Every once a while, it is good to take a break and travel to foreign lands. If travelling is something that you thoroughly enjoy, you will agree that the planning process — albeit tad exhausting — is also the fun bit. It makes you realise you are not just dreaming about it, but are actually putting your plan into action. So, if South Korea is on your mind, here are some things you need to know before you actually make the trip. Read on.
Let us begin by saying that this Asian country is every traveller’s paradise. The country has so much to offer — both urban and semi-urban. From food to culture and picturesque locations, there is something for everybody. South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, makes up the southern part of the Korean peninsula. It shares its land border with North Korea.
The visa requirements
For Indian tourists looking to enter the country, the visa application process is rather simple. You are expected to submit your passport and travel documents — which include, a certificate stating your employment, the last income tax return form, bank statements and trip details — to the concerned Korean Embassy. There is no interview involved and the visa is likely to arrive in four to five working days. It is, however, advisable to keep a buffer time in case additional documents are required. Do not leave it for the end.
South Korea uses the Korean Won, which is valued at 16.50 to one Indian rupee as on date.
Travelling inside the country
With many things to see and do here, the local transport is your best bet. It is easy and cost effective. Purchase a T-Money card upon arrival, which will come handy for travel in buses and within the subway network. Just like the Metro card in India, it saves travellers the time and money of buying single-journey tickets, Local taxis are also available, which calculate the cost based on time and distance. Remember, however, to tell them apart from ‘black’ or ‘deluxe’ taxis, which provide a premium service and are, therefore, more expensive. Suit your taste.
* While travelling the length and breadth of the country, keep a few things in mind. Seoul, the capital of the country, is every shopper’s nirvana. It has got a plethora of options at reasonable prices. Let this be known that the city is home to the best makeup and skincare products. So shop to your heart’s content.
* Receive and proffer things using both your hands, as it is considered to be a mark of respect.
* You are allowed to shout and call your server in a restaurant if you need a second helping of something, but are not expected to tip them. Use the word ‘yogiyo’, which means ‘I am here’, if you want their attention. When the bill is left on the table, take it to the counter and pay.
* Don’t get into unnecessary altercations with locals, because the country’s laws are not too favourable for international visitors.
* There is no personal space, because of the sheer number of people residing in the country. But, this should not be a problem for Indians.
Arm yourself with this knowledge and become a smart tourist guide for your friends and family.