Located in the northeast border of China, South Korea is a very natural and culturally diverse country. You may see many influences of China and Japan in aspects of their culture, which is inevitable because of its close proximity to the two countries; however, you will also see a culture distinctly Korean. This can be discovered through many historical and cultural sites, especially palaces and temples, walking among the people, and even just exploring the capital city of Seoul. Not only is Korea rich with history, but also with a unique music industry that has won the hearts of people all over the world.
Important and Interesting Facts about South Korea
- South Korea is the country making up the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. It is surrounded by the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea and is around 38,502 square miles (99,720 sq km).
- Most of South Korea’s topography is mountainous with its highest point being Halla-san at 6,398 feet (1,950 m). Halla-san is an extinct volcano.
- Around two-thirds of the land in South Korea is forested. This includes the mainland and some of the more than 3,000 small islands that are located on the country’s southern and western coasts.
- The longest lava tube in the world is in Jeju,-Jeju is a fascinating little island with beautiful beaches and scenery and a unique culture. Historically it has been one of the poorest parts of Korea but nowadays it thrives on tourism. Korea is rarely visited as a tourist destination but it is a culturally intriguing and beautiful place.
- There are plenty of bizarre theme parks across the world, but South Korea is home to the crappiest. The city of Suwon boasts not only Samsung Electronics, but the world’s first toilet-themed amusement park. The Restroom Cultural Park opened in 2012.
- The literacy rate is extremely high in South Korea at 98%. Children of South Korea spend their primary, middle and high school years planning for college. As there are not a lot of colleges, they are very difficult to get into.
- Today, the country is split into South and North Korea, but in the minds of most of its citizens, it remains a single nation that cannot be divided.
- South Korea has one of the strongest economies in Eastern Asia. Most of its wealth comes from manufacturing and service industries, such as banking. It exports ships, cars, computers, and other electronic items.
- Although South Korea is joined by land to China.It might as well be an island.And that’s because the only way to get from South Korea to the rest of Asia by land.Is by traveling through North Korea. And at the moment the border into North Korea is closed.So one of the interesting facts about South Korea is that.Everything comes in and out of South Korea by boat or plane.
- Every Korean town we visited had great street art.It ranged from chunky, curved statues of female forms.To pairs of jeans stuffed with flowers. To a huge cup pouring tubes of steel water.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about South Korea
- Speaking of crowded, Seoul is the second largest city in the world,According to the World Atlas, Seoul has a population of 20,550,000, making it the world’s second largest city behind Tokyo.
- Despite a reputation for being uber-macho, South Korean men are obsessed with cosmetics.
- There are even TV shows dedicated to the subject of the manly makeover.
- In Korea, a baby is one year old at birth, instead of zero as in most other cultures.
- Koreans has the same birthday . . . sort of. After the New Year passes, everyone in Korea automatically ages one year, even if they haven’t had their actual birthday yet.So if you’re unsure of what your Korean age is, subtract the year of your birth from the current year and then add one. Or if someone asks your age, you could probably save a lot of hassle and just tell them what year you were born.
- In South Korea, blood is a big deal. It doesn’t just deliver oxygen to the rest of your body—it determines your personality. People in South Korea are automatically stereotyped thanks to their blood type. While this belief originated in Japan, it has taken a firm hold in South Korean culture, and it might even make a difference in who marries whom.
- Everyone wants to be beautiful, especially South Koreans. According to a 2009 survey, one in five Korean women have had plastic surgery, and unlike other countries, there’s no shame in going under the knife—it’s just the normal thing to do. High school girls are often encouraged by their parents to have work done on their faces, and plastic surgery is a common graduation present.
- Korean is considered one of the best well-planned languages in history. Most Koreans also study English.
- The fastest internet in the world.Korea is a technology powerhouse, it makes sense that they are ahead on internet speeds.
- Seoul has DMB. Which is Digital Multi-Media Broadcasting. So South Koreans can watch TV in the car. Or on a mobile phone!
- Korea is one of the highest paying countries in the World to teach English.Teachers can save up a lot of money here. Almost all teaching contracts include your flight to and from the USA, a free apartment, and generous salaries with some good bonuses. If you want to travel, have a college degree and are a native English speaker then you are qualified for practically all English teaching jobs in Korea.
Historical and Cultural Facts about South Korea
- In the past, Japan had a bad habit of invading the Korean peninsula. After several failed attempts, the Japanese successfully conquered Korea in 1910 and ruled with a heavy hand, forcing Koreans to practice Shintoism and to speak Japanese. Things got worse during World War II, when the Japanese military forced nearly 200,000 women, most of them Korean, to work as prostitutes (aka “comfort women”) in brothels across China. On top of that, thousands of Koreans were tortured in the infamous Unit 731.
- Korea regained its independence following Japan’s surrender to the United States in 1945.
- From 1963 to 1979, South Korea was ruled by dictator Park Chung-hee, and under Park’s regime, women’s clothing was heavily regulated. It was illegal for women to wear skirts ending twenty centimeters above the knee or higher, and schools strictly enforced the law by having teachers measure skirts before class. (The codes were so rigid that even women’s hair length was determined by law).
- Korea was split into North Korea and South Korea after WWII in 1948 and North Korea became a communist country and South Korea did not.
- People have been living in Korea for at least 10,000 years. Archaeologists believe the ancestors of today’s Koreans came from Mongolia and Siberia.
- Introduced in the early 20th century by Christian missionaries, baseball has become one of the most popular pastimes in South Korea, and there are several interesting differences between “yagu” and the American version.
- Drinking is an important part of South Korean society. It’s how people socializeand get to know each other. At least once a month, and sometimes even once a week, Koreans go out to eat and drink with their coworkers. These events are known as “hoesik” and involve a lot of alcohol.
- Koreans can’t stand red ink. Well, when a South Korean has shuffled off this mortal coil, his or her name is written in a family register and on funeral banners with red ink. Some believe the red ink drives away demons and protects the dead, but if you write the name of a living person in red, you get the reverse effect. So if you’re ever signing a contract, writing a letter, or grading a paper, play it safe and use black instead.
- In South Korea, there’s a right and wrong way to shake hands, and it has to do with status. One-arm handshakes are casual, and in certain circumstances, they can imply superiority. If you’re shaking hands with a buddy or someone your age or younger, feel free to use one hand. But if you’re meeting someone older or someone in a position of authority, you’d better use two. (On the flip side, it’s okay for seniors to use one hand. They outrank you). So if you ever shake hands with your South Korean boss, you need to prop up your forearm with your free hand. A small bow would be nice, and always look into the eyes. After all, good manners are important, even if you’re the richest man in the world.
- The people of South Korea are known for being very nice and extremely respectful of their elders. At times they may seem rude, but this is nothing personal just thousands of years of tradition. They also are very pleased when others wish to learn their language and are generally happy to help.
- Koreans’ lives are heavily influenced by Confucianism, a Chinese philosophy that teaches respect and morality.
- At a meal, it is important not to finish your plate. It would indicate that you are still hungry and that the host did not provide enough for you. The host will offer more food a number of times. It is best to refuse twice before accepting more.
- The number ‘4’ is considered to be unlucky, This is actually true in many parts of Asia because the number four is a homonym with the word death in Chinese. For this reason, many countries in Asia consider the number to be extremely unlucky. So much so that many hotels skip the fourth floor.