South Korea

Quick Facts

Region: North & Central Asia

Population:
48,422,644

Religion:

Confucian tradition has dominated Korean thought, along with contributions by Buddhism, Taoism, and Korean Shamanism. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, Christianity has competed with Buddhism in South Korea, while religious practice has been suppressed in North Korea. Throughout Korean history and culture, regardless of separation; the influence of traditional beliefs of Korean Shamanism, Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism have remained an underlying religion of the Korean people as well as a vital aspect of their culture; all these traditions have coexisted peacefully for hundreds of years up to today despite strong Westernisation from Christian missionary conversions in the South or the pressure from Communism's Juche government in the North.] According to 2005 statistics compiled by the South Korean government, about 46% of citizens profess to follow no particular religion. Christians account for 29.2% of the population (of which are Protestants 18.3% and Catholics 10.9%) and Buddhists 22.8%.

Language:

Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea, and (along with Mandarin) of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Manchuria area of China. Worldwide, there are up to 80 million speakers of the Korean language. South Korea has around 50 million speakers while North Korea around 23 million. Other large groups of Korean speakers are found in China (around 1.8 million speakers), the United States (around 900,000 speakers), the former Soviet Union (around 350,000), Japan (around 700,000), Canada (100,000), Malaysia (70,000) and Australia (150,000).

Area (sq. km):
98,480 square meters

Time:

Korea Time Zone (UTC+09:00)

When To Travel

South Korea tends to have a humid continental climate and a humid subtropical climate, and is affected by the East Asian monsoon, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called Jangma, which begins end of June through the end of July. Winters can be extremely cold with the minimum temperature dropping below −20 °C in the inland region of the country: in Seoul, the average January temperature range is −7 °C to 1 °C (19 °F to 33 °F), and the average August temperature range is 22 °C to 30 °C (71 °F to 86 °F). Winter temperatures are higher along the southern coast and considerably lower in the mountainous interior.[69] Summer can be uncomfortably hot and humid, with temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) in most parts of the country. South Korea has four distinct seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring usually lasts from late-March to early- May, summer from mid-May to early-September, autumn from mid-September to early-November, and winter from mid-November to mid-March. Rainfall is concentrated in the summer months of June through September. The southern coast is subject to late summer typhoons that bring strong winds and heavy rains. The average annual precipitation varies from 1,370 millimeters (54 inches) in Seoul to 1,470 millimeters (58 inches) in Busan. There are occasional typhoons that bring high winds and floods.

It''s always a good time to travel to South Korea. With four very distinct seasons, Winter (Nov-Feb), Spring (Mar-May), Summer (Jun-Sep) and Fall (Sep-Nov). The temperatures vary dramatically with hot summer and a very cold winter (freezing temperatures). In the winter South Korean's take advantage of the weather for snow sports, while in the summer they can be found on the country's coastline enjoying it's beaches.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Cheongju International Airport Daegu International Airport Gimpo International Airport Gwangju Airport Incheon International Airport Jeju International Airport Muan International Airport Gimhae International Airport Yangyang International Airport

Telephone:

+82

Electricity:

The Type F electrical outlet (two cylinder pins) is most likely to be found in most destinations around South Korea. The voltage is 220v.

Food:

Korean cuisine is largely based upon rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is served often, sometimes at every meal. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and gochujang (fermented red chili paste).

Transport:

We travel by road mostly and the roads are in great condition and very modern.

Shopping:

Although Korea is reputed to be an expensive countries there are some good bargains out there. As well as all the electronic gadgetry available in Korea, there is a wide range of arts and crafts to choose from. If you want quality you will have to spend. The big department stores vary heavily in price as you are sometime subject to paying extras such as high level service, location and interior d├ęcor.

Visa: SOUTH KOREA
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into South Korea. . Most travellers do not need visas for Korea for stays of up to 30 days. You must also have an onward or return ticket.

If you are a male of Korean origin whose name appears on the Korean family register, you may be liable for military service even if you are travelling on your foreign passport.

Useful Words & Phrases

Further Reading

"Korea and Her Neighbours" by Isabella Bird Bishop. "The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History." by Don Oberdorfer South Korea, Lonely Planet Guide.

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