Where is Korea, South located?

What countries border Korea, South?

Korea, South Weather

What is the current weather in Korea, South?


Korea, South Facts and Culture

What is Korea, South famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: Families rarely have time to eat daily meals together. Fathers often leave early in the morning and return late at... More
  • Family: The family remains an important part of Korean life. The population has been constantly exhorted by the government to “love... More
  • Fashion: For special occasions or holidays traditional clothing is often worn. Women frequently wear the "hanbok", a two-piece, long colorful dress... More
  • Visiting: Koreans do not commonly visit one another unannounced, and arranged social visits are infrequent. Generally, people visit relatives for the... More
  • Recreation: Koreans enjoy traditional sports like tae-kwon-do, a form of martial arts that originated in Korea 2000 years ago as an... More
  • Cultural Attributes: One should be aware of the pervasive influence of self reliance on the Korean psyche. It impacts every aspect Korean... More
  • Dating: Western-style dating is now more common in the South, while parental consent for marriage is essential in both South and... More
  • Diet: Spicy pickled cabbage (called Kimch'i) and rice are the mainstays of the diet around which most other dishes revolve. Meals... More

Korea, South Facts

What is the capital of Korea, South?

Capital Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, is being developed as a new capital
Government Type presidential republic
Currency Won (KRW)
Total Area 38,502 Square Miles
99,720 Square Kilometers
Location Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Language Korean
GDP - real growth rate 2.7%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $36,700.00 (USD)

Korea, South Demographics

What is the population of Korea, South?

Ethnic Groups homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Languages

Korean is spoken in both North and South Korea and is written in a phonetic alphabet created and promulgated in the mid-15th century. While the alphabet is called Hangul in South Korea, it is known as Chosongul in North Korea. Although the Korean language is replete with words adapted from Chinese, the North Koreans, unlike the South Koreans, do not use Chinese characters with Chosongul in their newspapers and publications. They prefer to use only Chosongul, which is sufficient for most needs.

There are also some difference in vocabulary between the North and the South, influenced somewhat by politics and also by the contact each country has had with other nations. Russian, Chinese, and English are taught as second languages in the schools.

Nationality Adjective Korean
Nationality Noun Korean(s)
Population 51,835,110
Population Growth Rate 0.18%
Population in Major Urban Areas SEOUL (capital) 9.736 million; Busan (Pusan) 3.372 million; Incheon (Inch'on) 2.622 million; Daegu (Taegu) 2.447 million; Daejon (Taejon) 1.538 million; Gwangju (Kwangju) 1.503 million
Predominant Language Korean
Urban Population 83.2%

Korea, South Government

What type of government does Korea, South have?

Korea, South Geography

What environmental issues does Korea, South have?

  • Overview: Located on a peninsula squarely between China and Japan, Korea is a mountainous and ruggedly beautiful land of diverse geographical... More
  • Climate: Korea's climate is marked by four very distinct seasons. The winters are dry and cold, with snow usually appearing in... More
  • Border Countries: North Korea 238 km More
  • Environment - Current Issues: air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification,... More
  • Terrain: mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south More

Korea, South Economy

How big is the Korea, South economy?

Korea, South News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Korea, South?
Source: Google News

Interesting Korea, South Facts

What unique things can you discover about Korea, South?

  • According to Korean mythology, Tan-gun, half-human, half-divine and the king of sandalwood, is the ancestor of all Koreans because he became the first king of the people of the Korean peninsula.
  • January 1st is every Korean's 'birthday.' On this day they add another year to their age, irrespective of their actual date of birth. Birthdays are special celebrations, particularly the first and the sixtieth ones.
  • Acupuncture, or the application of very fine needles to specific locations on the body, is a popular treatment for pain and illness in Korea.
  • It is good manners to pass and receive objects with both hands. If you want to take someone's business card, put out your right hand to accept the card and place your left hand under the wrist. You should pass an object to someone in the same manner.
  • Koreans do not wear shoes in a home. It is polite to take off your shoes before you enter a home.
  • Located on the banks of the Han-gang River, Seoul is home to one-fourth of Korea's population.
  • Son Ki-jong was the first Korean to win a Gold Medal in a marathon during the 1936 Olympics. At that time, however, Korea was under Japanese colonization and the medal was won for Japan.
  • South Korea has one of the world's highest literacy rates, 98% among 15 year old children and older.
  • The husband is expected to hand over all or most of his salary to his wife, who manages the family finances.
  • The name Korea comes from the early dynasty name Koryo which means high mountains and clear water.
  • Throughout history, Korea has resisted cultural and political domination from outside forces.

Watch video on Korea, South

What can you learn about Korea, South in this video?

Taekkyeon, a traditional Korean martial art YouTube: Unesco

Korea, South Travel Information

What makes Korea, South a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

The Republic of Korea (South Korea or ROK) is a highly developed, stable, democratic republic with powers shared between the president and the legislature. Korea is a modern economy where tourist facilities are widely available. English is rarely spoken outside the main tourist and business centers.

You can find more information about tourism in the ROK through the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) website (in English) or by calling 1-800-868-7567 from the United States and Canada. The KTO also operates a telephone information service within the Republic of Korea, that you can reach by dialing 1330 (02-1330 from cell phones) anywhere in the country. The KTO telephone service has English speakers and is available 24 hours every day of the year. The Seoul Global Center (SGC) assists foreigners with an English-speaking help line at (02) 1688-0120. The SGC is open from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Crime

The crime rate in the Republic of Korea is low. The crimes that occurmost frequently(e.g., pick-pocketing, purse snatching, assault, hotel room and residential crime)occur more often in major metropolitan areas, tourist areas, and crowded markets. Please use caution in all crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts throughout Korea. Exercise caution when traveling alone at night and use only legitimate taxis or public transportation. Reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim by exercising the same type of security precautions you would take when visiting any large city in the United States.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only is buying bootleg goods illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law, too.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Persons violating the Republic of Korea’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Republic of Korea can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and deportation at the end of their sentence. U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea have been arrested for past use of illegal drugs based on evidence from urine tests and hair sampling. ROK authorities frequently arrest U.S. citizens on drug charges based on suspicious packages sent through the mail or information provided by other persons charged with drug possession or use. Several U.S. citizens have been arrested after accepting international mail packages that contained marijuana-laced items. ROK authorities thoroughly screen international mail for illegal items and substances. See also information on drugs in the section on Special Circumstances under Customs Regulations. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct or using or disseminating child pornography is a crime in the Republic of Korea, but it is also prosecutable in the United States.

Languages

Korean is spoken in both North and South Korea and is written in a phonetic alphabet created and promulgated in the mid-15th century. While the alphabet is called Hangul in South Korea, it is known as Chosongul in North Korea. Although the Korean language is replete with words adapted from Chinese, the North Koreans, unlike the South Koreans, do not use Chinese characters with Chosongul in their newspapers and publications. They prefer to use only Chosongul, which is sufficient for most needs.

There are also some difference in vocabulary between the North and the South, influenced somewhat by politics and also by the contact each country has had with other nations. Russian, Chinese, and English are taught as second languages in the schools.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Hospitals in the Republic of Korea are generally well-equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. High quality general and specialty dental care is available in Seoul. Western-style medical facilities are available in major urban areas of Seoul, Busan, Daegu, and a few other large cities. However, not all doctors and staff in these major urban areas are proficient in English. Most clinics in rural areas do not have an English-speaking doctor. A list of hospitals and medical specialists who speak English is available at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Pharmacies are first-rate, and most prescribed medications, except psychotropic medications, can be obtained with a prescription. See information on importing prescription medication in the section on Special Circumstances under Customs Regulations.

ROK ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment, and the ambulance personnel do not have the same level of emergency medical training as do those in the United States. However, ambulances operated by the fire department (dial 119) will respond very quickly and take patients to the nearest hospital.

Safety and Security

When you travel, be alert to any unusual activity around your home, hotel, or business, and report any significant incidents to the local police. For emergency assistance in the Republic of Korea, dial 112 or, from a cell phone, 02-112.

Public Demonstrations: The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a modern democracy with active public political participation, and political demonstrations are common. While in recent years there has been a decrease in violence associated with political demonstrations, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. You should avoid demonstrations whenever possible and exercise caution if you find yourself in an area with active demonstrations.

North Korea (DPRK):An armistice agreement, monitored by the United Nations, has maintained general peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Tensions have occasionally flared up because of provocative acts by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including ballistic missile tests, nuclear tests, and limited armed incursions into ROK-held territory. Some of these provocations have escalated into geographically limited skirmishes taking place primarily around isolated islands off the northwest coast of the ROK.

The Republic of Korea maintains a high level of readiness to respond to any military threats from the DPRK. Military training exercises are routinely conducted throughout the Republic of Korea during the year and include civil defense drills, which are normally held four times a year. U.S. citizens should stay informed through local media about upcoming military exercises and civil defense drills that sometimes occur at short notice. The DPRK often issues strongly-worded and threatening messages in connection with these exercises. Please see our Fact Sheet on North Korea.

Emergency Preparedness:The U.S. Embassy in Seoul maintains a page on its website with local information about emergency preparedness. Travelers can stay informed by bookmarking this site and following local current events during their time in Korea.

During the monsoon season from June - August and the typhoon and hurricane season from May - November, heavy rains and flooding sometimes occur in the Republic of Korea.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in the Republic of Korea, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The ROK's roads are well paved, traffic lights are functional, and most drivers comply with basic traffic laws. However, the Republic of Korea has a significantly higher traffic fatality rate than does the United States. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists. You should be aware that motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks, and drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. It is safer to use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.

Some traffic laws in the Republic of Korea differ from traffic laws in the United States. Left-hand turns are generally prohibited except where a green arrow indicates otherwise. You may turn right on a red light after coming to a complete stop. Seat belts are mandatory. Children riding in the front seat of vehicles must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child car seat. Passengers on motorcycles must wear helmets. If you are a short-term visitor and wish to drive in the Republic of Korea, you must have an international driving permit issued in the United States by the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). Otherwise, you must have an ROK driver's license.

In all accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian or motorcycle, the driver of the automobile, regardless of citizenship, is presumed to be at fault. Police investigations of traffic accidents usually involve long waits at police stations. Police may take the passport of a foreigner involved in a traffic accident if there is any personal injury or a dispute about the cause of the accident. Criminal charges and heavy penalties are common in accidents involving injury, even if negligence is not proven. If you are arrested due to an accident involving serious injury or death, you may be detained until the conclusion of the police investigation and legal process. When driving in the Republic of Korea, you may wish to carry a disposable camera to document any traffic accidents, even minor ones.

You are considered legally intoxicated in the Republic of Korea when you have a blood-alcohol level of 0.05% or higher. The ROK police actively enforce drunken driving laws and set up DUI checkpoints that are difficult to avoid. All drivers are required to submit to a breathalyzer test. Refusal to take the breath-test can result in cancellation of your license. Driving while intoxicated can result in significant fines and license suspension or even cancellation.

For specific information about ROK driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, you can refer to our Road Safety page. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) or call the office at 1-800-868-7567 and contact the national authority responsible for road safety.

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