Korea - South

Quick Overview

Capital: Seoul
Population: 51.25 million
Official language: Korean
Time zone: Korean Standard Time (KST)
Emergency #: 119
Vaccinations required: No
Risk of malaria: Yes
Climate Info

Korea - South: Travel Health Information

The Republic of Korea is well known for its modern cities, traditional architecture, and World Heritage sites including Jongmyo shrine and Haein-sa Buddhist temple.


The standards for patient care and medical services in South Korea may differ from your home country. South Korea has public and private health sectors that provide care through public-private partnerships where facilities are privately owned and publicly funded. High quality care that meets international standards is available in major cities. Compared to other high-income countries, South Korea has a shortage of doctors, specialists, and nurses. Many doctors speak some English.

In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in South Korea typically require upfront payment in cash or credit card, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in South Korea.

Pharmacies and medications 

Pharmacies are widely available and are generally well-stocked with essential medications. Pharmacists outside of Seoul may not speak English.

If you are travelling with medication, check with South Korea’s embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. If your medication is a psychotropic or narcotic, you can review South Korea’s regulations on the International Narcotics Control Board. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.

Road safety

Roads are generally in good condition and public transportation is efficient and safe. Traffic, especially in and around major cities, is often chaotic and road rules are not strictly followed. All occupants of a vehicle are required to wear a seat belt. Motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet.

  • World Health Organization. Country Cooperation Strategy 2019-2023: Republic of Korea. Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare. WHO: Western Pacific Region. (2019).
  • World Health Organization. Global status report on road safety 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization. (2018).
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