South Korea

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Dried Fish Market

  • South Korea is a country in East Asia.
  • South Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea to the north, China across the sea to the west and Japan to the southeast.
  • It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, but also has one of the world’s lowest birthrates (1.21 children per woman).
  • Korean is the official language. Nearly all Koreans under the age of 40 have taken English lessons as part of their education. A common experience for western travelers in South Korea is to be approached by children interested in practicing their English skills.
  • Terrain: About 80% of land area is moderately high mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys and small, cultivated plains. The remainder is lowland plains covering small, scattered areas.


  • 3000 B.C. – Early Korean civilization grows with waves of settlers from central Asia.
  • 700 B.C. – Immigrants from eastern China bring new rice-growing techniques.
  • 1392 – The Yi Dynasty begins and the country is renamed Choson. The Yi Dynasty lasts more than 500 years.
  • 1592-1598 – The Japanese military ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi leads invasions of Korea.
  • 1895 – Japan defeats China in the Sino-Japanese War, ending China’s influence over Korea.
  • 1905 – The Russo-Japanese War ends, and Japan gains control of Korea from Russia.
  • 1945 – After Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II, Korea is divided into north and south zones at the 38th parallel.
  • 1948 – The Republic of Korea is established in the south, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is established in the north.
  • 1950-1953 – North Korea invades South Korea. The United Nations sends a multinational force to aid the South. After heavy fighting, a truce is declared.


    • The emigration rate of South Korea is one of the highest in the world, with most of the ethnic Koreans migrating to China, the United States, Japan, and countries of the former Soviet Union.
    • South Korea has the world’s highest estimated national IQ, with leading rankings in mathematics, science, problem solving and reading, as declared by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
    • South Korea has the most sophisticated IT infrastructure in the world and is world-renowned in information technology, with leading brand names like Samsung and LG.
    • South Korea also earns credit for being the largest shipbuilder in the world.
    • South Korea is the foremost construction contractor in the world, having built some of the world’s most prominent buildings, like the Burj Dubai and Taipei 101.
    • Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog (Afghan Hound), was created at Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea.
    • The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in South Korea developed the world’s second walking humanoid robot, HUBO.
    • It’s a neat system. Hail a grey or white taxi. And you get a basic car. With a less experienced but still fully qualified driver. Choose a black cab. And you get a bit more luxury and a more experienced driver. But it costs you a few more Won. Whichever way you go the driver will probably be watching the TV in the cab. At the same time as driving you!

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Ancient Palace

  • Korea is fairly expensive compared to most Asian countries, but is a little cheaper compared to other modern developed countries such as Japan and most Western countries. A frugal backpacker who enjoys eating, living and traveling Korean-style can easily squeeze by on fewer than 60,000 per day, but if you want top-class hotels and Western food even 200,000/day will not suffice.
  • Beer 4000, Cocktail 7000
  • Coffee 2650, Coke 450
  • Hamburger 2250
  • Steak in high-class restaurant 30000
  • English Newspaper 500
  • 20 Cigarettes 1200
  • Haircut 7000
  • Karaoke Bar 1200
  • Local Phone Call 50/3 mins
  • Subway ticket 600
  • Public bath 3350
  • National Folk Museum of Korea – 1 hour tour – Adult 3000, Children 1500, Parking 2000
  • Korean War Museumm 3000
  • Everland Theme Park – One day – Adult 37000, Children 26000


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Indoor Market in Iksan

  • South Korea is a relatively safe country, with reported crime rates significantly lower than in Western countries
  • Theft, assault and hotel burglary might happen in major cities such as Busan or Seoul.
  • Nevertheless, violent crime is especially rare and you are unlikely to be a victim of one as long as you stick to your commonsense and do not go around provoking people.
  • Use only legitimate taxis. Illegitimate taxis run even from the airport, and their safety and honesty cannot always be guaranteed.
  • Should you be assaulted or mugged in Korea, DO NOT defend yourself. The police will always take the side of the Korean and you will be expected to pay compensation, and might even face jail time.
  • With one of the highest rates of traffic deaths, Korean motorists will speed through pedestrian crossings, jump red lights and come within a hair-width distance to pedestrians and other cars alike. Even when the light turns, drivers will not stop. So, beware.
  • Police: 112 from a phone and region code-112 from a cellular phone
  • Fire and ambulance services: 119 and region code-119 from a cellular.
  • Emergency-service English interpreters are available 24 hours a day.


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Seoraksan National Park

  • Spring is a great time of year to be in Korea. The temperatures are warm, but not hot and there’s not too much rain either. However, spring is also the time when yellow dust blows over from China. Some days can be horrible to breathe because of this.
  • Summer starts with a rainy season in June and turns into extreme humidity in July-August, with temperatures heading as high as 35°C. Best avoided unless heading to the beaches.
  • Fall, starting in September, is perhaps the best time to be in Korea. Temperatures and humidity become more tolerable, fair days are common and the justly renowned fall colors make their appearance.
  • Winter is a good time to go skiing or hot-spring hopping, and the Korean invention of ondol (floor heating) helps defrost any parts that froze outside. However, January and February can be bone-biting cold due to Siberian winds from the north.

Places to See

Temple in Seoul

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

  • It includes Geomunoreum, regarded as the finest lava tube system of caves anywhere, with its multicoloured carbonate roofs and floors, and dark-coloured lava walls
  • You can also see Mount Halla, the highest in Korea, with its waterfalls, multi-shaped rock formations, and lake-filled crater

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Changdeokgung Palace Complex

  • Constructed in the early 15th century
  • It consists of a number of official and residential buildings set in a garden that was cleverly adapted to the uneven topography of the 58-ha site

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Hwaseong Fortress

  • Constructed at the end of the 18th century, designed with strong defensive works
  • The massive walls, extending for nearly 6 km, still survive; they are pierced by four gates and equipped with bastions, artillery towers and other features

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Mt. Soraksan Nature Reserve

  • Located in the eastern part of the central Korean peninsula, Mt. Soraksan Nature Reserve covers an area of 163.6 square kilometers
  • This region includes many high peaks measuring over 1,200 meters above sea level including Taech’ongbong, the highest peak (1,708 meters)
  • Mt. Soraksan Nature Reserve region is considered to be a floristically diverse area
  • More than 822 vascular plant species have been recorded in the region, including rare plants such as Hanabusaya Asiatic and Abios nephrolepis. It also includes many endangered species of fauna.




Chongbang Falls

  • This 23m (75-ft.) high waterfall is the only one in Asia to plunge straight into the sea. On the beautiful beaches around the falls, visitors can watch the women divers collecting shellfish and abalone.


Popchusa Temple

  • The temple is located within the Mt. Songnisan National Park, northeast of Taejon
  • This is the most popular tourist spot in the central part of the Korean Peninsula
  • Built in 553 A.D., displays famous art works, including the largest bronze statue of Buddha in Asia




Expo Park

  • The Expo Park is a famous tourist attraction where visitors can easily experience Korea’s cultural heritage, science facilities and the beautiful natural surroundings in a single trip. It features the Starquest Pavilion, Technopia Pavilion, Earthscape Pavilion, as well as the “Han-Bit” (Great Light) Tower, constructed to commemorate the Taejon Expo.




Manjanggul Cave

  • At 13.4km(8.4 miles) in length, Manjanggul Cave is the longest lava tube in the world.
  • It has many interestingly-shaped lava stones and pillars along its length.




Everland Resort

  • A theme park in Yongin
  • Everland is South Korea’s largest theme park
  • Along with its main attractions, Everland also includes a zoo and a water park known as Caribbean Bay

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Communication Etiquette:
• Greetings have a strict protocol
– Many will shake hands after the bow
– Mixing cultural styles
– Person of lower status will bow to the one of higher
– Bow initiater says “man-na-suh pan-gop-sumnida”, saying “please to meet you”
– Wait to be introduced during social gatherings
• When leaving say good bye and bow to everyone individually
• South Koreans are extremely direct communicators

Business Etiquette:
• They like to do business with people who they have had a personal relationship with
– It is very important to be introduced by a third party
– Relationships will be developed through social gatherings
– With food and drinking
– Individuals with trust will work hard to please one another
• Contracts are viewed as loose structured consensus statements broadly defining agreement that leaves room for flexibility
• Appointments are necessary and should be made 3 weeks to a month in advance
– Arrive on time for meetings – shows respect for who you are meeting
– Most senior South Korean will enter the room first
– Main purpose of the first meeting is to get to know one another
– Find their needs and challenges
– Don’t remove your jacket unless the most senior South Korean does
– Have written material in both English and Korean
• Business dress is conservative
– Men – Dark suits with white shirts
– Women – dress conservatively and wear subdued colors
– Men should avoid wearing jewelry other than a watch and a wedding ring
• Business cards are exchanged after the introductions and is highly ritualized
– The way you treat a man’s business card will indicate how you will treat him
– Have one side of your card translated into Korean
– Present your card with both hands and the Korean side facing them
– Examine any card you receive carefully
– Never write on someone’s card

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