Published on October 18th, 2022

Ever wondered what it’s like being a Nigerian in South Korea? Well, after my visit, I think I may be able to provide a little insight into what that’s like. Of course, visiting a country for 10+ days is vastly different from living in it for years, so this series of posts will be more suited for Nigerians looking to visit South Korea for tourism purposes.

I spent 12 days in South Korea, visiting Seoul, Jeonju, Boseong, Namwon and Busan. I will share all about my stay in these cities and what I got up to. I’ll also share a cost breakdown at the end of the series.

Visiting Boseong Tea Plantation from Jeonju

Nigerian in South Korea – Getting a Tourist Visa

I have written an extensive post about how to apply for a South Korean visa. While I applied for my visa in Kenya, I have also included the process of doing so in Nigeria. My visa application process was relatively straightforward. It cost me about $40 (+ an extra $18 I paid for travel insurance) for a single entry visa, and the application took six working days to be processed.

Nigerian in South Korea

In addition to the post linked above, I have shared a more detailed article about my visa application process, the documents I submitted, and a no-frills checklist for first-time visitors to South Korea on my BuyMeaCoffee page.

Flights from Nigeria to South Korea

I flew with Qatar Airways from Nairobi to Seoul via Doha, and I also think it is one of the best options to fly from Lagos. I found them the cheapest and relatively shortest way to get to Seoul from Nairobi.

In the grid above, you will find some flight prices from Lagos to give you an idea of the costs and optimal booking dates. While you can book these flights directly via the aggregator, I always recommend booking with the airline.

Travel Safety and Insurance

Part of the requirements to apply for a visa from Kenya or Nigeria to South Korea is travel insurance, covering the duration of your trip. I got my insurance for $18 from SafetyWing. Getting it was swift (less than 15 minutes after payment), and SafetyWing issues a letter stating what is covered.

Oaxaca Centro Colourful buildings

Stay Safe While You Travel

Protect yourself from the unexpected while you travel by purchasing an Insurance Cover. I use SafetyWing, which is affordable and covers several travel-related risks, such as unexpected illness or injury, eligible hospital expenses, lost luggage and more. Click here to purchase a cover for your travel and visa application needs.

Booking Accommodations & Activities

For accommodation, I booked all my stays via booking.com. As usual, I will be reviewing each place in a separate post. All my hotels were excellent and had great service, but the highlight of my visit was in Namwon, where I got to stay in a hotel built like a traditional hanok accommodation.

As for other activities, I pre-booked a hanbok in Seoul and got a SIM card (picked up at the airport) from the Klook website. Then I bought my train ticket from Busan to Seoul on the Korail Website before leaving Kenya. The rest of my expenses were made in the country.

‎Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Busan

Nigerian in South Korea – Travelling as a Black Solo Female Tourist

For some reason, I was apprehensive about visiting South Korea as a black solo female traveller. I am happy to report that I had nothing to worry about! Travelling solo in South Korea, right from border entry to exit, was a delightful experience!

My experience was overwhelmingly positive and surpassed all expectations I had. I felt safe at all times, connected with excellent travellers, and got help from locals when needed. I also did not struggle too much with the language barrier.

Nigerian in South Korea – Navigating the Language Difference

To manage this, I started learning Korean months before my trip. Even though I can hardly string up a complete sentence, I learned a few keywords. This helped enrich my experience in the country to a certain extent.

I also downloaded Papago, a language translation app, and a few other apps to help with translations and the navigation of the transportation network. I’ll share more about these apps in upcoming posts.

Greem Cafe Seoul 2D cafe in Seoul

In the meantime, if you want to learn a bit of the Korean language or at least be able to recognize the letters, then I recommend Duolingo, lessons on the Talk to Me in Korean site, and Korean dramas (Kdramas) to start with. And yes, watching Kdramas can also help you get familiar with the Korean language.

In this post, I have highlighted some of my favourite Kdramas (for rom-com lovers like me). Check it out for a sweet introduction to the world of Kdrama!

There are formal (polite) and informal ways of speaking in Korea. When in doubt, it is better to stick with the polite versions. Here are some helpful words and phrases to learn before your trip.

EnglishHangulPronunciation
Hello안녕하세요an-nyeong-ha-se-yo
Please물 주세요ju-sey-yo
Thank you감사합니다gam-sah-ham-ni-da
Excuse Me실례합니다sill-ye-ham-nida
Sorry죄송합니다jo-song-ham-ni-da
Yesne
No아니요a-ni-yo
Goodbye안녕히 계세요an-nyeon-ghi gye-se-yo
Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul Hanbok on Black Girl

South Korea Travel Resources

Getting a visa to South Korea

Solo Tripping in South Korea – The Beginning

A simple travel checklist for first-time visitors

Buy a SIM card online and pick it up at the airport

Rent your Hanbok online

Hanok Stay Experience in Namwon

Overall, my visit to South Korea was delightful. In the coming weeks, I will share more about my time travelling as a Nigerian in South Korea. I hope you stick around!

Hanbok Rental Klook in Seoul

What would you like to know about South Korea and my trip? Please leave your comments in the comment section below, and I’ll be sure to include details in the coming posts…

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