Safety of South Korea
South Korea is a safe destination, but does that mean travelers have nothing to worry about?
• Regional Threats
South Korea and North Korea are technically at war. However, military exchanges are rare. Peace is maintained under a truce agreed at the practical end of the Korean War in 1953.
The Korean Peninsula is divided by a demilitarized zone separating:
-North Korea or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
-South Korea or the Republic of Korea
Though military exchanges are rare, low-level military clashes sometimes occur.
North Korea's weapons tests and defensive statements increase tensions in the region. Usually, North Korea increases its rhetoric against other countries during annual South Korea–US military exercises.
These routine exercises usually take place in:
-February or March
-August or September
The South Korean government has released a free smartphone 'Emergency Ready' app. The app has information on local emergency services, including:
To protect yourself from threats in the region:
-consider downloading the 'Emergency Ready' app
-take official warnings seriously
-follow the instructions of local authorities
• Civil unrest and political tension
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
- avoid protests and demonstrations
- monitor the media for information
- follow the instructions of local authorities
The crime rate in South Korea is low. However, petty crime happens, especially in major cities such as Seoul and Busan. To protect yourself from crime:
- keep your belongings close
-don't accept drinks, food, gum or cigarettes from strangers
-take care when walking alone at night
• Climate and Natural Disasters
South Korea experiences natural disasters and severe weather, such as typhoons, earthquake and tsunamis.
Get familiar with the advice of local authorities on preparing for a natural disaster or other emergency and if there's a natural disaster:
- know your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
- take official warnings seriously
- follow the advice of local authorities
- closely monitor the media
- keep in touch with friends and family
• Physical and Mental Health
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
- have a basic health check-up
- ask if your travel plans may affect your health
- plan any vaccinations you need
• Health Risk
COVID-19 remains a risk in South Korea.
For protective measures against coronavirus visit the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare website.
As of March 16, 2022, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, South Korea has 4 levels of Social Distancing. Follow local media as levels and restrictions can change frequently.
• Medical Facilities
The standard of medical facilities in South Korea is good. South Korea is a popular destination for medical tourism.
To protect yourself:
- research and choose your medical service providers carefully
- avoid discounted or uncertified medical service providers