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South Korea Health care


South Korea Health care

The quality of healthcare will vary depending on where you are. However the sheer number of hospitals and specialized clinics in the country will also offer you a greater amount of choice. The quality is usually very good and on par with Western countries.
  • Few doctors can communicate in English. In the larger hospitals in big cities, doctors will be more able to accommodate people with little or no command of the Korean language.
  • Although health care in South Korea is not free, it is heavily subsidized by the government and is very cheap more so in the clinics compared to the United States. For expatriate workers who have a medical insurance card (this is required), it is even less expensive (although it is still not free).
  • In addition to Western medicine, oriental medicine is quite popular in Korea. Herbal supplements can be bought in most pharmacies as well as from shops which produce their own. The most popular herbal supplements (such as Ginseng) can even be bought in convenience stores in the form of energy drinks, tea, gum, and alcohol.
  • Pharmacies are usually located near hospitals, as hospitals in Korea are not allowed to dispense take-home prescriptions; prescriptions are dispensed in small paper packages.
  • Although there are no official vaccinations that are required or recommended for visitors, Hepatitis A attacks the liver and is transmitted through food and water. It is an issue all over the country. But once infected time is the only cure. The Center for Disease Control designates the prevalence of infection in Korea to be intermediate.
  • A good basic rule to follow when travelling is when it comes to food, do what the locals do especially when it comes to water. Most will have it filtered or boiled before drinking. Although tap water in Korea is perfectly safe to drink, you may want to follow the local habits, if only to get rid of the chlorine smell.

  • The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about South Korea

    Your #2 problem

    A rather frustrating point for many new arrivals in Korea can be public bathrooms. Whilst you can expect modern, Western style facilities in hotels and even Japanese-style futuristic contraptions in the top-tier department stores, and use of these is growing, many public facilities still utilise Asian squat facilities.

    However awkward this may be to beginners, do not complain so hastily, for this can pale in comparison to the #2 problem: paper! A curious hangover from postwar poverty, Korean toilets do not typically provide any form of paper, nor bidet alternative. Instead, patrons were expected to provide their own. Bathrooms usually have a single dispenser, but you'll find it outside your stall or perchance in the form of a vending machine or attendant selling pocket packs at the door. Pocket packs can also be purchased from almost any convenience store, and it is strongly recommended you keep a pack on you--in your pocket perhaps.

    Your nose however may alert you to a third oddity, and this one can be the most uncomfortable one. Whilst most plumbing can perfectly handle the pitifully thin paper provided, many still put up a fight! If you see a trashcan beside the bowl, be aware that you are expected to stash the soiled tissue safely in its centre.


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    South Korea Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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