Seoul (/soʊl/; 서울; Korean: [sʌ.ul]), officially the Seoul Special Metropolitan City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea). Seoul forms the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, and includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, altogether home to roughly half of the country’s population. For more information, click the banner below.

The Essentials

Time Zone

UTC/GMT+9 hours, referred to locally as KST (Korea Standard Time)

Climate

In winter, temperatures are between -4 to 4 degrees Celsius during the day, but sometimes drop to negative 15 degrees Celsius and the Hangang River occasionally freezes solid. Heavy snow periodically falls on the city.

Business Hours

Banks : 09:00-16:00
Government Offices : 09:00-18:00
Department Stores : 10:30-20:00
Convenience Stores : 24 hours

Currency & Credit Cards

Approx. 1USD = 1117 KRW at 8 November 2018.
Most of the businesses in Korea widely accept credit card payment; Visa, Master, American Express, Diner’s Club and other credit cards can be used.

Tipping

Tipping is not a traditional Korean custom. Sometimes fancy restaurants and luxury hotels may add a service charge of 10% but normally you do not need to prepare for extra charge since it will be included in the bill.

VAT (Value-Added Tax)

Value-added tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is usually included in the retail price. At tourist hotels, this 10% tax applies to meals and other services and is added to the bill.

Electricity and Voltage

The standard voltage in Korea is 220 Volts at 60 Hertz. The outlet has two round holes and is the same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey, and many other countries.

Telephone / WiFi

You can rent mobile phones from major telecom companies such as LG, SK, and KT in the arrivals lobby at Incheon and Gimpo International Airports. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased at the airport. If you plan to use a prepaid SIM card, you had better not leave airport without SIM since it is hard to find a store selling it. Wireless Internet is widely available in Seoul.

Helpful Numbers

Korean Travel Hotline : 1330
Police : 112
Fire & Ambulance : 119
Sinchon Severance Hospital : +82-2-2228-5800 (English, Russian), +82-2-2228-5801 (Japanese), *82-2-2228-5825 (Chinese)