South Koreans are friendly and accommodating - the ultimate hosts in a region defined by its personalities. No pushovers here as most South Koreans will let you know what they’re thinking. Although the national language is standardised, regional and older folk still communicate in dialectical Korean – learn some basic greetings before leaving as being assertive goes a long way here.
Australian passport holders can enter South Korea and travel for up to 90 days without registering for a visa. Check your passport is valid for the full term of your visit. This information is a general guideline only; contact the Republic of Korea Consulate office in Sydney for fresh updates and further advice.
South Korea uses the Korean Won. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Korean Won fluctuates regularly, so monitor the rate in the lead-up to your trip and purchase your cash when the currency market is at its best.
Korean food is delicious, light and nutritious. From street food to restaurant fare, you can’t visit South Korea without sampling Korean barbecue. If you’re not feeling that fancy, try the daegu tang (spicy seafood stew) in Busan and let the flaky morsels of cod slip down your throat. Or, if you like to live dangerously, sample bokguk – a puffer fish soup with an uncertain ending. Burgers and chips are available readily in Changwon (O’Brien’s Irish Bar & Restaurant) and the underrated city of Daegu offers a tasty range of vegan dishes. Are you a foodie with a passion for spice? Tuck into a serve of kimchi (spicy vegetable dish) and wash it down with a weak green tea!
Seoul is the darling of the nightlife scene in South Korea, with areas like Gangnam, Itaewon and Hongdae; you have landed in party central. The southern city of Busan is also no wallflower, offering a platter of open-mic nights, expat bars, nightclubs (arguably less crowded than Seoul and selling cheaper soju alcohol), salsa halls and weird fusions combining gaming with dancing. Next to Busan and Seoul, Changwon and Daegu are shady little hubs of expat snooker sessions, poker nights, Irish pubs and spirits on tap.