Say hello to South Korea

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TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR SOUTH KOREA

We teamed up with some emerging actors visiting the Seoul Webfest to find out the must-see things to do in Seoul and wider Korea. 
Zoom's South Korea travel insurance has you covered for any unexpected holiday hurdles. Cover includes medical expenses should you fall sick or become injured, as well as cover for trip cancellation, lost luggage, family emergencies and more! What are you waiting for? Zoom to it!

SOUTH KOREA QUICK GUIDE

The stars of new (and now award-winning!) webseries, Blind, visited South Korea for the Seoul Webfest, where the series picked up Best Actress and Best Cinematography. While they were there, they let us know their favourite things to do in Seoul and wider Korea. From Cat Cafes to indoor waterparks and 24-hour spas you can sleep in overnight for only $20, they've got your itinerary sorted!

Go on, zoom to South Korea and experience it for yourself!

No matter which kind of South Korean holiday you're planning, Zoom can cover your trip.  You can minimise your costs with Medical Only cover, or choose a Comprehensive Travel Insurance to cover things like travel delays and cancellation. Compare our travel insurance plans now.

VISAS FOR SOUTH KOREA

Aussies and Kiwis visiting South Korea for tourism or business can stay for up to 90 days visa free. While you might not need a visa, you do need:

- A passport with at least six months validity on entry with at least two blank pages.
- Proof of sufficient funds and onward or return airline tickets.
- Appropriate transit visas for connections, if applicable.

These rules can change quickly. Contact your nearest Republic of Korea Embassy or Consulate before you travel for the most up to date information.

ARRIVAL

If you're flying from Australia or New Zealand, a direct flight is just over ten hours. Korea is only one hour behind Sydney, and three hours behind Wellington. Most international flights arrive in Korea via Incheon International Airport, which is around an hour from Seoul. You can take a taxi (50,000KRW), AREX Express Train (9,000KRW), Metro All-Stops Subway Train (~7,000KRW) or an airport limousine bus (9,000-16,000KRW).

Internet / SIM Cards
You can also pick up a local SIM card from a number of outlet in the airports' arrivals area. A seven-day unlimited data SIM will set you back around 40,000KRW (~$53NZD). 

T Money
If you're taking the subway from the airport, or you plan to catch public transport while you're in Seoul (do it - it's easy and super cheap!) then you need a T Money Card.  You can buy them from convenience stores, including at the airport, for around 4,000KRW (~$5.40NZD) and top them up as you need (20,000KRW will last most travellers at least a week). 

Tourist Passes
If you don't want to worry about topping up your T Money Card, you can get one of the popular tourist passes: M-Pass, Korea Tour or Discover Seoul Pass. They include around 20 free train or bus trips per day and discounted or free entry to many attractions. While they are convenient, you'll want to have a jam-packed itinerary to get value for money out of these.

GETTING AROUND

Apps
There are lots of apps for navigating the public transport system, but we could not go past the Naver Map app - it's free, works with the trains and buses, and has English character instructions and station names.

Train
Seoul's 290 train stations are connected in a grid, and most of them are underground. This means they are often the fastest way to get around - there's no waiting in traffic or getting stopped at the lights. The metro runs from around 5am until midnight, and a trip is only around 1500-3000KRW ($2-4NZD). They arrive very frequently, so if you miss your train, there is usually another one in just a few minutes. There is extensive English signage to help you get on the right line and transfer between them, and Seoul's trains also tell you in Korean and English which stop you're at and which side the doors are on. There are also dedicated pink seats for pregnant people, and an extensive network of Tactile Ground Surface Indicators for people who experience blindness.

If you're travelling away from Seoul, there is an extensive intercity train system as well - just make sure you're buying the right ticket for the right train! There are often different lines heading in the same direction with different ticketng systems. 

Bus
T Money cards also work for the large bus system. If you're travelling during peak commuter hours, you might find you get stuck in traffic, but it is nice to sometimes orient yourself with the Seoul above the ground.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

We visited Korea for the Seoul Webfest in August - which is peak sunshine season. If you want to avoid the heat and humidity, March to May and mid September to November are great times to go.

WHERE TO GO

Seoul
Traditional CultureThere is so much to see and do in Seoul! For traditional Korean sites, you can't go passed the Gyeongbokgung Palace - first built in the 14th Century, this breathtaking complex is a Joseon Dynasty jewel set amongst skyscrapers and mountains. Within walking distance is the Jongmyo Shrine and Bukchon Hanok Village - a village of traditional Korean homes which are still occupied to this day. A very popular way to explore these sites is while wearing a Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) rented in the surrounding neighbourhood often for as little as 15,000KRW (~$20NZD). 
  
Relax: Looking for a cheap and uniquely-Korean way to spend a day (or night)? Visit a jjimjilbang - a 24-hour spa with baths, hair salons, cinemas, relaxation rooms, and even sleeping quarters. We loved the Siloam Spa in the heart of Seoul, where for 17,000KRW (~$22NZD), you can access all the features and stay overnight. While the baths and showers are gender-segregated, getting naked in front of strangers can be a daunting prospect. Our advice is that you've got nothing that everyone else hasn't seen before, so just go with the flow - there are plenty of signs if you're not sure what to do or where to go.

Fun Indoors: Korea can be hot and rainy, so why not get your kicks inside? From the indoor themepark, Lotte World, and indoor waterpark, Water Kingdom, in Songpa-Gu, the Cat Cafe in Insadong, clubbing in Gangnam, or karaoke anywhere and anytime, there's so much to do!

Shopping: Korea is a shopper's heaven. Whether you're into traditional markets like Namdaemun or Dongdaemun, or Myeongdong's designers and global megabrands, you're sure to find that your luggage is much heavier for the flight home.

Demilitarised Zone: Interested in standing in South and North Korea at the same time? You can with a unique tour of the Joint Security Area and Demilitarised Zone. These tours leave Seoul Tuesday - Saturday, and cost around 85,000 - 150,000KRW (~$113-200NZD) depending on whether you're doing a half or whole day. They book out at least a week in advance, so get in early!

Sangju
Our favourite off-the-beaten-track destination is the 'slow city' of Sangju. Semi-urban and semi-rural, this picturesque city winds around the Nakdonggang River and is considered to be an agricultural epicentre of Korea. Traditional culture and sustainable development are core pillars of this community, so be sure to enjoy fresh local produce like rice wine, hanu beef or their specialty, dried persimmon (a sweet, apricot or plum like fruit). They love persimmon so much that they have a dried persimmon festival every December. Explore the gorgeous river-lined forests and waterfalls of Gyeongcheondae or Songnisan National Park, and for a special treat, be sure to visit during a Gyeongsang Comptroller Arrival Inspection Tour - a fantastic parade celebrating traditional Sangju dance, dress and storytelling. Click here to check out more on visiting Sanju.

MUST KNOW TIPS

We bought a T Money card to get out of the airport, thinking that it covers all buses and trains - only to discover it wouldn't get us on one of the airport trains, or any of the airport buses. What are these actually for? Don't fret, it does work for the standard metro, so head straight down.

Vegetarian? While you can find food that seems vegetarian, Korea finds ways of sneaking meat in - even kimchi (fermented vegetables, typically cabbage or radish) is prepared in fish sauce. So unless you have a health-issue, we recommend cutting yourself some slack and aiming for meat-minimal rather than meatless foods. Look out for the widely-available vegetable bibimbap, a rice dish with vegetables and a fried egg on top. Otherwise Hapjeong's Cook and Book cafe, Sinchon's The Bread Blue bakery, or Itaewon's Plant restaurant are all vegan and are all delicious!

ZOOMING ELSEWHERE?

Are you planning to zoom somewhere else on your holidays? Whether you're jetting to Japan or seeing Singapore, we've got plenty of helpful advice on other popular travel destinations to check out. What are you waiting for? Zoom to it!
 

WHY BUY WITH ZOOM

Medical cover

medical cover

Zoom to top notch medical cover! Our 24/7 First Assistance team can help liaise with doctors, sort out the bills, and organise medical evacuations back to New Zealand.

travel delays

Travel delays

Zoom to zippy solutions for pesky delays. Have a special event you need to get to, but your flight was delayed? Our comprehensive policy can help get you there on time.

cruise cover

SAILING COVER

Zoom to sailing coverage! With automatic cover for up to 10 nautical miles, and 15 with our Sports and Adventure pack, why not see South Korea by sea?

Family emergencies

Family emergencies

Zoom home! If an unexpected family emergency arises, our comprehensive policy can help you get home to your loved ones.

kids go free

kids go free

Zoom to family holidays! Your kids and grandkids are covered for free if they're under 21, don't work full time, and are travelling with you for 100% of the trip.

Car Hire Excess

rental car excess

Zoom to car coverage. Renting a vehicle to see the South Korean country side? We can cover it with our optional rental vehicle excess pack.

easy claims

easy claims

Zoom to quick claims. One form and no worries - we outline exactly what documents you need in the form to make your claim.

Car Hire Excess

Peace Of Mind

Zoom to zen. You can sit back and relax on your holiday knowing that Zoom travel insurance is backed by Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s most trusted insurers.

SOUTH KOREA TRAVEL INSURANCE FAQs

Got some curly questions in regards to your South Korea travel insurance cover?
Be in the the know before you go with answers to the most common queries below.

  • Am I covered medically while holidaying in South Korea?
  • Yes, all our policies cover for unlimited medical coverage. Zoom provides cover for your overseas medical expenses including hospital stays, surgery, doctor visits, emergency evacuation and repatriation home if required. We can provide written guarantees of payment of reasonable expenses directly with your hospital in emergency situations. Phew!

  • What happens if I need medical assistance in South Korea
  • Have complete peace of mind on your South Korean adventure. Zoom provides immediate support through our emergency assistance provider, First Assistance. This includes access to medical advisors, medical transfers and emergency evacuation if required. We also assist with passing on messages to family and returning unsupervised dependants back to New Zealand. Help is just a phone call away any time of day 365 days a year.

  • How do alcohol and drugs affect my cover?
  •  When it comes to alcohol we advise you to drink in moderation. One too many rice wines could see you jeopardizing your cover. Please note that we may exclude any claims where excessive drugs or alcohol have been involved.

  • I have high value items; how much can I insure them for?
  • If you have an expensive item that you just can’t leave behind you can insure it separately for up to $5,000. Please note that high value item cover is only available under our comprehensive plan.

  • Am I covered for pickpocketing in South Korea?
  • Yes, you’re covered for muggings and pickpocketing, provided of course you were acting with reasonable care (i.e. did not leave your belongings unattended). If you’re the victim of a pickpocket, you’d be covered for loss, theft and damage to your luggage and personal effects. If you are robbed it’s important that you get a police report and contact us as soon as possible.

  • What age limits apply to Zoom travel insurance policies?
  • You must be under the age of 85 to buy a policy with Zoom. Those under 79 years can purchase a policy for a maximum trip duration of 365 days. Those aged between 80-85 years can purchase a policy for a maximum trip duration of 184 days only. You must also be under the age of 69 to purchase our add-on ski or adventure packs.

  • Which pre-existing conditions does Zoom cover?
  • We automatically cover 36 pre-existing medical conditions with no medical assessments or lengthy medical forms to complete. For further information and a full list of covered conditions head to our pre-existing medical conditions page.

  • Can I reduce my excess with Zoom products?
  • Yes you can reduce the standard excess of $200 by paying a excess reduction fee within the payment process. 

  • What is a dependant?
  • This means your dependant children or grandchildren under the age of 21 at the date of policy issue who are travelling with you.