KEEN travelers from South Korea can now travel to Vietnam without needing to apply for a visa – if their stay is no longer than 15 days.
This enticing visa-free travel has caused a rise in South Korean travelers visiting the home of flavorful Pho soup and creamy drip coffees, as they now stand as the second highest nation to travel to Vietnam after Chinese tourists.
As well as relaxing visa rules, the rise of budget airlines creating a presence in South Korea has made cheap flights available.
Vietjet, one of Vietnam’s main budget airlines alongside Jetstar, is offering return flights in the spring for as a little as US$182.
With the cost of living being substantially cheaper than in South Korea, many vacationers are finding that the already bargain flights are the most expensive part of the trip. While in Vietnam, Korean tourists are finding they can indulge without having to watch the purse-strings too much.
South Korea’s tourism organization reported 1.71 million of their citizens visited Vietnam between January and November, which pushes up the annual percentage by 36.4 from the previous year, according to a Yonhap report.
Vietnam beat its neighboring countries in 2016, too, as the nation welcomed 1.54 million South Korean visitors compared with the 1.48 million who visited the Philippines and 1.46 million vacationing in Thailand.
The report also stated the rising crime rates in the Philippines as a cause of South Koreans opting for Vietnam. The country is also marginally cheaper than the island nation of the Philippines, which could be a contributing factor.
Vietnam has strong economic connections with South Korea, and in 2014, both nations signed a free-trade agreement, hoping to raise bilateral trade figures to US$70 billion by 2020.