Korean won (₩)
Budget: Less than ₩100,000
- Dorm bed: ₩20,000
- Street food: ₩1000–5000
- Hiking: free
- Entry to National Museum of Korea: free
- Subway ticket: ₩1300
- Hanok guesthouse: ₩70,000
- Entry to Gyeongbokgung (Palace of Shining Happiness): ₩3000
- Barbecued pork meal: ₩40,000
- Theatre ticket: ₩40,000
Top end: More than ₩300,000
- High-end hotel: ₩200,000
- Royal Korean banquet: ₩80,000
- Scrub and massage at a jjimjilbang (luxury sauna): ₩60,000
- DMZ tour: ₩100,000
Try bargaining (with a smile) if you're prepared to pay in cash and buy in bulk at markets, from street and subway vendors and even, occasionally, for big-ticket items in department stores.
ATMs with a ‘Global’ sign work with internationally issued cards; very few are open 24 hours. Credit cards are widely accepted, except in the countryside.
The South Korean unit of currency is the won (₩), with ₩10, ₩50, ₩100 and ₩500 coins. Notes come in denominations of ₩1000, ₩5000, ₩10,000 and ₩50,000.
ATMs that accept foreign cards are common: look for one that has a ‘Global’ sign or the logo of your credit-card company. ATMs often operate from 7am to 11pm but some are 24-hour. Restrictions on the amount you can withdraw in one transaction can vary but is usually around ₩1,000,000 per day. Lotte ATMs in 7-Eleven stores allow you to select from international banks for the transaction, including Citibank.
Many banks offer a foreign-exchange service. In big cities there are also licensed moneychangers, that keep longer hours than the banks and provide a faster service, but may only exchange $US cash.
Credit cards are increasingly accepted across the board, but plenty of places, including budget accommodation, stalls and small restaurants, still require cash. Always have handy a stash of ₩10,000 notes in case.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Tipping is generally not expected.
- Restaurants No need to tip; only top-end hotel restaurants will add a service charge.
- Guides Not expected; a small gift will be appreciated, though.
- Taxis No need to tip; fares are metered or agreed before you get in.
- Hotels Only in the most luxurious do you need to tip bellboys etc, and only if service is good.