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The quality of medical care in Seoul is high. You need a doctor’s prescription to buy most medications and it may be difficult to find the exact medication you use at home, so take extra. A letter from your physician outlining your medical condition and a list of your medications (using generic names) could be useful.

There are no special vaccination requirements for visiting Korea, but you should consider vaccination against hepatitis A and B. Most people don’t drink the tap water, but those who do seem to come to no harm and Korea's tap water ranks higher in purity than that of the USA. Filtered or bottled water is served free in most restaurants and machines with free purified hot and cold water are available in most motels and guesthouses.

Medical Tourism

In image-conscious South Korea, medical tourism is a booming industry with annual visitor numbers expected to reach nearly one million by 2020. The focus might be on cosmetic surgery but can include anything from cutting-edge cancer treatments to simple check-ups. Health tourism is heavily promoted by the Korea Tourism Organization (www.visitmedicalkorea.com), with specialised information booths (and even festivals) in Seoul, Incheon, Daegu and Busan. Staff keep lists (but not prices) of medical practitioners who speak English, Chinese and other languages and have surgeries that resemble high-end hotel lobbies. Speak with your own doctor and health-insurance company before considering getting anything done; despite the gloss, botched work still happens.