Useful Information
7th Asia-Europe Culture Ministers' Meeting

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Weather

Like the rest of Korea, Gwangju Metropolitan City experiences four distinct seasons. Summer can be hot and humid and Spring or Autumn can be warm and sunny. Winter is often frigid and accompanied by snow. In winter, the city is topographically influenced by expanding Siberian High-pressure zones and prevailing west winds, temperatures dropping as low as -20 °C (-4 °F). The bitterly cold days tend to come in three-day cycles regulated by rising and falling pressure systems, during winter snowfall can cause frosty weather in the city.
Winter lasts from December to mid-March. In February, the average temperature of the Gwangju Metropolitan City is about 3.1℃. Gwangju Metropolitan City which is located in Southern region is a quite warmer in the country. To find the current weather of Korea, please visit: http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/index.jsp on the web.

Time Difference

Standard Time in Korea is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+9).

Business Hours

Government office hours are usually from 09:00 to 18:00 on weekdays and closed on weekends. Banks are open from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Most shops are open from 10:00 to 22:00 through the entire week.

Electricity

The standard voltage in Korea is 220 volts at 60 Hz. The outlet has two round holes and is the same type used in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey, and many other countries. Always check the power supply before using your equipment.

Foreign Exchange and Banking

The monetary unit is the Won (KRW, denoted by ₩). Korean monetary units are 10, 50, 100, and 500 coins, and 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 notes. The exchange rate is approximately KRW 1,065/USD 1 (as of February 2014). All major credit cards such as American Express, Visa and Master Card are accepted for payment of hotel bills.

Tipping

Tipping is not a traditional Korean custom. A 10% service charge is added to your bill at all tourist hotels and so tipping is not expected. It is not necessary to tip a taxi driver unless he assists you with luggage or provides an extra service.

Hotel: Hotel bills usually include service fees.

Restaurant: You are not obligated to tip, but most frequently 10% is added to the bill.

Taxi: Taxi drivers don't expect tips, but usually the passengers pay something more if they are satisfied with the service

Banking & ATM

There are plenty of places in Korea to change currencies, including banks, authorized currency exchanges and major hotels. ATM machines are ubiquitous, although not all offer services for foreign cards. Cards with the Plus and Cirrus logos are the easiest to use and most widely accepted in Korea. Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.

Roaming Service

CDMA cellular systems are widely used in Korea. SK Telecom and KT are providing a SIM card roaming service to allow you to use your GSM subscription in Korea. At the International Airport, you can rent a special CDMA cellular phone which accepts your SIM card. Please check the links below for more details.

KT roaming service: http://roaming.kt.com/renewal/eng/main.asp?channel

SK Telecom roaming service: http://www.sktelecom.com/en/main/index.do

Emergency & Useful Phone Numbers

Local calls
For local calls within the same area or city, just dial the telephone number. For another area or city, please dial the 'area code' before the telephone number. (E.g. for calls from Seoul to Gwangju Metropolitan City, please dial the area code for Gwangju Metropolitan City (062) before the telephone number. However, the area code should be dialed when using a mobile phone.)

International Calls
For international calls, first dial the international access code (001, 002 or 008), the country code, area code and the recipient's number.

Emergency
- Police 112
- Fire and Ambulance 119
- Medical Emergency 1339

BBB (Before Babel Brigade): Volunteer Interpretation Service

Whenever and wherever you encounter communication problems with Koreans, just call 1588-5644 and press a number for your preferred language. Your call will be quickly connected to a BBB volunteer's mobile phone through an automated switchboard, and you will soon receive interpretation service.

BBB volunteer services are available in 16 languages.

For more information, visit BBB Korea webpage (http://www.bbbkorea.org).

VAT

A Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in the retail price. At hotels, 10% VAT and 10% service charges are applied to rooms, meals and other services and are included in the bill.

Useful Websites

Korea National Tourism Organization: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/

Gateway to Korea: http://www.korea.net/

Cultural Heritage Administration: http://english.cha.go.kr/english/new/index.action

Korea Immigration Service: http://www.immigration.go.kr/indeximmeng.html

Advanced Tourist Information Service (GWANGJU U-TOURPIA): http://utour.gwangju.go.kr/index.do?S=S02