Quick Facts About Korea

Country Name Republic of Korea Climate Continental climate with four distinct seasons
Capital Seoul (designated as the nation’s capital in the Joseon Dynasty in 1394) Total Area 100,188.1㎢ (109th largest in the world)
Population 51,663,000(IMF, ’18. 04) Official Language Korean
Religion Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism, etc. National Flower Rose of Sharon
National Flag Taegeukgi Time Zone GMT + 9 hours
Form of Government Democratic republic GDP GDP 16,932 Billion$(IMF, ’18. 04)
National Currency Won (KRW) Main Industries Semiconductors, automobiles, shipbuilding, flat panel display, petroleum products, etc.
Source: Statistics Office,Source: International Monetary Fund (Last updated Apr. 2018)

The Republic of Korea (herein after Korea) is a country visited by approximately ten million international travelers every year. With its long history in culture and tradition, the country has a lot to offer to travelers. Continue reading to learn general information about Korea before visiting.

Where is Korea?

The Korean peninsula, roughly 1,030 kilometers long and 175 kilometers wide at its narrowest point, is located in Northeast Asia. With Seoul as its capital city, Korea's total land area is 100,033 kilometers squared. Korea's neighbors include Japan to the east, China to the west, and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) across the northern border.

Time Difference

When Indicating Korea Time: Present Time (GMT+9) / No daylight savings time
City Time
Seoul, Tokyo (Korea Time) 1:00 4:00 7:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00
Taipei, Manila, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore 24:00 3:00 6:00 9:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Bangkok, Jakarta 23:00 2:00 5:00 8:00 11:00 14:00 17:00 20:00
New Delhi, Kolkata 22:00 1:00 4:00 7:00 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00
Tehran, Kuwait, Jeddah 19:00 22:00 1:00 4:00 7:00 10:00 13:00 16:00
Hamburg, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam 17:00 20:00 23:00 2:00 5:00 8:00 11:00 14:00
London, Madrid 16:00 19:00 22:00 1:00 4:00 7:00 10:00 13:00
Rio de Janeiro, S`ao Paulo 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00 1:00 4:00 7:00 11:00
New York, Montreal, Bogota, Toronto 11:00 14:00 17:00 20:00 23:00 2:00 5:00 8:00
Chicago, Houston 10:00 13:00 16:00 19:00 22:00 1:00 4:00 7:00
Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles 8:00 11:00 14:00 17:00 20:00 23:00 2:00 5:00
Sydney, Melbourne 2:00 5:00 8:00 11:00 14:00 17:00 20:00 23:00

How to use : Read the graph vertically to compare the time differences between cities from around the world.
* Please note the there is no daylight savings in Korea.
* Shaded boxes designate times that fall in the previous calendar day.

Language

Hangeul, one of the most unique creations of the nation, was introduced in 1443 by King Sejong (r. 1418-1450), the 4th king of the Joseon Dynasty. In order to help all commoners to easily read and write this new alphabet, Hunminjeongeum (meaning "Proper sounds to instruct the people" in Korean) was created. The name of the language was changed to the current Hangeul in the 20th century. Hangeul is a series of scientifically designed characters. The alphabet is composed of basic consonants and vowels, each with a set sound, and a dot or a line added to form more sounds. The 5 main consonants (ㄱ, ㄴ, ㅅ, ㅁ, ㅇ) imitate the shape the lips and tongue make when producing that particular sound, while the 3 main vowel components (ㆍ, ㅡ, ㅣ) symbolize the sky, the earth and mankind respectively. Originally composed of 17 consonants and 11 vowels, only 14 consonants and 10 vowels are used in modern Hangeul. Hangeul, as a written language, did not have any influence from pre-existing writing systems. The language is very easy for all to learn, evidenced by Korea's illiteracy rates being one of the lowest in the world. Of all Korea's cultural assets, the citizens are most proud of Hangeul and thus designated October 9 as Hangeul Day, to memorialize and celebrate the invention of the alphabet. In addition, UNESCO inscribed Hunminjeongeum Haerye; The Hangeul Manuscript, on the Memory of the World Register in 1997.

Culture

What is a visa?

The meaning of visa differs somewhat depending on the country. An ‘entry confirmed’stamp serves as a verification of approval for entry to the country by a foreign national, while the ‘recommended for entry’ stamp given by the consulate to foreign nationals entering the country serves as only the consulate’s recommendation for entry. A visa is considered a consul’s recommendation for a foreigner’s entry. Therefore, even if one carries a valid visa, entry may be denied if one fails to satisfy the requirements of immigration inspection at the airport

Bank

  • - Opening hours: 09:00-16:00 (closed on weekends and holidays)
  • -Fees vary depending on the bank and amount.
  • - Hours of operation during business hours: 08:30-18:00 (Mon.-Fri.); 08:30-14:00 (Sat.). As the hours of operation vary for each region and branch, it is advised to check the information in advance.
  • -ATM fees are higher after bank closing hour and on weekends and holidays.
  • - Fees apply when using an ATM of a different financial institution.

Currency exchange

  • -Exchangeable forms: foreign currency cash, traveler’s check • Required documents: passport or ID card
  • -Maximum exchangeable amount: currency exchange of amounts exceeding US$ 10,000 per case must be reported to the National Tax Service.

Public Services

Administrative Institutions : The administrative institutions that people visit in everyday life are mostly township (myeon/ eup) offices, community service centers, and city (si), county (gun) and district (gu) offices. These offices provide health and welfare services, maintain public facilities, and issue and file various certificates and process civil petitions as well.

Pilice station (112) :If you become the victim of a crime or are involved in a car accident, you should dial 112 or report the incident directly to the nearest police station. Simply dial 112 on a phone without an area code.

Fire station (119) : Dial 119 when there is a fire or a medical emergency. Dial 119 without an area code.

Useful Websites