How to use a Korean post office

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When living and studying in South Korea, it is natural to want to send souvenirs abroad to friends and family as well as if you think your items won’t all fit into your suitcases! Using Korea Post is a great option for this, and although the process might seem intimidating, we hope that through this guide you will be able to comfortably use Korean post offices.

How to send letters and parcels by Korea Post

The first step when sending a parcel in Korea is finding a Korean Post Office near you. To do that, you can search for the term ’우체국’ using KakaoMap or Naver Map; it is common in Seoul for post offices to be located nearby major subway stations or universities. The Korean post office system is called ‘Korea Post‘ and their symbol is a red bird made of arrows. If you live in Korea, you will quickly become familiar with this symbol.

Step One

For sending parcels to other countries, the post office sells boxes that you can purchase to get the best size for your items. The boxes vary in size and cost, with the smallest box being around 400 won to the largest boxes being approximately 1,700 won. The benefit of buying boxes from the post office is that they also provide free packing tape, scissors, glue, pens, and bubble wrap. For envelopes, it is more common to buy them at stores like Daiso or Artbox than it is for the post office to stock them, but all stamps and postage is sorted out at the post office.

Step Two

Once you have carefully packed your items into boxes you will need to fill out a postage form that corresponds with the type of delivery you would like. It is common for there to be guides available in English around the post office to assist you with filling out these forms if necessary as it is important that these forms are completed accurately. The forms are based on whether the parcel will be delivered by plane, which is the quickest but most expensive option or by boat, which is a slower yet more affordable option.

When filling out the delivery forms, you will need to provide the following details of the sender’s and recipient’s complete name, full address, contact number and/or email address. You will also need to declare the items inside the box under the customs declaration section. This includes the contents of the parcel, quantity, and value of the items inside.

Step Three

Once you have completed filling out the postage form, take a ticket number from the designated dispenser and wait for your turn at the counter. At the counter, the staff will weigh your box to determine its total cost and will cross examine the information stated on the postage form. The staff will also ask you at this point if you would like to add insurance to your parcel before processing payment.

Step Four

After you have completed the payment for your parcel, you can monitor your package through the tracking number provided on the receipt the post office will give you. In the unlikely case of damage to your parcel or delivery failure, the post office can use the postage form you completed to help calculate compensation costs.

Korean mail box

How to estimate Korea Post’s shipping costs

The cost of shipping is determined by the parcel weight and the location of the receiver. The cost of adding insurance to a parcel is typically around 3,000 won. For a comprehensive guide on shipping costs to specific countries, please follow the link to KOREA POST’s international postage page: 

Korea Post English Site>international mail

Please be aware that there are some items that cannot be sent using the international mail service. Many post offices will have picture guides on site for the sender’s reference when preparing items to be sent abroad, but normally you cannot send money, credit cards, batteries, or liquids.

List of helpful vocabulary when using the post office 

Please refer to the vocabulary list below for useful words and phrases to use on your visit to the post office.

English Korean Romanization
Letter 편지 Pyeon-ji
Parcel 소포 Soe-po
Postcard 엽서 Yeop-seo
Registered post/mail 등기우편 Deungg-i Oo-pyeon
Address 주소 Ju-so
Zip/ Postcode 우편 번호 Ou-pyeon Beon-ho
Envelope 봉투 Bong-tu
Stamp 우표 Ou-pyo
Weight 무게 Moo-gae
Sender 보내는 사람/발신자 Bonae-neun Sa-lam/ Bal-shin-ja
Receiver 받는 사람/수신자 Bad-neun Sa-lam/Su-shin-ja
Cost of postage 우편 요금 Ou-pyeon yo-geum
How much will the postage cost? 우편 요금은 얼마예요? Ou-pyeon yo-geum-un Eolma-yea-yo?
How much will it cost to send my parcel/letter to (Country name)? (Country name)(으)로 소포를/편지를 보내려면 얼마예요? (Country name)(Eu)-loe soe-poe-leul/ pyeon-ji-leul boe-nae-lyeomyeon eolma-yea-yo?
When will my parcel/letter arrive? 소포가/편지가 언제 도착할 거예요? Soe-poe-leul/ pyeon-ji-leul eon-jae doe-chak-haal-geo-yea-yo?

A top tip when using the post office in Korea is to write the receiver’s address in Hangeul as well, especially the destination country to ensure that your parcel leaves the country! It is also worth noting that the official opening hours for post offices across Korea are 9:00 AM -6:00 PM. Post offices do not operate on weekends, New Year’s Day (January 1) and public national holidays.

If you plan on sending items or letters abroad, we hope that through this blog post, you will have the guidance to confidently use a Korean post office.

If you enjoyed this article, keep following the Go! Go! Hanguk blog and don’t hesitate to contact us about living and studying in Korea.

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