Travel Guide

3 Simple Methods to Recover Lost Items in South Korea

June 14, 2024

When traveling to a new country, safety is always a top concern. Fortunately, Korea stands out as one of the safest countries in the world, particularly when it comes to theft and personal belongings. If you've come across viral videos on social media showcasing people in Korea casually saving seats at cafes and restaurants with their phones and wallets, you might be surprised and skeptical. However, these videos accurately reflect the everyday reality in Korea.

Safety in Everyday Life

Korea's low crime rate, especially concerning petty theft and pickpocketing, is something many travelers find reassuring. It’s not uncommon to see people leaving their laptops, phones, and even wallets unattended on tables in cafes while they step out for a moment. This cultural norm is supported by a high level of trust among people and stringent law enforcement.

The Reality of Public Spaces

In Korea, public spaces like cafes, restaurants, and parks are generally very safe. The practice of leaving belongings unattended might be unusual in many parts of the world, but in Korea, it is a common and generally safe practice. This doesn't mean you should be careless, but it does highlight the level of trust and safety that is prevalent in Korean society.

What to Do If You Lose Your Belongings

Despite the overall safety, accidents can happen. If you do forget your belongings somewhere or lose them, there are efficient systems in place to help you retrieve them.

  • Cafes and Restaurants: If you leave something behind in a cafe or restaurant, the first step is to call or DM the establishment directly. Most places have a lost and found system, and staff are generally very helpful in assisting you to recover your items.
  • Taxis: If you leave something in a taxi, which you paid for using your T-money Card, you can call the T-money hotline, and they will help you track the taxi using your T-money card number.
    • T-money: 1644-1188 (Press 3 to connect with the Lost Items department)
    • Seoul Private Taxi Association: If you remember the license plate number of the taxi, you can call 1544-7771, and they will provide you with the mobile phone number of the taxi driver.
  • Online Lost and Found Services: The National Police Agency's website like "Lost112" allow you to search for lost items reported across the country, including bus and metro.

While Korea is incredibly safe, it's always good practice to stay aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. Trust the systems in place, but also use common sense as you would anywhere else. Should you misplace something, refer to the 3 methods above to find your lost items.

Cover photo: Emil Kalibradov (Unsplash)

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