Seoul, South Korea - Your Gateway to a Rich Cultural Experience

Seoul, South Korea - Your Gateway to a Rich Cultural Experience

Seoul, the bustling capital of South Korea, is a destination that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, offering travelers a captivating cultural experience. Before embarking on your journey to this vibrant city, it's important to understand and respect Korean etiquette. Here are ten important etiquette tips to keep in mind when visiting Seoul.


  • The traditional greeting: Bowing is a common Korean greeting. The depth of the bow depends on the formality of the situation and your relationship with the person you're greeting. A slight nod is sufficient in casual encounters, while a deeper bow shows respect in formal settings.

Remove shoes

  • In homes and some restaurants: It's customary to remove your shoes before entering someone's home and certain traditional Korean restaurants. You'll often find designated shoe removal areas at entrances.

Respect Elders

  • Use honorifics: Respect for elders is a fundamental aspect of Korean culture. Use honorifics (known as "jondaemal") when speaking to older people to show respect.

Dining Etiquette

  • Wait for the host: In group settings, wait for the host to begin the meal before you begin eating. It's polite to let them take the first bite.
  • No tipping: Tipping is not customary in South Korea and may even be considered rude in some situations. Extraordinary service is rewarded with compliments and gratitude.

Gift Giving

  • Offering and receiving gifts: Gift-giving is a common practice in Korea, especially on special occasions. When giving or receiving a gift, use both hands and do not open the gift in front of the giver.

Quiet on public transportation

  • Keep the noise down: Public transportation is usually quiet, so it's polite to keep your conversations and electronic devices on silent mode. Avoid talking loudly on buses and subways.

Dress Modestly

  • Cover your shoulders and knees: When visiting temples or traditional sites, it's respectful to dress modestly. Avoid wearing revealing clothing and consider carrying a scarf or shawl to cover your shoulders if necessary.

No public displays of affection

  • Show affection in private: Public displays of affection, such as hugging and kissing, are not common in Korea. It's best to reserve such displays for private settings.

Learn basic Korean phrases

  • "Hello" and "Thank you: While many Koreans in Seoul speak English, learning a few basic Korean phrases such as "안녕하세요" (hello) and "감사합니다" (thank you) can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture.

Dispose of trash responsibly

  • Use designated bins: Seoul is known for its cleanliness, so be sure to dispose of your trash in the appropriate bins. Keep an eye out for recycling and garbage bins and separate your waste accordingly.

As you prepare for your visit to Seoul, keep these etiquettes in mind to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience in this dynamic city. Embracing these customs will not only enhance your trip, but also show your appreciation for the rich culture and traditions of South Korea. Seoul awaits, ready to welcome you with open arms and a world of unforgettable experiences. Have a safe trip!