Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is quite underrated by the very group of people it is meant to serve: visiting tourists and the community of expatriates living in South Korea. Which is a pity, since the KTO has proven to be one of the most informative, helpful and quality-of-life improving organizations for the past 7 (combined) years of our life in South Korea AND it can be for yours! Now that’s a pretty big claim, so let me break down some of the awesome things the KTO has done for us so far:
FESTIVALS & EVENTS LISTINGS
KTO has a regularly updated database on their website of festivals coming up in the year, super big and super small. One of our favourite parts of Korea are the festivals, which give you a chance to experience all sorts of traditional and modern Korean culture.
INFORMATION & HELP HOTLINE
Available 24/7 – yes, even on holidays and Sundays – and only four digits to remember, this is the golden key to everything Korea. Available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, they can search anything-Korea for you and to answer what you need to know. This includes telling you directions what bus to take to the baseball stadium, confirm the hours of the free kayaking at Gwangalli beach or stores, and even text message you the address of the driver’s licensing bureau. They also offer free calling via a Skype account. Remember, 1-3-3-0!
CONTESTS with FREE ENTRY
Want a chance to have your name engraved into a road? Looking to get your photos displayed at the International Travel Fair? Looking to win KPop concert tickets? These are all contests that have been available from the KTO that we’ve been a part of, and they constantly come up with more new and exciting ways to get you excited about life in Korea, so check back regularly.
UP-TO-DATE TOURIST INFORMATION CENTERS
Located in most tourist hotspots, these centers are fully stocked with the latest tourist maps and travel brochures for the area with staff who can help you figure out where you need to go and make recommendations about what to check out. The best ones have extra goodies such interactive screen boards and funky photo booths!
Whether you’re looking to keep it on the cheap or roll around in your wads of cash on a king size bed, the KTO website offers a database of lodging across the country. Of course, you can always try to find your own but if you’ve really got no clue, this is a pretty good place to start. There’s a lot more that we could go on about, but you’re better off checking it out for yourself at their official website, available in a variety of languages (English: <http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto> or on Facebook at <https://www.facebook.com/koreatourism>