When travelling abroad, safety is always a primary worry. Is South Korea safe though? Indeed it is! However, there are still a few things that future visitors and residents should be aware of.
Here are eight safety precautions you should take in South Korea.
The North Korean…situation
Depending on where you reside, North Korean news can be really bizarre. And you may be concerned about visiting Korea whenever North Korean nuclear news is reported. Undeniably, this is a valid cause for fear. Since the end of the Korean War, the Kim dynasty in the north typically maintains the ceasefire despite modest to moderate military clashes. And while nothing too grave has occurred, the majority of South Koreans likely pay less attention than you do.
Consider it like this. If you have a crazy neighbour who has been yelling threats about your belongings on his land for fifty years, but he’s never actually done anything about it, you should keep a watch on him, but you shouldn’t panic at every threat. Friends, continue mowing your grass.
Mount Baekdusan, which is located on the border between North Korea and China, is the sole active volcano on the Korean peninsula. Although it last erupted more than 100 years ago (1903), researchers do suggest that it erupts every 100 years or so. But would that prevent you from coming to get Kpop socks?
Hurricanes (aka Typhoons)
Every year, between May and November, there are typhoons. They sometimes get strong enough to cause some damage, but it’s rare for them to be so strong to cause any major damage. The majority of the time, rainy and windy days are perfect for staying inside and looking at cat images on Facebook all day.
Similar to other nations, crime exists in Korea. However, foreigners have little to worry about. You should not worry about muggings, random beatings, kidnappings, etc., because violent street crime is quite uncommon. Also, firearms are incredibly illegal.
This results in your feeling quite secure in Korea. There are occasionally alcohol-fueled altercations, but if you mind your own business you should be fine:). Foreigners are often neglected as victims of “face-to-face” crimes, as Koreans tend to engage in conflict with fellow Koreans, due to the unknown danger of foreigners.
However, foreigners are not immune to “non-face-to-face” crimes like theft and robbery. These crimes are also uncommon, thus they do not warrant excessive concern. This is due to the fact that common sense (e.g., taking your wallet with you to the restroom and locking your doors when you leave the house/hotel) is usually sufficient to discourage burglars. Just utilise the gift your mother gave you: your brain!
There are neighbourhoods with higher crime rates than others. However, the most popular tourist destinations (such as Hongdae, Myeongdong, Insadong, Gangnam, etc.) are extremely secure.
While strolling through the streets of Seoul, violent crimes are not a concern; nonetheless, you must absolutely watch out for cars. This is due to the fact that cars (particularly those in Seoul) are exceedingly aggressive, even towards pedestrians. Be cautious when walking down a narrow street. Numerous vehicles will pass you really close by. If you take one step to the left or right, you may encounter difficulty. You can always give them the stink eye, but it does no purpose if you are on your way to the hospital. Additionally, be wary of large roadways. Even when the signal instructs you to walk, you may encounter an extremely aggressive driver who sees you walking but believes he may pass you. Walking through the streets of Seoul might be terrifying for tourists. It is also something you should be aware of if you are a visitor to Korea or a new resident.
Be cautious of buses as well. They are equally aggressive. And bigger!
Taxis merit a separate place on this list. Not every taxi driver is a crook. To the contrary! The vast majority of taxi rides conclude without incident. However, they do provide some peculiar difficulties. First, taxis have a reputation for being very aggressive. It is likely that only a few drivers have a poor reputation, but you should be aware of them when crossing or walking through tight streets. A few years ago, they were infamous for being extremely cruel and robbing visitors and foreign people without their knowledge. However, Korea has been attempting to clean up this issue and has recently begun offering financial awards for reporting such acts.
In spite of these points, South Korea remains one of the safest countries in the word. It ranks as #7 overall, and is the only Asian country in the top 10. The island country of Estonia was ranked #1, followed by Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and New Zealand.