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Location & Time
Korea sits in the North-eastern part of the Asian continent. It is located between 33 degrees and 43 degrees in the North Latitude and 124 degrees and 132 degrees in the East Longitude. China, Russia and Japan are adjacent to Korea, yet the Korean peninsula since the 1950s has been divided into two, having the Republic of Korea in the South and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the North positioned accordingly.
Korea enjoys four distinctive seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. Summers in the Republic of Korea are generally hot and humid with average temperatures of 25 Celsius degrees or 78 Fahrenheit in mid August. Busan is the most popular summer holiday destination with endless beaches, rivers, mountains, and hot springs.
Currency in the Republic of Korea is South Korean Won (KRW) and there are four bill denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 50,000 bills. Apart from the respective denominations, notes are easily discernible by distinct colors and different portraits of historical figures on each note. As of April 15, 2020, 1 US Dollar is equivalent to 1,216 Korean Won (KRW) and 1 Euro is equivalent to 1,330 KRW. Foreign currencies are conveniently exchangeable at airports, major hotels, bank branches, and foreign exchange booths.
Fast Facts about Korea
Time Zone: GMT+9
Four distinct seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter
Currency: South Korean Won (KRW)
1 USD=1,216 KRW / 1 EUR=1,330 KRW as of April 15, 2020
Population: 51.8 millions
Official Language: Hangul (Korean language)
GDP per capita USD 31,246 / IMF as of 2019
World’s No.11th and Asia’s 4th largest economy
16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 16 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity
Korea Tourism Organization : http://english.visitkorea.or.kr
Republic of Korea is home to over 50 million nationals and foreign residents. To this day, the Republic of Korea remains one of the world’s most ethnically homogenous countries and Korean is the official language. Koreans are characterized as overtly friendly, courteous, affectionate, and diligent. English, Chinese, and Japanese are commonly used in signs and foreigners may communicate with Koreans in English without any hassle in urban areas.
Government office hours are from 09:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday. Shops, restaurants, and shopping malls are generally open from 09:00 till 22:00. Banks are open from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays only.
Major credit cards including Visa, American Express, Diners Club, Master Card, and JCB are broadly accepted in most shops, hotels, department stores, and restaurants. Credit card surcharges for uses in overseas may be incurred.
Tipping & Tax
Tipping is not a customary practice in Korea. Generally, 10% Value Added Tax (VAT) is levied in the total payable. Some upscale restaurants and hotel facilities may charge another 10% Service Charges. Foreigners may take a benefit of reclaiming VATs at the airport for purchases made at shops but purchased goods must be taken out of the country within three months from the purchase date to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors can receive a refund on a receipt for a minimum purchase of KRW 30,000.
Electricity & Power Plug
The standard voltage in Korea is 220 volts. The outlet has two round holes and is the same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey, and many other countries. Always check the power supply before using your equipment.