Nearby Emart

Emart Mall

Emart Geomdan BranchEmart, Home Plus and Lotte Mart are very similar in terms of size of mall, sales items and prices. They sell almost everything from electrical goods to various general commodities include apparel and groceries. Emart also is a tax-free affiliate like Home Plus. When you purchase goods more than 30,000 won in the Emart as a foreigner, you can get instant tax-refund at the customer service desk. Customer service desk in this mall is located on the first floor. When you go to customer service desk for the tax refund, don’t forget to bring your passport and receipt. Those are necessary to get the tax refund. In general, refundable tax (VAT) is less than 10 percent of the price of goods.

Tip: The products labeled “1+1” is meaning that two are sold as one value. However, sometimes cashiers may miss the “1+1” event price at the checkout counter, so you should pay attention to the price whether “1+1” was applied when you get the receipt at the counter. In some supermarkets, it’s because cashiers intentionally don’t applying the “1+1” price by pretending to be a mistake.

Nearby Lotte Mart

Lotte Mart

Lotte Mart Geomdan BranchLotte Mart, Emart and Home Plus are three major discount retailer brands in Korea, which are very similar in terms of size, sales products and prices. They sell almost everything from electronics to various general commodities and groceries. This is a Geomdan Branch of Lotte Mart and tax-free affiliate as well. However, this mall does not instant tax refund, so if you buy something goods more than 30,000 won as a foreigner in this mall, you should ask for the issuance of documents for tax refund, and then get a refund at the airport. It can not get a tax refund as a general receipt issued to local people, you must show your passport and ask for tax refund documents issued only to foreigners ……☞ read more about tax refund. In general, refundable tax (VAT) is less than 10 percent of the price of goods.

Tip: The products labeled “1+1” is meaning that two are sold as one value. However, sometimes cashiers may miss the “1+1” promotional discount price at the checkout counter, so you should pay attention to the prices that you paid for your purchase goods when you get the receipt at the counter. In some supermarkets in my experience, it’s because cashiers intentionally don’t applied their promotional price by pretending to be a mistake.

Nearby Home Plus

Near the Home Plus shopping mall

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Home Plus is a large shopping mall that is located in nearest place from Better Guest House. They sell almost everything from electrical goods to various apparel, shoes and groceries. Home Plus is a tax-free affiliate. If you are a foreigner, when you purchase more than 30,000 won from Home Plus, you can get instant tax refund at the ‘customer service desk’ in the first floor. After purchasing the goods and completing payment at the checkout counter, you able to visit to ‘customer service desk and ask instant tax refund to the staff by present your receipt and passport together. Normally the refundable tax (VAT) will be less than 10 percent of the amount of the goods.

Tip : The products labeled “1+1” is meaning that two are sold as one value. However, sometimes cashiers deliberately miss the “1+1” promotional discount price at the checkout counter, by pretending to be a mistake. So you should pay attention to the price whether “1+1” was applied when you get a receipt at the counter.

Nearby advanced brand large outlets

Gimpo Hyundai Premium Outlets

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Gimpo Hyundai Premium Outlets offers year round discounts and most of the goods do 30~80 percent off for the retail prices. Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae are big three distributors in South Korea and it is very similar in terms of size and handling goods. It was newly opened on February 27, 2015 in the Gimpo Ara-marina passenger terminal and constructed as the buildings that has two basement levels and three stories high. With an approximated retail area of 38,700 square meters have a total of 239 brands including 54 foreign high-end brands that is ranging from Chanel, Gucci to Ferragamo. Moreover, here said that they first shown 25 imported fashions of advanced brands that is not found elsewhere when they first opened. As well as, visitors can enjoy variety Korean traditional and fine western cuisine on a third floor. And about fifty percent of stores are tax free membership stores.

Wolmi Park

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Incheon Wolmi Park in the seaside

Current Wolmi Park was an Island belonging to Jung-gu of Incheon Metropolitan City. The Island is now filled with land. Wolmi-do (月尾島) is the name given in the sense that the appearance of the Island resembles the tail of the half moon. At the time of Korean Empire, Japanese naval bases and Russian coal warehouses came into this place, and these powers engaged in a power struggle. In 1886, after the name of the French fleet that had been anchored in offshore of Incheon at the time of the “Byeong-In-Yang-Yo (丙寅洋擾),” even it has been introduced as a “Rose Island” on the foreign map. “Song Jeong Seop who was granted the right of cultivation on Wolmi-do from Ministry of Agriculture in 1900, sold the land reclamation rights to the Japanese Yoshigawa, then Yoshigawa forcibly removed the residents in Wolmi-do. The Joseon government arrested Song Jeong Seop and delivered proceeds of the sale to the Japanese embassy and demanded to return of the land reclamation rights. However, Yoshigawa did not responded, and in August 1904, he built embankment with the sacks on the pretext that the Japanese military needed on operation, and in May 1905, he demolished 80 civilian houses then occupied the entire Island. It was developed as an amusement park in 1923 after building 1 km of dykes and connecting it with the mainland, it was mainly made up for the Japanese people with bathtubs (潮湯, bathtub with boiled sea water), villas, fairies and sea water pools. Since the establishment of ‘Wolmi-do cultural street’ in July 1987, cultural and artistic performances and Wolmi festivals etc., various events are being held.


Tragedy of Wolmi Island:  On September 10, a bombing by a US marine Cops aircraft (Admiral Richard W. Rubles Marine Corps Air Corps, Fifteenth Flight Aircraft) caused collective victims of civilian residents in Wolmi Island. The bombing began around 7:00 am and was conducted 3 times up to 12:00. The bombing that was carried out by the preliminary operation of Incheon Landing Operation, the bombers flying from US aircraft carriers has dropped 95 napalm bombs to the east part of Wolmi-do which is included civilians and after shooting the rocket gun, it was done in such a way that strafing against the evacuating civilians. The Truth. Reconciliation Committee was estimated 10 confirmed victims and the actual numbers of victims will be reach 100 people if including the missing persons and those who were enable to verify their identities.

Incheon Landing Operation (仁川上陸作戰):  The Incheon Landing Operation (Battle of Incheon) was an amphibious operation initiated from Wolmi Island on September 15, 1950, led by United Nations commander Douglas MacArthur when the Korean War was in full swing. This operation involved more than 75,000 troops and 261 naval vessels, which led to the recapture Seoul of Republic of Korea, and was the opportunity to overturn the whole of Korean War situation.

Byeong-In-Yang-Yo (丙寅洋擾):  Yang Yo (洋擾) means the frenzy and battle caused by Western people. It is the case that the French fleet invaded Ganghwa Island in 1866. In early 1866, Heungseon Daewongun (Father of Kojong who came on the throne in Joseon Dynasty) imposed a ban on the Catholic Church and massacred thousands of Korean Catholic believer, included 9 French missionaries. At the time of the persecution, 9 of the 12 French missionaries were held and executed, and only 3 were able to escape. Of these three, Ridel escaped to China and urged the French fleet commander Rose (P.G., Lutz) who staying in China to retaliation by announce the persecution. Therefore, Rose fleet commander led the Great Fleet and caused a military conflict between Korea and France.

Incheon Chinatown

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Discover Incheon Chinatown

Incheon Chinatown is located just in front of the Incheon station, you can see the Chiatown entrance opposite side of street when you get out No.1 exit. Chinese restaurant and souvenir stores are lined in the streets. The Incheon-China Day Culture festival and Jajangmyeon festival are held in September and October every year.

Let’s look into the historical background of this place from now on. It was formed in 1884 as the Overseas Chinese coming to this Concession(租界地) after the opening of Incheon port in 1883. Most Chinese who lived in Incheon Chinatown at the time came from Shandong in China. It was at the Im-O Military Revolt(1882年壬午军乱) that Chinese people began to coming into Korea from Qing Dynasty in China at the end of Joseon. When Im-O Military Revolt was broke out and the situation of Joseon Dynasty was changing suddenly, Qing Dynasty dispatched the navy of Oh Jang Gyeong(吳長慶) who was stationed in Shandong province in China even though there is no request from Joseon Dynasty. More than 40 Chinese merchants came into Korea following the 4,500 soldiers under the commander of Oh Jang Gyeong and they began to do business near the Yongsan where they were stationed.

Both countries envoys were on visiting each other from ancient, and Chinese traders often stayed in Korea through the “Market Openning(開市)” due to public trade, but this was the beginning of long-term stay. Jemulpo was selected as a Opening Port candidate area after the Japan-Joseon Ganghwa Treaty in 1876, but it took six years to be selected as a actual Opening Port area. Joseon Dynasty was reluctant to opening a port just right next to Seoul, and therefore, Japan also took time to searching for other candidates area. Jemulpo was selected as the opening port by the “Jemulpo Treaty in 1882,” Quing Dynasty, Japan and other western powers flocked ahead to Jemulpo. It was formed as the each foreign countries Concession (租界地) by conclusion of “Incheon Jemulpo clause of each countries concession (仁川濟物浦各國租界章程)” in 1882. Japan established a consulate immediately after the Treaty of Jemulpo, and Qing Dynasty also established the Qing Dynasty Government Office(靑國理事府). In 1885, Qing Dynasty set up a line of telegraphic that’s linking to its home country. The Qing Dynasty also signed on the “Joseon-Qing Trader Sea & Land Trade Pact (朝淸商民水陸貿易章程)” and began trade through Jemulpo. On March 7, 1884, the “Incheon Chinese Trader Concession Pckt (仁川華商租界章程)” was concluded, and as Qing-Joseon Dynasty autonomy has been determed, lots of Chinese came settled down. The present Chinatown is stemmed from the Concession (租界地) at the time. In 1910, the size of Korean Overseas Chinese was 11,800, of which 2800 were lived within this Concession area. Today, about 2,000 Chinese live in Incheon, and about 120 household live in Chinatown. Since its Opening Port in 1883, facilities of Chinese religious has been built within Chinatown. It was said founded by Buddhist monk named Hwang Hab Gyeong(黃合卿) and built a Temple the Temple (廟宇: Shrine where deity is held) called Uiseondang (​義善堂). This place, which shared ups and downs with Overseas Chinese, was placed in the crossroad of abolition 1970s, and opened again after the massive repairs in 2005 with the support of the Chinese government and the fund rising of Overseas Chinese. Currently, this is the cultural heritage No.1 designated by Overseas Chinese Association in Incheon Metropolitan City.

Concession(租界地) – The area where have been set up so that foreign residents can usually resident in the port area and where to enjoy extraterritorial rights.

The boundary stairway between Qing and Japanese concession (淸•日租界地境界階段): It was designated as Incheon Metropolitan City Monument No.51 on December 23, 2002. The designated area is 840 square metter and it is owned and managing by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT). This was a boundary area between the Japanese concession established in 1883 and the established by Qing Dynasty in 1884. And This stairway is connected to the Freedom Park.

Ganghwa Treaty – On Sept. 20, 1875, Japan’s brand new warship “Un-Yang-Ho(雲揚號) was shelling Chojijin in Ganghwa Island and overwhelmed with explosion sound. Then Japan putted forward a treaty of peace on February 10, 1876. And this was the “Ganghwa-do Treaty.” The Ganghwa Treaty was an unequal treaty concluded in accordance with Japan’s coercion with military power, and it was the first treaty that Korea made with foreign countries in the modern era.

Jemulpo Treaty – The Japanese empire dispatched “Hanabusa Yoshimoto(はなぶさ よしもと),” a diplomatic minister in order to under the pretext of demand compensation for damage at the time of Im-O Military Revolt(壬午军乱), and landed at Jemulpo under the protest of the powerful Navy. It was the Qing Dynasty that was the most nervous to news of Japan’s military expedition. The Qing Dynasty listens to opinions of Yun Shik Kim who was a foreign student in China, promptly dispatched military commended by “Oh Jang Gyeong” as a justification for protecting tributary. At this time in the Qing Dynasty, worried about the expansion about the situation, and to calm on the Japanese minister, while relaxed attitude of Joseon government and held talks in Jemulpo between two countries and concluded the “Jemulpo Treaty.”

Jajangmyeon (짜장면) – There were many southern merchant from Guangdong and Hong Kong who living in Concession (租界地), but the number of northern merchants from Shandong gradually increased. In addition, the Chinese workers started to enter the Incheon where the Opening Port was held du to the construction boom. Most of them were from Shandong Province. Restaurant owners and farmers also came into Korea follow them, and sell the food to them and farmers supplied vegetables to restaurants. Around 1905, Jajangmyeon based on home cooking in Shangdong Province was made and sold. It is the food which the unloading workers who crossed from Shandong province, were simply ate as mixed with noodle and Chunjang (black colored sauce) in order that fill their stomach during work in the port. Since then, there have been many Chinese restaurants selling Jajangmyeon opened around Qing Concession (租界地), and “Gonghwachun” is known as original Jajangmyeon restaurant which most first opened in 1905.

Gonghwachun (共和春) is originated from the establishment of Shandong Hall around 1907 by the Overseas Chinese “Woo Hui Gwang (于希光:1886~1949)” who moved to Incheon from Shandong China. Shandong Hall which is not a place with the current “Gonghwachun” but opened elsewhere, was a shop called guesthouse (客棧) that provided lodging for the merchants who migrated from Qing Dynasty. Shandong Hall changed the name of the establishment to “Gonghwachun” in 1912 with the meaning of the “Spring of the Republic has came” to the motherland, when birth of People’s Republic of China after stopped Qing Dynasty imperial politics by the Shinhae Revolution of 1911 (辛亥革命).

Freedom Park (仁川自由公園) – Around 1888, this freedom park was established as a name of “Global Nations Park (萬國公園)” for the inhabitants of the foreign settlement in Incheon that was designed by Russian civil engineer “Céline Sabatine.” It was the first large-scale public facility in Korea, and it has been called “Western Park (西公園)” at the time in the Japanese colonial period. And after liberation, it was called as “Global Nations Park (萬國公園)” again, and Kim Jeong-lyeol who was took office as the mayor of Incheon in 1957 changed name to “Freedom Park,” with building a statue of General MacArthur to commemorating his Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War. And it has long been as a representative place of Incheon so far, with retaining the pain of Korean modern turbulent history.

Tax Refund

Difference between duty free and tax free

Duty free

The word of “duty” means import duties on the goods impoted from abroad. ​Duty-free shops are also referred to as bonded areas or bonded shops in the jargon, which means that taxation was reserved. All the duty-free shops in the city and duty-free shops at the departure zone in airport are corresponding to here. Duty-free shops can only be used when leaving the country soon. That is, the imposition of tax is to temporary postponing, in order avoiding unnecessary procedures to impose and return the tax, because foreigners will buy goods at duty-free shops and take them to their country. To sum it up in a word, duty-free shops disolay tax-exampt prices, and sell for goods. And the duty free shop exempts VAT, individual consumption tax, liquor tax and tobacco excise tax.

Tax free

On the other hand, the tax-free is that foreigners can claim the refund when you leaving the country after purchasing goods that already taxed. Because it is regard as export. It is also referred to as the “later duty free shop(사후면세점)” in Korean, because the tax on the goods is to be returned later. There are more than 6,000 tax free shops nationwide, but only foreigners are entitled to getting the tax refund after purchasing the goods from here. Tax exemption range is 10 percent VAT and 5 to 20 percent of individual consumption tax.

  • Introduce instant refund system from January 2016: It is quite cumbersome to get a refund from airport for the taxes imposed on the goods purchased from tax-free shop, because you may stand in the line at the refund desk and waste precious time on your trip. Therefore, the tax-free shop enforces “instant refund system” from January 2016 so that it can be refunded tax upon purchasing goods at the tax-free shop. However, immediate refund is limited to amount of less than 200 thousands won per purchase, and less than one million won per capita.

Tax refund procedures

What is tax refund? If you purchase goods that include tax (VAT: around 10 percent) during travels in Korea and then you would take them to your country without consuming them, or in case of gotting meducal services in Korea, then you can claim for tax refund. The tax refund can be made only when the total amount of the purchase including taxes are over 30,000 won.

Step 1:  Purchasing goods at the tax free member stores which has a tax free logo.

  1. Check for tax refund member store : ​If you are considering a tax refund, you should first check to see if the store is a tax refund shop before shopping. Tax refund member stores has one of the logos as shown on the right.​
  2. Buying goods : The minium purchase amount for the tax refunds is more than 30,000 won including taxes. If the purchase amount is less than 200 thousand won per purchase and less than one million won per person, you can buy the goods by paying amount after deduct taxes due to instant refund system that was introduced from January 2016. You should keep in mind that you must take your passport.
    (It is advisable to keep well receipt until you return to your country, as it may be necessary when you import purchased goods into your country).
  3. Request documents for the tax refund : If you do not get a tax refund immediately when you buy something in the tax-free shop, you should present your passport to the clerk and ask for the issuance of documents for tax refund. You have to keep well the refund-related documents, and your purchase receipt issued by each store until leave Korea.

Note :
You can’t get a refund if you didn’t apply for a tax refund related documents even though you purchased the item at a tax refundable store. Also should be careful that refunds may be refused even in case of tax refund documents are written defectively.

Step 2:  Get approval to export goods at the customs declaration desk in airport.

Travelers who wish to apply for tax refunds at the airport at the time of departure are advised to arrive at the airport with ample time in case the airport is busy. (The tax refund will be applied only when the goods taking out within 3 month from the purchase date)

  1. You will be entrusted with baggage and get a boarding pass at the check-in counter. The goods and related documents to applying for tax refund take to customs declaration desk without sending it as a baggage. But if you want to send goods that need tax refund as a checked baggage, you should tell it to the airline staff when you check-in that you have the tax refundable items in your baggage. Airline staff will then attach a tag to your baggage so you can get confirmation at the customs declaration desk. Take the luggage that attached a baggage tag go to the customs declaration desk located behind the D or J counter. After approved by the customs declaration desk, the baggage will be automatically classified and shipped to the aircraft if you put your luggage on the large baggage conveyor belt in the next to.
  2. You should submit your passport, purchase goods and receipt at the customs declaration desk and receive export confirmation stamp or electronic approval on the tax refund related documents. Even if you receive a tax refund at a tax-free store or got tax refund at a city tax refund center, you must also present the goods and receipt at the airport customs declaration desk and be sure to obtain the export approval. Otherwise, Korean customs will withdraw your tax refunds with your credit card information what you provided when purchasing the item after you return home. However, if your refund is less than 10,000 won, you don’t need to be export approval.

Step 3:  Get a tax refund.

Skip this step if you have already received tax refund from the tax-free shop or at the city tax refund center. There are two methods for refunding in airport, that is, visiting tax refund desk or using the automated equipment, as follows:

  1. Visit to tax refund desk : Please visit the tax refund desk located near Gate 26~27 in the tax free zone on the 4th floor of Incheon Airport to submit tax refund documents with customs stemps and get tax refund immediately on site.
    Note: Despite you have been export approval at the customs declaration desk, if you can’t get tax refund because it was closed door at the tax refund desk on your late arrival, or due to boarding time. Please put the relevant documents into the refund box located at the designated place. After a certain period of time, the refund will be deposited into your bank account, which is associated with your credit card that you used, or sent by money order.
  2. Using the automated equipment (KIOSK) : If you enter your passport information into the automation equipment located near Gate 26~27 in the tax free zone on the 4th floor of Incheon Airport, the refund amount will be paid according to the already approved details. (Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

T-Money Card

How to use T money card

T money card is a refundable and rechargeable public transportation card that can use it convenient to pay fees instead of cash through almost all the type of public transportation system all over the Korea. If you using this T money card for the public transportation, it can be save a lot of money than paying with cash. And the biggest benefit for the traveler to using this T card is a fact that it’s free in several times when you change to another bus from the bus. And also minimum charged when you transfer to bus from the subway or vice versa. As well as, when you leaving Korea, it can be refunded remaining balance after deduct 500 KRW as a service fee, from the machine in the subway station or 24 hours convenience stores. But blank card is not refunded, so you may bring it to home and use it next time or give it to friend or neighbors.

Where you can buy T money card

You can buy T-money card in the 24 hours convenience stores which it has “T” logo inner or outer store’s window. For examples: GS 25, CU, Mini Stop, Buy the way, 7-Eleven, Story way, Family Mart, Newsstand and ticket bending. After purchase T-money card (blank card = 2,500 KRW), you should charge the money into the T-money card as much as you want to do.

Available region

Nationwide compatible T-money card (전국호환용) can be used as one card for almost all the type of nationwide public transit, such as buses, subway, trains and even KTX.

How to use it

  • Subway: whenever you get in / get out through ticket barrier (gate), you should scan T card on the card reader by touching it on the machine.

Metro Ticket gate.

  • T-money card reader.Bus (Two times scan): When you take the bus, you have to scan T-Money card on the card reader by touching it on the machine, and then one more time scan it when you getting off the bus. Keep in mind that you must scan it two times both when you getting on and getting off. Otherwise, it would be double charged for you, because the card machine would be recognize that you have traveled whole route.
  • KTX / Express bus: Buy the ticket at the ticket office or ticket machine by payment with T-money card.
  • Taxi (One time scan): You can use the T-money card when you take a Taxi that has designed “T” logo out side of taxi. But for taxi, you should pay the taxi fee only when arrived at your destination. Also when you pay the taxi fee, you should ask the receipt to taxi driver and keep it so that you can report it to the authority when driver asked illegally overcharge for you.

How to recharge and refund

Recharge T-Money Card: You can recharge money into your T-Money Card from the machine which is equipped in the train station or 24 hours convenience stores in the streets.

  1. Select preferred language.
  2. Select “Recharge” icon in the middle on the screen. Refer to right side pictures.
  3. Put T-money card on the red place of the machine.
  4. Select amount that you want to recharge.
  5. Put your money into a cash slot. It can be used the 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 KRW bills and 50, 100, 500 KRW coin.
  6. Waiting for a moment while recharging and confirm its balance after complete.

Notice of T-money card service desk.Refund: Remaining balance of money in your T-money card can be refund after deducted 500 KRW as service fee from the 24 hours convenience store when balance is less than 20,000 KRW. But if T-money balance is more than 20,000 KRW and less than 50,000 KRW, it can be refund from T-money service desk in all the subway station (You can see a notice as shown picture on the right) with right . And blank card is not refundable. So you should bring it to home and use it next time or give it to friends or neighbors.