Visit Seoul

Seoul, the Capital of Korea

Seoul is a fast-moving modern metropolis and one of the largest cities in the world. Home to over 10 million citizens, it is a friendly city that is easy to get around. Here are some tips to make your trip to Seoul more convenient and comfortable.

Population Seoul 10,195,000 (2013 est.) Seoul city government South Korea 50,948,000 (2013 est.) CIA Factbook (About one-fifth of South Korea's population resides in Seoul)
Size 30.3 km from north to south and 36.78 from east to west
Temperatures +22C to +30C (August), -7C to +1C (January)
Time Zone GMT + 9 (Korea Standard Time KST or Japanese Standard Time JST)
Electricity 220v, 60 hz throughout the country (same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey)
Country Dialing Code +82
Area Code Seoul 02 (when dialing from overseas remove the zero)
Religion 25% Buddhist, 25% Christian
Language Korean (English, Japanese and Chinese are also spoken)

Seoul has been the capital of Korea for about 600 years since the time of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Seoul was referred to as "Han Yang" during the Joseon Dynasty, but after the liberation from Japan in 1945, the newly founded Republic of Korea officially changed its capital city's name to Seoul. Seoul has developed into a bustling metropolis, acting as the hub for political, economic, social and cultural matters. The Hangang River runs through the heart of the city. The river divides the city in two; the northern part of the city is a focal point for culture and history, while the southern part is well known for its business district.

Seoul has hosted many international events including: 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Olympic Games and 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup. The success of these events has shown people that Korea is truly an international city.

Long History

Seoul is a fast-moving modern metropolis and one of the largest cities in the world. Home to over 10 million citizens, it is a friendly city that is easy to get around. Here are some tips to make your trip to Seoul more convenient and comfortable.

Getting around

Seoul is a city full of joy. It will not allow you to get bored. Insa-dong is where you can see traditional Korean artisans, Itaewon is a little community where people from outside Korea hang out, stores downtown open till late so that you can shop till you drop, N Seoul tower and 63 city will show you an awesome view of Seoul at a glance, and amusement parks will give you a thrill while you stay in Korea.

Seoul City Tour

City Tours are the most convenient and comfortable way to explore cities. The major sights and attractions of a city are presented on a single tour. Now City Tours are available in Seoul, Incheon, Suwon, Deajeon, Jeonju, Gwangju, Daegu, and Ulsan.
Nestled around the Hangang River is the Korean capital Seoul, a city of old and new. With thousands of years of history, Seoul has both well preserved royal palaces, historical relics, and cultural treasures as well as state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructures. The Seoul City Tour bus runs a course that covers major points of interest in the capital.

[Photo credit: Korean Tourism Organization]

Country Name Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Capital City Seoul (population: 10.2 million as of 2016)
Size 1,012km from north to south and 165km from east to west
National Flag Taegeukgi
Language Korean (writing system: Hangeul)
Country Dialing Code +82
National Flower Mugunghwa
Population 51 million (July 2015)
Time Zone GMT +9 (Korean Standard Time KST)

The Korean peninsula is located in North-East Asia. It is surrounded by the ocean on three sides, making it a unique geographical location. With Seoul as its capital city, the landsite is roughly 1,030 km (612 miles) long and 175 km (105 miles) wide at its narrowest point. Korea's total land area is 100,033 square km, neighboring Japan to the east, China to the west, and sharing a northern border with Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).

National Flag

Taegeukgi : Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in oriental philosophy. The circle in the center is divided into two equal parts, where the upper red responds to the active cosmic forces of the yang; conversely, the lower blue section represents the passive cosmic forces of the yin. The flag's background is white, representing Korean’s desire for peace and purity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner, characterizing continual movement, balance and harmony. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements (heaven, earth, fire, and water).

National Flower

Mugunghwa : The national flower of Korea is mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, which comes into bloom from July to October every year. Profusions of the blossom gracefully decorate the entire nation during that time, providing a view which has been loved by all Korean for many years. It is also favorite plant of the people as the flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word ‘mugung’, meaning immortality. This word accurately reflects the enduring nature of Korean culture, and the determination and perseverance of the Korean people.

National Anthem

Aegukga : Aegukga literally means 'a song expressing one’s love towards their country' in Korean, and that was the exact reason this anthem came to be born. Since its creation, the song has undergone several versions of transition; however, it remained focused on praising the sense of loyalty to the country. Maestro Ahn Eak-tai (1905-1965) is credited with having made the present form of the song in 1935, which was then adopted by the Korean Government (1948) officially as the national anthem and began to be used at all schools and official functions.

Population of Korea

According to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, as of July 2015, the total population of Korea is 51,448,183, ranking 26th globally by country. Out of the total population, roughly 20% live in Seoul, the capital city of Korea. Other large and economically advanced cities such as Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Ulsan have higher population densities than other cities in Korea.

[Data credit: Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (www.mospa.go.kr) (Korean, English)]

Foreign nationals entering Korea are required to have a valid passport and a Korean visa issued by the Korean embassy or consular offices in their country. However, citizens from many countries are now permitted visa-free entry for a limited period under certain conditions.

[PDF] Countries under Visa Waiver Agreements (as of Feb 16, 2017) 

Nationals of visa waiver countries can enter Korea without a visa as long as the purpose of their visit is tourism or temporary visit. If they want to engage in profitable activities such as employment, they must apply for a Korean visa suitable for their purpose.

[Table] Countries of Regions under principles of reciprocity and national interest

Considering international convention, mutuality doctrine, national profit and other such factors, certain countries are granted visa-free entry permissions. (1 March 2017. Currently, 48 countries). Nationals of the following countries are allowed up to 30 days of visa-free sojourn for tourism or visitation

Continent Countries/ regions
Asia Macao(90 days), Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Japan (90 days), Qatar, Taiwan(90 days), Hong Kong (90 days), Kuwait(90 days), Bahrain[10 countries]
North America United States(90 days), Canada (6 months) [2 countries]
South America Guyana, Argentina, Ecuador(90),Paraguay, Honduras [5 countries]
Europe Monaco, Vatican, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Cyprus, San Marino, Serbia(90), Montenegro, Slovenia (90 days), Andorra, Croatia(90) [11 countries]
Oceania Guam, Nauru, New Caledonia, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, Australia (90 days), Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Tonga [13 countries]
Africa South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Swaziland, Egypt (5 Countries)

For more information, please visit one of the websies below or contact a Korean embassy or consular office in your country.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs http://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/index.do
Korea Immigration Service http://www.immigration.go.kr/HP/IMM80/index.do
Korea Visa Portal https://www.visa.go.kr

Currency

[Currency] The unit of Korean the currency is the Won (₩). Coin denominations are ₩10, ₩50, ₩100 and ₩500. Banknotes are ₩1,000, ₩5,000, ₩10,000 and ₩50,000. The exchange rate is approximately US$1 to KR 1,124 as of August 2017.
[Tax] Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in the retail price. In tourist hotels, this 10% tax applies to rooms, meals and other services and is included in the bill.

VAT

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

Climate

Four distinct seasons in Korea:
- spring (March ~ May),
- summer (June ~ August),
- autumn (September ~ November),
- winter (December ~ February).
  The temperature in Seoul in June ranges approximately between 17-28 ℃ degrees.

Emergency

- 1339 : Medical Emergency
- 119 : Emergencies for Fire, Rescue & Hospital Services
- 112 : Police
- 129 : First Aid Services

Electricity

In Korea, 220 volt outlets are most common. Some hotels provide 110 volt outlets for shavers.
Please check the power supply before use.

Useful Websites

- Korea Tourism Organization: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr
- Gateway to Korea: http://www.korea.net
- Seoul Tourism Organization: http://www.miceseoul.com
- Seoul Metropolitan Government: http://www.visitseoul.net
- Korea Immigration Service: http://www.immigration.go.kr
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: http://www.mofat.go.kr