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- Asia Guide
Safety & security
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN KOREA?
Crime in South Korea is among the lowest compared to other developed nations. Its crime rates are much lower than in the US and on par with most European countries, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Violent crime is relatively uncommon. A majority of incidents are petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and the theft of unattended belongings. Watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas of metropolitan cities.
Seoul is considered one of the safest cities for travelers. There are 30,000 cameras dedicated to keeping people safe around the city. Among these are dome cameras with varying functionalities installed in public spaces to monitor people’s movements. For example, if someone falls in the street, a sensor will be triggered and the camera will blink, sending a signal to the police. An officer then responds to make sure no one gets hurt. Blind spots not sufficiently secured with cameras are patrolled more constantly. Other cities of South Korea had not yet reached the same level of security. So, if you go out at night, consider traveling in groups and use only legitimate taxis or public transportation.
IS TRAVEL IN KOREA DIFFICULT?
Adventure travel, by its very nature, always involves a degree of risk. Traveling to remote areas inevitably involves dangers, including the forces of nature, poorly maintained roads, unmarked or uneven trails, basic or poor standards in hotels, and vehicles that are severely used and may break down. While it is rare, you may have an accident or become ill in an area where rapid evacuation may not be possible, and where medical facilities or medications may be of poor quality or inaccessible. You may over-exert yourself or find conditions for which you are not prepared. Participating in adventure travel takes us to remote places of exceptional beauty, unique cultures, and little discovered natural, historical, and archeological wonders. The enjoyment and excitement we seek in adventure travel take us far from the safety and comforts of the organized, regulated, accident-proofed developed world.
CAN I DRINK THE WATER?
According to the UN, the tap water in South Korea is safe to drink. To impose higher water standards, the government changes the water pipes of the cities twice a year. However, it should be said that most Koreans do not drink tap water unless they boil or filter it first. So, if you fill up a glass straight from the tap in front of locals, you may turn people’s heads. In general, we highly recommend avoiding drinking tap water. We will provide you with drinking water daily. If you run out of drinking water, just ask our staff, and they will be happy to help you purchase some more. Bottled water is very cheap and available everywhere, even in the rural areas.
CAN I EAT THE LOCAL FOOD?
Absolutely! In South Korea, food is one of the primary elements of socialization. The first thing you will notice when you set foot in a local restaurant is the long tables that are shared both by people who know each other and by strangers. Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, fermented bean paste (doenjang), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes (gochutgaru), fermented red chili paste (gochujang), and napa cabbage. As a result, much of Korean cuisine taste flavorful, spicy, and salty. It might be problematic for those who are trying to reduce their sodium intake or those who cannot handle overly spicy food. In that case, you should remind the waiter to ask the chef to put less spice and salt on your ordered dishes. Korean food stands out from other cuisines with its many side dishes (banchan) that are served during meals. The number of side dishes can range anywhere from 2 to 12. They can be anything from vegetables to meat to seafood prepared in numerous ways. Korean dishes are all served at the same time, so there are no separate courses like in Western cuisines. By following simple safety rules, such as eating in clean restaurants, dining in South Korea can become yet another fascinating part of your trip. Here are the five most popular traditional dishes that you should try while in South Korea:
- Kimchi - a spicy fermented cabbage served as a side dish at every meal
- Samgyeopsal - a grilled pork belly
- Sundubu - jjigae or Soft Tofu Stew
- Tteokbokki - a hot and spicy rice cakes noodles
- Samgyetang - a nutritious soup made with a stuffed whole young chicken
- Bibimbap - A bowl of rice topped with vegetables, beef, and egg
Our Korea tour packages feature the best Korea has to offer- tours in spring to enjoy the breathtaking cherry blossom, or tours in autumn to admire forests stand in red, yellow and fifty shades of brown.View tours