Tech-obssessed yet steeped in tradition, South Korea is one of Asia’s most underrated destinations. Boasting vibrant neon-clad cities, lush bamboo-laden forests, and grandiose gold-plated temples, the curious traveler has no shortage of attractions to explore. A polite and friendly local populous to complement the experience, very few visitors ever leave disappointed.
Of course, you’ll need to come well-prepared to make the most of your trip. Read on to learn all about power adapters as well as a few South Korean pro travel tips for good measure.
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Which power outlets do they use in South Korea?
Unlike neighboring Japan, South Korea uses the European-style Type C/F outlets, which accept the twin rounded prongs that you see pictured. Note that type C and F are interchangeable.
The power outlets are generally well constructed and safe to use in South Korea but you will probably still want a fuse protected adapter.
What kind of power adapter do I need for South Korea?
You’re probably wondering “What plug do I need for South Korea?” American travelers will need a power adapter to charge their electronics in South Korea, one that is compatible with “Type A/B to Type C/E/F.” Type A/B are the plug types you will find on all of your American bought electronics.
This Universal Adapter is a good option because it will not only allow you to charge all of your personal electronics in South Korea, but will also come in handy in 100+ other countries around the world where it is compatible.
What’s the electricity and power supply like in South Korea?
South Korea runs on 220V and 60Hz, which is different from the USA (120V/60Hz). Therefore, you’ll need to ensure your devices are dual voltage or use a power converter to use them in the country safely. South Korea has an exceptionally well-developed electrical infrastructure, so blackouts and surges are rare.
Do I Need A Voltage Converter In South Korea?
Even though the country runs on a different voltage, power converters are unnecessary for the vast majority of personal electronic devices because they’re capable of using either system (dual voltage). The most common exception is the portable hairdryer, which often runs on a fixed 110V. Always check the manufacturer’s label if in doubt.
Other South Korea Packing List Items
In addition to your US to South Korea power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our South Korea packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Packing Cubes
If you’re the kind of traveler who brings your entire wardrobe away with you, then you would certainly benefit from a set of packing cubes. These lightweight little fold-up boxes are specially designed to store a specific article of clothing, allowing you to instantly locate exactly what you need. You won’t want to pack your bags without them again.
Whether you’re snapping a selfie in central Seoul or finding your way through the lava caves of Jeju Island, having a fully charged cellphone is of utmost importance on a trip to Korea. And the best way to recharge a low battery on the go is with an uber-portable lipstick-sized charger.
Outside of the Winter months, there is a good chance you could encounter some rain, especially during the Summer when South Korea typically experiences a lot of rain. To be prepared, we recommend bringing this compact travel umbrella that comes with an automatic open/close button and a convenient zip case that can be easily stowed in your day pack.
A flight from the US to South Korea takes an exhausting 14 hours, and that’s only if you’re lucky enough to fly direct. Add in an 11 hour time difference, and you’ve got a recipe for a severe case of jet lag upon arrival. But worry not, for you can mitigate some of the effects by taking the prescribed dose of jet lag relief pills.
Although crime is relatively uncommon in South Korea, pickpocketing does occasionally occur in crowded markets. And should you lose your precious passport or bank cards, then you’d have a serious problem on your hands.
The solution? Stash your valuables safely away in a neck wallet, which slips away out of sight under your shirt.
South Korea is a high-tech country, and with such technological prowess comes an abundance of cybercrime. Should you plan on accessing your internet banking through a public WiFi network while you’re away, then you’d be putting your entire life savings at risk of cyber-attack. Thankfully, a cheap and easy VPN can keep you safe by encrypting your web traffic to shield it from prying eyes.
South Korea is an expensive country, and it’s high-tech medical system is no exception. Should you find yourself in hospital, you can expect to be forced to dish out an eye-watering sum. Don’t risk it; invest in an adequate travel insurance policy instead. You’ll also be covering yourself for a whole host of other potential issues such as lost or stolen luggage and travel delays. We like to use Faye for their modern approach to travel insurance. Their app makes it super easy to find coverage, make a claim, and get reimbursed right from your phone – say goodbye to confusing paperwork!
South Korea is a nation of four seasons, so the best time to visit depends on the activities and attractions that interest you most. Summer (June to August) sees the mercury soar, although it’s the intense humidity that causes most complaints. The monsoons tend to hit in July and August, so postpone your visit unless you’re prepared to cop torrential rain.
Once the rains have subsided in the fall (September to November), South Korea puts on a spectacular display of ochre-tinged foliage that rivals the best leaf-peeping destinations in the US. The temperatures and humidity are much lower too, making fall one of the best times to visit.
South Korean winters are bitter, with heavy snowfall and icy pavements the norm. Nevertheless, the country’s highly developed transportation system continues to run like clockwork, and typically overrun tourist sites experience far thinner crowds. South Korea has an array of outstanding snowfields as well, which receive bucket loads of fresh powder in the winter. Be sure to check current South Korea travel advisories before you go.
2. What’s the weather like in South Korea?
Regardless of where you may be in South Korea, the weather varies tremendously with the seasons. The summers are hot and humid, the winters are bitterly cold, and Spring and Fall provide pleasant temperatures somewhere in-between.
3. Where to go in Seoul
A captivating mix of old and new, Seoul’s ultra-modern skyscrapers and shopping strips rub shoulders with its elegant ancient treasures. To orientate yourself by way of sweeping city views, the Seoul Tower Observation Deck offers the best vistas in town. For a quick history fix, a visit to the antiquated palaces is a must. Gyeongbokgung is the most grandiose, often compared to Beijing’s Forbidden City for its sheer size.
The equally impressive Changdeokgung features a lush garden that bursts into color during the spring. BukcheonHanok Village provides a fascinating insight into how the common classes once lived, while Jogyesa Temple showcases the country’s strict devotion to Buddhism.
Adventurous foodies should make a beeline for the Gwangjang Market, a charmingly chaotic food hall where some 5,000 stalls serve everything from pig intestine sausage to mung bean pancakes. For something a little less daring, chowing down on delectable galbi (Korean barbecue) at the stylish Itaewon neighborhood is a quintessential Seoul experience. If fresh seafood sounds more tempting, know that diners at the Noryangjin Fish Market will see the day’s catch killed and cooked at their table. After you’ve had your fill, make your way to Insadong for a traditional tea ceremony to wash it all down. If coffee served in a quirky atmosphere is more your style, then eccentric animal-themed cafes are a dime a dozen in the Mapo-Gu district.
Shopaholics will adore the upscale Myeongdong district, although bargain-hunters will find better deals at the endless shops that line the city subway system. The humongous COEX Mall is the world’s largest underground commercial complex, while Lotte Mart provides an interesting insight into Korean culture. No trip to Seoul would be complete without a stroll down the Cheonggyecheon Stream, preferably at night when young lovers come to bask in its romantic light displays. Of course, any self-respecting K-Pop fan will want a selfie at the Psy statue in ritzy Gangnam. To top off a long day, head to Hongdae to indulge in the city’s neon-lit nightlife.
4. Where to go in South Korea
Seoul may get the most attention, but there are ample attractions to explore outside of the city as well. Alarmingly close to the capital lies the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which serves as a somber reminder of the ongoing tensions with North Korea. Another easy day trip from Seoul is Suwon, home to the World Cup Stadium and the captivating Hwaseong Fortress.
The bustling port city of Busan offers an alternative urban experience, this time complete with beautiful beaches to complement the temples and malls.
A lesser-known metropolis is Chuncheon, which is famed for its delicious food and a smattering of ancient attractions. Head towards Gyeongju for more ancient wonders; a former royal capital that has been painstakingly preserved to showcase its ancient glory. Alternatively, Jeonju is the former spiritual capital of the Joseon Dynasty and comes packed full of traditional temples and villages to explore.
Trekkers, on the other hand, would prefer to spend their time in the lush Seoraksan National Park, where pristine hiking trails offer endless outdoor exploration. And to top off an epic Korean saga, jump on a flight to Jeju; a postcard-perfect island declared one of the “New 7 Wonders Of Nature.”
5. How to Get Around in South Korea
Korea’s high-speed rail system is superb, although it certainly doesn’t come cheap. Investigate whether pre-purchasing a KORAIL pass will save you money. The train also doesn’t cover the entire country, meaning you’ll need to take a bus now and then. Thankfully, Korean buses are reliable, clean, and reasonably priced–and best of all, there are departures literally every two minutes between the bigger cities.
National carriers Korean Airlines and Asiana both offer reasonable rates on their extensive networks should you opt to take to the sky instead. But to reach the closer islands, many travelers prefer to jump on a local ferry.