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10 Things About South Korea

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  • Tours to South Korea

Our Expert

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CTS Horizons

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South Korea produces the LG TVs, Hyundai cars and Samsung phones. However, there’s a lot more to South Korea than technology .

1.       Language

The Korean language is one of the most unique and intriguing languages in the world. As one the most ethnically homogenous places on earth Korean is spoken by 99.8% of the population, and although English is taught compulsory through the education system, it is not widely spoken by those over 30. Korean uses a unique alphabet created especially by King Sejong the Great, Hangeul as it is known in the south is made up of 24 symbols, which are then put together to form syllables. Although it can look quite intimidating to an English speaker it is actually the world’s most scientific and simplest alphabet to learn. If you’re feeling ambitious it is worth learning before a trip and the Romanized version of the language is often difficult to read and ambiguous. While you’re doing that it doesn’t hurt to learn a few words of the language if you can, Koreans rarely hear foreigners speaking their language and always appreciate the effort.

2.       Currency

The currency on South Korea is the South Korean Won. Bank notes in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10000, and 50000 are used each with a portrait of a famous Korean adoring it. Coins in denominations of as little as 100 won are available but practically useless in a country where £1 is the equivalent to roughly 6600 won.

For those taking the leap to travel to Korea be warned the preference for using cash or card can vary hugely depending on where you are and what you’re doing. Although Korean’s can be seen swiping their credit cards left right and centre in restaurants and shops, it is important that you carry some cash with you. This is because Korean ATM’s have a habit of eating foreign cards and can be very difficult to find. You never want to be caught without cash.

3.       Culture

Korean culture today reflects the countries often tumultuous and complicated history. It is often difficult to describe and can boggle even the most experienced travellers mind.  In essence todays Korea is a mixture of American commercialism, Confucian social order inter twined with a deeply entrenched sense of nationalism. I would say that Korean culture as it exists now is something that must be experienced rather than read about. 

4.       Best Time to Visit South Korea 

The Korean peninsulas location in the world means that South Korea’s climate can vary hugely throughout the year, from bone chilling Siberian winds in the winter to sweltering humid summers.  The best times to visit the country by far are the spring and autumn.

5.       Internet Access

For travellers in Korea there is no need to fear spotty internet connections as South Korea has the fastest internet speed in the entire world! As published in the report State of the Internet by Akamai Technologies in 2013, the fastest average download data rate was measured at 23 Mbit/s in South Korea, almost six times faster than the world average of 3.8 Mbit/s. Wi-Fi is everywhere in Korea and quite often you don’t even need a password to access it. Any traveller to Korea should have no problems keeping in touch with their loved ones back home as they gloat about their fabulous holiday.

6.       Shopping

Korea has become the fashion and pop culture capital of East Asia. People will fly from Bangkok, Manila and Tokyo just to get their hands on the latest Korean skin care products and sweaters. Shopping is a big part of Korean culture and there are many bargains to be hand. Not to be missed when shopping in Korea is its wide range of skin products considered among the best in the world. Male or female, dry or oily there will be a product available that will make your skin glow with health.

7.       Food

Right now it seems like Korean food is all the range as restaurants with names like Seoul Mates and Kimchi pop up around the country. But the soggy bland kimchi and dry bibimbap served at restaurants in the UK doesn’t come close to representing the delicious array of food Korea has to offer.

8.       Safety

South Korea is one of the safest countries in the world, with a crime rate comparable to that of Japan’s. Visitors to Korea need not worry about crime really, as you would in any country keep an eye on your personal belongings and be aware of your surroundings in crowded areas and you will be fine.

Now for the elephant in the room, the threat of North Korea. Quite frankly there is little to no threat. North Korea will usually make a threat about reducing the South to flames maybe once every month. Even though they certainly aren’t prepared or capable to do so. The media outside of Korea often over exaggerates the problem of North Korea, it is no threat to your travels and probably never will be.

9.       Best Historical Sites

Opinion time! I would say that the best Historical sites in Korea are unarguably those preserved in the city of Gyeongju, the former capital of the Silla kingdom. My personal favourite is the Dabotap stone pagoda, although this is a rather small construction compared it its large flashy counterparts in China, it is an example of purely Korean styles of architecture. Reflecting a time on the peninsula before the interferences of the Chinese and Japanese.

10.    Best Natural Sites

Odongdo located in the small city of Yeosu is a real gem on the Korean coastline. The island floats delicately in the picturesque bay covered in Camellias and trees. Compared to the bustling neon lined streets of most Korean cities the peace and calm you can find on the island of Odongdo can be a welcome relief. 

For more information about traveling to South Korea please call one our experienced travel advisors on 020 3750 1655 for FREE advice or send us a quick email on cts@ctsuk.com Alternatively check out our incredible, handpicked tours to South Korea on our website.      

 

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