Things to get you started

If this is your first time in Seoul, these tips will help your way through your time here. With information about money, language, airport to Seoul transportation, directions to Frieze Seoul, and health and safety here, this guide will provide you with a better idea of what to expect and getting around Seoul.

Money & Payment

Korea is one of the leading cashless countries in the world. Although card payments are the norm in Seoul, certain street food, small restaurants and some public transport may only accept cash on rare occasions. We recommend that visitors carry around some cash if they plan to explore a range of neighbourhoods, restaurants, markets, etc.

Korean Won Currency (as of 09 Aug, 2022)
1GBP=1,580KRW (₩100K = approx. £63)
1USD-1,307KRW (₩100K = approx. $77)

money Korean Won bills in order of 50,000 won, 10,000 won, 5,000 won and 1,000 won



Banks & Exchange rates

  • Most banks have business hours from 09:00 to 16:00

  • Banks usually offer the best exchange rates and most offer currency exchange services

  • Government-certified currency exchange booths are available outside of regular banking hours, found in areas frequented by international visitors

  • Certified booths have a sign with the word Certified and currency symbols



  • Typically operate until 23:00, with many open 24 hours a day, often found within banks

  • Can also be found at convenience stores but often charge higher transaction fees

  • Many accept international cards, marked with a Global sign or the logo of the international banks they accept cards from

  • Most offer foreign languages including English, Chinese and Japanese


Foreign Cards

  • Easy to make direct payments in most stores, restaurants and taxis (ride share and ride hall included)

  • Best to let vendors know that your card is a foreign card – tell them it's a hae-wae ka-deu (foreign card)

  • There may be certain locations that do not accept a foreign card



  • There is no tipping culture in Korea and is therefore not expected

  • Many major hotels and high-end restaurants add a 10% service charge (in addition to the 10% VAT)

  • Taxi drivers do not expect tips, but appreciate when passengers let them keep the change or round up the card payment

Global Tax Free

  • 10% VAT is added on to the price of most purchases

  • At stores with a Tax Free sign, foreigners are eligible for a tax refund on purchases greater than 30,000 won

  • To receive your refund, following the steps below:

    • Make a purchase of total value greater than 30,000 won at stores with a Tax Free sign

    • Show your passport and ask for a refund check when making payment

    • When leaving the country, present your passport, refund check, receipt and unopened merchandise at airport customs

    • Receive your cash, check or credit card refund at the refund counter located near the departure gates


  • Korean (한국어, hangugeo) is the native language

  • English is not spoken very often in South Korea, but many people in Seoul can converse in basic English

  • Have translation tools like Google Translate handy for any situation

  • Staff in all the main hotels can speak decent to good English

  • Staff in High-end restaurants often speak decent English

  • Staff in smaller, more casual restaurants may not speak English, and some only offer Korean menus

  • Taxi drivers rarely speak English

  • Major tourist spots like Insa-dong, Myeong-dong and Hongdae have information centres to assist tourists in English


Simple words and phrases

Yes – 네 (ne)
No – 아니요 (ah-ni-yo)
Hello – 안녕하세요 (an-nyoung-ha-se-yo)
Thank you – 감사합니다 (gam-sa-ham-ni-da)

Travelling from the airport to Seoul

There are several ways to travel from either Incheon International Airport to downtown Seoul. The most convenient options include taxing a taxi, Airport Railroad Express (AREX), Seoul Metropolitan Subway and airport limousine buses.



Visitors can easily get a taxi from the airport at the taxi stands located just outside the Arrivals Hall (1F) of both terminals. You can choose to take a regular taxi, deluxe taxi or a jumbo taxi depending on your situation and needs. If visitors wish to take a taxi with a driver who can communicate in English, Japanese or Chinese, they can opt for an international taxi.

Find additional information about taxis in the transportation page

Driver Service

Driver Service

For a more convenient mode of transportation to and from the airport and to travel around Seoul, visitors may arrange for a driver service to be picked up at the airport. With a range of cars that accommodate different number of people, riders' safety and needs, driver services with licensed English speaking drivers may be the best choice for some visitors.

Find additional information about driver service in the transportation page.


Airport Railroad Express (AREX)

AREX operates two trains: the Express Train, running from Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 directly to Seoul Station, and the All Stop Train that stops by 14 subway stations along the way from Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 to Seoul Station.

Express Train

  • Must purchase an Express Train Pass from the station

  • Ticketing locations (AREX Travel Centers):

    • Incheon Int'l Airport Terminal 1 Station (Transportation Center B1F)

    • Incheon Int'l Airport Terminal 2 Station

    • Seoul Station Airport Railroad B2F

  • Discount available to customers who present flight tickers from Jeju Air, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, T'way Air, or Easter Jet for departure within seven days

All Stop Train

  • Must use a transportation card (e.g. T-money card)

  • Six of the subway stations allow transfers to other subway lines in the city

  • Transportation card purchase locations:

    • Transportation Center on B1F of Incheon Int'l Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (single journey transportation card)

    • Convenience stores inside Incheon Int'l Airport (T-money card)

Find additional information about transportation cards in the transportation page.


Airport Buses

Airport buses run from Incheon International Airport to many areas of Seoul. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths just outside the 1F Arrivals Hall of each terminal. Detailed inquiries on bus routes and bus stops can be made the the ticket boots.

Airport bus types

There are two types of airport buses: deluxe and standard. Deluxe buses run on non-stop or shortened routes to major hotels and destinations, while standard buses make more stops. Please note that the fare for the two bus types may differ depending on their routes and destinations.

Taking an airport bus

  • Check bus routes and purchase tickets at the ticket booths at the Arrivals Hall (1F) or Terminal 1 near Gates 4 & 9 outside by Gates 4, 6, 7, 8, 11 or 13. Tickets at Terminal 2 can be purchased from the bus terminal at the Transportation Center (B1F)

  • Check the bus boarding number indicated on the ticket.

  • Go to the bus boarding location and double check the bus route and departure time.

  • Once aboard the bus, listen carefully to the English announcement for your stop.

Getting to Frieze Seoul

Frieze Seoul is located at COEX, 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, 06164, Seoul. The fair will be held inside Hall C and D. Kiaf SEOUL will take place at Hall A and B. Please visit the COEX website for detailed travel routes for getting to the fair. We advise visitors to use the North Gate and West Gate entrances. Please see below for suggested routes:



From Gangnam Station

  • Take Teheran Road to Samseong-dong

  • Turn left in front of Hyundai Department Store at Samseong Station intersection

  • Access the parking lot 500m ahead in the basement or rooftop through GATE3 on the right side

Gangnam Access

From Daechi-dong

  • Take Yeongdongdaero to Yeongdongdaegyo Bridge and make a u-turn at Coex intersection, access the underground parking lot

  • Turn left at Samseong Station intersection and turn right at Hyundai Department Store

  • Access the parking lot in the basement or rooftop through GATE3 on the right side 200m ahead

Daechi Entrance



Stop at 23191 Station

  • Blue Bus - 342

  • Yellow Bus, District Bus, Green Bus - 3211, 3412

  • Airport Bus - Gangnam Late-night Route, Express Bus



  • Line no.7 to Cheongdam Station, EXIT 2

  • Line no.9 to Bongeunsa Station, EXIT 1,6,7

  • Line no.2 to Samseong Station, EXIT 5,6

Health & Safety


Emergency Numbers

119 - Emergency (Fire & Ambulance)
112 - Police 
182 - Missing Persons & Property
1330 - Korea Travel Hotline




All major hospitals in Seoul generally have an international clinic on the premises where doctors speak at least some English. The international clinics assist visitors in meeting the right doctor and to help navigate the hospital and its services. Below is a list of hospitals in the different districts of Seoul with international clinics. 


Samsung Medical Center

Open: Mon-Fri, 09:00-16:30
No.: +82 3010 5001

81 Irwon-ro
Gangnam-gu, Seoul

View on Naver Map


Asan Medical Center

Open: Mon-Fri, 09:00-16:00
No.: +82 3410 0200

88 Olympic-ro 43-gil
Songpa-gu, Seoul

View on Naver Map


Hanyang University Hospital

Open: Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00
No.: +82 2290 9553

222-1 Wangsimni-ro
Seongdong-gu, Seoul

View on Naver Map


Contact Information

For any enquiries regarding this guide, please reach us at

Emergency numbers: 119 – Emergency (Fire & Ambulance) | 112 – Police | 182 – Missing Persons & Property | 1330 – Korea Travel Hotline