For those who are planning on visiting Seoul, here is a valuable tip – Seoul DOES NOT have any sim cards for sale. Whereas other countries that I have visited do sell sim cards for phones, Seoul however does not ( at least not for tourists I think).
Instead, one has to rent a handphone if one wishes to contact anyone during the entire time they are in Seoul. My family and I rented 2 different phones – one smartphone and one normal LED flip phone – both of which were from a company called LG. I rented it at the airport straight after we got off our flight. The reason for that is that their rental booth is open 24 hours in Incheon International Airport.
When we rented our phones, we were told that we did not have to pay a deposit but will be charged if there is any damage to the phone after usage. The attendant recommended a smartphone for us because we were first time tourists and unfamiliar with Seoul. According to her, the smartphone is equipped with a GPS, a language translator, a map of Seoul’s train system and a dictionary of Korean words and phrases. When I say a language translator, it means that you can say something in English into the phone and it will respond in its Korean counterpart. This was especially useful when we had take a taxi as most taxi drivers in Seoul are not familiar with the spoken English language.
Renting the phone allows us to call hotels and our tour guide without having to look up international dialing codes which was a godsend in my opinion. It was also quite cheap as we only paid a total of 30,000 won for both phones at the end of our trip despite rather extensive usage ( i.e calling our cat sitter in Malaysia). Of course, if your phone has roaming you can still call although the rates are pretty expensive.
I am not sure about other hotels, but the hotel we stayed – Lotte Hotel in Jamsil – gave us a handphone in each room that we can use and will be billed during checkout. This is great for emergencies or if you have a large family like us and wish to make sure everyone can stay in contact throughout the trip.