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The Winter Olympics are fast approaching, however, it’s not the Games that have people worrying … With the spotlight on South Korea right now, a lot of people are more worried about North Korea. The communist country to the north hasn’t exactly been quiet the past couple of months.
But is there real reason to worry? Or are people just concerned over nothing? Today we explore the current safety of South Korea.
There are a couple of things happening in this region of the world, let’s being with the relationship between North and South Korea. Technically, these two countries are at war, but rarely do they see any military action as there is an armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953. However, there is a demilitarised zone separating the two countries, so there is no reason why civilians or tourists would need to see any exchanges.
Recently, however, North Korea has been documented testing underground nuclear tests and ballistic missiles which has made people particularly edgy. Many countries are keeping a close eye on this movement and are prepared to act quickly should they deem necessary. Additionally, the South Korean government has developed a free app that would inform users of the nearest emergency services, hospitals or shelters.
Next let’s address the situation with the United States, as the exchanges between North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump have people wondering if we’re on the brink of nuclear war. Ultimately, both governments are very opposed to this outcome so it’s not something anyone should be too afraid of.
The whole situation is likely getting rather unsettling to the thousands of people destined to visit this February, but we’re here to tell you not to worry!
At the end of the day, South Korea is a safe place to visit. on the safety in South Korea, you will see that travellers are only advised to ‘exercise normal safety precautions‘.
No foreign country is without some risk, of course. The petty crime rate in South Korea is particularly low, however, there are some issues. But as long as you’re prepared, you will be able to avoid these common scams in South Korea. Here’s what you need to watch out for:
Always be wary of where your personal effects are when you’re in a large crowd or on the train in the big cities like Seoul and Pyeongchang. Keep your wallet in your front pocket and ensure all valuables are stored in a bag with a secure closing.
However, women with shoulder bags should be particularly careful when walking near the road. There is a new crime in which two people ride up on a motorbike behind someone who is standing too close to the road and snatch a bag right off the victim. If you do get your bag snatched, let go and do not try to hang on to it as you could end up getting dragged.
It’s a general rule of thumb to be wary of the food or drink that strangers give when you’re out, but this is particularly true in Seoul and Busan. There have been a fair amount of violent crimes against foreigners after they’ve had their food or drink spiked. This includes gum and cigarettes as well. It’s best to avoid accepting anything from strangers.
Seoul and other parts of South Korea regularly see public gatherings and demonstrations, some of which end up getting violent. It’s best practice to avoid these protests, but if you get caught in the middle of one, be sure to listen to local authorities.