South Korea Key Facts
100, 210 km²
51, 302, 044
South Korea Location
For South Korea travel insurance, select Asia Region
International Calling Codes
South Korean won
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In South Korea they drive on the right side of the road
When is the best time to visit?
The best times to visit Korea are spring (from late March until early May) and autumn (mid September until early November). Spring offers pleasant temperature and not much rain, and the island's trees come to life in spectacular colors. Autumn, after the rainy season, is also very pleasant, perhaps a bit colder at times than spring. During this time the country prepares for winter, and the colors around the island are stunning.
Airports (9 international, 12 domestic), trains, highways, buses, ports and harbours.
World Heritage Sites
- Changdeokung Palace Complex, a stunning example of Far Eastern palace architecture and design that blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.
- Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites, which are cemeteries dating back to the 1st millennium BC.
- Gyeongju Historic Areas, which contain outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art in many forms from scripture to architecture.
- Jaeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks, a truly remarkable collection of 80,000 engraved woodblocks created between 1237 and 1248.
- Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong, both founded between the 14th and 15th centuries and the best representatives of historic clan villages in the Republic.
- Hwaseong Fortress, an outstanding example of military architecture of the 18th century.
- Jongmyo Shrine, which is the oldest and most authentic of the preserved Confucian royal shrines.
- Namhansanseong, a powerful symbol of Korean sovereignty that contains a variety of military, civil, and religious buildings.
- Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, a collection of 40 tombs in 18 different locations built over a period of 500 years.
- Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple, containing a monumental Buddha statue that is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist art.
- Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, a site not only of amazing natural beauty, but also important for the study of the planet and its features and processes.
Average Annual Temperature
Average Annual Rainfall
Korea has four distinct seasons. The winter months from November until March tend to be fairly cold, with a good chance of snow. Temperatures in winter hover around 0 to -20 in inland regions. Spring, which lasts from late March until early May, brings with it warmth and a little bit of rain. The Summer months from mid-May until September bring hot weather and a lot of rain, making it quite humid altogether. Korea is affected by the East Asian monsoon, and the months of July and August do see massive downpours. Autumn, which starts in late September and lasts until November, is again very pleasant with warm temperatures in the 20s and some rain.
- January 1 - New Year's Day
- February 18, 19&20 - Seollal Holiday
- May 1 - Labor Day
- May 5 - Children's Day
- May 25 - Buddha's Birthday
- June 6 - Memorial Day
- August 15 - Liberation Day
- September 26 - 29 - Mid-Autumn Festival
- October 3 - National Foundation Day
- October 9 - Hangeul Proclamation Day
- December 25 - Christmas Day
Why Visit South Korea?
South Korea has been a popular tourism destination within Asia for years, and slowly is being discovered by the rest of the world. Home to great food, friendly people, an amazing cultural heritage and spectacular nature scenes, South Korea should be on everybody's destination list.
Things To Do In South Korea
- Visit Seoul.
- See the infamous Demilitarized Zone.
- Spend a romantic weekend on the island of Jeju.
- See Seoraksan Mountain and other UNESCO Heritage Sites.
- Steam in a Korean Sauna.
Travel Tips For South Korea
- South Korea offers a unique way of visiting: the Rail Cruise. If you are planning on visiting several locations, check out this line of luxury trains.
South Korean Food
Korean cuisine consists of a wonderful mix of spices and fermented dishes, which can take a little bit of getting used to if you have not had it before. Nothing exemplifies this style of cooking more than Korea's national dish: Kimchi, which is fermented cabbage in a spicy chili sauce, and is part of almost every meal. You will generally find that rather than having one large plate of food, a meal consists of several components each neatly placed in their separate bowls. For tourists the most popular and familiar style of Korean cooking is the famous 'Korean barbecue', which consists of various marinated and unmarinated meat cuts cooked on a charcoal brazier at the table.
Koreans, similar to all Asian nations, are also big fans of rice, and you will even find a Korean style sushi called 'gimbap', with the main difference being that Koreas flavor the rice with salt and sesame oil instead of the sugar and vinegar combination used in Japan. Noodle dishes are also popular in Korea and a common fast food. Naengmyeon are chewy buckwheat noodles served in a cold beef broth and you may encounter them at the end of a traditional Korean barbeque. For something different, try Japchae, which are noodles made from yam giving them quite a unique flavor. For adventurous eater, make sure to have some raw octopus, which is sliced to order but keeps on wriggling for a while making eating it very interesting. Another local delicacy is sea squirt, which have their own unique flavor.
South Korea Travel Safety and Warnings
While Korea is a very safe place in terms of crime, be prepared for a mild dislike of foreigners. As a general precaution, make sure you have up-to-date travel insurance for Korea.
About South Korea
The Republic of South Korea has long been a hidden gem of Asia and a favorite tourism destination in the region. In fact, with 14.2 million visitors in 2014, South Korea is the 19th most visited country in the world.
It’s only recently that more Westerners have started to explore the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and come back with tales of this fabulous country.
With millennia of cultural history, beautiful beaches, top ski resorts, and a fantastic cuisine, it’s easy to see why South Korea is becoming so popular. Get your passport, organise travel insurance for South Korea, and go explore and discover.
Perched between China and Japan lies the beautiful Republic of South Korea. Legend has it that Korea was founded in 2333 BC, and when you see the marvelous architecture, shrines, and temples, it’s not difficult to see millennia old traditions at work. Nothing exemplifies the age-old traditions contrasted with modern technology more so than the nation's capital: Seoul.
Located in the north of the Republic, Seoul is home to 11 million people and a truly amazing city to visit.
You’ll find various palaces scattered around town, from Gyeongbok-gung, the first palace used by the Joseon Dynasty, to Changdeok-gung, which was built in 1405, and Changgyeong-gung, the summer palace for the Kings of the Koryao dynasty.
There are also lots of temples and shrines that are worth visiting, and if you have a day to spare, make sure to visit Seoul's amazing array of different parks.
Seoul is also home to various amusement parks, such as Lotto World and Everland (the Korean version of Disneyland).
North of Seoul is North Korea and the internationally famous Demilitarized Zone, which separates North and South Korea. The DMZ is an interesting place to visit, be aware though that this is a very serious place. There is a strict dress code, photography is not permitted, and neither are gesturing or pointing. Also make sure to have South Korea travel insurance before coming to the DMZ.
A popular destination for tourists is the Gangwon province, located in the northeast of South Korea. This area consists mostly of mountains and is one of the most beautiful areas of South Korea.
Here you’ll find Korea's favorite mountain: Seoraksan. Due to its abundance of plant and tree life, Seoraksan changes colors with the seasons, making it an absolutely spectacular site.The park also offers some great hiking routes. In the region you’ll also find several temples and fortresses, which offer stunning views of the National Park.
Around the cities of Samcheok and Donghae are a series of caves that are worth exploring, with probably the most famous being Hwanseon Cave, which is the largest limestone cave in Asia and home to many rare species. Before doing any major cave exploration though, get your travel insurance sorted for travel to South Korea.
The south of South Korea offers a very different experience from the north. From skiing resorts and mountains, the scenery changes abruptly to offer hundreds of small, beautiful islands dotted around the southern coast, and if you head out to sea a bit you’ll find Jeju.
The volcanic island of Jeju is the honeymoon capital of Korea, and while it does not have wide range of cultural offerings, it does offer great scenery and around springtime an amazing array of wild flowers bath the island in color.
While not yet as famous as Japanese or Chinese cuisines, Korean food is slowly spreading around the world. The flavors may take a bit of getting used to, but they do prove to be quite addictive.
The single most famous dish of South Korea is probably Kimchi, which is fermented cabbage in a chili sauce. Korean barbecue is also quite popular, though more with the tourists than the locals.
Do make sure to eat seafood when you are in coastal regions, as the variety and freshness of it are absolutely wonderful.
Korea is quite a safe place for travellers, and there is little to worry about. Do make sure to be well behaved when visiting the DMZ, but otherwise travellers can truly feel free to explore and discover.
South Korean public transport is very well developed, and you can easily travel around most of the country by train. If you are planning on staying for a while, it may be worthwhile to get a rail pass, as train travel can become expensive.
For more information on Korea, visit the South Korea Tourism Website.
Banner photo credit: KOREA.NET - Official page of the Republic of Korea via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA