardroom, but in the bar. Promotions, grants, and other business advancements are secured over drinks at singing rooms, late night raw fish restaurants, and restaurant-bars. Many Korean men are what would be considered heavy drinkers in the west, and as alcoholism is being recognized as an ailment, public moves have begun to attempt to curb alcohol intake. Don’t be surprised to see businessmen in suits lying around sleeping it off, and be careful not to step in the puddles of vomit common on the sidewalks in the mornings.

The drinking age in South Korea is 19.

Nightlife:

Compared to Western drinking habits, Koreans have adopted slightly different ways to enjoy their night out. Sure, you can find Western style bars easily, but going to a Korean style bar can be an interesting experience. Hofs (호프 hopeu, from German Hof, “yard” or “house”) are just normal beer places, which serve beer and side dishes. Customers are supposed to order some side dish to go along their drinks at most drinking establishments in Korea. Due to growing competition, many hofs have started to install various gadgets for entertainment.

Booking clubs are the Korean version of night clubs. What makes them interesting is the “booking” part of the name. It’s basically a way to meet new people of the opposite sex by introduction of the waiters (who usually bring women to visit tables of men, but increasingly vice-versa). Booking clubs are slightly more expensive than normal bars and hofs, but can be extremely fun. These can be different from American-style clubs, in that in addition to a cover charge, you are pretty much expected to order booze and side dishes (which can be quite pricey in ₩200,000-₩500,000 range and up). But other than that, the dancing and atmosphere is about the same.

One of the customary things to do at a booking club is to “dress-up” your table or booth by purchasing expensive liquors and fruit plates, which signals your “status” to the other patrons of the club (especially your gender of interest). Scotch whisky is especially marked up a great deal in Korea, so don’t be surprised to pay very high prices for that innocuous bottle of Johnnie Walker. On the other hand, it is a better value overall to buy a bottle of liquor or a “liquor set” than to purchase drinks individually.

On the other end of the spectrum, many locals go out to drink and eat with their friends at the many Korean grillhouses found throughout the city. It is not uncommon for people to consume several bottles of soju each, and mixing beer and hard liquor is encouraged. Group bonding over liquor and food is a cultural feature across South Korea.

For those who love singing as well as drinking, karaoke is popular and therefore widely available in South Korea, where it’s called noraebang (노래방). In addition to Korean songs, larger establishments may include some Chinese, Japanese and English songs.

Etiquette:

There are a few etiquette rules to observe when drinking with Koreans. You’re not supposed to fill your own glass; instead, keep an eye on others’ glasses, fill them up when they become empty (but not before), and they’ll return the favor. It’s considered polite to use both hands when pouring for somebody and when receiving a drink, and to turn your head away from seniors when drinking.

Younger people often have a difficult time refusing a drink from an older person, so be aware when asking someone younger than you if they want to drink more as they will often feel unable to say no to you. Of course, this works both ways. Oftentimes, if an older person feels you are not keeping up with the party, he may offer you his glass, which he will then fill and expect you to drink. It is considered polite to promptly return the empty glass and refill it.

Soju:

The national drink of South Korea is soju (소주), a vodka-like alcoholic beverage (usually around 20% alcohol by volume). It’s cheaper than any other drink — a 350 mL bottle can cost slightly over ₩3,000 at bars (as little as ₩1,100 at convenience stores!) — and also strong. It’s usually made by fermenting starch from rice, barley, corn, potato, sweet potato, etc., to produce pure alcohol which is then diluted with water and other flavors. The manufacturing process leaves in a lot of extraneous chemicals, so be prepared for a four-alarm hangover in the morning, even after drinking a comparatively small amount.

Traditionally, soju was made by distilling rice wine and aging it, which created a smooth spirit of about 40%. This type of traditional soju can still be found, for example Andong Soju (안동 소주) — named after the town of Andong — and munbaeju (문배주). These can be expensive, but prices (and quality) vary considerably.

Historically, there were numerous brewers throughout the country until late Chosun dynasty and before Japanese colonization. However, by the Japanese colonization and the oppressive and economy-obsessed government in the 1960-’70s, using rice for making wine or spirits was strictly prohibited. This eliminated most of the traditional brewers in the country, and Korea was left with a few large distilleries (Jinro 진로, Gyeongwol 경월, Bohae 보해, Bobae 보배, Sunyang 선양, etc.) that basically made “chemical soju”. Brewery distribution and markets were regionalized, and until the 1990s it was difficult to find a Jinro soju anywhere else than Seoul (you would have to pay premium even if you found one), Gyeongwol soju outside Gangwon, or Sunyang outside Chungcheong.

Also, there are soju cocktails such as “socol” (soju + Coke), ppyong-gari (soju + Pocari Sweat, a Japanese isotonic drink like flavorless Gatorade), so-maek (soju + beer), etc., all aimed at getting you drunk quicker and cheaper.

Rice wine:

Traditional unfiltered rice wines in Korea are known as takju (탁주), literally “cloudy alcohol”. In the most basic and traditional form, these are made by fermenting rice with nuruk (누룩), a mix of fungi and yeast that breaks down starch in rice into sugar and then alcohol over 3–5 days. Then this is strained, usually diluted to 4–6% and imbibed. However, as with the case of traditional soju, unless explicitly stated on the bottle most takju are made from wheat flour and other cheaper grains. Makgeolli (막걸리) is the simplest takju, fermented once and then strained, while in dongdongju (동동주) more rice is added once or more during the fermentation to boost the alcohol content and the flavor. Typically you can find a couple of rice grains floating in dongdongju as a result.

Yakju (약주) or cheongju (청주) is filtered rice wine, similar to the Japanese rice wine sake. The fermentation of rice is sustained for about 2 weeks or longer, strained, and then is kept still to have the suspended particles settle out. The end result is the clear wine on top, with about 12–15% alcohol. Various recipes exist, which involve a variety of ingredients and when and how to add them accordingly. Popular brands include Baekseju (백세주) and Dugyeonju (두견주).

Those with an interest in the wine production process and its history will want to visit the Traditional Korean Wine Museum in Jeonju.

Ginseng wine:

One expensive but tasty type of alcohol you can find in Korea is Korean ginseng wine (인삼주 insamju), which is believed to have medicinal properties and is particularly popular among the elderly. It is made by fermenting Korean ginseng, just as the name implies.

Beer:

Western-style lagers are also quite popular in Korea, with the three big brands being Cass, Hite (pronounced like “height”) and OB, all of which are rather light and watery and cost around ₩1,500 per bottle at a supermarket. Hofs serve pints of beer in the ₩2,000-5,000 range, although imported beers can be much more expensive. You are expected to order food as well, and may even get served grilled squid or similar Korean pub grub without ordering, for a charge of ₩10,000 or so.

Tea:

Like their Asian neighbors, Koreans drink a lot of tea (차 cha), most of it green tea (녹차 nokcha). However, the label cha is applied to a number of other tealike drinks as well:

  • boricha (보리차), roasted barley tea, often served cold in summer, water substitute for many household
  • insamcha (인삼차), ginseng tea
  • oksusucha (옥수수차), roasted corn tea
  • yulmucha (율무차), a thick white drink made from a barley-like plant called Job’s tears

Like Chinese and Japanese teas, Korean teas are always drunk neat, without the addition of milk or sugar. However, Western-style milk tea is available at Western restaurants and the usual American fast-food chains.

Coffee:

Coffee (커피 keopi) has become widely available, especially from streetside vending machines that will pour you a cupful for as little as ₩300, usually sweet and milky, but there is often a plain option.

Coffee shops can be seen virtually everywhere in the country. There are a large number of Korean chains such as Cafe Bene and Angel in Us. A coffee costs around ₩4,000. It is worth to hunt out independent coffee shops that take great pride in their coffee. Even in small countryside villages, the ubiquitous bread shop Paris Baguette will give you a decent latte for around ₩2,000. Foreign-owned coffee shops such as Starbucks tend to be much less common than their Korean counterparts. Aside from coffee, these cafes will usually sell food such as sandwiches, toasties, paninis and quesadillas as well as sweet options such as bingsu (Korean shaved ice), Korean-style toast, pastries and a wide variety of cakes, some even vegan.

Other drinks:

Some other traditional drinks worth keeping an eye out for:

  • Sikhye (식혜), a very sweet, grainy rice drink served cold
  • Sujeonggwa (수정과), a sweet, cinnamon-y drink made from persimmons served cold

Motels:

Some of the cheapest accommodation in South Korea are in what are called motels (모텔 motel) or yeogwan (여관), but a more accurate name would be sex hotels. Since Koreans often live with parents and extended family, motels are generally very cheap hotels targeted at young couples aiming to spend personal time together, complete with plastic beds, occasionally vibrating, with strategically placed mirrors on the ceiling, as well as a VCR and a variety of appropriate videos. However for the budget traveller, they can simply be inexpensive lodging, with rates as low as ₩25,000/night.

The easiest way to find a motel is to just look for the symbol “♨” and gaudy architecture, particularly near stations or highway exits. They’re harder to find online, as they rarely if ever show up in English-language booking sites.

In some motels picking your room is very easy, as there will be room numbers, lit pictures and prices on the wall. The lower price is for a “rest” (휴식 hyusik) of 2–4 hours, while the higher price is the overnight rate. Press the button for the one you like, which will go dark, and proceed to check-in. You’ll usually be expected to pay in advance, often to just a pair of hands behind a frosted glass window. English is rarely spoken, but the only word you need to know is sukbak (숙박, “staying”). You may or may not receive a key, but even if you don’t, the staff can usually let you in and out on request — just don’t lose your receipt!

Hotels:

Full-service hotels can be found in all larger towns in Korea. Cheaper hotels blend into motels with rooms from ₩40,000, while three and four star hotels are ₩100,000-200,000 and five-star luxury hotels can easily top ₩300,000. Outside peak season you can often get steep discounts from the rack rates, so be sure to ask when reserving.

Hanok:

Hanok (한옥) are traditional Korean houses. Once considered to be old-fashioned and an impediment to modernization, many of these houses dating back to the Joseon dynasty are being renovated and opened to paying guests, operating similar to B&Bs or Japanese ryokan or minshuku. Amenities range from very basic backpacker-style to over-the-top luxury, with prices to match. Higher-end establishments typically provide the option of having a traditional Korean dinner, as well as a choice of either Western or traditional Korean-style breakfast. Guests would usually sleep on mattresses on the floor. Hanok accommodations can typically be found in old towns such as Bukchon in Seoul, as well as historical towns and cities such as Hahoe and Gyeongju.

Hostels and guesthouses:

While not as common in South Korea as in other parts of Asia or the world, hostels and guesthouses can be found. Major cities, such as Seoul, will have a few dozen, while smaller cities may have a handful. Prices can vary widely, even within one hostel. In Seoul, mixed dorms average ₩15,000-25,000 per person; private rooms with a shared toilet and shower average ₩20,000-30,000 per person; and private ensuite rooms average ₩25,000-40,000 per person. Many hostels will have a common room with free TV, games, computers, and internet; some will have a public full kitchen and other amenities.

Minbak:

In rural areas in and near national parks, you can find a minbak (민박). Most of these are just a room or two in someone’s home — others are quite fancy and may be similar to motels/yeogwan or hotels. Generally, they have ondol rooms with maybe a TV and that’s about it. You don’t usually get your own bathroom in your room, although some of the fancier ones do have an en suite. Minbak usually run around ₩20,000 off-season, though the price may go up quite a bit during high season.

Homestay:

Very similar in concept to a minbak, these aren’t limited to just rural areas or near national parks. Since the World Cup in 2002, many families around the country have opened their doors and hearts to foreigners looking for a good place to sleep and a breakfast included in the price. These can run between ₩30,000 and ₩35,000 per night.

Pension:

A fancier and costly version of rural minbak. Most of them are European-style detached bungalows, equipped with private shower/bath, TV, air conditioner, private kitchen and camping grills. Pensions usually run around ₩60,000-150,000 off-season and over ₩200,000 peak season depending on the size of the house. Pensions near Seoul (Gyeonggi, Incheon) usually costs twice or more the price.

Jjimjilbang:

For the budget traveller, public bath houses known as jjimjilbang (찜질방) can offer a great way to sleep, besides a relaxing bath and sauna. (Some Korean spas don’t offer overnight stay, like the “Spa Land Centum City” in Busan, and some can be limited in time, like the “Dragon Hill Spa” in Seoul, but they are exceptions.) Entrance costs around ₩5,000-12,000, and includes a robe or T-shirts/shorts (for mixed facilities and sleeping hall) to wear. However, when you leave, you have to take everything with you and pay to get back in.

The facilities can be expansive, including showers, public baths, restaurants, computer/video game rooms, a room with DVD movies, and a warm hall to sleep, mostly with mattresses and sometimes soft head rests available. These places are generally used by families or couples during the weekend, as well as Korean working men from the countryside on weekday evenings, but travellers are welcome. A jjimjilbang is no more awkward than any Western public bath — so go ahead.

Usually two lockers are provided, one for the shoes (at the entrance) and one for your clothes and everything else (near the bath entrance). A very large backpack may not fit, although you can usually leave it at reception.

Temples:

South Korea offers many temple stays in all parts of the country. The basic idea is that you stay for one or more days living with the monks and participating in some of their rituals.

Jogye (조계사), Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, runs a popular temple stay program where visitors get to spend 24 hours living at a Buddhist temple. Speaking Korean helps but is not necessary at some temples, but you will be expected to work at the temple and get up at 3 or 4AM to participate in morning prayer. In exchange for three meals and a basic bed for the night, a donation of ₩50,000-80,000 is expected. Reservations are necessary and can be made at the Temple Stay site or via Korea Travel Phone (+82-2-1330).

At certain retail outlets with a “Tax Free Shopping” or a “Tax Refund Shopping” sign, you can obtain a voucher and get a large percentage of your taxes refunded. When you leave South Korea, go to customs and have it stamped then go to the “Global Refund Korea” or “Korea Tax Refund” counters near the duty-free shops. However to get a refund you must leave within 3 months of purchase.

Bargaining is common at outdoor markets and applies to everything they may have to offer. However, do not state a specific monetary amount. Instead, say “ssage juseyo” (싸게 주세요, “Cheaper, please.”). Doing this once or twice will suffice. However, you will rarely be discounted more than a few dollars.

Korea is the ginseng (인삼 insam) capital of the world. Widely considered to have medicinal properties, it can be found in special mountain areas throughout Korea. A thick black paste made from ginseng is popular, as is ginseng tea and various other products. There are many grades of ginseng, with the best grades potentially fetching millions of US dollars at auctions. A good place to check out the different types of ginseng would be Gyeongdong Herbal Medicine Market in Seoul.

Visitors looking for traditional items to bring home can find a wide variety of choices. You can find a blue-jade celadon from the Goryeo Dynasty, handmade traditional costumes, paper kites and ceramic pieces that depict human emotions in their designs at the numerous markets and souvenir shops. Insadong in Seoul would be the first place to shop around. After a while one store might start to look like every other store but chances are you’ll find what you need.

Keeping up with the latest fashion trends, shoppers and boutique owners alike flock the streets and markets every weekend. Centered largely in Seoul with popular places such as Dongdaemun, Mok dong Rodeo Street and Myeong dong, fashion centers can be divided into two large categories; markets and department stores. Markets are affordable and each shop will have trendy similar type clothing that appeal to the masses. Also, be aware that you cannot try on most tops. So better to know your size before shopping there. Though department stores will have areas or floors that have discounted items, they are considered overpriced and catering mostly to an older, wealthier crowd.

The traditional Korean garment known as the hanbok (한복), which is still worn by South Koreans for special occasions and historical re-enactments, and can be found in various garment markets. While a traditional hanbok requires visiting a specialist shop and customized fittings, making it rather expensive, more casual versions that are more practical for daily use and significantly cheaper can also be found. When wearing a hanbok, it should always be wrapped left over right. While foreigners wearing a hanbok is generally not a problem in South Korea itself, American visitors should be careful about doing so back in the United States unless you are of Korean ethnicity, as some Korean-Americans consider this to be “cultural appropriation” and hence racist.

For all things considered antique, such as furniture, calligraphic works, ceramics and books, you can go to Jangangpyeong Antique Market in Seoul. Items over 50 years old cannot leave the country. Check with the Art and Antique Assessment Office at +82-32-740-2921.

Electronics are widely available, especially in larger cities like Seoul and Busan. South Korea has most of the latest gadgets available in most Western countries and some that are not. In fact, when it comes to consumer technology, South Korea is probably second only to Japan. However, you would probably have to contend with having the instruction booklets and functions being written in Korean.

K-pop is a large element of the Korean Wave (hallyu) phenomenon that took East Asia by storm at the beginning of the 21st century, so you might want to buy the latest Korean music CDs by popular K-pop singers and groups — and discover some of the less known. Most music is now consumed as digital downloads, but there are still some music shops selling CD’s to be found. And if you want to see them live, there is of course no better place for that than South Korea.

K-dramas are massively popular in Asia and a boxed DVD set of a drama will certainly last you many rainy afternoons. Drama serials and movies sold in South Korea are for the Korean market and usually do not have subtitles, so check before buying; outside of Korea, you could likely buy the same media dubbed in another Asian language such as Cantonese or Mandarin. In addition, South Korea is in DVD region 3, so discs bought here will work in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, but are generally not playable in most players in North America, Europe, mainland China, Japan or Australia. CDs and DVDs are not particularly popular anymore in South Korea, the younger generation having moved onto digital downloads some time ago.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/South_Korea
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Gyeongbokgung
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Gyeongbokgung was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built in 1395, it is located in northern Seoul, South Korea. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings' households, as well as the government of Joseon.

Gyeongbokgung continued to serve as the main palace of the Joseon dynasty until the premises were destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (1592–1598) and abandoned for two centuries. However, in the 19th century, all of the palace's 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Prince Regent Heungseon during the reign of King Gojong. Some 500 buildings were restored on a site of over 40 hectares.

In the early 20th century, much of the palace was systematically destroyed by Imperial Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex is gradually being restored to its original form. Today, the palace is arguably regarded as being the most beautiful and grandest of all five palaces. It also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum within the premises of the complex.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyeongbokgung
Name: Namiseom
Location: Chuncheon, South Korea
Namiseom or Nami Island is a half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea, formed as the land around it was inundated by the rising water of the North Han River as the result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944. Its name originates from General Nami, who died at the age of 28 after being falsely accused of treason during the reign of King Sejo, the seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Although his grave was not discovered, there were a pile of stones where his body was supposed to be buried. It was believed that if someone took even one stone from there, it would bring misfortune to their house. A tour company arranged the grave with soil and then developed Namiseom into an amusement park.

Naminara (lit. "Nami Country") is a micronation, and the "visa" issued by Naminara is required in order to enter Namiseom. It declared itself a self-governing country in 2006 as acceding to General Nami's natural greatness of soul and appointed Ryu Hongjun as the 1st head of culture and Suzanna Samstag Oh as a foreign head.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namiseom
Name: N Seoul Tower
Location: Seoul, South Korea
The N Seoul Tower, is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea. At 236 metres (774 ft), it marks the second highest point in Seoul. Built in 1971, the N Seoul Tower is South Korea's first general radio wave tower, providing TV and radio broadcasting in Seoul. Currently, the tower broadcasts signals for Korean media outlets, such as KBS, MBC and SBS.

Many visitors ride the Namsan cable car up the Mt. Namsan to walk to the tower. The tower is renowned as a national landmark and for its cityscape views. It attracts thousands of tourists and locals every year, especially during nighttime when the tower lights up. Photographers enjoy the panoramic view the tower offers. Each year, approximately 8.4 million visit the N Seoul Tower, which is surrounded by many other attractions South Korea offers, including Namsan Park and Namsangol Hanok Village.

The N Seoul Tower is illuminated in blue from sunset to 23:00 on days where the air quality in Seoul is 45 or less. The Tower puts on many different shows, including the "Reeds of Light" and "Shower of Light.”

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_Seoul_Tower
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN SOUTH KOREA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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...WHO ARE WE?

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My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

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“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

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