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Are you thinking of visiting Korea anytime soon? Concerned about travel safety in Korea?
Korea is a country every traveler should have on their list. The country has plenty of places and activities that most tourists would like to experience. It offers an interesting and captivating history, a beautiful culture, breathtaking cuisine, friendly people, and reliable tourism infrastructure that includes the new high-speed rail system. Korea has numerous mountains to hike, Buddhist temples like the Bulguksa, and the city of Seoul, which contains the Lotte World Tower, and other modern skyscrapers.
Every traveler has to deal with the preparations to travel, especially their safety, when going to a place for their first time. Before visiting Korea, here are some notes to read about their travel safety.
Korea is a relatively safe country to visit. Most tourists would prefer visiting South Korea because it is more popular and more liberated when it comes to tourists. There aren’t many security issues compared when travelling to North Korea. Koreans are very much aware of their global popularity and are very welcoming of tourists so travel safety in Korea should not be a concern. For more updates about travel safety before visiting Korea, visit South Korea's Travel Advisory.
Travelling to a new destination requires knowledge about its details. Travel safety is always your primary concern, and one factor of your welfare would know if any natural disasters occur in Korea that you should avoid. Natural disasters are becoming more severe, and their frequency is increasing every year, with the summer getting hotter and winter getting colder due to global warming effects. Korea often experiences heavy rains, typhoons, heavy snow in winter, and heatwaves. The most dangerous natural disasters that cause catastrophic damage to the country are typhoons, heavy storms, heavy snow, and increasing strength. Be sure to check the weather forecast, months before your scheduled travel.
Koreans are generally friendly and hospitable people to visitors. Travellers do not have to worry because this country is safe for women tourists. The city of Seoul will surely be on top of your list when you visit Korea. Although Koreans are fond of drinking, they are still a conservative society, and Korean men will not try to approach you unless they are drunk. Seoul has a generous amount of installed CCTVs, and their local police are ready to arrest anyone who will misbehave.
Nevertheless, you should be extra cautious with your surroundings and be alert at all times. If you plan on going out at night in Seoul, make sure that you are in a large group and always keep your accommodation information with you. Veer away from narrow alleys and suspicious places. If you are in an uncomfortable situation, try to be polite when talking to someone, and be firm to ask them to walk away.
The world knows about the changes in how North and South Korea treat each other. Tensions are still increasing between the two countries, and sadly the media are over exaggerating this issue. The situation makes tourists worry about coming to South Korea, but some expats testify that this country is safe.
There are also factors that you should avoid when visiting the country to avoid any trouble. Here are some of them:
Winter in Korea is frigid that makes its surroundings seem lifeless. It is not for tourists who cannot withstand the cold, which can get below 32° F / 0°C, which happens from December to February the following year.
Korea experiences all four seasons every year. Winter can be extreme, and so does the summer. Korea can get intensely hot and humid during the peak summer months, which is not advisable to visit the country. It would only make you feel uncomfortable and sweaty while on tour. You can avoid traveling to Korea from July until August.
There is a real cult that exists in Seoul that targets foreigners, especially. The cult members will do their everything to trick you into joining their rituals. Koreans say that a pair of friendly locals will approach tourists and open a conversation until they invite you to their conventional Korean ceremony. Some people say that the cult is not dangerous, but a waste of time and a scam. Be always on the lookout for suspicious persons that might invite you to their faction.
You need to remove your shoes when you visit private homes, restaurants, and temples because Koreans find it rude if you don’t follow this. They usually provide slippers for you in exchange for their ritual.
Koreans are very serious about their manners, and so should you as a tourist. Their etiquettes are based mainly on respecting their elders, homes, place of worship, culture, and fellow men.
It would be best if you remembered to keep your voice down in public transportations at all times when in Korea. Locals will consider you rude if you are talking too loud or acting too exuberant.
If you visit Korea, you should try their local cuisine and find out how tasty Koreans cook. As much as possible, try not to eat western food to show the locals your appreciation of their culture. Western food will turn out more expensive than Korean food.
It is a common practice in Korea that you should throw your used toilet paper in the trash bin and not in the toilet to flush it down the drain. Used toilet papers, sanitary napkins, or any other objects can clog the drain of the toilet or the sanitary pipes. Some establishments update and upgrade their pipes to ensure that there will be no blockages even if objects are flushed down from the toilet. But still, it is an excellent practice to follow the norm.
Unfortunately, some of Korea’s ATMs do not accept foreign cards. It is recommended that you check your card first if it is marked as a global ATM card. Global machines conveniently accept international cards, and it is better that you have Korean Won in your pockets.
South Korea does not support Google Maps services, which you cannot use for driving, biking, or walking directions because of security and legal reasons. You can search for other map services that the country permits to operate.
All prices in Korea are inclusive of service fees, which makes tipping not customary. You may find some restaurants and cafes with tip jars for generous customers, but it is not mandatory.
South Korea has a vibrant culture making them one of the unique countries in the world. There are certain things that Koreans consider as acceptable in their learning. Koreans are also serious about their fashion in which you have to understand to blend with their community thoroughly. The locals will think that you are having difficulties with your life or just gave up with your life if you do not make an extra effort dressing up wherever you are going.
Girls should not wear shirts that are too short in length, and must not expose their shoulders. Koreans consider this as provocative, and one way of preventing this is to wear a cardigan. You can wear short shorts, dresses, and skirts because they don’t consider it obscene. But you still have to be careful about wearing shorts if you are going to a traditional restaurant. So dressing up is also one way of ensuring your travel safety in Korea.
Korean street food, like most street foods in Asia, is considered less than ideal. Essential factors include uneven temperatures, unsanitized utensils and tables, and raw foods beside the cooked food. You would notice some flies that hover and land on the street food, making it more susceptible to bacteria transfers.
If you see any food cart that lacks customers, the food they sell might be sitting there for a while. Stay away from these street food vendors.
But if you see a food cart that has people swarming around it, you are in for a treat of great food with knowledge about sanitation and practices proper procedures in handling food and kitchen utensils.
Street food vendors are so dependent on their customers who are clean and do not have any illnesses. Koreans are also aware of street food danger potential. Vendors make sure that they serve their products that will not do any harm to their customers.
Visiting South Korea will be an experience to cherish and remember. Now that you are aware of some Korean culture, you can say that you are ready to go to Korea and have fun without having any trouble.