The official currency of South Korea is the South Korean Won (KRW or W).
Even though it’s a developed country, travel to and in South Korea is relatively inexpensive. Students can easily live on a daily budget of W50,000 ($50 USD) a day or less.
You can exchange U.S. dollars for KRW many places, including hotels and tourist shops, however the exchange rate will be terrible. Look for a local bank with a “Foreign Exchange” or currency sign.
The best way to make purchases in South Korea is with cash. Some vendors – especially hotels, shops and restaurants in tourist-friendly areas – will accept foreign cards, but many smaller shops and business don’t. Make sure to (safely) carry around plenty of cash.
Though ATMs are plentiful in South Korea, they can be a bit difficult. Some only operate between 9am-10pm, and not all ATMs accept foreign cards. To use your U.S. credit/debit card to withdraw cash, you’ll need to find an ATM with a “Global” sign at the top of the logo of your credit card company.