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Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, South Korea by Louie Nicolo Nimor on Unsplash.

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South Korea Travel Notes

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South Korea might conjure images of catchy tunes, spicy stews, and tech-savvy cities. But beneath the glitz and buzz lies a land steeped in ancient traditions.

About South Korea

South Korea is a dynamic and culturally rich nation with a blend of tradition and modernity, known for its economic success, technological advancements, and vibrant culture.

South Korea's diverse offerings and open approach to tourism make it an attractive destination for travellers from around the world eager to learn about another culture.

From Nomadic Gatherings

Going to South Korea - Waiting With a Wad of Won - Bus to Kyongju - Sightseeing in Kyongju - Nightlife in Kyongju - Changing Money - Kimpo International Airport - Seoul Olympics - Anonymous Solitude - Korean People.

Travel Map Mapping South Korea

Map of South Korea

Map of South Korea

South Korea is a popular destination for visitors interested in its rich cultural heritage, visiting modern cities, and enjoying the diverse natural landscapes.

In Korean, the country's name is Daehan-minguk (Great Han) - the Han being one of the country's major rivers.

South Korea Overview

South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, is a country located in East Asia on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea borders North Korea to the north, and it is bordered by the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east.

Cuisine

Korean cuisine, known as 한식 (Hansik), is famous for its bold flavours, diverse ingredients, and emphasis on fermented foods like kimchi.

Some popular Korean dishes include kimchi, bibimbap, bulgogi, and samgyeopsal.

Culture

Korean culture is known for its unique blend of tradition and modernity.

It is deeply influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shamanism.

Key aspects of Korean culture include traditional arts such as pottery, calligraphy, and hanbok (traditional clothing); as well as modern cultural phenomena like K-pop, K-drama, and Korean cinema.

Economy

South Korea has achieved remarkable economic growth since the Korean War (1950-1953).

It has transformed from a war-torn nation into one of the world's leading industrialised economies.

South Korea is known for its technological advancements, particularly in electronics, automobiles, shipbuilding, and robotics.

Key companies such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG have a significant global presence.

Education

South Korea places a strong emphasis on education, and it is known for its rigorous education system.

High academic achievement is highly valued, and South Korean students consistently rank among the top performers in international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

History

Inhabited since the Lower Paleolithic period, Korea has a rich and complex history dating back thousands of years.

The country was unified under various kingdoms, such as Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, before the Joseon Dynasty established a centralised government in the late 14th century.

However, Korea underwent colonisation by Japan from 1910 to 1945, which deeply influenced its modern history.

Korean Language

The Korean language is grammatically similar to Japanese but has borrowed many words from Chinese.

Politics

South Korea operates as a democratic republic with a strong emphasis on presidential leadership.

The President serves as the head of state and government.

The country has a multi-party system, with the conservative Liberty Korea Party and the progressive Democratic Party being the two major political parties.

Relations with North Korea

The Korean Peninsula has been divided into North and South Korea since the end of World War II.

The relationship between the two Koreas has been marked by periods of tension and occasional cooperation.

Efforts to improve relations, such as the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit, have been made, but issues such as North Korea's nuclear program remain significant challenges.

Visiting South Korea

Visiting South Korea can be an exciting and memorable experience, with its blend of modernity, traditional culture, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural landscapes.

Whether you're exploring historical sites, indulging in delicious cuisine, or enjoying the natural beauty of the countryside, South Korea offers a memorable travel experience for visitors of all interests.

South Korea Highlights

Busan

South Korea's second-largest city, Busan, is renowned for its stunning beaches, bustling markets, and fresh seafood.

Explore the vibrant atmosphere of Jagalchi Fish Market, relax on the sandy shores of Haeundae Beach, and hike up to the panoramic views from Busan Tower.

Be sure to visit the picturesque Gamcheon Culture Village and the tranquil Beomeosa Temple.

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in Korean culture by attending traditional performances such as Nanta (non-verbal percussion show) or a traditional music concert.

You can also participate in cultural activities like wearing hanbok (traditional Korean attire), making kimchi, or learning traditional crafts like pottery and calligraphy.

DMZ Tour

Take a tour to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to witness the stark contrast between North and South Korea.

Visit landmarks like the Joint Security Area (JSA), the Third Tunnel of Aggression, and the Dora Observatory for a unique glimpse into the divided peninsula.

Eating Out

Indulge in South Korea's delicious cuisine, which includes iconic dishes like bibimbap, bulgogi, kimchi, and Korean barbecue.

Don't miss out on street food delights such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), hotteok (sweet pancakes), and gimbap (seaweed rice rolls).

Gyeongju

As the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju is a treasure trove of historical and cultural attractions.

Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and the royal tombs in Tumuli Park.

Don't miss the beautiful Anapji Pond and the ancient observatory of Cheomseongdae.

Jeju Island

Known as the 'Hawaii of Korea', Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination famous for its volcanic landscapes, pristine beaches, and unique culture.

Explore natural wonders like Hallasan National Park, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and the picturesque waterfalls of Cheonjeyeon and Jeongbang.

Seoul

Most journeys to South Korea begin in the capital city, Seoul; a bustling metropolis known for its skyscrapers, shopping districts, and vibrant nightlife.

Don't miss iconic landmarks such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, N Seoul Tower, and the vibrant shopping districts of Myeongdong and Gangnam.

When to Visit South Korea

Check the seasonal weather and plan your visit accordingly, as South Korea experiences distinct seasons with hot summers, cold winters, and beautiful spring and autumn seasons.

Visit Korea:
Travel information from the Korea National Tourism Organisation.

Daehan-minguk - Great Han

The Republic of Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula.

The peninsula was partitioned in 1948, with forces of the United States in the south and the USSR in the North.

Sea of Japan

The Northeast Asia History Foundation are against the sole use of 'Sea of Japan', as commonly used in international cartography, and would like to see a return to the historically referenced East Sea, or at least the simultaneous use of both names - East Sea/Sea of Japan.

News From South Korean

The Chosun Daily is an English-language news website that provides a selection of articles from The Chosunilbo, a major Korean newspaper, and its affiliate, The Chosun Biz, an online news outlet focused on economic and industrial issues, for foreigners interested in Korea.

Nomadic Gatherings

Chapter Two:
"You going to South Korea?" the American shouted across the platform at Shimonoseki. No-one else spoke English.

Seoul

South Korea's capital and largest city is Seoul - host of the Summer Olympics in 1988.

Map of Seoul

Map of Seoul, South Korea

If you're planning a trip to South Korea, the chances are that you'll be passing through Seoul - the capital.

Seoul was given its present name in 1945, and was chosen to be the capital of the Republic of Korea in 1948.

The city was originally founded as Hanseng, in 1392, and became the capital of the Korean Joseon Dynasty; until the Japanese took control of the country in 1910.

The city was renamed Kyongsong the following year.

Rebuilding Seoul

Seoul was heavily damaged during the Korean War in the early 1950's, and many modern buildings were built in the reconstruction phase.

The character of this ancient capital lives on in the restoration work of its numerous palaces and temples.

The bell tower holds a large bronze bell dating back to 1468, and ancient stone wall remains can still be seen in parts of the city.

Where to Stay in Seoul

Hotels in Seoul.

South Korea Travel Guides

Lonely Planet Korea (Travel Guide) South Korea (Insight Guides)

South Korea Travel Guides - South Korea Maps.

Weather in Asia:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Asia.

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