Seoul is the capital city of South Korea – considered the most livable city in Asia and one of the largest and most progressive cities in the world. More than half of South Korea’s entire population lives in Seoul, along with more than half a million ex-pats. Additionally, Seoul boasts of having one of the biggest and most vibrant global economies, with around 17 local companies belonging to the Fortune Global 500 list (as of April 2016). Seoul is definitely one of the most modern cities on the planet, but it has a long history that stretches 2,000 years. Around 10 million people visit Seoul every year. Check out fun facts about Seoul you should know below!
Seoul as a city became famous for its…
- K-pop and Korean Wave. K-pop stars like Rain, Psy and 2NE1 have risen into global sensations; Psy’s music video for his single Gangnam Style became the first video to hit one billion views on YouTube. Korean dramas like Winter Sonata and Dae Jang-geum also gained international acclaim and spurred tourism to the country.
- Obsessive Online Gaming. Playing online games like StarCraft and World of Warcraft is serious business in Seoul, spawning big-prize tournaments, as well as a few deaths from exhaustion and criminal incidences. Hello, fastest internet speed in the world!
- Workaholics. On average, Seoul workers spend around 55 hours per week on the job.
- Outsourced Animation. American cartoons like The Simpsons and South Park were actually processed in Seoul.
- Cheap, High-tech Electronics. Seoul owns the world when it comes to state-of-the-art gadgets at very low costs.
Facts about Seoul Helpful for First Time Travellers
- In Seoul, taxis are colour-coded because traffic in Seoul is crazy too! Grey or white taxis are basic cars with less experienced drivers. Black cabs are more luxurious and have more experienced drivers. The experience of these drivers is based on the number of accidents they had on the road.
- Tipping is not required in Korea, but it doesn’t mean that their service is of bad quality. See #5.
- The majority of the stores in Seoul is open until at least 10:30 or 11:00 pm, shops in Dongdaemun are open from 10pm – 5am. Restaurants, bars, cafes and vendors stay even later till 3 or 4 am depending on the location.
- Banchan or side dish in Korean is free of charge and should be expected in every meal since it is customary in South Korea to serve guests with generosity.
- Seoul might as well be the plastic surgery capital of the world. If you fancy performing cosmetic surgery, you are at the place to be!
- Culture shock alert: In Seoul or in South Korea at large, showing off relationship statuses is a common sight. It is common to see couples holding hands, matching outfits and even kissing. They say Asia is conservative, it still is!
- Do you want to sound more like a local when taking photos? Instead of saying “cheese!”, say “kimchi”.
Seoul weather: Seoul’s climate is temperate, with four distinct seasons. However, temperature ranges in the city can be extreme, rising as high as 35C in summer and as low as -20C in winter. The most pleasant seasons are spring and autumn when the weather is neither too cold nor too warm. Additionally, Seoul gets most of its rain in summer. Seoul time zone: South Korea’s time zone is in UTC/GMT+9. Check out the best time to visit Seoul for more fun facts about Seoul you should know.
Currency: You get to pay for your consumption in Seoul with South Korean won. Coins are available in 10, 50, 100 and 500-won denominations, while banknotes are in 1000, 5000, 10000 and 50000-won denominations.
Seoul is serviced by the Incheon International Airport (ICN). ICN is considered to be one of the best and cleanest airports in the world. ICN replaced Gimpo International Airport as South Korea’s primary gateway; Gimpo now serves mostly domestic flights and international flights to and from Japan, Taiwan and China.
Transportation in Seoul
Other fun facts about Seoul you should know is Seoul boasts one of the most extensive and sophisticated transport systems in the world. You can get around the city via bus, subway or taxi. You can also ride a train or hire a cab to take you to destinations outside of Seoul. Besides, you can pay for your fares using your credit card or T-money, a universal transportation card the South Korean government issues for public transportation. However, if you’re travelling outside of Seoul, it’s wise to bring cash with you.
Seoul Emergency Contacts
If you have travel questions or need help while in Seoul, just dial 1330 for the Korean Travel Hotline. The Hotline is open 24/7, and is available in English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese.
Have you planned your trip in Seoul already? Why not let us help you with your Seoul trip today!