Korea (South) Travel Information

Photo Welcome to South Korea. This country borders North Korea, Japan and China. Separated at the 38th parallel from northern Korea it is a truly remarkable country. The country is dotted with 20 national parks, including the very popular Soraksan, Hallasan and Chirisan parks. It has four distinct seasons, with a wet summer in the middle of the year, and a very cold winter from November to March. Cheju-do off the south coast is the warmest and wettest place in the country. Geographically the northern part of the country is more alpine in terrain while the south is more forest dominated.
Korean society is based on the tenets of Confucianism, a system of ethics developed in China around 500 BC. Confucianism is big on devotion and respect - for parents, family, friends and those in positions of authority. Confucius also emphasized justice, peace, education, reform and humanitarianism. Many Koreans attribute their country's remarkable success in recent decades to this attitude. In modern Korean society, Confucianism is most noticeable in relations between people. The Five Relationships prescribe behavior between ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, old and young, and between friends. If you fall outside any of these relationships, you do not, effectively, exist. Many travelers to Korea find the locals rude: they're probably not, chances are they just haven't noticed you. Once you're introduced to someone, you'll fall within the rules for friends and things will start looking up.
The mainstay of Korean cuisine is kimch'i - grated vegetables mixed with chili, garlic and ginger and left to ferment. Whatever you order, kimch'i will probably arrive with it. The national dish is pulgogi, or fire beef. Strips of beef are marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and chilli and cooked on a hotplate at the table. The most popular street food is pancakes, including p'ajon (green onion pancakes) and pindaeddok (pancake with bean sprouts and pork).

Important: Travel to Korea (South) may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Korea (South) visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Korea
Capital city: Seoul
Area: 99,720 sq km
Population: 48,860,500
Ethnic groups: homogeneous
Languages: Korean, English
Religions: Christian 31.6%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President LEE Myung-bak
Head of Government: Prime Minister KIM Hwang-sik
GDP: 1.554 trillion
GDP per captia: 31,200
Annual growth rate: 3.6%
Inflation: 4%
Agriculture: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit
Major industries: electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential
Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Trade Partners - exports: China 24.4%, US 10.1%, Japan 7.1%
Trade Partners - imports: China 16.5%, Japan 13%, US 8.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.1%, Australia 5%