Seoul has been the center of Korea's politics, economy and culture for over six centuries, ever since King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, moved the nation's capital here in the 3rd year (1394) of his reign. From ancient palaces with centuries of history to high-tech skyscrapers of steel and glass, from ancient texts dating back millennia to the world's highest rate of broadband internet access, Seoul is a place where the old and new exist in perfect harmony.
Today, Seoul is a dynamic city that never sleeps, and the list of things to do here is endless: from sampling the outstanding cuisine found in local restaurants to hiking nearby mountains for a commanding view of the city. Seoul is also the center of the so-called "Korean Wave" currently sweeping Asia. With its first-class cultural facilities, terrific nightlife and never-ending schedule of events, you are sure to enjoy your visit.
The Korean language — like Hungarian, Turkish, Mongolian and Finnish — is classified among the Ural-Altaic language group. Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) is composed of 10 simple vowels and 14 consonants. A group of scholars under the patronage of King Sejong the Great developed this ingenious language system nearly five hundred years ago. In 2009, the town of Bau-Bau in Sulawesi, Indonesia adopted Hangeul as their official written language.
Currency: ₩(KRW) You can exchange up to $10,000 in foreign currency and/or travelers' checks at a time. Bank operation hours in Seoul are 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, with bank operations at Incheon International Airport lasting from 6:00 am - 9:00 pm daily.
Visitors from countries not under Visa Exemption Agreements must apply for visa extensions if planning to stay more than 30 days. To see if you are visa exempted, please visit: https://www.visa.go.kr/
Tourist information for Seoul, Korea — as well as other information — can be found at the websites for the Korea Tourism Guide (http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto) and the Seoul Convention Bureau
Office hours for government workers are usually 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays. Banks are open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays and closed on weekends. Major stores are open every day from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm, and there are many 24-hour businesses throughout all major cities.
Diners Club, Visa, American Express, and Master Card are widely accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants in most cities. Check with your credit card company for details on merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
To receive a tax refund, present receipts for your purchased goods to the customs desk at Incheon International Airport upon your departure. These receipts can be cashed-in at the Cash Refund Office in front of the Airport Duty Free Shop.
To make international calls, please dial the international dialing code (001,002, 00700) + country code + area code + phone number. Most convenience stores, hotels and airports sell domestic and international calling cards. Mobile phones can be rented at the airport or at major hotels. You will need identification (passport) and a credit card to utilize mobile phone rental services.
Korea is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+9) and does not recognize daylight saving time.
The standard electrical supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. Most hotels can provide outlet converters for 110 and 220 volts. Always double-check the power supply before plugging-in your equipment.