Coming to Seoul (or any foreign country for that matter) can be an exciting experience, especially if you’re coming to study, intern, or work.
The list below contains a few things to considering preparing that can certainly make your transition into the new country a much smoother and stress-free experience.
1. Buy a Sim Card (ideally online and in advance)
In many ways, Seoul is an incredibly advanced and efficient city, and in other ways bafflingly behind the times. Easily purchasing, signing up for, and reloading a sim card is an example of a process that isn’t (or wasn’t) as foreigner friendly.
To avoid having to go into a mobile store, and hoping that it’s one that speaks English, try purchasing a sim card online and in advance. In doing this, you can have your activated sim card waiting for you at the airport upon arrival.
You can read about the process of selecting and purchasing the right sim card for you here:
Or a direct link to a site to purchase a sim card:
2. Buy a TMoney Card
The TMoney card is a must-have for transportation on subways, buses, and some taxis.
If possible, I recommend purchasing a card and charging it up at the airport. You can buy a normal t money card at most convenience stores, but upon doing some research, it appears that TMoney’s AmazingPay card also provides discounts on all sorts of purchases, including the airport bus.
You can find information about this card and where to purchase one in the airport here:
Here’s a list of all of the discounts you can receive using this card:
3. Know How you Will get from the Airport to your Destination
With that AmazingPay TMoney card, you get a discount on the airport bus, but if you’re heading to a location where the airport bus doesn’t go, your other options are the express subway, the all-stop subway (still very fast), and a taxi.
The express subway only stops at major points, and takes you to Seoul Station. This costs around 10,000 KRW.
The all-stop subway also goes to Seoul Station, as well as all stops on the Airport subway line. This costs around 5,000 KRW.
The taxi will obviously take you wherever you want go. By far the most expensive option, it can cost anywhere between 60,000 KRW-100,000 KRW depending on your destination.
Here’s a helpful article that describes these options in-depth: https://www.travelvui.com/south-korea/seoul/best-ways-to-get-from-seoul-incheon-airport-to-city/
4. Download 3 Starter Apps
I’ll go more in-depth on this in a future blogpost, but to get started, I recommend downloading a Seoul subway app, a currency conversion app, and a translation app.
Seoul Subway Apps:
Currency Conversion Apps:
5. Buy the Right Korean Adapter(s) for Your Needs
The first time I came to Korea, I brought my hair clippers thinking they would work well with the adapter that I bought. I was very wrong.
It’s good to be even a bit educated on what kind of adapter will be best to purchase based on what electrical devices you’re planning to use. Most reading this will probably be using an adapter for charging a computer, in which case a relatively simple one does fine.
Either way, this article by BeMarieKorea provides a lovely short-yet-comprehensive list of adapters to choose from, how to decide which one you need, and links to purchase them online:
The Best Korea Power Adapter – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
6. (Optional) Exchange Money Before Arriving at the Airport
This point is optional, as you can easily find places to exchange money in the airport, but for the best conversion rates, and making sure you have some Korean Won on-hand before arriving, visiting a bank that supports a wide range of currency exchanges may be a wise decision.
This is something you’ll have to look up depending on where you live, but just know that you receive some of the worst exchange rates in the airport.
7. Know What kind of Accommodation is Best for You to Live in
In last week’s blog post, I provided a list of different living options with descriptions of who they were best suited for.
If you’re visiting Korea for a month or longer, and are looking for an easy way to book a nice, modern, affordable, and fully furnished apartment room in the center of Seoul, contact us to inquire about our apartments.
We get very busy during the upcoming Fall and Spring semester, so reach out quickly if you’re looking for a place to rent during the school season!