Seoul is the capital of the Republic of Korea, and the largest city center in the developed world. Nearly 10 million call Seoul home, representing 20% of the entire population of Korea.
Seoul and Korea at-large experienced rapid growth following the end of the Korean War in 1953. In just sixty years, Korea has risen from war-torn poverty to become one of the world’s largest economies, valued at over $1.4 trillion USD. Korea has a per-capita GDP of US $30,000, and some of the world’s largest companies come from Korea, including Samsung, Hyundai, and LG.
Seoul boasts one of the world’s most comprehensive and easy-to-use public transportation systems, including subways, high-speed rail, electric buses, and more. Wireless access is available citywide, including in moving subway cars and taxis. The city has over 30,000 hotel rooms in total, of which 7,500 are within 5 kilometers of Coex Convention Center. Many world-famous events have been hosted in Seoul, including the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, G20 Summit, and Nuclear Security Summit. Seoul is ranked as one of the top-five international event destination cities in the world by the Union of International Associations and was voted the Best Business Travel MICE City in 2011.
History and Architecture
As the capital of Korea for over 600 years, Seoul epitomizes the intersection of tradition and modernity, with ancient palaces, fortresses, temples, and tombs standing side-by-side with some of the world’s most impressive skyscrapers and city structures. There are four UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the city proper.
Seoul sits in a natural basin, surrounded by mountains and split down the middle by the majestic Han River. The city lies in a humid continental climate and experiences four distinct seasons.
To learn more about Seoul, please visit the website of the Seoul Tourism Organization or the Seoul MICE Bureau.
Seoul: 10,166,691(2013 est.)
South Korea: 51,098,531(2013 est.)
*About one-fifth of South Korea’s population resides in Seoul.
30.3 km from North to South
36.78 from East to West
25% Buddhist, 25% Christian
Seoul is a remarkably safe city. The crime rate is very low compared to other major cities around the world. See “Important Numbers” tab for emergency numbers.
-5C to 16C (Avg. March temps)
GMT + 9 (Korea Standard Time KST or Japanese Standard Time JST)
Country Dialing Code
220v, 60 hz throughout the country (same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey)
Korean (English, Japanese and Chinese are also spoken)
Korea’s official monetary unit is the South Korean Won (KRW or ₩). The currency consists of notes and coins.
General Business Hours
- Government Offices
9am to 6pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on weekends
9am to 4pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on weekends
- Restaurants & Retail Stores
Commonly open 11am to around 9pm (in some cases, open until 2 to 3am)
- Major Convenience Stores
GS25, Family Mart, and 7-11 (24 hours, 7 days a week)
You can exchange foreign currencies into Korean won at a bank, exchange service center, or an authorized currency exchange.
9am to 4pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on weekends
- Exchange Service Centers
9:30am-10pm (every day)
- Authorized Currency Exchanges
Hotel Business hours or 24 hours in hotels
*Currency Exchange Rate: 1 USD = 1,022 KRW (as of May 2014)
Major Banking Institutions
- Citibank www.citibank.co.kr
- Korea Exchange Bank www.keb.co.kr
(Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- Kookmin (KB) Bank www.kbstar.com
- Shinhan Bank www.shinhan.com
(Korean, English, Japanese)
Traveler’s checks can be used in place of cash at hotels, department stores, and some restaurants and shops, but it is better to exchange them into cash for simpler transactions. Visa, American Express, and Thomas Cook traveler’s checks are readily accepted in Korea.
Visa, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and other major credit cards are accepted in Korea. Cash advances are also available at select bank machines.
ATMs & Cash Machines
Cards with the Plus and Cirrus logos are the easiest to use and most widely accepted in Korea. Some ATMs accept most major international bank cards, such as Maestro, Citibank, Citicard, Electron, JCB and others. Most ATM/bank machines operate 24 hours a day, while others are open from 8am to midnight.
Are you worried about getting connected when you arrive in Seoul? Would you like some additional travel resources while you are attending a Coex event?
The Arrival Store gets you set up with everything you need to maximize and enjoy your time in Seoul! We provide you with:
- SIM Cards
- Rental Phones
- Travel Guides
- Transportation Cards
- Travel Adapters
- And more…
Everything you order will be delivered to your accommodation and ready upon your arrival.
We have helped thousands of expats and travelers settle into life in South Korea, and know the stresses of feeling disconnected and unprepared when you first arrive. Get connected on your own phone with a prepaid SIM card or use one of our Rental Phones. If you are planning on sightseeing, pick up one of our Welcome Packages or Lonely Planet Travel Guides. They are extremely helpful.
To view cellphone and travel resource packages available to Coex guests, click here.
C-2 : Short Term Business VISA
- Those arranging the establishment of a branch of foreign corporation or corporation with inward foreign direct investment.
- self-employees who purchase
- Those that are self-employed, and seeking to make purchase.
- Those entered for consulting or contract, that were invited by the Korean public/private organization
- Those in trade business that seek to acquire knowledge of installation, repair, inspection, or operation of machinery (except those being paid for such acts)
Where to apply
- The embassy or the consulate of the Republic of Korea
※ Items subject to change depending on individual circumstances
- Application for Visa Issuance
- Trade record with enterprise invited by Korean(invitation, import/export license, contract, intent letter of business expedition, documents related to import/export, etc.)
- Documents related to the foundation of enterprise invited by Korean (a copy of business registration, a certificate of business registration, an attested copy of corporation registry, a certificate of tax payment, etc)
- Documents related with the invitees(a certificate of incumbency)
- Documents related with the invited enterprise(business relations if China, etc)
- Fee: single-entry visa: $30 (USD), multiple-entry visa: $50 (USD)
APEC B.T.C (Business Travel Card)
- Those with APEC B.T.C are may enter Korea without a visa. They are granted Short Term Business (C-2) status and 90 days of stay
- The member nation for APEC B.T.C(14 nations)
Korea, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Chile, Hong Kong, the Federation of Malaysia, Thailand, Peru, Brunei, Taiwan, Japan, China, Indonesia(Hong Kong issue ABTC to non-citizens that live in Hong Kong) Chileans are granted single-entry visa good for up to 6 months of stay, based on Korea-Chile Free Trade Agreement.
- Start your Registration and Visa process early.
- Consult with the Korean Embassy in your country and the web site for current VISA application requirements.
- When applying for your Visa, include evidence of previous trips to Korea and include proof of intent of returning to your country. Apply for your VISA with all required documents.
- To facilitate your visit, contact the Korean Embassy in your country to discuss potential trade mission opportunities.
- Do not travel to Korea, or make travel arrangements, without proper entry documentation.
- Visa support will be provided to exhibitors only.
In Seoul, there are many modern hospitals equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Korea is known for its high-quality medical services without long waiting periods in the event of an emergency or sickness. Many major hospitals offer multilingual interpretation services. Contact your hotel or call 120, 1330 (general information) or 1339 (medical line) for more information.
The 1339 Emergency and Non-Emergency Medical Services for Foreigners
In the event of an emergency (or non-emergency) situation, a variety of medical services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Information on international medical centers, services and hospitals.
- General consultation on first aid and advice in emergency situations
- Contact for ambulance and medical services
- Information on hospitals for non-emergency patients
- Other useful non-emergency medical information
- Information in English, Japanese, and Chinese
International Health Care Centers in Seoul
Larger Korean hospitals generally operate an international health care center or medical clinics for English and non-Korean speaking patients. Their multilingual medical staff and volunteers can help you receive affordable and quality medical care.
- International Medical Center at Yonsei Sinchon Severance Hospital +82-2-2228-5800
- International Health Care Center at Seoul National University Hospital +82-2-2072-0505
- International Health Care Center at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital +82-2-590-2932
Seoul Global Center
+82 2-1688-0120 (overseas) or 1688-0120 (in Korea)
Monday to Friday from 9-6 pm – Call to ask any questions about visiting or living in Seoul.
Korea Tourism Organization Information Line
+82 2 1330 or 1330
24 hours a day – Tourism information and translation services.
Seoul’s Dasan 120 Call Center
+82 2 120 or 120, 9am to 10pm daily