The Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea (Korea) is located in Northeast Asia, neighboring Japan to the east and China to the west and sharing the northern border with Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). Its mainland area is 100,033 km2 and the total population is more than 51 million (as of August 2017). Its capital city is Seoul.

Korea, once one of the poorest countries in the 1960s, has become the 4th largest economy in Asia and 11th largest in the world (2017, IMF World Economic Outlook Database) through industrialization. Such a remarkable growth has allowed the country to turn itself from a recipient to a donor of ODA.

About ten million international travelers visit Korea every year, enjoying infinite attractions that Korea offers. Enrich and stimulate your imagination with experience which awaits you in Korea.  For more details, please visit: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Useful information

Climate

Korea is geographically situated in a temperate climate zone in the middle latitudes, having four distinct seasons. The average temperature in Busan in May is about 20 degrees Celsius. Overnight temperatures are generally very mild, with an average low of 17 degrees Celsius. To find the current weather in Busan, please visit: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Time difference

Korea (Busan) is 9 hours ahead of GMT (standard time).

Currency

The currency in the Republic of Korea is Won(₩). Denominations for coins are 10, 50, 100, and 500, and for banknotes, 1000, 5000, 10000, and 50000. For higher denominations, cashier’s checks are used. Please refer to www.xe.com for exchange rates.

Bills

50,000 won (oman won)
Equiv. to $45

10,000 won (man won)
Equiv. to $9

5,000 won (ocheon won)
Equiv. to $4.5

1,000 won (cheon won)
Equiv. to $0.9

Coins

500 won (obaek won)
Equiv. to ¢45

100 won (baek won)
Equiv. to ¢9

50 won (osip won)
Equiv. to ¢4

10 won (sip won)
Equiv. to ¢1

* The exchange rate as of November 2017 $1 = ₩1,100

Cost of living

Cost of living in South Korea is approximately 20% higher than in Ivory Coast (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Indicative costs are provided in the following website: http://bit.ly/CostOfLivingKorea

Banks and foreign exchange offices

Banks are open from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Major currencies and traveler’s cheques can be exchanged into Korean Won(₩) at the airports, hotels, currency exchange shops and all banks in Korea.

Cash machines / ATMs

Users of overseas credit cards should use an ATM with the “Global” sign or the logo of their card company. The operating hours of ATMs are usually between 08:00 and 23:00. ATMs are located at major stations, airports and convenience stores. The currency available for withdrawal is Korean Won(₩) only.

Credit cards

Most hotels, restaurants, shops and taxis accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express). Identification may be required when using a credit card. Though credit cards are widely accepted in Korea, possession of cash is recommended just in case.

Electricity

The standard voltage in Korea is 220 volts at 60 Hertz, and the outlet has two round holes. If you do not have a multi-voltage travel adapter, you may ask to borrow or purchase one from your hotel's front desk. You can also find them at the airport, retail stores and major duty-free shops.

Mobile phone

With SIM card or Mobile phone rental service, you can use the mobile phone service in Korea. At the International Airports, you can rent a SIM card or Mobile phone (Major service providers: SK Telecom, KT)

  • SIM card: If you rent a SIM card, you can continue to use your own phone in Korea for data, voice services conveniently and at a cheap price. You can use this by inserting the SIM into your mobile phone. Obtain a Korean mobile phone number to get unlimited access to data and voice services at an affordable price. (About 30,000 won, or $27, for 5 day-use)
  • Mobile phone rental: You can use the telecommunication services with a rental phone without worrying about incoming call rate. (About 5,500 won, or $5, per day. The price may vary depending on models.)

You can check the links below for more details.

Smoking

Smoking is illegal and strictly prohibited in public places. Anyone caught smoking in smoke-free areas must be fined 100,000 won (about $90).

Tipping

A 10% service charge could be added to your bill at all tourist hotels. You don’t need to give an additional tip for services at hotel. Unless a taxi driver assists you with luggage or provides with an extra service, a tip is not necessarily required. A small tip, however, is very much appreciated.

“The price of cotton may decline, but never the price of textile and garments. The price of cocoa may decline, but never the price of chocolates.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank President

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