Things to Do Before Visiting Korea
Travelers who have the opportunity to visit South Korea will be very happy with their decision to visit the country. With so many interesting things to offer adventurous travelers, from natural wonders to rich cultural traditions to coveted cuisine, Korea has something for everyone. As worthwhile as the experience can be, there are many aspects of the culture that are quite different from what Vietnameses might be used to, and travelers should prepare accordingly before hopping on that plane and visiting Korea.
Pack Essential Toiletries
South Korea is a modern country with all the amenities. Even so, it’s advisable to buy some personal items before visiting Korea, because certain products Vietnam residents are used to using can be difficult to find there. These include deodorant, toothpaste, razors and tampons for women.
As far as medications go, South Korea also has everything travelers can find back in Vietnam, with many medicines being available over the counter. Just walk into any Korean pharmacy, explain the symptoms, and you’ll get what you need. Of course, travelers who require prescription medication should bring it with them from Vietnam.
Learn Basic Korean Phrases
Within Seoul, the capital of South Korea, most people can speak English. So travelers who don’t speak any Korean can likely get by communicating with city residents. But those planning on visiting smaller towns might find that the native here don’t speak English frequently. No matter what, it’s always polite to learn a few phrases of a country’s language before traveling there. These phrases are useful to know in Korean:
Thank you (formal): Kam-sa-hab-nida
Thank you (casual): Goo-ma-wae-yo
How much is it? Al-may-ayo?
Where is the bathroom? Hwa-jung-shil-odi-ayo?
Exchange Some Currency
South Korea has many places to exchange foreign currency, but to get the best deal, exchange some money at a Vietnam bank before visiting Korea. The airports offer the highest rates of exchange, but there are many places near Myeongdong, Seoul Station and Itaewon that exchange foreign currency at lower rates. Otherwise, use your debit cards or credit cards, but depending on the bank, there might be foreign transaction fees, so ask your bank ahead of time to see which cards cost the least to use.
Prepare Your Palate
South Korea has arguably one of the most-sought-after cuisines in the world. The array of fermented foods, many of which are very spicy, can sometimes take getting used to. While you certainly shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to eat authentic Korean food while visiting Korea, it might be helpful to prepare your palate beforehand. Consider visiting a Korean restaurant in your town, building up your tolerance with spicy dishes and practicing eating with those chopsticks!
Find out more Korea travel tips here.