Visitors to South Korea will discover some of the most beautiful natural surroundings in the world; those who live here are renowned for their love and devotion towards the environment. Despite the dominating countries which surround its borders, South Korea has successfully managed to carve its own identity and retain much of its traditional charm. The currently problematic relationship with North Korea should not put potential holiday makers off as this magnificent country should not be missed. The location has a multitude of attractions designed to allow all to snatch a glimpse of this state’s heritage.
The national language is Korean. Although many citizens have a basic grasp of English it is worth learning some Korean phrases. The language is very difficult to speak, yet, the written language can be picked up to a certain degree. Being able to read some ‘Hangeul’ will make negotiating the city much easier; knowing just a couple of the symbols will aid each visitor’s ability to use road signs and maps.
The national currency is the South Korean won. One pound is worth approximately 1,777 won, one Euro is 1,196 won and one dollar is equal to around 955 won. The won is available in a multitude of different coins and notes.
South Korea experiences many extreme temperatures. Summer is often boiling hot and therefore best avoided for those unaccustomed to such heat. Additionally, the rain which often falls in late June can make conditions even more sticky and uncomfortable. Winter can be extremely cold, although this is the best time of year for those hoping to ski. More tolerable times to visit are spring and autumn when temperatures are pleasant and rain is scarce.
The scenery is perhaps the most popular attraction in South Korea, for it is stunningly beautiful. Mountainous landscape combined with lush greenery continues to surprise those who visit year after year. Songnisan National Park showcases the natural beauty at its best; Songnisan means ‘remote from the mundane world mountains’ and visitors will be able to see that this is not a lie. Here lies Beopjusa, one of the most significant and impressive temples in the entire country. Another religious site worth visiting is Seongnamsa; only the impressive natural location threatens to steal attention away from this magnificent temple. Dadohae Haesang National Park comprises of 1700 islands and is a testament to the country’s marine life. For the best view in the country Dodong Mineral Spring Park is a must; the sunsets here are incredible. Also on the site are the Dokdo Museum and Ulleungdo’s History Museum. Gyeongbokgung is a breathtaking palace which was restored to its former beauty in 1865 after lying in ruin for 300 years. A previous royal residence, entrance to this location also allows visitors to take a tour of the National Palace Museum. The Korean Folk Village provides a glimpse of traditional local life. The site includes a market, school, temple as well as many different forms of housing. Additionally, visitors can enjoy an amusement park, museum and art gallery, which all together provide a fantastic day out.
All who visit will appreciate the opportunity to take some South Korean beauty and heritage back home with them. A particularly popular purchase with holidaymakers is pottery which is uniquely beautiful. There are many pottery villages which have been established to cater for the demand experienced for these renowned pieces. Many allow visitors to watch the artistic process and learn about the heritage behind the practice. There are many traditional items available to purchase; these include embroidery, antiques and Hanbok, the traditional costume worn by locals. Many beautiful variations of this item of clothing are available across the country. Jewellery is also especially beautiful in South Korea; bargains can be found on Jongno's Jewellery Street.
Seoul has fantastic nightlife; visitors will find a vast array of places to tempt them near the American base-camp, although there are fun spots to be found all over the city. A wide selection of bars, pubs and nightclubs will entertain all who visit, but those keen to stick to traditional culture will enjoy discovering the local tea shops.
- Cars drive on the right hand side of the road.
- There are well maintained motorways surrounding the major cities and many road signs provide an English translation.
- Seat belts are essential and driving under the influence of any substance is an arrest worthy offence.
- Drivers must possess an International Driving permit, more than one year’s worth of driving experience and all must be over 25 years old.
Food and Drink
Korean cuisine is heavily influenced by the Asian countries surrounding its borders, but it also manages to create its own distinct flavour and style. All creations are guilt free as the majority of dishes are extremely healthy. Staple ingredients are rice and soup, which are served with a variety of side dishes. True to rumours, Koreans do eat dog, however, restaurants serving the meat are scarse and would need to be actively searched for; no one should worry that their meal will contain this ingredient without obvious advertisement. Local delicacies include the Korean barbeque, which serves both marinated and un-marinated meats. Gimbap is a delicious variation of sushi and there are a vast selection of soups and stews available across the country. Noodles are popular, as are dumplings, pancakes, grasshoppers and seafood. Vegetarians may find eating difficult as Korea does not widely accept that seafood is meat. Monastery restaurants are a safe bet, as they use no animal products of any kind.
Alcohol is extremely cheap in South Korea. One of the most popular beverages is Soju which is the most reasonable drink, but is also very strong. Rice wine is also widely served and many locals enjoy hof, a Korean beer. There are also many different varieties of tea.
Tourist InformationFor more information visit: www.tour2korea.com
All car hire locations in South Korea
- Daegu Airport
- Gangneung Airport
- Gimhae International Airport
- Gimpo International Airport
- Gwangju Airport
- Heliport Airport
- Incheon International Airport
- Jeju International Airport
- Jeon Ju Airport
- Kunsan Air Base Airport
- Mokpo Airport
- Osan Air Base Airport
- Pohang Airport
- Sacheon Air Base Airport
- Seoul Air Base Airport
- Sokcho Airport
- Suwon Airport
- Ulsan Airport
- Yeosu Airport
- Yeosu Airport