FAQ: t2korea

# How to enter Korea?

South Korea has 7 international airports: Busan(Gimhae Airport),Cheongju, Daegu, Jeju, Muan, Seoul(Gimpo Airport and Incheon Int. Airport). Incheon International Airport, about 1 hour west of Seoul, is the country's largest airport, with good connections throughout the world. This is also arguably the best run and best designed airport in the world - a pleasure to use, although if you arrive late watch out for pushy taxi drivers lying about the hotel buses and trying to get you to pay 3x the normal fare. There are direct inter-city buses to many locations throughout South Korea just outside the international arrival hall. You can buy the tickets at the airport. North Korea's sole airline, Air Koryo , currently has scheduled flights from Beijing, which depart at 11:30 every Tuesday and Saturday, and return from P'yŏngyang at 09:00 on the same days. Air Koryo also flies to and from Shenyang in Northeast China every Wednesday and Saturday, and to Vladivostok every Tuesday morning. China Southern recently began scheduled charter flights from Shenyang. In the Summer there are also flights (usually twice weekly) to Khabarovsk, also in Russia. Air China is scheduled to begin 3-times per week service from Beijing to Pyongyang in April 2008.

# Do the travelers need the travel permits to visit Korea?

Most people travelling to North Korea will travel through Beijing and you will probably pick up your visa from there (some agents arrange their visas elsewhere beforehand though). The North Korean consulate building is separate from the main embassy building at Ritan Lu, and can be found round the corner at Fangcaodi Xijie. It is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 0930-1130 and 1400-1730, and on all other days except Sundays from 0930-1130. Bring your travel permission, US$45 and two passport photos.Citizens of South Korea are normally not permitted to visit North Korea except the special tourism zone in Kumgang and now on tours to Kaesong. Citizens of the United States of America are also generally not permitted by the North Koreans.The nationals of 109 countries and territories, including all the usual suspects, will receive a visa on arrival valid for 30 to 90 days. Rules for visiting only Jeju are even more lenient, allowing in everybody except citizens of 11 countries. See the the Hi Korea web-site for the latest details. Don't overstay, even by a single day — this incurs heavy fines and possible jail time, and you'll probably be banned from re-entering.

# Can anyone travel in Korea by bus, if he/she can’t afford the car?

In South Korea buses  remain the main mode of national transport, onnecting all cities and towns. They're frequent, punctual and fast, sometimes dangerously so, so fasten the belts you'll often find in the seats.While in North Korea all your transport needs will be dealt with by your tour company.

# What to pack for Korea tours?

Sunglasses, sun lotions,for the summer months as the temperature is high and humid and lots of wollens for the winters as it gets tereblly cold.

# What is the weather like in Korea?

In North Korea the  climate is temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer. Late spring droughts are often followed by severe flooding. There are occasional typhoons during the early fall.South Korea consists of mainly four seasons namely;spring,summer,fall and winter.

# What is the best timing for Korea tours?

Fall, starting in September, is perhaps the best time to be in Korea. Temperatures and humidity become more tolerable, fair days are common and the justly renowned fall colors make their appearance.

# What medical preparations the travelers need to make before Korea tours?

In North Korea medical facilities are far below decent, and if you fall ill you might be better off returning to China for treatment.And in South Korea a good basic rule to follow when travelling is when it comes to food, do what the locals do especially when it comes to water. Most will have it filtered or boiled before drinking. Although tap water in Korea is perfectly safe to drink, you may want to follow the local habits only if to get rid of the chlorine smell.

# What are the norms if I contact with the Koreans?

While in North Korea it is important to emphasize that the government of the DPRK -- in particular the leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il -- are very highly revered in North Korean culture. While slavish devotion is not necessary (at least for tourists, although the more praise you shower on them the better), insulting them in any way is illegal and will get you and (much more so) your guides into trouble. In North Korea 'in trouble' does not mean a slap on the wrist - North Korea is renowned for very harsh punishments extending (for the guides) from fines to lengthy prison sentences or even death.Where as in South Koreans bow to each other to show their respect when they meet. Today, they may also shake hands at the same time. However, with people you are friendlier with a quick nod of the head and a simple "anyeong haseyo" meaning "hello" should suffice.

# What should I keep in mind when I contact with the Koreans?

  • Do not photo them without permission, please show respect to them !
  • Do not talk about the sensitive topics like political or t religious matters!

# How much should I tip?

Tipping is not necessary anywhere in Korea and could be considered offensive if you try to do so, except maybe bellhops in high-end hotels.

# Do the travelers need to ask the permissions before taking the photos of Koreans?

It is always good to ask permission first. Koreans are very friendly. However, it might arouse the upset feelings of local Koreaans by photo-taking without asking the permission first.

# Is it easy to get the cash money from ATMs in Korea?

ATM are ubiquitous, but most Korean ATMs don't accept foreign cards, only special Global ATMs do. These can be found at airports and some subway stations in major cities, as well as in many Family Mart convenience stores, so stock up before heading to the countryside. Citibank cashcard holders can withdraw in every Citibank branches(ATM) in South Korea with charge of US$1 and check balance of checking account for free.(Chinese, English and Korean services are available on ATM.)

# What are the commonly used phone numbers for emergency in Korea?

The following phone calls can be directly made from any other telephones in Korea once the emergency happens.

(South Korea)

  •  Emergency Rescue (Fire & Ambulance) 119
     Medical Emergency 129
     Police 112
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