Republic of Korea Country Information
According to DIGOPAUL.COM, Korea, with its picturesque nature, mountains, beaches and rivers, with a rich cultural and historical heritage, is one of the most interesting countries in Southeast Asia in terms of tourism. Here you can see ancient Buddhist monasteries, royal palaces, sculptural monuments, pagodas, archaeological sites, fortresses, folk villages and numerous museums. And the picturesque nature and carefully preserved habitat give the country a special charm.
Main cities and sights
Seoul is the capital and main industrial center, which produces a quarter of the country’s industrial output. Its appearance is determined by both traditional buildings and modern high-rise buildings and complexes surrounding the palace ensembles. In Seoul, examples of ancient Korean architecture have been preserved – the Kuepok Palace with an exotic throne room and the Chandol Palace with a “secret garden” (the place where the royal family performed the ritual of honoring ancestors).
Busan is the main port and the second largest city in the Republic of Korea. Translated Busan means “city among the mountains.” In a pine forest, at the very edge of the city, there is a temple of Pomoso, built 1300 years ago, during the era of the state of Silla. The beauty of the surrounding nature, the mild climate, ancient monuments, and the convenience of sea communication attract foreign tourists to Busan, for whom luxurious hotels and entertainment establishments have been built here.
Jeju Island is the ninth province, just an hour’s flight from the capital. Due to its isolated position and romantic tropical appearance, the island has long been a favorite holiday destination for tourists from all over Korea and neighboring countries. Jeju-do is characterized by a mild maritime climate, with four distinct seasons. The most popular resorts here is Jungmun near the city of Seogwipo.– famous for its close proximity to the Cheongjeyeon waterfalls and clean white sand beaches, deluxe hotels, an aquarium and a botanical garden, as well as Hyepchae beach on the western tip of the island near the city of Hallim.
The first tram line was built by an American company in 1899. In 1909, the Japanese authorities in control of Korea forced the Americans to sell the tram company to Japanese entrepreneurs. However, after 1945 it became Korean property. In 1968, the tram was eliminated, as a result of the development of car traffic in the rather narrow streets of Seoul. However, now there is a revival of the tram, and perhaps soon the trams will again go around the city. The first buses appeared in Seoul only in 1912, later than in some other cities of the country. The first bus line in Korea was intercity and connected Daegu via Gyeongju to Pohang. In pre-war Seoul, the bus service was predominantly suburban, while the main role in intra-city transportation belonged to the tram. However, in the city the population of which then barely exceeded the half-million mark, many did without any transport at all. In noticeable quantities, buses appeared on the streets of Korean cities only after the Korean War. The construction of the metro began in 1970, and its first line was opened on August 15, 1974. Now the Metro carries out about a third of all passenger traffic in the Korean capital. Taxi fleet in 1995 in the capital consisted of 70 thousand cars. About a third of the cars are owned by companies, and the rest are the property of the drivers themselves.
Outdoor markets in Korea are quite popular. Seoul boasts two such markets: Tongdaemun (East Gate) and Namdaemun (South Gate). The Dongdaemun Market at the East Gate is perhaps the largest and most colorful market in all of Korea. There is a wide selection of medical products, shoes, clothing, furniture, household goods, sports equipment and food, as well as a lot of silk goods. The Namdaemun market at the South Gate is a little smaller, but it is ideal for those tourists who prefer to shop close to the hotel. Here you can also find leather, silk and lacquer goods, electronics, souvenirs made of semi-precious stones, gold and silver, as well as very good deals on precious stones. The Itaewon area is very popular with foreigners – 2000 different shops, jazz bars, nightclubs,
National currency: won. There are banknotes in circulation worth 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500 won. Coins in 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 won. Exchanging money on the street is strictly prohibited. When exchanging currency at exchange offices, you must present your passport.
Of the population of Korea, 51% profess Buddhism, 2% Confucianism, 36% Protestants, 11% Catholics.
There are two New Year holidays in Korea – old and new, each of these holidays has its own features and characteristics. New Year begins in South Korea with Christmas. Familiar from childhood, decorated Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, they are Santa Clauses, fuss around the counters with New Year’s cards and gifts. Even snowdrifts at the sides of the sidewalks. Everyone invites each other to their place and prepares for the meeting. Christmas holidays in Korea are much brighter than the calendar New Year, which is not perceived as a holiday: people tend only to use rare non-working days to get to their hometown and meet friends. To visit your home town or village on such days is the most cherished desire of every Korean. The arrival of a loved one from the capital is always a holiday, to see parents in the New Year is a doubly holiday.
- 25 Dec – Christmas
- Jan 1-2 – New Year
- Jan 23-31 – Hallasan Snowflake Festival
- Feb 15-17 – lunar new year
- March 17-21 – Korean Traditional Liquor and Wine Festival
- 9-12 Apr – Cultural Festival – Yong-Am Wang-In
- Apr 30 – May 9 – Yoju Ceramics Festival
- May 5 – Children’s Day May 1 – Clothing Festival
- May 22 – Buddha’s Birthday June 6 – Remembrance Day
- June 16-20 – Kangnung Tano Festival – 15 lunar days of show with ceremonies and dances
- July 17 – Constitution Day
- August 15 – Independence Day
- Sep 11-Oct 30 – Sokho International Tourism Fair
- 3 Oct – National Founding Day of Korea
- Oct 1-5 – Andong Mask Dance Festival
- Oct 1-7 – Nambo Food Festival
- 2-10 Oct – Galla Culture Festival
- Oct 8-10 – Shilla Festival
Get ready to taste delicious food when you visit Korea! From fiery Kimchi, a Korean spicy dish made with vegetables, to Bulgogi (fried marinated beef), Korean chefs offer dishes that will delight anyone, as well as an amazing array of fresh seafood sourced from the rich seas. Exotic lovers can go to the old quarters, which have preserved all the traditions of antiquity. Here are the most expensive “diners” where rich Koreans spend their time. You will not meet a foreigner there: tourists do not know anything about these “points”, and local travel agencies prefer not to show them to them. One of the reasons: it serves a dish that Koreans try not to advertise. So, for example, soup made from dog meat. Exotic lovers can be advised a traditional Korean dish of fresh fish, which is caught from an aquarium in front of a restaurant visitor, cut into small pieces and served raw along with a variety of sauces and herbs. Fans of seafood should order “samson chachzhannab” – rice with shellfish, shrimp, squid and other marine life. And those who want absolutely thrills can ask for a live octopus. It, like fish, is caught from an aquarium. And also cut into pieces. But when you pry the tentacles off the plate with a fork and stuff them into your mouth, they stick to your tongue. Immediately, even incomprehensibly – as in a well-known joke: who eats whom. Europeans are sometimes scared. Koreans love it!