Settle in for a bowl of tasty bibimbap in the city where it originated, then explore the traditional village of Hanok or one of Jeonju’s many cultural festivals. From food to history, Jeonju is a delicious discovery of Korean culture and heritage.
South Korea certainly has come a long way from its harsh beginnings. The country and its infamously strict northern sister spun away from one another during the Cold War and, since that time, South Korea has emerged as a technological and economic powerhouse. It may be primarily known for its high-tech advances and fast-forward lifestyle, but South Korea also offers an escape into history and spirituality, with ancient temples and soothing countrysides showcasing a respite from the nation’s booming cities.
Currency: South Korean Won (KRW)
Government: Unitary Semi-Presidential Republic
DID YOU KNOW?
- The emigration rate of South Korea is one of the highest in the world, with most ethnic Koreans migrating to China and the United States.
- South Korea has the world’s highest estimated national IQ.
- South Korea has the most sophisticated IT infrastructure in the world.
- South Korea is home to the world’s first cloned dog, Snuppy.
- The world’s second female android, Ever-R1, was developed by scientists from South Korea.
South Korean winters are long, cold and dry, with January being the coldest month of the year. The summer climate is hot and humid, and the hottest time of year is during the month of July. From the months of June to September, there are, on average, two to three typhoons that hit the Korean peninsula annually.
South Korea really came to be during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the clash between the North and South led to the establishment of separate governments, each with its own ideology. The North was led by communist activist Kim Il-Sung, while the South held elections supervised by the United Nations. On June 25 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, sparking the Korean War, which was the Cold War’s first major conflict.
Jeju Island is known as the ‘Island of the Gods’ and is a volcanic paradise in the Pacific Ocean. It’s also a popular tourist attraction for both Koreans and international visitors, who come to explore majestic waterfalls and lava tubes, or just to enjoy the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over the ocean.
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea, as well as the country’s political and economic centre. With its focus on the present and feet in the past, this booming city is the perfect mixture of modern and ancient architecture, and a great place to simply walk around while enjoying the city views.
HAEUNDAE BEACH, BUSAN
Busan is a seaport surrounded by several beaches, the most beautiful of which is Haeundae Beach. Thanks to its convenient location near the city and year-round beach festivals and cultural events (such as the annual Greeting of the Moon and early-January Polar Bear Club), Haeundae is worth visiting in both summer and winter.
SEORAKSAN NATIONAL PARK
With craggy peaks shrouded in mist and famously breathtaking temples, Seoraksan is Korea’s most popular national park. Many of its visitors come in autumn to see the leaves turn colour.
A global financial and business powerhouse, Seoul offers all the hustle you’d expect from one of the world’s biggest cities. But beyond the bustling metropolis, there’s also a world of culture and 2,000 years of history to discover.
Korea’s got plenty of food for cheap to keep your tastebuds happy, and four of these dishes will have you salivating. As for the fifth? Well, that’s up to those with brave palates and serious stomachs.
Slow down, step outside your comfort zone and find inner peace, inspiration and transformation in one of South Korea’s unique Buddhist Temple Stays.