South Korea FAQs - The Dragon Trip

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about bookings, flights, discounts, getting in, health, where you’ll stay, how you’ll get around, with whom, dressed in what, eating what, we’ve got you covered!

South Korea Adventures

Who are we?

We made a whole page to answer just this question. Click here to read about us.

Why you should travel with us?

You’re choosing pretty much the best value in South Korean backpacker travel…

  • We take you to see the absolute best of South Korea. All-encompassing, packed itineraries give you access to the top must-see sites you’ve read about, as well as all the hidden, off-the-beaten-track destinations you haven’t.
  • Experience travelling with an amazing group of like-minded people – not just those travelling with you, but our expert, fun-loving guides too! They’ll show you their part of South Korea their way.
  • We have an excellent commitment to safety – we do the hard work keeping you safe, so you can enjoy yourself to the full.
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable travel – we want these stunning places to exist for future generations.
  • We like to think of ourselves as open-minded people, and our tours are for open-minded people too. We welcome travellers of any nationality, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender and sexual orientation.
  • We are an LGBT-friendly travel operator, so you’ll feel safe travelling with us, whatever your way of life – that means no judging and no harassing!
  • Our South Korea trips are most suitable for travellers aged 18 to 60, however, we do occasionally make exceptions outside of this on an individual basis. 

Who travels with us?

All sorts! We thought this was an important question too, so read about our customers – in all their diversity – in full detail here.

What’s included?

  • English-speaking Adventure Leaders
  • Accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or temple stays which meet The Dragon Trip’s high standards. All of our accommodation has its own unique South Korean charm, and at the same time are safe, clean, and hygienic.
  • All internal bus, train and ferry tickets
  • A selection of meals, listed out below
    • Seoul: Korean BBQ welcome dinner, simple hostel breakfasts (day 2-4)
    • Gyeongju: simple hostel breakfast (day 6)
    • Golgulsa Temple: simple Buddhist dinner, breakfast & lunch
    • Jeju Island: BBQ party by the beach
  • Entry, transport and Adventures Leaders to some of South Korea’s unmissable attractions, such as the Demilitarized zone, Seoroksan National Park, and the Jeju Olle Traill.
  • All taxes and charges.

What’s not included?

  • Flights to and from South Korea
  • Aside from the many free unmissable activities The Dragon Trip offers you, we also offer some extra activities which are great value for money, safe and fun.
  • Food and Drink – Only a selection of meals are included in the trip which we have listed out under “What’s included”.
  • Any flight/bus/ferry tickets for journeys made after the end of the trip
  • Any hostels for after your trip has ended – if you require accommodation before or after your trip, we can help you book that! Just contact us at info@thedragontrip.com. Payments for these will need to be made along with your final trip payment.

When do the trips depart?

Please find the departure dates for each trip on their respective webpage.

Can I begin my trip on a non-listed date?

We would strongly recommend beginning your trip on the listed start dates, that way you won’t miss any of the exciting activities! However, if for some reason this isn’t possible, our Bookings team will do the best they can to accommodate you. Get in contact at info@thedragontrip.com.

Why is The Dragon Trip better than other travel companies?

We offer a balance between cultural activities, extreme activities and great nightlife. We offer a package aimed at budget travellers, who want to travel with other like-minded people. We offer access to the real South Korea, where you get to experience the wonderful culture of South Korea as an insider, rather than a tourist. As a result, we are consistently rated very highly on Facebook and Feefo.

We constantly strive to provide you with the best value for money while travelling in South Korea, yet your safety is always our absolute priority – you’re in safe hands.

Why are we cheaper than other backpacking tours?

Firstly, we often use young Adventure Leaders who work for us for one or two seasons after university. They are highly educated and thoroughly trained, but as they are doing it more for personal experience rather than to make money, they are cheaper, and some may argue, more enthusiastic than the ‘career tour guides’ used by most tour companies in South Korea.

What are the ages & nationalities of people booked on Dragon trips?

Each trip is different, but our travellers come from all over the world and from every background – why not connect with fellow Dragon Trippers or meet people on The Dragon Trip Facebook page. Usually, Dragon Trippers are aged anywhere between 18 to 30 something, but we do get older customers joining. We fully embrace the backpacker attitude that everyone is very welcome. A typical trip would include friends who have just finished high school, couples on career breaks, students on university holidays, and solo travellers from all walks of life. The group normally speaks English but come from all over the world including the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand, Mainland Europe, Israel and Brazil.

How can I book my trip?

All you have to do is email us with your full name at bookings@thedragontrip.com and send in your deposit (£100 GBP/$150 USD/€150 EUR/$200 AUD) to guarantee a place in the tour of your choosing. The full amount will be due 70 days before your trip departure date. Once we have confirmed your deposit or full payment, then we will need your correct passport name, birthdate and passport number so that we can issue you your visa invitation letters and booking pack.

What is the payment policy?

For all trips, a deposit of £100 GBP / $150 USD / €150 EUR / $200 AUD is required in order to confirm your booking, and the remaining amount is due 70 days prior to your departure. If you book on to our South Korea tours less than 70 days prior to departure, the full balance will be due within 3 days of booking.

How do I pay?

After making a booking on our website, depending on whether you are paying in British pounds or US dollars, you will need to send your payment to our British account, or US account. If you are paying to our US dollar account, please make sure to let your bank know that you do not want them to use an intermediary bank and instead send it directly to the US dollar account at HSBC UK – otherwise you may be charged with a $25 intermediary bank usage fee! You can also choose to pay via PayPal, but they charge a 3.4% additional cost for their service. As soon as we see your payment come through, we will issue you a receipt confirming it.

British £ bank account details:

  • HSBC Account Name: The Dragon Trip Pte. Ltd.
  • Account Number: 8153 1115
  • Sort Code: 40 02 08
  • Branch Address: HSBC Bank Plc, 455 Strand, London, WC2R 0RH
  • Swift Code: MIDLGB22 IBAN: GB82MIDL40020881531115

US $ bank account details (for customers based in the USA):

  • Eastern Bank Account Name: The Dragon Trip LLC
  • Account Number: 60141 9715
  • Routing Number: 0113 01798
  • Swift Code: EASRUS3B
  • Send checks to: The Dragon Trip, 51 Melcher Street – First Floor, Boston, MA 02210, USA

US $ bank account details (for customers based outside of the USA, including Canada):

  • HSBC Account Name: The Dragon Trip
  • Account Number: 7454 4436
  • Sort Code: 40 12 76
  • Branch Address: HSBC Bank Plc, 455 Strand, London, WC2R 0RH
  • Swift Code: HBUKGB4B IBAN: GB37HBUK40127674544436

 Euro € bank account details:

  • HSBC Account name: THE DRAGON TRIP
  • Account type: FGN CURRENT
  • Sort Code: 401276
  • Account number: 76228606
  • Bank Identifier Code: HBUKGB4B
  • International Bank Account Number: GB77HBUK40127676228606

What is the refund policy?

You are entitled to a full refund for any reason up to 10 days after you make a booking, after this period, all payments are non-refundable. If you have paid or booked within 30 days of your trip departure date no refunds will be granted from The Dragon Trip and refunds must be pursued with your travel insurance provider.

What happens if there is an unforeseen emergency?

Examples of this would include:

– Terrorist attack

– Civil unrest

– Earthquake/Tsunami

– Bad Weather

– Flooding

– Volcanic eruption

The Dragon Trip will only pay up to the original costs outlined in the itinerary but will not pay any additional costs* in excess of 40 RMB per person. Our official policy is to charge customers for any extra costs and advise them to request reimbursement from their travel insurance provider. Payment to The Dragon Trip should be made before the company makes additional purchases whenever possible.

*Additional costs may include (but are not limited to) arranging new transportation or booking new accommodation for the group.

Please note:

Because this policy involves emergency situations, it is always on a case by case basis. Adventure tour managers reserve the right to make an exception to this rule if the group’s safety is in danger or a decision needs to be made immediately (i.e. the next plane is about to depart and we need to quickly buy new tickets without consulting the group). In these cases, it is acceptable for the company to make purchases without receiving payment from customers in advance.

After their tour, customers can request reimbursement from travel insurance. Many travel insurance providers offer some form of “Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage” which covers unexpected inclement weather or unexpected natural disasters. These are examples of relevant coverages included in most policies:

  • Trip Delay – generally from bad weather or carrier-caused delays. Trip Delay is reimbursement for meals and accommodations that you might incur if your trip is delayed for a covered reason. Trip Delay can happen at any time throughout the trip. For example, you’ll be reimbursed up to the daily limit for meals and accommodations (to the policy maximum) if your departure is delayed for more than the number of hours required for a covered reason during your trip.
  • Trip Interruption – you unexpectedly return home early from your trip. This reimburses you for your unused prepaid trip costs and one

If The Dragon Trip goes out of business, would I still be able to get a refund?

Yes, as stated below:

Total Payment Protection (topp) Policy cover.

In compliance with the UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 an insurance policy has been arranged with Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (t&g), to protect customers’ prepayments in the unlikely event of our financial failure and paid in respect of:

  • non-flight inclusive packages commencing and returning to the UK
  • the ground handling aspects of packages where the customer is responsible for arranging travel to the destination offered in this brochure/literature/document/ on the website (subject to the terms of the insurance policy), for:
    • a refund of such prepayments if customers have not yet travelled, or
    • making arrangements to enable the holiday to continue if customers have already travelled

Customers’ prepayments are protected by a topp policy. 

In the unlikely event of financial failure please contact the claims helpline on 0870 0137 965. A copy of the policy is available on request.

This policy is provided by Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (t&g), registered number 02527363 and underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Limited (Hiscox), registered number 00070234. t&g and Hiscox are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (number 113849)

What if I miss the booking deadline for a trip?

Unfortunately, registration for our backpacker tours is closed 30 days before the departure date. You do have the option of arranging another trip as an independent traveller. This means that you will let us know where you would like to go, when you would like to go, and how many people you would like to go with and we will arrange all the Adventure Leaders, accommodations and transportation (all still at the most competitive price point). This is a much more flexible (and shorter) trip option, which many of our travellers do choose to do.

Is there anything I need to do after (if) I book through another agent?

Please kindly provide us with a scan or photo of your passport’s information page so that we may begin to issue you your visa invitation documents.

How to our promotions work?

All promotions used must be stated at the time of booking and cannot be backdated. Promotions cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. Any discount applied is at the sole discretion of the Dragon Trip.

Can I use my student card?

Unless you have a South Korean student card, they are not widely accepted. Feel free to bring it with you anyway just in case.

How do I get my South Korean visa?

Nice and easy! South Korea offers visa-free entry for up to 90 days for many nationalities, including British, American and Australian. Be sure to double-check your country’s status before you travel.

What travel insurance do I need for South Korea?

We require all our customers to have backpackers travel insurance when coming on the trip. We recommend purchasing a travel insurance that offers ‘Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage’.

Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number. We recommend using World Nomads as your travel insurance provider.

Do I need any special vaccinations for South Korea?

The Dragon Trip aims to enter no areas with tropical diseases. However, as with any backpacking trip, we urge you to seek advice from a travel nurse before departing your home country.

  • All travellers should be up to date with a full course of vaccination and boosters recommended by their governments. For UK regulations, click here.

I’m not very physically fit! Is the trip suitable for me?

At its heart, the Dragon Trip is an adventure tour of South Korea, but you can make your Dragon Trip as physically active (or inactive) as you want. If there is an activity you’d like to give a miss, you could ask your Adventure Leader for a more relaxing activity!

The hike to Ulsanbawi Rock in Seoraksan National Park is quite tough. If you would like a less challenging hike, you can follow one of the other well-signed trails in the park and hop on a cable car to another peak.

I have a medical condition – is this OK?

Generally yes, but please do inform us of your specific requirements at the point of booking.

Do I need a first aid kit?

All of our Adventure Leaders have a fully equipped first aid kit with them at all times, but of course, there is no harm in bringing your own small one along. We also advise that you bring your own antihistamine, anti-diarrhoea, and painkillers if you think you’ll need them. These are available in all of the cities.

If something happens, will I be able to get necessary medical attention?

All South Korean cities have hospitals and clinics in case of emergencies. Regardless of where you are in South Korea, medical treatment is available, and your Adventure Leader will always be on hand to help take you to a hospital if worse comes to worst.

Which hostels do we use? Their addresses?

  • Bunk Guesthouse, Seoul19-1, Wausan-ro 29ra-gil, Mapo-gu, Mapo-Gu, 04053 Seoul, South Korea (Tel: +82 70-8703-0045)
  • Siloam Bulgama Sauna (Jjimjilbang), Seoul49, Jungnim-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea (Tel: +82 2-364-3944)
  • Doobaki Hostel, Gyeongju76, Hwarang-ro, 780-060 Gyeongju, South Korea (Tel: +82 10-3095-7677)
  • Golgulsa Templestay – 101-5, Girim-ro, Yangbuk-myeon, Gyeongju, South Korea (Tel: +82 54-775-1689)
  • Kimchee Guesthouse Haeundae, Busan16-1 Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, U-dong, Haeundae, Busan, South Korea (Tel: +82 51-747-4406)
  • Jagoga Guesthouse, Jeju Island 29 Sinyang-rom,122 beon-gil, Jeju, Jeju Island 63641, South Korea (Tel: +82 10-6683-0567)

What is the standard of accommodation?

Throughout our South Korean trips, we stay in hostels, guesthouses, Jjimjilbang (traditional bathhouses), as well as an overnight temple stay. All of the accommodation that we use are clean, air-conditioned or have fans, are safe, have good showers, internet, washing machines and most importantly, have real South Korean character. People who stay at hostels are usually young people aged 18 to 35 who are travelling on a smaller budget than people staying at hotels. So, it is easy to make friends and fun to hang out in the lounge areas. If you would like to stay in a private room though, that is absolutely possible as long as we have room upgrades available at the time of purchase.

Do the hostels have Wi-Fi? Will I be able to keep in touch with friends and family while in South Korea?

There is Wi-Fi available for use in all the accommodation you stay in during The Dragon Trip. During the temple stay experience, there is Wi-Fi available in communal areas, however, there is no Wi-Fi in your rooms for the night.

Do I need a sleeping bag or is linen supplied in the hostels?

No, all bedding is provided throughout the trip.

Who looks after our bags when we’re on transport and/or day excursions?

The bags will be stored at the hostels where they are tagged and recorded. We have never had a case of anyone losing their luggage or having their luggage stolen so you can focus on having fun.

Can I upgrade to a twin/private room?

Yes! Upgrades to twin or private rooms are available, but only at certain accommodations throughout the trip. If you would like to find out more about upgrades, please email us at info@thedragontrip.com. If you decide to upgrade, just email us before your final payment is due to let us know you’d like to.

What time are the transport links?

  • Seoul to Sokcho is from 8am – 10:30am (bus)
  • Sokcho to Seoul is from 7pm – 9:30pm (bus)
  • Seoul to Gyeongju is from 10am – 12:06pm (KTX train)
  • Gyeongju to Busan is from 4pm – 6:50pm (bus)
  • Busan to Jeju Island is from 7pm to 7am (overnight ferry)

Will we be sitting together?

All train tickets will be purchased at the same time which means that you are most likely to be sitting with the rest of the brought. However, there is always a small chance that you may not be seated together with the person that you have booked the tour together with.

If you or a fellow traveller has a seat that is not with the group, our Adventure Leaders have a process to help you switch your tickets, so that you are seated next to the group.

Do you provide an airport transfer service?

The Dragon Trip South Korea tour will end at Jeju International Airport on Day 12. This will include a group transfer from your accommodation to the airport. If you need to arrive at the airport early or later than the chosen transfer time, you will need to organise this yourself.

We do not currently offer an airport transfer service in Seoul, as public transportation from the airport to the city centre is much more convenient and easy to very easy to navigate. The “All Stops” airport transfer trains run every 5-10 minutes from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station. Our accommodation in Seoul is located near Hongik University Station; the journey takes roughly 50 minutes on the train and costs 4,150-4,750 KRW.

Who are the adventure leaders?

Each group will be accompanied by English speaking Adventure Leaders. All our adventure leaders have the passion and knowledge to ensure that they can help you have a great time in each destination.

How experienced are they? And will they be travelling with us?

Each of our Adventure Leaders are experts in all things South Korea. You will either have one Adventure Leader travel without throughout the duration of the trip, or a new leader in each location. At the end of the trip for each location they will either travel with you just on the transfer or see you off onto your transfer and another Adventure Leader will pick you right back up as soon as you arrive in the next destination.

For more information on who’ll you’ll be travelling with, meet our team!

Do I need to bring power converters?

Yes! South Korean electrical outlets use the same sockets as central Europe, so if you use any other type of plug, you will need to bring an adaptor. South Korea uses 230 volts and the plug sockets are Type C, featuring two round pins.

What should I pack for my trip?

We strongly recommend packing very light for The Dragon Trip. You will have access to laundry services at your accommodation throughout the trip, so you won’t need to pack a new outfit for each day. Items can you can mix and match are your best bet, as you’ll be able to bring less clothing and thus, have lighter luggage. Ensure that you research the time of year you are travelling, so your clothing is appropriate for the climate.

Suitcase or backpack?

A suitcase is OK, but a backpack/hold-all is much, much more convenient. Whether you’re travelling elsewhere in Asia or just flying to and from South Korea, remember to look into what the checked luggage weight limits are for your flights.

Packing suggestions:

We advise a rucksack of 50 – 70L but a suitcase is also fine. If absolutely necessary, arrangements can also be made to send things domestically, for an extra fee.

  • Flipflops
  • Sensible walking shoes
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts/skirts
  • Long pants
  • Swimming costume
  • Lightweight waterproof
  • Warm sweater/jacket
  • Towel
  • Washbag
  • Passport (see our Visa section for useful information)
  • Cash, South Korean won or credit/debit card
  • Student card if you have one, although it is not guaranteed to be accepted
  • Travel insurance policy
  • Photocopies of insurance policy, bank cards, passport photo page, visa
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Books and other entertainments for the night trains
  • Mosquito repellent, sun-screen and after-sun
  • Camera and charger – South Korea is a photographer’s dream!
  • Small first aid kit with medicine for diarrhoea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc.
  • A big bag and a small rucksack. We sometimes get separated from our big bags, so you’ll need to keep your valuables with you in a small bag.

Bring electronic products at your own risk. Some customers choose to travel with iPhone, tablets and laptops, but although theft is extremely rare on The Dragon Trip there is petty crime in some areas we visit.

How do I get money in South Korea?

You will be able to withdraw money at ATMs in the major cities and tourist areas in South Korea, and your Adventure Leader will tell you when the next stop on the trip where you will be able to withdraw more cash is. Not all ATMs in South Korea will accept foreign bank cards, so would recommend researching ATMs in advance. We advise that you notify your bank that you will be travelling before you depart. As a note, many banks and cards do charge a foreign transaction fee when withdrawing money while abroad.

Withdrawing cash in your home currency before travelling and exchanging it to the local currency in South Korea will allow you to avoid card fees, however, ensure you research the exchange rate and pick the vendor with the best offers to avoid heavy commissions or poor rates.

How much should I budget for food and drink on the Dragon Trip?

It really varies depending on your taste and budget. You can get a meal of Gimpap (Korean sushi) or noodles for 5,000-6,000₩ (£4-5). Generally, we take travellers to affordable restaurants and recommend budgeting £10-15 a day for food and drink.

Do I need to tip in South Korea?

Tipping in South Korea is not customary and is not necessary. It’s not uncommon for staff to politely refuse tips, so you won’t offend anyone by not tipping. You can offer for a taxi driver to keep the change, but formal tips are not expected.

What kind of restaurants will we go to?

Your Adventure Leader will always offer to take you for a group meal, where we go to a local restaurant, which we know is hygienic and has cheap and delicious food. If you are craving Western food, then there are lots of great options. South Korea also has endless, delicious street food options like Tteok-bokki and Bibimbap, which will allow you to stick to a slightly lower budget.

What kind of food will we be eating on the trip?

One of the best parts of travelling in South Korea is definitely the food! It may not have as high of a profile when it comes to Asian cuisines, but South Korea has something for everyone, even the pickiest or most adventurous of eaters.

I’m vegetarian/have allergies – will I be able to get the right food?

Yes! With so many food choices, South Korea can meet the needs of individuals with special dietary needs or requests. Just tell your Adventure Leader and they can help you find something suitable. You will probably discover a new dish that you love!

Can I use my mobile in South Korea?

South Korea also has great free Wi-Fi spots while you’re out and about, especially in Seoul. You’ll always be able to find a café or restaurants with free Wi-Fi if you want to stay connected during the day. It is possible to rent a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, like this, which can be picked up from the airport or delivered to your accommodation. This could be a great option for those looking to travel around South Korea over an extended period.

 I have an emergency on my trip, who should I contact?

If you encounter an emergency on your Dragon Trip in China, you can call our 24-hour emergency line on +44 (0)113 328 1320. Please note, this number should only be used in real emergencies related to someone being in danger or encountering an incident during their trip.

For all other calls, please contact our team in London on +44 (0)207 157 9964.

  • If you can’t find what you’re after, email us: info@thedragontrip.com
  • Any promotional code used must be presented and used at the time of paying your deposit and thereby confirming your booking. No special offers can be used on bookings which have already been submitted and confirmed.
  • Our prices are set in GBP £, prices listed in American Dollars and Euros are for reference only, and although we update these regularly, they are occasionally inaccurate. If paying for your tour in a currency other than GBP £, we do need to have received an amount which converts to the cost of your specific trip at the point of purchase. For currency conversion rates please check www.xe.com.
  • Typical group size is 10-15 people. Minimum group size is 4 people.
  • Accommodation is not provided the night before Day 1 of your trip or for the night of the last day of your trip.
  • If booking your own accommodation for the night before Day 1 of your trip or for the evening of the last day we recommend the following:
    Seoul – Bunk Guesthouse
  • The use of Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited during activities organized by The Dragon Trip. If you are in possession of a drone when entering the country it is your responsibility to be informed of and follow all local laws. This may include registering your drone with authorities. If you violate this policy or operate a drone illegally you are subject to removal from the tour as per our terms & conditions.
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