Seoul is located at the north-west corner of South-Korea, 50 km from the border of the De-Militarized-Zone (DMZ) with North-Korea. Toward the west is the neighboring major port-city of Incheon, which is normally included in the Greater Seoul Area. Seoul itself covers an area of 600 km2, but Greater Seoul includes Incheon and numerous satellite cities. The city is surrounded by 8 mountains, with Namsan Mountain in the middle, and is split by the Han River, passing through the city and flowing into the Yellow Sea.
Seoul knows 4 distinct seasons. Its climate can be described as a land-climate, despite its proximity to the seas. The summers are hot with a high humidity, but are also inclusive of Seoul’s raining season, between June and September. Influenced by the Pacific winds, the temperature can vary between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. In the winter the city is affected by Siberian winds, which takes the average temperature down to 0 to -10 degrees Celsius. Spring and autumn are considered the most comfortable seasons.
The Korean currency is called Won. 1 Euro = 1250 Korean won. The won is a reliable and stable currency, with its biggest banknote being 10.000 won.
When you walk the streets of Seoul, you will soon find out it is sometimes difficult to determine your location. Korean addresses exist normally as only street names, with no numbers. Remembering an address might therefore be useless. Instead, find your way by landmarks such as office buildings, sights, subway-station or area’s. The subway-station provides maps at every exit with an overview of the area you are entering.
Before you are on your way to a location, ask a Korean to write down the address in Korean (Hangul), or ask someone to mark it on the map you are always carrying with you.
Safety and Security
Seoul is a remarkably safe city. The crime rate is very low compared to other major cities around the world. For emergencies call 112 (local police), 119 (fire department), 120 (Seoul’s Dasan call center) or 1330 (a nationwide call center of the KTO that can connect you to emergency services).
The first problem you will face arriving in Korea is with your mobile phone. The Korean mobile phone network system is more advanced than the one used in Europe or North-America. The phone you brought with you will probably be useless in Korea, because of the different network.
The solution is to rent a mobile phone at Incheon Airport. At the ground floor you will find plenty desks offering phones for rent. Renting or buying a mobile phone is your only option to be connected in Korea, because your phone is simply not suitable for the Korean network.
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.
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