South Korea Travel Guides


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South Korea

 

The Republic of South Korea is located in East Asia. It comprises the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. The only bordering country is North Korea. The terrain is mostly hilly and mountainous, with wide coastal plains in the west and south.

 

Korea had been an independent kingdom for most of its history. Japan occupied Korea following its victory in the Russian-Japanese War in 1905. Following WWII, the southern half of the Korean Peninsula became a republic, while the north of the country became a Communist-style of government. During the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, the United States and other United Nations forces defended S. Korea from attacks by N. Korea , which were supported by the Chinese. In 1953 an armistice was signed which split the Peninsula at a demilitarized zone. South Korea has, since the split with the North, managed to do very well economically. However, it has managed to combine the modern with the traditional.

 

The population is comprised of mainly homogenous people, with the exception of about 20,000 Chinese. The main religions are Christian and Buddhist, with some Confucians, Shamanist and others. Korean is the main language, although English is widely spoken and understood.

 

Seoul , the capital, is a big, modern and sophisticated city next to the Hangang River . Despite its modern scycrapers, it too has managed to keep many of the old traditions from its long history. It has a population of approx. 20,000,000. Many of the old temples and historic royal places are popular attractions. Other major cities are Pusan , Inchon and Taegu.

 

Seoul has been the capital of Korea since the fourteenth century. Some of the old city gates still remain. The South Gate is particularly impressive, and is situated in the heart of the city. The old city is a must-see for visitors, with its palaces, museums, tombs, temples and pavilions. A popular place to visit is the Secret Garden in the Changdok Palace . For a good overview of the city visitors may wish to take a bus tour which covers all the major points of interest.

 

The 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul gave birth to a great transit system with all information shown in English. Taxis are widely available, but can be costly. The Olympic Stadium is an interesting place to visit, where there is also a shopping mall, skating rink and amusement park. For shoppers there is everything, and although the malls can be a bit pricey, there are less expensive areas to shop in the city. There is just about every type of dining experience you could wish for, and of course a visit to a traditional tea-house should not be missed.

 

For skiers and snowboarders there are lots of ski resorts and areas open during the winter snow season, from November to March. After a day on the slopes a trip to one of the many hot springs areas is a wonderful treat. Some of the hot springs have full resort areas with accommodation and entertainment.

 

Seoul also has some wonderful beach areas and islands for those wishing for some water activities, and for nature lovers. Jungmun Beach has long sandy beaches and caves. The conditions here make it a popular spot for windsurfers and other water sports enthusiasts. Hongdo Island is a nature reserve area and is also a Natural Monument . It has spectacular scenery with cliffs and rocks, sea and forest areas. Geojedo Island is the second largest island and has beautiful scenery. Oeda Paradise Island is another place with breathtaking landscapes, and beautiful botanical gardens with sea views.

South Korea has something for everyone, whether you enjoy golf, horseback riding, beaches or mountains, shopping, or great nightlife and entertainment.

 

Weather / Climate
The climate in South Korea is regarded as temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter (during the monsoon season, known as ‘jangma’). There are four distinct seasons. The summers tend to be hot and humid, whereas in winter the temperatures can go to below freezing although they often bring blue skies. The autumn and spring tend to have the more comfortable temperatures for visiting.

 


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