WHY TO VISIT SOUTH KOREA
The Land of the Morning Calm is now in full economic development, after the devastating war in the beginning of the Fifties. A new destination for European tourism, South Korea joins a dynamic modernity with traditional ancestral practices. It has moreover a sumptuous nature that Koreans venerate and which strongly contributes to their identity.
Seoul, the capital city, will surprise you by its contrasts: its palaces and pagodas, its park with its frescos paying homage to independence, the tower of Seoul and the many attractions for tourists including the large southern door, Namdaemum, first national treasure.
From there, you should visit the popular Korean Village, an astonishing place where you will discover different architectural styles and many craftsmen whom you will see at work. There is also a market, a Buddhist temple, a Confucian school, but also processions and dance displays. Another superb place in the centre of the country, the National park of Songnisan, is an ideal place for an excursion, and is home to the splendid temple of Beopjusa, built in 553 B.C., with its fabulous and enormous bronze Buddha that is 33 metres high.
On the north-eastern coast, you will not be able to resist the small white sand beaches appearing from between the rocks, and the more adventurous visitors will wish to visit the island of Ulleungdo in the East with its mountains and forests, its abrupt cliffs and its villages scattered on the plains, to explore by foot or by boat.
WHAT TO SEE IN SOUTH KOREA
Top destinations in South Korea are:
- Seoraksan National Park
- Jeju Island
- Andong & Hahoe Folk Villages
- Dadohae Haesang Maritime National Park
- The Demiliterized Zone (DMZ)
WHEN TO GO TO SOUTH KOREA
Best period to visit South Korea is from April to July.
The climate of the country is divided into four characteristic seasons. In summer the monsoon occurs, between November and March the winter brings a significant lowering of temperatures; it can reach -15°C in the mountains which occupy two thirds of the territory.
The autumn is undeniably the most beautiful season to visit South Korea, this period profits from an agreeable amount of sunshine and superb landscapes.
The winter will be appreciated by those who are not dissuaded by the cold and harsh weather. The summer is often very hot and wet, and spring is pleasant but attracts many tourists.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of South Korea.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH SOUTH KOREA
For your travel, the buses and the trains are comfortable and safe, and it is undoubtedly the best way for travelling inside the country.
by plane, main airports are
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SOUTH KOREA
country entry requirements: passport + visa (EU citizens do not need a visa, check your visa requirements)
health tips & vaccination: none
local currency: South Korean Won
local time zone: GMT+9
electricity: type C and F (220,100 V, 50-60 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN SOUTH KOREA
typical food in South Korea
- Bibimbap: A bowl of boiled rice mixed with vegetables, chilli peppers, meat and an egg
- Kimchi: A beloved funky-flavoured side dish made from fermented Chinese cabbage, turnips, onions, salt, fish, chestnuts and red pepper
- Bulgogi: Also known as Korean BBQ, Bulgogi is thin slices of marinated beef cooked on a table-top grill
- Grilled galbi: Beef short ribs marinated in ganjang (Korean soy sauce)
- Haemultang: A spicy stew made with red pepper paste and an assortment of seafood and vegetables
- Chijimi: A savoury vegetable pancake
- Tteokbokki: This spicy snack of sticky rice cakes in a chilli sauce is a popular Korean street food
- Soju: A clear vodka-like spirit usually distilled from rice or sweet potato
- Hite: This mild-flavoured lager, along with beer brands Cass and OB, dominate the Korean market
- Makgeolli: A low alcohol milky liquor made by fermenting steamed rice and water
- Ginseng wine: A strong and sweet wine, similar to brandy, believed to have medicinal properties
- Japchae: noodle dish made up of stir-fried sweet potato, thinly shredded vegetables, beef, and a hint of soy sauce and sugar.
- Hoeddeok: flat, circular dough that is filled with a mixture of cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and small pieces of peanut and cooked on a griddle
- Ddukbokkie: spicy cylindrical rice cakes, triangular fish cake, vegetables, and sweet red chili sauce
- Seolleongtang: hot soup made from ox bones, ox meat and briskets, often seasoned with salt, ground black pepper, chopped green onions, or minced garlic according to the consumer’s taste
- Soondubu Jiggae: served in a large stone bowl, soondubu jiggae is a common spicy Korean stew generally made of dubu (tofu), vegetables, mushrooms, seafood, beef or pork, and gochujang (chili paste).
- Samgyeopsal: grilled slices of pork belly meat that are not marinated or seasoned
- Haemul Pajeon: pancake-like dish made predominantly with green onions, egg batter, wheat flour, and rice flour, haemul pajeon incorporates seafood (usually oysters, shrimp, squid, and clams) to the common pancake
- Hobakjuk: porridge made from steamed pumpkin and glutinous rice that has been soaked in water
- Naengmyeon: cold noodle dish that consists of long, thin noodles, cucumbers, slices of Korean pear, slices of beef and a hard-boiled egg. The noodles are often made of buckwheat, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, but can also be made of arrowroot and kudzu, depending on the type of naengmyeon
- Soondae: dish made of pig’s intestines stuffed with several ingredients such as noodles, pork blood, and barley
- Samgyetang: soup made of chicken, garlic, rice, scallion, Korean jujube, Korean ginseng, and spice
souvenirs from South Korea
- hand-tailored clothes
- Korean pillows, embroidered with traditional symbols and flowrs and filled with buckwheat husks
- dojang seal stamps
- Hanbok traditional dress
- Gim, packed roasted seeweed
- Tteokbokki snacks
- Buchae, handheld fan that folds up
- Hanji paper goods: lamps, fans, calligraphy rolls, cards, umbrellas and even clothes
- Wedding Ducks, wooden ducks that look like duck decoys
- Wooden Spoon and Chopsticks Set
- Silk Coin Purse
- Bamboo Flute
- Tobacco Smoking Pipe
- boseok-ham, mother-of-pearl ornated jewelry boxes
- tal, traditional Korean masks used in ceremonies and rituals
- Soju, famous traditional Korean alcohol drink
- Makgeolli, fizzy white alcoholic beverage
- Korean Celadon Chinaware
How are you?: Jal jinaess-eoyo?
Thank you: Gomabseubnida
What is your name?: Dangsin-ui ileum-eun mueos-ibnikka?
How much is it?: Eolmayeyo?