Currency and exchange rates
Won (KRW) is the currency of the Republic of Korea. Notes are in denominations of KRW 10 000, 5000 and 1000. KRW 1000 is called Cheon Won in Korean (“Cheon” is equivalent to “one thousand”). Coins are in denominations of KRW 500, 100, 50 and 10.
Foreign banknotes and travellers cheques can be exchanged at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money changers.
American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops and restaurants in large cities. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are available in all major cities, but instructions are presented in Korean.
Value-added tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in retail prices. In tourist hotels, the 10% tax applies to rooms, meals and other service charges and is included in the bill.
For visitors who purchase goods worth more than KRW 50 000 at stores with “Tax Free Shopping” signs or goods over KRW 30 000 at outlets with “Tax Refund Shopping” signs, 70% to 80% of the paid VAT and SET (special excise tax) will be refunded in cash at the airport. Only visitors staying less than three months are eligible. Purchases and receipts may need to be shown to a customs officer.
The import and export of local currency is allowed up to KRW 8 000 000. The import of foreign currency is not limited, provided amounts greater than US$ 10 000 (including travellers cheques) are declared on arrival. Export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
Exchange rate as of 16 May 2007: KRW 924 =US$ 1