Travelling in Korea: How to prepare for your trip?

South Korea, a country where the ancient embraces the modern, offers a unique travel experience, blending age-old traditions, breathtaking scenery and urban dynamism. If you're thinking of exploring this fascinating country, here's the ultimate guide to planning a memorable trip to South Korea.

Why should South Korea be your next destination?

Magnificent landscapes

South Korea isn't just a country to visit, it's a world to discover. Imagine starting your trip in the hustle and bustle of Seoula futuristic metropolis where skyscrapers rub shoulders with ancestral mansions. Then you find yourself in BusanHere, golden beaches stand in stark contrast to the vibrant cityscape.

Then let yourself be transported back in time as you explore the Hanok villagesThe city's most famous landmarks, where every house and alleyway tells the story of an ancient and unspoilt Korea. And for those who yearn for adventure and the great outdoors, the Seoraksan mountains await you, with their majestic peaks offering views that defy the imagination.

A priceless cultural treasure

South Korea is a land rich in tradition and history. From royal palaces of Seoul, witness to the splendours of the dynasties that have shaped the country, to the Buddhist temples Standing proudly amid breathtaking natural landscapes, each site is a gateway to the past.

But South Korea also means art and music scene dynamic. Whether you're strolling through the art galleries of Insadong or the K-pop wave, you'll be touched by the creativity and modernity at the heart of the country's culture.

Gastronomy that lives up to its reputation

Korean cuisine, with its deep and varied flavors, promises a culinary adventure like no other. Imagine yourself enjoying a Korean barbecue (Gogi-gui)where perfectly grilled meat blends harmoniously with local accompaniments. Or let yourself be tempted by a Kimchi soup (Kimchi Jjigae)a comforting dish that will introduce you to the unique taste of Korean kimchi.

Every meal in South Korea is a celebration, an invitation to explore the richness of a cuisine that has conquered the world not only for its flavors, but also for its ability to bring people together around a table.

Choosing the Perfect Season to Explore South Korea

South Korea is distinguished by the richness of its seasons, each painting the landscape with its own colors and moods. To live the Korean experience to the full, choosing the right time for your visit is essential.

Spring (March to May): A Colorful Awakening

Spring is a time of visual enchantment. As early as March, the country is dressed in pink and white thanks to the spectacular blossoming of cherry trees. This season, synonymous with renewal, is marked by mild temperatures and pleasant sunshine, creating ideal conditions for exploring national parks and historic gardens. Flower festivals, such as the famous Jinhae Festival, offer magical panoramas that will remain etched in your memory.

Summer (June to August): Vibrant and sunny

Korean summer is hot and vibrant. This is the time when the beaches of Busan and Jeju Island are at their most enticing, promising refreshing swims and lazing on the sand. However, be prepared for high humidity and sometimes scorching temperatures. Summer evenings are punctuated by festivals and cultural events, giving you the chance to experience South Korea in a festive and dynamic light.

Autumn (September to November): A Festival of Colors

Autumn is often cited as the most pleasant season to visit South Korea. The climate is mild, the days are clear, and the landscape is transformed into a canvas of warm colors. Forests and mountains turn red, gold and brown, offering spectacular views, especially in Seoraksan and Naejangsan national parks. It's the perfect time for hiking enthusiasts or for those who simply want to admire the country's natural beauty at its best.

Winter (December to February): An Enchanted White Coat

Winter in South Korea is cold, but incredibly beautiful, especially when snow covers the traditional rooftops and mountains. For winter sports enthusiasts, destinations like Pyeongchang, site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, offer world-class ski slopes. It's also time for ice and snow festivals, where icy sculptures and winter activities await you for unforgettable memories.

Preparing for your Adventure in South Korea: A Step-by-Step Guide

Anticipation is the key to a successful trip to South Korea. Here's how to lay the groundwork for your adventure.

Browse Entry Formalities

Before flying to South Korea, you'll need to go through the entry formalities. The majority of travellers from Western countries (including France) have to use a exemption for stays of up to 90 days. However, it is essential to consult the official Korean immigration website or theKorean embassy in your country for the latest information on visas and other entry requirements. Don't let an administrative oversight jeopardize your trip!

Budget your stay

Contrary to popular belief, South Korea is a destination that can accommodate a variety of budgets. Accommodation options range from guesthouses From affordable accommodation to five-star hotels, comfort doesn't have to mean exorbitant prices. Meals, whether in Michelin-starred establishments or at street stalls, offer excellent value for money. Public transport is not only economical, but also a model of efficiency and cleanliness. Plan your budget with all these aspects in mind, and you'll have a rich experience whatever your budget.

Packing your suitcase

South Korea's diverse climate means you need to pack carefully. Here are a few tips to make sure you don't forget anything essential:

  • Adapt to the Season: From the lightness of summer clothing to the need for warm layers in winter, remember to check the weather forecast for the period of your stay.
  • Indispensables : Whatever the season, take plug adapters with you, as Korean plugs may differ from those in your own country. Photography enthusiasts won't want to forget their equipment to capture the country's beauty, while the more connected will make sure they have a converter or external battery.
  • For Winter : Korean winters can be harsh, so don't skimp on warm clothing, hats, gloves and even pocket heaters. Thermal comfort is your best ally for enjoying the country's winter wonders.
Market with lots of people

Exploring the Jewels of South Korea: Your Unmissable Itinerary

A trip to South Korea is an immersion in a world where modernity blends harmoniously with tradition. Here are a few key destinations that will make your stay an unforgettable experience.

Seoul: A blend of history and modernity

Effervescent capital, Seoul is a dynamic mix of cutting-edge technology, fashion, music and deep-rooted history. Be sure to visit the Gyeongbokgung PalaceA national treasure that will transport you back in time with its majestic architecture and peaceful gardens. Stroll through the quiet streets of Bukchon Hanok Village to admire the preserved traditional Hanok houses. For a breathtaking view of the city, climb the N Seoul Towerparticularly magical at sunset.

Busan: Idyllic Beaches and Spirituality

BusanSouth Korea's second largest city, is a coastal paradise framed by mountains. Visit Haedong Yonggungsa temple will amaze you with its unique location, clinging to the rocks overlooking the sea. Enjoy a moment of relaxation on the Haeundae beachone of the country's most famous, and discover marine treasures at the Jagalchi marketwhere the excitement never lets up.

Jeju: An Island, Another Korea

Jeju Island, often compared to paradise, is a sanctuary of natural beauty. With its fine sandy beaches, lava fields and Mount HallasanWith a volcano slumbering in the heart of the island, Jeju offers an extraordinary natural spectacle. Don't leave without exploring the Cheonjiyeon waterfalls or without a dip in the crystal-clear waters of its beaches.

Andong and Gyeongju: A Journey through Time

Andong is the spiritual heart of South Korea. Hahoe Folk Village is its jewel. This historic village immerses you in the life of past dynasties, with its traditional houses and folk dances. In Gyeongju, former capital of the Silla kingdom, the past comes to life. The city, considered a open-air museumis home to royal burial mounds, ancient Buddhist temples and the Cheomseongdae astronomical observatory.

Essential tips for a trip to South Korea

To make your stay in South Korea as smooth and enjoyable as possible, here are a few practical tips not to be overlooked.

Stay Connected: The Key to Worry-Free Travel

Connectivity is essential for browsing, communicating and sharing experiences. In South Korea, you have two main options for staying connected reliably and economically:

  • SIM card : Easy to buy on arrival at the airport or in phone stores, a local SIM card gives you mobile data and, in some cases, local calls. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave.
  • Pocket WiFi : Another practical option is to rent a Pocket WiFi. Available at the airport or booked online before you leave, this small device lets you connect several devices to the Internet simultaneously, ideal if you're traveling in a group or with several devices.

Mastering public transport: Travelling like a local

South Korea's public transport system is exemplary for its cleanliness, efficiency and punctuality. Here's how to make the most of it:

  • Seoul Metro: With its colorful lines and signs in Korean and English, the metro is the quickest and easiest way to get around the capital. Don't hesitate to download a metro app on your smartphone to plan your journeys easily.
  • T-Money card : This rechargeable card is your all-purpose pass for buses, subways and even some cabs across the country. Available from newsagents and metro stations, it will save you time and money.

Breaking the Language Barrier: A Few Words Make a Difference

Although you will find many South Koreans able to communicate in English, especially in the big cities, knowing a few basic Korean phrases can greatly enrich your experience:

  • Annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요) Hello. A simple word to start any interaction with courtesy.
  • Kamsahamnida (감사합니다) Thank you. Always appreciated, this word expresses your gratitude.
  • Yeogi (여기) Here. Useful for ordering in a restaurant or telling a cab where to go.
  • Sil-le-ham-ni-da (실례합니다) Excuse me. Ideal for attracting attention politely or asking for directions.

If you want to learn more Korean vocabulary, we've done a complete article on best Korean words for your trip to South Korea.

Day trip to the cherry blossom festival

Day trip to the cherry blossom festival

Discover the vibrant spirit of spring in Korea and witness the splendor of over 360,000 cherry trees in full bloom, which have earned their place among CNN's 50 beautiful places to visit in South Korea.


Although no specific vaccinations are required for entry into South Korea, it is advisable to update your usual vaccinations, such as those against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A and B. Consult your doctor or an international vaccination center for personalized advice, especially in view of the current health situation.

South Korea uses type C and F plugs, similar to those found in many European countries, and the standard voltage is 220V. If you're coming from a country using a different type of plug or voltage, don't forget to bring an adapter and, if necessary, a converter.

South Korea is considered a very safe destination for all travelers, including women traveling alone. The crime rate is low, and safety measures are in place. Korean public security are excellent. However, as with all travel, it is advisable to remain vigilant, especially at night, and to follow basic safety practices.

Although the language barrier can be a challenge, many Koreans, especially the younger generation, speak English. Road signs, restaurant menus and public transport systems often offer English translations. Translation apps can also make communication easier. Koreans are generally very welcoming and willing to help foreigners.
Traditional Korean cuisine includes many vegetable-based dishes, but also frequently uses fish-based sauces. However, growing interest in vegetarian and vegan diets has led to an increase in restaurants offering options without animal products. It is advisable to specify your dietary restrictions and, if possible, to search for vegetarian or vegan restaurants in advance.

Are you off to South Korea soon?

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