The Korean Peninsula is located in North-East Asia. It is bordered by the Amnok River (Yalu River) to the northwest, separating Korea from China, and the Duman River (Tumen River) to the northeast which separates Korea from both China and Russia. The country itself is flanked by the Yellow Sea to its west and the East Sea to the east. There are several notable islands that surround the peninsula including Jejudo, Ulleungdo and Dokdo.
The Korean peninsula 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 sq km, and it has a population of 51.6 million people (2016). Because of its unique geographical location, Korea is a very valuable piece of land and an international hub of Asia.
Safety & Security
Korea is unique in the degree to which people enjoy the freedom to walk safely on the streets at all times. The crime rate in Seoul, especially in regard to foreign tourists, is one of the lowest in the world.
Currency and Banks
The Country's currency is the won (KRW). The exchange rate in recent months is around 1,100 KRW for 1 USD. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at airports and government-designated banks. Most of the stores in Korea only accept Korean currency, or KRW, so it is advised that visitors exchange to Korean currency at the airport. Major credit cards are widely accepted, and traveler's checks may be accepted by tourist-oriented shops and at most international tourist hotels and banks. Banks open from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays(Mon-Fri) and are closed on weekends and public holidays.
Korea has four distinct seasons, though spring and autumn tend to be short. Spring comes in early April and lasts throughout May. The hot and humid summer begins in June and lasts about four months. The summer rainy season lasts from the end of June to mid July. Summer ends in late September, giving way to crisp, clear autumn days that last until the end of October. It becomes colder in November, and a very cold, bleak winter sets in during December and lasts until the end of February.
Major international credit cards are commonly accepted at most hotels, department stores, restaurants, and shops. Restaurants and shops generally display signs indicating what cards they accept.
The time zone is Greenwich Mean Time +9 hours.
Telephones & Mobile Phones
International/domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. Public telephones are also available and located throughout the hotel. Mobile phones can be rented at the airport or at major hotels. To apply for a mobile phone rental service, you will need identification(passport) and a credit card.
Banks are generally open between 09:00 and 16:00 on weekdays. All banks are closed on Saturday, Sundays, and public holidays. Government office hours are usually from 09:00 to 18:00 on weekdays. Department stores are open between 10:30 and 20:00. Smaller shops have extended opening hours from 09:00 to late in the evening.
The standard electricity supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. The outlet has two round holes and is the same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey, and many other countries. Most hotels may provide outlet converters for 110 and 220 volts. Participants are advised to check with the hotel beforehand.
Tip & Tax
Service charges are included in your bill for rooms, meals, and other services at hotels and upscale restaurants. Koreans occasionally do tip when they are especially pleased with the service they receive. Foreign tourists can receive nearly 10 % VAT refunds for purchases at Duty Free shops. Goods must be taken out of Korea within three months of purchase to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors can receive a refund on a receipt for a minimum purchase of KRW 50,000 (around USD 43). To receive this refund, present receipts with the purchased goods at the customs clearance desk at Incheon International Airport when departing.