South Korea features quantity of beautiful national parks, remote beaches, islands in the south, and rugged mountain peaks make Korea a stunningly diverse country and one that is great for outdoor adventures. Tradition juts up against technology as skyscrapers and temples coexist.South Korea is the world's seventh largest importer and eigth largest exporter, driven by high-tech multinationals such as Samsung, Hyundai-Kia and LG. A highly advanced information society, South Korea has the world's fastest Internet connection speed. Its pop culture has considerable influence in Asia and expanding globally in a process called the Korean Wave.
Geography: South Korea is located in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula It shares land borders with North Korea to the north, and oversea borders with Japan to the east and China to the west. South Korea climate Moderate climate with four seasons, making any season a fine time to visit as long as you wear appropriate clothing. The hottest part of the year is during the rainy season between July and August, and the coldest is December to February. The mountainous peninsula is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west, and Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east. Its southern tip lies on the Korea Strait and the East China Sea.
Nature: Most of the South Korea consists of hills and mountains with the 30% of flat plain home to the majority of the population and cultivation. Most rivers rise in the mountains to the east, flowing west and south to the Yellow Sea. The Naktong River flows into the Korea Strait near the southern port of Busan, Korea's second largest city after Seoul. The eastern coast is rocky and steep with mountains rising from the sea. Lowlands is located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area. South Korea has 20 national parks and popular nature places like the Boseong Tea Fields, Suncheon Bay Ecological Park, and the first national park of Jirisan.
Flora and Fauna: The Korean Peninsula is rich in varieties of plant life typical of temperate regions. More than 3,000 species, some 500 of them unique to Korea, have been noted by botanists. Zoologists have identified more than 130 freshwater fishes, 112 breeding birds, 49 mammals, and 14 reptiles and amphibians on the peninsula. Bear, wild boar, deer, and lynx still are found in the highlands, but the shrinking of the forested area has reduced the animal population in recent years. Migratory water fowl, cranes, herons, and other birds are visible on the plains. largest and the oldest fruit bearing tree in the world is located in Korea, known as the gingko tree. The tiger, turtle, deer, crane and carp along with the lotus, pine, bamboo, and plum are some of the more popular symbols used in traditional Korean art. Some folk art symbols are the figment of the people’s imagination such as the dragon, hactae, and the fungus of immortality called pulloch’o.
Islands: There are many islands and bays in the Korea Strait, including the largest, the volcanic island of Jeju-do, which lies off the southwest coast and is also home to South Korea's highest mountain, Mount Halla, at 1,950m . Seonjaedo islands is smaller satellite island of Mok. Jeju-do is about 100 kilometers off the southern coast of South Korea. The easternmost islands of South Korea include Ulleungdo and Liancourt Rocks while Marado and Socotra Rock are the southernmost islands of South Korea. Ulleungdo is a popular vacation destination is the major fishery of the eastern coast that is, even more so than all the other coastal fishing villages along Korea's peninsular shoreline. Uido island that looks like a cow, Geojedo is the second largest island in Korea, Oedo is one huge over 132 square kilometer botanical garden with over 3,000 species of exotic plant life and fetching Western-style buildings and sculptures, a regular backdrop for K-Dramas and often called a "paradise." Heuksando, "black mountain island," is where classical scholars (sunbi) of antiquity were banished when they managed to displease the higher-ups.
Capital city: Seoul is the capital of South Korea. It is a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology city , home to endless street food vendors and vast nightlife districts, an extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples, a trend-setting youth culture and often crushing conformism, extraordinary architecture and endless monotonous rows of grey apartment buildings. The city is situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it from the damage of the Korean War to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy. Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, The city was named the 2010 World Design Capital.
Places to visit: The Seorak range is considered to be the most beautiful in the whole of South Korea, and with its austere pinnacles of rock, its verdant forests, rushing spring streams, waterfalls, and temples, about 45 minutes outside Seoul in Yongin, is this excellent folk village where you can meander through live-demonstrations of various traditional Korean arts, crafts, and games, as well as see how buildings were made centuries ago. Korea's Buddhist heritage by experiencing the serenity of a temple. The country has over 10,000 temples and 20,000 monks and you can stay at some of them, practising meditation, lantern-making, tea ceremonies and simple elements of Buddhism. Head west of Daegu to the Mount Gayasan National Park, at the centre of which is Haeinsa, Korea's best-known temple. Korea's 'Hawaii' is off the southwest coast. Mount Hallasan, Korea's highest mountain at 1,950m (6,400ft) is a popular hike. Join in the Korean love of theme parks. Lotte World in Seoul or head to the Everland leisure complex, an hour outside the city.
Culture and Cuisine: Koreans believe that the things that set them the most apart from other Asian cultures are their cuisine, their language and their hangul script. Outsiders will note their extreme modernity, tempered by a well-developed artistic and architectural joyfulness. Korea has a significant number of Christians (31%) and Buddhists (22%), with churches dotting the towns and temples and monasteries on hills. Korea has its own very distinctive cuisine, quite different from Chinese or Japanese. Rice is the staple food and a typical Korean meal consists of rice, soup, rice water and eight to 20 side dishes of vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, bean-curd and sea plants. Most major hotels will offer a selection of restaurants, serving Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine or Western-style food.
Shopping and Nightlife: Seoul's various markets are the perfect place for a shopping spree. Insadong is the place to go for Korean craft items ranging from the simple to priceless antiques. Namdaemun offers alleyway after alleyway of cheap clothes and household items. Yongsan is the top spot in the country for cameras and electronics. And Myeongdong is the favorite of fashionistas everywhere. Korea's nightlife offers a mix of traditional spellbinding performances of music, dance and theatre with Broadway/West End-style shows, or pop icons like Boa, a Korean singer who has achieved worldwide renown. Hotel bars are popular in cities; but their nightclubs tend to be expensive. Seoul's fashionable areas are Hongik University area and Apgujeong. Itaweon is aimed squarely at foreigners and the local population of American soldiers, but it is quite a tacky area.
Sports: Football has traditionally been regarded as the most popular sport in Korea. The national football team became the first team in the Asian Football Confederation to reach the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Baseball was first introduced to Korea in 1905 and has since become increasingly popular, with some sources claiming it has surpassed football as the most popular sport in the country. South Korea hosted the Asian Games in 1986 in Seoul , 2002 in Busan and 2014 in Incheon. The country also hosted its first Formula One race at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam. Electronic sports, also called eSports or competitive gaming, has become a staple of South Korea in recent years. The martial art taekwondo originated in Korea. Other Korean martial arts include taekkyeon, hapkido, Tang Soo Do, Kuk Sool Won, kumdo and subak.