South Korea , with its picturesque nature, mountains, beaches and rivers, with a rich cultural and historical heritage, is one of the most interesting countries in Asia in terms of tourism.
After the dramatic split of Korea in the fifties, South Korea became one of the richest and most developed countries in Asia and even in the world. But this, of course, does not mean that South Korea has lost contact with its roots. Like Japan, it knows how to combine the modern with the very traditional. Ancient Buddhist monasteries, royal palaces, sculptural monuments, pagodas, archaeological sites, fortresses, folklore villages, numerous museums with many modern skyscrapers and shopping centers coexist here. The picturesque nature of South Korea and the carefully preserved habitat give this country a special charm.
South Korea: capital. According to thesciencetutor, Seoul is one of the safest cities in the world. It is not only the administrative capital, but also the largest historical, political, economic, cultural and educational center of the country. Seoul is mainly divided into two parts – Kang Buk (north of the Han River) and Kang Nam (south of the Han River). Kang Buk is more traditional, while Cang Nam is full of cosmopolitan life day and night.
South Korea: areas. Insadong area. Located in the city center, this is an area with art galleries, handicraft shops, antique shops, old tea houses and restaurants. Great place to buy traditional souvenirs!
Location: Anguk subway station, subway line 3.
Traditional Korean souvenirs
– ceramic and porcelain dishes
– dolls in national costumes made of ceramics, wood, papier-mache, etc.
– traditional Korean masks made of wood
– souvenir products made of Korean paper: postcards, fans, notebooks, paper lanterns, etc.
– traditional Korean embroidery; boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl
– wooden ducks – a “couple” of ducks is a symbol of marital love
– products made of jade and amethyst
– on Jeju Island: figures of grandfathers made of lava
– and much more – whoever likes what!
The eastern regions of South Korea are considered the main beach area of the country – some of the best beaches in South Korea are located here. Seoraksan National Park, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, in the Seoraksan Mountains, is considered one of the most picturesque places in the world. Thanks to winter sports, the area has become a year-round resort. Apart from skiing, the most popular sports are swimming in summer and mountain climbing in autumn.
This is perhaps the most “international” area where you can meet representatives of different peoples of the planet, there are many nightclubs, shops with clothes of large sizes, restaurants of national cuisine, an American base is located next to Itaewon.
How to get there: Subway Line 6, Itaewon Station Exit 1,2,3 or 4
Busan is the main seaport of South Korea and the country’s second largest city. Among the most interesting places in the city are Yongdusan Park, the UN Memorial Cemetery, as well as the huge Jagalchi fish market and Taejeongdae Park. In the vicinity of the city, Donghae hot springs, Geumgang Park and the temples of Pomos and Thondos are also interesting.
South Korea: population. The population of South Korea leaves about 48.74 million people; the total area of the country’s territory is 100,032 sq. km. The Republic of Korea is located in the center of Northeast Asia.
South Korea: economy. The South Korean economy is often associated with the concept of “economic miracle”. In the 70s. The country’s economy began to develop rapidly. Due to the strong economic growth, Korea ranks 12th in the world in terms of participation in international trade. The priorities in the development of the country’s economy have shifted from the agricultural sector to the industrial sector, and recently continue to shift towards the service industry. In the modern world, Korea is one of the largest players in the automotive and shipbuilding, electronics, textiles and steel markets.
South Korea: location. The Korean Peninsula is located in the eastern part of the Asian continent. Its length is 1020 km. To the west of the peninsula, beyond the Yellow Sea, is China, and to the east, beyond the East Sea, lies Japan. 70% of the territory is covered with mountains. There are 3,000 islands along the coast of the peninsula.
South Korea: climate. The Korean peninsula lies in the temperate climate zone, which is characterized by a clear division into four seasons. Spring is rather short, but sunny and pleasant. Summers are hot and humid, especially in July during the monsoon season. Autumn is a particularly beautiful time of the year, because nature is picturesquely painted with bright gold and red colors. Winters are cold and dry, with occasional snowfalls. Jeju Island, which is located southwest of the peninsula, has a mild subtropical climate.
South Korea: time. The time difference between Korea and Ukraine is 6-7 hours. In summer, it is 7 hours ahead of Kievskoye. In winter at 6 o’clock.
South Korea: telephones and communications. The GSM standard adopted in Ukraine is not valid in Korea, it has its own CDMA system. Phones brought from Ukraine will not work in Korea if you have not booked roaming in advance. To provide cellular communication in Korea, you can also rent a cell phone at Incheon Airport, Seoul, Fr. Jeju. All 5 star hotels have business centers with Internet access, the software usually allows you to decode texts in Russian. You can make internet access for a laptop from the room.
South Korea: shops and shopping. In almost any major city in Korea, you will always find 24-hour Family Mart stores, as well as souvenir shops, department stores, and sports equipment stores. Almost all stores (except the market) accept international credit cards, the most common credit cards are Visa and Master Card.
There are several luxury department stores in Seoul. Lotte Department Stores are the most convenient, both close to Lotte hotels (in downtown Seoul and on Lotte World). Several floors of a wide variety of goods and Duty Free shops.
Youth Clothing Stores:
* Sinchon & Ewha Streets Sinchon & Ewha Streets
are popular with young people due to their proximity to two well-known universities: Yonsei and Ewha. There are many shops for clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry.
* Apkujeong Street
“Apkujeong” is a youth fashion street where you can find all the latest Korean fashion trends. Here you will also find boutiques of famous brands.
Clothing, footwear and cosmetics stores sell goods here at average prices. On the main street of the district, fashionable branded stores are located in a row, and more simple shops are located in the side streets.
Only items labeled “Tax Free Shopping” are eligible for a 10% VAT refund. Most Tax Free Shopping stores are located in department stores or shops in the Myeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas.
To apply for a VAT refund, you need to:
1. Get a receipt for payment in stores with the inscription “Tax Free Shopping”.
2. When leaving the country, first obtain a stamp from the customs service, showing the goods you purchased and the receipt.
3. VAT refund money can be received at the airport, at the Cash Refund Office after customs clearance.
South Korea: currency. The currency in South Korea is the South Korean Won. One US dollar equals approximately 1,130 South Korean won. Currency can be exchanged during working hours at banks or airports (from 9:30 to 16:30) or at any time in hotels. To withdraw cash from credit cards, use ATM Global network ATMs – they are in many major hotels: Hyatt, Paradise…
South Korea: car rental. Those wishing to drive a car in Korea must obtain an international driver’s license before coming to Korea – a booklet in 8 languages with the inscription “International Driving License”. Ordinary Russian rights in the form of a plastic card in Korea are not valid, car rental does not accept them. The roads to Jeju are in excellent condition, the cost of renting an average car is from 60 to 200 dollars per day, depending on the brand and season, however, many of our Russian and even Korean customers note that it is not always easy to navigate the roads of the island. In general, if you are not afraid to get lost and love adventure, do not forget to take an international driving license and book a car rental at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
South Korea: cuisine. If you order a main course, you will be served with a few appetizers in small plates. If you really liked the snacks, then you can ask for a “additive”, they will bring them to you for free. Usually, the more expensive the restaurant, the more varied the appetizers.
In Korea, it is possible (and even customary) to eat rice with a spoon, sometimes in the presence of elders it is even considered impolite to eat rice with chopsticks.
A useful phrase if you want to be cooked spicy is “Anmepke hechuseyo”.
South Korea: language. The official language of South Korea is Korean. Many signboards and signs are also duplicated in English. Most of the youth and tourism workers speak English at a conversational level.
South Korea: visa. A visa to Korea for Ukrainians for a stay of up to 30 days is issued within 8-10 days. The cost of a visa to Korea is $60, and for a group of tourists (regardless of the number of people) – $80. Tour operator in Korea Sitis Travel provides full visa support for its tourists.
South Korea: features of customs control. If you have more than $ 10,000 in cash, expensive equipment, furs, jewelry and other valuables with you at the entrance, then they will need to be declared at customs. In addition, the customs regulations of South Korea strictly prohibit the importation of narcotic drugs and preparations, explosives, communist and pornographic photo/video/audio/literary materials, weapons and ammunition without permission, plants into the country. As for the import of alcoholic and tobacco products, they are as follows: up to 1 liter of alcohol; up to 200 cigarettes / 50 cigars / 250 grams of tobacco of your choice (above this rate, you must pay a fee). Perfumes are limited to 67 ml, and gifts and souvenirs worth no more than 400,000 won (about $350) in a bag.
South Korea: tips. Tipping is not customary in South Korea. The amount on the bill is considered final for payment, however, in some expensive restaurants at hotels, VAT and 10% service charge may be added to the bill
South Korea: electrical network. In South Korea, the mains voltage is 220V. American (2 flat pin) and European (2 round pin) sockets.
South Korea: clothing etiquette. There are no special strict rules regarding clothing in the country.
South Korea: official holidays. The following holidays in South Korea will be interesting:
- New Year 1.01 and on the 15th day of the first lunar month (January-February). The second version of the holiday is the Korean New Year, which is celebrated with huge national festivities, parades and performances;
- May is Buddha’s Birthday, a very important holiday for the locals;
- July 17 – Constitution Day;
- 3.10 – Founding Day of South Korea.
Festivals of South Korea will be no less interesting for tourists , here are just a few of them:
- Every year in August (in 2016, dates 1-9.08), the Busan Sea Festival is held, which attracts up to 12 million (!) Guests – various concerts and performances, as well as water sports competitions await you on the beaches during the holiday;
- In July, the Seoul Automotive Novelty Festival;
- In September-October – the mask festival in the city of Andong – bright performances in traditional masks. This is the perfect activity to experience Korean culture.
- In October – a food festival in the city of Namdo, where you can try almost all national dishes from different provinces of the country;
- In October, the capital hosts the International Fireworks Festival, which brings together all the world’s professionals and present their bright and brilliant performances.