Korea’s Tourist Hotlines

Category : Surviving in Korea / Travel/Events
Nov 28, 2014

The Korean Line: 1330

1330 is quite possibly the best resource and travel tool that Korea offers. 1330 is a free information hotline that can be called from anywhere in Korea at anytime of the day.


What is it?

It is a 24 hour 7 days a week service. The service will answer ANY question a caller has about life in Korea: activities to do, things to see, transportation, travel, food, directions, taxi translations and literally everything else. 1330 will even provide medical assistance and information about medical services. If you forget that “119” is the emergency assistance number in Korea, then 1330 will redirect your call to the emergency response line.  They truly are life savers. As well, the operator will text or call you back if she/he is unable to answer the question at the time of calling.


More on the Service

As mentioned, 1330 is a national wide service.  If you are in Seoul, simply dial 1330 on your landline or mobile. Information from the Korean Tourist Organization website says that a caller should call 02-1330 when dialing from a cell phone in Seoul. However, I never start with 02 and it seems to work just fine. If you are calling from outside Seoul, punch in the area code of that region and then hit 1330. The hotline is offered in 4 languages: Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean.


Seoul City Line- Dasan 120

Dasan is another great travel resource. Actually, it’s not just for tourists but for anyone living, working or touring around Seoul.


What is it?

Dasan 120 is very similar to 1330 except it offers information about Seoul city ONLY. You can call the hotline and ask ANY question about the city. They can tell you about great museums or tourist spots to visit or special restaurants to try. They can offer information on hospitals, garbage removal and transportation. As well, they deal with complaints. You can call about taxis, poor service or if something bad happens to you and you want advice on how to deal with the problem.


à Did you know?

“Dasan” comes from an old Korean philosopher. It was the pen name of Jeong Yak-yong who lived from 1762 to 1836. He was a dedicated Neo-Confucian thinker and his name reflects the dedication that the customer service representatives at Dasan 120 also share.


More on the Service

Unlike 1330, Dasan 120 is not a 24/7 line. The phone service is open from 9:00-18:00, Monday to Friday. You can also text the number. If for some reason the operator is unable to answer your question straight away, he/she will text you back with the answer.


Dasan 120 has a social networking service that deals with questions and complaints made online at either Twitter or Me2Day, a social networking site (SNS) similar to Twitter operated by Naver. You can send questions online at any time or day of the week. They will write back as soon as possible.


The service is offered in Chinese, English, Japanese, Mongolian and Vietnamese. Press 9 for foreign languages and then 1 for English or listen for the language of your choice. If you’re calling from a cell phone or from outside Seoul press 02 first and then dial 120.


Check out the Dasan 120 Website (it’s in Korean only though).


BBB Translation Service (1588-5644)

The BBB hotline stands for ‘Before Babel Brigade’. The term ‘brigade’ refers to a group of people band together to fight. ‘Before Babel’ refers to the ideal time before the Biblical Tower of Babel fell, when everyone could speak the same language and understand each other. The BBB service tries to help visitors or expats communicate with Koreans and essentially all speak ‘the same’ language.


What is it?

The BBB hotline is a volunteer hotline that offers translation services. Over 4,000 volunteers across the country offer their linguistic skills to the organization. The service provides translation in 18 different languages. You can use the service anytime, anywhere. It’s great if you need translations in a taxi cab or if you are shopping for something specific. It’s also useful if you need help. For example, you left your bag on the subway or you’re at a government office which doesn’t offer services in your language. You can count on these translators to help you out!


More on the Service

The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you call 1588-5644 you don’t need to use an area code. You will be prompted to choose which language you want translation in (it’s 1 for English). An automatic switchboard will then connect you to a speaker in your area. You can then pass your cell phone back and forth between the Korean speaker and you, while the translator on the other end translates. Check out the BBB Website for more information! (The website has Chinese, English and Japanese)


Area Codes in Korea



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Tags : Tourist. Hotlines. Vacation.

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.