Country - South Korea
South Korea Country Information
South Korea is a well-developed nation with a roaring economy marked by a very high Human Development Index!
South Korea is a republic located in the southern part of Korean peninsula in the Asian continent. Seoul is the capital and the largest city of South Korea. The official name of the country is Republic of Korea which has Korean as the official language. The northern border is shared by North Korea and all the three sides are surrounded by seawaters of Sea of Japan (East Sea) in the east, Yellow Sea in the west and the confluence of East China Sea and Korea Strait in the south.
There are about three thousand small islands in the territory of South Korea, most of which are without human existence. The biggest among them, called Jeju-do, is approximately 100 kilometers off the southern coast of the mainland. The Jeju island, as it is also known, is one of the new seven wonders of the world and it is the biggest tourist destination in South Korea attracting about 1.5 crore tourists per year. The island is often compared with Hawaii islands of USA, as an international holiday destination.
The total population of South Korea was 51,446,201 as per the estimates of 2017 with an average density of population 507 people per square kilometer. The per capita GDP (nominal) was an appreciable US$32,775 as estimated in 2018, ranking the country 29th in the world. The rankings of the total GDP of the country were 12 and 14 on the basis of nominal and PPP criteria respectively.
Exports are the strongest base for the economy of South Korea. Well reputed brands like LG Electronics, Samsung, Hyundai are internationally famous and their products are known for high quality and bought across the world. South Korea exported goods worth US$577.4 billion and the value of the total imports was US$457.5 billion with a surplus trade balance of US$ 119.9 billion in 2017. The chief commodities of export were semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships and petrochemicals. The main imports were machinery, electronics, electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals and plastics. South Korea is one of the few countries which withstood global financial crisis and successfully shunned recession in 2008.
South Korea has been consistently gaining prominence in international tourism. The capital city Seoul itself is crammed with a divergent mix of attractions ranging from historical legacy to modern day metro culture.
Gyeongbokgung Palace in the northern Seoul is the largest of the five grand palaces built by the rulers of Joseon dynasty in 1395. The magnificent flat-and-wide palace of Korean architecture consists of royal edifices with 7700 rooms and additional 500 buildings spread over an area of 40 hectares. The complex also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum.
The N Seoul Tower erected on the Namsan Mountain was opened in 1980 and is a communication and observation tower reaching a height of 236 meters is an iconic symbol in the central Seoul. The tower has an observation deck to have a panoramic view of the city and a revolving restaurant to devour the refreshments in style. The Namsan Mountain also has a picnic area to relax and roam about.
Lotte World in Seoul has the biggest indoor amusement park in the world which offers mini trips in hot air balloon-like receptacles to enable visitors to have a bird’s eye view of a major portion of the park. Innumerable shopping stalls, water-rides, merry-go-round trips on horseback-shaped seats, eateries offering a variety of snacks add extra features to the park.
The dazzling beauty of the Seoul city that earned a place in the Guinness Book World Records is the double-decked (1.14 kilometer long) Banpo bridge over the Hans River flaunting a spectacular sight, more particularly in the night. The upper deck of the bridge is flanked on its both edges by 10,000 LED nozzles glowing brightly in rainbow colours that reflect on the water streams jumping into the river. An aerial view of the upper deck in the night will intrigue the viewers to wonder whether the vehicles zip along on the dorsal side of a giant millipede with colourful water jets as its numerous legs.
In addition, there are several worth seeing places in Seoul like Gangnam station, Insa-dong market, Namdaemun market, Sinchon and Hongdae area, Dongdaemun complex and Myeong-dong district are the extravagant shopping centers.
Enhancing the international image in tourism for South Korea, the stunning Jeju island, 100 kilometers away from the mainland, has barged into the list of the new seven wonders of the world. The Jeju island itself is like a mini South Korea showcasing its own set of tourist attractions. The Manjaggul Cave is a fifteen-kilometer tunnel formed by the drain-outs of volcanic lava and embellished naturally with stalactites and stalagmites. The interiors are illuminated by colourful concealed electric bulbs to make the lava tube even more attractive. However, the walkway is restricted to one kilometer only. The Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls is a pleasant sight by virtue of the timeless pellucidity of water being collected in the pond from the plummeting water falls at a height of 22 meters. The pink-coloured carpet of dwarf flower-plants adorns the highest cliff in South Korea called the Hallassan Mountains. What was once an iconic volcano is now a tourist-friendly trekking area which has been divided into various temperature zones based on its climatic diversity. The Jejufolk Village Museum is an artificially built hamlet of 117 cottages to mimic the style of the hutments built in the 18th century. Captivating the minds of kids is the Teddy Bear Museum with a collection of stuffed teddy bears from different countries. The Haenyeo Muuseum in Jeju island has several sets of diorama depicting the brave women divers who are regarded as champions of sea adventures for hunting marine animals. The house is divided into dining room, bedroom and kitchen to make it a more meaningful replica. The Asia’s largest botanical garden, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, is home to more than 1200 plant species from tropical and subtropical regions.
The second largest city of South Korea is Busan located at the southern coast of the mainland. Busan boasts of hosting the Asia’s largest International Film Festival. The city is a center for famous Buddhist temples, skyscrapers, spectacular mountains and enticing beaches. The famous sites of tourism are Haedong Yonggungsa temple, Diamond Bridge, Gwangalli beach, Beomeosa temple and Hurshimchung hot springs to name a few.
Dadohaehaesang National Park, Pyeyongchang County, Suwon, Seoraksan National Park, Andong Hahoe Folk village are worth the visit to have an eclectic experience of culture, religion, architecture and spiritual vibe of the country.
South Korea has been making rapid progress in socio-economic, industrial and cultural aspects making its existence felt strongly by the rest of the world.