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South Korea Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Korea
Area: 99,720 sq km
Population: 48,51 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Seoul
Language: Korean
Religion: Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3%
Government: Republic
Time Zone: UTC+9
Dialing Code: 82
Electricity: 110/220V 60 Hz
Weights & measures: Both the metric system and ancient Korean units of measurement are used

Money & Costs:
South Korean won (KRW)
Average Yearly Salary: $28,100

Budget: USD3-15
Mid-range: USD15-50
High: USD70+
Budget: USD15-50
Mid-range: USD50-150
High: USD200+

Geography: South Korea is a country located in East Asia, on the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. By land, South Korea is bordered with the North Korea, and by water, it borders China, Japan, the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan. South Korea is a mountainous peninsula, which can be divided into four general regions: an eastern region with high mountain ranges and narrow coastal plains; a southwestern region of mountains and valleys; a western region of broad coastal plains, rolling hills, and river basins; and a southeastern region dominated by the broad basin of the Nakdong River. There are 20 national parks in South Korea.

Climate: The climate of South Korea is relatively temperate, with heavier precipitation occurring only in summer, during a short rainy season called jangma. Winters can be bitterly cold. The average January temperature ranges between -7 C and 1 C (19 F - 33 F), and the average July temperature ranges between 22 C and 29 C (71 F - 83 F). The weather in winter is warmer along the southern coast and considerably lower in the mountainous regions.

Recommended clothing: A sweater or a jacket may be required from March to May, and from September to November. During summer (June through August) short sleeved T-shirts and shorts are recommended. If you are going to higher elevations of South Korea, remember that snow is common there, therefore, be prepared for the cold and dress accordingly.

Social conventions: Koreans are very hospitable and friendly, but they may be offended if you refuse their hospitality. Shoes should be removed before entering someone's home. Small gifts are appreciated, and the use of the right hand for giving and receiving is traditional. Koreans can seem very shy, reserved, and resistant of body contact, but only until they get to know you.

Health: There are no special requirements for vaccinations or immunizations for entry to Korea. The standards of medical care and facilities are quite high, but payment for treatment is usually expected in advance. Medical travel insurance is highly recommended. There is a small risk of malaria in some rural areas. Tap water is chlorinated, but it may still cause stomach upsets, therefore drinking bottled water is advised. Food should be well cooked and milk should be boiled before consuming.

Food & Drink: South Korean cuisine is well-known throughout the world. It is largely based on rice, tofu, noodles, vegetables, and various meats. The traditional Korean meals include rice and soups accompanied by a few side dishes, that are plentiful in variety. The most popular ingredients and flavorings are: sesame oil, soy sauce, doenjang (fermented bean paste), salt, ginger, garlic, pepper flakes and gochujang (fermented red chili paste). Some of the most popular food items are barbeques, noodles, stew and dishes prepared from rice. Ingredients and dishes vary from region to region. All the meals are regulated by Korean cultural etiquette. There are no restrictions on drinking alcohol in the country. The national drink of the country is Soju (similar to vodka and worth trying). Rice wine, sikhye, beer, boricha, coffee and tea are the other popular drinks of South Korea.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
Feb 13 Sollal (Lunar New Year)
Mar 1 Independence Movement Day
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Children's Day
Jun 6 Memorial Day
Aug 15 Liberation Day
Oct 3 National Foundation Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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