About Seoul

Visit Seoul

Seoul, the Capital of Korea

Seoul is a fast-moving modern metropolis and one of the largest cities in the world. Home to over 10 million citizens, it is a friendly city that is easy to get around. Here are some tips to make your trip to Seoul more convenient and comfortable.

Population Seoul 10,195,000 (2013 est.) Seoul city government South Korea 50,948,000 (2013 est.) CIA Factbook (About one-fifth of South Korea's population resides in Seoul)
Size 30.3 km from north to south and 36.78 from east to west
Temperatures +22C to +30C (August), -7C to +1C (January)
Time Zone GMT + 9 (Korea Standard Time KST or Japanese Standard Time JST)
Electricity 220v, 60 hz throughout the country (same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey)
Country Dialing Code +82
Area Code Seoul 02 (when dialing from overseas remove the zero)
Religion 25% Buddhist, 25% Christian
Language Korean

Seoul has been the capital of Korea for about 600 years since the time of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Seoul was referred to as "Han Yang" during the Joseon Dynasty, but after the liberation from Japan in 1945, the newly founded Republic of Korea officially changed its capital city's name to Seoul. Seoul has developed into a bustling metropolis, acting as the hub for political, economic, social and cultural matters. The Hangang River runs through the heart of the city. The river divides the city in two; the northern part of the city is a focal point for culture and history, while the southern part is well known for its business district.

Seoul has hosted many international events including: 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Olympic Games and 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup. The success of these events has shown people that Korea is truly an international city.

Long History

Seoul is a fast-moving modern metropolis and one of the largest cities in the world. Home to over 10 million citizens, it is a friendly city that is easy to get around. Here are some tips to make your trip to Seoul more convenient and comfortable.

Getting around

Seoul is a city full of joy. It will not allow you to get bored. Insa-dong is where you can see traditional Korean artisans, Itaewon is a little community where people from outside Korea hang out, stores downtown open till late so that you can shop till you drop, N Seoul tower and 63 city will show you an awesome view of Seoul at a glance, and amusement parks will give you a thrill while you stay in Korea.

Seoul City Tour

City Tours are the most convenient and comfortable way to explore cities. The major sights and attractions of a city are presented on a single tour. Now City Tours are available in Seoul, Incheon, Suwon, Deajeon, Jeonju, Gwangju, Daegu, and Ulsan.
Nestled around the Hangang River is the Korean capital Seoul, a city of old and new. With thousands of years of history, Seoul has both well preserved royal palaces, historical relics, and cultural treasures as well as state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructures. The Seoul City Tour bus runs a course that covers major points of interest in the capital.

[Photo credit: Korean Tourism Organization]

About Korea

Country Name Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Capital City Seoul (population: 10.2 million as of 2016)
Size 1,012km from north to south and 165km from east to west
National Flag Taegeukgi
Language Korean (writing system: Hangeul)
Country Dialing Code +82
National Flower Mugunghwa
Population 51 million (July 2015)
Time Zone GMT +9 (Korean Standard Time KST)

The Korean peninsula is located in North-East Asia. It is surrounded by the ocean on three sides, making it a unique geographical location. With Seoul as its capital city, the landsite is roughly 1,030 km (612 miles) long and 175 km (105 miles) wide at its narrowest point. Korea's total land area is 100,033 square km, neighboring Japan to the east, China to the west, and sharing a northern border with Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).

National Flag

Taegeukgi : Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in oriental philosophy. The circle in the center is divided into two equal parts, where the upper red responds to the active cosmic forces of the yang; conversely, the lower blue section represents the passive cosmic forces of the yin. The flag's background is white, representing Korean’s desire for peace and purity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner, characterizing continual movement, balance and harmony. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements (heaven, earth, fire, and water).

National Flower

Mugunghwa : The national flower of Korea is mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, which comes into bloom from July to October every year. Profusions of the blossom gracefully decorate the entire nation during that time, providing a view which has been loved by all Korean for many years. It is also favorite plant of the people as the flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word ‘mugung’, meaning immortality. This word accurately reflects the enduring nature of Korean culture, and the determination and perseverance of the Korean people.

National Anthem

Aegukga : Aegukga literally means 'a song expressing one’s love towards their country' in Korean, and that was the exact reason this anthem came to be born. Since its creation, the song has undergone several versions of transition; however, it remained focused on praising the sense of loyalty to the country. Maestro Ahn Eak-tai (1905-1965) is credited with having made the present form of the song in 1935, which was then adopted by the Korean Government (1948) officially as the national anthem and began to be used at all schools and official functions.

Population of Korea

According to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, as of July 2015, the total population of Korea is 51,448,183, ranking 26th globally by country. Out of the total population, roughly 20% live in Seoul, the capital city of Korea. Other large and economically advanced cities such as Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Ulsan have higher population densities than other cities in Korea.

[Data credit: Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (www.mospa.go.kr) (Korean, English)]

Visa

Ministry of Foreign Affairs http://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/index.do
Korea Immigration Service http://www.immigration.go.kr/HP/IMM80/index.do
Korea Visa Portal https://www.visa.go.kr

Visa Information

Any foreign visitors wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport and obtain a Korean visa before coming. However, nationals of 115 who want to visit Korea temporarily are permitted to enter without a visa according to a mutual visa-waiver agreement (69 countries, Table 1) or in accordance with principles of reciprocity and national interest (46 countries, Table 2).

[Table 1] Countries under Visa Waiver Agreements (as of Feb 16, 2017)

Nationals of visa waiver countries can enter Korea without a visa as long as the purpose of their visit is tourism or temporary visit. If they want to engage in profitable activities such as employment, they must apply for a Korean visa suitable for their purpose.

Country / Period (days) Country / Period (days) Country / Period (days)
Asia
Bangladesh / 90 Israel / 90 Kazakhstan / 30
Malaysia / 90 Pakistan / 3 month Singapore / 90
Thailand / 90 Turkey / 90 United Arab Emirates / 90
America
Antigua and Barbuda / 90 Barbados / 90 Brazil / 90
Chile / 90 Columbia / 90 Costa Rica / 90
Dominica / 90 Dominican Republic / 90 El Salvador / 90
Grenada / 90 Guatemala / 90 Heiti / 90
Jamaica / 90 Mexico / 3 month Nicaragua / 90
Panama / 90 Peru / 90 Saint Kitts Nevis / 90
Saint Lucia / 90 Saint Vincent and The Grenadines / 90 Surinam / 90
The Bahamas / 90 Trinidad Tobago / 90 Uruguay / 90
Venezuela / 90
Europe
Austria / 90 Belgium / 3 month Bulgaria / 90
Denmark / 90 Estonia / 90 Finland / 90
France / 90 Germany / 90 Greece / 3 month
Hungary / 90 Iceland / 90 Ireland / 90
Italy / 90 Latvia / 90 Lichtenstein / 3 month
Lithuania / 90 Luxembourg / 3 month Malta / 90
Netherlands / 3 month Norway / 90 Poland / 90
Portugal / 60 Romania / 90 Russia / 60
Slovakia / 90 Spain / 90 Sweden / 90
Switzerland / 3 month The Czech Republic / 90 The united Kingdom / 90
Africa & Oceania
Lesotho / 60 Liberia / 90 Morocco / 90
Tunisia / 30 New Zealand / 3 month

[Table 2] Countries of Regions under principles of reciprocity and national interest

Considering international convention, mutuality doctrine, national profit and other such factors, certain countries are granted visa-free entry permissions (as of March 1, 2017).

Country / Period (days) Country / Period (days) Country / Period (days)
Asia
Bahrain / 90 Brunei / 30 Hong Kong / 90
Japan / 90 Kuwait / 90 Macao / 90
Oman / 30 Qatar / 30 Saudi Arabia / 30
Taiwan / 90
Oceania
Australia / 90 Fiji / 30 Guam / 30
Kiribati / 30 Micronesia / 30 Marshall Islands / 30
Nauru / 30 New Caledonia / 30 Palau / 30
Samoa / 30 Solomon Islands / 30 Tuvalu / 30
Tonga / 30
North America
Canada / 6 month United States / 90
South America
Argentina / 30 Ecuador / 30 Guyana / 30
Honduras / 30 Paraguay / 30
Europe
Albania / 30 Andorra / 30 Croatia / 90
Cyprus / 30 Monte Negro / 30 Monaco / 30
San Marino / 30 Serbia / 90 Slovenia / 90
Vatican / 30 Bosnia-Herzegovina / 30
Africa
Egypt / 30 Seychelles / 30 South Africa / 30
Swaziland / 30 Mauritius / 30

Tourist Attractions

The Best of Seoul – Our Top 10 Tourists Attractions

From old to new, explore all that the city has to offer. Visit the best shopping districts, the top historical sites, and the places with the best views of the city skyline. Whether you prefer modern architecture or the charm of the royal palaces, there is something for everyone!











[Photo credit: Korean Tourism Organization]

Tour Program

  • Tours can be changed or cancelled if the number of people booked on our tour program does not reach the set minimum.
  • Tour Programs are only available to ICHEP2018 Participants.

Tour program Overview

*For more information about each tour program, please click the course name.
**Minimum 10 people are necessary for all tour to take place

Half Day Tour

Date/Duration
Everyday (Tue: closed) / 09:00-13:30
Price per Person
KRW 75,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Gyeongbokgung Palace – Cheongwadae (Blue House) road – Insadong Antique Alley – Back to COEX

Gyeongbokgung Palace: Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the “Northern Palace” because its location is furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeongheegung (Western Palace). Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful and remains the largest of all five palaces.

Insadong Antique Alley is famous for streets filled with the flavors of tradition and is universally well-loved by tourists. Here, foreigners can purchase traditional souvenirs at low prices and taste authentic dishes by stepping into a Korean restaurant found on every street corner.

Date/Duration
Everyday (Mon/Nat’l Holidays : closed) / 08:00–14:00
Price per Person
KRW 90,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – DMZ (The 3rd Tunnel, Dora Observatory, Dorasa Station) – Back to COEX

The 3rd Tunnel was discovered in 1978 by Korean forces. It spans over 1635m in length, 2m in width, and 2m in height and is located 52km from Seoul. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 soldiers could move through the tunnel per hour. Once the tunnel was found, North Koreans insisted it was intentionally made by us to invade North Korea, but, their insistence was proven untrue as the explosions used to make the tunnel face southward.

Dora Observatory: Situated in Paju (Gyeonggi-do) and at the northernmost point of the Military Demarcation Line of the Western Front, the Dora Observatory replaced the previous Songaksan Observation Post which was closed. From the observatory, visitors can overlook North Korea and its various locations including Gaeseong, Songaksan, Kim Il-Sung Statue, and Cooperation Farm (Geumamgol). The observatory offers 500 seats, VIP rooms, and abundant parking space.

Date/Duration
Everyday (Mon: closed) / 13:00-18:00
Price per Person
KRW 80,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Changdeokgung palace & Huwon – Bukchon Hanok Village – Back to COEX

Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon [UNESCO World Heritage] - Built in 1405, Changdeokgung Palace is best known for its informal design in the architectural history of East Asian palaces. Named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the palace consists of buildings ideally located so as to be in harmony with the surrounding environment. Huwon, the serene Secret Garden located toward the rear of the palace, represents the very essence of Asian style landscapes.

Bukchon Hanok Village: Surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, Bukchon Hanok Village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called 'hanok' that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. The name, 'Bukchon,' which literally translates to 'northern village,' came about as the neighborhoods that the village covers lie to the north of the two significant Seoul landmarks, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno.

Date/Duration
Everyday (Mon: closed) / 13:00-18:00
Price per Person
KRW 110,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Experience Making ‘Kimchi’ & Wearing ‘Hanbok’ – Insadong Antique Alley – Back to COEX

Insadong Antique Alley is famous for streets filled with the flavors of tradition and is universally well-loved by tourists. Here, foreigners can purchase traditional souvenirs at low prices and taste authentic dishes by stepping into a Korean restaurant found on every street corner.

Full Day Tour

Date/Duration
Everyday / 09:00-17:00
Price per Person
KRW 150,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee, Lunch (local)
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – MBC World – Lunch – Hongdae Area – Seoul Sky Observatory – Back to COEX

MBC World is Korea's first hallyu theme park opened by Korea's major broadcasting company MBC. The park offers hologram K-pop concerts, virtual reality drama sets and more. The theme park’s main attractions include experience zones where visitors can experience being on stage with K-pop stars in a holographic form, learn dance moves from the stars or become the main character of a favorite K-drama.

Hongdae Area is a neighborhood known for its youthful and romantic ambience, underground culture, and freedom of self-expression. Unique cafes, cozy galleries, accessory stores, fashion shops, live cafés and clubs, art markets, and gourmet eateries make this a popular hang-out for local youth and a fascinating place to walk around.

Seoul Sky is located on floors 117-123 of Lotte World Tower, the nation's tallest and the world's fifth tallest building. The observatory offers a panoramic view of the entire capital city, beautiful both day and night. In addition to the outstanding view, visitors can enjoy a small snack or coffee from the dessert cafe while sitting in the lounge or on the sky terrace. The observation deck has two story-high glass windows for an uninterrupted view. The Sky Deck, located at 478m, hold the Guinness World Record as the highest glass-floored observatory in the world. On days when visibility is limited, visitors can still enjoy a clear sky through the Sky Theater. The 120th floor holds the Sky Terrace, open to the elements.

Date/Duration
Everyday / 09:00-17:00
Price per Person
KRW 120,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee, Lunch (local)
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Suwon Hawseong Fortress – Lunch – Korean Folk Village – Back to COEX

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is an impressive structure from the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and the official fortress of Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do. The fortress (constructed from 1794 to 1796) was built as a show of the King’s filial piety towards his father Jangheonseja and to build a new pioneer city with its own economic power. The fortress was designated as Historical Monument No. 3 in January 1963, and in December 1997, it was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Korean Folk Village: Set in a natural environment occupying approximately 243 acres, visitors can experience the natural atmosphere with over 260 traditional houses reminiscent of the late Joseon Dynasty, including various household goods from different regions. All these features have been relocated and restored to provide visitors with a broad understanding of Korean food, clothing, and housing style of the past.

Date/Duration
Everyday / 09:00-17:00
Price per Person
KRW 130,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee, Lunch (local)
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Nami Island – Lunch – Petite France – Back to COEX

Nami Island is 63 km away from Seoul in the direction of Chuncheon, and is famous for its beautiful tree lined roads.  The island is 30 minutes away from Chuncheon and an hour away from suburbs of Seoul. Since it is not far from Seoul, many couples and families come to visit.  A special feature of Namiseom Island is that there are no telephone poles. This is because all electric wires were built underground to keep the natural feeling of the landscape. The complex is 553,560 square yards with chestnut trees and poplar trees around the isle.

Petite France a French cultural village set in the Korean countryside! Petite France serves as both a French cultural village and consists of 16 French-style buildings where visitors can lodge and experience French food, clothing, and household culture. The concept of Petite France encapsulates ‘flowers, stars, and the Little Prince.’ The village contains a memorial hall dedicated to Saint-Exupery, the author of the celebrated French novel, Le Petit Prince (1943) and as such it is called the Little Prince theme park.

Night Tour

Date/Duration
Everyday / 18:00–22:00
Price per Person
KRW 130,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Myeongdong – NANTA performance – Back to COEX

NANTA has been running since October 1997 and is the most popular show ever in Korea. It also has achieved outstanding international success having performed on Broadway and toured widely around the US and the rest of the world. It receives rave reviews wherever it performs and quickly sells out. Without a dialogue, but through rhythmic banging of knives, pots and pans, NANTA (or Cookin’ as it was known in the States) tells the story of four crazy chefs who have been set the impossible task of making a wedding banquet in just one hour. What follows is pure musical mayhem, and they even manage to fit in a love story! The show is based on Korea’s traditional garak (rhythms) of Samulnori (traditional Korean percussion quartet), and can be enjoyed by all the family.

Myeongdong is one of the busiest places in Seoul and is among Korea’s premier shopping destinations. Over 1 million shoppers pass through this area each and every day. Located in the heart of Seoul, Myeong-dong market has been a witness to Korea’s tumultuous modern-day history as a center of city politics, economy, and culture. To international visitors, Myeong-dong is a stunning shopping district with countless shops and restaurants. Its wild popularity has led to similar shopping districts springing up all across the country.

Date/Duration
Everyday / 18:00-22:30
Price per Person
KRW 110,000
Price included
English-speaking guide, Private Transfer, Admission fee
Itinerary
Meet at COEX – Han River Cruise – Gwangjang Market – Back to COEX

Han River Dinner Cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery around Hangang River that flows through Seoul. Cool wind from the river, the surrounding scenery, which get more beautiful in the evenings, are the rewards the ferry cruise can offer you.

Gwangjang Market is the nation’s first market and continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination today. The second floor of the market provides all of your silk, satin, and linen bed-sheet stores, which are the largest and most famous in Seoul. Many of the stores in the area even have their own factories supplying fabrics to the Namdaemun Market, Pyoung Hwa Market, and even to some department stores. Even though the goods are not brand-name products, the wide selection of high quality goods at inexpensive prices makes it an enjoyable shopping experience.

Post-Congress Tour

Date/Duration
Jul 12-14, 2018
Price per Person
KRW 130,000
Price included
KRW 650,000 (2persons sharing a room)
KRW 770,000 (Single occupancy except for the temple)
Itinerary
Temple-stay (1N), Private hotel (1N), Meal, Private bus, English-speaking guide, admissions as per itinerary

Jul 12) SEOUL / PYEONGCHANG (L/D)
Meet at COEX (0900)- Jeonggangwon (Traditional Korean Food Culture Experience Center)_Experience making ‘Rice Cake’- Lunch – Arrive at Woljeongsa Temple – Temple-stay (Zen meditation, tea ceremony with monk)

Jul 13) PYEONGCHANG / GANGNEUNG (B/L)
After the Temple-stay – Alpensia (2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games Venue)- Terarosa Coffee Factory – Move to Gangneung – Hotel C/In & Free time

Jul 14) GANGNEUNG / Mt. SEORAK / SEOUL (B/L)
Hotel C/Out – Move to Mt. Seorak – Mr. Seorak National Park (go up the mountain by cable car) – Back to Seoul around 1430

Date/Duration
Jul 12-14, 2018
Price per Person
KRW 780,000 (2persons sharing a room)
KRW 990,000 (Single occupancy)
Price included
Private hotel (2N), Meal, Private bus, Bullet train ‘KTX’, English-speaking guide, admissions as per itinerary

Jul 12) SEOUL / GYEONGJU (L)
Meet at COEX (0900)- Seoul Station – Leave for Gyeongju by bullet train ‘KTX’ – Yangdong Folk Village [UNESCO World Heritage] – Gyeongju National Museum – Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong Tomb) – Gyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond – Move to hotel & C/In

Jul 13) GYEONGJU / BUSAN (B/L)
Bulguksa Temple – Move to Busan – Jagalchi Seafood Market – Nampodong – Busan Tower – Haeundae Beach – Hotel C/In

Jul 14) BUSAN / SEOUL (B)
Hotel C/Out – Haeundae Sightseeing Cruise – Busan Station – Leave for Seoul by bullet train ‘KTX’ – Arrive at Seoul around 1450

Useful Information

Currency

[Currency] The unit of Korean the currency is the Won (₩). Coin denominations are ₩10, ₩50, ₩100 and ₩500. Banknotes are ₩1,000, ₩5,000, ₩10,000 and ₩50,000. The exchange rate is approximately US$1 to KR 1,124 as of August 2017.
[Tax] Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in the retail price. In tourist hotels, this 10% tax applies to rooms, meals and other services and is included in the bill.

VAT

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in the retail price. In tourist hotels, this 10% tax applies to rooms, meals and other services and is included in the bill.

Climate

Four distinct seasons in Korea:
- spring (March ~ May),
- summer (June ~ August),
- autumn (September ~ November),
- winter (December ~ February).
  The temperature in Seoul in July ranges approximately between 18-30 ℃ degrees

Emergency

- 1339 : Medical Emergency
- 119 : Emergencies for Fire, Rescue & Hospital Services
- 112 : Police
- 129 : First Aid Services

Electricity

In Korea, 220 volt outlets are most common. Some hotels provide 110 volt outlets for shavers.
Please check the power supply before use.

Useful Websites

- Korea Tourism Organization: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr
- Gateway to Korea: http://www.korea.net
- Seoul Tourism Organization: http://www.miceseoul.com
- Seoul Metropolitan Government: http://www.visitseoul.net
- Korea Immigration Service: http://www.immigration.go.kr
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: http://www.mofat.go.kr