|Korea offers a lot of great travel opportunities, both around the nation and overseas. All you need to do is hop on the bus for a fun daytrip or pack a couple of things, do a little research and set out for a great longer adventure.|
| Holidays are great times to travel within Korea or abroad. Seollal and Chuseok provide the best opportunities for longer trips, with both holidays generally having three day vacations. The dates for these two holidays are not fixed, because they are based on the Lunar Calendar. Many Koreans also return to their hometowns at this time, so avoid traveling by car, if possible, and book all tickets in advance.
Here is a list of national holidays in Korea. For more information, see the Religion and National Holidays section.
Korean vacation culture
In Korea, people work more than other countries and don’t get enough time to spend with their loved ones. Using the vacation, families take their time catching up things and building more intimate relationships. Thanks to the small territory and well-developed transportation, any place can be reached in a day. Unlike big countries like the USA, it’s not impossible to visit most cities in Korea, which allows travelers to make the best of short holidays and weekends.
Starting from the middle of July, workers often get vacation for 3 days. In this period, beaches and mountain valleys are packed with people who want to avoid suffocating heat in the cities. Also, with schools and universities starting their summer break in July, summer vacation is an important time they can spend with family and friends.
Not many workers get to have winter vacation, unfortunately, but some people take their days off and go for winter sports. Ski and snowboarding is quite popular with people not wanting to miss out on a rare chance to enjoy winter sports. Still, schools and universities have a winter break for one or two months, starting in December, giving them some time to explore and try new experiences.
|Tours and Transportation|
|Special tour and transportation options are available for visitors and foreign residents in Korea. For information about local and long-distance transportation options, see the Transportation section.|
| City Tours
Some cities around Korea offer city tour services for visitors. Tourists are transported around the area by bus as English-speaking tour guides or audio services narrate the area's main attractions. Some city tours also offer entrance fee discounts to top local attractions. Reservations generally do not have to be made in advance, with tickets available for purchase at the starting point of the tour. Booking in advance is necessary, however, during high seasons. Here are a few of the city tours available in Korea.
Korea Rail PASS
KR PASS is a special train pass for foreign residents and visitors. Four types of passes are available: 3 days, 5 days, 7 days and 10 days. These passes include trips on all Korea Rail trains, excluding subways and tourism trains. Only standing room is possible during high vacation seasons and big Korean national holidays (Lunar New Year's, Chuseok).
Seoul Citypass and Citypass Plus
Seoul Citypass is a transportation card for travelers exploring the Seoul Metropolitan area for a short period of time. There are three types of passes; 1 day, 2 days and 3 days. Discount coupons are also provided with the Citypass. The pass includes a maximum of 20 bus or subway rides per day and unlimited rides on the Seoul City Tour Bus.
Seoul Citypass Plus functions as a normal transportation card but also includes special discounts and coupons for foreign residents and visitors. This T-money card must be charged upon purchase, and then may be used as both a transportation card and a debit card for payment wherever T-money is accepted. Card holders that use their Citypass Plus cards for payment at certain locations will receive discounts and be able to redeem coupons for discounts and free items.
Seoul Citypass Plus cards may be recharged by subway station attendants, at automatic charge machines, Nice ATMs in subways, and convenience stores and other shops that sell transportation cards.
| There are seven international airports in Korea, with Incheon International Airport offering the most flights to international destinations.
Traveling by ferry is another option for visiting neighboring countries. Trips between Busan and the Japanese port of Fukuoka take approximately three hours. Osaka and Shimonoseki are also popular areas in Japan to reach by ship. There are also a number of Chinese destinations available from ports on Korea's West Coast.
For more information about air and ferry travel, please visit the Transportation section.
| Korean travel agents are a good resource for tickets and vacation information, for those planning trips within Korea and abroad. Many offer of tours and package deals of interest to foreign residents, including temple stays, theme tours and festival tours. Areas in Korea with large foreign populations often have travel agents that regularly work with the international community and sometime even specialize in travel for foreign residents.
Travel may sound fun, but it can also cause many problems. So here are some helpful things to know before you head out to explore:
1. Study general background information before you leave to get the most out of your trip. Say you go to
Bulguksa, the eminent temple in Gyeongju, knowing only that it is a temple. If you get lucky, you might find an English tour and join in, but sometimes, you might get bored of the simple, typical sights that all temples share. If you know some historic background to the temple, your trip is likely to be more colorful and enjoyable.
2. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Whether you look like Koreans or not, it’s a fact that you are in a foreign country. Some things are not different from your country, like apples and buses, but some may seem really exotic and strange to you. But don’t let your fear of unknown things ruin your trip. Try strange food and wear unfamiliar things, you might find it pleasant. Let yourself explore the unknown!
3. Make as many friends as you can. I know, you must be sick and tired of people staring at you on the subway, in restaurants, or on the street. But don’t take it personally or find it offensive. Even though the ratio of foreigners in Korea has been rapidly increasing, some people still find it amazing to see foreigners in person. And most of the time, it’s harmless good intention. If you need help, ask for it and don’t let yourself be intimidated by Koreans staring. Go talk to them. Who knows? They may take you to interesting places where only locals know. Yes, they could be your best friends and your biggest helper ever.
4. Be ready and prepared for unexpected situations. Korea is generally a very safe country to travel, but every place is dangerous in some ways. So be aware of emergency numbers as well as careful of where you go and when. Also, in vacation time, it can be unbelievably difficult to book transportation and accommodation, and the cost goes up high and breaks the roof. Make sure you reserve them a few days or even weeks before.