South Korea

Travel Guide

Gangnam Style, K-Pop, uber-trendy locals, proximity to Hong Kong and Tokyo, and some seriously good food are just a few of the things which have placed Korea, and its capital city, Seoul firmly on the map. Those who make the journey are rewarded with a perfect travel combo of ancient history, modern culture, architecture, beaches and all the Korean fried chicken they can eat. 

Undiscovered and somewhat off-the-map, but still vibrantly modern with its finger right on the pulse, Korea is a huge melting pot of East Asian culture waiting to be explored.

South Korea's travel highlights

seoul
Seoul
South Korea's capital boasts an incredible mix of ancient and modern, with beautiful centuries-old palaces neighbouring snazzy skyscrapers. Gyeongbokgung Palace is a must, as is Changdeokgung Palace and Gardens. Head to Gangnam to experience for yourself Seoul's trendiest district and check out Gwangjang Market for some delicious local delicacies. And before leaving the city, be sure to sample the crazy nightlife and karaoke bars!
busan
Busan
South Korea's second city, Busan has a more traditional and rugged atmosphere than Seoul despite its skyscrapers. Pojangmacha street food vendors offer tasty bites late into the night and Gamcheon's colourful neighbourhood boasts vibrant murals and pretty winding streets. Nearby Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is picture perfect with its dramatic cliff location over the sea, definitely worth the visit!
Gyeongju
Gyeongju
Once the ancient capital of the whole peninsula, Gyeongju boasts more temples, pagodas and ruins that anywhere else in the country. Not to be missed is the Bulguska Temple, one of the most important Buddhist sites in the country, along with Seokguram Grotto, both dating back to the 8th century. Gyeongju Gyochon Traditional Village also offers an interesting insight into the Korea of times gone by.
jeju do
Jeju Do
The country's biggest island, Jeju Do is a favourite getaway amongst Koreans thanks to its beaches, striking coastline and beautiful countryside. If outdoor activities are your thing, be sure to hike up Hallasan, South Korea's highest mountain. Or just kick back and relax between the island's white sands and the warm waters of the East China Sea.

South Korea Fast Facts

Languages Spoken

The official language spoken in South Korea is Korean.

Currency

Name: South Korean Won
Code: KRW
Symbol: ₩
2000 KRW is approx £1.40

Time Zone

Time Zone: Korea Standard Time (UTC+09:00)

South Korea Fast Facts

Beers

The typical cost of a domestic beer in South Korea is about 3,000 ₩ on average (approx £2.10), and you're looking at around 5,000 ₩ for an imported beer (approx £3.50).

Meals

The cost of a cheap restaurant meal in South Korea is around 7,000 ₩ on average (approx £4.85), but the price of incredible street food ranges from as little as 1,000 ₩ (approx 70p) to 5,000 ₩ (approx £3.50).

Taxi Ride

Looking to catch a cab? A normal taxi tariff starts at 3,000 ₩ (approx £2) and adds around 1,200 ₩ (approx 85p) for every 1km.

Transport

A one way ticket on public transport costs between 1,200 ₩ and 1,300 ₩ (approx 85p-95p). If you're there for a while, have a look at the monthly pass, as it only sets you back 55,000 ₩ (about £38).

Hostels

Looking for a hostel in South Korea? The cost per night for a dorm can be up to 20,000 ₩ (approx £14).

Hotels

South Korea has a range of accommodation to choose from, from hostels or guesthouses to high-end hotels, with prices starting at around 33,000 ₩ (approx £23) a night, going up to 200,000 ₩ (approx £138) and beyond.

travel south korea

Getting Around South Korea

Lucky for us visitors, South Korea offers a great Rail Pass, allowing us to get around the country with relative ease. Alternatively, there are some awesome adventure tours and packages allowing us to see the best the country has to offer. Take a look at a few of our favourite travel options for South Korea below, or get in touch with our Travel Experts for more information.
Best of South Korea | 10 days
On this ten-day bustling trip you'll visit beautiful Seoul, authentic folk villages, unique temples and beautiful Jeju Island. Learn the sombre history of North and South Korea and see the Demilitarised Zone separating the two. Plus, sample Korea's diverse cuisine and sip cocktails from rooftop bars!
From £1,929
view tour
korean rail pass
Korean Rail Pass | 1-7 days
The Korea Rail Pass is a discounted ticket, allowing unlimited rail travel throughout South Korea over a one, three, five or seven-day consecutive period. The pass is valid to travel anywhere in South Korea, on all Korail services, including the modern and fast KTX trains.
From £89
view passes

Start planning your adventure

When to Visit South Korea

South Korea experiences extremes in terms of its climate. The winter months see freezing temperatures and great ski conditions - South Korea even hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Spring sees a rise in temperatures and beautiful blossom across the country, perfect for the snap-happy amongst you. From June to September the heat is on, with high humidity and heavy rain in July in particular. Autumn however is a great time to visit with the natural areas of South Korea ablaze with colour.

Need a little more inspiration? Check out the STA Travel blog!

STA Travel Blog

12 reasons to add South Korea to your to do list

Read On
STA Travel Blog

Shakedown Seoul!

Read On
STA Travel Blog

A highlight in Oriental Asia: South Korea!

Read On