Practical informations


Passport and Visa

Any foreign visitor wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport. Visitors with confirmed outbound tickets may stay in Korea up to 30 days without visas. Exceptions to this apply to the nationals of the following countries: Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam in Asia, Nigeria an Ghana in Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaija, Kazakhistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Albania, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Hercegoviana in Europe, Cuba in the Americas. However, visa-free, stopover entry is permited for 30 days for the passengers who have been issued US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand or Japanese visas. Visitors who plan to stay in Korea for longer than 30 days must obtain visas before coming to Korea. Special visa exemptions exist between Korea and the countries listed hereafter, provided their citizens do not participate in remunerative activities while visiting Korea.

Alien Registration

A Korean embassy or consulate can issue two types of visa: a short-term visa for the visitor who wants to stay up to 90 days and a special long-term visa for periods longer than 90 days. A vistiro with a special long-term visa is required to apply for alien rgistration at a local immigration office within 90 days of arrival.
Immigration Offices: Seoul, Gimpo Airport, Incheon, Busan, Gimhae Airort, Jeju
A written baggage declaration must be submitted to a customs officer upon entry. Passengers must clear customs through either green, white, or red channel. Passengers who have no articles to declare should use the green channel, those declaring non-duty-free articles should use the white channel, and those who are suspected of making false declarations of of carrying prohibited articles will be directed to the red channel. If a passenger declares non-duty-free articles voluntarily, the declared amount will be accepted and the clearance procedure will be expendited.

Duty-Free Articles:

- Visitorīs (non-residentīs) goods which will be taken out of Korea upon departure, (the total quantity of the goods schould be declared for duty exemption.)
- Goods which were declared upon departure from Korea and are being brought back.
- Goods totaling US$ 400 or less which were purchased or acquired outside Korea
- 1 bottle (not over 1 liter) of alcoholic beverages
- 200 cigarettes (50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco)
- 2 ounces of perfume
For further information on goodssubject to declaration and prohibited goods, please contact the Customs Information Office at Gimpo Intīl Airport (02) 6605-534


All live animals and animal products entering Korea must be accompanied by valid certificates issued by the exporting countryīs government. Declare all import animals and animal products upon arrival tothe National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, where they must be inspected. Cloven-hoofed animals and their products that are shipped from import-restricted areas will be sent back or destroyed. For details, please contact the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service. Addres: 480, Anyang 6-dong, Manan-gu, Anyang, Gyeonggi-do, Korea

Plant Quarantine

Passengers who carry any plants or soil including fruits (mango, orange, papaya, etc.), vegetables, seeds, orchids, nursery stock or cut flowers, etc., must describe the items on the Customs Declaration Form and immediately declare them upon arrival.

Import restricted items and areas

- Fesh fruits, such as mango, orange, papaya, cherry, etc.: all countries
- Nursery stock of apple, grape, etc.: most European countries
- Walnut fruit and kernel: most countries
- Soil or plants with soil: all countries

If you have any question about plant quarantine, please contac National Plant Quarantine Service: (031) 446-1926, 449-0524ä


International Flights

Koreaīs three international airports are Gimpo (previous spelling "Kimpo") in Seoul, Gimhae just northwest of Busan, and Jeju Island. With the opening of Incheon International Airport in April 2001, Koreaīs capacity for travellers will greatly increase. Many international airlines maintain a regular flight service, with over 220 flights per day between Seoul and major cites of the world.
The Korea City Air Terminal (KCAT), located in the wxtensive World Trade Center Seoul (WTCS) Complex, provides a check-in service and passport inspection for passengers departing from Gimpo who are flying Asiana Airline, Korean Air or any of 11 foreign airlines including Northwest, Lufthansa, Singaore, American, Cathay Pacific, etc. A limousine bus service operates between KCAT and Gimpo. For ruther information, contact KCAT.
Address: 159-6, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul tel. 02-551-6990

Sea Routes

Busan (previous spelling "Pusan") is the countryīs largest port and second-largest city. This international seaport is the main gateway to Korea for visitors who arrive by ship, usually from Japan. Another international port is Incheon which features service to China. The bugwan Ferry, Korea Ferry, and Korea marine express provide regular sservices between Korea and Japan, while the Weidong Ferry and Jinchon Ferry, etc.provide regular service to China. High-speed hydrofoil services have also begun between Busan and Hakata, Fukuoka. Temporary entry is allowed for private cars with proper documentation belonging to all visitors to Korea arriving by ferry.

Transportation between Gimpo International Airport and downtown Seoul
Gimpo International Airport is 18,2 km (11 miles) distant from downtown Seoul. The following options will help you get downtown at minimal expense and with little difficulty.

Airport Express Buses

Four airport express bus lines link Gimpo International Airport with downtown Seoul. These are regular coach buses and have no space for large suitcases.
- Nos. 600, 600-1, 601: leave the airport every 10 minutes between the hours of 4:30 and 22:30
- No. 1002: leaves the airport every 10 minutes from 5:30 to 23:40


Line 5 goes directly to the airport. There is plenty of room for luggape, but subway stations throughout Seoul usually have at least a few flights of stairs to climb.

KAL Limousine Buses

These spacious 25-seat luxury buses, ewuipped with radios and public telephones, have routes connecting Gimpo International Airport with 17 of Seoulīs major deluxe hotels. Large luggage is no problem.

Airport Limousine Buses

The non-stop limousine bus service to the Korea city Air Terminal (KCAT) in southern Seoul. Travelers with heav baggage can use these buses, which run every 5-10 minutes between the hours of 7:00 and 22:15 from the airport and from 5:45 to 20:50 from KCAT with an average travel time of one hour. The fare is W 5, 000 one way, paid in advance at the ticket counters located on the first floor of the airport and on the second floor of KCAT. Tel. (02)666-7383, 551-0751


Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive in Korea, clean and safe. There are taxi stands in most busy city areas, and taxis can also be hailed on the streets. As well, certain taxis can be requested by phone, though the fare for these special call taxis (tel. 02-3431-5100) is somewhat higher than regular taxis. An increasing number of taxi dirers speak some English.

Regular Taxis

The fare system is based on both the distance and the time taken. Fares are W 1, 300 for the first 2 km and W 100 for each additional 210 m. If the taxi is going less than 15 per hour, an additional charge of W 100 per 60 seconds is added to the fare. The fare between Gimpo Airport and downtown Seoul is usually around W 12,000, though it could be higher if traffic is congested. Fares increase 20% between midnight and 4 a.m.

Deluxe Taxis

Deluxe taxis, called mobeom taxi in Korean, are black with a yellow sign on the top and the words "Deluxe Taxi" written on the sides. They offer more passenger space and a high standard of service. Fares are W 3,000 for the first 3 km and W 200 for each additional 250 m or each 60 seconds if the speed drops below 15 km per hour. The usual fares between Gimpo Airport and downtown is about W 23,000. Receipts are give. There is no late-night surcharge. Deluxe taxis can be taken at stands located at hotels,stations, bus terminals, and on major city streets.

City Buses

The city bus systems differ slightly from city to city in Korea, but most cities have local and express buses. They are numbered but since their signs are only in Korean, finding the right bus may be confusing to a first-time visitor. I tis advisable to request assistance to find the bus stop and number that you need. The bus fare can be paid with either coins or a bus card available at booths near bus stops.

Seoul City TourLocal City Buses

Local buses are the most common means of transportation in Seoul. They are frequent, reliable, and inexpensive. Seoulīs bus network serves every area of the city. The adult fare is W 600 regardless of distance.

City Coach Buses

City coach buses, called jwaseok bus in Korean, are more comfrotable and air-conditioned. They stop less frequently and travel through congested areas faster. The fares for the city coach buses and the new deluxe city express buses are W 1,200 and W 1,300 respectively.


There are excellent subway systems in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, and Incheon. The subway is the most efficient and convenient way for foreign travelers to get around the cities. Station names, ticket windows and transfer signs are all clearly marked in English.

Car Rentals

Rental cars are available for visitors, and charges are from W 55,000 to W 460,000 per day. Driving safely in Korea takes some practise. Due to the different traffic laws and an unfamiliarity with the roads, it may be advisable to hire a dirver along with the car. Vistiros must meet the following requirements to rent a car:
- have more than 1 yearīs driving experience
- have an international driverīs license
- be over 21 years of age
- possess a valid passport.
Visitors who wish to hire a chauffeur-driven car should be prepared to pay the driverīs meals and hotel expenses as well. The cost of hiring a driver in Seoul ranges from W 144,000 to W 510,000 for 10 hours a day, including the car rental. For further details, call the Korea Car Rental Union (02)525-9076/8

Domestic Flights

Korea has a well-developed domestich flight network served by Korean Air and Asiana Airlines linking 16 major cities. Reservations can be made by calling the airline offices. The Korea Travel Bureau (02-753-9870) alsooperates a ticket sales outlet ak KNTOīs Tourist Information Center.
- Korean Air: tel. 1588-2001
- Asiana Airlines: tel. 080-669-4000

Long Distance Express Buses

Fast and reliable highway buses operate on expressways throughout the country, conecting almost all major points. Two express bus depot for trips out of Seoul to other major cities, conveniently located on Subway Line 3. Dong Seoul Bus Terminal is near Gangbyeon Subway Station on Line 2.

Superior Express Buses

Superior express buses are somewhat more expensive then regular buses, but they are popular for their spacious seats and facilities such as mobile phones and VCR televison. Express bus Terminals in Seoul:
- Seoul Terminal (02)782-5551/2
- Dong Seoul Terminal (02)458-4852/4

Intercity Buses

Korea has excellent intercity bus services connecting virtually every city and town. Since no English language schedules are available, it might be advisable for the foreign traveler who wishes to take this kind of bus to get help from a Korean friend. Various tour companies offer bus services to most of the well-known tourist sites for visitors who prefer not to use the intercity buses. For details about these tours, contact the travel agencies scattered throughout the city.


Passenger trains operated by the Korean National Railroad are quite fast, reliable, and very inexpensive by world standards. The trains run on a strict schedule and are not affected by traffic congestion during the holiday seasons. An extensive netwoork covers almost evety part of the nation. There are three classes of trains: the super-express Saemaeulho, express Mugunghwaho, and limited express Tongilho. Firstclass seats are wider and feature more leg room. Trains are usually full on weekends and holidays, so ticket reservations and advance purchases are advisable at railroad stations or tour agencies such as the Korea Travel Bureau (02-753-9870) at KNTOīs Tourist Information Center. Some of the major railroad stations have special ticket counters for roreigners.

Domestic Ferryboats

Boats are one of the most interesting ways to travel around Korea. Ferries ply the waterways between Busan and Jeju, Mokpo and Hongdo, Pohang Ulleungdo, etc.



There are many modern hotels in Koreaīs major cities and tourist destinations. Tourist hotels are classified into five groups: super deluxe (SDL), deluxe (DLX), first class, second class, and third class. Facilities in most tourist hotels include one or more bars and cocktail lounes, restaurants, onsite recreational facilities such as tennis courts and swimming pools, souvenir shops, game rooms, barber shops and beuty salons, laundries, and saunas.
- Korea Hotel Association tel.: (02)703-2845


Budget watchers may enjoy the homey hospitality of a traditional Korean-style inn, or yeogwan. A yeogwan provides a Korean mattress called yo, a quilt known as ibul, and a hard pillow (filled with wheat husks) caled begae. In chilly weather, the room is warmed by ondol, Koreaīs unique system of under-floor heating. For an additional price, meals can also be served in the room. Today many yeogwans have beds, private bathrooms with hot water, and color TVs. Room rates range from W 25,000 to W 50,000. Listed are a few of many yeogwans recommened by the city of Seoul for foreign travelers: Sejong, Useongjang, Samo Hotel, Gyerim, Seoul House, Rainbow, Arirang.

Youth Hostels

There are 47 youth hostels in Korea, all are members of the Korea Youth Hostel Association. They offer reasonably-priced rooms for economy-minded travelers and students. The charge for one night is about W 6,000 - W 13,000 per person. Seoul prices are somewhat higher. Reservations and further information can be obtained from the Korea Youth Hostel Association - address: Rm 408, Jeokseon Hyundai Bldg. 80, Jeokseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, tel.: 02-725-3031.


Several national museums and other private institutions preserve Koreaīs colorful past. The National Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum, both in Seoul, have two of the finest collections in Korea. There are also branches in Gyeongju, Buyeo, Daegu, Gongju, etc., each museum featuring artifact connected with the regionīs local heritage. Among various universities and private institutions, the Ho-Am Art Museum at Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, houses perhaps the finest private collections in the nation. Usually national museums open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. expect during the winter, from November through February when they open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

National Museum of Korea: Seoul Subway Line 3, Gyeongbokgung Sta., 120 000 artifacts of 5 000 Korean history, closed Mon., Jan. 1st.

National Folk Museum: Seoul Subway Line 3, Gyeongbokgung Sta., Korean life style, crafts, housing, etc., closed Tues., Jan. 1st.

National Museum of Contemporary Art: Seoul Subway Line 4, Seoul Grand Park Sta., then a shutle bus, 800 modern works by contemporary artists, closed on Mon. and Jan 1 st.

Gyeongju National Museum: 10 min. taxi ride from Gyeongju Bus Terminal, over 100 000 relics from the silla Kingdom, closed on Mon and Jan 1st.

Gongju National Museum:10 min. taxi ride from Gongju Bus Terminal, over 9 600 relics from the Baekje Kingdom, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Buyeo National Museum: walk 10 min. from Buyeo Bus Terminal, 8 000 articles of archeological finds, closed Mon and Jan 1st

Gwangju National Museum: taxi ride from Gwangju Bus Terminal, relics from 2 000 - 3 000 BC, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Jinju National Museum: a city bus No. 15 from Jinju Bus Terminal, 3 000 relics of the Japanese inveasion in 1592, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Cheongju National Museum: 10 min. taxi ride from Cheongju Bus Terminal, 8 700 relics since the Three Kingdoms Period, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Jeonju National Museum: taxi ride from Jeonju Bus Terminal, 4 500 folk and agriculture-related articles, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Daegu National Museum: a city bus No 524 or 427 from Dongdaegu Station, over 3 000 artifacts and models in Archeology, etc, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Gimhae National Museum: taxi ride from Gimhae bus Terminal, over 4 500 artifacts from the Gaya Kingdom, closed on Mon and Jan 1st

Lotte World Folk Museum: Seoul Subway Line 2 or 8, Jamsil Sta., a display of ancestral culture and life by the era, open year round

War Memorial: a 5-minute walk from Samgakji Sta., Seoul subway Line 4 or 6, 13 600 military items, closed on Mon

The Museum of Korean Embroidery: a 5-minute walk from Exit 10 of Hak-dong Station on Seoul Subway Line 7, more than 1 500 pieces of embroideery, closed on weekends and holidays

The Ho-Am Art Museum: 1 hr. Bus ride from Suwon Sta., some 15 000 pieces closed on Mon

The Onyang Foklore Museum: 5 min. taxi ride from Asan Bus terminal, over 14 500 folk crafts and paintings, open all year round

Mok-a Buddhist Museum: 20 min. taxi ride from Yeoju Bus Terminal, duddhist woodwork, paintings, calligraphy, etc., open all year round.