Travel like a Pro: 5 travel tips to know before going to South Korea

Here are 5 travel tips from HallyuSG before travelling to Korea: including what apps to download, and how to order food delivery in Korea.

Belinda Poh

| September 6, 2023
A shopping street in Seoul. Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash

With the surge of the Hallyu wave, many of us have not only become K-pop fans. But the land of K-pop, South Korea, has also made its way to our list of travel destinations.

However, travelling to an entirely new country can be stressful. Especially so if you don’t know how to speak the country’s language.

While there is an abundance of Tiktok videos going around our feed on what to do, see and eat in Korea, there are probably some things that you might not know until you experience it for yourself firsthand.

HallyuSG gives you five travel tips to note before travelling to Korea.

1. Essential apps you need to have

Some of the most essential apps to navigate around Korea efficiently are Papago, Naver Maps and Korea Subway.

Naver Papago, or Papago in short, is a more accurate translation app than Google Translate. This is an especially important app for those who are not as familiar with the Korean language.

And since Korea’s main search engine is Naver (and not Google), Google Maps might not be the best tool to have to navigate around Seoul or other cities. Consider downloading Naver Maps or Kakao Maps.

Naver Maps allows users to search for their destinations in English, but Kakao Maps does not.

And if you’re going for a free and easy trip mostly by subway, the Korea Subway app is something that you’ll definitely need. It shows the duration of travel, the number of stops and where to transfer.

2. Minimum order quantity in cafés and restaurants

If you are visiting Korea, it is likely that you would want to experience the café culture in there.

However, you should know that many cafés have a minimum order quantity.

Cafe-hopping in Seoul
Cafe Onion is located minutes away from the Seongsu subway station. HallyuSG Photo: Avier Tan

For instance, many cafés in Korea have a minimum order quantity of one drink per person, exclusive of food purchases. Some restaurants in Korea also have a minimum order quantity, especially Korean barbecue restaurants.

Make sure to check with the staff before you enter the food establishments. This is mainly for those planning to cafe-hop, or prefer to order a smaller amount of food, compared to the number of people in the group.

3. No plastic bags policy

Planning to bring some snacks back from Korea? You’ll probably get the best deals in their supermarkets, like Lotte Mart.

But, many supermarkets, and even retail hops, do not provide plastic bags. This is because the government banned the use of single-use plastic bags in major supermarkets in 2019.

So remember to remember to bring your own tote bags if you are planning on shopping at supermarkets. Or you’ll probably be charged 100₩ (approximately S$0.10) for a paper bag or a reusable bag.

4. Food delivery in Korea

Another experience that you would not want to miss out on in Korea is ordering food delivery.

If you are not confident in conversing in Korean, you can consider ordering food through food delivery apps, such as Yogiyo or Baedal Minjok. However, registering an account on delivery apps in Korea requires a valid Korean phone number.

If you wish to order food delivery, opt for a SIM card with a Korean number.

5. Carton boxes from supermarkets

You would likely run out of luggage space due to excessive shopping in Korea.

So you may want to get carton boxes to pack everything you’ve bought home so there’s no need to squeeze your luggage. But rather than purchasing a carton box, you can try asking for one from major supermarkets.

If you have made a purchase, they are likely to offer one to you for no extra charge.

Now that you know of these travel tips, travelling to Korea should be more or less a breeze.


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