South Korea Overview


Official name of the state

Republic of Korea.




As a country located in Asia according to naturegnosis, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) is bordered to the north by the Demilitarized Zone, which separates it from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), to the east by a sea called both the Sea of Japan and the East Sea, to the south by the East China Sea and in the West to the Yellow Sea. There are numerous islands, bays and peninsulas in the south of Korea. The volcanic island of Cheju do lies off the southwest coast. Here is the highest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan with almost 2000 m height.

Most of the country is hilly or mountainous. One third of the area consists of fertile plains, where the majority of the population has settled. Most of the rivers originate in the mountains to the east and flow west and south into the Yellow Sea. The Naktong River flows near the port city of Pusan. The east coast is rocky, here the mountains rise steeply from the sea.


Presidential republic since 1948. Constitution of 1948, last amendment 1987. National Assembly (Kuk Hoe) with 300 members. Direct election of the head of state every 5 years. In 1991 North and South Korea signed a non-aggression pact in Seoul. Since 2000 policy of rapprochement between the two states. Independence from Japan since 1945.

Head of state

Interim President: Hwang Kyo Ahn, since December 2016.

Head of government

Kim Byong Joon, since November 2016.


220 V, 60 Hz. Two-pole plugs are in use.

Time zone

Korea Standard Time: CET +10

South Korea Overview



In the big cities there are “duty-free shops for tourists” where you can shop duty-free with foreign currency and on presentation of your passport.

Tax refunds are available at airports, at some ports and at Global Blue offices in Seoul (more information at


Tailor-made clothing, sweaters, silk, brocade, leather items, gold jewelry, precious stones, silver, ginseng, folklore dolls, brass objects, musical instruments, pottery, lacquer work, wood carving, wickerwork, screens and scrolls. In department stores the prices are fixed, in shop galleries and in markets you can bargain.

Opening hours

Mon-Sat 10.30am-7.30pm (shopping centers). Small shops and markets: 10.30am-10.30am.


In the big cities there are “duty-free shops for tourists” where you can shop duty-free with foreign currency and on presentation of your passport.

Tax refunds are available at airports, at some ports and at Global Blue offices in Seoul (more information at



New night clubs, variety shows, restaurants, theaters and beer cellars are opening up in Seoul, especially in the It’aewon entertainment district; there are also numerous cinemas. Operas, concerts and recitals are held in the National Theater. In the Drama Center and the Korea House (Theater Restaurant) to performances of classical Korean music, dances and plays can be seen. The two English-language daily newspapers in Korea contain a calendar of events. There are several casinos.




There are numerous modern tourist hotels that are registered with the government in major cities and resorts. Almost all rooms have a bathroom, heating and air conditioning. Most hotels offer dining rooms, conference rooms, bars, souvenir shops, cocktail bars, hair and beauty salons, and leisure and fitness facilities.

The classification is based on standard and service offer. The hibiscus flower, the national flower of Korea, serves as a symbol of quality. The classification ranges from 5 (luxury class) to 2 hibiscus flowers (3rd class). Further information from the Korea National Tourism Organization KNTO (see addresses) or the Korea Hotel Reservation Center,PO Box 1099, Fort Lee, NJ 07024. Tel: (845) 426 73 35. (Internet: A service surcharge of 10% and 10% VAT are included in the hotel bill. Tipping is not common.


There are tent sites across the country. For more information, contact the KNTO Tourist Office.

Other accommodation options

There are currently around 30 youth hostels in Korea, mainly in Seoul, Kyongju, Pusan, Puyo and Sokcho. Youth Hostel Association address: Korea Youth Hostel Association, 6th Floor, Semin Building 40-6 Bangi-dong, ongpa-gu, Seoul 138-050. Tel: (02) 725 30 31. (Internet:



No religion (49.3%), Buddhists (23.2%), Christians (26.3%), Confucians (1%), Chondo-gyo and others.

Social rules of conduct

Manners: Before entering a Korean house, one should take off one’s shoes. Small gifts are common. According to traditional manners, you only use your right hand for giving and receiving.

Clothing: The clothing can be quite casual and comfortable. The rural population wears traditional clothing: men wear the hanbok, a short jacket, wide trousers and the kat – a tall, dark hat with a round brim; Women wear the Chima-jeogon, a very wide silk dress with a chogori, a bolero-like jacket with long sleeves.

Tipping is not common in Korea. In luxury hotels and some restaurants, a service charge of 10% is included in the bill.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in public places and in public spaces such as cafes, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, public transport, train stations, airports, children’s playgrounds, motorway service stations, in all parks and within a 50 meter radius Schools banned around.


Best travel time

Temperate climate, the hottest season is the rainy season from July to August, the coldest is in December and January. Spring and autumn are mild and mostly dry and therefore the best time to travel.


Area code +82 Area (square km) 99 720 Population 49 115 196 Population density (per square km) 493 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 119

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