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South Korea: Land of The Morning Calm, Kimchi & K-Pop
If there’s one thing for which South Korea has undisputed fame, it has to be its entertainment industry. From Super Junior to the recently viral Squid Games, South Korean bands, dramas, and movies are finally getting the attention they deserved all this time.
The recent relaxations in travel restrictions for Indian tourists also come at a good time. Indians no longer have to present a negative RT PCR or quarantine upon arrival in South Korea. If you’re also interested in visiting South Korea soon, we’ve covered all the important details in this blog!
How to Travel to South Korea from India: A Rough Guide
Thanks to OTT platforms and better internet connectivity in India, Indians have started taking a lot of interest in most things Korean. It is only natural that they’re intrigued by their culture and want to take a trip to South Korea pretty soon!
Even if you’re not a k-drama or k-pop fan, South Korea is a stunning country perfect for anyone who has the travel bug. We hope this guide will prove useful and hopefully inspire some wanderlust in you!
From top tourist attractions to the best things to do in South Korea, here you go!
Planning Trip to South Korea
- Apply for a Korean visa. Indians still need to apply for a South Korean visa before coming here. It takes around 15 days to process a visa for South Korea.
- Book your air tickets and accommodation 2-4 months prior. You will need proof of these bookings while submitting documents for a South Korean visa application.
- Be prepared to submit your ITR for the last 3 years as well as your salary slip for the past 6 months.
- Buy international travel insurance for South Korea so that you can face any financial emergencies beyond your control.
- Budget for your trip to South Korea. As of now, India to South Korea flight tickets alone cost you approximately Rs. 44,545 to Rs. 74,690 (roundtrip). Flight time and cost will depend on the layovers.
- Book your stay early. Hotels in South Korea cost around Rs. 3,939 to 19,664 per night. You will need ~Rs. 2,500 - 8,000 per day for meals, transportation, and other expenses.
- Spring and Autumn are undoubtedly the best seasons to take a trip to South Korea.
- Spring in South Korea usually lasts from April to June while autumn here is from September to November.
- Most tourists pick spring months as April to June is the best time to visit South Korea for its distinct blooms and cherry blossoms. This is a great time to visit national parks like Jirisan, Seoraksan and Songnisann.
- If you're short on money, then visit during the shoulder season. June to August is the best time to visit South Korea on a budget and you can stick to shopping malls, art galleries and other indoor activities.
- If you love historical sites: Make sure to visit the famous 15th-century Changdeokgung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace from the Joseon Dynasty. You can also visit the historic city of Jeonju, formerly the spiritual capital of Joseon.
- If you want to combine hiking with sightseeing: Head to the famous Namsan Tower to get a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding area of Mount Namsan. You can even explore the historical Namsan Hanok Village.
- If you want to learn about ancient Korea: Visit any Hanok village in or around Seoul, where ancient neighbourhoods and hanoks (traditional Korean houses) have been re-created or restored. Fun fact: Your favourite period-drama is probably shot here and you can even catch a glimpse or more of an ongoing shoot!
- If you're into hiking and trekking: Visit Seoraksan National Park for some of the most beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails, and lakes. It also has thousands of plants and animal species. You can easily take a cable car to Seoraksan Mountain in case you get tired.
- If you're travelling to Korea with kids: You can visit the famous Lotte World Amusement Park in Seoul with your family, or simply spend a relaxing beach holiday in the famous Jeju islands!
- If you're looking for a spiritual experience: Some of the must-visit Buddhist temples in South Korea include Jingwansa Temple (1000 BC) and the Bulguksa Temple situated in Gyeongju.
- If you love parties and nightlife: If you're still reading this, then you must already know about Itaewon, the hip Korean neighbourhood full of ex-pats. This cosmopolitan area is perfect for tourists who are looking for international foods and items that may not be available in other localities.
Of course, all this will depend upon how long your trip will be. If you’re short on time, Seoul has enough to offer everything from great food to cultural sites. Just make sure you plan well before coming here, especially buying travel insurance for South Korea. It will keep you from spending extra in case of emergencies.
- Go on a Seoul walking tour: Seoul is a happening city where you can easily walk around for a truly immersive experience. You can explore a lot of historical as well as contemporary parts of the city while walking.
- Dig into some tasty Korean food: You can finally get a taste of some authentic Korean dishes like bulgogi, gomguk, kimbap, japchae etc. in any Korean restaurant. Korean street food is extremely tasty and affordable, so make sure to visit those pojang machas (food stalls) near the roadsides.
- Take a special tour of Biwon: If you have time and love plants, make sure to opt for this while visiting the Changdeokgung Palace. Secret Garden or Biwon has over 56,000 types of trees dating back centuries.
- Fine-dine in Gangnam: Even before PSY's 'Gangnam Style' got viral, this affluent neighbourhood was famous for its high-end shopping malls, cafes and spas. If you're looking for a relaxing luxurious getaway, this is it.
- Take a train to Busan: If you're somewhat done with Seoul and nearby areas, head to Busan on a short bullet ride. This city has amazing beach resorts, superb cuisine, ancient temples, majestic mountains and a happening nightlife for anyone who wants a tune-down version of the South Korean capital.
- Attend Seollal: If you’re travelling to South Korea from India during January or February, make sure to attend the Lunar New Year in Korea, also called Gujeong.
- Perform on the famous InsaDong Street: This bustling area is full of artists, cosplayers, magicians and anyone who has the talent to display. If you're an artist, don't hesitate to give a performance here!
- Bike along the Han and Nakdong Rivers: Are you a fitness enthusiast and love biking? Then make sure to rent a bike and explore various UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Korea. There are amazing cycling tracks along these rivers and you can also pass by many Buddhist temples, hanok villages and several heritage sites.
South Korea on a Budget: Travelling Tips
We understand that there are always budget restraints that can stop you from making the most of your South Korean trip. If you’re worried about your India to South Korea trip cost, here are some tips to budget a trip abroad:
- Since spring and summer months are the most popular months for visiting South Korea, hotels and other travel packages will be expensive. Instead, visit during shoulder season and off-season (October to mid-December) to save money.
- Buy a KR Pass or a T-Card to travel affordably in South Korea. It will offer unlimited travel. Domestic flights are common but expensive if done last minute.
- There are many budget hotels in Seoul and Busan, however, you can go for capsule hotels and pods to save more money. You can also stay at jjimjilbangs or Korean bathhouses, where you can sleep under 10,000 Korean Wons.
- For food, you can easily find Korean foods like kimbap, stews, rice dishes etc. at convenience stores. You can also eat Korean street foods like tteokbokki, bulgogi, kimbap etc. on tableside grills.
- Beware of ATMs that don't have a 'Global' sign of your credit card company, as they will charge a transaction fee.
- If you want to shop under a budget, look for flea markets, or underground stations that often have great shops for souvenir shopping.
- Finally, make sure to buy South Korea travel insurance before coming here. It will save you from any money-related emergency in case you’re in trouble.
Over to You,
A single google search about Korea will bombard you with all the things you’ve been missing- from its famous foods, unique liquors, stunning historical monuments and mind-blowing modern architecture. No wonder it has quickly emerged as an upcoming tourist destination and you can easily find South Korea tour packages. Make sure to buy overseas travel insurance for South Korea as soon as your planning is done so that you can have a stress-free time at all times!