1) About Seoul
Seoul is the capital of Korea with over 600 years of history. It is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economics.
In Seoul, the world’s 10th largest city, the past and present co-exist in a fascinating way. Ancient palaces, gates, gardens, and valuable art collections in museums attest to the illustrious past of the city while the glistening facades of soaring skyscrapers and the busy streets represent its vibrant present. Seoul is home to many old historic sites like the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces, and places with traditional culture like Bukchon Hanok Village, Insa-dong, and Namdaemun Market. The shopping and entertainment districts of Myeong-dong and Apgujeong, and Asia’s largest underground shopping center Coex Mall also draw a large number of tourists every year. The Hangang River, which runs through the center of the city, is also a distinctive landscape of Seoul that offers a myriad of resting areas for citizens.
Helpful Booklets for Seoul Visitors:
ATTRACTIONS IN SEOUL
Namsan Mountain (N Seoul Tower)
The N Seoul Tower offers an amazing panoramic view of Seoul. It is located on top of Namsan Mountain, which is also the city’s largest park and botanical garden. Enjoy a hike to the peak or ascend via cable car. For more information, please refer to this website.
National Museum of Korea
The National Museum of Korea is the largest exhibition facility in Asia and among the six largest museums in the world. Here you will find a variety of collections that promote the uniqueness and beauty of Korean culture. Educational tours and cultural performances are available. Admission is free. For more information, please refer to this website.
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung was the main palace through much of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Unlike other palaces in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung’s rectangular space is surrounded by large gates on all sides. It also has three granite walkways, extending from the main entrance to the mail hall. For more information, please refer to this website.
Located at the corner of Seoul’s busiest downtown intersection, Deoksugung Palace is famous for its elegant stone-wall road. It is also the only palace that sits alongside a series of western style buildings that add to the uniqueness of the surrounding scenery. For more information, please refer to this website.
A must-visit location for foreigners, Myeong-dong is Korea’s number one shopping district. Located in the heart of Seoul immediately adjacent to the conference hotel, you will find the area bustling with people all week long. Myeong-dong offers tourists a wide variety of shops, from fashion items to popular brands for young people. Every corner extends to visitors excellent, traditional restaurants.
Traditional Market (Namdaemun Market)
Namdaemun Market is the largest and oldest traditional market in Seoul. You can find just about anything you are looking for. This 24 hour market is a true treasure trove offering a vast variety and bargains galore. For more information, please refer to this website.
2) About Korea
Korea is a beautiful country located on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia, often referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm”; A country surrounded by sea on three sides, while boasting green forests, open fields as well as meandering rivers.
Korea is a place that is alive with a rich tradition and culture that spans 5,000 years of history; An attractive country of changing sceneries and foods in each distinctive season of spring, summer, fall and winter; and a nation that produced the “Miracle of the Han River”, a stunning economic and social transformation forged by its people out of the ashes of the Korean War in 1950 and the subsequent division of territory.
The Korean language, like Hungarian, Turkish, Mongolian and Finnish, is classified into the Ural-Altaic language group. Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) is composed of ten simple vowels and 14 consonants. A group of scholars under the patronage of King Sejong the Great developed this systematic rendition of spoken sound in 1443. Hunminjeongeum , a historical document which provides instructions to educate people on the use of hangeul, is registered with UNESCO as a World Heritage, and UNESCO also awards the “King Sejong Literacy Prize” every year in memory of the inventor of hangeul.
Seoul has all four clearly distinguished seasons. Spring begins around early March; cherry blossom and flower festivals around the entire country signal the official coming of spring. The summer months can get quite hot and humid, but be ready for random spurts of coldness when stepping into a subway car, bus, or any other air-conditioned facilities in Seoul. For about a month starting from mid-July is the rainy season. Autumn start around September and boasts beautiful scenery as leaves begin to turn into fall colors. The winters in Seoul can get quite harsh. The temperature can drop as low as 15 degrees below zero (Celsius) during the coldest days.
|– late March to May
|– June to early September
– hot and humid
|– September to November
– mild weather
|– December to Mid-March
– cold and dry
Korea was once primarily an agricultural nation, cultivating rice as their staple food since ancient times. These days Korean cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of meat and fish dishes along with wild greens and vegetables. Various fermented and preserved food, such as kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal (matured seafood with salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste) are notable for their specific flavor and high nutritional value.
The prominent feature of a Korean table setting is that all dishes are served at the same time. Traditionally, the number of side dishes varied from three for the lower classes to twelve for royal family members. Table arrangements can vary depending on whether a noodle dish or meat is served. Formal rules have developed for table setting, demonstrating the attention people pay to food and dining. Compared to neighboring China and Japan, a spoon is used more often in Korea, especially when soups are served.
In Korea, 220 volt outlets are most common. (two round pins). If your appliance plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.
Any product with this “Tax Free Shopping” sign will give you a refund on VAT. You must depart Korea within 3 months of the purchase.
How to get Tax Refund
- Purchase your items at any shops with this “Tax Free Shopping” sign and receive a payment slip.
- When departing, you need to get a stamp issued from the customs officer after showing him the purchased items and payment slip.
- At the Cash Refund Office in the airport, you can receive the amount of VAT. You may also be able to get a refund at the airport of your destination.
Cell Phone Rental Service
CDMA cellular systems are widely used in Korea. SK Telecom and KT are providing a SIM card roaming service to allow you to use your GSM subscription in Korea. At the International Airport, you can rent a special CDMA cellular phone which accepts your SIM card. Please check the links below for more details.