The Republic of Korea (herein after South Korea) is a country visited by approximately ten million international travelers every year. With its long history in culture and tradition, the country has a lot to offer to travelers.
Country Name: Republic of Korea (South Korea)
National Flag: Taegeukgi
National Flower: Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon)
Official Language: Korean
Location: Northeast Asia
Population: Approx. 51 million
Time Zone: GMT + 9 hrs (3 hrs 30 min. ahead of Indian Standard Time)
Climate: Continental climate Winter (Dec~Feb) I Spring(Mar~May) I Summer (June~Aug) I Autumn (Sept~Nov)
Electricity: : 220V (60 Hertz, the outlet has two round holes)
Country Dial Code : +82
The Korean Won is the currency in South Korea (Republic of Korea, KR, KOR). The currency notes come in the denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 won bills and 10, 50, 100, 500 won coins. All leading credit cards are accepted at all merchant establishments but some small shops, restaurants and traditional markets only accept cash. To withdraw or exchange the currency, visitors can visit banks and ATMs available throughout Korea. Currency can also be exchanged at leading hotels or private tellers in major tourist areas.
Indian Rupees cannot be directly converted into Korean Won. It is suggested to carry US Dollars which can be then converted into local currency.
Approx. Conversion Rate:
US$ 1 = KRW 1100
INR 1 = KRW 17
To make a phone call to Korea from abroad, first dial 82 (country code for Korea), then the area code (except for the first number 0). Now, dial the phone number you wish to call.
For example: Calling Seoul (area code 02) with 777-7777 as the phone number, dial +82-2-777-7777.
New Year's Day (January 1)
As in other countries, the first day of the New Year is celebrated. Many Koreans visit the coast or the mountains to watch the first sunrise of the year.
Seollal (January 24-26, substitute holiday January 27)
Lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal) is one of the most important traditional holidays of the year; the holiday is much more significant than January 1st. Most businesses are closed, and people take several days off from work to visit their hometown to be with their family. On the day of Seollal, everyone gets up early, puts on their best clothes, and bows to their elders as a reaffirmation of family ties. Feasts are held with specially prepared food such as tteokguk (rice cake soup) and mandu guk (dumpling soup). Korean families enjoy spending time together by playing traditional games such as yunnori (traditional Korean board games), flying kites, or spinning tops.
Independence Movement Day (March 1)
This day commemorates the Declaration of Independence proclaimed on March 1, 1919, while under Japanese colonization.
The21st National Assembly Election Day (April 15)
Korea’s legislative election takes place on the National Assembly Election Day. On this day, region representatives are elected to serve and represent their region for four years as a member of the National Assembly. Reelection and by-election are also held on the same day.
Buddha's Birthday (April 30)
Falling on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, elaborate and solemn rituals are held at many Buddhist temples across the country and lanterns are hung along the streets leading to the temples.
Children's Day (May 5)
This day celebrates children and the hopes for children to be nurtured with love and care. On this day, special events dedicated to children and family take place at city parks, amusement parks, zoos, movie theaters, and many other places.
Memorial Day (June 6)
Memorial Day serves to honor the soldiers and civilians who have given their lives for their country. While memorial services are held nationwide, the largest ceremony takes place at the National Cemetery in Seoul.
Liberation Day (August 15)
This day commemorates Japan's acceptance of the Allies' terms of surrender in 1945 and the following liberation of Korea.
Chuseok (September 30-October 2)
Chuseok is one of the year’s most important traditional holidays. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. As Chuseok is a day set to celebrate a bountiful harvest, it is often referred to as Korean Thanksgiving Day. Family members gather from all over the country for memorial rituals, called charye, at the graves of their ancestors.
National Foundation Day (October 3)
This day commemorates the founding of the Korean nation by the legendary god-king Dangun. A simple ceremony is held at several regions throughout Korea, namely at Chamseongdan Altar on top of Manisan Mountain on Ganghwado Island and Dangunjeon Shrine in Gokseong, Taebaeksan Mountain, Jeungpyeong, and at Dangunseongjeon Shrine in Seoul.
Hangeul Day (October 9)
Hangeul Day is a commemoration held to remember the creation of Hangeul, the country's native alphabet as proclaimed by the publication of Hunminjeongeum on this day in 1446.
Christmas (December 25)
Christmas is observed as a national holiday in Korea as in many other countries. To celebrate the festive season, Christmas trees and lights can be seen all over Korea.
Warm and sunny days with big daily temperature range. Recommended to have light jacket handy.
Temperatures range from the upper 20s to lower 30ºC (80~85ºF). Mid-June to early July falls into the rainy season, so be sure to pack an umbrella.
Although a bit dry and breezy, it is one of the best times to visit in Korea. Due to major daily temperature variations, it is recommended to pack a light jacket.
With average temperatures dropping below 0ºC, winters are very cold, dry and snowy. Heavy coats and gloves are a must.
click here to view the current weather in Korea
Three Kingdoms Period (57BCE~668CE)
Unified Silla Period (676~935)
Balhae Kingdom (698~926)
Goryeo Dynasty (918~1392))
Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910)
Japanese Colonial Period (1910 ~ 1945)
Establishment of the Republic of Korea (1948)
The Korean War (1950-1953)
First designed and built in the 14th century during the Joseon Dynasty, Hanok refers to a traditional Korean house. There are two main attractions of hanoks. The first is one-of-its kind of heating system of 'ondol.' A layer of stone is placed down above the flooring and when heated, the heat spreads up into every room throughout the house, keeping both the floor and the air amazingly warm in winter. Another great feature of hanok houses is their environment-friendliness. The materials needed to build a hanok house are free from chemicals, making it good for health. The columns, rafters, doors, windows and floor are wooden, while the walls are a combination of straw and dirt. The paper to shelter the frames of doors and windows were made from tree pulp. As the building materials used are all natural, hanok houses boast of amazing breathability, deal for escaping the summer heat. It is also said to help in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and other modern skin diseases.
Experience the true culture for yourself through various hanok villages in Korea, including Jeonju Hanok Village, Andong Hahoe Folk Village, Bukchon Hanok Village, Namsangol Hanok Village and Naganeupseong Folk Village.
Hangeul was discovered by great King Sejong in 1446 by seeking the assistance of some scholars to give the common people an alphabet that was easy to read and write. Among the 3,000 spoken languages and 100 alphabets available throughout the world, only Hangeul was analytically invented without influence from any other language. A scientifically progressive alphabet, this brilliant writing system is the only one in the world for which the name of its creator and date of founding are known. Of all Korea's cultural assets, the citizens are most proud of Hangeul and thus designated every October 9th as Hangeul Day, to memorialize and celebrate the invention of the alphabet. In addition, UNESCO inscribed Hunminjeongeum Haerye; The Hangeul Manuscript, on the Memory of the World Register in 1997.
Hanbok is a traditional clothing of Korea. Worn daily up until a century ago, it remains a major symbol of Korea, and is still featured on special occasions and holidays. Having its roots in northern Asia, Hanbok was actually designed to facilitate ease of movement. The basic structure of Hanbok, precisely the jeogori (jacket), baji (pants) and the chima (skirt), was established during the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 BCE- 668 CE), and the design features have remained comparatively untouched to this day.
Hanbok can be categorized into ceremonial and everyday dress, and then further categorized by gender, age and season. Regardless of the differences in these classifications, the basic aesthetic framework of all Hanbok is based around the Korean affection towards openness, need for supernatural protection and blessings, and the Confucian style dress code.
Hansik means traditional Korean food, centred on rice, served together with a bowl of soup and a range of side dishes. Most foods include meat and vegetables as primary ingredients and are soaked in a brine or water rather than fried in oil, making hansik wonderful from health perspective. Hansik's most remarkable feature is the amount of fermented foods, which are found to be wonderful in improving digestion, as well as preventing cancer. The most eminent fermented foods are kimchi (fermented cabbage), ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (soybean paste) and gochujang (Korean chili paste). Popular dishes among international eaters include bulgogi, bibimbap. Bulgogi is a marinated beef or sometimes pork dish that is sweet and tender in texture. The soy sauce seasoning is not spicy, thus making it a fabulous starter dish to hansik. Bibimbap, on the other hand, is a full-fledged meal in and of itself, mixing rice with all types of condiments of one's choice, topped with gochujang for that extra kick.