Staying connected is essential nowadays. Without our phone, and without the internet on that phone, it’s easy to feel lost!
While travelling with a mobile used to be very expensive, the prices have decreased drastically. These days, it is possible to get a Korean travel SIM card with unlimited data for under $50 per month!
Before I get into the best Korean travel SIM cards available for travellers (and people staying for under 3 months), I want to discuss if SIM cards are even required in Korea.
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Best Korean Travel SIM Card
This is a long and in-depth article. If you don’t have the time or don’t want to read it all, I understand! This is a short recommendation of the best Korean SIM cards for tourists. If you want more details as to why I recommend these items, read on!
These are the best Korean Travel SIM cards for tourists:
- Trazy, Klook, and KKDay (find the cheapest at the time). These are the most convenient SIM cards.
- EG SIM and Woori Mobile Services. These are the cheapest SIM cards, but require longer contracts.
- Trazy and Korea Sim. These are the best portable WiFi options.
For the average tourist, I would rate the best Korean travel SIM cards in this order:
- Woori Mobile
- Korea SIM
The table below shows the most popular SIM cards for different lengths. For the table below, I chose to compare the unlimited data SIM cards from each service. However, the bottom 4 options (KoreaSIM, EG, Woori and NeoKOSIM) all offer variants with calling minutes.
|Company||1 Day Cost||5 Days||10 Days||30 Days|
Do You Need a SIM Card?
This is the first question to ask when considering which Korean travel SIM is best for you. The answer might be none!
Obviously, this depends from person to person. If you feel the need to be connected at all times, then a SIM card is the only way to go.
However, Korea has fantastic free WiFi. Every cafe and restaurant will have WiFi – I can’t even remember the last time I went to a cafe without WiFi. They’re that rare!
On top of that, Korea also has free WiFi on every subway carriage, inside subway stations, and in most busy areas of the city. Recently, WiFi has even been added to many of the buses in Seoul! This is gradually rolling out across the whole country. Free WiFi is one of the things that Korea does best!
Since there is no lack of public hotspots, it brings into question whether a SIM card is even needed.
Realistically, a Korean travel SIM card is not needed unless you plan to leave the city often (such as for day trips), or if you would prefer to not have to worry about WiFi.
Korea is a country that uses a different language and has a transport system that can be hard to understand initially. For these reasons, it can often feel much more comfortable to not have to rely on WiFi.
While a SIM isn’t essential for Korea (especially Seoul, Busan, and other big cities), it can provide peace of mind.
Finally, if you do plan to use public WiFi, make sure to use a VPN. You never know who’s watching and it’s better to spend as little as $10 per month to provide security.
Korean Mobile Coverage
If you are worried about how well a SIM card will work in Korea, don’t be. Korea has the highest LTE coverage in the world – more than 90% in 2017!
What’s most impressive is that those stats are from 2017. It’s even more covered now! Further, that’s only 4G (LTE) and doesn’t mention that nearly every other area not in the 90% has 3G coverage.
In short, Korea has mobile coverage in almost every corner of the country. I hiked Mount Daedun (Daedunsan) and Mount Seorak (Seoraksan) last month and I had coverage the whole way up the mountains. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have NEVER lost reception in Korea.
So no matter where you plan to travel in Korea, don’t worry about whether or not you’ll have mobile reception.
Getting a SIM card or WiFi egg while travelling in Korea is relatively easy and you don’t require much!
- Remember to bring your passport to the desk/store. Usually, you will be required to show it to receive the SIM. If you get a Korean SIM for more than 90 days an ARC will be required.
- Booking in advance. If you book from one of the tour companies (listed below), you will usually have to book at least a few days in advance. If you didn’t book in advance, don’t worry! There are other options.
- Once you get the SIM you will be required to fill out a short application process. This process usually involves entering your name, IMEI (an identification number for your mobile device – how to get this number will be explained), and a few other details. The process is short though!
- Make sure that your phone is compatible with Korean phone networks.
Does Your Phone Work in Korea?
Thankfully this is much less of a problem now than it was in the past. However, this is still a common question and something that should definitely be checked before arrival.
The best way to tell if your phone will work is to use WillMyPhoneWork. This website will require you to fill out a few fields and it will let you know what networks your phone is compatible with. When the site asks which Korean network you are inquiring about, select KT (most travel SIM cards are KT) and SKT.
What is a Locked Phone?
Some phones come locked, while others are unlocked. A locked phone is a phone that has software preventing it from working on other carriers. Generally locked phones are those purchased on contracts with specific carriers.
If you have a locked phone, you might not be able to use mobile networks in South Korea. Luckily, this is very rarely the case. Most phones these days are unlocked, and even most locked phones will work on at least one network in another country.
To check this, use WillMyPhoneWork. It will let you know if your phone will work in Korea.
What if My Phone is Locked?
If your phone is locked, don’t worry! There is still a way around this.
WiFi eggs are little devices that you can carry in your pocket that allow you to connect to WiFi (the egg will connect to the mobile network instead). Every device supports WiFi, and WiFi is a global standard with common frequencies. This means that virtually every device can work with WiFi eggs.
This isn’t a great option for longer-term visitors to Korea. However, it’s a great way to avoid the issue of getting a new phone if yours is locked.
WiFi Eggs VS SIM Cards
In Korea, there are two main ways to get internet on your phone. One of these devices is called a WiFi egg or portable WiFi.
These devices are essentially the same as turning your phone into a WiFi hotspot. They are little devices that you can carry around and connect to with any device that supports WiFi.
They have a few distinct advantages and disadvantages:
- Portable WiFi supports multiple devices. Anything that has WiFi can connect to the hotspot. This is ideal for families who don’t want to purchase multiple SIMs, or if you have multiple devices that need a connection.
- Portable WiFi has a battery. This can be a big issue at times! While the batteries can usually go most of a day with no issue, you will have to remember to charge the device every night. Further, a long day may see the portable device running out of battery before you can charge it.
- Pay per day. As you will see below, Korean travel SIM cards only have set rental options. You can’t get a SIM card for 9 days for example, or for 12. Portable WiFi in Korea is paid on a daily basis, and this means it might be cheaper if you are staying for a period which doesn’t align with the SIM card options.
- An extra device! Portable WiFi is usually about the same size as a (big) mobile power bank. For this reason, you may find it difficult to take portable WiFi with you unless you have a backpack. If you do have a backpack, the WiFi will add some weight to it.
Both portable WiFi and SIM cards have their benefits while travelling in Korea. Generally, I would recommend SIM cards just as they are the more standard option and you don’t have to worry about yet another device.
However, for families especially, portable WiFi does have its place. It’s definitely an option that is worth considering.
Where to Pick Up Your SIM
This differs from company to company and the specific details can be found below. However, most companies will allow you to pick up your Korean travel SIM from whichever airport you land at.
With the exception of Woori Mobile Service, every service allows pickup at Incheon Airport and Gimpo Airport. Most of them also allow you to chose between terminal 1 & 2!
If you haven’t purchased a SIM in advance it is possible to purchase one on the day you land at the airport. The convenience stores at Incheon Airport sell the Korea SIM (orange/red/blue) cards and the mobile desk inside the terminal has other options available.
Korean Travel SIM Card Options
There are a TON of different options for SIM cards in Korea. The most popular are the SIM cards offered by tour companies Klook, Trazy, KKday, Korean phone carriers SKT and KT, and those offered by companies specialising in travel SIMs, Woori Mobile and Neoksim.
Most of these companies actually sell the same SIMs, however, they all have different prices. Since there are strict rules around tourist phone usage in Korea, you will quickly see that many of the plans below are very similar. That is because most of them are!
The companies below are only vendors. They sell SIM cards that are primarily using the KT network. A few of them use SKT.
The most important aspect to consider here is whether or not you need anything more than data. Unlimited data SIM cards are very common in Korea and are relatively cheap.
However, if you need minutes and SMS then the costs will increase quickly. Luckily, these extra services are generally not needed and data alone is enough.
This is even more relevant when you consider that Kakaotalk is used within Korea, and Messenger, Whatsapp, Line and other chat/calling services are more used than SMS and calling. More often than not, data alone is enough.
Tour Company SIM Cards
These are the SIM cards provided by tour companies in Korea. Many of these companies offer very similar (or the same) products, and the main competition is between prices.
You can’t really go wrong with any of these companies since they all offer virtually the same product.
I recommend checking all of the websites before purchasing. Often there will be sales, and it’s often easy to save a few dollars (or more!) just by checking all of the sites and their ongoing promotions.
A quick note about these cards:
- Unlimited generally does NOT mean unlimited LTE. While it varies, it usually means 3gb of LTE data and then unlimited data at a capped speed of 3 or 5Mbps. This is still enough to get daily activities done, but you may struggle with more demanding tasks such as video streaming.
- These SIM cards do not work on a daily basis, but rather an hourly basis. 1 day SIM cards will work for 24 hours from the time of pickup, 5 days for 120 hours, and 10 days for 240 hours.
- Don’t worry about the size of SIM card that your phone takes. The staff will provide you with a card that fits your phone. Just make sure to check that the SIM fits BEFORE leaving the pickup location.
- You are usually required to book in advance. If you haven’t, don’t fret! There are more SIM options below.
Klook SIM Cards
Klook offers a few varieties of SIM cards in 4 different lengths. The cards start at a length of one day for 5900KRW and go up to a maximum of 30 days for 64,400KRW.
- 1 day, 5 days, 10 days, 30 days.
- 1 day is data only. Every other SIM has data OR data + SMS and calling options.
- Pickup from Seoul (Incheon Airport/Gimpo Airport), Busan (Gimhae/Busan Harbour).
- Costs start at 5900KRW for 1 day, 24,800KRW for 5 days, 34,700KRW for 10 days, and 64,400KRW for 30 days.
SIM cards from Klook are not the cheapest you can find. However, they are a trusted website that has thousands of users. You can expect good service and a seamless experience from Klook.
Trazy SIM Cards
Trazy offers a few more options compared to Klook. They offer 1 day up to 90-day options, with more variety than most other vendors. The options begin at 5900KRW for one day, to 22,500KRW for 90 days with a prepaid card.
- 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days.
- All short term cards (under 30 days) are data only. 30 & 90 day SIM cards can have minutes and SMS also.
- Pickup from Hongdae Station, Seoul Station, Gimpo Airport/Incheon Airport
- Costs start at 5900KRW for 1 day, 14,500KRW for 3 days, 24,800KRW for 5 days, 28,000KRW for 7 days, 33,000KRW for 10 days, and 62,000KRW for 30 days.
Trazy is another trusted tour company that has the most options for travellers to Korea. If you are staying for 3 or 7 days, then they have some of the best options available.
KKday SIM Cards
KKday offers the same lengths as Klook and Trazy (1/3/10/30 days). They also provide the same Korean travel SIM cards. Due to this, I recommend checking all of the sites to see which offers the cheapest prices at the time of your booking.
- 1 day, 5 days, 10 days, 30 days.
- Unlimited data with prepaid calling/SMS capability.
- Pickup from Seoul (Incheon Airport/Gimpo Airport/Hongdae), Busan (Gimhae Airport/Harbour).
- Cost start at 5900KRW for 1 day, 24,750KRW for 5 days, 34,650 for 10 days, and 64,350 for 30 days.
As you can seem the prices are virtually the same as the other sellers. However, the ability to add prepaid calls and texts may be a bonus for some people.
KoreaTravelEasy is the final tour company in this section offering the same options as the above companies. The biggest difference with KoreaTravelEasy is that they charge in USD, meaning that the prices may vary more. They also offer pickup at Jeju Airport!
- 1 day, 5 days, 10 days, 30 days.
- Unlimited data
- Pickup from Seoul (Incheon Airport/Gimpo Airport/Hongdae), Busan (Gimhae Airport), Jeju (Jeju Airport)
- Costs start at $6 for 1 day, $24 for 5 days, $32 for 10 days, and $60 for 30 days. At the time of writing, $60 is worth 69,900KRW.
The options at KoreaTravelEasy are a bit more expensive than the alternative options. However, the fact that they offer Jeju as a pickup location will make them very convenient for some travellers.
Korean Phone Carrier Travel SIMs
SKT (SK Telecom) and KT (Korea Telecom, now simply called KT) are the two biggest carriers in South Korea and they have come together to form the Korea Sim service for foreigners in Korea.
Korea Sim provides three types of Korean SIM cards – Korea Sim Blue, Korea Sim Orange, and Korea Sim Red. Each of these cards is slightly different and provides different benefits.
These cards can either be purchased on their website, or at convenience stores in the airport. There is also a mobile desk in Incheon airport which sells these SIM cards.
- 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, 10 days, 20 days, 30 days.
- Unlimited data (orange/blue), local calling (blue), international calling (red)
- Pickup from Seoul (Incheon Airport/Incheon Harbour/Gimpo Airport), Busan (Gimhae Airport/Busan Harbour), Daegu (Daegu Airport), Jeju (Jeju Airport).
- Costs start from $4.70 for 1 day, $12 for 3 days, $20 for 5 days, $27 for 10 days, $48 for 20 days, $50 for 30 days.
- As with the tour companies, none of these cards has truly unlimited data. They are unlimited at capped speeds.
Korea Sim Orange
Korea Sim Orange is the most basic card and also the most inexpensive. This card provides LTE data on the SKT network – a fantastic network!
You will get unlimited data for your chosen period of time, and these cards are some of (if not) the cheapest SIM cards for travellers in Korea.
- Costs are $4.70 for 1 day, $12 for 3 days, $20.60 for 5 days, $27.40 for 10 days, $48.70 for 20 days, $51.6 for 30 days.
Korea Sim Blue
Korea Sim Blue is similar to Korea Sim Orange except that it also provides 100 minutes of local voice calls and 100 text messages. This uses the KT network and also has unlimited LTE data.
- Costs are $22.90 for 5 days, $27.90 for 7 days, $31.90 for 10 days, $40.30 for 15 days, and $58.90 for 30 days.
Korea Sim Red
Korea Sim Red is the final option offered by Korea Sim. This card does NOT have unlimited data. Rather, it comes with either 1gb or 2gb of data and international calling minutes. If you need to make some international calls using traditional calling, then this is the card for you.
This card is also not based on a time period like the others. Rather, you just purchase the card with either 1gb or 2gb of data. However, the card will deactivate after 30 days.
- $26.90 for 1gb and 100 minutes, $38.90 for 2gb and 100 minutes.
Evergreen SIM Card
The Evergreen SIM Card, also called the EG SIM, is another SIM card which is now available for travellers in Korea. This SIM card is very competitive with the others listed here and has similar prices along with similar pickup locations.
EG SIM is a great option if you need calls because it is cheaper than most of the competition. They offer unlimited data SIMs as well as SIMs which give minutes and data.
- Pickup from Incheon Airport, Gimpo Airport, Seoul Station, Hongdae.
- Order online, or purchase at location.
Prepaid SIM (Data Only)
- 5 days, 10 days, 30 days.
- Unlimited data
- 19,250 KRW for 5 days, 26,950KRW for 10 days, 50,050KRW for 30 days.
What you might notice is that EG offers the cheapest plans available – as long as you need a SIM for 5, 10, or 30 days.
Prepaid SIM (Data and Calls)
- 30 days (no other length available)
- 15,000KRW for 1.5GB of data + 50 minutes, 30,000KRW for 5GB + 50 minutes, 45,000KRW for 10GB + 100 minutes.
- All plans are unlimited at capped speeds once the limit has been exceeded.
Woori Mobile Service
Woori Mobile Service is a service that I hadn’t heard about until recently. However, after looking through their prices they have some attractive plans for travellers to Korea!
Woori offers only 30-day prepaid plans, however, they have a large variety of different plans which make them great in a few situations.
Firstly, 30 day Korean SIM cards tend to be $50+ for unlimited data. However, many people don’t actually need unlimited data. If that’s you, then Woori might be ideal.
They offer plans LTE plans for 6gb, 10gb. They offer LTE (followed by unlimited capped data) for 11gb and 15gb. Finally, they also offer 300mb LTE plans followed by unlimited 400Kbps or 3Mbps.
- 30 days (no other lengths available)
- Limited data – 10gb + 100 minutes for 30,000KRW, 6gb + 350 minutes for 33,000KRW.
- Unlimited data – Unlimited 400Kbps + 300 minutes for 24,200KRW, unlimited 3mbps + 50 minutes for 36,300KRW.
- Limited LTE and unlimited capped data – 15gb + 100 minutes for 39,600KRW, 11gb + 2gb per day (LTE) + unlimited calling for 58,500KRW.
- Located in Jongno and Sodaemun.
This may seem quite hard to understand at first – it definitely was for me! However, what you realise is that Woori is a fantastic option for people who don’t actually need unlimited data during their stay.
For a list of all of their plans, please refer to this image.
The final service on this list is NeoKOSIM. This mobile service offers the biggest variety of plans and has something for everyone.
They have the standard unlimited data plans as well as plans with unlimited calls and texts. If you don’t require unlimited, then they also have limited plans available.
- Pickup from Seoul (Incheon Airport/Gimpo Airport/Hongdae), Busan (Gimhae/Harbour). Pickup locations.
- 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, 10 days, 15 days, 30 days.
- Unlimited data only – $6 for 1 day, $22.5 for 5 days, $31.5 for 10 days, $58.5 for 30 days.
- Unlimited data + calls + texts – $32.4 for 7 days, $35 for 10 days, $43.8 for 15 days, $62 for 30 days.
While the prices on these cards are more than the other services on this list, NeoKOSIM also offers a pay as you go plan. You can place 40,000KRW on the card which can be used on any combination of data, calls, or texts.
Finally, they also offer shipping. If you would prefer to have your Korean travel SIM before leaving home, then you can! Simply use the shipping service provided.
The Best SIM Card for Travellers in Korea
With all of this said and done, which Korean travel SIM card is actually the best for travellers? What is the cheapest card?
Best Short-Term SIM Card
The cheapest short-term Korean travel SIM cards currently provided (that I have found) are those provided by Evergreen (EG) and Woori Mobile Service.
If you want unlimited data, then those provided by EG are the cheapest. 50,000KRW for 30 days for unlimited data is unmatched. Further, they offer a similar plan at 45,000KRW which gives unlimited capped data after 10gb.
Woori Mobile is the best option for those who want a lot of data but don’t need unlimited. Offering a 10gb plan for 30,000KRW is pretty much unmatched. However, Woori has more inconvenient pickup locations for most travellers.
Best Long-Term SIM card
For anyone staying more than 30 days but less than 90, there are two great options. Woori Mobile Service and Trazy.
The Woori Mobile Service plans are paid per month and all of their plans mentioned in this post can be expanded to last 3 months.
Trazy also offers a SIM card which is prepaid and lasts for up to 90 days. This is a great option for lighter mobile users who expect to stay in Korea for longer than one month.
Most Convenient SIM
These SIMs are the easiest as they can be purchased in advance and are ready to go when you land – nothing further is needed. If you forget to book in advance, you can simply get a Korea travel SIM from an airport convenience store.
Best Portable WiFi
Trazy and Korea SIM both offer very similarly priced portable WiFi. I can’t really recommend either of these over the other and both the prices and specifications are so similar!
I hope that this article has helped you find the best deal while searching for a Korean travel SIM card. I know how hard it can be with the number of options out there!
While there are other options out there I’m sure, I did my best to include every service I could find here. If you know of another service, let me know! I’ll be sure to add it to this list.
Further, if you have any questions or comments about Korean travel SIM cards or anything else, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I Need a SIM card in Korea?
This is up to you. However, a SIM card is a great (and cheap) way to stay connected while you are in the country. Having a SIM card will mean that you are never without a connection, and this can help with transport, translation, directions, and more.
There is a lot of public WiFi in Korea, however, a SIM card is always the safest option.
What Is a WiFi Egg?
In Korea, there are two options. SIM card, or WiFi egg. A WiFi egg is another name for a portable WiFi device that you can carry with you to stay connected. All you have to do is connect to the portable WiFi hotspot with your devices to access the internet!
What’s Better, WiFi Egg or SIM Card?
Generally speaking, a SIM card is more convenient and easier. A WiFi egg requires charging every night (and sometimes more often), and is yet another device to carry around and remember. However, a WiFi egg can allow multiple device connections. For this reason, it is a good option for families or people who need multiple devices to stay connected.
What Is the Best Travel SIM?
Although I recommend reading this Korean SIM Comparison for more information, the short answer is this:
For people staying for only a few days, I would recommend a tourist SIM from Trazy or Klook.
If you are staying a couple of weeks, a SIM card from EG Sim, or Korea SIM are best.
If you are staying 1-3 months, consider the options from Woori Mobile.
Where Can I Get a Korean SIM?
Korean SIM cards can be purchased from many places. Incheon Airport (as well as other international airports in Korea) will have SIMs available at mobile desks, and convenience stores in the airport will also sell them. They can also be picked up at many locations around the cities.