The Korean Peninsula extends about 1,000 km from the Asian continent into the Pacific Ocean with more than 3,000 islands dotting the coastline. Mountains cover almost 70 percent of the land mass, making the country one of the most mountainous regions in the world and offering abundant forest resources. Administratively, Korea consists of nine provinces with 77 small cities and 88 counties.
During the spring, which falls between April and June, the country is painted pink by the abundant cherry blossoms that decorate South Korea’s green spaces. The weather during this season is the least likely to be inclement, making it one of the more popular, albeit crowded, times of the year to visit South Korea - expect mostly sunny days.
The Korean language, like Hungarian, Turkish, Mongolian and Finnish, is classified into the Ural-Altaic language group. Hangeul(한글), the Korean alphabet, is composed of 10 simple vowels and 14 consonants. A group of scholars under the patronage of King Sejong the Great developed this systematic rendition of spoken sound in 1443. It is widely acclaimed by linguists as an ingenious invention. In 2009, the town of Bau Bau in Sulawesi, Indonesia adopted Hangeul as their official written language.
|Seoul, Tokyo (Korea Time)||1:00||4:00||7:00||10:00||13:00||16:00||19:00||22:00|
|Taipei, Manila, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore||24:00||3:00||6:00||9:00||12:00||15:00||18:00||21:00|
|New Delhi, Kolkata||22:00||1:00||4:00||7:00||10:00||13:00||16:00||19:00|
|Tehran, Kuwait, Jeddah||19:00||22:00||1:00||4:00||7:00||10:00||13:00||16:00|
|Hamburg, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam||17:00||20:00||23:00||2:00||5:00||8:00||11:00||14:00|
|Rio de Janeiro, S`ao Paulo||13:00||16:00||19:00||22:00||1:00||4:00||7:00||11:00|
|New York, Montreal, Bogota, Toronto||11:00||14:00||17:00||20:00||23:00||2:00||5:00||8:00|
|Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles||8:00||11:00||14:00||17:00||20:00||23:00||2:00||5:00|
Government office hours are usually from 9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays. Banks are open from 9:00 to 16:00 on weekdays. Most stores are open every day from 10:30 to 20:00, including Sundays.
Service charges are included in your bill for rooms, meals, and other services at hotels and upscale restaurants. Koreans occasionally do tip when they are especially pleased with the service they receive. Foreign tourists can receive nearly 10 % VAT refunds for purchases at Duty Free shops. Goods must be taken out of Korea within three months of purchase to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors can receive refunds on receipts of minimum purchases of KRW 50,000 (around USD 43). To receive your refund, present receipts with the purchased goods at the customs clearance desk at Incheon International Airport when departing.
The standard electricity supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. Most hotels may provide outlet converters for 110 and 220 volts. Participants are recommended to check with the hotel beforehand.