Looking to travel to South Korea? Get all the information you need to have a safe, enjoyable and unforgettable trip while there, courtesy of GoBear Malaysia. We’ll present you with things you need to keep it mind before and during your time there, especially the need to get travel insurance for South Korea.
About South Korea
환영합니다! (Welcome!) South Korea is one of two countries on the Korean peninsula, the other being North Korea, of course. Unlike its neighbour, South Korea is a thriving democracy with a vibrant economy, well-connected with the rest of the world, a pop culture which is most famously known for PSY and his Gangnam Style dance, and aside from the Philippines, the only nation in Asia where Christianity is the majority religion. Its capital city is Seoul.
South Korea is located in the Northern Hemisphere, so its summers are towards the middle of the year and its winters towards the end. It observes the same time zone as Japan (UTC+9). Away from the DMZ with North Korea, it’s a very safe place, so most Malaysian travel insurance policies include South Korea in Area 1 (usually the cheapest band), but you should check your specific plan to make sure you’re covered if you decide to go. Its currency is the Korean won (KRW).
South Korean languages
South Korea is an incredibly homogenous society, so most people speak Korean. Many will also be able to speak Japanese, and English is widely taught in the school curricula. Language-wise, within urban and tourist areas, you should not have major difficulties in contacting the emergency services concierge provided by your travel insurance in South Korea.
South Korean food
South Korean food tends towards the healthful, emphasising fresh leafy vegetables (including seaweed) and seafood. Everyone knows about kimchi (fermented vegetables, usually cabbage), and Korean meals typically feature rice with a large selection of banchan (side dishes), each in small quantities. While you are in South Korea, you should try the authentic bulgogi as well as dakgalbi. In the cities, a wide selection of restaurants offering international cuisines are also available. South Koreans are also heavy drinkers; alcohol is very much part and parcel of South Korean cuisine and dining habits; in particular, soju (traditionally made from rice) is only the most famous type of liquor known overseas and there are actually plenty of other alcoholic beverages to try out while in
South Korea food safety standards are generally quite high here, but just in case, GoBear Malaysia recommends travel insurance for South Korea.
What to buy in South Korea
Samsung and LG (formerly Lucky Goldstar) are perhaps the most famous South Korean consumer brands known, but there are plenty of others. Nong Shim makes pretty good instant noodles, for instance, and did you know that Fila is now a South Korean brand? However, it certainly is true that South Korea is most well-known for its electronics, and that’s what GoBear Malaysia recommends you pick up when you go shopping. Inquire about VAT refunds in-store; you might be eligible depending on how much you spent and when you’re leaving.
GoBear Malaysia recommends checking whether your credit card covers lost or stolen purchases while overseas, or you can buy travel insurance for your South Korea shopping spree.
Things to do when in South Korea South Korea is a gamers’ haven. Its broadband connectivity and mobile coverage is amongst the best
(if not the best) in the world, and South Korea initiated the largest videogames competition, World Cyber Games, which ran for 14 years. The videogames industry is huge here.
For more traditional activities, South Korea is also famous for Jeju Island, one of its major tourist attractions. With the increased popularity of South Korean TV dramas, many tours now include shooting locations for the more famous dramas as part of their itinerary. Buddhism has had a long history here, so there are many famous temples throughout South Korea. Visit in 2018, and you might get to see the Winter Olympics! Just make sure that you are in good health, and that your travel insurance for South Korea covers you for all the things you intend to do.
Have a hassle-free trip! International travel, even to South Korea, has its own set of issues that you should prepare for, so that you can properly enjoy your holiday overseas. Aside from travel insurance for South Korea, GoBear Malaysia recommends you consider the following:
Passport & visa requirements for South Korea
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity after the dates you intend to go; you may not be allowed to travel if your passport is too close to expiry. Malaysian passport holders do not need visas to enter South Korea as tourists for up to 90 days.
In the event that your passport or other travel documents are lost or stolen, make sure you know the emergency contact details for your travel insurance concierge in South Korea, so that you can be assisted as quickly as possible.
Electricity & water in South Korea
While Malaysia uses the Type G power socket, you will instead see Type C and Type F sockets in South Korea. This means that you will need a universal travel adapter. However, its 220V/60Hz electrical system is close enough to Malaysia’s that you can otherwise simply plug in your electrical items. If you have many items to plug in, just bring a Malaysian extension board and plug that into the travel adapter. The tap water here is generally safe to drink (the South Korean government takes water quality very seriously), although you may also just boil it first if you have a sensitive stomach, which is what many
South Koreans do anyway.
South Korean telecommunications & Internet coverage
The telecommunications network in South Korea covers most of the country. Mobile phones bought in Malaysia (especially from Samsung, since it’s a South Korean brand) should work seamlessly with South Korean pre-paid SIMs, but do check the specific frequencies your phone uses against the ones your preferred South Korean telco supports. South Korea is one of the most connected countries in the world, so you never have to fear loss of signal. The emergency number is 112 for police and 119 for fire/medical emergencies from fixed lines and mobile phones alike.
Healthcare & medical facilities in South Korea
South Korea has a universal healthcare system, and world-class medical facilities. However, foreigners often get charged more than locals, and outside of the urban areas, getting medical treatment may be more complicated, so GoBear Malaysia recommends you have a travel insurance policy for South Korea that includes emergency medical repatriation coverage.
South Korean credit card facilities
International credit card networks that are present in South Korea include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express (to a smaller degree). UnionPay is also widely available. Credit cards are accepted almost universally by retailer and food outlets.
Ready to start planning your South Korean travels? Stay safe and protected while overseas!
Try out GoBear Malaysia’s travel insurance comparison services for a quick, comprehensive and easy-to- use look at all the insurers and the travel insurance policies they offer for South Korea.
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