Is Seoul safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide

Published by: Bounce6 March, 2023
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Have you ever wanted to travel to South Korea? What better place to go than its bright and lively capital, Seoul? This vibrant city boasts the third largest economy in all of East Asia and is home to gorgeous palaces, bustling night markets with food stalls and modern technological attractions. This is a city that never sleeps, ready to entertain you and anyone else who travels here.

It is easy to see why nearly 15 million people come here each year. Most travelers choose to visit South Korea between March and May or September and October because that is when the weather is best. On top of all of those foreign visitors, Seoul is home to almost 10 million citizens of its own. The city is always busy!

When traveling to a foreign place, especially Seoul since it is so big, you'll have to take certain precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Your personal items will be safest stored away in a Seoul luggage locker and Bounce is your best option. Take your pick from many locations throughout the city, and feel confident knowing that each storage partner is carefully inspected to meet high standards of quality.

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Is Seoul safe to visit right now?

By doing just a bit of research you can help yourself have a safe trip in South Korea. Experienced vacationers will already know the basics of visiting a foreign locale, but no matter how much you have traveled, adequate research from various sources is always advised to get the full picture.

You are probably wondering, is South Korea safe? South Korea does not have any active travel advisories right now, but you should check to see what your own government recommends as well. According to the 2021 Global Peace Index, this country ranks 57th out of 163 countries. You can feel confident visiting South Korea and also Seoul since it is a very safe city with low crime rates. However, tourists will still need to look out for pickpockets, and some natural disasters can pose a threat to safety as well.

Top petty crimes and scams in Seoul affecting tourists

The key to avoiding danger in a new city is to know what to look out for. In Seoul, these will be your biggest threats. Stay aware and informed, and you'll be certain to have a terrific time in Seoul.

Natural disasters

Seoul occasionally experiences earthquakes, but that isn't what you'll have to be worried about. Tsunamis, typhoons. and the severe weather that accompanies them are the most dangerous disasters in this city, and you should be especially careful if you're visiting during typhoon season which is between June and September.

You'll need to have a plan in case a natural disaster strikes which includes making an emergency go-bag in case you have to leave in a hurry, securing the windows and doors of where you're staying, and unplugging necessary appliances. Most importantly, you should listen intently to the radio as the South Korean government will give you instructions on what you should do and if you need to perform an evacuation of your area.


Those who vacation often will know that pickpocketing is a common problem in most big cities. Unfortunately, South Korea's capital is no different and you'll have to be aware of thieves when you're traveling. Getting travel insurance is a good idea, but to keep your belongings from being stolen the easiest thing to do is to leave them in a Bounce suitcase locker.

Having a secure bag is also a must, and buying one that can be worn cross-body is a good idea since it will be harder for thieves to snatch from you. You should be extra careful when using public transit or when exploring busy areas since it is easier for pickpockets to steal your things without you noticing in a crowd.


As a foreign visitor, you'll need to be aware of con artists and scammers. Luckily, they are pretty easy to avoid if you know what to look out for. One of the most common scams in Seoul is the Teahouse scam, where young girls will approach tourists and ask to practice speaking English with them. They will then bring you to a teahouse where you'll be left with a huge bill at the end of the conversation.

Generally, tourists should always be wary of expensive bills in other cafes and restaurants since sometimes they give a separate and more expensive menu to tourists who will unknowingly pay the exaggerated prices.

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Is Seoul safe to travel alone

Although there is petty crime here it will very rarely turn violent. Seoul is constantly praised as being a very safe city, making it a great place for solo travelers to visit. There are plenty of things to do here like tasting Korean food, spending an afternoon at the sandy beaches, or learning about the city's rich history involving the Korean war between North and South Korea. One thing is for sure, people traveling alone will never get bored. Just like all major cities, Seoul does have crime and you should remain aware of your surroundings when you're walking around on your own.

If you're a woman who likes to travel abroad by yourself then you can definitely visit South Korea. This is a developed country that places 19th on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index and solo female travelers will not be in more danger here than men. Like in other countries, we suggest that you follow our Seoul safety tips just in case. If possible, avoid walking around by yourself at night, and don't leave your drink unattended when you're out eating or enjoying a drink, just in case someone tries to spike it. If you follow these basic precautions there will not be much to worry about when you visit Seoul.

Safest neighborhoods in Seoul

In general, you'll find that South Koreans, although quiet and reserved, are friendly and welcoming in most of the areas that you visit. The majority of the city center is safe to explore but there are some unsafe places as well. Below are some neighborhoods that are known to be safe for foreigners entering South Korea.


Seongbuk-Dong is not a very popular place among tourists but not because it is dangerous or boring. This beautiful neighborhood is a hidden gem with fantastic cafes and lovely natural attractions, and it is safe, too.


This wealthy area has some pretty impressive houses, parks with good air quality, and lots of art galleries. It is a great spot for art enthusiasts to check out, and is nice and quiet as well.


The Hongdae neighborhood sees lots of foreigners because it is home to several great universities. It is also a festive area with a lively personality and is a fantastic place for tourists to explore.

Chances are that you won't stumble across a dangerous place on your own, but it's wise to be informed. In general, the outskirts of town as well as the southwestern regions are considered dangerous because some of them have illegal drugs or other issues that give them a higher crime rate. Some specific areas to leave unvisited include Gangseo, Guro, and Yeongdeungpo.

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Is Seoul public transportation safe?

It is said one should be careful when using public transport in Seoul. There are instances of petty theft like pickpocketing so you'll need to keep a close eye on your items while using the subway, overnight trains or buses. It also helps to not look lost or distracted. That will make you an easier target for thieves.

Make sure the taxi driver you hire starts the meter as soon as you begin your drive because they might try to overcharge you. Also, because of the language barrier, it is a good idea to have your destination written down to show them in case they don't speak English.

It is sad to say that South Korea also has a high amount of traffic deaths, and you'll need to be cautious when crossing the street or when driving yourself around. It is definitely worth it to take an extra moment at the pedestrian crossings to ensure that no cars are coming your way.

Important emergency numbers in Seoul

Seoul does have some good local laws that make it a safe place, but you never know when you might need help from essential services or other local authorities. Keep these emergency numbers, as well as your embassy number, handy during your entire vacation.

  • Emergency Fire and Ambulance: 119
  • Police: 112
  • Emergency Medical Services: 1339
  • Foreign Traveler Hotline: 1330
  • Missing Persons or Property: 182
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A safe vacation in Seoul

South and North Korea together make up the Korean Peninsula. Seoul is a marvelous place to visit and is just as safe if not safer than the other cities found nearby. From wonderful palaces to terrific shopping to food adventures, Seoul will not disappoint.

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