Planning Your Trip

South Korea

South Korea is a country visited by over 17 million international travellers every year. With its long history in culture and tradition, the country has a lot to offer. The compact size of South Korea coupled with superb transportation infrastructure makes it very convenient and easy to explore.

Located in the northern hemisphere, the distance between South Korea’s capital city Seoul and Sydney is 8,391 km. South Korea is only 1 hour behind Australia (Sydney). During Australia’s Daylight Saving Time, Korea is 2 hours behind.

Visa

Tourists holding Australian passports are permitted to stay in Korea for up to 90 days visa free. They are required to have a valid passport and a confirmed outbound ticket only.

For further visa inquiries, please visit the following websites:
* Due to COVID19, the visa waiver is temporarily suspended for some countries that have signed a visa waiver agreement with Korea from midnight 13 April 2020. Australia is also included in the countries.

Getting to Korea

The Incheon International Airport (ICN), about one hour away from Seoul by subway or bus, is the main gateway to South Korea.

From Sydney, it would take approximately 10.5 hours to get to Incheon in a direct flight. The following airlines have a direct flight to Korea: Korean Air, Asiana Airlines (codeshare with Qantas Airlines), Jetstar.

Please refer to each airline website for the most up-to-date information.

Currency

The monetary unit used in Korea is the won (₩).  Currency exchange is available at banks, major hotels, and private tellers in tourist areas.

Major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country except for small shops and traditional markets.

The currency rate of 1 Australian dollar to 1 Korean won is about between 750 and 850 Korean won.

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Seasons

March – May

Spring

Pleasantly warm and sunny

(average temperature 10-20℃)
June – August

Summer

Hot and humid with monsoon season in mid-June

(average temperature in lower 30s℃)
September – November

Autumn

Comfortably dry and breezy

(average temperature in upper 10s℃)
December – February

Winter

Dry and snowy

(average temperature below 0℃)

Transportation

To and From Airport

Airport Railroad Express (AREX)

Taking the AREX non-stop train is the quickest way to get to downtown Seoul from Incheon International Airport or Gimpo International Airport.

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Airport Bus

Airport buses to Seoul, Busan and other major cities are available from the Incheon Airport. Travel times depend on the final destination, but most parts of Seoul can be reached within 1.5 hours. Ticket fare to Seoul is around 15,000 won.

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Taxi

Taxis are a safe and convenient way to transfer from Incheon International Airport into Seoul.

There are an abundance of taxi’s and the journey takes approximately 60 minutes.

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Getting Around Korea

How to use Korea’s public transportation featuring BTS

Subway

The cities of Seoul, Incheon, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju have very convenient and extensive subway systems. Basic fare of a single journey subway ticket in Seoul is 1,350 Korean won. Additional charge depending on total distance traveled.

Local Bus

In Seoul, buses are generally categorized by color and number, and fares can be paid in cash or transportation card. Discounted fare and free transfer (to bus or subway) when using transportation card.

Train

Trains are operated by KORAIL and classified based on their speed and amenities offered. The classifications include the express trains like KTX, regular trains, and KORAIL tourist trains. KORAIL Pass, exclusive for foreign travellers, can be used on all trains operated by KORAIL.

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Express & Intercity Bus

An extensive express and intercity bus network connects the entire country. These buses are very convenient, and bus terminals are centrally located.

Flights

Korea has a well-developed domestic flight network linking major cities. Reservations can be made at travel agencies, by phone or online.

Transportation Card

KOREA TOUR CARD, T-Money and Cashbee cards can be used on public buses, subway and taxis in several different metropolitan cities. Skip the hassle of purchasing single journey subway tickets for every ride and enjoy discounts on during transfers from one bus to another, one subway line to another, or from bus to subway or vice versa.

Seoul

Seoul is the capital of South Korea and is the heart of South Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economy. Seoul is home to many historic and cultural sites. The shopping and entertainment districts also draw a-large-number of tourists every year.

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Incheon

Incheon is the major gateway to South Korea. It is home to Incheon International Airport and Songdo, one of the smart and sustainable cities in the world.

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Busan

Busan is South Korea’s largest port city, filled with endless excitement and surprises. Every year, tens of thousands of visitors from all over the country and around the world flock to the city’s many beaches to relax and to attend festivals.

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Jeju

Jeju, boasting mild weather and scenic beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and caves is a must visit. Some of the top tourist sites include a national park with diverse flora and fauna, breathtaking views, and the world’s longest lava tube, registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage.

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Gyeonggi-do

Gyeonggi-do is home to a large variety of tourist destinations, including cultural heritage sites, theme parks, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and nature conservation sites.

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Gangwon-do

Gangwon-do is blessed with beautiful mountains and beaches making it a great place to visit throughout the year. Winter in Gangwon-do is heaven for winter sports enthusiasts, as the province gets a lot of snow. There are many ski resorts in Gangwon-do. Some of the resorts even served as official venues for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

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Gyeongsangbuk-do

Gyeongsangbuk-do has long been the religious home of Korea. The city of Gyeongju, the old capital of the Silla Kingdom (57 BC-935 AD), is especially well known for Buddhist cultural heritage sites, as well as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. National and provincial parks, as well as coastal walking trails, offer scenic views of nature.

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Suggested Itineraries

For Friends

For those who are travelling with friends, we would recommend visits to Seoul and Busan.

Seoul is the capital of Korea and is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economy. Busan is the second largest city in the nation just after Seoul and is a city of delicious seafood, ancient temples, festivals and beach culture.

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For Families

There is a wide range of attractions and activities in South Korea that families with children of all ages can enjoy.

The country has so much to offer from amusement parks packed with exciting rides and beautiful flower parks to interactive educational museums. Most importantly, major tourist spots, including malls, and transport stations are wheelchair or stroller friendly and have a dedicated nursing room, which makes travel with kids or grandparents even more convenient and stress-free.

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Accommodation

South Korea offers a range of accommodation for every budget and style of travel.

Including a traditional Hanok stay in your itinerary provides an authentic cultural experience and spending time in a Temple Stay property will bring a zen-like experience for the weary traveller.  South Korea also offers modern bespoke and boutique accommodation along with well-known affordable and luxury hotel chains.  A 10% VAT and 10% service charge is generally included in the room rates. Hotel tax refund is applicable to international tourists who stay in certified hotels within Korea for less than 30 days. Click here for more info.

Essential Korean Phrases

What are some simple Korea phrases that you can use during your travel?

15 Essential Korean Phrases for Travel

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Safe Korea

Travel tips for nightlife in Korea

Helpful Numbers

Korea Travel Hotline

Available 24/7, you can call and ask assistance for any travel related issues or complaints when in Korea. In Korea, dial 1330.

Emergency Calls

  • Police Department 112
  • Fire Department 119
  • Medical Emergencies 1339

Lost and Found 182

  • National Police Agency
  • Address: 97, Tongil-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
  • Website: www.lost112.go.kr

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